Baring It All. Sort Of.

I have had a fear of being seen in a swimsuit for many years.  I’ve heard people say FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.   Like a lot of women, I hoped for many years that I would have a “perfect” body that would be bikini worthy and the envy of supermodels everywhere.  Yes, I often live in fantasy.  Don’t judge me.  In my head being thin meant being acceptable and worthy.  I’ve shared candidly about that on my website, and accept that I’m on a journey of self-acceptance about my body, who I am, my passions and my aspirations.  If I were “perfect” then there would be nothing to strive for, and that makes Pia a dull girl.  But I digress. 

Last week, my modeling agencyasked me to send them some photos of me in swimwear for a job.  My reply was “I’m not sure I’m swimsuit ready.  But I’ll send you something anyway.”  Shit! Was I ready for the world (I mean my agent) to see my thighs in all their imperfect glory? Would she balk at my fleshy arms? “You can’t do this,” my loud Fear said.  But there was another voice underneath it.  A gentler, kinder more Loving voice that said, “Why not, Pia?  Isn’t it time to walk the walk?”  I’d forgotten about my desire to have integrity.  Damn that conscience of mine!  I realized that this was an opportunity to overcome the anxiety of my projected judgment of others about my body.  I was still scared shitless.  But I did it anyway.

I sprang into action and called my dear friend and stylist extraordinaire, Melinda Alexander, of Jill of All Trades to get me ready for the pictures.  She pulled some great swimsuits for me, some of which I were sure were going to make me want to disappear into exile.  But she just kept telling me how amazing I looked.  Of course what I heard was a good friend trying to make me feel better.  But when I finally garnered the courage to look in the mirror, I was completely amazed!  I was in awe at the sexy, confident woman staring back at me.  Yes, my thighs were in full view for the world to see. My arms were broad wings, resplendent and ready for flight! I felt so beautiful.  I accepted what I saw in the mirror and didn’t judge it.  What I saw reflected was strength, grace, courage and unique beauty. We took loads of photos and I embraced my body in a way I never had before.  I was so moved by the experience that I knew it would be the subject of my next blog post.

What I learned about myself in this process is that I’m far braverthan I give myself credit for.  I learned that having big thighs is not a crime against humanity.  And I gained insight into how limiting fear can be in all areas of my life.   If you are in fear about something, I recommend walking through it.  It will empower you beyond measure. Go forth and conquer!

Nearly Naked Plus Size Models Strut at Fashion Weekend

I am so freakin’ excited I can’t stand it!  As I was researching a topic for this week’s blog, I came across an article on Brazil’s recent Plus Size Fashion Weekend, featuring women with hips, breasts, cellulite and real curves strutting their stuff on the runway in not much more than their bras and panties!  I was immensely inspired and simply had to share it with you.  These women make me proud to be a feminine creature, with my own unique set of dips and dimples!  The fashion show, which is the biggest in Brazil, was created by journalist Renata Poskus Vaz.  The plus size journalist has a blog of her own, called Mulherao, where she is an advocate of plus size women.  The Fashion Weekend has been instrumental in the growth of the plus size industry in Brazil.  

It’s interesting to compare the body types of these Brazilian models with what we are used to seeing in the U.S. market.  Plus models, like Fluvia Lacerda, Tara Lynn and Denise Bidot seem to have firmer, more toned figures.  Is the Plus Size Modeling industry perhaps a bit hypocritical?  I don’t know.  I suspect there’s a some photo-shopping going on there as well.  Yes, there are great strides being made, but there is still a great amount of pressure on plus models to be keep in shape, and yet not get too small. Don’t get me wrong, I think Fluvia, Tara and Denise have bangin’ bodies. I’m simply offering that plus size models and women who have some jiggle in their wiggle are just as beautiful and just as worthy.  I hope we continue to see progress in this area, so that young girls and women everywhere will begin to celebrate their bodies, instead of hating them.  As plus size bloggers, we have a responsibility to embrace all types of beauty.  And I think collectively, we’re doing a great job.  There is always much to discuss, and like anything else worth pursuing, there is always more progress to make.  So, let’s support one another and keep creating forums where we can talk about creating a world in which a woman’s worth is not determined by her dress size, but by virtue of her value as a human being.  Keep on keepin’ on!

Ciao for Niao,

3 Ways to Practice Body Serenity

What is serenity anyway?  The dictionary defines serenity as being free and clear of storms or unpleasant change;  shining bright and steady.  Wouldn’t you like to feel that way about your body?  I think it’s absolutely possible no matter what you think your body looks like.  Though like most worthwhile things, they do require time and effort on your part.  But, at the end you’ll feel so good about yourself it will have been worth it.  So, here are 3 ways to begin getting serenity around your body and self-image today:

