I’ve been obsessed with Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls on Amazon Prime. I’m obsessed for so many reasons and this one post will not cover the extent of ways a viewer, especially “Big Grrls”, can learn deep and valuable personal insights that can change your life.
I connect with the journey of these amaaaaaazing dancers in many ways, and what Lizzo continuously drives home is the self-love journey; the unlearning of self-hatred and being in love with every part of you.
“Self-hatred and body negativity was the norm” and “if you don’t fit into a certain mold that society has laid out for you, you’re criticized, you’re ostracized, and you’re made fun of.” -- Lizzo, Episode 4 “Naked”
The self-love journey is not easy and it takes a lot of work. Thanks to this show, these ladies get a fast track of intense experiences like healing movement class, photoshoots, regular inspirational talks from Lizzo, and dance coaches who constantly tell them they’ve got it, they’re beautiful and limitless.
This show was incredibly timely for me. I was beginning to question if I needed to “button up” my presence and messaging to increase career opportunities. I was wondering if my truth, vulnerability, and authenticity were at the bottom of the recent chain of rejections. I was starting to feel the stiffening up of my body as I considered possibly contorting and conforming in order to be considered worthy. The constant messaging received on a daily basis of success being equated with conforming and contorting to white supremacist structures and beliefs was stacking up and weighing me down. I have read numerous job descriptions for leadership positions in DEI work that require 10+ years of organizational management, DEI certifications, degrees, and other requirements that make you question if the organization understands why these roles are even necessary in the first place. There is a fundamental shift needed in deconstructing the ways we “certify” credibility in this world and have objectified people into mechanisms of production instead of the embodied human we are in a relationship with. We are forgetting that DEI work is needed because oppression has caused human suffering from a socially constructed belief that certain people are less than, not worthy, and powerless and that belief has been internalized into self-hatred. This self-hatred continues to keep people of color, women, big girls, and LGBTQIA+ individuals from living authentically and thriving. This is the underlying sickness in our bodies and minds that can lead to anxiety, depression, disease, and suicide. Yes, ya’ll… IT IS THAT SERIOUS. I don’t say this to be dramatic.
This is why I focus my message on self-love as the source of liberation. Knowledge of history, systems, strategies, and management are tools and are a foundation. The critical lever that can break the greasy wheel of oppression from operating is the power of an individual’s liberation through embracing loving themselves and leading powerfully and authentically. When this individual powers up and disrupts collusion to whiteness, they motivate and inspire others to do the same. You can have a system with 100 people that have an understanding of why BIPOC people should be in leadership positions and 0 BIPOC leaders. You can change your hiring practices and hire 4 BIPOC leaders, and because your culture remains harmful, they leave or they feel powerless to enact change. Instead, focus on the healing and thriving of BIPOC people in your organization and provide space for their self-love journey and embrace their lead on the ways the organization should reach the shared vision and mission. It allows for the creation of a whole new way, a truly collective model, and a shift from developing system operators to partnering with trailblazers.
Self-hatred usually has been a result of a lifetime of receiving messages we are not enough and not worthy. In this current world, that is not going to end and you will continue to have haters. In fact, it has been my experience (and that of Lizzo) that the more you start living your life loud and proud unapologetically the haters and attacks on your person will increase. I’m sure people will have issues with my use of the word bitch in this post alone (labeling me unprofessional). I am not going to be for everyone, AND that does not mean I am not a total badass at what I do. I am so grateful that Lizzo’s Big Grrls pulled my white colluding mind out of the dumps, smashed it, and replaced it with a mirror that reflects the Tracy I know I am. Thank you Lizzo and the Big Grrls!
The self-love journey is continuous and requires regular reminders that IT IS POSSIBLE to live a life we want, lead the charges that are important to us, and create a world in which people like us can thrive. Get really clear on what is really needed to be a place that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. There’s a reason why disproportionate statistics have not changed significantly within our communities even with agencies that have taken on race and social justice as an initiative or policy. In this journey, we need to look out for each other and be the collective voice constantly cheering on our brothers and sisters to be 100% that Bitch.