#IAmEnough©: Sharing my Path to Self-Acceptance on Good Morning America

GMA2This past Tuesday I was incredibly blessed to have been interviewed alongside my sister on America’s favorite morning show. Good Morning America  produced a great segment in which I shared my journey toward self-acceptance, and how it contrasts with my sister’s path. We both found self-love in very different ways. Hers was a diet and fitness journey. The strict diets never made me feel good, so I abandoned them years ago. My journey has been about embracing my large body and recognizing the beauty and strength I have no matter my size. I’m happy to know that there are many different paths to freedom and living your truth.

On Tuesday morning, at 8:45am, I stood in Times Square in polka dot yoga pants and a clingy “Ohmazing” tank from Lineage Wear (thank you so much Katie!) – my thunder thighs, voluptuous arms, and visible belly outline on display for the world to see. And I felt so damn good! (P.S. I’m at my heaviest weight ever, and have never felt more free.) I was claiming my space unapologetically as a fat, brown, afro-wearing woman. Describing it in words simply doesn’t do it justice. Let’s just say it was a #BlackGirlMagic moment!

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As I stood soaking up the energy of NYC (a.k.a. the center of the universe) surrounded by soaring skyscrapers, blinking billboards and a curious crowd, I took a few moments to let the reality of the experience set in. Here I am, 40 years old, finally living my dreams, and in a visibly fat body. Yes, it is possible!

You guys know I come from a history of self-hate and insecurity. So, to be feeling amazing in my skin with the world watching was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I hope it has helped to set others free – that has been my goal all along.

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For nearly six years I’ve been writing about my tumultuous journey toward accepting my body and realizing how amazing it is. I’ve come to understand that my body tells the story of so many women and men who inhabit large bodies but have felt unseen and unworthy. I know now that my voice is my gift. And the Universe needs all of us to lean into who we really are.  Were it not for my years of dieting and self-loathing, I would not be who I am today. And who I am today is a strong, smart, confident, mixed fat chick, with a talent for inspiring others. I am joyful! And as far as I’ve come, I still have so much more to learn and experience. So bring it, Universe!

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Before the live segment in Times Square we did a Facebook Live event where we talked to  panel of women on what body positivity meant us. Among the panelists were fellow body positive activists Alysse D’Alessandro and Essie Golden, who represented beautifully on the show. Y’all are awesome! I also met other wonderful women, including Dana Suchow who is a body-posi tiger!

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I have so many people to thank, beginning with my sister Mara Schiavocampo, whose idea it was to pitch the segment to GMA. I also want to give a big shout out to producers Danielle and Alison – thank you for allowing me to show the world who I am and how body positivity has transformed my life. You are both class acts! And I can’t forget hair and makeup mavens Juanita and Lisa, who hooked me up and with whom I had a wonderful connection.

Until next time, remember #iamenough ©.

xo

One Fatkini Worn 4 Ways: It’s all About Accessories!

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I bought my first fatkini last year, and since then I haven’t bought another one because hey keep selling out! (It feels so good to write that.)

As summer approaches, I always like to think of unique ways to style my look, especially if I’m on a budget. Plus it’s a creative challenge to make the same items work in different ways. I adore accessories, and in my opinion, they can completely alter the look of anything you wear. So, I decided it would be fun to do a post on this with a swimwear theme.

In the photos below, the bikini top is from ASOS Curve, and the high-waisted bottoms are from Swimsuits For All (both from last year, but the bottoms are still available). All other deets are mentioned under each photo. Enjoy!

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Headwrap and necklace from Stella & Dot, Leopard Kimono from Ross, Sandals from Nine West.

There is almost nothing I love more than a head-wrap.  It solves a bad hair day, and instantly gives your look an unexpected twist. You don’t have to spend lots of money on a scarf. Thrift stores are a great place to find cheap ones with good patterns. And the leopard kimono is one of my faves. I get so many compliments on it. Leopard is a neutral and goes with EVERYTHING!

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Jacket thrifted from Out of the Closet (it’s actually a man’s jacket), Ring from an artist shop ages ago, Earrings from Runway Boutique in L.A., Bracelets from Forever 21.

I bought the jacket at Out of the Closet for $7. Yup, it was a major score. It has pockets, which are perfect for holding my phone and sunglasses while at the pool or the beach.  When you’re thrift store shopping, keep an open mind. And those big ass earrings only set me back $16 — well worth it for the impact they give this whole look. I feel very Grace Jones!

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Paisley Kimono from Nordstrom Rack, Necklace from Stella & Dot, Sandals from TJ Maxx.

I think a smile is always your best asset.  But a paisley kimono ain’t bad either. When you’re mixing black and white with other colors and patterns, be bold. It’s OK to mix it up because they’re so neutral. The sandals are flat, which is key for me, and whenever I see anything in a size 11 for a good price, I snatch it up!

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Sunnies a gift from my boo Michelle, T-shirt from Mode Plus, Confidence from ME!

As far as I’m concerned you can never have too many pairs of sunglasses. And I refuse to spend more than about $10 on them because I lose or break them very easily. The klutz in me just can’t help it! And white t-shirts are a must for any wardrobe. I have at least 5 or 6 in slightly different styles because they’re so classic.

