|Charlotte, NC: the walk from terminal E, Gate 22, to Terminal B, Gate 14, will forever be etched into my mind.
The first time I made that exact walk was a cold snowy night about 3 years ago. I was trying to get back home to Nashville from a business trip.
I remember being lost in a sea of men wearing suits. They were rushing past me talking too loud on their cell phones, and running me over. I had on a suit, too, but mine suddenly felt cheap and ill-fitted. I was limping. I was exhausted.
And I had to walk all the way from E22 to B14 (714 miles, to be exact.)
When you walk through terminal E, you pass a bagel shop. Einstein’s Bagels. That’s where I lost my ability to keep the tears in my eyes.
Wow, I remember it in such detail.
I started down the ramp next to the bagel shop and suddenly felt so ashamed of my body—my appearance—that I wanted to hide.
Racing thoughts overtook my mind:
Belinda, you are disgusting.
You are so fat that people won’t even make eye contact with you.
You are a disabled mess.
You do not deserve to be here.
This is why you are alone—you take up too much space.
And as much I knew intellectually those thoughts didn’t make sense, the more I limped to my gate, the more I cried.
I felt weak, ugly and unworthy of, well, anything.
I remember when I finally got to B14. I was in a full-on silent cry (which I didn’t even bother to wipe away anymore), and I looked in the big glass window and spotted a woman.
I thought, “If I could only be her size, I would be happy. She’s a nice size, and she’s pretty. God, I would be so grateful if I could just look like her.”
I kept staring at her in the glass.
Wonder what her life must be like?
I bet she’s going home to someone who loves her.
She doesn’t know how lucky she is.
…and then I realized…
I was looking at my own reflection.
People, are you paying attention???
I was wishing I looked like ME!!!
So, the next day, I called Julian, the best trainer in the world. I was going to get some strength in my body.
You know what? It worked. Julian taught me that I was way underestimating myself in my ability to build my strength.
Not long after getting my hiney in ‘shape,’ I found Susan Hyatt. Susan started the BARE program which is in total alignment with my message in the world.
“I need to be a BARE coach,” I said.
And now I am.
And after hundreds of hours of coaching, I’m on my way to becoming a Certified Master Coach in 2017.
So now let’s break it down, Gang.
Guess where I ended up tonight?
Tonight, tired and with a funked out knee, I arrived at gate E22 in the Charlotte airport.
Guess what gate I had to walk to to catch my connection?
Wait for it…
Big fat B14.
When I looked at the monitor tonight and realized I was making the exact walk that left me in tears three years ago, I laughed.
Tonight I have a small knee injury so I’m limping again.
Tonight I’m wearing a suit, albeit a different one.
And tonight, when I approached the bagel place, I took a deep breath, put my shoulders back, and I sashayed (with a totally cool limp) all the way to B14.
I OWNED my space.
And all the men in suits having loud cell phone conversations?
Yeah, they stepped aside—because I wasn’t moving.
Tonight was my reckoning.
Tonight, I settled a score, and it was SWEET.
I am enough.
I am worthy of the space I inhabit.
And limp or no limp, the boys in suits can get out of my way.