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So HOW Tall Are You? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

On my sixteenth birthday, my doctor told me I was six feet, one and a half inches tall. To me, every half-inch mattered. Saying that I “stood out” was an immense understatement. I was the tallest girl in my entire school, and had nothing close to a competitor. I was incredibly awkward and gangly, and as I walked down the hallways and could feel the stares, I became consistently more self-concious.

When I was young, everyone told me that I was going to be very tall when I grew up. My dad was six foot two, and I had always drempt of being just as tall as he was. By eleven years old I was five foot four—the average height of a woman. I was perfectly content, but as I kept growing and growing I started to dread getting taller.

At the start of sophomore year I was as tall as my dad and continued to grow. I started to find myself slumping my shoulders in the hallway and sheepishly looking away when I met the gaze of people who seemed all too interested in my height. I was greeted by everyone with a slew of questions, “How tall ARE you actually?”, “Do you play basketball?”. I answered every time with the same gloomy response, “I’m about six foot one and no I don’t play basketball”. When they flashed me a look of dissapointment at my apparent uselessness because I did not play basketball I often responded with a quiet, shy “sorry”.

I did not play basketball, but I did play volleyball. It became my outlet, where being tall made you the star. People stared, but not like they did when they passed me in the hallway. They stared at me with admiration, and my teammates were jealous of the advantages I had when it came to hitting and blocking. In the winter of my junior year I was on a club volleyball team. A girl on my team was six foot four and she was the first female I had ever met who was taller than me. After winning a tournament we were taking a team picture when one parent asked her and I to slouch so we could all fit. I leaned in as far as possible so as not to cause a problem. The other “tall girl” just chuckled and said that if they could not make her fit she did not want to be in the picture.

Later, I asked her if she hated being tall. She looked at me confused and said, “how could you ever hate being tall. Everything’s funnier when you’re so tall. Sure, our legs do not fit in most cars, but if you don’t take life too seriously it becomes funny. Every once in a while there’s a doorway we don’t fit in. So what?! Just laugh at it because there’s really nothing else we can do”.

I pulled my shoulders back, picked my head up and made a concious decision to take my height as it was and accept it. I passed a couple on the way out of the tournament who were gawking at me as I passed. I flashed them my biggest smile, chuckled and said “The weather’s great up here!”

All of Junior year my confidence grew, almost as much as I did. I began to actually believe the people who complimented my height. They told me that people I would make more of an impression, and my bigger size gave me a more influential presence. Life is not about trying to fit in with everyone else. I am a foot taller than most of my friends, but now I only laugh at it. Finding a way to make my situation humorous has made me one hundred times more confident.

This summer, my doctor told me I was exactly six foot two and a half. I decided to tell people I was six three. When people ask if I play basketball, I giggle and say “I’m not quite coordinated enough, but do you play MINI golf?”

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TheDolphinThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
today at 4:28 am:
This is incredibly beauiful. It is so organized, ideas are well arranged and everything flows smoothly. Well job!
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