It’s been a big month for me. Lots of post sharing and commentary about my blog and the way I cover topics here. I watched as my words were taken out of my hands and placed in the hands of others. That’s the scary part of visibility; you really can’t control how people see you. You can craft a persona, based on what you believe and hope is true, but you have no control over how it lands over there.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s terrifying on a number of levels.
It reminded me of the time I saw a comment on my post that a friend had shared. The comment said something along the lines of ‘I saw you share this blogger before, she always seems to be offended by something’. When that happened, it shook me up. It seems silly now, but it did. My friend defended me as someone using their voice; bless her heart. But this woman, this commenter, saw me as a complainer, a victim, someone easily offended and weak, and I didn’t want that.
In a lot of ways, after that, I stopped sharing the things that happen to me. The situations where people vocalise or share their prejudice with or about me. I even stopped challenging their ideas so I wouldn’t be one of those deemed precious, high maintenance or demanding.
You know, a delicate little snowflake.
I talked about clothes but not why it’s hard to find them after you reach a certain size. On the blog I shared outfits but not that my inbox was often full of unwanted sexual advances or a barrage of harsh words. Just because I had the nerve to exist. I stopped talking about the conversations that people felt comfortable having my body. Sharing them with you as if to say, I know, I get it too, let’s ALL not listen. I stopped it all; I pulled the gate closed and said, no thanks.
But big surprise, they didn’t go away.
What did go away was my voice and my ability to speak about shared experiences with you awesome people. People were still jerks, and prejudice and bigotry happened. Clothes were still hard to find and we are told the resolution is to be smaller. No matter the cost, no matter what, when we are smaller LIFE will be better. Brands keep celebrating plus size, curvy or body positive while representing an exclusive minority of the women that term encapsulates. The world kept turning.
The world kept turning. With or without my voice.
I decided that from now on, it would have to turn WITH my voice. So that way of thinking can get stuffed. I refuse to be afraid to be called those things. What’s so wrong with being fragile anyway? Owning my place in my story and saying yes I have been subjected to some horrible things in my life, but they don’t define me. Nor does my experience limit me, if I’m a willing ear for those whose experience is different to mine.
So yes, I’ll complain that your jokes aren’t funny, your opinions offend me, and your ideas are old and in need of a 2017 makeover. I won’t stop speaking because of your opinion of me. There is no chance now that I will stay silent when you ridicule me, try to humiliate or shame me with my body or my ideas.
I’m not allowing that anymore. And if you can’t handle it, honey, you might just be the snowflake in this conversation. Buckle up. You and I, we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It; An Australian lifestyle blog for women who work for themselves. Melissa is a social media consultant & lover of stripes. Most weekends you’ll find her at the beach or home on the veranda kicking back. Around here, they call her Suger. Feel free to do the same.