George, Take My Picture in this Bathing Suit….

Beach then then and nowOne of my fave things in life…in all my life…is going to the beach.
I dream of it all winter…and in the summer…while I am doing other things…like work…all that is running through the part of my brain used to multi task are images of the beach and plans of when I can go.
Growing up…when Mom found the money…she rented two rooms for us in a motel that was on Wasaga Beach…like, right on the beach, people. It wasn’t fancy…it was just a motel room…but when you opened the door the lake was right there.
I stayed in the water for hours…and hours…and my Grama would implore me to come…for food…for rest…to get out of the sun…but, you see, Grama didn’t like getting in the water…so, Grama, come and get me.
There was no other thing but the beach. It was and is a time when I truly live in the moment.
I think that is why I still hold it so dear…and I cherish it so much.
As my body has changed over the years my bathing suits have been many sizes. And my body is a body that changes. I have talked about this a lot in my writings and in my shows. I am not one of those people who goes for a physical and the doctor holds up a chart (Yes, I know that they don’t do this anymore…there are computers) and compares their weight to last years weight and says, “Well, Melanie, you have to be careful…you have gained 5 pounds over the last 5 years…you might wanna keep an eye on that.”
I can’t even imagine.
I am going to be fully honest here…though my stage fashions have fully embraced whatever size I am at the time, I would be lying if I didn’t share with you guys that my weight has been a cross…a burden… something to agonize over… a shocking banner of pride when I keep it down…a symbol of status and success, a source of deep pain and shame and a comparer-of-where-I-am-at.
Oddly enough, the times when I experience the most “success” in my work is when I have more weight on than I wish. This is when I book all my TV and film work…when my shows flourish…when I am in the creative zone.
Once, when I was terribly underweight for my frame and we were living in Vancouver for a year, I went to see an agent and he told me I was not pretty or thin enough to be the lead girl or romantic interest…and I wasn’t interesting looking or big enough to be the best friend… “you see, Sharron, you fall between the cracks”. Literally.
This was around the same time I visited my mother and when she answered the door she didn’t recognize me…and also the same time I went shopping with a dancer and when I told her my weight, she crinkled her eyes and said, “Well, you’d never know you weighed that much…”…and she said it as a compliment…and I barely weighed anything.
I have sat in dressing rooms at my make-up stations between really tiny women talking about how fat they thought they were, comparing how fat they were to the slight girl sitting beside them…while there were women in the room who were probably three times their size.
It is really…a problem. That this thing…our weight…our size… is what any amount of our worth depends on.
The last few years have been an interesting time for me in regards to my weight.
When I shot Canada Sings…and I know I have said this many times before…but all you lovely people who read this blog, please bear (bare?…I never know…you get it…) with me…there might be new people, you guys…when I shot Canada Sings I had just gone through a weight fluctuation…and I had literally no clothes to wear. When the stylist came to fit me for about 30 different outfits, we looked through what I already had…and I was ashamed that I had almost nothing. She (the wonderful Lisa Williams) was so very wonderful…and when she left she asked me if I had any thoughts on the style she would create for my show look…and I asked her, “Please…just make me look awesome. I would love people to watch this show and say, She looks awesome…and NOT awesome for her size…just awesome.” and she did.
And as we got further along, the PR person for the show said that part of my PR would be focusing on my style and look on the show. And I was floored.
(Again…more weight on than I would have liked…)
And it began the change for me.
I began to look around on the internet and find bigger women whose style I liked and I looked for where they shopped…and I started to buy clothes for myself.
Because, up until that point, I would tell myself to not buy anything new…wait until you lose weight…OR the ever popular, “buy it a size smaller…and you will lose weight to fit into it…”
THAT is always really good for a state of mind…or happiness.
The moment.
I want those things.
I want them back.
That is what I thought about a month ago.
I have spent a great deal of time focusing on the past…on one thing in particular.
In the back of my mind…there is always this picture.
When George and I went on vacation to Mexico the first time I had just lost a lot of weight…it was just before my mother didn’t recognize me and the dancer shopping incident. And I bought a bikini. The last time I had owned a bikini was when I was little and went to Wasaga Beach with my family.
The moment.
I put on that bikini and I got into the pool and George took my picture.
I love that picture.
I look awesome.
So thin.
So happy.
And that picture has been in my mind forever as a frame for what I would like to be again. I can be that again.
So….ya, I know I was barely eating at the time of that picture…but I can be that again…I know this was the time that all my panic attacks really kicked into high gear…but I can be that again.
Don’t get me wrong…I had a wonderful vacation…and I loved being with George. And I was in the moment, mostly. BUT I was not happy.
But that picture…so in my head…so good for comparing-where-I-was-at.
That picture is emblazoned in my subconscious.
That bathing suit moment was part of the road that got me here.
Slowly, since that moment with the stylist on Canada Sings, I have been owning more and more who I am in the moment. Sometimes I have to really work at it…and sometimes it is almost easy. I love the clothes I buy…I love dressing up…I love eating…I love exercising…I love…I love…I love…my shell. The thing that holds my heart….and brain…and ideas…and creation…and love…I love my shell.
I think about that picture of me in the bikini.
Yes…today you need to remember Sharron, you love your shell.
And then, there was this day…I was at the beach with George…and I had bought myself a new bathing suit…not a bikini…although I HAD purchased a couple bikinis earlier that month…and I liked them…but didn’t love them…I found this cute bathing suit with a frill…a frill, people.
I love this bathing suit. And I love how I feel in it.
And I stood on the beach…looking out at the water and the sun…and I thought, what if I just was the way I was.

