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

11 Non-Resolutions for 2014

As a teenager I was notorious for my overly ambitious New Year’s resolutions.  By the end of 1991 I was sure I would be a beloved published author of teen mystery novels, living in an East London flat with my high school crush, Greg Weisenberg. Forget that I was only 15 years old. It was going to happen. Wasn’t it?


Oh, Younger Self Pia , how right you were to aim high and dream fantastically of futures nary to come.  I mean honestly, how likely was it that anyone was going to read the teen angst version of Murder on the Orient Express and take it seriously?  Hell, how likely was it that I could write even one chapter in a year, much less live abroad at age 15 with my almost tall Jewish boyfriend? But I do appreciate the audacity of the dream.  I basically wanted to be on top without really committing to it, which I’ve come to find out is a bit of a Virgo thing.  (I’ll explain more later).  And it took me a long time to understand that it was nearly impossible to accomplish.

I’ve loved writing since childhood. I think my mother’s insistence on my siblings and I visiting the library every weekend and getting me my first library card at age 6 may have lit my passion for reading and writing. But I didn’t really share my writing with anyone.  Sure, I would write silly poems for my parents birthdays and Valentine’s day, but that was it.  The other stuff was squirreled away in my diary.  I didn’t think my stories were good enough to share with anyone.  And my Virgo perfectionism certainly didn’t help.   

As a teenager and well into my twenties, I was often in limbo about what I should be doing with my life. I would flutter from hobby to interest with enthusiastic fervor, claiming it as my life’s work.  But much like my 15 year old self, I wanted to be at the top without having to commit to it fully, in case I changed my mind and thought I’d excel at goat herding instead. But now I have figured out that it wasn’t so much that I had so many varied interests, it’s that if I thought I couldn’t do it perfectly, then I didn’t want to take a chance to really pursue it.  Hence I’d try my hand at painting, but give up because I couldn’t create a museum-worthy piece after a month of practicing.   I know it sounds silly, but in my defense it is a part of my Virgo personality trait, so I can’t entirely help myself.


But I’ve actually been writing the last several years, and my commitment hasn’t wavered.  Yes, I’ve gone through periods of taking breaks from it, but I always come back because it feels so good.  And yes, I still have dreams of publishing books that people other than my mother might actually want to read, and for the first time in my life, I feel like it’s actually possible.

The last few years I’ve been averse to resolutions because they mostly had to do with losing weight and getting in shape. But for 2014 I’m not worried about the fact that I can inhale a packet of Rolos in under 7 minutes. This year I commit to writing a body of work, or at least get started writing it. 

I was talking to my husband about it whilst sipping robust Mai Tai’s on the balcony of our small, but well appointed Catalina Island hotel last weekend.  It was the first time I’d fully shared my book-writing dream with him and he was unfailingly enthusiastic about it.  He suggested I calendar time on the weekends (3-4 hours) that are unchangeable appointments with myself.  It’s a good idea, but I’m so scared that based on my past lack of commitment, I’ll fall on my ass and disappoint myself and my husband.  And even though The Universe has given me more signs than an irate New York City cab driver, I sometimes doubt both my skills and level of commitment to the undertaking.

Then I remember how much I’ve grown from that 15 year old kid in 1991, into a woman of 38, who knows what it takes to accomplish goals.  And I recall that 2013 has been pregnant with writing opportunities, and that I’ve actually done a lot this year, whether I resolved to or not.  I recommitted to my blog and built a bit of a following.  I write for a fantastic magazine called VolUp2;  I scored a job with a wonderful organization where I get to practice my craft everyday as a grant writer and communications associate; and  I was asked to lead a workshop at the Body Love Conference in Tuscon in April of next year.  Not bad for one year!

Life is really good! There is no reason why 2014 should be anything short of marvelous.  But i think it’s useful to set some intentions.  And since I still don’t love the word “resolution,” these are my…

11 NON-RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Work on my own writing at least 3 hours a week;
  2. Blog more (as in at least 4 times per month.  OK, 3 times a month);
  3. Buy less;
  4. Be a better friend and neighbor;
  5. Send hand-written letters to friends far away — it’s so much nicer than email;
  6. Do more with less (see #3);
  7. Have a huge yard sale where I let go of the shit that’s weighing me down;
  8. Go on a belated honeymoon with my darling husband;
  9. See my family back east more;
  10. Accept that life is these unpredictable phases and cycles that I cannot control, and therefore; should ride them out with as much humor and grace as is possible for a Virgo;
  11. Claim myself as a writer!


I encourage you to give more time and effort to the things that move you and make you feel good in 2014. Don’t judge yourself, just do it.  Baby steps are fine.  

