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How It Feels to Be Tall Me This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t at least two or three inches taller than all my friends. Shopping becomes extremely frustrating when everything is just too short. One time in particular stands out in my mind. My friend Bianca and I were on the hunt for a dress that I could wear for graduation pictures. One of us would yank out a dress that I would try on, and every single one fit close to perfectly – until we looked at the length. What looked like a normal dress on the hanger or the model could practically be a top for me in some instances.

“Don’t worry, we’ll find something,” Bianca kept saying. “Yeah, find something floor-length for normal people. That should hit just around my knees. Perfect!” I replied, a little more sarcastically than I should have. The problem with dresses is that you can’t get a dress three sizes bigger to make it long enough. Dresses are tailored to fit in a specific way, and monkeying with sizes makes it fit quite oddly. Armholes end up down around elbows, and everything just looks silly. Don’t even get me started on the fancy cutout dresses, or the really detailed, creative ones. We tried our best, but we couldn’t change into Tim Gunn. We just couldn’t make it work.

I feel my height almost every day at school. Whether I’m trying to switch classes without tripping over every book and backpack in sight or sitting in the church, my height complicates pretty much everything. I hate it when the church has been moved around for something like the Science Fair. Every time, the seats are put back way too close together. Peace Builders isn’t so bad, but Mass is just the worst. If I put the kneeler down, there’s nowhere for me to put my feet. If I leave the kneeler up, I’m constantly told to put it down. So I surrender and stack my feet up on the kneeler, and my knees feel like they’re up to my chin. Standing up and sitting down over and over again, while acceptable when the church is in proper order, is just too much at times like this. I can’t stand on the kneeler, so I have to put it back up every time. If I tried to stand on it, I might as well be asking for a parent notice, not to mention the fact that it makes me even taller. By the time I’ve managed to organize myself and my buddy into a standing position around the kneeler, it seems as if everyone else has been standing without me for ages. Two seconds later, it seems, I am rewarded for my hard work by having to sit back down. I have to move my feet around the kneeler, put it back down, sit, and rearrange my feet so that they are once again on top of the kneeler. I feel like I’m the only one still standing for at least three minutes, like a palm tree standing out amongst bushes.

I feel my height even more at soccer, where it is usually an advantage. Sometimes, however, it just makes things slightly awkward. There’s no telling whether I’ll feel tall or just normal. I must have Alice in Wonderland’s “Drink Me” potions in my soccer bag. The Great Mad Hatter who resides there is a bit mischievous, since I usually seem to shrink when I want to grow, and grow when I want to shrink. Like Alice, I never know what I’ll get. The question of who the youngest was came up a while back at keeper practice. That day the Great Mad Hatter had slipped me a growth “Drink Me.” In actuality, the youngest is probably me. The general consensus, however, was someone who is the same age as me, if not older. Everyone assumes I’m not anywhere near the youngest since I’m as tall as some of the oldest players. Of course, I said nothing to clear the air because it would’ve just confused everyone, and honestly, it seemed at the time to be a thing I might want to keep to myself. But for the whole rest of the practice, my mind replayed everything anyone had ever said about how tall I was. I wondered why the Great Mad Hatter had seemingly cursed me with such height and if that was all people saw in me, if when they looked at me all they thought was “tall.” When I went back to my team practice, I felt like a giant in the Land of the Munchkins.

I finally feel normal-sized when I’m hanging out with my friends. When I sit down at the movies, no one can tell that I’m thirteen years old, five-feet-eight-inches tall, and still growing. It’s a pretty good feeling to not worry about tripping over everything or squeezing my legs into the space between the seats, although I do tend to slouch a little in my seat to make sure the people behind me can see. When I walk around downtown Walnut Creek, no one gives an incredulous second glance at me or my mile-long legs walking around with regular people, even though we must look like city office buildings scattered around a skyscraper. This skyscraper stands tall and regal, unashamed that it towers over everyone and everything, giving no excuses for its height. Even when we step inside a store and something doesn’t fit, that good feeling doesn’t go away. I always wind up trying on something, even if I have no intention whatsoever of buying anything, and usually it’s only a little on the short side. Sadie tells me with renewed interest each time that I could be a model if I grew my hair out. I say to her that I am only one inch short of the usual height requirement (5’9”), and I think I could pull off the blank/angry expression models always seem to have. We agree that it might take some time, though, as it appears to require coordination and the ability to walk in heels, neither of which I possess.

Overall, when it comes to height, I’ve found that the grass is always greener on the other side. People always want to be what they’re not – short if they’re tall, and tall if they’re short. Some people are able to joke about it and brush off any comments; this usually works best for the shorter end of the spectrum. Maddie isn’t short, she’s fun sized; Mitchell isn’t short, he’s just unusually not tall. I just figure that my height will come in handy at some point, and in the meantime, if anyone says something about how tall I am, I say that I’m long past the point of trying to change it, since there’s nothing I can do. Unless that person is mean about it, in which case I put his or her lunchbox on the highest shelf I can reach. For some reason, the Great Mad Hatter always provides me with the “Drink Me” I need, if I truly do need it. And for once, I am thankful.





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