Often times, I can relate to “I’m Fat” horror stories. I admittedly, feel some anxiety sitting in plastic lawn chairs or stadium seating. But this article I read was shocking and kind of sad. It was about the extreme anxiety this lady feels about flying on an airplane while being fat. She freaks out at the mere mention that she has to take a flight. Me? I guess I just don’t care? I love to travel too much, and flying is usually the best way to get there.
I have a flight booked next week and haven’t given it a second thought. I know I’m not going to be skinny in week, so why fret it? I won’t be packing my own seatbelt extender either. I’m going to order a drink and not care that my fat arm has to reach over somebody else. I took a shower, I smell good, I know how say “excuse me,” but the simple fact that I exist in this body does not make me rude or less of a person. Being fat doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have the same rights to fly as anybody else. Right now, this is the body I have. I’ve hiked through the Amazon Rain Forest with this body, I climbed the Eiffel Tower with this body, I swam with the dolphins with this body, I’ve finished a half marathon with this body. And what a shocker, men are physically attracted to me in this body. I never have a problem getting a date. I’ve been dating Mr. Valentine for 6 weeks now, he thinks I look great, sexy even.
Just because other people don’t wear their alcoholism, gambling problem or whatever other addiction around their waist, doesn’t make them a better person. Everybody has their cross to bear. Mine happens to be cookies, and cakes and Häagen–Dazs ice cream and well… you get it.
I don’t feel intimidated when Ms. Size Zero sits next to me in seat B. It makes me feel good when she crosses her tiny legs because that means I’ll have more room. If someone is miserable sitting next to my spillage, they can ask for a new seat. If they move because they don’t want my arm touching them, even better, now I can breathe easy for the next 3 hours. Sometimes, I lean over to look fatter, so they won’t pick the seat next to me (true story.) I’ll probably never see them again, so I don’t care what judgments they cast on me. They don’t know my story, they don’t know my struggle, they don’t see my efforts, they don’t know my success, and they don’t see the Fiercelings I inspire everyday to be more healthy. So Dear Author, I’m truly sorry you’ve had these experiences. I know and live the fat girl struggle everyday, but know your worth, don’t lose anymore sleep. You paid for it, and you have a right to an airplane seat, just as everybody else.
Carli Fierce, More than 100 pounds overweight, and Unashamed to Fly