When a curse becomes a blessing
I have been tall all my life. There is a box somewhere in my basement at home in North Carolina with a collection of pictures stretching throughout the course of the ‘90s. In each one I am, without fail, looming over the other children around me, my lanky form only complemented by the great set of bangs and Rainforest Cafe T-shirt I am unsurprisingly sporting. Needless to say, I was a little awkward.
Middle school was a little rough for me. I was always placed in the back row with all of the boys for school pictures. My mother would always remind me to “Wait a few years, then all the boys will catch up to you!” or “You will love being tall when you are older!” But I didn’t believe her, and I didn’t want to wait for some distant future when I would feel confident and composed. I wanted to feel that way right at that moment, sitting in the back of Ms. Byford’s sixth grade science class and staring at my super cute crush who was – you guessed it – significantly shorter than I was.
This feeling haunted me throughout high school, as I dated boys who were roughly my height and still asked me to get things for them out of cabinets above their heads. I still searched helplessly for jeans that were long enough and avoided heels at all costs, never wanting to add to my already lanky frame.
Then I came to college. No longer playing soccer or tennis with my high school teams, I had to find something else to do with my time and so I decided to start running. I would never really call myself a “runner.” I don’t run races and I definitely never train seriously for things, but it’s become an important part of my life and I find it keeps me sane.
For some reason, when I am winding down a random road with only the sound of my own breathing and footsteps, I feel a bit better about myself. My limbs don’t seem nearly as out of order or gangly. They make a little more sense to me, coming together to propel my body forward – rather than proving a burden as they gracelessly bump against each other.
It took college and running to make me appreciate my height, but no longer do I shy away from heels or get upset when I get called “the tall girl.” It’s who I am. It is what makes me run a little bit faster when I am about to reach the crest of that hill, not able to see what waits for me on the other side, but knowing that, no matter what, I will be able to carry myself down the other side.