Why I’m Abandoning Heels For the Forseable Future

Damn it — my feet hurt!  Rude. I love heels.  I love how they look on my feet and how sexy my legs look whilst wearing them.  I do not, however, love how fucking painful they are.  In my 20’s and early 30’s I could handle them no problem.  I could dance all night long and deal with the discomfort.  But as I’ve gotten older, I have become less and less able to cope with the pain that heels cause me.  And for a long time I thought as a fat girl I had to wear heels to look “taller and leaner.”  But frankly, now I care less about what other people think about my size or my fashion sense. 

Yes. I know you do too.

I recently attended the 5-year blogiversary of The Curvy Fashionista with my girls, including Michelle of Zaftig Times, who always looks vintage chic.  I remember first meeting her at the POSH LA Fashion Week event last March and we talked about how she never wears heels anymore because they’re just too uncomfortable. At the time I wasn’t quite ready to give them up, but it did get me thinking about what I was willing to sacrifice.  Was I willing to sacrifice the health of my feet for the sake of an outfit?  Yes, I was.  But not so much anymore.  Maybe this is sort of like a New Year’s non-resolution.  Sure, why not?

Michelle, Julia, Me, Christine on the red carpet #tcfturns5

Anyway, at the blogiversary party I wore an ethereal black and white number (see above) with a pair of Calvin Klein flats in leopard and patent leather. They are divine and, though I try not to play favorites with my shoes, these are kind of my everything right now. In fact, I think I hear a choir of angels singing in the background…I felt so cute in those shoes and I danced and walked and was comfortable all night long.  I didn’t feel any less cute just because I wasn’t wearing heels. OK, there was perhaps a tiny part of me that wished I were taller, but that faded quickly as I watched and overheard other women in super high heels sitting down, complaining of foot pain

Calvin Klein, Size 11, Nordstrom Rack, $55


Like many women, I adore shoes!  Yes, I’m a feminist who loves shoes. Get over it. Shoes are my vice and I never tire of shopping for them.  At a size 11, it can sometimes be tough to find shoes that fit my long narrow feet without having to spend a fortune.  So, when I’m in Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls or TJ Maxx, I always head for the shoe section. And I’ve found some terrific deals too.

Clockwise from top left: Nordstrom blue suede loafers $50; 
Coach oxfords $39; Mix No. 6 metallic leopard loafers $29; 
Diane Von Furstenberg red suede & metallic slippers $119 (bday gift)


Flats have become so chic in recent years that I actually feel appropriate wearing them to dressy events.  These days anything goes, and I’m eternally grateful.  I can see myself being known for my splendid flat shoe collection and getting a spread in Skorch Magazine, where I am naked in a tub full of blinged out, feathery, bright flats, sipping a glass of champagne of course.


Hey Skorch, this is the tub I was thinking of. Thanks!


My point in sharing all this, is that if you are like me — fat and a lover of fashion — you don’t have to sacrifice style just because you hate wearing heels. Heels are not the only option, especially if you don’t care about looking thinner. Flats look great with skater skirts, pin-up dresses, skinny jeans and wide leg trousers alike.  Do some experimenting with your wardrobe and you’ll discover a whole new world of FUN in flats.

ciao for niao,
pia

P.S.  I will probably still have to wear heels in photo shoots.  That’s the exception to the rule. Ok, I’m done now.

Why Social Media Feels Like Degrassi Jr. High

Sometimes Social Media feels like high school, or worse yet, middle school.  It’s like Degrassi Junior High with memes. Do you ever get that feeling that somehow we are all fighting for a second chance at first place? Or at least to not be the Facebook version of the dweeb from Mrs. Kraft’s 6th period History class — which I actually was by the way — so that maybe, just maybe, you can experience a sliver of the popularity you missed out on as a teenager?




I’ve had that feeling.  And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I fell into the dangerous trap of relying on comments and emoticons to determine my mood and perceived popularity. It’s that moment I Instagram a perfectly crafted selfie and then dive into a hash-tag orgy with attendees like #fatshion #happy #lovinglife #myfatiscute #honorcurves #effyourbeautystandards #plusmodel #plusblogger #youdontknowaboutthislife #onmywaytothetop #naturalbeauty#checkmeoutnowimafunksoulsista  #godisblessingme #fuckyes #thisliferighthere, and so on.

