I was supposed to be in California last week. My plan was to fly home from Los Angeles tomorrow, but I never left New Orleans. Last Monday, as I went to check-in for my flight on Delta, I made a decision to stay home. Delta’s policy for plus-size passengers is amazing, and it makes me respect them as an airline. I just couldn’t get on the plane.
I was scheduled to fly into Los Angeles via Salt Lake City last Tuesday. I was excited to head to Fitcation ’13 in Paso Robles, CA where I planned to do some amazing things with an amazing group of women. They did it, but I did not. I couldn’t talk about it last week because I felt so much shame.
Seriously, if you could shame someone into losing weight, I’d already be at goal. It just doesn’t work that way. I don’t thrive on fear or self-hatred or negativity, but it didn’t stop me from feeling those emotions last week.
When I looked at the check-in e-mail from Delta, I noticed that my seat selection didn’t look right. It seemed as though I would be on a smaller plan that I had anticipated which made me incredibly nervous about the seats. When I called to check into it, I learned that the seat on one of my flights would be smaller than 17 inches, and I cringed. 17 inches is pretty standard, and the only airline I fly who has bigger seats is Jet Blue. Some seats are smaller though, and that’s a big problem for me.
I have had many positive experiences with Delta. They are a great airline because they accommodate their passengers discretely and respectfully, but there was absolutely no way that I was getting on a plane in which I knew I was too big for the seat. I can’t do that to myself. I won’t do that to myself…ever.
My history with airplane seats is no secret. I’ve been in a car on the way to JFK in front of reporters and cameras as I openly admit the anxiety that I face with flying due to my very public history with a different airline. I love to travel, but I need to fit in the seat. According to one of the supervisors that I spoke to, Delta has a the right to change planes at their discretion. I just didn’t know what to do so I stayed home.
It’s embarrassing to admit that I am now that person – you know, the one who stayed home, letting my size and the fear of its repercussions keep me from enjoying what would have been a phenomenal trip. Now I am the person that I’ve been fighting for in a very public manner for a long time now.
I missed an incredible week filled with friends and new experiences, and I have to admit it because if I don’t, it will continue to bother me just as it has over the last several days. I made the best of my week at home, and some wonderful things happened. I’m generally pretty happy, but my contentment was tainted by my faults and failures and shortcomings all week.
Now I’m trying to let it go. I’m blessed, and I know it. My life is fuller and more satisfying than it has ever been, and I don’t hate myself just because I’m not perfect. My experience just highlighted the work that I still have to do.
I’m tired of my name being synonymous with flight issues, and I’m going to keep fighting this battle until I win it. I’m going to continue loving myself and assuming that others will too. I’m not going to sugarcoat my problems, but I am going to keep trying to fix them.