What if…what if I was just the way I was…and that was…fine.

So many words that we hear and say everyday…till you hear them.
And I have said them before…
But there, standing on the beach…in happiness and in the moment…they were powerful.
I felt a kind of relief wash over me. I could have cried.
I have been presenting this theory to the world…in my shows…in my clothes…in the way I would carry myself…but I didn’t totally believe it. AND still have to remind myself everyday since of this amazing moment.

What if I was just the way I was…and that was great.

To not be embarrassed if something does not fit…to not worry if people are judging you because you are bigger than some…to not worry about what the casting director might think because you are a different size than you were last time…to not care that your flirty skirt is short, because that is the way you like it…to have the cake…to wear shorts in yoga and not give a shit…to buy bras that feature your voluptuousness…to FEATURE your voluptuousness.
To be happy in the moment.

So, at the beach that day…I asked George to take my picture.
I have not had my picture taken in a bathing suit…on purpose…since the day in wore my bikini in Mexico…also taken by George…my husband of 21 years…who loves me all the ways I am.

What a day.

(Post Script: I decided to explore this whole theme and idea with music. I am doing a very, very intimate show in my hometown of Stratford on August 23rd with Jason Chesworth on guitar at Revel in Market Square. There are 15 tickets left. I would love to see you….the show is called, GIRL CRUSH. You can get tickets in advance at Revel Caffe, 37 Market Pl, Stratford, ON Phone:(519) 305-1600 As always, Thanks for READING!)

Goddess Shot

POST SCRIPT 2: Over 2000 people have read, shared, tweeted, instant messaged me about, direct messaged me about, and/or emailed me about this post. EVERYONE deserves the sweet relief of self acceptance. I wish it for all of us.

AND to all the people who commented that myself or the people who shared this were possibly living unhealthy lives, there was one thing I forgot to add at the end of this post the first time. Anyone who wants to comment on other peoples bodies, should keep it to themselves. Live your OWN  life as we all do our very best in our search for joy, truth and happiness.

My happiness probably does not look the same as yours.


Commenting area

  1. The Divine Miss Riki August 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm · · Reply

    Aaaaahhh you voluptuous beauty…yeah..I get what you are saying and thinking…it has been my story as well. However, like you dear Pearlie Girl…I have lived a life like no other…in all the shapes and sizes that I was dealt in my life. Those who truly know me seem to love me as I appear on any given day…and they are the important ones who give my life meaning. I have been blessed with two great loves, have travelled extensively and lived amongst the wealthy and the poor , met some incredible people on this journey…have been responsible for some life changing events in some of those lives…and like you…the pages in my book of life are full and probably would be a great read…were I not too lazy to write it all down. I don’t have many pages left in that book, but I fully intend to keep moving, whether it be in a bathing suit…or swinging in a hammock with my dear love peeling my grapes and fanning me. I am incredibly lucky to actually live on a beach. The only fear I have…if they ever take the stretch out of womens apparel…I will throw myself off the nearest cliff. You are one lucky dame Sharron…and you have the wonderful gift of your talent to be able to entertain and delight the masses. One day in the near future, hopefully I will get to enjoy another fun filled evening with you on the stage….and until then, don’t sweat the small stuff dearie…..

