I was once at a party when a guy approached me and said, “Wow, why are you so tall?”
Yes, this was some sad attempt at a pick-up line.
I also had an ex-boyfriend who told me not to wear high heels, because it made him uncomfortable that I was then taller than he.
That was fun.
It’s not the first time my height was the topic for a joke, or the subject of conversation.
Not the first time at all.
In elementary school, fellow classmates repeatedly called me The Jolly Green Giant. (Originality is never the strong suit of bullies.) It was silly, it was teasing, but I still remember it, decades later. I was always the center of the class photos. I’m not sure why this was so bothersome, other than the fact that it was presented in a way that made me feel like the freak of the class. I was always, always, always at least a head taller than all of the boys I had crushes. Always. Is that a big deal when you’re in your twenties and thirties and so on? No. But when you’re fifteen, being so much taller than the object of your affection somehow translates that you’ll be single forever. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I should be a basketball player, I’d be a millionaire. It took me a long time to realize I should buy pants that were, you know, a tall cut. My dance teachers would run out of tape when they were measuring me for costumes, and just…guess my size.
The list can go on, but the point of it all is that my height was always something people commented on – so much so that it made me want to shrink myself. I know, I know, that seems ridiculous, but at the time, I thought if people stopped noticing my height, perhaps I wouldn’t be the center of attention anymore, and then people wouldn’t be so mean.
So I “shrank” myself, as in, I hunched my shoulders over and in an effort not to be seen, which just resulted in really bad posture.
I wish I had seen more love for tall women when I was younger – to see the beauty in oneself celebrated and reflected in others is an important, wonderful thing.
So here are night love notes for my fellow tall girls, to get you through those awkward phases and social situations:
1. When someone asks you, “Wow, why are you so tall”, a great retort is, “Wow, why are you so short?”
2. The Jolly Green Giant is like, the king of the vegetables, and will probably live for forever, which makes him some sort of superhero, so keep that in mind when the bullies hurl their unoriginal insults at you.
3. Being the center of photos is prime location. Always.
4. Purchase jeans that are a tall cut – they’re wonderful, and they’re useful in all seasons.
5. The boys you had crushes on in middle school and high school will grow, and your height is not the promise of eternal singleness, I promise. Love has no height requirement.
6. When people stare at you, it’s because you’re striking. It’s because you’re beautiful. It’s because your height commands attention – and that’s a superpower.
7. Do not attempt to shrink yourself – ever. It’s bad for your posture, and even worse for your spirit.
8. Wear the heels if you want. Who cares if they make you taller? You are a stunning, gorgeous, queen of a woman – and your tallness is something to be celebrated.
9. Remember that Naomi Campbell, Mandy Moore, Blake Lively, Queen Latifah, Michelle Obama, Padma Lakshmi, Taylor Swift, and Nicole Kidman are all 5’10” and over – that’s eight amazing women right there, who are doing extraordinary things in the world. There are plenty more, too. And you’re part of that list.