3 Reasons I Avoid Talking About My Sugar Addiction

I’m a sugar addict. I am.  When sugar gets into my system, I get high.  And then I need more. And more. And….Ugh!

I don’t like talking about my sugar addiction for three reasons:

  1. It’s very real, but conflicts with my position on dieting, and my disdain for food/body policing.
  2. I’m not sure I can stop, and that frightens me because it completely affects my fibromyalgia and arthritis. Let me be clear, I am talking about MY health, NOT yours.
  3. I don’t want you to judge me.  Yes, I can be that insecure.

So, in order to tackle this issue, I’ve decided honesty is the best policy.  I’ve given up sugar three times in my life, for periods ranging from two months to a year, and I had lots of help. It felt so good, and my body was grateful. If you want to know what I did, you can email me and I would be happy to share more. But for the purposes of this post, it’s irrelevant.

Processed sugar is one of those substances that is in so many of the foods we eat, that it requires a lot of awareness and intentionality to avoid it. I know, I know — I should eat more veggies and just stop with the sugar.  But it’s not that simple for me.  Sugar behaves like heroin in my body.  At first it soothes, then it gives me a spurt of energy, followed by an awful crash that can only be avoided by eating more sugar. And so, I do.  The cycle is beyond vicious. It’s insane.

When I was diagnosed with arthritis two years ago, and fibromyalgia a year later, the first thing my doctor’s told me was to eliminate sugar because it causes inflammation.  It made sense, and I thought that having a doctor tell me would change my behavior, but it hasn’t.  Why? Because I’m an addict who fools herself into believing she can control the controller. And I’ve proved to myself thousands of times that I will always lose this battle.

So, why am I sharing this with you? Why should you care?

Well, I know a lot of people who deal with this addiction, fat, thin and in between. And I want them to know they’re not alone. They may be size acceptance activists like me, who are struggling with the moral dilemma of having a sugar or food addiction and not wanting to fall into the misogynistic trap of fad diets. You guys know I spent many years dieting, and I’m so over it (mostly).  But this isn’t about weight loss, it’s about continuing to do something that I know is harming my body. It’s like if I kept dipping my toe into boiling water and burning the fuck out of it, but doing it anyway because I just can’t help myself.  Yes, it’s that crazy.  It’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Which, by the way, is the definition of insanity. The definition of addiction.

I talk to my close girlfriends and my husband about this issue regularly, but I’m tired of thinking about it now. I simply want to let go of it so that in it’s place, a peaceful, spiritually sound woman can emerge. I want to make space for more important things, like working to create a world in which women of all sizes, ages, colors, orientations, and abilities are free to use their goddess-given gifts without fear of being judged on their appearance.

Is that so bad? 

This inner work is never done and it’s hard.  But I know it’s worth it. So, I don’t have any hard and fast answers to my sugar problem, but I just wanted to acknowledge on a public level that I struggle too. And I want to remind myself and you, that body positivity takes so many formsI can love my body at it’s current weight, and still aim for better health.
 

 That’s me!!

I’m so grateful for the Health At Every Size campaign, which proves to me that even at 230 pounds, I can achieve my health and fitness goals without having to ever lose a pound. I want to improve my downward facing dog because it would feel fucking awesome to push my body that much.  I want to wear a tight yoga top and matching pants that hug my every roll, and celebrate my shape as I move into a headstand. I want to give up sugar so my body won’t hurt so damn much.

That’s all.

In solidarity,
Pia

Working Braless Whilst Vibing to Ravi Shankar is Just How I Roll

It’s how I like to work.  I write best when I’m super relaxed and letting the rest of the world become  a distant, calming buzz in the background. I hate to be bound up and tight. I put on my favorite cotton caftan and trod barefoot to my home office retreat, where I am beckoned by my ASUS to let my long fingers glide along the dusty keyboard until they are done.

While lying on my chiropractor’s table today, I had time to think about blog post ideas.  If only I’d written them down. 

I guess I’ll just have to wing this one.

Um….

