Towering with Confidence—Finding Contentment with Being A Tall Woman

Towering With Confidence—The Struggle Of Finding Contentment With Being A Tall Woman

How turning one's greatest insecurity into one's greatest source of confidence is the ultimate form of self-love.

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Navigating the unknown waters of growing up is a different, yet oddly similar, experience for everyone, united by bad hair days, braces, unavoidable awkwardness, trying to make friends, and discovering who one is meant to be. At a time when our interests, talents, skills, eccentricities, and self-esteem are being constantly re-shaped and refined, a common link found in most people's psyche during those developmental years is the desire to fit in with others, or at the very least, not be considered an outcast.

I was generally a confident person growing up, I had friends, got good grades, loved my school, and sought to be kind to everyone I met. My greatest insecurity, however, was rooted solely in the unkind opinions and comments of others that fueled my immense dislike for something that I now look at as one of my greatest attributes: my height. In second grade, I already stood at five feet tall. By the time I hit my growth spurt (well, another one) at the end of fourth grade, I had soared to stand at 5'8", and only a few years later, upon entering high school, I was 5'11", gangly and still taller than the majority of boys and girls in my freshman class.

In elementary school, whenever my small class of 25 would be lined up alphabetically for an assembly, mass, or to go to lunch, it was me who broke, like a skyscraper, away from the small, even, village of heads next to me; after hearing whispered complaints of "I can't see!" enough times during class or group pictures, it became second nature for me to walk to the back of the crowd of girls and stand tower over the boys who had not yet grown themselves; and it was when I was told by a group of girls one day that I was "too tall" to play with them on the slides at recess that I began to spend more time with myself or other small groups of kids hanging out apart from the crowd.

Not knowing how to or if I should stand up for myself, I willingly went by taunting nicknames like The Giant and String Bean from girls and boys alike, half-heartedly laughing off the poisonous sting those words inflicted on my self-confidence. If I ever muttered, "I hate being tall!" to a family member, he or she would immediately pat me on the shoulder and say "No, it's beautiful!" even though I felt far from it. Although adults would gawk at me when I entered a room or would admiringly ask "How tall are you?" the subsequent praise that followed did, like the comments from family members, little to reassure me that I was okay just the way I was. Looking back on it now, I don't understand why when one doesn't like oneself, compliments from anyone other than one's peers are rendered seemingly invalid, but they were at the time.

It was not until I was nearing high school when everyone around me (and subsequently, their views on height) started growing that I came to see the beauty in my individuality. I began making varsity sports teams simply because coaches wanted to work with my height; I could now share cool clothes with my mom and older teenage friends; I was never denied entry to any ride at an amusement park, or was thought to be too young to do things like fly by myself; because I looked older, it was assumed I could be trusted with more responsibility, and after being hired at my first sought-after job at sixteen, it took my managers months to find out that I was not, despite their beliefs, twenty years old; I could only shop at clothing stores intended for adults, and managed to rock Tall clothes that accentuated my endless legs and arms; I understood that getting asked to help friends and strangers alike reach things made me feel special and that my ability to see over crowds at concerts was an experience within itself.

Today, I stand at an even six feet tall, and have come to love every long, able, lively, and beautiful inch of myself, yet, had it not been for those years when I wished I could be like my shorter friends, I would likely not be able to look at myself in the mirror today and understand that although the road to finding self-acceptance was long and difficult, it made the battle to obtain and achieve self-love all the more fulfilling.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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