This past weekend I traveled to Sacramento, CA to visit some very very good friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. They have a daughter who is growing up way too fast and I was missing her terribly. V suggested a somewhat last minute trip as part of Valentine’s Day. Who was I to refuse such a lovely gift?
As the days until the trip crawled by I realized that I hadn’t traveled by plane since last April when I went to Brussels. I had only lost about 17 pounds at that point, and still had to ask for the extension for the seatbelt. ((I remember the stewardess that handed it to me was so very kind, “They don’t make these seatbelts as long as they used to; especially not in these back rows.” And she had the kindest smile on her face. Not pity, but genuine caring and kindness. Maybe she was fat at some point, and knew that fat folks just need kindness and not a judgmental eye. Everyone is fighting a battle, so be kind.))
Here’s an interesting thing: I don’t see a different person when I look in the mirror. I don’t see someone who has lost 84 pounds. I see me: a fat girl with an attitude who isn’t taking nothing from nobody. When I look at photos from myself from a year ago, and then look at myself I can see the difference. And it is startling. But when it’s just my current face and body, I just don’t see it. So here I was thinking about how we had to get Economy Plus seating on the plane so I would have room for my legs and tray table and all my fatness. ((Those extra 5 inches make ALL the difference when you’re fat.)) The tickets were an extra $70 more each way, so we could have slightly nicer seats. ((Also, we wanted to sit next to each other, and the only way it was going to happen was in Economy Plus. Otherwise we’d be at opposite ends of the plane. In middle seats. No lie. The airline industry is doing just fine. 2 weeks out and our plane was already overbooked…))
Fast forward to last week when we were RUNNING through IAD to catch our plane, thanks to circumstances 100% out of our control. ((If you’re ever flying out of IAD, allow 1.5 hours at the airport for domestic flights; 2.5 hours for international flights. Trust me.)) We got on the plane, by the skin of our teeth, and sat down in our seats, breathless. We stashed our carry ons. I grabbed my seat belt and buckled it. And then I noticed this:
Look how much slack there is! I used to have to such my stomach in, hold my breath, barely get eh thing buckled and then massage the belt under my stomach fat roll. Much like many men who insist on never buying the right size pants and instead wear it WAY below their giant stomachs. ((I always wonder how they keep their pants up. My mom says it’s with their dicks. I’m not certain their dicks are that strong.))
Then I folded down my tray table. And noticed this:
Even when I was in Economy Plus before, with the extra 5 inches, I’d be tightly pressed against the tray. In a regular seat I wouldn’t even be able to use the tray at all. Again, I took it all in stride. This was just my life, this is how it would always be.
Except that now it’s not.
Now it’s nice to travel in a plane. Comfortable even. It was easy to get up and walk around and be able to squeeze around other folks in the aisles and not have to worry (as much) about shoving my butt in someone else’s face. Or worse, have to walk well out of my way (which on a plane can be almost impossible) to avoid not having to squeeze past someone.
I’m finding a lot of those kind of things lately. Examples of how different my life is. While out on my bi-daily (tri-weekly?) run around Sac more than 1 car honked at me. Which we all know is the international symbol for “Hey sexy! I’m a man who doesn’t know how to communicate other than honking my horn at you!” Sitting at Starbucks, I get smiled at. More than usual. More than I remember.
And maybe that’s what weird. Maybe these things DID happen when I was fatter. And maybe it’s that I didn’t notice because of my own body image issues.
And now I have this confidence (others have noticed it too). I’m feeling so much more comfortable, and a bit sexy, in my new skin (even though when I’m naked it’s a bit of a freak show). Perhaps I walk taller. Perhaps I sway my hips a bit more. Perhaps I smile at the right time.
Perhaps now that I’m smaller I’m seen as more attractive, more valuable, more worthy. And now my natural flirtiness (which I’ve always had) is allowed to be returned, seen, engaged with. But that would mean that people are jerks, right?
I think I’ll just stick with the idea that I’m more confident.
And really comfortable in this airplane seat.