Growing pains

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.

Librarian for Life + Style | Growing pains:  Learning to appreciate my height

Librarian for Life + Style | Meeting Gracey

Me and Gracey, two tall chicas

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. 😦

Librarian for Life + Style | Growing pains

One of the only pics of me during that summer of growing pains. This pic was taken at a family reunion, and I’m posing with my mom and grandparents. The early ’90s style cracks me up!

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!

Librarian for Life + Style | Growing pains

Me at about 3 months old. I was born double-jointed in my ankles, which you can definitely see in this early pic. I also love that my mom was pattern-mixing for me at an early age!

Librarian for Life + Style | Growing pains

Me at around 10 or 11 years old with our puppies Romeo (tan) and Juliet (mottled black-and-white).

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.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam and me, age 17

We look so young! One of our earliest photos together: me at 17, Sam at 20. And the late ’90s fashion, hah! I wore those short overalls (shortalls) into the ground, y’all.

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.

Librarian for Life + Style | You can tunic, too

Librarian for Life + Style | Tuxedo stripes + skinny jeans

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! 😀


12 thoughts on “Growing pains

  1. ambercanread

    I also topped out at 5’3″, so I married a tall man to compensate! 😉 I always think taller women look so graceful. I guess it’s the way you carry yourselves! But, short women can make ankle pants work as regular pants, so I guess all heights have their benefits! Ha!

    Also, on a completely unrelated note, I was cleaning out documents in Google Drive, and I noticed that you submitted a look to the October Outfit Inspiration Calendar. Thank you! Even though that’s when I lost my sanity and took a break, I did want to do a calendar because I always loved it on Kimberly’s blog. I’m thinking of doing it in January too…kind of a fresh start to kick off the new year!

    Wow, this turned into “All About Amber” didn’t it? 😉

    Amber @ Section 391 =)

  2. Erin @ Loop Looks

    I love this post! As someone who isn’t that tall it’s interesting to hear about it from the other side. I actually gained all my weight before I gained my height so I had the unfortunate problem of being rather round until I grew from 4’10” to the 5’4″ I am today.

  3. Crystelle Boutique

    I bet you rock those heels that make you six feet tall. One thing about being tall: it is impossible to be a wall-flower!! You will get noticed, that’s for sure!! 🙂
    “hugs” Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique


Please leave a comment and share!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.