Mercury is in Retrograde — And Just in Time

mercury-retrograde-signHave you been feeling rundown? Yeah, me too. It turns out that Mercury is in retrograde from October 4-25. Which basically means it’s a bad time to make big decisions or take too much on. Almost two weeks ago, I decided I need a break from social media. Keeping up with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just got to be too much. I was completely sucked in, checking it first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. No wonder I couldn’t sleep. All that information was swirling around in my brain, and getting quiet was impossible.

I’m a big believer in feeding your spirit, but somehow I let all my obligations fill the void of really looking at what’s been going on with me. I’ve felt anxious and fidgety lately. I spend my free time looking for new cities to live in (hello, Portland), or obsessing over my fall capsule wardrobe project. And those things can be fun, in the right context. But not when you’re clearly trying to avoid something important. And for me, it’s my health. My fibromyalgia symptoms have worsened recently, and I haven’t wanted to face it. I’ve taken on way too many commitments, which have been great opportunities for my advocacy work, but bad for my health.

fibromyalgia-cycle

I am exhausted. From the pain. From the lack of energy. From the inability to fully use my body.

Disconnecting from social media was a fairly easy strategy to start with, but I’m going to need to do a lot more than that to get well. I’ve finally made an appointment with a rheumatologist to see what she might offer in terms of answers and potential solutions to my condition. But if I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that I have to advocate for my own health. I have to do the research and be open to trying different modalities for healing. And with Mercury in retrograde this month, what better time to reflect on my life choices and take stock of what is and isn’t working anymore.

take_it_easy_by_ohmybrooke-d4bjxhu

I don’t intend to make any big decisions right now, other than slowing down my pace, and making time for more rest and self-care. That includes things like:

  1. Going to bed earlier
  2. Eating better (gotta check that sugar addiction)
  3. Continuing my yoga practice
  4. Saying “no” more
  5. Meditating

I tend to be a real perfectionist, so I might need add one more thing to that list: Let go of  the idea that I will do these things consistently and perfectly. 

audre lorde quote

I’d like to be blogging more, but if you don’t see a post for a while, just assume I’m sleeping, or reading a book, or cooking a healthy meal for my husband and I.

Until next time,

Pia

My Fall Fashion Wishlist: Neutrals With a Twist

Fall is my absolute favorite season for fashion. But the heat in Los Angeles doesn’t seem to want to quit. I’m so ready for cool sunny days, funky boots, a chic trench coat, oversized sweaters, boyfriend jeans, and tons of fabulous jewelry! What I love most is all the layering you can do in the fall. Mixing textures and neutral tones with subtle pops color is my goal for autumn style. Below is my wish list with links to where you can find these dynamic, yet versatile pieces!

 

asos white top

I am obsessed with white shirts right now. They are such an easy go to when you don’t know what to wear. This one from Asos Curve is adorable. I love the small button up collar which would look amazing with a statement necklace or one of my famous headwraps.

stella sutton 3 stella sutton 2 stella sutton 1

The Sutton White Stone necklace from Stella & Dot is giving me life! It’s a gorgeous and versatile statement necklace that you can dress up or down. I’d wear with a t-shirt and some boyfriend jeans for an instant style upgrade. The versatility of this necklace more than makes up for it’s price tag.

asos black pants

Also from Asos Curve are these black peg pants, which have my much required pockets. These days, if it doesn’t have pockets, I’m not that interested. Pockets just feel good, right?  Anyway, I love how this looks with heels, but I don’t do heels anymore, as you know. I would pair them flats, chuck taylors, or booties.

naot sky bootnaot sky 1    naot sky 2

I am a boot freak. Plain and simple. But my feet have deteriorated as a result of arthritis and fibromyalgia, and so my choices for stylish, comfortable boots has diminished by leaps and bounds. So when I found these beauties by Naot, I was wowed! Yes, they have a slight wedge, but it’s low and the toe box curves up for all day comfort. They are a bit spendy, but I think I’m worth it!