  2. Sharron Matthews August 7, 2015 at 4:08 pm · · Reply

    MISS RIKI!! Thanks for writing!! Thanks so much! Sidebar: I have a bunch of dear pals working at the Harbourfront Theatre this summer! I hope you can see them, because I cannot! xoxox

  3. Glenda Landry August 7, 2015 at 10:25 pm · · Reply

    sharon, I too bought a new bathing suit this year. Oh dear, it’s not what I had envisioned…….. What about all those pictures of me in the two piece, with the sun glasses and wide brimmed hat……. With my husbands arm around me! What about THOSE pictures? Well, I wasn’t happy in those pictures either! I have lived a life performing with very small dancers who were half my age and did not have three children. Why I thought I should look like them is a mystery to me! AND I am not happy this year……..that is until I read your blog! The hell with it Sharon………I am going to wear my new suit and strut the beaches of PEI and if people don’t want to look at me without comment , they can kiss my –s!!!!!! So thank you dear heart for helping all of us that suffer with some extra weight around our beautiful organs, that help keep us alive and entertain the other souls on this earth who are in pain. We can heal broken hearts when we sing, Sharon, now we have to heal our own. Hey, just thought of something…………I might, just might, take the damn thing OFF at the beach!👙👙👙👙👙👙

  4. Sharron Matthews August 7, 2015 at 11:03 pm · · Reply

    You go, Glenda! I had a little cry reading your post. Cry of HAPPINESS! (George said that we will book our flights for your naked walk along the beach…and I will join you!)

  5. I read this while enjoying a delicious bowl of ice cream. 😉 hope to get to the show at Revel with the friend that shared this magnificent post with me

  6. Sharron, you are my new hero. Two days ago I experienced a verbal assault from a stranger because of my weight for the very first time. I’m 40. To my great surprise I wasn’t even that upset (only upset that he did it in front of my kids). I was surprised, because few years ago, that might have floored me, but now I can tell my kids that he’s the one with the problem, and that I love my body. So tonight I read your post and said “YES!!!” You go, girl. You are beautiful and sassy, and you’re workin’ it, and I love it.
    “what if I was just the way I was…and that was…fine” = my favourite thing.

  7. Sharron Matthews August 8, 2015 at 1:04 pm · · Reply

    Kristina, thanks for writing. I am overwhelmed with the emails and messages I am getting about this post. I am so glad that it is striking a chord. 😀

  8. Sharron Matthews August 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm · · Reply

    Miss Riki! My dear friend Robbie Clarke is in the 39 Steps and well as a friend I went to school with Marlene!

  9. Ok so I’m not a gal, but am a guy of a bigger size. I often hate myself for my size, even though I go to gym, I try to eat healthier and I’m active – I still hate the way I look — UNTIL NOW. I’m going to take your lesson and attempt to apply it to myself. I know I need to learn to accept who I am, shell and all, so once again Sharron Matthews – I need to thank you for being awesome, honest and accessible to us all.
    Please for the love of god, never change who you are. We need more people like you to remind us who can b e.

  10. Theresa Rogers August 12, 2015 at 1:50 am · · Reply

    Hey Sharron! You look fabulous in your new suit! You have given me the inspiration to buy a bathing suit for the first time in 30 years. I am usually the one with the flowing moomoo. Oh the freedom of it all. It was great meeting you in Saint John at the Imperial workshop. You are a gift wrapped in a shiny, funky ginger coloured wrapper!

