Have a drink, you might need it.
Pull up a chair and grab a glass of whatever fortifies you. We are about to get real. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m in this habit of baring my soul lately and laying all my cards on the table so I think it’s high time (pun intended) to talk about what it actually means to be 6’4″ and to be female. I personally enjoy it most of the time but I can tell you, it’s not living high off the hog 100% of the time. So get comfortable because I have a feeling this could be a long blog. Let’s talk about how it all started…
I didn’t even notice I was tall until I was in 7th grade. That may sound a little odd considering that I was 5’7″ in 6th grade but there were 4 of us total that were all 5’7″. It wasn’t weird for any of us to be tall because there were so many of us. Plus, having sisters and a family that were all above average, 5’7″ really seemed normal. So when 7th grade hit, I kept growing and the other 3 girls stopped, that’s when I realized I was tall. By 9th grade I was 6’1″ and starting varsity basketball. I weighed about 155 pounds, tall and thin.
Freshman year and I got the smallest uniform (okay, maybe not but I wasn’t a small girl). Oh, in the event you can’t figure out which one is me, I’m 4th from the left in the back row. Hot, huh?
By 11th grade I was 6’3″ and about 195 pounds and I had an attitude. I didn’t understand why I was so tall and although I was very popular at school, I spent a lot of time being angry. I don’t know that many of my friends would’ve even noticed it but when I look back at my journals they reveal just how mad I was. Of course, I’m sure much of that was the normal ‘teen angst’ but I can see many of my journal entries pointed to the fact that I was SO DIFFERENT and TALL. Why was I taller than everyone else? Why didn’t boys ask me out? Why couldn’t I wear name-brand clothes? Why did I have to wear mens jeans? Why do I have to play basketball? Why can’t I find a single pair of pants that actually fit?
If I was a boy my height would be celebrated but I’m a girl and I get made fun of all the time!!!!
I can honestly say that in high school the only thing I liked about being tall was the fact that it helped me play volleyball and softball. And of course, basketball, even though I didn’t care for basketball so much. I loved volleyball and I was pretty good too. Softball I played first base and I have to say I think I was pretty good at that as well. Basketball…well, I was good because I was tall. My best friend, Molly would throw me the ball and I would make the basket, hence the 45 point per game average.
By the time I was a senior, I really hated being tall. Sports were the only thing that kept me sane because although I had some really great friends, I wasn’t like anyone else and I didn’t like it. And sometimes, even playing sports was hard. Opposing teams would come up with horrible nicknames for me. Crowds would chant awful things at me, and yes, even the parents would go along with it. I got mistaken for a boy more times than I can remember. I cried a lot.
Most of my friends were 5’11” or much shorter so although some were tall, no one was 6’4″. I was a head above most everyone and that was SO uncomfortable. I did hunch my shoulders because I didn’t want to appear taller. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to look everyone else in the eye instead of having to bend down to hear what was being said. I wanted to have a date!
I cursed the fact that I was tall because I wasn’t like everyone else.
And then I went to college and a whole new world opened up to me. My cohorts were my fellow volleyballers and basketballers and everyone was taller! And most of my guy friends played football so they were much bigger. Oh the joy!!! I fit right in and I started not to notice how tall I was because I was looking everyone else in the eye. Also, in college everyone is weird because we were all trying to find our niche. It somehow seemed ‘okay’. I stopped being angry and started accepting my height as part of me.
Is my blog getting long? Is it time to stop and eat something yet? Yes???
Hot dog? Fries? or Both? Definitely both!
In college I pretty much ‘forgot’ that I was different because by then everyone was doing everything they could to be different. Now I was just like everyone else and the ‘normal’ college-goers were the weird ones, sorta. I could party with the best of them, I was very well-known partially because I was so recognizable but I also went to every party and knew everyone. It was a wonderful time in my life with no responsibilities, lots of friends, and mischief and fun to be had everywhere! I made the most of this time and I still maintain many of these contacts to this day (you ALL know who you are!).
I celebrate my height by playing the air guitar! What do you do?
Then the real world hit and although some of the frivolous fun had to be set aside for me to grow up, I realized the wonderful opportunity I had by being 6’4″. I truly believe that everyone is given some attribute that they can use to their advantage. Mine happens to be my height. It’s up to each individual to figure out what they have so they can ‘rock it’. And I personally believe that height is one of those things that all women should be proud of. I’ll be honest, although I loved being tall when I was 25, I don’t think I’ve been ‘rocking it’ until I hit 30. That’s when I realized that my differences do get me noticed. But it doesn’t stop there. In order for me to be the type of person I want to be I have to be kind, respectful, as FUNNY as I can, honest, loyal….you get the picture. Get yourself noticed for your attribute, but then make sure that inside you are the person you want to be. Anyway, here are a few things that I think are a direct result of my height (disclaimer: these are my own personal opinions, so if you don’t agree or are offended…too bad)
- I can gain up to 20 pounds and my pant size typically doesn’t change, true story
- I get mistaken for an executive level a lot higher than what I actually am
- I’m the first one noticed when I’m with a group
- I can strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone, homeless person to cab driver to random person on the street
- I actually love shopping (this is definitely a personal opinion because I have friends who strongly debate me on this but I’ve put in hours and hours finding out my sizes and which clothes suit me so I have a fantastic time looking at fashion)
Thought I was done writing, didn’t ya? Nope….I’m long-winded!
Okay, now let’s talk about the bad stuff. Like I said, it’s not wonderful 100% of the time. Sometimes I just want to go to Walgreen’s in my jammies and unwashed hair to get some toothpaste and tampons and I don’t want to talk to the random stranger about how awesome and amazing it is to be tall. Can’t they leave me alone?
Or how about when I’m talking to a wonderful man and then when I excuse myself to use the restroom I don’t want to feel the disappointment when I see his shocked and horrified expression on his face because I forgot to mention how tall I was and he was unprepared for this ‘little’ surprise when I stood up (yes, this has happened to me multiple times).
And what about the comments. Oh boy, the comments. I ride the train a lot here in Portland and people simply love to comment under their breath, to whomever they’re with, or even to my face sometimes about just how tall I am. It’s not always complimentary and it can be downright rude. Just once I’d like to be given a free pass to smack someone.
I still dislike standing in a group of shorter people because it’s hard to hear what’s being said sometimes. I’m not hard of hearing but if there are others around or even loud noises, it’s difficult to keep track of the conversation. My mind will wander and then inevitably I’ll look like an idiot.
I continue to get mistaken for a man. Yes, it’s true. Especially if I choose to wear a baseball cap and some non-form fitting clothes. Although I will say at a baseball game when I was asked, ‘What would you like, sir?’ I didn’t respond and the bartender finally looked up at me to notice I was female. I smiled and when I said, ‘Beer’. He handed me two and said, ‘On the house.’
Hmmm…I’m at a baseball game here.
The good, the bad, and ugly. I know I missed a few things and everyone has their own personal stories but I hoped I covered enough in this VERY LONG BLOG. I hope you are still awake. 🙂 Til next time.