wet seal acid wash shirt

A shirt like this would normally be too trendy for me. I actually wore acid wash jeans in the late 80’s and early 90’s when I was in high school. Frankly, I hoped I’d never live to see the trend again. But it seems that designers are paying homage to styles gone by with modern interpretations of decades old designs. I really love this shirt from Wet Seal Plus. It has the kind of texture that gives an outfit that edge and interest. You can pair this acid wash button up with with loads of things, even with more denim. Yes, please!

forever 21 leopard scarf photo (1)

I adore scarves. I wear them in so many ways. They are by far my favorite must have accessory of all time. If you only owned 10 pieces of clothing period, I would advise having a leopard print scarf.  Animal print is practically a neutral, according to stylist, Melinda Mann. But it does so with ridiculous style and grace.  I wear them as regal head wraps over my curly locks; around my neck and shoulders in 12 different ways; as thick belts;  gauzy skirts and; flowy dresses in the summer.  You can score this one for under ten bucks at Forever 21.  Go. Buy. It. Now.

forever 21 boyfriend jeans

If you don’t own a pair of boyfriend jeans you’re missing out. For a long time I avoided this trend because I didn’t think they’d look good on my fat frame. I was so used to buying fitted jeans that “flattered curvy figures” until my stylist/ bestie helped me see things in a whole new light.  She let me borrow her favorite pair (I’m so lucky we wear the same size) and showed me how to make them work. My world was turned upside down! Think outside the box and try these super affordable ones from Forever 21.

dkny trench macys

What would autumn be without a fabulous coat? It doesn’t get super cold in Southern California, so I probably won’t need a parka. This fucking hot trench by DKNY at Macy’smodeled by the oh so sexy Denise Bidot, is probably at the top of my fall wish list. It’s a bit hard to tell, but the color is midnight blue.  I love black and blue together — it’s so sophisticated and unusual.  The price tag of $189 is a bit off-putting, but I think I can convince myself it’s a “good investment.”

Suffice to say that I’m socking away some cash so I can afford to indulge myself a bit this fall season. I figure 3-4 of these pieces will be enough to inspire me. I can’t wait to see where this goes…Follow me on instagram @mixedfatchick to see how I creative I can get with these knockout neutrals!

Love, light, & happy shopping,

Pia

The Vilification of Fat Bodies: How Society Disses Us

 bacchus

Centuries  ago, being fat meant you were wealthy. You had more than enough food to go around.  And if you were poor, food was not plentiful and so you were thin.  Body size was one of many ways to assess class.

Today, we gauge people’s personal worth and right to respect by the size of their body. Thin bodies having superior privilege to fat ones.  I could dissect the various reasons we got here, but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. And I want to talk about other shit.

 thin = goodfat=bad

I will, however, break down the reasons I think society has vilified fat.

We can’t always identify people’s socioeconomic status by looking at them. Rich people wear t-shirts and jeans just like the rest of us.  As a regular person walking down the street, I have no idea if they’re carrying an Amex Gold card in their wallet or an EBT card.  I can’t tell a real Gucci from Cucci.  And if we lived in a utopia where shit like that didn’t matter, then I wouldn’t have to write this article.

2

But it does matter. Because we’ve decided it does.

Just like we’ve arbitrarily decided that thin is good and fat is bad. It could just have easily been the other way around.  If instead of diets being forced onto women 50 + years ago, we decided that having rolls of gorgeous fat was aspirational, then right now I’d be writing an article about the plight of thin people.

This whole deal is about money, oppression, and class.

The private sector is concerned with making money at any cost. And if that means oppressing an entire group of people, then so be it.  The health industry in conjunction with the diet industry, have created a powerful monopoly on people’s self-worth. They’ve capitalized on people’s egos. Most of us want to feel like we’re on top of the world — beautiful, smart, worthy.  So what happens when you start selling the idea that worth can be bought?  You make a shit ton of money.

