I’ve been awkwardly tall my whole life. The kind of tall where people immediately assume I played basketball, first base, and was never asked to prom. When I was a little girl I dreamed of competing in gymnastics, riding horses, and being on the top of a human pyramid. I might as well have wanted to be a little person. My favorite book in grade-school was BFG (Big Friendly Giant) because I could relate. My dad was always telling me to stand up tall and I was always looking for ways to appear shorter so I could avoid startling the 4ft soccer player I sat next to in 7th grade. It was my curse to always have a crush on the late bloomers or the stalky short-stop who would certainly french kiss my belly button if he ever leaned in for a smooch. Needless to say, being tall was terrible for my love life and I developed what I fondly refer to as a Goliath complex (thankfully sling-shots are no longer the weapon of choice!) As a result of my Goliath (AKA: T-rex, Frankenstein, or Godzilla) complex, I spent grade-school, Jr. High, High School, and college making flat-shoed shoe-makers extremely wealthy.
Years after I graduated from college I met a beautiful, tall, heel-toting, confident woman in my church choir. We naturally became fast friends (because we saw eye to eye) and eventually she persuaded me to own my colossal-ness and buy my first pair of heels. It was a big day…I was finally taking that step…I was growing up…I was ready to kick up my heels and if the shoe fit, wear it! I found a beautiful pair of patchwork leather boots (2 inches high) that came to my knees and fortunately Kohls carries behemoth size, so I tried them on. They were hot, they were sexy, and as I walked toward the mirror to take in this newly confident and proud woman, a little girl pointed at me and shouted across the shoe department, “Mommy, look at that giant lady!” Needless to say, the only thing I left the store with that day was a bruised ego.
Fortunately, with years comes maturity and I did eventually let go of my insecurity and embrace my giganticness with pride (heels and all!) It was about this time that my husband and I went to Boston to celebrate our dear friend’s marriage. We had a wonderful time dancing and toasting and drinking. At the end of the night we were winding down at the bride’s favorite Boston bar when the groom’s father stumbled over to me and put his arm around my shoulder. Clearly having had enough to drink, he leaned into me and slurred, “shhhyou’re a big shlady.” Knowing how embarrassed he would be if he knew how insulting he had just been, I attempted to dig him out of the hole by responding, “well, I wouldn’t say I’m big, but I am quite tall.” I quickly realized that he was determined to bury himself alive when he replied with “no, no, no, shhhyou’re the biggesht shlady in the room!”
Just once, I would like to feel like China in a Bull shop.
With that being said, what I love about getting older is that I no longer feel uncomfortable in my own skin, even if I AM the biggest lady in the room. Height is my family’s calling card and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m proud that I can help get a toy off the roof, find who I’m looking for in any sized crowd, turn the ceiling fan on and off with the fan chain, and step over child-gates, hurdles, and tennis court nets without ending up on America’s Funniest Videos. I am exactly the height I was meant to be and so is that powerful cheerleader at the top of the pyramid!