The Right to Bare Arms

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My ample arms!

My arms are fleshy, plump, and have cellulite on them. They are fat. And they are also beautiful.

Before I evolved into the body-loving woman I am today, I NEVER wore tank tops, even on the hottest summer days. Showing off my arms was the totally off limits. I would wear a sweater or something with sleeves that covered me to at least mid-upper arm. And let me tell you, being hot as fuck is not comfortable.

But one day, about 3 years ago, I decided it was time to conduct a social experiment. My theory was that if I wore a sleeveless garment, that people would stare at me in disgust, which would derail my journey toward self-acceptance. So, in an effort to break free from societal judgement, I did the unthinkable. I wore a tanktop in public.

I wanted to have Gabby's confidence!

I wanted to have Gabby’s confidence!

At first I found myself having a panic attack, wishing I’d brought a sweater with me just in case I chickened out. But then something weird happened. I saw another fat woman in a sleeveless blouse strutting down the street, her meaty arms undulating in rhythm with her steps. I saw in her what I had not been able to see in myself. I witnessed a woman taking up space and wearing a weather-appropriate garment with gusto! And no one batted an eye. Except for me of course.

That was a pivotal moment for me. I decided that the only solution to loving my arms was to show them off more often. Though I knew I wasn’t going to feel sure of myself right away,  I could certainly fake it for the time being. And that’s what I did.

with sonya and kim

With Sonya Renee Taylor and Kimberly Nichole at the Body Love Conference 2014.

That experience made me realize that most people aren’t looking at me and they don’t give a rat’s ass what I’m wearing. After a summer of donning tanks and halter tops, I no longer had to fake my comfort. I was comfortable.

For me the lesson is that I’m my own worst critic. When I can abandon perfectionism, even just for an hour, my whole world opens up. I become free. Free to love my arms and to free wear whatever the fuck I want.

I hope you’ll tune in for my upcoming post on plus swimwear, where you’ll see not just my ample arms, but my thunder thighs too!

  xo

I Hold My Stomach in Sometimes

Am I body love failure? No.

What I am is brainwashed from years of exposure to advertisements that promise a flat stomach in 10 days. It is so ingrained in my subconscious that I often hold my stomach in without realizing it.

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I HATE these ads!!!

Today, as I walked back to my office from my lunch break, I caught a glimpse of myself in a storefront window and noticed the top roll of my stomach protruding under my t-shirt. Suddenly I stood up straighter and did my best to tuck in my tummy. In that moment I was aware of my embarrassment about my by body being so big and so exposed. And then I was embarrassed that I was embarrassed, because duh, I’m a body-positive activist!

I think about this shit all day — what Melinda Alexander calls “Getting Free.” So, when stuff like the tummy incident happens I feel like I’ve been set way back. It feels like being punched in the face after having trained in the ring for years.

The truth is, I have not come to terms with the size and shape of my stomach. It’s the biggest it’s ever been. For the most part, I almost always had a pretty small waist and stomach, giving me an hourglass figure that made my body acceptable by mainstream standards. But not anymore. It’s big enough that I just can’t hide it, or disguise it, or manipulate it. And though I’ve made peace with many of my body parts, this one is especially hard for me.

Pia model

This is me 3.5 years and 45 pounds ago.

Anyone feel me?

I know so many fat women who own their big bellies and wear clothes that accentuate them. I am not one of those women. Part of me wants to be at peace, and the other part of me just wants to have a small tummy again so I don’t have to overcome another hurdle.

The reason I share this with you is because I promised myself I would be honest and upfront about my own body image struggles. My friend Jen at Plus Size Birth just posted something I resonate with on this topic too.

Thank you for seeing me and accepting me the way I see and accept you.

Perhaps I need a pair of high waisted Spanx.

Or an affirmation…

Or to surround myself with images of large bellied women reveling in their gorgeous glory…

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Photo by Substantia Jones

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Photo by Substantia Jones

Or maybe some combination of all those ideas until I start feeling better.

xo

7 Things I love About Being a Confident Fat Chick

First things first.Three years ago I could not have imagined writing this. But all my self-lovin’ work has paid off and I can actually see the good in my body now.

one

When I wear a fabulous, over the top outfit, people pay me compliments, and never mention my size or weight. It’s as though my confidence puts them at ease. And that’s a win for fatties everywhere!

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two

Hanging out with other confident fat chicks is so fun! We get each other’s jokes and share tips on how to prevent chub rub whilst soaking in a hot tub.

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three

Fat chicks give the best hugs. All that soft flesh feels like being in the womb. Seriously.

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four

I take up space. No matter where I am, my body is unapologetically present and proud.

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five

When I’m in yoga class, I love to see the expression of my teacher and other students as my flexible body holds  challenging poses. I’m unintentionally teaching women that you can be active at any size.

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six

You’ll never hear me complaining about being on a diet, because duh, I don’t do those anymore.

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seven

I use my hard earned confidence to help other women begin to embrace themselves, no matter what size they are.

pia conference pic

I send you love, light, and encouragement as you travel the road of self-acceptance!

xo

Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Weight-Loss Resolutions

It’s the time of year when everyone is talking about resolutions. Resolutions to buy less and be more; Resolutions to spend more time with friends and family instead of in front of the TV; and of course, resolutions to lose weight.

New Year's Resolutions

Just writing that sentence triggers me immensely. I’ve had decades of resolutions that were focused on losing weight once and for all. Thank God the last resolution I made was to not make resolutions anymore — especially about weight loss. I find them fraught with weighty expectation and inevitable disappointment.

If you haven’t already, you will soon be bombarded with ads for the latest exercise craze, discounted gym memberships, or the diet book that will finally change your life. Yep. It’s THAT time of year. And I fucking hate it. Even as a fat positive activist, I still find it all so overwhelming. 

Just for once, I’d like to get the message on January 1st that I’m OK just as I am. And because I know I won’t see that message on any billboard anytime soon, then I’ll do it — for you and for me!

billboard you are beautiful

It’s certainly not wrong to want to lose weight or get fit, unless the desire is comes from a place of wanting to meet an unattainable version of yourself that someone else thinks is what you need. In that case, I am emphatically anti-weight loss. The reasons have to be internal. They must come from a genuine desire not to please anyone but yourself. And for many of us, myself included, that’s almost impossible.

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Even though I’m a size acceptance activist, I still have the occasional thought about losing weight. And it’s almost never about how I will feel physically. Almost always it’s about what I will look like, and how my life will be better. I don’t like admitting that, but it’s true. Thankfully these thoughts don’t come up nearly as much as they used to. But I have a history of disordered eating and self-loathing which I must put into check every day.  

Just so you know, not everyone who is fat or chubby wants to be thin. Advertisers would have you believe it, but it ain’t true. I know too many women (and men) who have found beauty, strength, and acceptance in their large bodies. And I’d like to think I’m one of them (though I still struggle). Their stories are a reminder of what it is to have serenity around our bodies, and I absolutely NEED those messages in my life.

Check these hotties out!

 

Vanessa fierce
Vanessa of Sweet Leigh Sewn

Aarti swimsuit

Aarti of Curves Become Her

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Margot Meanie

Please know that if you are feeling the resolution blues, it’s ok. You’re not alone. Your body is perfect. Yes, even your fat rolls, jiggly thighs and wide hips! Most people in the world look like you — not Beyonce. I promise!

There is so much body positive stuff out there to support you on your journey. Of course I’m here for you always, but here are some other peeps who are talkin’ the talk too:

Today I am loving myself. Today I compare myself to no one. Today I am enough.

Happy New Year!

xo