Fears – Bring ‘Em On!

I’m about to tell you about an experience I had  that prompted me to ask you this question:

Are there things that you are scared to do because of the size of your body.  Skydiving?  Rockclimbing?

Tell me all about them!  I’ll put my 5’4 280 pound body through as many of the things as possible and blog about them here (if you’ve read my Fat Girl Waxing then you’ve seen the results of a similar experiment).

Just leave a  comment here or click here to send an e-mail (let me know if you want me to keep it anonymous) and I’ll try the things out and let you know how it goes!

Here’s my story:

I’m not afraid of airplanes because of my size.  I fit in a seat, I bring my own seatbelt extender, and if I ever get thrown off a plane for being fat I will calmly insist that anyone who has  shoulders that are too broad to fit in their space, or legs that are too long to fit in their space be carted off with me.   I’ve scripted and practiced exactly what I’ll say. (I’m very aware of how dorky that sounds  but absent the practice I just get all screamy and bitchy and emotional and then I’m just the screaming, bitchy, emotional fat girl and I’ve found that to be pretty ineffective).  So I feel comfortable with flying – expecting the best but prepared for the worst which is one of my general life philosophies.

Except that I went on a  trip recently and I realized walking into the airport that at least one of  my traveling companions would be really uncomfortable with me making such a scene.   I should have thought about it and dealt with it beforehand but I didn’t and I didn’t want to bring it up at the airport.

Had it come down to it I absolutely would have stuck up for myself on the plane, but as we were walking through security I started to feel really anxious.  I realized how much I just wanted everything to go smoothly, and how little control I had of the situation,  and I started to be scared that it wouldn’t go well.  Had I gained weight since the last time I flew?  Had the airlines become more strict?  Should I rethink my scripting?

Everything was fine.  In fact, the flight attendant at one point tried to take my seatbelt extender to give to someone else saying “I knew you didn’t need it, I figured it was left over from the last passenger”.  (I don’t typically need it but I figure it’s worth the $40 to travel with piece of mind).  I explained it was mine, and offered to let someone borrow if if they ran out of extenders.  She didn’t even know that you could buy one of your own so I got to do a little education there.  Anyway, it all worked out, and I didn’t have any problems, but I found myself feeling pretty panicked  getting on each plane, all the while acting calm and cheerful to make sure that my friend was comfortable.  Again, all stuff that could have been dealt with by better communication on my part and that’s a lesson I’ve learned (again!) for next time.  It was my first experience of being scared to get on an  airplane and it wasn’t fun.

Leave a  comment here or click here to e-mail me (let me know if you want me to keep it anonymous) and I’ll try the things out and let you know how it goes!

~Ragen “Ain’t Skeerd” Chastain

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 6:19 am  Comments (6)  

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. When I was in a car accident at age 19, I ended up with chemical burns from the airbag, because being short and round, I was closer to it than they anticipate. I also had a cut on my neck from the seatbelt because it isn’t situated to fit a short person properly. Now, I adamantly use a seat belt adjuster…can’t do anything about the airbag, and admittedly, chemical burns is better than being impaled on a steering column anyways. Anyways, the whole process taught me very well that manufacturers aren’t planning for my body and in the event of a need for use of restraints, they may not function for me. That has instilled in me a terrible fear of any system which is dependent on a restraint.

    Skydiving. They put a weight restriction on it at every place I’ve looked at, and that tells me they haven’t vetted it for my size. :( Ditto for bungee jumping. Oh, and ziplines. Parasailing, because I don’t trust that the bench thingie won’t tend to rock backwards unsafely.

    I used to be afraid of ski lifts, when I started skiing…but that I got over, and I was so happy I did. Ski lifts are so much better than towlines and magic carpets!

    Oh, and on a slightly separate topic, what’s your thoughts on helicopters that charge extra for people over an arbitrary weight limit? It bothers me. On one hand, I get that they potentially don’t get to sell an extra seat, because they need to balance the weight…but I can’t help but feel like they could set that number at any amount they want by that standard, plus they’re not considering a total for the group or anything like that. Like, if they happen to get a small child, they’re going to sell the seat to the child, so they haven’t actually lost business. And, one would think, as busy as they are, they could balance their business effectively. So, from that POV, it seems they’ve simply picked a number that they can get away with because most people view 250lbs as OMGFATDEATHBBQ! Anyways, I have trouble deciding whether I should be angry and refuse to give them (a ridiculous sum of) money or accept that it is true that my size denies them some level of business and/or causes extra work and be willing to pay up as a result. Thoughts?

  2. I hear you on the airbag. I have a scar on the right side of my chest from an airbag but it saved my life and I am grateful.

    I’m e-mailing a friend of mine who is a skydiving instructor to get more details on the skydiving thing. I’ve heard friends of mine who weigh over 300lbs talk about doing zip tours as part of cruises…

    The helicopter thing is an interesting question. What bothers me is that they seem to be blurring the lines of space vs. weight.

    If it’s a matter of space then I completely understand that space is at a premium on a helicopter and if I take up more than my allotted space I’m willing to pay extra, as long as it’s applied across the board (broad shoulders, long legs, and big bodies should all be treated the same). And space should not be based on weight, considering the diversity of body shapes that we have. I would suggest instead that they do it like the thing at the airport that you use to test your carry on luggage. Of course I feel that it should be in a private room, but they could have a seat and you either fit or you don’t.

    If it’s a matter of weight (because it takes more fuel to fly me than someone smaller than me) then I would expect a sliding scale as opposed to just the over/under that I see now.

    What do you think?

    • To my understanding, it’s a matter of weight and moreso balancing. They have to manage both total weight and how the weight is distributed in the aircraft. Given this, I agree that if it were a sliding scale, I’d be more in favor of it. A

      The one thing that I’m cool with is that (in every instance I’ve seen) they weigh *everyone*. They don’t just eyeball you and decide whether you should pay more. In this way, at least they’re applying a consistent standard (whether fair or not) rather than a more arbitrary and unpredictable one (like certain airlines).

  3. Something I’d like to do but can’t being the size I am is learn to do rock climbing. At my size it’s probably impossible, but something I hope to do one day.

    • Unless you are unable to stand, rock climbing is not impossible. Admittedly, the more you weigh the more strength you must possess in your arm and leg muscles to lift yourself, but if you think about it, we do that every day just by going through our normal routines. You might need to strength train to develop your arm and leg muscles a little more, but so does everyone! AND that has nothing to do with size. I am not a regular climber, but I have been to the rock gym on more than one occassion, and I do fine. My belayer is much smaller than I am, but because of belaying equipment and techniques, an equal weight belayer is not neccessary. You should try it, you will be pleasantly surprised!

  4. I’ve always wanted to learn to belly dance but I’m too afraid of people judging that I’m “too fat” to do it or making fun of me since I don’t have a flat belly.


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