Let me be super clear, I'm NOT looking for anyone to do any of the following:
- Argue with me that I'm not fat. It's the thing your sweet friends do when they want to make you feel better. Tell you you're not fat. Dude. I'm fat. Right now I truly am. Trust me, I know. I'm not attempting to be brash, really, but I feel like I'm allowed to use that word in my current state of fatness, so let's go ahead and be OK with me a) calling it like it is and b) not looking to be coddled.
- Get upset with me for how direct I'm going to be. Listen, I've been on BOTH sides of this journey. I know what it's like to be fit and fat. So I'm going to talk very directly about this. Please do not continue reading this blog if you aren't going to be OK with that. This is really for me, anyway. I'm NOT talking about anyone else. I'm NOT talking to you. If you take something from it and feel this applies to you, great, I hope it helps. But I'm not poking fun at anyone. I'm being super real here.
All of that said, here goes.
I do want to start by saying my week was AMAZING overall. I really truly enjoyed meeting this new amazing team of people doing some incredible work at my new company. Part of me is marveling at the fact that I did, in fact, land this job at the heaviest weight I've ever been. Either my thanks goes to my LLR wardrobe and/or these people are amazing and do not judge you by your exterior. I'm going with the latter.
Traveling as a fat person is AWFUL. Like I don't even know how to tell you how awful it is without just plainly recapping the travel part of my last week.
So if you've been here for awhile you remember a blog post I had some years back when I shared a picture of my airplane seatbelt buckling for the first time following some weight loss. This was so amazing. I used to hide the seatbelt under my jacket so no one could see it wasn't, in fact, buckled while flying.
For some reason I don't remember traveling much at this weight, at least not air travel. Then as I really thought about it I realized, I didn't really fly much at this weight before. Not something I had realized or planned for, mentally. This was almost like a new experience all over again. Not one of my better ones, either.
I prayed on my way to the airport last Tuesday that I wouldn't have anyone in the seat next to me. Because I definitely take up more room than I should right now. Thankfully, on my first flight it was a newer small plane, so I could actually somehow buckle the seatbelt, and the guy next to me was tall and slim so it worked. No body parts touching. Relief! He was very pleasant to talk to, as well.
My second flight I was again on the aisle, which isn't preferable as you kind of have to hold your body upright in order to not get dinged by the cart when it rolls by. This plane was smaller and I could not buckle the seatbelt easily. I sat next to a tiny person so that was super helpful.
The other thing to consider is that using the restroom on the airplane is tough for ANYONE. It's that much harder at this weight. So I was determined in my two short flights to not need the potty. Which was great until we were diverted to another airport to land and refuel (because someone whiffed on gassing up the plane???). This took over an hour. I thought maybe I would deplane and rent a car but decided driving myself through the mountains wasn't a good idea. I contemplated getting up to go to the restroom but then remembered how humiliating it would be and decided against it.
Very bad decision.
By the time we took off again we weren't even in the air long enough to get out of our seats much less for a restroom break. I started to sweat realizing I had to pee really badly. Like so badly my goosebumps had goosebumps and I was having chills. At one point after we took off the cabin pressure felt strange to me. I began feeling like I couldn't breathe and was certain the oxygen masks were going to drop at any moment. My heart was racing. I glanced around panicked and everyone else looked FINE. So I realized this was me. And this, I believe, was my first official panic attack. Oh, great. I was in row 23 which means once we finally DID land and taxi'd around what felt like the entire airplane parking lot, I was actually in pain and still a really long time from deplaning. I tried to calm myself down the best I could and breathe and not fully panic. It's funny once the seatbelt sign turns off, it just means you can get up but the door to the plane is still closed, so....where you are going, I don't know. But everyone gets up. My bladder was legit throbbing at this point, and I really wondered if I would pass out. Then the woman in the seat in front of me gets her purse strap caught and it takes others helping her get uncaught. Like 5 minutes of trying to get out of her freaking seat. When I was finally able to get up, I moved as fast as this tail can move right now and made it somehow to the restroom.