Let’s see.  Well, I feel really proud of all the inner work I’ve done toward healing my relationship with my body. It is a commitment every single day. But, I find it completely unavoidable to be reminded that my fat body type is the butt of stupid sitcom punchlines and the worst nightmare of every human in Los Angeles, including me (sometimes).

I’m tired, ya’ll.

I am a woman. I am a woman of color. I am a fat woman of color.  I am living in a city where billboards donning, thin, white women with perky tits and quarter size nipples try to entice me into getting the fat sucked out of my ass for just $99 down.  It’s fucking tempting.

As some of you know, I had liposuction when I was 23.  I was about the same size as I am today (230 pounds and a size 18), and I hated myself something serious.  I desperately believed, with my early 20’s, brainwashed, depressed, confused heart, that my life was going to be beyond my wildest dreams if I could just be thin. So, 11 pounds of fat sucked out of my thighs, butt and stomach later, I was ready to see my name up in lights.

It did’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped. It’s kind of a long story that I’ll have to share another time. I promise.

My point is that I have plenty of white patriarchal forces that are trying to inhibit my calling as an activist and a writer who won’t obey.  But I’m like, fuck the patriarchy.  Cuz I’m a badass mixed fat bitch who takes up space when she dares to, and  is working on not apologizing for it.

So, the other day, when I was scolded by a male co-worker/pal for apologizing way too much in a particular situation, I was mortified.  It felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.  Proud, fat, feminist Pia? Apologizing too much?  Shit balls.

It took me some quiet reflective time to really think about what had transpired.  Maybe I wasn’t such a badass. Perhaps I was a disappointment to my fellow feministas. How could I, a self-proclaimed taker-up of space, find myself in such a quandary.

Or, maybe I was being a little harsh with myself. Probably. Yes. Pretty sure. Yeah. I think.

I am not Audre Lorde.  Not even Audre Lorde was Audre Lorde.  I mean, she was fuckin’ awesome, but I’m guessing she had her bad days too.

I find it very hard to break a pattern that I’ve been married to for most of my life. Especially when that pattern is encouraged in many areas of my life. And while I’m pleased I can identify the dirty bugger, self-awareness isn’t the only step in my quest to become free from the mental slavery to perfectionism and people-pleasing. I need to practice.  I have to try things that feel uncomfortable in order for them to become second nature. I have decided that my apologizing episode only proves that I’m human and that there is always room for improvement.

Today, on my way to the chiropractor’s office, I held my head up high as I walked alongside the bustling street with the kind of confidence and fearlessness that encourages me to keep going on this healing adventure. Some days I feel fucking great, and other days are shit.  But I press on, grateful for the path that my sisters have paved. Thank you Audre, Gloria, Rosa, Sojourner, Harriet, Frida, Bell, Hillary and Michelle.

In solidarity,
Pia

The Fat Girl Diet Debate & How I Fucked Up

So, here’s the thing.  I’ve spent at least 20 years of my life on a diet and I’m not sure I ever want to be on one again.  That’s why you will see me posting cute memes like the one below.  And my point is that if you don’t want to lose weight or ever be on a diet again, you don’t have to.  You don’t have to let the media and our culture force you into believing that your life will be awesome when you get to a size 2, when you are perfectly happy and free as a size 22.

But lately I’ve been seeing a lot of plus size women posting photos of themselves working out and sharing their weight loss stories on social media. I admit it irritated me initially because I felt like my fellow fatties were quitting the “team” and going over to the dark side along with Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah. It was as though they’d all been sucked into the dieting vortex, never to show off their their round bellies again.

Jhud before & after

I felt, well, abandoned.

But then I began reading the nasty messages (traitor, hater, you think you’re hot, etc.) that my fellow chubsters were writing on the weight loss posts, and that made me angry.

Why?  Because we have choices.  And yours are not the same as mine. They are also not better or worse than mine.  And what you do with your body is none of my fucking business.

