Reflection Southwest Airlines

Have I Really Changed, or Am I Just Fooling Myself?

I’ve noticed something about myself in the last few days that has, no doubt, been building for a while, and it’s really bothering me.  Since the Southwest flight, I’ve begun to recognize that I don’t like myself very much right now.  I’m proud of my accomplishments, but they don’t feel like nearly enough in light of the fact that I’m still so overweight.

A local New Orleans news station caught up with me at Mom’s neighbor’s house yesterday to discuss my experience with Southwest last week which will air this evening.  When I was approached a few nights ago about sharing the story, my mother and I agreed that we should just move on, but I spoke to the reporter anyway making it clear that I’d like to send a message to those who struggle with similar issues.

Alvin, Siemny and me just after the interview…

My goal in sharing my story was clear – to remind other people facing discrimination due to size that it is absolutely okay to stand up for yourself.  Regardless of size, we all deserve to be treated with respect.  And, now it seems that I have to convince myself, once again, that I am worth fighting for.

In my head, it seems like maybe I’ve been fooling myself into believing that I’ve changed.  My ultimate goal is closer than it’s ever been, but it feels further away than ever.  My latest flight experience was an unmistakably stark realization that the world still sees me as nothing more than a fat girl. The changes I’ve made didn’t matter at all last week, and I’m fighting within myself to believe they matter now…

I’m an intelligent, talented, friendly person who has some major issues with my body image, but I haven’t give up.  And I won’t.  That has never been an option for me.  And I have to recognize that my efforts are enough – today.  I can’t change the minds of those who are content in only seeing what’s on the outside; all I can do is continue to work on changing myself on the inside and the outside – hoping that one day the outside reflects what’s inside. 

I can’t change the past, and continually punishing myself for old transgressions won’t make the regret disappear nor will it make my future betterso I’m going to continue chipping away at the future until I’ve whittled it into what I want it to be.  I’m still not precisely sure what that means, but I’m going to keep working on figuring it out.

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  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Good luck with everything. You are doing incredibly! I find that people normally just look at things from one perspective and draw quick conclusions from superficial things.

    I remember losing my first 10-15 lbs and I was clearly still obese but I felt so amazing mentally only to realize I still had a long ways to go. I felt sad when some high school friend told me I hadn't changed since high school when I felt more mature, in control and amazing. My friends assured me it was meant as a compliment… but I like to be seen as constantly evolving!

    Have a great weekend! Good for you for standing up for yourself!

  • Reply
    Skinny Jeans Mom
    May 5, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Its terrible that we live in a world that judges us so. Although I'm a fashion/ beauty blogger, I always stress the importance of recognizing beauty in ALL shapes and sizes. Keep your head up, love yourself for who you are and never let anyone break you down!!

  • Reply
    Lily Fluffbottom
    May 5, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Here's to moving forward. Cheers!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    i just found your blog and find it very inspiring…i just wanted to say R U KIDDING? you have lost a huge amount of weight and dont even look that over weight at all, just being proud of yourself isnt enough, you have to take your mind set back to how it felt to be starting a dietbeing that big and having so much to lose, now the weight you have to lose is nothing. just enjoy it 🙂 dont beat yourself up we are all a "work in progress"

  • Reply
    Momma K and her Krew
    May 6, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Yup. You got it. Thats the hard truth. When I lost 130 pounds, I remember being STARVING, working hard and knowing I was losing weight. But to the world I was still a fat girl. The transition stage is hard because you KNOW you are working like a madman but the world around you who dont know you (and shouldnt matter but unfortunatly do) have no clue. To them youre still a big girl. I just used to say my insides havent caught up with my outsides. Embrace it though, listen and sit in it. Feel it including the anger that you still are big. Remember why you never want to be here again and then keep on keeping on. Because some day your insides will catch up. And then the world better watch out. Keep it up, you can do it.

  • Reply
    Emily Sandford
    May 6, 2011 at 12:16 am

    I am going through those same feelings right now – we KNOW about our incredible progress, but until outwardly it shows more, it can still be discouraging. Don't punish yourself for your former lifestyle- you are doing all you can in this moment to reach your goals, and that's all that matters.

  • Reply
    Jules - Big Girl Bombshell
    May 6, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I have been questioning again TOO.. always comes up doesn't it, my thoughts that I am looking at isn't that the outside reflects what's inside but perhaps the inside shines through the outside.

