I’ve always been tall. From toddlerhood to adulthood, this has been my reality. And while I have never been ashamed or regretful about my height, there are societal complications that have affected my experience of life overall.
From kindergarten through fifth grade, I was always the tallest kid in the class, and possibly even the entire grade. My height was especially punctuated because I lived in an East Asian neighborhood, and so there were a lot of short people around me. (Forgive the stereotype, but this was the reality I faced.) I was a sensitive person, so these taunts really hurt my feelings. And as much as I tried, I just got down over it. This was how the depression first started creeping up on me.
It also did not help that my family dressed me in unisex clothing. My hair too was unfashionably styled. Having the potential for luscious locks of curly black hair, my hair was instead cut just at the perfect length to create a large poofy ‘fro. All of this together, combined with my height, spelled social disaster. The girls would not talk to me. I suppose the were both afraid of me, and disdainful. It is a painful reality that children are some of the most judgmental people on the planet.
Nevertheless, I coped. At lunch every day, I sat at the boys’ table. They’d make jokes and blow bubbles in their milk… Far more interesting than the girls table, where they would silently munch on their sandwiches, legs dangling as they sit on the too-high benches at the table.
Yet it was hard. “You look like a boy.” “Why do you look like a boy?” Painful to hear, because inside I felt very feminine. And when I went to the bathroom?
“Ew! There’s a boy in the girls’ bathroom!”
As I entered junior high school, the children around me started to display romantic notions towards one another. Yet I felt completely excluded from this affair. No guy would ever look on me, and I was also hesitant. When I asked my mother “why do no boys like me,” she’d give the response:
“They’re probably intimidated by you. You’re tall, and you’re not smiley or flirty.”
Indeed I wasn’t. I frowned at times, frequently deep in thought. Also, I was heavily engaged in taking violin and viola lessons. Classical music was more important to me than childhood romance. I disliked school culture overall, so I hated being there… Oh, did I mention that I was now in therapy for clinical depression?
I don’t think my height is correlated to my depression. Yet I sometimes realize I am plagued by the trivial curse of being tall. When I go to the boot camp gym for a class, I am a head taller than about half of the women there. I sweat a lot and make faces because I am very intense with the exercise. (Don’t worry, I don’t make any grunting sounds.) Maybe I’m paranoid, but I have seen a couple of scared faces in my direction, as well as a ring of space around me. I know that I don’t smell because I check myself. Also, my curly hair is now long and frizzy, so perhaps I have a wild look as well.
After gym class, I don’t socialize with the other women there. Sometimes I feel lonely, but also… I just had the realization… I miss out on a lot of conversations because they happen below my level of height. I am not a giant at all, standing at a mere 5′ 10″. But I see women talking and I don’t care enough to slouch down and listen to them.
I suppose all is well now. I have matured into an adult who cares less about the opinions of others. I am satisfied with my appearance, and have no frets or fears.
This blog post is a bit all over the place, I’ll admit. I’m trying to brainstorm ideas that can be marketable for websites that pay their writers. This article was a failed attempt towards that. It’s reassuring to know that I have my own blog where my “trash” can go.
But I exaggerate. This essay is not trash. That’s because it came from meeeeee.