On the quest to love myself and the clothes I wore, I have harmed my body, dressed for the satisfaction of others, and had to figure out what expressing myself through fashion actually looked like for me. It often looks like learning to give the grace that I seek from the world around me to myself. That can sometimes be difficult but also, not to use a schoolyard word, unfair. Because as important as self-validation is—as a fat person, a Black person, and a queer person—I deserve to get it from elsewhere in the world in the same way many non-marginalized folks do. That validation can come in many forms, and one of them can simply be seeing myself in the pop culture that I consume. I’ve held this hope since adolescence.

Strong Black leads and queer characters that are well-rounded and fully written are appearing on screen much more, but fatness on screen still gets pushback. The others are now more “acceptable” identities to connect with, but fatness is so often considered a choice or the “fault” of the person who inhabits that body. Shrill was a good show, but its lead was white; The Parkers was quite Black, but had the type of ’90s self-deprecatory humor about fatness; Drop Dead Diva was ultimately a show about a thin person inhabiting a fat person’s body and trying to accept it; and Mad Fat Diary just never hit for me personally. But Survival of the Thickest gives us a thick/fat/curvy—whatever word you’re comfortable with using right now—person winning, trying, and simply existing. Her size isn’t made into the entire story but just part of it, showing a variety of feelings that are true to many of our varied experiences (colorism, discovering your queerness, dating as a single parent, and reproductive health). Another thing I truly dug: This show is about people in their 30s, and, like Harlem, Run the World, and Four More Shots Please!, it shows Black and brown women in their 30s as something other than old maids who have run out of time, style, and energy.

Mavis is coming into herself and her dreams, and will continue to—and so will I. Here I am, writing for a magazine I escaped into when I was a child, about three things I love: style, pop culture, and my body. I’m incredibly excited for Season 2, but in the meanwhile, if Michelle wants to send me any of the clothes she wore in the show, I can pop my e-mail over at any time.