Thursday, October 04, 2012

Being Tall

Picking out some new glasses
It's human nature to notice appearances, and judge immediately based on them.  We can't help it.  But since we know that we do it, we can consciously try NOT to do it.  Can't we?

The first thing people notice about Aliza is her height.  Yeah, she's tall.  Her mom and dad are tall.  She comes by it genetically.

I wish people wouldn't constantly comment on it, though.  Nine times out of ten when we see someone we know, one of the first things they'll do is exclaim over how tall she is getting.  I see it too; some mornings she gets up and I swear she's noticably taller than she was when she went to bed the night before.

And I was always tall, too.  I assume I came by it genetically as well, since I had a tall grandfather and uncle, but my parents weren't tall.  And when everyone felt the need to mention how tall I was, it made me self-conscious.  In a nutshell, I felt like a giant freak and spent a lot of time and energy trying to appear as short and small as possible.  Not an easy feat.  I never wore shoes with any heel on them.  And you have no idea how hard it is to find shoes with no heel at all, until you really start to look.  Almost all shoes add at least a half inch to your height.  Most, more than that.  Even plain, simple tennis shoes have a bit of a heel. And then there's the predictable question that came probably weekly - "Wow since you're so tall, do you play basketball?" I'd have to admit that no, I was evidently uselessly tall because I was about as athletic as a rock.

I remember a comedian who was really tall who said once that people were always asking him if he played basketball.  Just because he was tall.  He'd reply, "No.  Do you play miniature golf?"  And I loved that, though I'd never have the nerve to be that snarky to most people.
While I was growing up, clogs were in fashion.  Clogs which instantly add at least an inch to your height.  Instead of just being a head above everyone else, I towered over them.  I hovered in a different atmosphere. (I never did come up with a great response to the wise-guy question, "How's the weather up there?")  So if I wore clogs (because as a teen, how do you not bow to fashion a little bit?), I'd stand with my feet rolled over to the side, essentially standing on my ankles, so I wouldn't be so tall.  Seriously, if I did that now, I'd break an ankle.  I have no idea how I stood like that without screaming in pain.

Anyway, my height was a burr in my side, growing up.  So I'm sensitive to comments Aliza receives.  I don't know if she's as sensitive to it as I was.  Probably not.  But I certainly don't want her to feel like a giant freak, like I did.  I wish people wouldn't comment on it, but I can't stop that.  I guess all I can do is make sure she feels good about herself just the way she is.  And to have a sense of humor about it.

I think people expect her to be older than she is, based on her height.  She's only 9, but she's taller than a lot of teenagers. Maybe I should teach her to reply "I'm actually 27 years old, I just look really young."

No. Humor can come off as being smart-alecky, when you're a kid.

At least I have some experience with height. I can help her come up with appropriate responses. And she and I will enjoy the weather up here, thanks for asking.

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