I think I can feel my hypocrisy lifting just a little bit as I write this.  Yes, I do feel lighter. Aaaaahhh…

Women’s bodies are constantly being policed, and I certainly don’t want to be a part of that oppression. Hell, I’ve been a victim of it.  I cannot, in good conscience, criticize another woman because she is making decisions based on what she feels is best for her body. Especially if it in no way negatively impacts others. 

Not to mention, that one day I may decide that I want to lose some weight or begin an exercise regimen again.  And I should be able to do that without comment at all. I don’t need to be glorified or denounced for what I choose to do with my body.  

This is an official apology to anyone who has ever felt that I made them feel less than part of the body positive movement because they choose to lose weight.  My bad.  I get it.  You do you and ‘Imma do me! We can all be a part of this very important movement, no matter what we look like or what choices we make for ourselves.  All our voices count.

Ciao for niao,
Pia

Dear Mr. President and the Rest of the World, Why Aren’t you Helping Find the Missing Nigerian Girls?

I want you to imagine 230 Nigerian high school girls studying in their classrooms, preparing for their final exams, excited about their futures because they have an education Imagine that one of them is your sister or your daughter or your niece. One night, while sleeping in her dorm, the military arrive telling the girls that danger is eminent and that they must follow at once. They follow willingly, believing the men in uniforms, because they are accustomed to living in a place where the terrorist group Boko Haram threaten their right to go to school.  Once loaded onto a truck, the men light the school on fire and holler praises to their God.  Your daughter, niece, and sister realize that the men are not who they say they are. They begin praying and begging for their lives

  Photo by James Marshall/Corbis

The men travel with your daughter into another country and force her to marry a strange man who buys her for $12, and will likely rape her and strip her of her innocence.  She is now a slave.  She cannot go home.  She is scared. She wants her family.  I want you to imagine that no one is really talking about it except the families of these girls in a small village most of us have never heard of.  Understand that it’s getting little news coverage and that the government isn’t doing nearly enough about it.  You realize you may never see your daughter, niece, sister again.  Just like that, she’s gone.

Now imagine that this happened in a first-world country like the U.S..  Do you feel any different? Are you as outraged?

I read an article that made an interesting comparison in the amount of news coverage between the South Korean ferry boat tragedy and these recent abductions in Nigeria. The author points out that the kidnappings took place two days before the ferry accident, yet the Korean story dominated the news for a week. Why?

 AP/South Korea Coast Guard via Yonhap

Well, South Korea is a first-world country with lots of media outlets.  We got to see the parents of the students in agony, jumping into the water to try and find the bodies of their children. It was heart-wrenching and awful.  But Nigeria is a third-world country that is unfamiliar to the west, and doesn’t get much news coverage. We don’t see the suffering parents of these girls who are undoubtedly grief-stricken and desperate.  And so it is difficult to wrap our hearts and minds around this story, to feel the same level of empathy and horror when details are slim and a few blurry photos are all we have to connect with.

But the pain is the same. The parents of the Nigerian girls love their children just as much as the South Korean parents do.  Their grief is the same. They bleed the same red blood, they cry the same salty tears, they wail the same haunting prayers.

AP Photo/ Gbemiga Olamikan

I have yet to read any stories that talk about what is being done on a global scale to bring these girls back. UNICEF and UNWomen need to be doing more to get the Nigerian government to intensify their search efforts.  Countries like the United States will happily stake their claim on Nigerian oil, but they have made no effort to help restore its real treasures — the stolen girls.  We have the most powerful military in the world and yet we only employ them in ways that benefit us.  Our priorities are all fucked up.  

I want President Obama to imagine that Sasha and Malia were among those girls.  I want him to be angry and do something about this NOW!

And I want you to be angry, and sign petitions, and educate people about what’s happening.  We cannot let this story get lost in the fray of other stories.  I see those girls in my dreams. They need all of us to help bring them back. Yes, they need YOU too!

I will not lose hope.  I will use my voice because those girls can’t.  I will make a ruckus because I am free to do so in my country.  I will plaster my social media outlets with this story and force you to pay attention because these girls matter.

