Growing up is hard; especially when there is a stark difference between you and your peers. For me, it has always been my height. I became all too familiar with the centre of the back row in school pictures and was often praised for my presumed star basketball skills. Needless to say, I didn’t have any. Squat. Zip-o!
There’s nothing wrong with being tall. In fact, now I love it! But for some reason, I had created this idea that girls couldn’t be tall, especially not taller than boys. That would mean I’d be considered “big” or “large” or “fat” (which happened to be the worst thing at the time). Naturally, I went about every way to suppress my height; from casually squatting in pictures with friends to sporting nothing but flats or kitten heels at formal events. I may have once also lunged out of a dark, crowded bar while chatting up a dude, doing my best to mask our height gap (Did I mention he was about 5’4”? Picture it. I dare you).
It wasn’t until my Dad had met his 5’10” wife that I started to be more accepting of my height. He often raved about her elegance when she graciously walked into a room and encouraged me to do the same. Once I realized that these long limbs weren’t going anywhere, I decided to take the plunge.
One night during my university days, I headed out to a bar in Old Montreal with a few girlfriends. Being fully aware of the not-so-long-legged-men in the Montreal scene, I strapped on my heels and strut my daddy long legs into the bar. Gazing around, only to find the tops of many male heads, I knew what I was in for. But what did I care? I was going to do my thang anyway!
Later in the night I found myself dancing [read: awkwardly leg-grinding/air-humping] with a fellow Frenchie. Over the loud trashy music, he screamed the inevitable words, “You’re so tall!” to which I replied, “I know – do you like it?”
His response? “NO, YOU’RE TOO TALL!”
I could’ve left this situation in a number of ways. I could’ve walked away, beating myself up once again, for not being the short, cute, petite girl that the typical guy would go after. Instead, I walked away feeling more empowered than ever. I wasn’t going to curve my spine and droop my shoulders over this one; slouching isn’t sexy, after all. ‘Cause let’s face it – when it comes to height (or lack of), there’s no changing it, so why not pull your shoulders back, stand tall and wear what you’ve been given with pride?
A little mantra that really resonated with me was from a former theatre teacher who told me, “When you walk into a room, WALK into a room.” From that point onwards, I wore my 5’11” and ¾ frame with pride and I encourage you to do the same. There is so much beauty in someone who exemplifies true confidence in everything they are – don’t go hiding any of it!
What’s something you’ve overcome that’s resulted in self-love?