The View from Above | Teen Ink

The View from Above MAG

March 1, 2011
By Madeline Carnahan BRONZE, Defiance, Ohio
Madeline Carnahan BRONZE, Defiance, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I think it’s weird the way the simple curl of my lips can hide everything that’s beneath. I smile because if someone asked what was wrong it would be too much to explain. So I sit and act like I actually love myself. It’s hard to love myself when I have labels attached to me. I’m 16 years old and six feet tall.

I feel like society has created this image that being tall is a blessing. “You should be a model.” “You should play basketball.” “You’re super tall.” I hear these phrases over and over again. Sometimes, I simply want to punch the person in the face. I know he or she means no harm, but to me, being tall is a flaw. I already know my flaws, and I don’t need them pointed out. People tell me how tall I am as if I don’t already know.

When I was little, I was always slightly bigger than everyone else, but back then being different wasn’t bad. I felt normal. I felt like I could conquer the world because everyone looked up to me – literally. As I got older, my feelings changed. I started to care what I looked like, and I began comparing myself to others, which was definitely a mistake.

When I stood with a group of friends, I always felt awkward and out of place because I was so much taller than all the girls and most of the guys. I became selective of my friends and chose to hang out with those who made me feel “average.” I was determined to be normal.

Time passed, and I eventually became more comfortable with who I was. At one point, I was actually proud to be tall. The little-girl feeling came back. I was different and wanted to embrace it. I was constantly happy and everyone knew it because I was always smiling. Then, freshman year of high school slapped me in the face.

One day in class, in my polite, soft voice, I asked the teacher, “May I please go to the restroom?”

“Yes, Sasquatch,” my teacher responded.

I was caught off guard. This man I respected more than any other teacher in history had just crushed all that admiration. He was someone I could talk to,
joke with, and learn from, but this time he had gone too far.

My eyelids felt so tight that my eyes started shaking. No matter what, I wasn’t going to let anyone see me cry. I walked to the bathroom with iron feet, ­feeling like nothing less than a beast. The good opinion I had of myself had just completely reversed.

I sat in the bathroom and cried. I felt like an unknown species, someone who didn’t belong. I didn’t want to go back to class, but I had to. I walked into the room with puffy eyes. When several people asked if I had been crying, I made the excuse, “There’s something in my eyes. I’m fine.”

I walked out of that room with my head down, feeling like a monster. My heart felt like it had just had a bad piercing job. I looked around and realized everyone around me had his or her own opinion about me. I assumed most of them were bad since I was so tall, and in my mind that was a bad thing.

From then on, I constantly felt awkward. I became a quiet, shy person. I fell into an all-time low. I had never felt so ugly and ashamed of who I was.

After I criticized my height, I began to notice all my imperfections. I hated that I didn’t get straight A’s. I felt like my parents weren’t proud of me because I wasn’t the perfect size. From bad test grades, to not doing chores, everything I did and everywhere I was, I felt like I was disappointing someone, so I just kept to myself.

One particularly gloomy Saturday morning, I sat in the fluffy recliner in my living room. I was flipping through the channels, but nothing caught my attention. I decided to watch a show on the health channel about a little boy who had a disease where his skin would constantly peel. He had to wear bandages just to keep his skin on.

This boy became my antibiotic. I felt as if someone had poured a bucket of cold water on my face and I had woken up. All of the negativity I felt about myself melted from my mind.

Adults always warn me to act my best because younger kids are learning from me, but I always seem to learn from them instead. This little boy changed my life. He lived a life full of pain but smiled because he knew frowning wouldn’t make anything better. I was complaining and acting like it was the Great Depression because someone called me Sasquatch. I was so busy tearing myself apart that I didn’t even realize how fortunate I was. I had a family who loved and supported me, I had the best friend any teenage girl could ask for, and I was perfectly healthy.

That day, I chose to live with a smile on my face. I know now that I am in control of my feelings, even though I had temporarily hand-ed control to someone else. Someone who made me feel bad but also gave me a nice emotional workout. I fell, and it took me time to get back up, but when I did, I stood taller than ever and felt like I could defeat anything that attacked me.

I also learned not to attach labels to people. I made a promise to myself: I will never hurt anyone the way that man hurt me. Although I may joke around, I never want to make anyone feel bad. I want people to be happy. I want to spread the joy this little boy gave me.

Similar Articles


This article has 3 comments.

Nicole.M. GOLD said...
on Mar. 17 2013 at 7:26 pm
Nicole.M. GOLD, Thomasville, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 3 comments
This article inspired me. Check out what I was inspired to write after I read this. Don't worry, I will make sure you get credit. The article I wrote that was inspired by your article is called "This Is Me"

Kalerea BRONZE said...
on Dec. 11 2011 at 9:11 pm
Kalerea BRONZE, Defiance, Ohio
3 articles 1 photo 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
John 16: 33

Love this, Mads! And I love you just the way you are! Rapunzel :)

Inkfan SILVER said...
on Mar. 4 2011 at 11:33 pm
Inkfan SILVER, Memphis, Tennessee
5 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
Age is irrelevant, because time is just a measurement!

Thumbs up, girl! :) I love hearing about girls over-coming their fear of what people think, which I believe is something girls go through more then guys.  (P,S, I like taller girls, anyway.  I don't want to have to lean down to kiss my future wife :)