Tall Girl in a Short World.

Via on Sep 9, 2013

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*Dedicated to my tall and extremely lovely niece Shelby, who asked me to write this piece.

I’m tall.

I started out short, like we all do, but by the time I hit kindergarten, I was the big oaf in the back row of my class picture. I remained in the back row, looming over all the other adorable children until they stopped taking those kinds of pictures in the sixth grade.

By seventh grade, I hit six feet, which, while a slightly more common height today, was considered freakish then.

To make matters worse, I was on the chunky side. I hated sports and loved Ding Dongs—it didn’t take long for the pounds to pile on.

In Freshman year of high school, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine which tends to strike tall adolescent girls. Just my luck. The doctor slapped me into a full body brace for a couple of years which made me look and feel like the Bride of Frankenstein.

I lumbered and lurched my way through high school, becoming morose and sarcastic which I perceived to be the only antidote to the legions of giggling fine boned girls who roamed the halls.

How I hated them. It was the eighties, and the sight of them in their leg warmers and jelly shoes, their Member’s Only jackets and Izod shirts filled me with rage.

Oddly, I never lacked male admirers—but they weren’t the guys I wanted attention from. They were the losers, like me, and more often than not, were shorter than average. My prom date was 5’6″ on a good day, and I twisted myself into a complicated slump so as not to tower over him in our pictures.

My entire night was spent trying to squeeze myself like an accordion down to an acceptable height.

In college, I pretended not to care anymore. I got myself a tall boyfriend and tried to ignore the fact that my girlfriends were all under 5’2″ and weighed 105lbs.  I clocked in at 160 (I told everyone 140) and I had no hope of fitting into anything fashionable. Jeans were too short, my wrists hung out of long sleeved shirts and coats, and my size 10, extra wide feet wouldn’t squeeze into a decent pump or anything but a gym shoe.

Those were the dark ages for tall and big girls. There were no plus size models, no online shopping, and no tall or plus sizes. The closest I got to a store that catered to me was the Sears “Pretty Plus” and “Husky” sections—not exactly a confidence booster.

Eventually, I grew to appreciate, if not love, my height. When embraced, height can give you power and presence, two things women often sorely lack. But there was still a secret side of me that hated being bigger than everyone else.

Imagine my surprise when I went to the doctor for my annual physical this year and was told my height was only 5’10″! Apparently, at the ripe old age of 43, I have shrunk two inches.

At this rate, by the time I’m 50, I should five feet tall.

What happens to shorter women as they age? Do they disappear entirely?

After a lifetime of wishing I was shorter, I suddenly am.

I went to the farmer’s market the other day and found myself surrounded by ridiculously tall women. I don’t know what was in the air that day, but the Amazons were out. These girls were as tall as my husband, and he’s 6’6.

I stared and glared at them with a nasty frown, until I caught myself—I was jealous. After a lifetime of wishing I was shorter, here I was, not only shorter, but shorter in a taller world. And I didn’t like it one bit.

I guess you’re never to old to learn a new lesson, or rather, learn an old lesson in a new way. “Be careful what you wish for…”

I plan on spending my remaining years as a tall (ish) woman in the highest damn heels I can stand. I’m sad that I wasted so much time hating my body and praying it was different. It has done some pretty cool stuff, not the least of which is making a human being from scratch–who is also, incidentally, destined to be tall.

Self love is a lifelong endeavor—I hope to master it while I can still see over the driving wheel.

 

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 Ed: Bryonie Wise

About Erica Leibrandt

Erica Leibrandt is a certified Yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner, student of Buddhism, vegan chef and mother to six heathens who masquerade as innocent children. She aims to apply the principles of Yoga to real life. Between teaching Yoga, holding vegan cooking seminars, writing and cycling she spends her time as a taxi service to her children, being walked by her dogs, and trying to dream up an alternative to doing the laundry. If she occasionally finds herself with a fried egg on her plate or dancing until dawn, she asks that you not judge her. Life is short, she knows the chicken that laid the egg, and you can never dance too much. You can connect with Erica on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

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4 Responses to “Tall Girl in a Short World.”

  1. LIsa says:

    I love this article! I am 6'1 and my story is very similar to yours; always praying to be different. Thanks you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences, it's nice to know I'm not the only one. Well, as you said, now there are many tall women around. i suppose you and I were the only ones back in the 80's~thank goodness there's more now!

  2. Katie Aair says:

    I used to hate on everything about my body…a learned trait of course, starting late in elementary school when I was the only non-petite thing in sight. I was the tallest kid in 5th grade (boys included), and that image has stuck with me. I'm only 5'9, but I create in my mind that I'm 6'3, & to this day, I find it funny when certain people are actually taller than I am. I just recently got over wanting to be fun-sized, & I'm so grateful! It pretty much rocks not ever having to ask anyone for help to reach something. My body is so capable and absolutely amazing. I feel incredibly blessed to be sturdy. ;) Thanks for the reflection Erica!

  3. Katherine says:

    I've always loved being tall. In fact, at a mere 5'9", I have sometimes wished I was taller. Tall, long, I dance, I fly.

  4. Cecilia says:

    I've also been tall my whole life. I'm now 25 and very confidant in my 6' curvy frame. Sure, I'm naturally slim but I had my time as a "big and tall" woman and know how others looked at me because of society's standards.

    Now, I'm embracing the fact that I'm considered an Amazon and even feeling comfortable in heels! I only hope that more women like myself do the same! It feels amazing!

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