I can do it

I’ve spent my fair share of money on diet programs, pills, shakes, and books meant to inspire me into action and hopefully, thinspired bliss.  I searched long and hard for the route to my “goal weight” and hoped for an esteemed place in my thin-centric culture. I would regularly visualize what my head would look like on a thin body, and what that meant for my life.  I can tell you that wearing expensive clothes, traveling first class, and having hot men fawn all over me was part of the dream. But when I did get thin, I still had to go to my crappy job, travel economy, and meet disenchanting male suitors.

My head on J Lo's body.

My head on J Lo’s body.

What had gone wrong? Why didn’t my life magically change? I was pissed.  This couldn’t possibly have anything to do with my shitty self-esteem.

Years of therapy later, I know that my shitty self-esteem stemmed from over exposure to media that blatantly told me and others in as many ways as possible, that my body was undesirable, lazy, and in need of change. Those messages were supported by family members and peers who had also been exposed to the hateful propaganda.

Glamour-1

As a result of this negative messaging, generations of people, particularly women, are now trying to either recover from the damage that years of self-hatred have had on them, or they still believe in The Big Lie — that attaining a thin body will transform both your internal and external circumstances for the better.

And we’ve rewarded thin people with access to exclusive clubs, clothing, and experiences that validate their hard work.

Having been medically classified as fat for a good part of my life gives me license to say that fat is normal. Lots of people are fat. They are also accomplished, funny, sexy, successful, hard-working, athletic, and happy.

love-your-fat

What do non-fat people get out of hating fat people? What is the fear of seeing our bodies represented in media in a positive way? Is the fear that fatties will destroy the status quo by affirming that our bodies are just as valuable as thinner ones? I fucking hope so.

And I hope that as a result, the billion dollar diet industry will lose its stronghold on desperate consumers, willing to buy the next great thing in order to just be fucking accepted.

And that would be fine with me.

Fat is descriptor, not a life sentence. I am fat and my life is fucking great. I see my beauty and my relevance in the world.

I'm on the far right. Fat and happy and sexy as fuck.

I’m on the far right. Fat and happy and sexy as fuck.

I hope we can change hearts and minds so that we can focus on eradicating things that matter, like poverty, hunger, racism, classism, homophobia, diseases, and pointless wars.

That’s about all I have to say on the matter — for now.

In solidarity,

Pia

Wet Seal Plus Opens its Doors to the Fashion Forward Curvy Woman

If you haven’t already heard that Wet Seal Plus is opening several stores across the country, then you are likely living under an unfashionable rock.  I had the pleasure of interviewing the company’s VP of Marketing and Ecommerce, Christine MacGregor.  This curvy powerhouse was formerly the Director of Marketing for Torrid when it opened its doors in 2001.  And if you’re a curvy girl like me, then you know what it was like when that store opened. Tears and gasps of joy could be heard throughout dressing rooms across the country. 

The plus size clothing industry has made leaps and bounds in recent years, with many more options available to us online. But we don’t often get the experience of shopping in a store at the mall that is marketed directly toward us.  Yes, Lane Bryant and Avenue are old timers, but they their looks are more conservative and perhaps geared toward an older crowd.  Wet Seal Plus offers on trend pieces at affordable prices in sizes 14-24.  The fashion choices are vast and anyone can find something that will make them wanna yell, “Damn, I’m hot!” 



Wet Seal and Wet Seal Plus stores will replace Arden B, which went out of business, at your local shopping mall. Many locations will carry sizes 00 to a 24 in one store. This unique approach to marketing the brand has proved to be very successful with customers.  “She wants the same assortment. She doesn’t want to look different…She wants to look fashionable,” says MacGregor of the plus size consumer.




Now let’s talk fashion!  If you’re a jeans girl, you will love their assortment of colors, styles and fits. I see a pair of destroyed skinny jeans my near future. Dresses and jumpsuits in funky patterns abound!  And I do love a jumpsuit, honey!  And if you can’t live without a cami, then Wet Seal Plus won’t disappoint you. They carry lots of lovely colors, and even an animal print!  Ding, ding, ding – jackpot!



I have a few favorites, which I’ve managed to integrate seamlessly into my wardrobe.  I love bold patterns and flowy fabrics, which appeal to my ethnic-boho style.   

