This post is inspired by Gracey’s “Growing Up Tall” post at her style blog, Fashion for Giants. I loved her post, plus reading all the comments, and was fascinated with everyone’s different experiences (literally) growing up.
So here’s my personal story. Illustrated with embarrassing pics from my childhood. You’re welcome. 😉
Unlike Gracey, I did not grow up tall. There were girls in my class who got their height all at once, and early, but I was not one of them. (Yes, I was a little jealous of those tall girls. That’s probably the reason I used to think being 5’11” was the perfect height.) Instead, I got my height quite late, especially for a girl. My older brother got his height all at once the summer before his sophomore year; I followed suit years later, growing 5 inches the summer before I turned 15. Ouuuuuuuuuuuch!!! I still remember those (literal) growing pains. The pain woke me up many nights that summer, and some mornings, I would wake up hunched over my knees and my arms stretched out behind me, wrapped around the backs of my thighs. All that insta-growing left me with longer legs, yes, but it also left me with stretch marks. And let me tell you, stretch marks at the age of 15? NOT COOL. 😦
So I was 5 feet 3 inches at the start of that summer, and three months later, I was 5 feet 8 inches. I continued to grow another inch during my sophomore year of high school, landing at my current height of 5 feet 9 inches (a little more than 175 centimeters for my international readers). I did not consider myself an athlete — unlike Gracey, who wrote that being an athlete helped her have self-confidence in being tall from an early age — but I did play volleyball in junior high and high school. (I went to a K-12 school in the country, where you could play sports and still not be considered an athlete.) Because I had been shorter, I had trained as a volleyball setter. And I was a good setter. But after that summer, I was too tall to be a setter — sigh — and had to learn the other positions in volleyball (I wound up a back-row specialist, as well as a decent blocker).
In my head, at 5’9″, I am juuuuuust tall enough to be considered tall. I do feel properly tall when I put on heels, though (click here for my post on how I learned to walk in heels). And perhaps because I never thought growing up that I would be tall, it still sometimes takes me by surprise when others think that I am. Or when people first meet me while I’m seated at a desk — like the library reference desk — and then they are the ones taken aback by my height when I stand up. That look of surprise always makes me smile. Especially when I’m wearing heels that make me 6 feet tall. Hee hee. 😉
And now cue the oohs and aahs: pictures of babies and puppies!
Looking back, however, at some childhood pictures (as seen above), it perhaps shouldn’t have come as such a surprise that I ended up with more than my fair share of height. I did look kind of coltish in some of those early pics. But it really NEVER occurred to me that I would be tall. I was average height as a child, and my parents were both average height. My maternal grandfather, however, was 6 feet tall, and my brother eventually topped out at 6’2″. So the height gene was definitely there — it just skipped a generation!
And I am more comfortable owning my height nowadays. I think it really helps that my husband, Sam, who is one inch taller than me, loves that I’m tall. He likes it when I wear heels — even though I wind up taller than him — so that he can show off his tall wife. ♥ That kind of self-confidence has helped me be more self-confident, as well.
I’m also more confident with my body after starting this style blog! I’ve said it before, but taking almost-daily photos of yourself — and then analyzing them afterwards to pick the best ones for the blog — has helped me, well, get over myself. That may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. I have a more detached, analytical eye now when I look at pictures of myself. And I can see how certain styles make me look taller, and how other styles don’t. For example, I’m proudly pear-shaped (helloooooo, German-American hips!), but I can now wear skinny jeans with confidence.
So there you have it: my own growing pains and the origins of my ongoing personal relationship with my height.
Thanks for reading, and please share your own story in the comments! 😀