  11. Susan Robinson August 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm · · Reply

    Sharron, this awesome entry flew up my FB feed and I just had to read it. You as ever hit the ball out of the park as only a voluptuous gal can. Way to own all aspects and speak for all us other voluptuous gals out there. I for one have a terrible time finding bathing suits that fit my voluptuousness up top and therefore when I find one that fits I buy it. This has equated a bathing suit collection of no fewer than 20 suits. ALL 2 piece suits. xoxs

  12. I have no idea what it’s like to like myself. I hate my body, I hate clothes shopping and I won’t be seen in public in a swimsuit. Nothing but a horrible fat cow. When I was a kid, I wasn’t fat but I was taller and built bigger than my petite peers who of course called me ‘fat’. Instead of telling me I was beautiful the way I was and people are different, my mother would say that I could stand to lose a few pounds and put me on diets and forced me outside to exercise. I was on a 1200 calorie a day diet with all my food measured and daily weigh ins. “oh you gained a pound, time to pull back’. NOW I have a weight problem and I hardly eat and no matter how much I diet or exercise, not a pound comes off. My husband loves me the way I am, but I refuse to be photographed under any circumstances. My wedding last summer was a source of panic at the thought of pics being taken. I don’t want to be photographed at my stepdaughter’s wedding….all his former inlaws will be there, judging what a cow he married and how must like them fat. I’m 5 feet tall and everything I buy in clothes looks awful on me. I hate clothes shopping. I wish I could be happy and confident like you.

    • Sharron Matthews August 12, 2015 at 8:40 pm · · Reply

      Jojo, it is a daily choice to be fine the way I am and, as I said, someday are way harder than others.
      My up bringing was much the same…and when I look back at pictures I looked just like every other girl. I was also put on a diet when I was about 12…and told constantly that I would look so beautiful if I lost weight…and that I had a pretty face, that it was a shame I was over weight. And I actually was barely bigger than my pals.
      It is never too late to look in the mirror and choose love. Choose love, my sister.
      Think about what you would say to your best friend…we are always kinder to others than we are ourselves…and tell yourself.
      Take nice to yourself. We are truly our own best friends.
      Again, choose love.
      Life is way too short!


  13. Ron Kennell August 13, 2015 at 1:50 am · · Reply

    I love you… Friend…muse…healer…sage.

  14. you look fabulous! confident, happy – I just love it. Makes me proud – I just stand up, flaunt my bigness – posture is so much better now – thanks for loving yourself. I will love me too!

  15. Julia Manuel August 14, 2015 at 9:45 pm · · Reply

    Thank you for sharing your truth…you don’t know me but I know your hubby George ☺ He and I worked on a silly little show called The Christmas Show waaaay back in ’94 when I was a skinny minny. Now? Not so much. I am struggling with my weight BIG TIME at the mo’…I’m the same weight I was when I was pregnant and have yet to embrace this as my new normal. I, like you said, keep comparing myself to an old normal when I was a size 8 dancing my tits off 8 times a week in shows, size 10 when not…sigh…how I long for those days when my chin didn’t sit on my belly lol. Reading this post made me cry because I so want to believe that how am I today is okay. I so want to…but I still don’t. But maybe I can try? You make me want to try ☺

  16. Jennifer Magee August 17, 2015 at 5:36 am · · Reply

    Sharron, I love reading your FB posts. But this? Well this gave me pause more than any others… I was a dancer with the dancer body. I was blessed and fortunate, to always be a “good size”, you know, until I got hired for a cruise, and they wanted me to drop 9lbs before opening… Lol. But that’s another story. Now I am big. Well, bigger than before. Packed one 40 lbs or so when my thyroid finally decided it was time for the meds… Sigh. 6 yRs ago I was posted as a sunshine girl – my age 21 and my age 41, printed side by side. But now, gone is my bikini body. Heck, gone is my entire closet of clothes! Only the shoes fit. At first I thought, well when the meds start working, I’ll just be “me” again and lose all this weight. Nope. I guess this IS me now. 😉 Your story is so frank and honest and real. And that is what I love about you. So thank you. I have spent a lot of thought this year thinking, ” maybe God wants me like this…. Because I can finally realize I am more than just my packaging”. And your story here is just one more confirmation. You, Sharron, are a refreshing breath of life and humour and honesty. Thanks so very much. Don’t change! The world needs more like you.

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