The anticipation of what may or may not arrive post-post, is what I call “The Twitch.”  It lasts approximately 7 minutes, which is how long I wait before I let myself see who enjoyed my post (ok, it’s more like 4 minutes). 

When it’s good, it’s really good.  I’ve beat my record.  56 likes in under an hour. 17+ comments.  4 shares.  Fuck yeah. 

Other days, not so much. 2 likes, and one is from my mom.  Fuck.

As a writer, my biggest vulnerability is that I rely on you to approve, validate and praise my work.  It’s like being in the teen movie Clueless and I’m a dorky Britney Murphy. I await the virtual high I might get as a result of my writing efforts…Was my comment witty? Was it inspiring?  How many people liked it? Did anyone comment? Any new followers? Who shared it? Has it been 4 minutes yet?  Nope.  It’s been 37 seconds. 


The roller coaster of emotions is violent and thrilling.  It’s a high.  Dare I say, an addiction.  

I found myself worn out a few weeks ago, overwhelmed at work and, trying to keep up with my blogging, modeling, and various other projects.  The stress caused me to have a fibromyalgia flare up that forced me to slow down.  I decided to lay low, realizing I was under too much stress and that something had to change.  I got to talk to my boss about my illness and get the support I needed at the office.  But I also knew I needed a break from social media.  I always think I’m going to miss out on something HUGE if I look away for a second. But that rarely happens.  Actually, it has never happened.  

Don’t let this be you


So, I took about a week off from Facebook, Instagram and blogging.  And while it was tough the first day — it felt like withdrawal — after that I felt quite free.  I was no longer hostage to insanely long hash tags and scary selfies.  My mind quieted down.  I picked up the book on my nightstand in the evenings and read for hours.  I had not realized just how much time I was spending trying to stay relevant in social media.  As much as I wanted to stay away another week, I couldn’t.  I had an editorial spread in volup2 magazine come out, and I wanted to share it, which is one reason social media can be so great.  I’m pretty much back to my old ways, crafting witty emails and posting awesome photos of cute fat girls on my page.  But I’m slightly less neurotic about the whole thing, and that feels good.


Taking a break showed me that life does go on without me.  I learned that I like having time for my hobbies, like crafting and creating collages on Polyvore.  I realized that I don’t need to over-post either (showing restraint can be a good thing).  I also discovered that I’m not alone. There are other people who have experienced the same addictive feelings I have, and we agree it’s a tricky business.  Finding the right balance is what I’m always seeking in life, and this experiment was no different.


At the end of the day, this is isn’t junior high.  This is life, swirling around me with enough stress of its own.  My love affair with social media is really more of a crush now.  I’ll always flirt with it, but I won’t commit.  I’ll need to use it to promote my work and see the beautiful photos of my nieces and nephew growing up across the continent.  But I’ll rely on myself and my spirituality a lot more to lift me up and keep me going.  To the best of my ability, that is.

ciao for niao,
pia

25 Things You Didn’t Know: The Naked Truth About Me

Call it vulnerability, stupidity, craziness, bravery or whatever you want.  For some reason, I’ve decided to share this list with you. Some things are less compelling than others, and some are just naked truths that feel like burdens lifted off my heavy body.  Or maybe this my attempt at getting the support it requires to feel just fucking OK in a world obsessed with the thin female body. I suspect it’s the latter.  This whole acceptance of self thing is really hard, and I just want to acknowledge that.  Even the most confident of fatties struggles to keep her head up and exist peacefully in her body and the world.  I’m no different.  You’re probably not either. So, here it goes.
I am (in no particular order or importance):
  1. Often on guard about taking up space (airplanes, restaurant booths, narrow aisles).
  2. An occasional puller down of long shirts over wobbly bits.
  3. Worried I might look stupid when trying something new.
  4. Cautious to let you really see me and not care what you think.
  5. Courageous enough to call myself fat, even though it’s scary and controversial.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  6. Confused about how to be true to myself without disappointing others (this may not be possible).
  7. Hopeful that I will have peace around my body soon (define soon. right.).
  8. A writer who wishes to be understood and perhaps quoted one day.
  9. Someone with socially acceptable fat (i.e. fat that can be disguised in constrictive clothing).
  10. A work in progress.
  11. Still questioning whether complete self-love and acceptance is possible.
  12. Self-judgmental to a fault. I will forgive you more quickly than I will forgive myself for the same offense.
  13. People-pleaser and hence carry some resentments, which gets in the way of #21.
  14. Attention seeker (The I-was-a-dork-when-I-was-a-kid-and-I-need-your-validation garden variety bullshit).
  15. Consumerist—I just fucking buy too much shit.                                                                                                                                                                                   
  16. Uncomfortable being naked, even when it’s just me and the bathroom mirror.
  17. Somewhat uneasy being in a swimsuit in public.
  18. Sometimes believe I am less attractive than thin women, and thererfore less worthy of happiness and love.
  19. Lover of my curly hair.
  20. Eclectic in style and personality.
  21. Seeking a spiritual path that works for me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  22. A pretty decent friend.  See #10.
  23. A pretty decent wife. See #6 and #10.
  24. A fat model breaking down barriers and taking names.
  25. Silly and goofy because it makes me feel good to make people laugh.
  26. Intelligent but not always wise.
Ciao for Niao,
Pia

