Diary of a Struggling Flight Attendant
My name is Nikki and I have been a regional flight attendant for 4 years. Whenever I tell people my occupation I get the same responses. "That is so cool!", "I have always wanted to do that!", and "Do you just LOVE your job?!". When I get these responses I politely smile and tell them what they want to hear which is, "Thank you", "You should still consider it", and "Yes.".
I don't get excited and babble on about how awesome and glamorous and amazing my job is because simply...it's not. It IS at times and I am beyond grateful for all of my opportunities. However, we also sacrifice a lot for this job including our bodies, our relationships, and sometimes our sanity.
Things I wish I knew before I became a FA:
- I would be dirt poor
- I would live like a college student
- I would gain weight
- I need to know my boundaries
They tell you in interviews things to expect. Such a missing holidays and the possibility of having to relocate. Minor inconveniences. They leave out the lack of pay, the grueling hours and the dehumanization you will feel from passengers as well as your company. The binge drinking that crews like to do, the loss of a workout and sleep routine, plus many more aspects of our magical crew life I also found forgotten in the interview. Of course I don't expect the company to disclose these types of things but where were all of the other flight attendants with the heads up!?!
I got hired in 2014, I was 24 years old. I was fresh out of college (with no degree) and was a huge party girl (hence the no degree). I was partying on overnights with my crew and then partying at home on days off with my friends. I was burning the candle at both ends to say the least. I had a great time, but I was on an extremely unhealthy path. Between drinking every night and eating shitty airport food or any free food I could get off the airplane or at hotels (because I was so poor) my body was only able to sustain that lifestyle for so long. I had stopped working out regularly, had developed anxiety, my skin was awful, I was tired constantly and felt like I was on a path to nowhere. I wasn't even traveling because I couldn't afford to. This is not all there is for me I kept thinking.
I have been my thinnest at this job and now I am at my heaviest. I was sliding skinny jeans I could barely fit into in college on and off when I started flying because I didn't have money for food. Plus, my anxiety was so high I wasn't hungry. Now all of the new "habits" have caught up with me. Not only was I complacent with my unhealthy lifestyle but I had gotten a new boyfriend, gained some relationship weight, changed my birth control, gained some weight from that. All of these normal life things were happening along with keeping the life of partying and eating whatever. Not one thing in particular was to blame for where I was at emotionally or health wise and I take full accountability. To be clear, becoming a flight attendant did NOT make me this way, but I do recognize that it contributed. I was also aware that I did and still do have a really cool job. I love making my own schedule, I have a lot of fun, I get to travel and see lots of things I never would have without becoming a flight attendant. But I wasn't happy with myself which prevented me from enjoying my career to the fullest (today I am much more gentle to Nikki).
I have always had insecurities about my body, but nothing compared to what I was feeling then, and still sometimes now. Which to be honest is shame. I found myself scrolling and comparing myself to social media way too often instead of being present. I wasn't going to outings with friends because I didn't like how I looked. I just FELT unhealthy and it showed. I woke up one day and decided something had to change. I did not want to live one more day as a stranger trapped in my own body.
I did a Whole 30, found yoga and meditation and BOOM. I see the light. I know what to do and how to do it, (as most of us do) but now I have the motivation to actually follow through. I want to use this blog as a way of holding myself accountable. I also would love to meet other people , not just flight attendants, who are sharing similar struggles. Be it an irregular schedule, traveling for work, or anything else getting in the way of living your best, most authentic life. I believe the first step is figuring our what your CORE VALUES are. If you stick to your values, you will be guided in the most divine direction. The most authentic to YOUR path. Each persons path will be different from mine but I am here to inspire change, promote healthy growth and most importantly to learn.
Within the past few short months I have made small but important changes in my life : No hard alcohol or beer, just sticking to good wine and only when it is worth it to me. Cook more, eat out less. Move my body every day. I decluttered my Instagram of all people or accounts that did not make me fee good. I am journaling and setting monthly intentions. I practice Gratitude everyday. I also have found some amazing inspiration through podcasts (Oprah Super Soul, The Feel Good Effect, How I Built This, From the Heart conversations with Yoga Girl) , books, and my newly made over Instagram feed. I am feeling SO good, inspired and HAPPY.
Along with my health & wellness journey, and finding balance in life, I will document what it is REALLY like to be a flight attendant. The good, the great, the bad and the ugly. I want this blog more than anything to be REAL. Not just filled with pretty pictures that make it look like my life is perfectly beautiful and I never have a bad day. If I am feeling some kind of way, I know other people are feeling the same. Lets hash it out, get it off our chests, and release. I am putting this blog and myself into the universe because as I said before, I know there is more out there for me than just being a kick ass flight attendant. I am listening to the little voice. I hope you join me.