Come Fly With Me!
Hi friends – I am coming to you live, from 40,000 feet in the air. WELL, I guess I’m not “LIVE”, by the time that I publish this, I’ll be on the ground again. As my faithful readers (oh, hey Ma!) know, writing is one of my most favourite creative outlets. It makes me happy, gives me the feels, and allows me to release ALLLL the creative juices that have been building up inside of me.
In my perpetual effort to decrease the stress and increase those happy hormones, I’ve made a commitment to myself to make more time for writing… aka BLOGGING -- I’d love for you to join my Mom and follow along too...that's if it floats your boat, of course! As I said, I’m currently on a plane. A STINKIN' PLANE. As a travel agent, a flight – especially a short haul – would NEVER be a source of excitement for me. In fact, dread would be a much more accurate descriptor. Flying had lost its magic. There was a time when I was pumped – comparing takeoff to a roller coaster ride; which really only came from not actually taking my first flight until my late twenties. Then, it just became the same as traveling by car – something I disliked. However, ENTER COVID-19. The final pre-Covid flight that I took touched down on March 4, 2020; just 12 days shy of Trudeau staring those piercing baby blues DEEP into the camera with a message for Canadians, “let me be clear, if you’re abroad, it’s time to come home.
The pivotal moment. The one which will forever live in the confines of my brain as the exact moment when the mayhem commenced.
Particularly for those who were a part of the travel industry. Like, me and all of my fellow travel agents out there.
ESPECIALLY those who had some of the aforementioned Canadians abroad.
We worked around the clock, waiting on hold for hours and hours AND HOURS as suppliers tried to keep up with the questions, while navigating the waters themselves. We were verbally abused, continually belittled and the source of mistruths spread by a certain child-math-prodigy-turned-adult-Satan with a smarmy grin.
Clients thought we were inept. Clients thought we were withholding information. Clients thought WE were hoarding their hard earned money. But, we were just cogs in the wheel, at the full mercy of the suppliers.
There were new policies…nonsensical policies…modified policies… even policies that were a policy one day and COMPLETELY non-existent the next – that one was particularly gut-wrenching. Imagine telling your clients they are getting a refund and then, less than 24 hours later, having to tell them that they are not. I truly have residual anxiety from that and the backlash we received. But, this entry IS NOT about THAT, it’s about me being on my first post-Covid flight.
First, let’s take a moment to reflect on my LAST pre-Covid flight. It was uncomfortable, to say the least, but, my inner Positive-Polly is taking it as a blessing in disguise because it was the pivotal moment for me. It was THAT trip and THAT flight that made me realize that things have gotta change. I felt like I was heading back to that super dark place where my over 500lb body held me captive. So, without that flight, who knows where I would be right now? I know, it likely wouldn't be 40,000 feet in the air, more like six feet in the ground.
It was the first time since flying as a super-morbidly obese person that I felt like I may need to ask for a seatbelt extender. But, did I ask for one? Heeeeeck naaaah! I used my blanket to cover my girth instead…and put some serious effort in to avoiding eye contact as the flight attendant walked by and immediately focused her eyes on my seatbelt area. Which was carefully crafted to look like it had been buckled. LIES! That brought on a boatload of anxiety in itself. Would she catch me? Would I get in trouble? Would I be embarrassed? No… I DIDN’T get caught BUT, I REALLY SHOULD NOT have been flying without a seatbelt. It’s unsafe…it’s against the rules…it’s stupid.
DO NOT FLY WITHOUT A SEATBELT. IT IS OKAY TO USE A SEATBELT EXTENDER. So, I used that moment to do a deep dive in to my feelings. And, I can tell you, the way it made me feel was horrendous. ZERO WARM FUZZIES. It ACTUALLY made me sick to my stomach – or it could have been ACTUAL sickness because I’m pretty sure I picked up the Covid in Vegas but, it wasn’t a “thing” in my neck of the woods yet so, there was no testing, just a Nanny on the nurses line telling me to fill my boots with honey and hardcandy and it would cure what ails me. But, I determined, in that moment, that I WOULD NOT allow myself to feel that way again. I WOULD NOT put myself in that situation. I had come WAY TOO FAR to give up. So, I went full tilt. But, instead of focusing on “weight loss”, I focused on fitness and health. I vowed that I WAS NOT going to be the person who had to stop and take a break, slowing my friends down. I WAS NOT going to have forced limits on what I could do because I was physically incapable. I WAS NOT going to be that person with whom strangers either avoided eye contact OR provided that prolonged SYMPATHETIC stare. I wasn’t going to be that person because I WAS that person…I was that person for far too long and a little something inside of me died at the thought of going back there. To the worst, most painful time in my life. So, here I am…two years, three months, four days, five hours and 37 minutes since I stepped off of that horrible flight. I’m SO HAPPY that I could BURST. I am sitting here, COMFORTABLY, with extra space left on my seatbelt AND my tray table is down. DOWN! Like, in the place it is supposed to be, not resting on my belly.
NOTHING can change this feeling. Not the Claude Val Grenache Blanc that is reminiscent of cat urine… OR, the fact that the bodybuilderesque gentleman next to me is spilling in to my seat (We’re touching thighs right now and my right leg is AT LEAST halfway in my own space.)... OR, that I can’t tell if said gentleman is continually releasing flatulence or, if the sandwich the woman behind me is eating contains cooked garbage. I DON’T CARE because I’m FLYING. I stayed TRUE to myself and HONOURED my commitment. I’M COMFORTABLE. I’m FINALLY seeing the light at the end of that pandemic tunnel. And, it feels like a million bucks!