Let me set the scene for you: I was walking home one Saturday afternoon, in the frigid cold, feeling on top of the world after an interview with a company I love. I had my headphones on and was only a few minutes from home when a woman on the street asked me how tall I was. I responded with the usual “I’m 6’5” and awkward smile that accompanies such interactions for me. It was her response that sent me reeling—“Wow, you’re f***ing huge!”
I laughed uncomfortably with her while she tried to continue a conversation, feeling oh so annoyed, and awaiting my chance to escape. I immediately messaged Danielle, my editor, that this interaction had left me with a story idea. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve written about being tall, but this time, I have some more freedom with my thoughts.
I am 6’5”. I fully acknowledge that I am TALL, taller than most, and that has been my defining feature for my entire life. There has never been a time that I have not been the ‘tall’ one, and at 23 years old, I am finally okay with that. I even like being tall, and the unique opportunities that it as given me, as well was all the amazing women I have met from working within the tall community. However, that does not mean that I am okay with the random outbursts and questions from strangers, especially those that are exceptionally rude, like the above anecdote. Funnily enough, this also comes on the heels of my Uber driver striking up a conversation while stuck in traffic about basketball. For the record, I played basketball for one year in elementary school. Not my thing. I was a volleyball girl, and I only got involved in that because of my height. See unique opportunities, above.
I get it. My height ensures I stand out in a crowd, and it is pretty impressive. Add a pair of heels on, and I am approaching goddess-status height. I know all this. I live it everyday, and it is still a source of insecurity at times. So why do people insist on pointing this out to me as if I have no idea? I especially love these comments from other tall women, who should really know better. Sometimes, the comments are empathetic, and I appreciate those, like the lovely girl at Fran’s who gave my friend and I a table so we would have more leg room. Feel free to compliment my height, or commiserate on our shared struggles but please, please, do not call me f***cking huge. A younger me would have been devastated to have been told that, and spent the rest of the day cursing my height and my parents for bestowing it on me. Now, I can let things like this roll off my back without taking them to heart. That doesn’t mean that I enjoy hearing it, or think it’s acceptable.
I am an advocate for body positivity and inclusivity, and from my personal experience, it is predominantly about my height. I have spent too many years crying in change rooms and feeling so out of place in social settings and physical situations that aren’t a challenge for others (I’m talking about airplanes, and any form of public transit—if you know, you know). I’m done with that, and it would be a lot easier without the unnecessary comments that I hear daily about my height. They aren’t original, I have heard them all, and they definitely aren’t funny.
Of course, there is a universal message in this for all of us about not commenting on people’s physical appearances, as they cannot change them, and there is a good chance you will be highlighting something they are already deeply insecure about. I am merely using my personal experience to share this larger message that we should really all know by now! There are way more interesting things about me, and the world in general, to comment on than ‘that really tall girl over there’.
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