3 Stories That Will Make You Say, "WTF??"

Fat shaming can look like this:

Cue obnoxious 6th grader:   Boy says to girl, “You’re fat!  Na-na-na-booo-booo!”  He runs away. He secretly thinks the fat girl is cute but can never admit because we live in a patriarchal society that teaches us to abhor women who take up space.


Cue fat shaming victim:  Girl sobs. And then sobs more. She is humiliated and spends the next 20 years hating her body and going on diets so she can try to look like Kate Moss.  Epic fail.  (Insert shameless plug here) But then she starts reading my blog and website and slowly starts to love her self more and more.


Do you know the feeling?

Situations like these are not uncommon in school yards, but they’ve expanded to include all sorts of other arenas as well. I was reading up on some cases of fat shaming and came across some truly appalling examples.

Get this.  At the Borgato Casino in Atlantic City, female cocktail servers where subject to a policy prohibiting them from gaining 7% of their initial body weight.  The women allegedly faced mandatory weigh-ins and were told to take laxatives or stop taking prescription medicine in order to stay thin. To make matters worse, the judge ruling on the case said that it was a perfectly legal thing to do. He claims, “The Borgata Babe program has a sufficient level of trapping and adornments to render its participants akin to ‘sex objects’ to the Borgata’s patrons… Nevertheless, for the individual labeled a babe to become a sex object requires that person’s participation.” Um.  Wow.


Don’t get any bigger than this or you’re FIRED!!


I don’t know about you, but I used dread going to water parks.  I always felt like my body was being compared to those of thinner women around me, in skimpy swimsuits.  When I was a teenager I always wore a t-shirt over my swimsuit to cover what I thought were my gargantuan thighs.  Now I actually have gargantuan thighs and like them on most days.  But I digress.  Here’s the story…

Madelyn Sheaffer of Missouri lost 100 pounds and decided that she finally felt comfortable wearing a bikini–yay Madelyn!!  However, when she showed up to the Adventure Oasis Water Park, she was asked by employees to put on shorts because they said her bikini bottom was too small.  Sheaffer recounts, “I just felt like I was singled out… I felt like it was both age and body discrimination…There are 16- or 18-year-old girls wearing just the same amount and no one’s criticizing them or making them feel ashamed or feel uncomfortable in their bodies.”  My thoughts exactly.  The supervisor on duty told Madelyn to put on shorts or leave.  Our girl called the police to file a complaint.  At a girl!  But it doesn’t end there.  The police removed her from the park, saying, “the facility made the call and we rely on their judgment.” WTF is going on here?  I guess having fat and not having a model thin body is against the law now. And I thought Missouri was the “show me” state.  So much for that.  

This is Madelyn.  Not sure I get it, Missouri.

And then of course there’s that asshole psych professor, Geoffrey Miller from the University of New Mexico who just plain hates fat folks.  Did I mention he’s an asshole?  Oh, right.  He tweeted this: “Dear obese PhD applicants: If you don’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth.”   There has been a huge backlash against this prick. Unfortunately there is evidence to back up  the fact that graduate school candidates with a higher body mass index who did face-to-face interviews got into schools at a lower rate than applicants with a lower BMI or overweight candidates who had phone interviews.  I guess we’re back to the fat = dumb and lazy argument again.  


Yes. Yes you are Geoffrey Miller.


And so, what is the point of sharing all this?  Well, besides enlightening the hell out of you, I hope you’ll get angry and fight fat shaming when you see it happening.  Sometimes it’s subtle and at other times it’s right there in your face.  So whether you’re fat or not, stand up and do the right thing, because discrimination is ALWAYS wrong.


ciao for niao,
pia

10 Ways to Look Skinny, And Other Bullsh*t!

Don’t  you just love picking up a fashion magazine and reading those scintillating words on the cover?

