How the Body Positive Movement Unintentionally Shames People Who Choose to Lose Weight

I began my journey to body positivity (BP) and self-acceptance almost six years ago. It’s been a wild ride, with lots of bumps and bruises. But mostly it’s been an amazing experience resulting in the formation of a wonderful community of advocates and friends. And I’m proud to say that I’ve allowed my views to change and grow as I’ve learned more about inclusivity and the importance of hearing one another with an open heart and mind.

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Admittedly, I’ve also witnessed and been a part of shaming people in the BP community who openly express their desire to lose weight. The pervading thought seems to be that BP folks who want to lose weight are inherently self-hating and thus negate all the strides the movement has made to be seen and heard. That, and we tend to internalize the choices of others as an attack on us. I get that the space we’ve created is so special and hard-won, that we’ve become very protective of it. But we must remember that this movement is based on the idea that ALL bodies are GOOD bodies. The BP movement is about learning to love and accept our bodies and those of others without judgment. So, if we shun people who make a personal decision to lose weight (for whatever reason), then we are hypocrites. Me included.

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I know plenty of women who have learned to love themselves because of the movement, and still want to lose weight and do what feels right for their bodies — and it’s OK!  I’m a firm believer in health being something you define for yourself. As I’ve said before, there are people who are fat and healthy, and fat and unhealthy. The same goes for thin people. So if you are fat (or thin), and you don’t feel good in your body, then do whatever you need to do to feel good. Don’t let anyone, not even the BP movement, shame you into staying where you don’t want to be. By the same token, abstain from judging those folks who choose not to lose weight.

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I’m bringing this divisive topic up because I’ve had conversations with many women in the movement who are expressing a desire to lose weight for their own personal reasons, but feel afraid to share it for fear of banishment from a movement that purports to be inclusive.

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Let me remind you that people have all sorts of reasons for why they want to lose weight, and frankly, it’s their business. Hell, I’m thinking about losing weight because my plantar fascitis is getting increasingly worse (I’ve tried everything, including orthotics and special shoes, but to no avail). And 30 pounds ago, I didn’t experience this problem (for someone who loves to dance, it’s a real bummer). Let me also say that at my current weight I can do yoga,  have great cholesterol levels, and my blood pressure is normal. So yes, I have health in many areas, but not in others (my feet hurt!!!). And I want to feel fully vibrant: physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s my God-given right, and it’s no ones’ business but my own.

Side note: For those of you who do want to lose weight, I hope you’ll do it sanely and healthily.

My ultimate desire is that the body-positivity movement embrace all forms of self-love and wellness. It may look different for each of us, but at the end of the day, all most of us really want is to feel our best and to be accepted without fear of judgement. Your thin body is no better than mine. My fat body is not more worthy than yours. And my desire to lose a few pounds so I can dance without achy feet is no reflection of your personal choices.

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Being inclusive can only strengthen our cause. So, can we just open our hearts and mind a little more and make space for everyone to feel supported and seen? I sure hope so.

xo

You are enough, You have enough, You do enough.

You are enough,you have enough,you do enough

I’ll keep this brief.

We are constantly told that we aren’t doing enough — that we should achieve more, want more, be more, get more. The truth is, you have everything you need. You are everything you need. You are doing your best right now.

So print this image out and put it where you can see it everyday as a reminder of your enoughness!

xo

 

 

Why Do We Have to Be Pretty All the Fucking Time?

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When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do before getting out of bed is to decide what I’m going to wear that day. I scan my overflowing closet in my mind’s eye, carefully matching (or in my case, not matching) the pieces I think will work together. Next, my thoughts wander to the perfect lipstick color and how best to style my unwieldy mane.

Yes, admittedly my first few thoughts upon waking are about how I look. And I’m kinda over it.

So why do I do it?

The simple answer — habit. The complicated answer — I have been brainwashed by a media that is largely influenced by making a business out of ugly-shaming me. Like so many of you reading this, I get frustrated by the constant pressure that I have to be pretty just to go to the grocery store, or to work, or to socialize.