  1. FOCUS ON WHAT YOUR BODY CAN DO, rather than what it looks like.  If you’re lucky, you have legs to walk on, fingers to type with, eyes to see with and a voice to speak with.  We so often take these things for granted.  But imagine if you took away the ability to use just one of your body parts…now that’s a real challenge.  When you begin to honor all the amazing things your body can do, it’s hard to scold it for not looking a certain way.  Treat your body with respect and daily appreciate all that it does for you.  If you need to, I suggest writing a gratitude list of 5 things your body did for you each day for a month.  You will see and feel the difference in your attitude.                                                                                
  2. NO MORE COMPARE AND DESPAIR.  Comparing ourselves to other people is a useless pastime. The grass is always greener, so they say.  Usually when we are comparing ourselves to other people, we are projecting some fabulous life we think they have because they look a certain way.  In fact, most of us make all sorts of assumptions about people based on their appearances.  We say and think things like: He’s fat so he must be lazy;  She’s thin and has nice clothes, so she must be  happy.  Think about all the WRONG assumptions people have made about you.  Don’t they make you angry?  They should!  We have absolutely no idea what a person’s self-esteem is like based on outward appearance.  Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself.  How can you be a better you?  And I don’t mean physically (unless that’s a goal you have).  I mean be a better human being and do nice things for others.  Be a giver rather than a taker.  That will certainly get you out of a compare and despair mindset.
  3. START MEDITATING.  Okay, so I know this doesn’t appeal to some of you, but give it a chance before you decide meditation is not for you.  I started meditating for about 3 minutes a day a couple of years ago.  Yes, that’s all it really takes.  Before I meditate, I find a comfortable position (lying flat on my back or sitting upright with my legs crossed) and then pick something to meditate on.  For example, one day I decided to meditate on SELF-LOVE.  With my eyes closed, and the timer set, I would inhale a deep breath and silently say to myself, SELF.  On the outward breath, I would silently say LOVE.  I did this for 3 minutes.  I’m not perfect, so occasionally my mind wanders, but then I gently come back to the meditation. What this does is  really set my mind in a positive direction for the day.  When I find myself wanting to say negative things to myself, I can pause, find a quiet place and meditate again until I feel calmer–even for just 30 seconds.  Try it, it really works!  Other great meditation topics are: All is well in my world or I am perfect as I am.  Come up with your own ideas and enjoy the process!


New Year’s Resolutions…Do They Really Work?

It’s 2012, and if you are like the millions of other women out there who are resolving to lose weight this year, it’s time to find a new resolution!  Resolutions to lose weight and exercise more are usually bound for frustration and breakdown because they set you up to fail.  As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to have this perfect body (whatever that means).  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  You can begin the new year in self-care and self-acceptance by simply loving who you are one day at a time.  And P.S., you don’t have to wait for January 1st to do it!

Many people get so caught up in the tradition of resolutions that they avoid making changes the rest of the year.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad to want to be better and feel better;  striving for peace of mind and contentment are wonderful resolutions. However, punishing our bodies for the sake of fitting into society’s twisted views of beauty is another thing entirely.  Being our best selves is about loving our bodies and ourselves no matter what we weigh or what size our jeans are.  

And so I propose that you resolve to celebrate your muffin top, cellulite, dimples and soft flesh today and every day.  As Mark Twain said, “A woman cannot be comfortable without her own approval.” AMEN!  You can also practice this principle by telling other women how beautiful they are too.  Pay it forward and help the world see that there is so much more to life than being obsessed with our bodies.  Our bodies are a God given gift.  We get to borrow these bodies temporarily, so treat them well, respect them, speak well of them and they will be good to you.  That’s it.

I wish you a happy new year, full of confidence, self-acceptance and a willingness to do things just a little differently today.


P.S. In addition to continuing to love myself this year, I also resolve to blog more and do my share of paying it forward 🙂

What does PLUS SIZE mean to you?

I hosted a Girls Game Night this past Friday night and my girlfriends wanted to me tell them what was happening with the website and the blog. They were all so excited for me and it felt good to have the support. But one of my besties said that she wanted to read things of more substance on my blog. She reminded me that my initial impetus for starting the site was to really open a dialogue among women of all sizes to talk about what the media has done to screw with our heads when it comes to body image. I’m so grateful for her honesty, and so this blog is dedicated to my pal C.

There were women of all shapes and sizes at the party, including a plus size model.  One of the questions that came up was whether or not the term “plus size” is outdated. As a woman who is a size 16, I don’t really like that I have to label myself as being plus size. Does a thin woman have to say she is a “minus size?” No. Why can’t we just be women? Plain and simple. What does size really have to do with anything. Does it define our interests, careers, hobbies, sex life, fashion choices, etc.? Do you want to be assigned an adjective that says nothing about you other than you probably wear a size 14+? How does having that assignation affect you? How do you want to be referred to? Have you let your size define who you are what you are doing with your life? Why or why not? These are the burning questions I pose to you. Join the discussion and offer your thoughts on the subject.

Updating My Wardrobe, A Day at a Time

Lately I’ve been feeling like my wardrobe needs a lift.  I’ve done some major purging, so now I actually have space for new things.  I specifically wanted something with a bold print to liven things up a bit. So I took myself on over to Forever XXI.  They now have a plus size section with some super cute stuff.  I grabbed tons of things and headed to the dressing room.  I tried on some surprisingly flattering pieces, including dresses, sweaters and tops.  What I ended up buying was an adorable abstract print top that I can’t wait to wear. It features ruched gathering  in the front and back, and an adjustable neckline that can take  you from conservative  nighttime chic!  to  I plan to sport it with a cute cardigan, skinny jeans, knee  high suede boots, and my new fedora..  So CHIC!!!  I’ll upload a pic of the new outfit as soon as I can, so keep checking back.  ciao for niao my darlings!

Body Acceptance & Empowerment

It’s a new year–a time for new beginnings and leaving the past where it belongs.  This year, I finally decided to embark on creating my website,  I’ve gotten such loving and wonderful feedback from my friends (male, female plush and not), who are telling me that this is a great idea, that it’s long overdue.  I’m so grateful that I get to be a part of the body acceptance movement, and for all the women before me who have taken the bold leap in creating spaces for us to be adored and cherished.  I already know that this year is going to be full of success and adventure. I welcome it with open arms and look forward to creating a community of women who are willing to support each other in a safe and loving environment.  This site is not about bashing thin women, but about celebrating and empowering women of all shapes and sizes.  It can be difficult to change things by ourselves, but together we can accomplish anything.  Today I choose self-love and acceptance!