Now that the birthday madness is behind us, I can focus on writing about important things again. Like body hair and blood draws. Or being really tall. I am really tall. I've been this way my whole life. And while everyone shorter seems to want to be taller, I have not felt that being tall has been a blessing at all. In fact, for most of my life I have kind of hated it. I'm not just tall-for-a-girl tall, I'm as-tall-as-some-men tall. And have been since the 6th grade.
Being tall automatically makes people assume that you have awesome athletic abilities. As if there are jet packs in your tibias (that's a shin bone) that allow you to jump really high and springs in your wrists that allow you to shoot basketballs perfectly into hoops like only really tall people can. This is a myth. Every year since elementary school I was told to try out for basketball because with my height, I was sure to be a star. I had no interest in basketball, but finally in the 7th grade, I tried out. While all of the shorter people made perfect lay-ups and 3-pointers, I struggled with dribbling the ball. I was tall, but I was not athletically inclined. At least not with sports that included balls, which pretty much eliminated most organized group sports. So I did not play sports, much to everyone's chagrin, because a tall person not playing basketball is a waste of being tall.
While being really tall seems exotic and glamorous to those who are not, it comes with its obstacles. Like clothing, for instance. Clothing for really tall girls/women is hard to come by. I have a 36" inseam and most of the stores that carry a *limited* stock of tall/long pants only go up to a 34" inseam. This has been a problem my whole life. I have lived in denial of the fact that I can't wear the same pants that my friends were wearing by buying them anyway and wearing shoes that were bulky enough to cause an optical illusion that my hems were indeed long enough, but caught on my big, bulky shoes. Think Timberlands circa 1997. This rarely worked, so I wore capris for most of my junior and senior year in high school. Thank God they were remotely in style. Nowadays I have learned to shop for my frame online because that's where the really long pants are. J. Crew, I heart you. This means that I never get to try anything on first, but it is a small price to pay to actually have pants long enough.
The other misconception people have about being really tall is that you have poise and confidence. This was not the case with me in junior and senior high. I hunched through my adolescence because I hated towering over everyone, including my teachers. They always assured me that I would love my stature once I got older because I could be a ballerina, model or a (gasp) basketball player. What about a writer or a needleworker? Can't tall people do those things too??? I didn't believe them nor did I embrace my height. I tried my best to hunker down and blend in with my classmates. I didn't want to be The Tall Girl. I just wanted to be average and constantly being called out on my height made me feel very insecure. Confident I was not.
After 28 years of being tall, I have come to accept that this is my frame. I am tall and that's that. I actually do like it now that I am comfortable in my own skin. JD is tall so standing next to him makes me feel petite. That is an adjective no one has ever used to described me. When I get pedicures, the technician tells me in his best English as he scoots way, waaaaaaay back on his little rolling stool that I am long-tall. I have accepted that I may always stand in the back of group pictures (with the men), I may always have to shop online, and I may always get comments about my height. But this is me. I am a tall, writing, needleworking, non-dribbling or lay-upping girl who makes others feel like tiny, little people.