What are you non-resolutions for 2014?  This Virgo is ever so curious!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Ciao for niao,
Pia
xoxo

Why Social Media Feels Like Degrassi Jr. High

Sometimes Social Media feels like high school, or worse yet, middle school.  It’s like Degrassi Junior High with memes. Do you ever get that feeling that somehow we are all fighting for a second chance at first place? Or at least to not be the Facebook version of the dweeb from Mrs. Kraft’s 6th period History class — which I actually was by the way — so that maybe, just maybe, you can experience a sliver of the popularity you missed out on as a teenager?


I’ve had that feeling.  And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I fell into the dangerous trap of relying on comments and emoticons to determine my mood and perceived popularity. It’s that moment I Instagram a perfectly crafted selfie and then dive into a hash-tag orgy with attendees like #fatshion #happy #lovinglife #myfatiscute #honorcurves #effyourbeautystandards #plusmodel #plusblogger #youdontknowaboutthislife #onmywaytothetop #naturalbeauty#checkmeoutnowimafunksoulsista  #godisblessingme #fuckyes #thisliferighthere, and so on.

The anticipation of what may or may not arrive post-post, is what I call “The Twitch.”  It lasts approximately 7 minutes, which is how long I wait before I let myself see who enjoyed my post (ok, it’s more like 4 minutes). 

When it’s good, it’s really good.  I’ve beat my record.  56 likes in under an hour. 17+ comments.  4 shares.  Fuck yeah. 

Other days, not so much. 2 likes, and one is from my mom.  Fuck.

As a writer, my biggest vulnerability is that I rely on you to approve, validate and praise my work.  It’s like being in the teen movie Clueless and I’m a dorky Britney Murphy. I await the virtual high I might get as a result of my writing efforts…Was my comment witty? Was it inspiring?  How many people liked it? Did anyone comment? Any new followers? Who shared it? Has it been 4 minutes yet?  Nope.  It’s been 37 seconds. 

The roller coaster of emotions is violent and thrilling.  It’s a high.  Dare I say, an addiction.  

I found myself worn out a few weeks ago, overwhelmed at work and, trying to keep up with my blogging, modeling, and various other projects.  The stress caused me to have a fibromyalgia flare up that forced me to slow down.  I decided to lay low, realizing I was under too much stress and that something had to change.  I got to talk to my boss about my illness and get the support I needed at the office.  But I also knew I needed a break from social media.  I always think I’m going to miss out on something HUGE if I look away for a second. But that rarely happens.  Actually, it has never happened.  

Don’t let this be you


So, I took about a week off from Facebook, Instagram and blogging.  And while it was tough the first day — it felt like withdrawal — after that I felt quite free.  I was no longer hostage to insanely long hash tags and scary selfies.  My mind quieted down.  I picked up the book on my nightstand in the evenings and read for hours.  I had not realized just how much time I was spending trying to stay relevant in social media.  As much as I wanted to stay away another week, I couldn’t.  I had an editorial spread in volup2 magazine come out, and I wanted to share it, which is one reason social media can be so great.  I’m pretty much back to my old ways, crafting witty emails and posting awesome photos of cute fat girls on my page.  But I’m slightly less neurotic about the whole thing, and that feels good.

Taking a break showed me that life does go on without me.  I learned that I like having time for my hobbies, like crafting and creating collages on Polyvore.  I realized that I don’t need to over-post either (showing restraint can be a good thing).  I also discovered that I’m not alone. There are other people who have experienced the same addictive feelings I have, and we agree it’s a tricky business.  Finding the right balance is what I’m always seeking in life, and this experiment was no different.


At the end of the day, this is isn’t junior high.  This is life, swirling around me with enough stress of its own.  My love affair with social media is really more of a crush now.  I’ll always flirt with it, but I won’t commit.  I’ll need to use it to promote my work and see the beautiful photos of my nieces and nephew growing up across the continent.  But I’ll rely on myself and my spirituality a lot more to lift me up and keep me going.  To the best of my ability, that is.

ciao for niao,
pia

The Urge to Purge (This is NOT About Bulimia)


I’ve been driving myself mad the past few years-ok, decades-to become willing to whittle down my wardrobe to just the basics with a few WOW pieces thrown in for good measure. It’s like yoyo dieting, only with clothes instead of food.  I’ve stopped dieting from my supposed “bad food” list this year and it’s felt great (most of the time).  But my failed attempts at putting the kibosh on my fashion addiction are catching up with my conscience.  To be blunt, I feel like the consummate consumerist.  I find the joy in purchasing things transformative and calming, though momentary at best. 



I will, 99% of the time, walk into a store for a specific item, not find it, silently say to myself, “I’m already here. I may as well have a look around,” and purchase something(s) else completely unrelated. I basically get high off of acquiring new things and believe I’ve somehow improved my life.  And that, my friends, is a lie. 