Those 230 beautiful, innocent girls are our sisters, our daughters, our nieces. Please use your privilege and power for good and help bring them home.

In solidarity,
Pia

A Fucking Awesome Rant Is Not What This Is.

OK. I seriously need to commit waaayyyy more time to this.  Blogging, I mean. After a long day at work, what I often do is totally chill out.  A nice dinner with the hubby followed by watching TV or reading books together (or separately), stretching, more reading, and to bed. It’s a routine.  I’m used to it.  I like, it even.

The problem with this precious routine is that it gets in the way of this writing thing that I’m supposed to do. (Sigh).

How can a writer exist without writing?  It’s like a light bulb with no filament.   It don’t work.

So, a new habit is in much needed order.  And I’m gonna need your help.

I enjoy having some accountability in my life (in small doses or never), and I’ve come to the conclusion that writing requires a bit o that.  Right?

I am committing to one blog per week.  I know that may not seem like much to the blogger-extraordinaire who shits out four posts a week. But some of us are a bit, well, challenged (read lazy).

You should know that I’m probably going to write about lots of different shit.  You know, feminism, pussies, curly hair, misogyny, spirituality, my period, cultural appropriation, gluten free coconut donuts, my obsession with style, and how I manage to stay so fat and cute. #MyFatIsCute

Me want now.
A Vagina Apple. I’ve never had one.

And so, it is with substantial curly hair, a mega-watt smile and sorta side-eye, that I ask you to check me. If you are one of the five people who read my blog, and don’t see a witty post in more than seven days, then I authorize you to message me and say, “Get yo shit together, gurl!”  And I will not cut you. That is my solemn promise.

I won’t really cut you. I just liked this meme.

I’m done.  I told you this was not going to be fucking awesome.

Ciao for niao,
Pia

8 Reasons I Loved The Body Love Conference

This first weekend of April I was in Tucson, presenting at the first ever annual Body Love Conference, conceived by Jes Baker of The Militant Baker, and executed by dozens of dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic speakers. For those of you who don’t know about this epic event, it was a one-day conference featuring some of the biggest names in body positive movement. I am still reeling from the ridiculous amount of positivity, strength and sisterhood that took place in such a short time span.



There are 8 reasons why I loved the Body Love Conference:

1.  It reinforced what I already knew — that I have a gift for connecting with people through my unique humor and honesty. My talk was entitled “Expanding Definitions of Beauty: Redefining the Thin White Ideal.” While I was giving my presentation I felt the audience’s energy, their spirits enthusiastic and thirsty for inspiration. Having women come up to me after my presentation and throughout the day, telling me that I impacted them deeply with my talk, was the best gift I could have asked for. When we are in alignment with the Universe and do what we are called to do, it isn’t work, it’s magic! You can view my rousing presentation here.

My presentation with some wonderful women present

2.  It was the biggest display of mutual respect, uplifting messages and sense of connection with women that I have ever felt. Four hundred people (mostly women and a few men) came from as far as Vienna, Austria to participate in what was an epic event.The loads of volunteers that worked to make this event happen were an integral part of what made the conference such a positive environment. They seriously kicked ass!


 With my new pal Michelle 
  
              With the awesome volunteers
3.  I got to meet fellow body loving activists in person who I only previously knew through social media. I can’t tell you how surreal it is to embrace women I only ever communicated with on Instagram and Facebook. Finally we were face to face, and we didn’t need emoticons to express ourselves. Our smiles were real, and the powerful high-fives echoed in the halls.
Blogger Jamie West and I
4.  I got to meet and hug the incomparable Jes Baker. This was one of those moments I will never forget.  In my head, Jes had a sweet, not quite high-pitched voice. So when she embraced me enthusiastically and kissed me on the cheek, and said “Yes. This is so gooood,” in the sexiest Kathleen Turner voice ever, I kinda lost it. I could feel strength come through her words, and was willing to do whatever she asked of me.  It was that powerful. Seriously. I wish you’d been there.

Jes and I. Aren’t we cute?

