“How’s the weather up there?” Growing up I was always tall for my age. Now I’m grown and I’m just tall, period. When I was in elementary school I loved being taller than all of the boys. Once I hit middle school I didn’t love it as much. Once I started high school it was my least favorite thing about myself. The average height for women around the world is 5’7. The average height for women in the US is 5’5. I’m 5’10.
5’10 is supposed to be the ideal “supermodel height.” We idolize these people like Taylor Swift and Blake Lively, both of whom are 5’10, and Karlie Kloss, who’s 6’1, but nobody talks about what it’s like to grow up being the tallest. It has it’s struggles, like many things that people deal with growing up. Being teased about being tall isn’t something that most people think about. I was always told that I would grow to love my height once I was older. Well now I’m older. I don’t exactly love it, but I’ve learned to embrace it.
The challenges that come with my height aren’t always obvious.
I was barely taller than my high school boyfriend and I’ve always towered over my friends, both the girls and the guys. Regardless of my height I’ve always loved wearing heels and boots that inevitably make me even taller than I already was. I love wearing heels, but it’s a tough trade off. I’m a head taller than most people when I do. I wear them because it’s fun, not because they increase my height, that was the last thing I’d ever want.
Even wearing flats I was given nicknames such as “The Jolly Green Giant” and #27feettall. People would ask me “How did you get so tall?” which cues a wide variety of sassy responses depending on who asked. My favorite comment that my friends never fail to remind me is “but you can get things from the top shelf!” So, I’m your substitute step ladder? I promise that when the top shelf becomes exciting I will let you all know.
Often, it’s not the fact that I am as tall as I am that is the problem.
It is that I am as tall as I am, and that I am a girl. Just this summer I was at work I made the mistake of saying how I feel less freakishly tall when I’m around the guys at work that are taller than me. “Yeah but he’s a guy, he’s supposed to be tall,” from another of my male friends. Ouch.
He said it as if my height was something I had decided for myself. As if I had woken up one day and said that I wanted to be the same height that he is and taller than almost all of my other friends. I have about as much control over my height as I do over my eye color. Actually, it’s definitely easier to change your eye color, at least temporarily, than it is to control how tall you are.
It’s gotten to the point that, even as stunned as I was by that comment, I’m just used to it. I wear my heels and I sass them back, and I try my best to brush it off when people crack the inevitable jokes. I still don’t totally love the fact that I’m taller than both of my parents, and practically eye level with my 6’1 brother, but at least I’ve learned to own it instead of hide it. Also, I have something in common with Taylor Swift and Blake Lively. Can’t beat that.