3 Ways to Deal with the Fat & Body Shamers in Your Family Right Now!

body  positive affirmations (4)

Most of you reading this right now have been body-shamed at some point in your life. It was likely a relative who first made you feel like shit about your body. The first person who body-shamed me was my father. At age 14, standing 5′-7″ tall and weighing 145 pounds, he thought I needed to go on a diet. And it hurt like hell.

I don’t think most of our family members intend to hurt us with their opinions, but it stings like a motherfucker anyway. And unless you have the unusually high self-esteem of say, Donald Trump, it’s likely to leave an impression on you. In my case, the impression was felt for the better part of 20 years.

Up until the last few years, any comments about my weight from my family cut me deeply. I didn’t understand why my body needed policing, regardless of whether it was thin or fat. I just wanted to be left alone — to just be in my body without having to account for my worth based on its size.

We wrongly believe that pointing out so-called imperfections and flaws in others will somehow distract from our own shortcomings. But that’s a lie. The only thing it does is magnify our assholeness.

Today, I am mostly free from the abuse of body-shaming from my family. But it took learning some lessons before I could stand up for myself and realize that I had a lot more control over the situation than I realized. Here are three ways that I’ve found helpful to get through the pain of body-shaming from relatives and friends:

1

I know it seems counter intuitive, but having compassion for your body-shamer is very healing. It’s not about you. It’s about them. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s the damn truth. After having observed the way my parents had fat-shamed me and others over the years, it occurred to me that they had their own set of insecurities which plagued them. Their insults were just a reflexive response to hating some part about themselves. We’ve all read stories about how a bully was once the object of a bullier. Well, same idea here.

We are exposed to so much pain and judgement in this world. None of us are free from it. We wrongly believe that pointing out so-called imperfections and flaws in others will somehow distract from our own shortcomings. But that’s a lie. The only thing it does is magnify our assholeness.  Yes, I just invented that word. You’re welcome.

When we realize that negative comments are really reflections of how others feel about themselves, it easier to forgive and let go. Don’t get me wrong. It takes a lot of practice. But it does work.

*Side note: they do still fat shame other people, but I call it out when they do it every time!

2

Please stop expecting other people to change. You can’t. You can only change yourself. Once I decided that I was done with dieting and that I was comfortable with the way I looked, the comments completely stopped. I literally stood with my head held high. I wore what wanted and ate whatever I wanted in front of whoever was there. I am still in awe of how powerful self-love is. When we stop giving away our power, life is so much better.

12-Step programs and therapy  were instrumental in helping me to get to this point. For so long I hoped my parents would change their tune and simply stop commenting on my body. But this misguided hope was the very definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Probably not gonna happen in this lifetime. So stop. Right now! Stop it!!!

Instead, I want you to focus on finding ways to love your body more. If you’re reading this, chances are you are on social media and have access to a myriad of resources that DO celebrate your body. Just search for hashtags like #iamenough#bodypositive, and #effyourbeautystandards,  to fill your feed with inspiring images. It really does work!

3Be willing to create boundaries. You have the right to choose not to be around people who make you feel bad about yourself. And you also don’t need to explain your decision. Self-care and self-preservation are your God(ess) given right. So claim it!

You can still love your family and choose not to be around them. They might not understand. They might get angry. But would you rather be angry, or let them be angry? I know what I would do. And if they do confront you about your absence, it’s okay to tell the truth. Again, they may not get it. In fact, they may get defensive (my family certainly does) Simply go back to tips #1 and #2: have compassion and don’t expect them to behave differently.

And then get the hell out! LOL

Look, I don’t have all the answers. All I can do is share what has worked for me. I hope these tips are useful and that you find more ways to release yourself from the grip of the body-shamers in your life. Until then, I wish you self-love and light!

xo

 

 

7 ways Cosmo can undo their back-contouring video debacle

Dear “Beauty” People at Cosmo,

Your recent video featuring a tutorial on back contouring was majorly fu*ked up. Congratulations, you’ve just shamed an entire generation of vulnerable, young women and girls into worrying about the shape of their back bones. Well done.

 

“Back contouring is officially a thing and THIS is how to do it,” says the description of the video. Reminder: it’s only a “thing,” because YOU decided it was. You made an intentional decision to contribute to the low-self esteem of  young women with body-image issues and eating disorders.

The company overview description on your Facebook page says: “Cosmopolitan is the best-selling young women’s magazine in the U.S., a bible for fun, fearless females that reaches more than 17 million readers a month.”

Fearless females?

Uh, last time I checked, fearless females only contoured their backs with makeup when playing super sheroes in the movies.

