So… it finally happened today. The moment I have feared every time I have flown for years. That feeling of panic I get when I sit in my seat and prepare for the flight… I put my bags in place, settle my phone and book in the seat back pocket and reach for the buckle. I extended the buckle, and… it wouldn’t click!
No matter how much I sucked in my tummy, I was just millimeters away from hearing it click. I squirmed and sucked. I worked up a sweat and quietly swore under my breath. I fogged up my face wearing a damn required face mask. I tried to calm down for a minute and try again, watching people who were sturdier than me walk down the aisle with confidence, thinking “If they can fly, so can I!” I struggled some more, tears pricking the corners of my eyes, as I squirmed and prayed that no one was watching my struggle.
Alas, nothing I did was going to help that buckle reach the last fraction of an inch it needed to click. Sigh. It was at that moment I had to suck it up, push the call button, and ask for a seatbelt extender. I was so humiliated I wanted to sink into the seat and disappear. (Of course the extender made the seatbelt huge!)
I know other passengers on the flight may have asked for an extender too. I know it must happen often because they have them in the first place. I know I expected this to happen to me at some point, because it is always close. I know that I should just roll with it and hold my head high… I always encourage people to love themselves no matter what and to be proud of who they are.
But for today, I just feel defeated. I feel huge, and conspicuous, and crummy. I feel like the biggest person on the plane. I feel alone. And honestly, I feel sorry for myself. Sigh…
I know that I will get over it eventually. I will see myself as valuable again. And maybe, just maybe… next time I will bring my own damn extender, just in case.