Dress 10 Pounds Thinner

7 Steps To Dress Yourself Skinny

How to Look Slimmer Instantly!


My Exact Shape & Size!  Really?  Oh, Yay.

Looks Like We’ve Been Reduced to Fruit.  I’m Hungry.
Holy Shit, Batman!  It’s even endorsed by NBC. 

These headlines suggest–no–demand that as women we should hate our bodies and that they are inherently bad.  Even great magazines like Marie Claire, who I see as more progressive in terms of their content, still lack size diversity on their pages.  

A friend shared this with me recently and I love it:
I randomly received an issue of Redbook in the mail a couple of weeks ago (which I never subscribed to–weirdness), and the cover features a very slender, very blonde, Rebecca Romijn.  The headline reads: 

How She Got a Flat Belly After Twins 

(No Tummy Tuck!)

Wow.  Now that is amazing!  I mean after all, it’s not like she’s rich and has a personal trainer or anything. Is that supposed to be an inspiring article?  I’m totally confused here.  Because the women I know who have had kids mostly have stretch marks and beautiful bellies that reflect the tiny miracles they’ve brought into the world.  They don’t have the time or the energy to get their pre-baby figures back, which by the way, society practically demands of women.  

Lovely and Amazing
I’m fed up with mainstream fashion and women’s magazines.  They have the power to change the world and the way that women are perceived, but rather they choose to manipulate and make money off the insecurities of their readers.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s just bad behavior.  I’d much rather read and support these magazines:



       




If you want things to change, then stop buying and reading mainstream magazines.  Let them feel the weight (pun intended) of their oppressive tactics blow up in their faces.  Stand up and say NO!  We have choices. Make good ones, and watch the world change.  Keep doing the same thing (buying magazines that make you feel inferior) and you’ll get the same result–frustration, anger, intimidation and self-loathing.  The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  
BOYCOTT MAINSTREAM MAGAZINES!!

Or engage in some other act of defiance.  Women are powerful, especially in numbers.  

Feminist Naomi Wolf said it best:

“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”

Where do YOU stand?

ciao for niao,
pia

Who You Callin’ a Fat Bitch?

Last week on my Facebook page  I asked the question, How do you feel about the word fat? or bitch? or for that matter, fat bitch? Does it offend you or empower you? Or neither?”  The responses were very interesting and I thought it was worth exploring a bit more. 

I recently changed the name of my blog from Curvy Sexy Chic to Chronicles of a Mixed Fat Chick (though I also considered Mixed Fat Bitch).  I had and still have mixed feelings about the words “fat” and “bitch” or the idea of using them both to describe me.   Historically, the word “fat” has been used used to marginalize people of size and make them feel less than human. But as you know, people like Jes Baker (The Militant Baker) and Rachele (The Nearsighted Owl), and many other bloggers are taking back the word “fat” and giving it new meaning. Does it still mean someone who has extra adipose tissue? YES!  Some say that by calling ourselves fat and really dissecting the meaning and the context of the word, we can begin to see it simply as a descriptor, neither good nor bad. In some cases, it’s actually a good thing!  



As for the word “bitch,” the responses were mixed.  Some thought it was OK if used playfully, while others found it offensive altogether.  Admittedly, I use the word rather a lot, and use it to describe everything from people (male and female) to situations to inanimate objects–sometimes playfully and at other times in anger.

Now I want to share some of the responses from the Facebook survey.  Not all the women who posted responses were fat, by the way.  

