“Sometimes it’s ok if all you did today was breathe” – Yumi Sakugawa
I know today I’m supposed to write about restraining from fast food and what an awesome sauce job I did. Guess what? I’m not. This week I had to pleasure of flying on a plane for a business trip for the second time since the pandemic and I have to be honest, I’ve got some issues I need to work out. Flying while fat is a serious struggle for me. Some people might brush over it and act like it’s not a big deal, but for me it’s a huge thing I must consider every time I purchase a plane ticket.
Let me state that I can fit in one plane seat, but let me also say just barely. I can strap myself into the seat belt but most of my fat is spilling into the next seat.
Wait I’ve gone too far, let me back up. I feel like for you to understand my story I have to start at the beginning. For me the beginning of the struggle is getting through security. Because of how frequently I fly I recently purchased TSA PreCheck. I did not purchase it because I don’t want to stand in line. That’s what I told people. I purchased it because while standing in line I’m sweating like I’m trying to sneak more than 3oz of liquid on a plane. I’m fumbling with my bag and my phone and my passport. I usually get past the ticket check point but then the hard part begins. I have to go through the scanner so I’m taking off my jacket, belt, taking everything out of my pockets, taking off my shoes, and lastly flinging all my belongings in that damn tray. Oh did I mention I travel with two laptops, an IPad, and notebooks so I look like a terrorist. A TSA agent actually said this to me one time as she checked my bag. Not making this up. She said I was flagged because of all my electronics and books. Students beware.
Ok moving right along I load all my belongings on the belt and it’s time to walk through screening. I beep every damn time. I walk through the chamber and immediately put my hands out because I know the procedure.
“Do you mind if I pat you down?”
“Can I pat you down here or do you need a private room?”
“Can you spread your legs?”
“I’m going to pat your legs from bottom to top and then feel around your waistband. I will also feel around your back area. Are you ok with that?”
“Can you stick out both your hands so I can check for any residue?”
If I wasn’t at the airport I would think I was being hit on. Funny thing is one time I actually got through without all this happening and I freaked out. In the Phoenix airport I actually yelled “What is happening? Are you not going to screen me?” The lady said she would if I wanted her too. The person with me was in shock. I explained how I always get checked and sure nuff on our flight back home I was checked.
Now I’m sure by now you’re asking yourself why is she always getting checked? Well my first rookie mistake was I always wore Spanx which we discussed earlier. That would set off the alarm. The second mistake was I wore jeans with “bling” on them. That set off the alarm. The third mistake was I wear my pants above my belly, because I’m fat. That sets off the alarm as well. My last trip before PreCheck the lady told me it might be my braids because braids are heavy. This was actually a new one for me, which promptly led to me purchasing PreCheck.
When you get TSA PreCheck, ok when I got TSA PreCheck all of this went away: I think they figured out I’m not a terrorist I’m just a fat girl with a lot of shit trying to get through the airport. As I now breeze through I’m thankful for one sweaty experience I can check off the list, but the torture does continue.
In my airport I have to take the escalators downstairs to ride the train. Don’t ask me why, but the simple act of doing this makes me sweat. If I’m brave I try walking to my gate. I say it’s to get my steps in, but the truth is I walk to slow down my breathing. I am not speed walking by any means. A turtle is probably moving faster than me at this point. I’m simply trying to breathe and wipe all the sweat off my face. While I refuse to complain about wearing a mask I will tell you this does not at all help me stay cool. I’m probably ten degrees hotter because of this mask. If I can successfully make it to my terminal with a little less sweat I now get the pleasure of riding another escalator, Yaaaa!!!
I bet you’re saying the torture must be over once I make it to my gate, HELL NO!! Now I sit in the airport terminal seats which seem way too deep and my fat ass slides back and usually I’m stuck. This is usually when I begin pulling my shirt down because it’s rode all the way up my stomach and is positioned under my boobs. Not a good look.
I don’t move after this. I usually sit there until it’s almost time to board. I say almost because now I need to make sure I go pee before this plane takes off. I know we talked about this. I don’t pee in airplanes. I don’t know how other fat people do it but I always have a fear I will get stuck. Thats all I need is a video titled “Fat Lady Gets Trapped in Airplane Restroom.” Yea, I’m not about to be that person. The bathroom by the way is also an issue. I’m fat with luggage so I can’t use the regular bathroom because there is not enough room for me and my luggage. Handicap bathroom it is. I have no shame in doing this, I just want to know why the panel gaps are so much larger in handicap stalls. If I can see out, I know the world can see in. Who designed this thing?
Sorry I got lost again. After the potty trip I now board the plane. As a fat person I’m always trying hard to not bump anyone or touch anyone for that matter. Yes skinny people may touch you, but because I don’t like to be touched I try really hard to slip on by. I never slip and I never get by. I’m bumping everyone from the front of the plane until I get to my seat. FYI- if you are reading this and someone has bumped you on a plane, they are sorry. We may not say it but we are sorry. If we say it to everyone we bump we would never make it to our seats. By the way making it to my seat is where the real fun begins.
I’m always worried the seatbelt won’t fit but with my current weight loss it does. My problem is my fat sticks out on the sides of my seat and I’m thinking “Great. The person next to me does not want my fat on them.” Oh and by the way I’m still sweating and feverishly turning the air flow knob.
The above image is actually how I feel. I’m spilling out of the sides, and my knees are on my chest. Did I mention I’m 5’9” so I’m big and tall.
There are so many more issues but I think you get my point. Flying while fat is a piece of work. The only solution I came up with for the future is to not be fat. It seems so simple.
Being fat is starting to affect my day to day. Sweating all the time, knees killing me, heavy breathing from basic movements, and just not being able to endure much of anything. I know I’m getting better but this trip also showed me I have a lot of work to do. If I’m going to fly I need to be able to breathe and not have a heart attack from simply trying to get through the airport.
Weight loss is so much more then simply losing the pounds. Weight loss as I’ve said before is about finding yourself. The self I want to find flies on planes a lot. The self I find doesn’t want to sweat and look tortured from walking. The self I find doesn’t want to continue paying more money just to have a basic level of comfort.
Please tell me I’m not the only one with these issues? Please share with me your victories.