Christine MacGregor is passionate about plus fashion.  Her dedication to providing the curvy customer with a great fit, at a great price and a positive in-store experience, is what will likely contribute to the success of the new brand.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and my credit card on deck. Wet Seal Plus will be a regular stop on my visits to the mall!

Events will be happening across the country for the grand opening this Saturday, August 16th. The brand will also be doing a model search. Get more information here.

Instagrtam Trolls Try to Shame the Body Positive Movement Without Success

I’m quite active on Instagram, and I love that we can use it as a tool for body positive activism.  Women donning crop tops and fatkinis make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  They are freeing themselves from our diet culture and thin-centric society by being bold and unabashed about their rolls, stretchmarks and cellulite!  I use emoticons and encouraging words to support them on their journeys toward self-love. 

And on occasion, I  post selfies in solidarity. 

Today I posted this picture of myself with the hashtag #bellyrealness created by Michelle of  Zaftig Times. 

And most of the comments were uplifting and full of love. But, the Instagram trolls always seem to  try and shame us out of our self-acceptance.  Below are some examples of the comments I’ve received.

 

So, how do we stay positive when folks like these want to shut us down?  You post this instead:

When I first starting getting these kinds of comments, I was so upset. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be so hurtful.  But I realized it’s not about me.  It’s about them. It’s about the self-hate they haven’t dealt with. It’s about having too much free time on their hands. It’s about hiding behind the veil of Instagram so they don’t have to actually dialogue with anyone. More often than not, I now have compassion for these broken souls. Most of them have only a handful of followers (who are equally lost) and I always report and block them because I don’t tolerate hate.

And then, I move on to bigger and better things. Pun intended.

In solidarity,
Pia

Learning to Love My Totally Imperfect Ass

I’m a Black woman who yearns for a better ass.  It wasn’t always flat.  It used to be high and round and lovely.  But about 11 years ago I had a nasty fall on some steps, and my butt literally landed where the tread meets the risers.  It was incredibly painful, but I never went to see a doctor because I figured the pain would eventually go away. And it did. At least for a while.

But years later I began to notice that the shape of my butt was different, disfigured — there was a deep indentation that spanned the width of it, creating four quadrants, if you will.  I finally went to see a doctor who told me that scar tissue had formed under the skin to protect the area when I injured it.

That made sense to me.  So, I asked how it could be removed. I wanted my round ass back ASAP.  Apparently, it can’t.  I was upset, but not deterred.

My next stop was to see a plastic surgeon. I explained the problem to him and he began to tell me about all the other things that were “wrong” with my body.  And he too, said there was no way to get my ass back to it’s former loveliness.  I was humiliated and defeated.

In the years that followed, I visited massage therapists that specialized in myofascial release.  But the treatments were painful and yielded no results. Just more pain and more shame.

In addition to the shame I felt about my ass, the scar tissue was also painful and had begun to impact  the function of other parts of my body.  I was truly devastated.

I think the other part of the shame is cultural. In our society, Black women are often expected to have round, shapely asses, which are supposed to somehow validate their Blackness and attractiveness.  Which is why I feel like an anomaly.  My mom and sister both have amazing asses (and my mom is 72).  In truth, I have girlfriends of all colors and ethnicities who have amazing bootys, and I secretly wish I had one too.

The ass of my dreams.

A few years ago I began seeing a chiropractor to help me with my back, and I shared with her my “ass story.”  She reiterated what the other doctors had said, but was hopeful that she could help decrease the pain for me. I visit her once a week and my pain has been reduced significantly.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the pain relief. But I still struggle with accepting the shape of my highly irregular, 38-year old, dented ass!  No amount of stair-stepping or squats will ever make the scar tissue disappear.  This is the ass I have and I need to find a way to love it.

Wearing fitted clothing on the lower party of my body is difficult for me without feeling insecure.  In the last year or so, I’ve tried to love my ass for what it is. I’m simply not there yet.

