I have been a fan of Sarah Millican for several years now, but it’s not just because of how funny I think she is. She represents something much more for me.
Sarah and I have a lot of similarities. We have a mutual love of cats, stationery and biscuits, to name a few things. On a deeper level, we have experienced a lot of the same emotions towards our bodies, as I’m sure women all around the world have. We’ve grown up with images thrust in our face of how women should be, and we do not fit that mould.
Hearing Sarah discuss this in her DVD, Outsider, is what made me determined to see her perform live. Her openness about low self-esteem and struggling with body confidence struck a chord with me. I’ve tried to tackle these issues throughout my life. Listening to somebody who had reached the point of, for the most part, not caring anymore, made me feel empowered.
When I heard she was coming to Aberdeen, I knew I had to get tickets. I bought them over a year in advance, just to make sure I wouldn’t miss out. I had never been to a comedy show before but she seemed like a good choice for the first one.
On Friday, Neal and I headed to the theatre to finally see the show I had been anticipating. It was brilliant. Sarah exudes warmth, and it makes you feel like you’re listening to someone you’ve known your whole life. She is as entertaining, charming and sincere as she appears on TV.
She touched upon self-esteem and reiterated the fact how you look shouldn’t matter. Hearing it in person was even better. I felt the goosebumps ripple across my body. Here was an amazing woman – strong, funny and successful – and she doesn’t care about her body. Actually, she’s starting to embrace it. Why shouldn’t I do the same? (This is a message I’ve been working on, and want to carry forward, as I touched on in this post about YouTube.)
I delight in seeing people being unapologetically themselves. It inspires me and motivates me. Sarah embodies this for me. She says what she thinks, drops the F-bomb whenever she wants and won’t let others dictate her life. She is refreshingly honest and doesn’t conform to expectations. I imagine she leaves some people feeling uncomfortable with some of the topics she discusses, but that’s on them.
To round off an already wonderful evening, Sarah announced the charity she was supporting on her tour was The Samaritans. Cue the little heart emojis in my eyes. So, now, she wasn’t only rejecting the notion of the perfect body, she was bringing mental health to the attention of thousands of people. As the two can often go hand in hand – and have done for me – I loved this. Could this woman be any more fantastic?
I left the theatre feeling good and, more than that, feeling understood. I know there are people out there facing the same challenges as me, but being able to laugh about them in a room full of people really brought it home. Hearing the cheers and applause as Sarah declared she was fed up with women being told to look a certain way was wonderful.
Comedy is about making people laugh and, in turn, making them feel good. Sarah’s strength lies in the fact she doesn’t only make you feel good by delivering punchlines. She makes you feel good by delivering a message: embrace yourself and don’t let other people influence how you feel about your body.
Of course, you might not appreciate or enjoy her humour in the same way I do but her appeal goes beyond that. While I do think she’s hilarious, she’s also hammering home the point that you don’t need to look like the people in magazines.
From my perspective, it’s wonderful to have somebody like Sarah in the limelight. She is representing so many women who have been bullied for having curves, cried in dressing rooms and made to feel terrible because of how we look. Yet, it hasn’t stopped her. It shouldn’t stop the rest of us, either.
Friday was a chance to laugh my head off (which I really did) but it was also a reminder that you don’t have to look a certain way to do well. You simply have to find something you’re good at and be bold enough to go after it.
Here’s hoping I can do the same.