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Learning from Mistakes

July 17, 2014

Halfway-There

Thanks to everyone who has gotten us this far. Please support Casey in improving her mobility while fighting the fat haters by donating whatever you can afford. Read more here or click the image above to donate.

Fat Fashion

In the past few years, I’ve reluctantly adopted the title of prepper because it shorthands the conversation. “I see things people wish they had in natural disasters and wonder what I’d want in that situation” is the longhand.

It started when I moved to rural Alaska and didn’t want to die before someone found me if I rolled my vehicle. While I don’t carry the -80° sleeping bag anymore, the rest of the items are still stowed in my car. When southern California lost power, I learned that flashlights were a terrible strategy for lighting a bathroom while showering. Now I have a lantern and a collection of glow sticks I can hang. When the Concordia rolled, I learned what a pain it is to get home when your passport is sitting in a safe at the bottom of the ocean. Now I keep it, a credit card, and a thermal blanket in a floating waterproof case that I can stash in a purse or carry on my body. When I hobbled into Tokyo, I decided changes had to be made.

I got a call that I needed to be in Phoenix in two days, my length of stay was unknown, and I should prepare for at least two days. Naturally, the ideal flight was sold out, so I took the next earlier one whichConcordia meant a 4 a.m. wake-up to get to the airport, park, get felt up by Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and have them poke through my stuff. While many people in my office like to start their day at 6 a.m., I’ve worked enough nights that I am not a morning person. My “late” 5:30 a.m. wake-up is too early for my liking. Thanks to the advice from y’all, I made sure to include a pair of comfy pants and some tolerable flats in my bag.

The morning started off well. I got to keep my shoes on my feet, my jacket on my body, and my liquids in my bag as TSA sent me through the pre-check line. It made me nostalgic pre-9/11 days when I wouldn’t have to undress and unpack to go through security. I even got a nice seatmate who was a home schooler and a history teacher. I had thought Southwest’s seats felt wider than the airlines I’d used previously, but it turns out I was wrong. They definitely had a longer seat belt though. I like to put them on fully slack and then tighten. I got several inches in with this belt, as opposed to some where I’d get maybe an inch or two. Also, two checked bags are included with the airfare, if you’re so inclined.

Phoenix itself was another story. Right after I stepped out of the cab I nearly faceplanted. I’d made a last minute switch from a pair of pumps to a pair of ankle boots, and I’m pretty sure they’re the reason I didn’t start my day with a twisted ankle (I think I have a new pantsuit pairing!). After a short, morning meeting, I was left to my own devices for several hours. Heels off, flats on!

Given the amount of walking I ended up doing, not having to do it all in heels was a godsend. It really pisses me off that men’s dress shoes are essentially black leather sneakers and women’s are torture devices. I always feel like I’m chasing the guys. For reasons I will never understand, people read me as male if I’m in more neutral attire. You’d think my 38P boobs would be a giveaway, but no.

After about half an hour in 90° heat, I decided to lose the jacket too. I was wearing the one sleeveless top I could find that doesn’t show the majority of my bra cups. I saw a lot of people in various body types shamelessly showing their arms and legs and didn’t overhear any criticisms. Not even in a food court where fat people could be found eating while showing their arms and legs. I only enjoyed a short period like that because I get to choose between being hot or frying my skin. Kudos to people of all sizes who are more apt to tan than burn; I’m jealous of you all.

We managed to get everything done by 3 p.m. that day. Two days my foot. Once again, all the convenient flights were booked. This brings me to regret #1: my backpack was ideal to have the space for my files and notes on my customer, phone, tablet, a charger, toiletries, meds, enough clothing to pretend I’m wearing a different outfit the next day, and eventually the heels. Walking into a meeting with that and a suit though? A pretty universal fashion don’t. Into the messenger bag it went. My poor bag is 13 years old, and while the leather still looks nice, the zippers are sticky and the shoulder strap has issues. Carrying that around for the better part of 18 hours, the bruise on my shoulder says its time to find a replacement.

As my flight got delayed and delayed and delayed, I was so glad for the change of clothes because I was beginning to think Phoenix was purgatory, and as much as I liked my suit, I didn’t want to spend the night in it. I got my final surprise when I stood up after we landed and was in a world of pain. But this time I had my (stylish plaid) cane. No hobbling down the jetway for me! I even found a way around what I call the Hill of Doom because I drive a stick shift and I always hit the red light at the steepest part.

Compared to regret #1, the others are minor. A folding cane was definitely the way to go for me. Invisible hardware when I don’t need it, cool-looking hardware when I do. I’m forever on the quest for the feminine-looking dress shoe I can comfortably wear all day. My feet are incredibly unpredictable. Plus-sized suiting is a pain to find, but semi-annual sales make it more affordable. I got a skirt suit for $50 at their last one. I’ve been slowly acquiring Lands End pieces for traveling. I love their Starfish line.

I might look into getting a small compression bag to save space on the change of clothes because, let’s face it, a size 2’s clothing takes up less space than a size 22’s. Sometimes I end up on a flight where every passenger is trying to get a grand piano into the overhead bin, we lose our take-off spot, and there’s nothing I can do but make a dent in my reading list. Sometimes TSA thinks you’re hiding something on your ankle (nope, just swollen), sometimes they think you’re hiding something on your abdomen (nope, just fat), sometimes your underwires set off the metal detector and you get no say in who strokes your bra. Lastly, there’s no place like home, unless it’s home with freshly laundered sheets on the bed.

P.S. The best remedy for sunburn I’ve found is cool (not cold) water. Aloe might be cooling, but it also makes you stick to things and leave your skin behind. Cool compresses are easy to make so long as you have access to a water source.

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