Them: How tall are you?
Me: I’m 5 ft 3.5
Them: No you’re not! You’re much taller than that. Here, I’m 5 ft 2, I’ll prove it to you. Come stand next to me.
Me: *stands next to them. Finding we are pretty much at eye level*
This is a genuine conversation I had with someone a few years ago and it’s not unique in nature. A lot of people have had a difficult time accepting my answer for my height, including my friends.
And I get it. In my logical brain, I know how tall I am. In my self-perception brain, I think I’m a tall gangly looking giraffe.
As a kid, I was always very tall for my age, so people would think that I was older than I was. After telling someone my age, they would often respond something along the lines of ‘wow you’re pretty tall aren’t you’.
Kids 2-3 years older than me would often comment on my height as I was often (but not always) taller than them.
To be honest, I hated it. Being taller than almost all the kids in my class (despite being a year younger than them) made me feel gangly and awkward. It didn’t help that I was tall, but had the body of a 6 year old – I kinda looked like plank. I would hunch to make myself feel smaller. I don’t think I fooled anyone, but it helped my very fragile, pre-teen self esteem.
However, I stopped growing when I was around 13. My peers caught up and many overtook me in the height department and I felt…relieved.
I may have vertically remained an average to smallish adult female, but my feelings of being a gangly giraffe persist to this day.
Sometimes I’ll be walking around on the streets and I’ll see a tiny elderly lady in the distance and think to myself ‘aww, she’s so tiny’ . And as we approach each other, I realise we are the same height…
I tell my husband sometimes, ‘hey honey, sometimes I feel like a really tall gangly giraffe’. He’ll look at me, blink a few times and respond ‘you have no self-awareness’.