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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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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To The Big-Hearted Girls Who Just Can't Hit The Block Button

Your compassion for others knows no bounds, and that's why you can't seem to let them go.

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Not everyone is worthy of your good heart.

It might be hard to accept that, but it's true. The ones that don't deserve your attention and your care always out themselves. Maybe they take advantage of your kindness, maybe they use you for your love, or maybe they hurt you because they envy some aspect of you or your life. Whatever the case may be, I know you feel the pain from it. I know you are not naive enough to believe that they don't mean the hurtful things they say or that the awful things they put you through are only mere accidents.

Your problem is that you have too big of a heart. You love giving second chances and when they screw that chance up as well, you just can't help yourself from giving them a third, a fourth, or a fifth. Far too easily you are swept up in this cycle of forgiving and forgetting, only to have it blow up in your face time and time again.

You know better.

How many times have you sworn you wouldn't help them again, that it was the last time you'd speak to them, only to snatch up your phone the second you see their name pop up across the screen? How often have you cried over someone who only wanted to be a part of your life when they needed something from you?

Stop giving your all to people that don't care.

Trust me, I know it's easier said than done. It's a difficult habit to break, but once you do you are completely and utterly free from the toxicity. If you're looking for a sign to block that boy who has done nothing but break your heart, or if you were waiting for your cue to finally end that friendship that does nothing but make you feel small, here it is.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to treat you with the love and respect that you so freely give. Most of the time the people that treat you like crap are just crappy people. It's not your responsibility to save every troubled soul, and you've probably learned by now that not all of them want to be saved.

There's nothing wrong with looking for the good in people, but when they start to drain you of your light you need to have the strength to let them go.

To the girls gifted with hearts too sensitive and ready to burst with compassion, it's OK to cut ties with those who hurt you time and time again. It doesn't mean you've stooped to their level; it doesn't mean you're a bad person. You tried your hardest, but toxic people rarely change their ways. You don't deserve that kind of pain.

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