I know I’m not unique in struggling to love parts of my body. My hope is that having the courage to share my story with you, will allow you to do the same thing. And perhaps even inspire me to accept myself more fully.

My healing will be a journey that will last my whole lifetime.  However, I vow to all of you that I will be more consistent in speaking kindly of my body, because she deserves it.  I will caress my ass, look at her in the mirror, and declare her perfect!

In solidarity,
Pia

Being Fat in SoCal Can Cause Self-Body Hate

Over the holiday weekend, my husband and I spent a few days in San Diego to relax and get away from L.A.. For the most part it was fine, save for the sweltering heat and massive crowds.  But nevertheless, it was a vacation and I’m grateful for it.  

What I did notice, however, was the extraordinary number of very thin, fit people in the city. I’m not sure I saw one fat woman who wasn’t a tourist.  And my experiences in restaurants around the city supported my theory that being fat in Southern California is fucking hard.




One evening, in the Gas Lamp district, we stumbled upon the only restaurant that wasn’t overflowing with drunken fools. So, Thai food on 4th of July it was!  We were seated and I immediately realized that the chairs were so narrow that the low arms were actually cutting into my hips like a vice.  I looked around to see if anyone else in the restaurant looked uncomfortable, but they seemed at ease in their small bodies. 

I was really pissed off, and if I hadn’t been super hungry, I think I might suggested leaving the restaurant.  But I’d been grumpy for a good part of the day, and I felt my husband needed a reprieve from my complaining. So, I ate my noodles and kept my mouth shut.  




But after we left, and got back to our hotel, I wish I’d said something to the management about the chairs not being accommodating for anyone over a size 12.  The frustration I felt when my body was squished into that tiny seat kept me from being present with my husband and enjoying an evening out.  I don’t know if it was intentional, and I’d like to think that they just picked the chairs because they looked cool.  But I couldn’t help thinking that it was my responsibility to say something, so that other fat people visiting the restaurant wouldn’t have to feel the shame and humiliation that I did.  

The next day, while dining at another restaurant, I experienced the same thing on a tiny fucking stool.  The elegant, thick, wood stools were beautiful and made a bold statement alongside the marble communal tables. We sat down and my ample buttocks spilled over the seat and the very low back.  I couldn’t believe this was happening again.  I looked around to see if other types of chairs were available, but they weren’t.  Even my husband, who has an adorably small ass, commented on the discomfort of the seats.    

This is how I felt.


Not a few minutes later, a very tall, fat man came in with his family and I watched as he struggled to insert himself between the table and the stool (which by the way were bolted to the ground, so that adjusting oneself was completely impossible).  It took him a good minute to finally squeeze in, and I felt his pain. Resentment boiled inside me when I realized that I was spending my hard earned money in a restaurant that clearly was not meant to accommodate fatties.  And how dumb is that? Obviously I like to eat, so why not make my visit comfortable.

Was this coincidence or a carefully thought out plot to shame fat people?  



I’m still not sure, but the experiences I had left an indelible mark on my heart.  It triggered me so much that I began to think of diets and how I could lose 50 pounds in a week.  I even asked my husband if he wished I were thin! And that is not something I ever do.  I’m lucky I have an amazing husband who said, “I want you to be you. Besides, living in SoCal is not a reflection of the rest of the world.  It’s fake.”

I realize that I have the advantage of living in a place that has pretty awesome weather year round. But it comes with the sacrifice of being constantly reminded of my size. Whether it’s a billboard for $99 down for liposuction, or teeny tiny chairs in a restaurant — to be a person of size in a part of the country obsessed with thinness, is not a simple task.



I’m back home in my safe space, as I write this.  And though there is still some lingering anger, I know I have a voice and that I can do something about what I feel. No, I’m not going on a diet. I’m planning to call both restaurants and let them know their chairs are not size friendly and suggest they offer different seating options. And I plan to use the power of Yelp to leave my fat mark on their exclusive establishments.  



Signing off for now, until I’m back with another chronicle of my life as a mixed fat chick!

In solidarity,
Pia

www.chroniclesofamixedfatchick.com