  • I definitely wouldn’t consider it a term of endearment…
  • I have come to love the word fat and my fatness in and of itself. In its definitive essence fat is merely a descriptor, just like being tall or having brown hair. It’s only a pejorative term because of years of re-appropriation and misuse.
  • Personally, I don’t know a woman at any size that has truly managed to stop thinking about herself as fat, so I’ve tried to accept that my body is a certain shape, that some will find it beautiful, and some disgusting, and I can’t control that.
  •  I wouldn’t call myself that. When/if I’ve said it about myself have been in moments if self-hatred. Or like poking fun first before anyone else can. But I don’t think I’ve ever said fat bitch. Ill say “my fat ass knows I don’t need that slice of pie” hmmm pie. Also just so we clear I WILL always have that slice of pie…
  •  I love to walk into a store and ask where the fat section is LOL, I also call myself fat girl, it throws people off and they back peddle – normally I end up with the “Oh you aren’t fat” and I counter with “You are sweet but I do look in the mirror every day and you know what? I own this!” As for the Bitch part… well everyone just knows that I own that word as well. I use those words and own them because I am not going to let myself be brought down because of the words that come out of someone else’s mouth
  • I think that both words are hurtful and playful depending on how they are used and by whom. And I think that is wrong. I think fat should be just a descriptive word but in my reality it is not. I call myself fat and it does not make me feel bad about myself but if someone else says it to me (especially a thinner someone) it is hurtful. That may be wrong but that is how it is for me. Bitch on the other hand is constantly changing for me. In my youth, bitch was just another word. We threw it around like it was nothing. These days it is dependent on who says it and how, again. I do describe myself as a bitch at times (although more often now I say I am an asshole). Its the one word equivalent of saying I’m going to respect myself and stand up for myself and not take your shit. And usually it works out that way. But I don’t much care for someone calling me a bitch in anger (such as ‘you fat bitch’). I know it is a double standard. I know. 


ALL BODIES ARE GOOD BODIES


I’m so encouraged that there was such a big response (pun intended) to these questions. Opening up a dialogue and sharing ideas is important.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole thing, really.  In truth it’s a daily struggle to accept myself as I am.  I think many women feel this way.  I want things to change so that the next generation of young girls can avoid the hideous ridicule and infliction of twisted beauty standards the media has thrust upon us.  I will continue to be honest and share my thoughts with you and ask the important questions.  

Women are powerful and we can create lasting change, but we must be committed.  I would love to hear from you about what you’re doing to create change!

Ciao for Niao,

Pia


Why I’m OK at 200+ Pounds

I wondered whether or not I wanted to tell the world (or at least the people who read my blog) how much I weigh.  I’ve ranted on and on about tossing your scales and that the number doesn’t define you in any relevant way.  But in truth, there is a part of me that feels exposed and vulnerable at the thought of highlighting it for public consumption.  I have no idea whether people will be inspired, appalled or just not give a rat’s ass.  I’ve started this journey, and I keep moving forward in hopes of encouraging other folks to be at peace with their bodies.  I post photos and encouraging quotes on my FB page, and get lots of LIKES and lovely comments.  But I can’t talk the talk and not walk the walk.  



You’ve seen me in a bathing suit and cheered me on when I posted a blog on why I love my thighs.  So why is it so scary that I should tell you that I weigh over 200 pounds? Perhaps it’s because it is a further act of defiance that will set me free.  And to be set free from something  that you have known intimately for years (even if it’s painful) can be scary shit because it’s uncharted territory. It’s like being in an abusive relationship where you convince yourself that you don’t deserve better.  Who would you be outside the realm of that familiar, yet hurtfuul relationship?  Same idea.

So declaring my number to the world is a way for me to be an activist in the struggle toward size acceptance.  I must do my part if what I want is a broader cultural definition of beauty.  I cannot sit on the sidelines and whine about why I detest advertisements for cellulite cream and anti-aging potions without actually backing it up with some kind of action.


I think the other reason I want to share it is that there are so many of you whose daily moods are based on what the number on the scale reads.  And I get it, because I’ve been there too.  If the number was low, that meant I was a good girl, and worthy of love and success.  If the number was high (in my distorted opinion) then I was useless, lazy, fat and ugly.  It was a terrible way to live. In fact, it wasn’t living at all.  Being a slave to that number kept me from living the life of my dreams. I missed out on so many incredible experiences that I can never get back.  


Do I have regret?  Yes and no.  

I wish today’s Pia could go back and tell Pia of 20 years ago that she was amazing, lovely, smart and perfectly imperfect. But then I realize that this journey is mine, and the painful experiences I’ve had around my self-image are part of what make me who I am today: A mostly confident, kind, compassionate, attractive and intelligent woman, who wants to help others transform their self-hatred into self-acceptance and eventually love.  


If you’re feeling brave, or just want to shout from the rooftops how much you weigh, join the movement by leaving a comment here and/or on my Facebook page for the world to see.  Help break down the myths around traditional beauty standards and say ‘fuck you’ to the media for feeding us bullshit.  Claim your space in this world and take no prisoners!

Ciao for Niao,
Pia

www.curvysexychic.com
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