    That's where I am at today anyway

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 12:26 am

    You know, I think there is a lot to be said for loving yourself now, just as you are. And at the same time, I think it's okay to admit that you struggle with that. And as long as you don't treat yourself badly because of it, to use that lack of satisfaction where you are now to FUEL to toward your goals.

    I also think that our motivation to continue along this road has to change as we lose weight. When it's no longer painful to climb stairs…when we're no longer out of breath from tying our shoes…when the PAIN of being fat becomes…well, less PAINFUL as we become less FAT, that pain can no longer fuel our motivation to continue.

    So I found that what helped me was to identify things that I was excited to move TOWARD as I lost the weight. It was less about "not being fat" and more about being fit. Less about "not being fat" and more about running a certain distance, or accomplishing another physical goal.

    Sorry for the novel, but I hope something in here helps!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 12:36 am

    I think your post was very insightful. What you went through with Southwest would shake anyone to the core. You handled it much better than most would have. Standing up for yourself and not allowing them to treat you (and your mom) like 2nd class citizens was phenomenal! I think many people would have just accepted the poor treatment. Thank you for showing those that may not know better that what they did was totally unacceptable. I hope your journey regarding body image lands you where you want to be soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Kenlie, I know you were really reluctant to do this interview, but I'm so glad you did. This is an important issue, and not one that's discussed a lot. More people should know about this. I'm glad you stood up for yourself, I'm glad you're talking about it when you really don't want to, and I am so proud of you!

  • Reply
    Melissa Wolf
    May 6, 2011 at 1:05 am

    I can't tell you how much I admire you! It doesn't matter how far you have to go–as long as you're moving and in charge of your journey. You're evolving more as a person through your experiences than people who never had this struggle. It doesn't matter if strangers get it or not–you've got readers who are witnesses to your courage and change, so pat yourself on the back and keep going girl!

  • Reply
    Sarah Kopf
    May 6, 2011 at 1:16 am

    You are doing SO well & have an army of supporters behind you! Keep going, honey!


  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Since everyone above pretty much said everything I wanted to say….I'm just gonna say DITTO!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 1:47 am

    I agree with Sarah K. You ARE doing so well and remember how many people you are helping to BE better, just by reading your site.

    No matter how we change, there will always be folks who insist we would be better some other way. I have lost 60 lbs this past year and I swear if one more person says.."Well, just how much more weight do you plan on losing?!!".

    Same as when I wear my hair curly, someone asks me why don't I "ever" wear it straight. When I wear straight, someone states they like it better curly. GEEZ!

    Do YOU for YOU and be proud of whatever YOU that is!!(Think I'm gonna post that on my FB tonight, lol)

  • Reply
    Miss S.
    May 6, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Yes! Yes you have changed! And you are making a difference by standing up. That is fantastic. Keep moving forward.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 2:13 am

    I totally identify with this! I've lost 35 pounds, but some days I just don't see a difference! I too am going to keep working on it though. Keep going, girl! You inspire me! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 2:31 am

    You are an inspiration and I feel so incredibly lucky to have met you and your mother the other day! Please don't let the hateful, ignorant people affect how you feel about yourself. You have accomplished so much and though I just met you, I know you will reach that finish line! But regardless, the issue is about the RESPECT we all deserve as human beings. -Siemny

  • Reply
    Pretty Pauline
    May 6, 2011 at 4:24 am

    First, I think you are so beautiful! Second, I am worth fighting for. I needed that! I so relate to being seen as nothing more than a fat girl. 🙁

  • Reply
    HS @ Our Debt Blog
    May 6, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Where can we see the video?! too cool!!


  • Reply
    Foodie McBody
    May 6, 2011 at 5:35 am

    You've changed SO much and you are amazingly awesome and inspiring.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Well put. It's terrible how much of an impact others' perceptions of us have on our feelings in this journey. But it's hard to be reminded that even when we've changed so much, the changes may not be noticed by all.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    as kenz dad i am thankful to see the unwavering support she gets from all of you. i have been witness to the struggles, before she started this weight loss journey and some of those along the way. i thank you for the kind of support that helps keep her focused and also enables her to in turn inspire others.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I used to repeat this to myself the last time I lost weight (repeat offender here) Quitting is not an option!! I had forgot about that little mantra of mine…your post reminded me…thank you Kenz…

  • Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 2:23 am

    I really dislike Southwest that much more after reading how you are feeling now. Please remember that despite their ugly behavior that you ARE MORE THAN WORTH continuing your journey. I know it is hard to forget what they did, but please try to. You will be blessed for sharing your story….stay strong and encouraged.

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