And let me also say that I love having fun in fashion. But in my heart of hearts, I know that sometimes I’m doing it so I can feel like I’m enough.

And I’m pretty sure I’ve been sold a heaping load of stinking bullshit.

As a society, we have intentionally decided that pretty is the thing you should be, but you can never really get. It’s a total setup. And it absolutely requires you to be vigilant about the kinds of messages you allow yourself to hear. I know, you’re probably thinking, well, Pia, tell us how to do that so we can go and fucking do it.”

First, a teeny bit about my experience. My rocky road to healing only really started when I began making the kinds of environmental changes that created a safe space in which I could begin to experience worth beyond my appearance. And as I always say, I have not yet arrived. The journey is in the healing, and the healing is in the journey.

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Social media was the turning point in my recovery. All of a sudden I had access to resources and support for how to move past my eating disorder and begin accepting my exhausted self. I met fierce activists, proud fatties, plus size designers, chubby bloggers, thin allies, and now dear friends, all of whom have had an impact on my healing.

And I let myself be raw. I told my truth so that the collective energy  from these relationships began to kindle my spirit. I summoned a strength I never knew I had. I allowed my  thick, light-deprived thighs to bask in the sun’s warmth, aware that no one at all gave me a second glance.

Instead of reading mainstream magazines, I began to read blogs that celebrated larger bodies. Rather than hold onto old jeans that no longer fit me, I embraced the amazing options in plus size clothing and found a style that took into account my fluffy proportions AND my personal style.  I made a conscious choice to surround myself with images, words, and relationships that supported my work towards self-acceptance.

I became part of a revolution to take back my life, my choices, and my dignity. And in the process I became me — a mixed fat chick who fights for justice whilst eating gluten-free donuts. Because I’m allergic to gluten. Not because I give a fuck about carbs.

Ya know, I really want to not be writing about this in five years. I hope there won’t be a need.

In the meantime, bombard yourself  with positive messages with the same energy you were using to beat yourself up. It takes effort and planning to make fundamental changes in your thinking and your behaviors. Don’t worry, there is no race to the finish line. Take all the time you need, and celebrate the victories — big and small — along the way.

Sending much love, light, and healing to you!

xo

 

P.S. I have an amazing E-Course coming later this summer. Stay tuned!!

My Virgo Style: Bohemian Bling

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I’m a Virgo. But does my personal style match the characteristics of my zodiac sign? Let’s see…

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Well, I’m definitely those things, but I’d like to  think there is more to me than my perfectionism.  I’m also creative, generous, and humorous. I have a penchant for bright colors, bold patterns, and comfort, above all. Below are some pics of me reveling in my favorite new dress and some dope accessories. I felt so free and so good in my body. Thank you to my friend Michelle of Glitter in the Dirt for taking these photos of me.

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As a Virgo, I am all about the details. Perhaps that explains my obsession with jewelry! I think of my style as Bohemian Bling. I love flowy tops, funky printed kimonos, and comfy dresses with pockets. And I add my personal twist with unique jewelry. I’m currently coveting almost everything from Stella & Dot, which carries gorgeous, well made pieces for almost every style. And half the line is under $50, which makes it pretty accessible. And from time to time, I hit up Forever 21, because they have trendy pieces for not a lot of money. But my favorite is acquiring unique pieces during my travels abroad. It’s such a wonderful reminder of  my trip every time I wear that piece. It’s a wearable memory!

Although Virgos are known for being sophisticated and elegant, I must say, I’m a total goofball! A good laugh will always set me free from the bondage of fear and anger. It’s why I surround myself with people who are funny and also enjoy laughing. It heals the soul like almost nothing else can.

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GGGRRRRRRR!

Told ya I’m a goofball.

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I found this awesome meme on Facebook and shared it with my #untamedstyle sisters. According to the chart, I’m the Princess of Lost Moons. I love that name so much! There is almost nothing as divine as a night sky full of sparkling stars and a velvet moon.  Look at the chart and tell me your tarot card name!

