I need to write this out instead of eat in response to it. There, finally, I think I wonder. I say I eat more when I travel because i’m bored, but I sorta wonder. Do I eat because the act of plane travel is so humiliating that I seek some sort of reward for going through it? I don’t know, its some of both, trying to keep myself busy, trying not to be lonely in a new city, what have you.
So the backstory….
I moved to a new employer (I work in high tech, I’m a geek) in May. With the job change came an expectation of fairly regular travel. My husband and I talked through the impact of this on our family, what we would need to do to make 25% travel ok for him. With 4 kids, this was a serious consideration. Ultimately, while I don’t often ask for permission in much of anything in my life, I knew that this was a choice that we had to be together on, lest it cause big problems. Anyway, we are. So fastforward to all of this traveling. Through the course of the first 3 months on the job, I put on 15 lbs. I attribute this to two things — onsite cafeteria and travel eating. This gain of 15 lbs finally put me at a point this summer where I had my first experience of a plane seat belt not fitting. And that began my journey toward weight loss surgery.
Fastforward to today.
Travel, travel, what do I hate about thee? Absolutely fucking everything. It begins just mobilizing to get ready. As a representative of my company, I need to look put together going into client’s offices. Do you know how hard it is to look put together on a budget when you are plus size between size 24/26? Things look fucking shitty on you. You either look like an old lady, or you look like a plus sized slut. Just going through the possible combinations of clothing that might be suitable actually, physically makes me sweat. I am not joking. So I finally get the bag packed and set my alarm for the crack of dawn this morning.
Then comes the airport. The first offronts come at security. First is needing to pull out that stupid CPAP machine, one more stupid thing to do at security and one more reminder of the impact that my weight has on my life. then I go through that stupid total body scanner, just trying to pretend not to imagine what my body image must look like to someone looking at that screen. Then try to hustle myself through repacking everything all up, and rush to the gate. By the time I get to the gate, I’m sweating, because, that is how it is for me, anyway. I can’t bear to travel in work appropriate attire because of comfort, so I dress like a slob and feel like that fat slob that everyone is just hoping they don’t have to sit next to.
I actually pay extra to buy “Choice seats” to have more room to maneuver on the plane, because i’ve learned that if I don’t buy those seats, the stupid tray doesn’t even come down all the over my gut, or else I have to shove it under my belly so it is cutting into me. Everything about the airport and standing in lines and getting on planes makes me feel my size. Spaces are small, people in close proximity. I worry that I smell bad, despite having taken a shower this AM.
I get on the plane, thankful for my 360 rolling bag, because that, at least, has made getting on the plane a little easier. Its bad enough when you are wider than the walkway, but when you are wider and your bag is constantly getting caught on things, it only adds to the spectacle you feel like you are creating.
Get to my seat, and think, well this isn’t right, on the plane seat map choice it didn’t show this as a bulk head seat. But indeed it is. I had to settle for a window seat, which i typically hate because I feel so big in them. I usually try to go for aisle. The exit door actually juts out about 8 inches, so I have a difficult time getting into my seat. I have a few instances of having to get up and get things that I will need on the flight because I don’t have storage under the seat in front of me. Grr. I grab out my brand new seat belt extender, happy I have it and don’t have to ask for one, but just spend the whole flight vastly uncomfortable. I twist myself around funny to try to be smaller and not overlap into the guy next to me. Everytime I move my arms, I worry I’m annoying him. When I get up (and in this case its actually better I guess because of bulkhead, they don’t all have to get up, but (and this is TMI) I worry about whether my butt is in their face and whether I stink. All the sweating to get to the planes, the tension caused by getting seated got me overheated and sweaty again, I feel gross and imagine I must smell. Not sure that is true, but that is how I feel.
Get off the planes finally, relieved to have some breathing room. Get down to book a shuttle, and realize that I have left my fucking brand new extender on the fucking plane. Fuckity fuck fuck.
Shuttle is another exercise in embarrassment. All the front seats are filled have to try to squeeze my way into the far back. I am of course, the one who has to get out first, too, and shove past everyone again. And then the step down from the shuttle, I have to do some weird maneuvering because I am big and also because my knees are unstable and its hard for me to bend them…hard to explain, but getting out higher up vehicles with multiple running boards = awkward.
Get to the hotel, relieved to be able to relax. Realize that I have left one of my standard toiletry bags at home. Fuckity fuck fuck again. Have to figure out where the nearest drug store is, walk .3 miles down there, buy $50 worth of stuff I already have, and then find a place to have dinner. End up going to subway because the places I had scoped out to go into look all intimate and I feel like everyone in the whole place would look up when I walk in all alone. So instead I go to subway, and have a shitty 6″ sub and sun chips. Definitely not the worst thing I could have done, but also has bread (a nono for me at this point) and the chips. I seriously debate with myself to go back to the drug store a few stores down and get some chocolate and snacks to take back to the hotel room with me, which is my normal modus operandi. I seriously waver at the door, wanting desperately to turn toward the store, but instead point myself in the direction of the hotel, feeling pissy the whole way.
Get back to the hotel and try to clean up, because the rest of my team has arrived and we are meeting at the bar. I feel obligated to have some wine and “fit in” so I have two glasses. I come back up to the hotel room at 10:30, and want desperately to go get some snacks again. And so I started writing this instead. I still want snacks. I still am not sure I won’t go get my clothes back on and go get something. 😦
ETA: So lets try to turn this around….so MAYBE next year this time, I won’t feel this way? Maybe I will be more fit and won’t work up a sweat just getting myself on an airplane. maybe I’ll be able to sit comfortably in a plane seat, and not need an extender. Maybe I will be able to make better food choices when I travel. I DID actually make some better choices today than I normally would. A normal day would start out with a full breakfast at McDs at the home airport (sausage mcgriddle, hashbrown, diet coke.) I did still have mcd’s, but i had the egg mcmuffin and no hashbrown and a diet coke. Normally, then, at the layover, I would get a snack. I didn’t. On the plane, I would take the box with all the chips and cookies. I didn’t, I chose the fruit/cheese plate and water. Normally, when I get to the hotel, I would pick out a restaurant and “treat” myself to something decadent. I didn’t. I had subways. Normally, I would find snacks to eat for late night. I didn’t. I am sitting here pissy instead. 😀