And also, haven’t you heard about this thing called, Body Positivity?  See, it  started out as a grass roots movement for people with body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and poor body-image to claim their worth, beauty, and space in a world that tells them they should strive for unattainable physical perfection. But in the past few years, it’s been co-opted by large corporations who’ve mainstreamed the idea so they can make money off the hard work of those that pioneered the movement so many years ago. But I digress.

Let’s get to the matter at hand. You did bad. And you can fix it. Here’s how:

  1. Apologize profusely.
  2. Destroy the tutorial video and remove from all websites. Promise never to pull that shit again.
  3. Hire a diverse staff IMMEDIATELY, that would know better than to put this tom-foolery out into the Universe.
  4. Feature more girls and women of color, women of size, women who are differently-abled, and transgender folks on the cover and inside pages of your magazine.
  5. Stop photo-shopping your images. That’s so 2015.
  6. Use your platform to bring attention to underrepresented bodies and voices.
  7. You’ve been around since 1886, for heaven’s sake! Ok, you didn’t become a women’s magazine until the 1960’s, but still, this is 2016. Get it together.

Look, I know this letter seems harsh, but sometimes you just gotta let folks know what’s up. And what’s up, is that you owe us more than that. Every woman I know has read Cosmo at some point her life. It has sparked many a conversation about our periods, and led to good, safe sex for many of us all over the world. You taught us about anorexia and bulimia. And we thank you. Which is why we’re confused about that awful video!

I challenge you to do better, now that you know better. I encourage you take this opportunity to grow. And finally, I ask that that you surprise the shit out of us by actually implementing some the above changes.

Sincerely,

Pia Schiavo-Campo
Body Positive Activist, Writer, and Speaker

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.

open heart

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.

too thin too thick

 

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.

all-bodies-are-good-bodies-poster

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.

FeetOnScale2

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.

Patti-Digh

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

 

 

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!

i have a

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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3

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

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.

lose-hate-not-weight

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

Tiny Houses, Turning 40, & Clearing the Clutter

When I first started writing this post, it was going to be called, “5 Soul Changing Events of 2014.” I started writing it, and it was basically a boring recap of what I’ve already written about this year. And it felt like a major cop-out given that I haven’t written a post in over a month. So, I changed my mind, which happens often, as you know.

boring-screenwriters

I’d rather tell you all about 2015, and what’s to come.

There are a few things that will happen in 2015 for sure. For one, I’ll be turning 40! And I can’t tell you how excited I am about it. My 30’s have been so full of growth and change, I can hardly recognize myself. Getting older has been a wonderful experience for me. I trust my instincts more and care less and less about what others think of me. Talk about a weight (pun intended) off my shoulders.  I’m quite certain that 40 promises to take that self-confidence and carefree attitude to the next level. YAY ME!!

forever 39

As I’ve reminisced over the events of the last year, I realize just how much I miss my creative self. Don’t get me wrong, writing is a wonderfully creative outlet, and I plan to continue doing it well into the future. What I haven’t spent much time doing is cultivating my crafty/DIY side. I have so many projects on my Pinterest boards that are just waiting to come to life. And so, while I don’t really like resolutions per se (they’re way to fraught with pressure and expectation), one of my goals in 2015 is to give myself time to get my hands dirty and start making things again.

repurposed tray

My other obsession has been tiny houses, a movement that has increased in popularity in the last few years. The idea being that you downsize your living quarters to the bare minimum, owning only what you really need and love. Some folks move into places as small as 150 square feet! That’s not something my hubby and I are prepared to do, but we agree it’s time to purge and let go of the stuff that’s bogging us down. Between the two of us, we have more collections than an antique shop. It’s embarrassing to admit, but we have a 5 bedroom house (3 bedrooms are tiny) and every inch is filled to the brim. It’s a bit fucking much. I look forward to being clutter free in 2015!

Clutter-is-a-weight

And finally, I hope to rid myself of virtual clutter in 2015. I’m as addicted to social media as the next gal. And it has taken up so much of my brain space, leaving little room for my own thoughts and feelings to fully develop. I love the connectivity  aspect of social media, but I’m not that interested in watching the latest YouTube video of cats tucking in babies. Yeah, it’s cute. But really, I can’t. I’m done. One way I plan to cut the clutter is to unfollow a lot of Facebook “friends.” I want to know what my close friends and family are up to. I want to see pictures of their kids and their moments of joy. I want to scroll less and live more.

social media clutter

I feel really good about 2015. I anticipate lots of joy and adventure, allowing myself to really be free. My life is so good, and I never want to forget that.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of new year celebrations. May your 2015 be full of hope and possibility!

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xo