Ever since I became 6-foot-4 at age 16, I’ve been told that I appear dangerous.
It hasn’t helped since becoming 6-foot-7.
I don’t even have menacing tattoos or anything of the sort.
I’m just really tall.
The unfair judgment reared its ugly head a few days ago in court when it was stated that I should be considered threatening – because of my height.
Read: a soul can’t control genes.
This is part (but not all) of the reason why I am growing my hair out and sometimes wear capris. I’ve thought that a feminine appearance will help show that I should not be feared for being so huge, that I’m just a softie inside.
I got comments when I was in a domestic abuse shelter (I didn’t use my size to defend myself during incidents where I was abused) about being not just a guy, but a large guy. I am not upset with the comments; they are true. But my feelings may very well have paralleled those of the women in the shelter with me.
My softness inside also helps explain why I followed my mother’s request for the court appearance. It’s my case and my life, but I still deferred, because I’m sensitive.
My sensitive side has only become stronger since leaving an institution that fostered a culture of men not being able to be emotional. In the last half-dozen movies, I’ve been in, I’ve cried at something. And even though it made perfect sense for the story, when Han Solo died, I bawled – in the theater.
I cried throughout my last phone conversation with my children and tears just wouldn’t stop when they left at the end of my most recent visit with them.
In high school, when a three-inch growth spurt put me to 6-foot-4, it helped me be on the basketball team. But then I was further told that I needed to be more physical, as I was told on competition teams growing up.
That’s what my coaches needed, but it wasn’t me. I have since pledged that in any future games, pickup or otherwise, I would not play in the post – I would roam on the perimeter, where I don’t need to bang.
And then, I’m a writer. I tend to feel deeply and (hopefully) be expressive.
Basically, there’s nothing about my size that reflects who I feel, or even am, inside. I’m a gushy, paper tiger. Truly, I am a pussycat.
And I have no doubt there are other 6-foot-7 men just like me who are misunderstood.
I love these paragraphs about sensitive men, from Psychology Today:
“Compartmentalizing your feelings can be a useful and often an essential technique for coping with overwhelming feelings when you are in a situation that prevents emotional expression. For the highly sensitive man, however, becoming aware of and expressing those feelings on a regular basis is crucial for maintaining a positive sense of self, as well as being a powerful tool for lowering stress levels. HSPs experience so much stress, thanks to environmental overload, that facing their feelings is fundamental to their health. Pushing feelings away does not make them disappear. In fact, feelings tend to grow the longer you avoid them. This might explain why some men appear to be calm and coping well, until they suddenly explode with anger. It just all becomes too much.
“ … Being highly sensitive also means that you have an ability to help others. Burying your feelings is easier, but talking about your feelings takes courage.”