Look, this could happen to anyone. But I'm here to tell you that I have never, ever had a panic attack. And I firmly believe that my size and weight had me so uncomfortable that even breathing was a chore, so combine that with feeling my bladder may explode and I honestly felt like I was going to pass out.
This has all been contributing to the continued realization of what things NEED to change. It's not like I don't know that they need to change. Trust me, I do. But this trip was SO HARD physically on me that it really grabbed my attention. I actually slept through a good portion of Saturday. In fairness I arrived home at 10pm (after landing I had a 90 minute drive home), and it was a crazy exhausting week, but I went back to bed for a morning nap, took an afternoon/evening nap and then went to bed early. I was so completely and utterly physically wiped out. This is not the normal I once enjoyed.
Other notable challenges while traveling:
- My feet hurt BAD no matter what shoes I'm wearing once I've been on them for a day. All of this walking around is not easy when you're larger. My ankles were swollen and my skin felt tight every day. The most comfortable shoes I owned gave me blisters. It's not the shoes' fault. It's my size.
- I tried to bring limited clothes etc. to save the company some money on checking my bag. Bad idea. Thankfully I had JUST enough outfits for the week but I would have felt better with a few more options.
- I had to divert to a different chair in a restaurant because I saw the ones on the outside row of the table and I definitely do NOT fit in these chairs. I took the booth side. You have to be so much more observant but also don't want to make a huge deal of things as it's all quite embarrassing.
- I met so many fit people this week. I know they don't know I was once their size. Not that many years ago, in fact. But they met me as fat Clara so that is how they know me, and that is the first impression I made on them. I will not assume the worst, that people would have made judgments about me. But I was sitting there judging me. Thankful that I fit into the conference room chairs.
- I was too tired after a day of being out, about and "on" to walk a block or two to dinner. I ate at the hotel the other two nights I was there.
- My feet hurt too badly to do the workout video I brought with me. And I wasn't on the first floor anyway so there is no way I could have done that without the front desk calling me for a noise complaint (and this happened to me by the way when I was fit - so you just don't work out unless you're on the first floor).
I remember when I was fit and would travel and saw overweight people in the airport, or anywhere, I felt genuinely sorry for them and it always tugged at my heart. I remembered how hard it was to maneuver through tight spaces myself. I remembered how you felt everyone was looking at you, and no one was looking at you at the same time. How people avoided eye contact with you. It's almost like others are embarrassed for you and if they pretend you are invisible, it's just better for everyone. I would pray for these souls when I saw them, for their health, and for their hearts.
Man I hope someone prayed for me this week in that same way. I really really missed Fit Clara while I was huffing and puffing my way through the airport.
So this week was the best of times and the worst of times, right? I am elated at my new position, new team, new company. But I am frustrated that it will be awhile before I can be truly comfortable when flying. And part of me is also hopeful that in my monthly visits to the corporate office over the next few months that I will slowly begin shrinking before their very eyes.
All of that explained, fat Clara is making a doctor's appointment for sometime hopefully in the very near future. I'm shooting for this week or next, but also realize that I don't have a primary care doctor, so I may have to wait. I need a physical and bloodwork which I am sure will tell me what I already know. I'm in actual physical danger here, and things MUST change. I can't imagine my heart is very healthy at this moment. I know the strain my body is under just existing hurts as is. Maybe the numbers will continue to propel me forward in this fight to find fit Clara. Maybe the threat of medication will be "enough" for me to be fully committed and motivated, and actually deep down believe that I will once again lose this weight, this time FOREVER.
Thanks for following my story, on the good days and the not so good days. I'm determined to make this a better week and finish this year stronger, healthier and better.
This isn't just about airplanes, anxiety or being supremely embarrassed. This is about NOT DYING because I didn't take good care of myself.
I'm committed to saving my own life, again. I need to be. I need to keep talking about it and blogging about it until it starts to shape my reality. As the pieces continue to fall into place over the next month of transition I can feel a storm of commitment brewing and I'm believing it's chock full of discipline, motivation, and all the mojo in the world. I have to believe that.
I have to believe. I'm not alone. Love this song by the way I Have to Believe by Rita Springer
Who's with me?