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 I hope you get some solid inspiration from this post and realize that radical ideas are all around you. Don’t be afraid to experiment, even if it’s not in sync with your sign. And let the ideas that come to you be an extension of  how you feel about yourself. Find something magical to wear, and it may be just the push you need to begin your journey toward body-freedom and self-acceptance.  Check out these awesome zodiac inspired posts by my untamed style sisters: Glitter in the Dirt, Curves Become Her, Curves a la Mode, SweetLeigh Sewn, Cid Style File, and Margot Meanie.

xo

You Asked, I Answered: 3 Big Reasons I Write My Blog

This post is inspired by one of my followers, Becky B. Thanks for the inspiration!

I began blogging about four and a half years ago under the name Curvy, Sexy, Chic. At the time, I was eager and excited to get my ideas out into the world. I was pissed off that curvy girls were getting little to no attention, and I wanted to be part of the solution. One of my missteps was that I subscribed to the idea that curvy bodies were better than thin bodies. I had no idea that this was exactly the wrong way to go about creating real change, and this type of thinking was harmful for all women. I also wrote about plus fashion and loving yourself, but not with the same unapologetic, in-your-face approach I use today. Still, it was great to be writing. There are many reasons why I write Chronicles of a Mixed Fat Chick. These are just a few:

1I HAVE A GIFT. I haven’t always been able to say that with confidence, but now I believe it’s true. For the most part, when I write, I come alive! I am always eager to ignite something in you so that you begin to have dialogue with yourself and others about issues that I think are relevant and pressing. I can recall being inspired by professors in college who spoke my language and said things in such a way that I had to know more. I was completely engaged and totally on fire! To have a gift and not use it is to sell yourself, and the world, short. And so, I use my gift and am grateful for those who read my shit and either get it, or challenge me. I’m up for all of it!

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2SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN. I am lucky enough to live in a society that allows free speech. I can pretty much say whatever the fuck I want to say, and not worry that my government is going imprison me. That said, I cannot keep silent. Not when there is injustice and pain and fuckery abounding. For so many years of my life, I was silent. I never said no, and the thought of saying anything that would ruffle feathers was out of the question. I think that years of people pleasing and self-doubt finally caught up with me and I exploded!

I realized it was time to speak my truth without fear of consequence. And as cliche as it sounds, the truth has set me free in so many ways. It has allowed me to appreciate my gifts and to trust my intuition. The gift of my voice has blessed me with all kinds of amazing experiences and people. I think back and wonder who I would be if I had remained safely tucked away in silence, and it’s not a pretty picture. Today, I can say with gusto that I am a funny, kind, intelligent, curious, creative, fat woman of color who loves herself and her life. YAYMEN!!

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WE NEED EACH OTHER. I am clear that my purpose is to spread love and light. I am clear that my honesty is appealing. I write about uncomfortable shit so that both you AND I can get more comfortable with it. My readers are very much my inspiration. The emails I get from you touch me so deeply and remind me of all the reasons I do this work. Seriously, THANK YOU! When I’m feeling crappy, you lift me up. And when you’re feeling crappy, I try to do the same. We’re basically in an intimate relationship, where we both take risks and hope for the best. And our relationship has been one of the most marvelous of my life. It is because you give, that I find the courage to give. People sometimes tell me that I’m helping to change the world. But I think it’s all of us doing it. We are both ready for the day when our bodies are no longer a question of public opinion and we can make peace with our wrinkles and cellulite. 

together we can make a difference

To answer Becky’s question, “when you started blogging, what were you wanting to accomplish, what are you thinking, and have you accomplished what you set out to do? Has your thought process changed regarding what you want to accomplish with your blog?” 

I think my journey is about being open to experiences and knowing that as I grow and learn, that my thought process will inevitably change. And I try to not judge that. At times I’ve felt I was leaving people behind because my opinions were changing. But I realize that it’s simply part of my own evolution as a writer, an activist, and a human being. Ultimately, what I hope to accomplish is the creation of a space where we can all experience unfettered self-acceptance.

xo