I hope these looks give you some inspiration and the confidence to show off your body in all it’s ample beauty this summer and any time, really. I would love to see how you style your swimsuits. Post your swimsuit photos on instagram, and tag me @mixedfatchick with the hashtag #myfatiscute!

xo

3 Reasons to Stop Body Shaming Celebrities

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Jessica Simpson being body- policed by the media.  Photo courtesy of Hollyzood.com

I occasionally find myself silently, and sometimes not to silently,  judging and policing the bodies of celebrities. Perhaps the barrage of perfectly polished images of celebs in the media has brainwashed me successfully. But I bear some of the responsibility too.  I can consciously choose not read rag mags and look for cellulite on Jessica Simpson’s upper thighs.  I can walk away when my co-worker wants to gossip about Beyonce’s boobs. And sometimes I do. But sometimes, I just can’t help myself. I want to judge the way I’ve been judged. I want to inflict pain where I’ve been injured.  I just for once, want a pretty, thin woman to feel the shame  and insecurity I’ve felt. And so, on occasion, I indulge in the kind of exchanges that afterwards make me feel dirty.

I admit it. This body-positive activist and speaker fucks up now and again.

 

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It’s important for me have this awareness and to expose it. When we hide behind our dirty secrets, we live in fear and resentment. And then it becomes easier and easier to be complacent. We get comfortable in our negativity and reproach for others. And we think to ourselves, everyone else is doing it, so it’s no big deal. As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news: IT’S A BIG FUCKING DEAL. And here’s why:

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Celebrities are people too. We think that money and fame dilute a person’s humanness, making them immune to hurt feeling and humiliation. But it doesn’t. It does the opposite. It tests humanness and then sells it for public consumption. And boy do we eat it up. As someone who has the tiniest bit of visibility in the body-positive movement, I’ve experienced my fair share of push back from internet trolls. As much as we know that a 16-year old bored teenager is behind most of the fanfare, it still stings. Because it triggers something painful that happened to us in the past. It may have been your brother calling you ‘thunder thighs,’ or your dad offering helpful diet tips when you were 12. It doesn’t matter. The point is, if we want things to be really different, if we want to raise our daughters to not worry about their pot bellies, then the buck stops with us. Gossip magazines exist because you buy them. Stop buying them. Please. It takes action to create change. Be a warrior.

 

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Pot bellies are beautiful!

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We need more diversity in the media. This is not new information, and yet it needs to be said. People of size are rarely depicted in positive ways in film and television. They are often the butt of stupid jokes, the fat best friend, or perhaps even the pretty chubby girl who loses weight and gets the guy. BORING! We must take some radical action to make sure that fat folks, and even non-thin folks, have the opportunity to take roles that don’t revolve around their body size. Because guess what? We have talent too. And the world is missing out on some seriously gifted people because of our obsession with thinness as perfection. Let us be bold and try something new. Let’s put big bodies on screen and watch the world change.

 

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Celebrities have power. They do. They have influence, which is the stuff of revolution. Imagine if a fat actress had the support of millions of viewers. They wrote letters letting the network know just how much they love her. They create fan pages and create buzz. Imagine her dimpled arms highlighted on the cover of Vogue. All of a sudden she’s breaking down barriers and is the star of her own show, where she wears crop tops and body hugging dresses in bright shades. She begins to normalize large bodies on TV. We see her over and over, and after a while, we forget she is fat. We see a talented actress, who moves us. We see her inner beauty AND her outer beauty. We see ourselves in her. And then…who knows?

 

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Photo courtesy of Daily Venus Diva.

 

In solidarity,

xo

4 Reasons I Love My Thighs

I have always had big thighs. Even when I weighed 140 pounds and wore a size 8 in high school, my thighs were big.  I can remember thinking how dreadfully ugly they were and wishing they were small, elegant and waif-like.  I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror without bottoms on. And being seen in a swimsuit was the most mortifying thing I could think of.  Pool parties were out of the question. And when I did swim, it was with a very long t-shirt that covered my everything.

  
My thick thighs!

When I look at photos from when I was 14 and 15, I realize that my body was beautiful. My thighs were long and strong.  They fit my body.  I had an athletic build. I wish I had know how lovely I was back then. I would have saved myself a lot of anguish and let myself experience more of life.  It’s been a long time coming, but I am arriving at a place of self-acceptance with my body today.  This past weekend, while I was relaxing at home in a colorful mu-mu, I crossed my thick legs and stared at them for a while.  They are still lovely after all these years, and I weigh much more than I did then. There are plenty of great reasons to admire these gams, and here are just a few:

1.  They are strong!  My legs carry me all day long, and for the most part they don’t complain.


2.  They are soft and cuddly–just ask my hubby.

3.  My thighs look damn good in jeans, especially skinny  jeans.  

4.  I don’t have hair on my thighs–it simply doesn’t grow there.  So I don’t have to shave them–EVER.  Lucky me!

Feel free to share this. I think it’s awesome!

Name a part of your body that you’ve had trouble loving and claim it as perfect.  Your body is a gift. Speak well of it and and treat it with respect.  Love it and it will love you back!

Ciao for Niao,
Pia