5.  I witnessed the powerful story of Tess Munster during her very moving keynote address. The plus size model raised the roof as she recounted her volatile upbringing in Mississippi with vulnerability and humor.  She paid homage to her mother — her biggest role model — who Skyped in to to hear her daughter speak.  She made us all cry and cheer and believe that anything is possible! I was already a big fan of Tess, but to hear her story of survival and overcoming great odds really made me fall in love with her. She is a true asset to the body positive movement.
Tess doin’ her thing 

6.  There was a nice representation of women of color presenters, speaking on various topics. The conversation around body image has largely been led by White cisgender women.  So it was a very pleasant surprise to be in good company with Sonya Renee Taylor and Kymberly Nichole among others. I was able to attend both their sessions and was psyched at the turnout for each.  They were able to bring their unique activism to the changing landscape of the body positivity movement. I hope next year’s conference will include more women of color, including Latinas and Asians.

From left to right: Sonya Renee, Kymberly Nichole, Me

7.  I was introduced to Tucson, a city that surprised me with it’s cultural diversity, community oriented population and delicious food. Everywhere I went, folks were friendly and laid back.  I even got to enjoy drinks and super yummy pork tacos at the famous Hotel Congress, with its rustic interior and old-timey charm.  I hope to get back there again before too long.

The bar at the Hotel Congress

8. I was so lucky to have met the other amazing women who presented at the conference. We shared our stories with one another, without judgment or fear. There was an instant bond among us despite the fact that we’d only spent two days together. But it was real. We exchanged ideas and hugs in equal measure, so happy to be a part of the grassroots movement we’ve all helped to cultivate.

Photographer Liora K. introducing me to Photographer Jade Beall


I am forever grateful to Jes Baker for bringing together women of different ages, races, abilities, genders, occupations and walks of life, who shared a common goal: to love and accept themselves fully. The bonding that took place last weekend was easy and fluid. The genuine smiles on the faces of the attendees were an invitation to chat and connect. Every single person I met had a unique story, a perspective to share or advice to offer. Be sure to check out the full list of speakers and their contact info here.

My biggest take away can best be summed up in the photo below.

YES WE ARE.

In solidarity,
Pia



I’m Fucking Overwhelmed

 

I know I’m not alone in this.  I have so much going on in my life right now, and at times it feels completely unmanageable.  I have a full time job which is extremely stressful;  I have a marriage that requires time and commitment; I’m an activist, blogger, model and writer too.  Many of the things that are happening are wonderful, and my hard work is paying off in all sorts of amazing ways.  But I feel the need to slow down and say “no” more often.  
  
Many of you know I have fibromyalgia, which is a chronic illness I’m learning more about since my diagnosis last year.  For me that means I can’t do everything I want, because my body simply won’t let me.  

It’s very frustrating, but at the same time it feels good to slow down and make time to take care of myself. My doctor told me, “you need to really pamper yourself.”  I don’t think any medical professional has ever said that to me.  But it was just what I needed to hear. 

I know intellectually that getting massages regularly, and going to bed early are not only good for my body, but also for my mental health.  But strangely enough, I find relaxing really hard to do.  Even when I’m not technically working, I’m on social media late at night, or doing chores, or running errands, or thinking about what’s next. I’m always running!

It’s rare that I’m still.

What does all this mean, anyway?  

I think it means that I have to trust the Universe/God/Goddess/Higher Power to guide me during this tough adjustment period.  I’m a spiritual person who has lost her way a bit.  I’m a tough broad, but I’m not impermeable.  I’m human and I have limits.  

As a feminist I often feel like I have to do more just to prove that I’m down with the cause — that I’m always hustling.  But an exhausted Pia cannot be of service, she cannot give her best if she is not caring for herself first.  It feels selfish to say no and to take a nap instead, even if that’s what I really need.  

So, if you see less of me on social media, it’s not because I’ve abandoned this important piece of my life, it’s because I need a break from time to time. I’m still here. I’m just taking extra special care of myself.

In solidarity,
Pia