Last night was magical. I'm not saying this to try to blow smoke or exaggerate. The Lizzo concert was everything I thought it'd be, and more.
I got a bit emotional this morning thinking about it, and did a video on IGTV. You can watch it at the end of this post.
Considering the massive amount of airplay and weeks at the top of the charts for so much of the year, many people already know Lizzo is a talented performer with amazing stage presence. If you weren't sure of that, you don't need to look any further than her MTV VMAs performance.
Or her Tiny (Ass) Desk performance.
The transformational experience last night wasn't just a result of her performance (which was even better than I thought it'd be.) Instead, it was because of the environment that she created and the fans she's cultivated as a result of her inclusive messaging.
For the few hours that we were in that theatre, I was awash with relief and acceptance. It was the first time I was in a public environment where I felt like I could be completely myself, as I am, no apologies. I was able to exist as a fat person without fear of judgment from anyone around. There were people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. People smiled at each other, complimented each other's outfits left and right, and snapped photos.
The phrase “live your best life” gets thrown around a lot like a euphemism for “treat yourself!”, but that level of comfort I had with myself and with my surroundings really was truly the best version of life I can imagine.
I got teary-eyed a few times during the concert. Singing (or screaming) the lyrics and dancing with abandon felt like a cathartic release. I was shedding layers of other people's expectations, the notion that I always have to fit in and also the realization of how much my fear of other's reactions to me and my body consumes everyday life.
Confidence is a tricky, multi-layered beast. For years, I've fought with body image issues and feeling like I'm destined to be different for my entire life. I've learned to outwardly embrace style and showing up for things when it seems easier to stay inside where it's safe from outside judgment. I'm never really going to fit in, quite literally. Slowly, showing up for myself through fashion and doing things I want to do has helped my confidence.
Being able to show up for myself AND show up somewhere without constant anxiety about how others will react to me? That's an entirely different level of confidence. It's a level I'm not sure is really attainable 100% of the time. Last night, all of that anxiety was stripped away for a few hours.
Every day it's something:
- If I go to a restaurant, I worry about the seating situation and if I'll be comfortable.
- If I go out with friends, I worry if people are thinking “why are they with that huge girl?”
- If I go pick up my coffee and I don't have my makeup on, I worry that people are looking at me thinking that I'm a “lazy fat person.”
That undercurrent is always there, and it's there because of people actually being assholes throughout my life. It's not the norm, but it doesn't take many times of someone throwing eggs at you while running or yelling at you from their truck while you sit at a stoplight before you just want to stay where it's safe.
Being at that Lizzo concert in the crowd full of people who may have had similar anxieties was more freeing than losing 100 pounds (believe me, I've done that multiple times). The weight of societal expectations of appearance disappeared. For those few hours, I felt free.
(And now I'm crying again.)
Still on a Lizzo high, I woke up this morning, didn't put on makeup after my shower, and I put on some high waisted workout pants and a crop top and went to the bank and to get gas. It might not sound like much, but it was a big deal for someone who doesn't really leave the house without some makeup and a cute outfit.
I'm trying to hang onto that feeling of safety for as long as possible. Now that I know what it's like, I don't want to go back. I'm going to work very hard to figure out how I can live a life where I don't care what others think of me. It's one thing to say that people's mean words or looks are a reflection of their ugliness, not yours, but it's another to not have them wound you just a little.
Thank you to my friends Nicole and Lindsay who went with me, to Emily who was there in spirit, and Rachel who brought big energy with last-minute notice. And thank you to Lizzo for creating something even beyond compelling music.
Also, I just remembered this tweet from my friend Sarah. Can you imagine if all the Lizzo lovers of all sizes take this to heart?