Who knew that seat belts really should be bigger. A seat belt is something I had never really given any consideration to before I gained 150 pounds. You sat in the car, put your seat belt on, and off you went.
That was when I was a standard size. Unfortunately, once I married, I wasn’t a standard size for long. Once my weight ballooned up and over 300 pounds I had a lot of struggles with those pesky fabric seat belts. Like everyone else who has been morbidly obese, when I weighed in that range, I still needed to use a seat belt, but sometimes that wasn’t possible. This sounds harsh to say, but as big as I looked when I was standing up, when I sat down things really got wide. Everything seemed to spread around me, and I looked bigger than I really was. Unfortunately, even though I avoided looking at myself from the side when sitting, there were times when my sitting down width became undeniable and embarrassing. After all, with a waist size of 55 and hips in the 60’s, it had becoming increasingly difficult to perform normal day-to-day activities.
Walking was more difficult, standing for long periods of time was torture for my knees and back. And who knew this would happen – but riding in vehicles became somewhat of an issue as well!
One time a friend and I were going to the children’s museum with our kids. I had a minivan back then, which seems so tiny when I compare it to the 12 passenger van I drive now, and I never had a problem buckling my seat belt properly. However, on that day, after we had we opened up her trunk and loaded strollers, coolers and diaper bags, the next step was to transferred my kid’s car seats to her car, along with little squirming children. After what seemed like an eternity, we got in the car and prepared to leave.
She put on her seat belt, and I reached behind me to grab mine. I grabbed the seat belt, pulled it diagonally across my body and whoops! No go. Being very technologically savvy, I released the seat belt all the way back into its holder, and tried again. Double no go. The seat belt reached about to my left hip, but was a good 4″ short of reaching the buckle thingy. I gently released the seat belt one more time and looked at her. She said, “Is it broken?” I said, “No, it’s too small.” She wanted to change to my car, but I didn’t want to go through the embarrassment of unloading 5 children and all their paraphernalia. I insisted it would be fine to go the short distance to the museum without being buckled, but I felt incredibly guilty and said prayed the whole time she was driving that we wouldn’t crash.
Obviously we made it safely there and back, but my self esteem had taken another major nose dive.
I wish that that incident had spurred me into action, but just like all the other embarrassing moments, it sent me through the McDonald’s drive-thru. I still remember asking the older two kids if they’d like some french fries on the way home that day. They were happy to share a small fry, and I was content for a moment with my large fry, large diet coke, and large chocolate shake. Content until I got home that is.
I write this not so you will feel sorry for me, but so you will know that no matter what your weight issues/challenges are – I’ve been there. I know how these kinds of incidences can beat us down and make us feel bad. But I also know that looking back I feel powerful that I was able to finally break free of that life and move forward – both to the joy and happiness of myself and my family. Do you feel powerful? Diane