The reason that I struggle is I go back and forth between the ideas that I’m a creative who sees fashion as wearable art, and the overwhelm I feel at trying to easily find something to wear on a daily basis.  On the one hand, I love the diversity of my closet and all the fun looks I can create.  Plus it’s a political choice for me to wear things that challenge people’s ideas about what fat people should or shouldn’t wear.  But on the other hand,  I tend to wear the same tried and true items over and over.  They are my favorites, which not only look good, but feel really good too.  The extra clothes get tried on when I’m playing dress up (which happens a few times a week at least), and then I discover that something just doesn’t fit as I remembered, or it simply doesn’t go with anything else.  Or worse yet, I already have something exactly like it.  I mean, how many black crochet peasant tops does a gal need?

Having a closet full of stuff is hard to keep up with.  And my closet is actually an entire room, with a closet of its own-which is also filled to capacity.  Zoinks! My husband is in awe, or maybe it’s disgust, at the amount of shit I have.  I can’t shake the feeling that it’s not just a drain on my pocketbook, but on my psyche as well. What’s a gal to do?

Shot of my closet.  This is just one small section.


Do I buckle down, find some willpower and purge like crazy? Or do I accept the fact that I LOVE clothes and this is just a part of who I am?

Perhaps this is a plea for advice from my readers.  I invite you to share your experiences with me so that I might have a chance at finding peace.  Yes, I’m asking for help.  So bring it on ya’ll.

Ciao for Niao,
Pia

P.S. I have a gift card to Zappos that I’m dying to use.  Fuck.  This is not going well.  Or is it? 

25 Things You Didn’t Know: The Naked Truth About Me

Call it vulnerability, stupidity, craziness, bravery or whatever you want.  For some reason, I’ve decided to share this list with you. Some things are less compelling than others, and some are just naked truths that feel like burdens lifted off my heavy body.  Or maybe this my attempt at getting the support it requires to feel just fucking OK in a world obsessed with the thin female body. I suspect it’s the latter.  This whole acceptance of self thing is really hard, and I just want to acknowledge that.  Even the most confident of fatties struggles to keep her head up and exist peacefully in her body and the world.  I’m no different.  You’re probably not either. So, here it goes.
I am (in no particular order or importance):
  1. Often on guard about taking up space (airplanes, restaurant booths, narrow aisles).
  2. An occasional puller down of long shirts over wobbly bits.
  3. Worried I might look stupid when trying something new.
  4. Cautious to let you really see me and not care what you think.
  5. Courageous enough to call myself fat, even though it’s scary and controversial.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  6. Confused about how to be true to myself without disappointing others (this may not be possible).
  7. Hopeful that I will have peace around my body soon (define soon. right.).
  8. A writer who wishes to be understood and perhaps quoted one day.
  9. Someone with socially acceptable fat (i.e. fat that can be disguised in constrictive clothing).
  10. A work in progress.
  11. Still questioning whether complete self-love and acceptance is possible.
  12. Self-judgmental to a fault. I will forgive you more quickly than I will forgive myself for the same offense.
  13. People-pleaser and hence carry some resentments, which gets in the way of #21.
  14. Attention seeker (The I-was-a-dork-when-I-was-a-kid-and-I-need-your-validation garden variety bullshit).
  15. Consumerist—I just fucking buy too much shit.                                                                                                                                                                                   
  16. Uncomfortable being naked, even when it’s just me and the bathroom mirror.
  17. Somewhat uneasy being in a swimsuit in public.
  18. Sometimes believe I am less attractive than thin women, and thererfore less worthy of happiness and love.
  19. Lover of my curly hair.
  20. Eclectic in style and personality.
  21. Seeking a spiritual path that works for me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  22. A pretty decent friend.  See #10.
  23. A pretty decent wife. See #6 and #10.
  24. A fat model breaking down barriers and taking names.
  25. Silly and goofy because it makes me feel good to make people laugh.
  26. Intelligent but not always wise.
Ciao for Niao,
Pia

How do you LOVE yourself?

Today I ask the question, how do you love yourself?  Self-care is often so low on our list of priorities.  But as you well know, taking care of yourself first, allows you to help others in a more present way.  I take care of myself in various ways. Below is my self-love list. By no means is this a comprehensive list or things I do every day, but I do my best.
  • Taking quiet time in the morning to connect with my Higher Power.  It’s a great way to start the day.
  • I love getting massages, and when I can afford it, I usually go for hour and half.  Then I go home and rest. I LOVE it!!
  • I make sure I feed my body healthy food (most of the time).
  • I dress in clothes that make me feel good and reflect my personality.
  • I say affirmations in the mirror so that they become second nature.
  • I ask for what I need.  If I need help or simply need to set boundaries, I express them with loving kindness.
  • I take care of my skin.  I make sure to clean my face and moisturize every morning and evening.
  • Laughing!  I love to laugh, and it’s a wonderful way to de-stress at any time of the day.
  • I try not to take things too seriously.  I’m really working on this one ; )
  • I love getting manicures and pedicures.  I should do it more often.  
  • I try to be humble, honest, kind, forgiving and open.  It sets me free and boosts my self-esteem

Now it’s your turn.  Let our readers know how you take care of yourself!