I have been reading so many articles either written by bloggers or from sad Facebook posts about an awful encounter on an airplane. Recently on Facebook there was a post from a nurse who was flying and an older extremely thin woman who was seated between the couple. As the video ran, the hate spewed from the woman who was shouting on the phone to someone who would listen about not being able to breathe and how she was squished between those ”pigs”. It didn’t end there, she had to go on and say that “I eat salads!” and then asked the attendant to find her a seat away from those fat people. I was watching in absolute horror and I could feel my own anxiety kick in. I watched the entire video and while the people were larger than she was, they fit in their area. In my almost 52 years, I have made many accommodations and missed out on a lot of things that I wouldn’t attempt because I didn’t want to be embarrassed. If it wasn’t having access to appropriate clothing for plus sized women and being forced to have Big Dog t shirts and shorts, it was the fear that I wouldn’t fit comfortably in any given situation. When my kids were little, I didn’t go down the slide in Colorado because I had a fear that I might not slide, or that my hips would rub and I wouldn’t make it down. Looking back, I know that I would have more than fit and I wouldn’t have been the fat woman stuck on the slide! Nonetheless I didn’t participate. I let the kids ride the rides at a park because I had a fear that I wouldn’t be able to latch the bar and they would escort me off the ride in front of thousands of mocking faces. I didn’t go to concerts if I thought that the seats were too close together unless I had an end row or I had someone who loved me on either side. I refused to fly for years because I didn’t want to be stared at with disgust. Flying still causes anxiety that goes off the charts the moment I start walking to my seat. The only thing that I seem to have solved is the clothing issue thanks to amazing online stores! Now I have an unashamedly large wardrobe. It makes up for all of the years that clothing wasn’t made for me and my kind!!
People can be horrible. I have had people huff at me, push me out of the way when the line to our seats stalls, and say really unkind things to me as we board. I always tell Mike that if something happens and he can’t be with me, I will never fly again. Emotionally I can’t take it. When I got sick, I was forced to fly to Cleveland because to drive it would take 2 full days. That wouldn’t make sense, so I had to start flying. I used to get by with only flying once every couple of years, then like the rest of my planned existence, that changed too!!
I just can’t understand why people think that they are somehow superior to anyone. We are all different and yet we are still human beings. Just because I am fat doesn’t mean I am deaf! I hear it when they spew their disgust toward me. I also see them when they pull their arms in closer around them in fear that I might sit by them! No one ever looks at my tall thin husband like that! Well, except maybe those who have the look like “what is he doing with her?” face. Truth is, he has a harder time than I do in the seats because his knees hit the back of the seat ahead of him and then if the person decides that reclining the seat is “so much more comfortable” than the upright position he is screwed. This past October he had the most horrible experience on a transatlantic flight and he was in physical pain due to a man being utterly inconsiderate. That was titled “Old and Entitled” in case you want to check that out!! I spill out of my seat onto him only to have him put his arm around me so that my anxiety can take a short hiatus until I have to get up to go to the bathroom…..then I need a drink…
I just wish that someday every single type of discrimination would be replaced with understanding and tolerance. My gosh, you don’t have to accept people to be kind. If you can’t seem to stop yourself then at least save your naughty comments and hate filled speech until you get home where you can make your family proud of you! It is a simple concept. I have to fly again at the end of February for meetings. I dread the trip, but the destination will be warm, and I am going to take my swim suit…..that is an entirely different demon to attack!! My gut starts to roll thinking about it, but I want sun…sand….and warmth. Surely I can sneak out of a meeting when the pool area is not as busy and find a chair away from the normal people? I will sure give it a go unless I am overwhelmed with fear…..then I will make more accommodations. Whew. I am nervous just thinking about it! I won’t think about it today, I got a few days!!
Until then….stand up for the people being bashed….it could be someone you love