Which do you most identify with?

Short

Being elbowed in the face. Having to ask strangers to get something from the top shelf of a grocery store. Always wearing cuffed jeans — and not as a fashion statement. These are all things that I, a short person, have to deal with regularly.

But being short isn’t all bad. I can curl up and sleep comfortably on planes, and I have a huge advantage when it comes to Hide-and-Seek games.

If you have ever been on the highway next to an 18-wheeler, you understand how I feel when I stand next to anyone slightly taller than average — like a little kid looking up just to see their faces towering over me.

When I was younger, there wasn’t as much of a gap between my height and those of my friends. In middle school, I was still on the shorter end, but only a few people were much taller than I was.

Moving into high school, however, I stopped growing while everybody else continued. I stayed the height of your average seventh grader even as a 17-year-old approaching adulthood. Sometimes, I suddenly notice that I still seem like a child compared to some of my teachers, while my peers are already the same height as (or taller than) most adults.


There are inconveniences associated with any height, but I have come to love the benefits that come with my own.


Shopping for clothes is also difficult when everything is made for someone at least six inches taller than me. Especially considering my most recent struggle with finding a prom dress, it seems like every item of clothing is taller than I am. With oversized clothing becoming a trend, it’s even harder to find clothes that fit. Sometimes I can get away with a larger size, but if it already runs big, it just looks like a sack and the sleeves hang past my hands.

On the plus side, it’s a lot easier to make clothes shorter than it is to make them longer. I can easily get my sleeves and pants tailored, while taller people may be left with uncomfortable clothing. I have also never been told that I can’t wear heels because I’ll be too tall, and they offer an easy solution to my dilemma. While tall people have few options to change their height, I can just slip a pair of heels on and grow a few inches. I can also cut some costs by buying kids’ clothes and shoes.

Overall, my life is like sitting in the front of the movie theater: nobody wants it but someone gets stuck with it, and you always end up having to crane your neck to see anything.

Regardless, at my height of five feet flat, I have accepted my fate as a short person, and I have come to embrace it. Usually, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

People are polite and let me to the front of the crowd at concerts. They also tend to think I am younger than I am, which leads them to be much nicer to me as opposed to if they thought I was a teenager; sometimes I even get waved through the metal detector at airports instead of going through the X-ray machine.

I can fit on any bed, in any shower or under any blanket without a struggle, and I can weave through crowds when others get stuck in the crush of bodies.

There are inconveniences associated with any height, but I have come to love the benefits that come with my own. So next time you go to use my head as an armrest, remember: studies show that I’ll live longer than you.

Tall

I’m in line at the DMV, a dull situation that no one wants to find themselves in, when I hear a voice behind me. “Six-six.” I turn around to see who the two numbers were intended for, and I spot a man a few spots behind me in line who asks: “Are you six foot six?” After I respond that I am closer to six-four, he asks if I play basketball, and then if I play volleyball, the two most stereotypically tall sports.

This is a situation that all vertically gifted people are familiar with: nearly every new person you meet feels the need to comment on your height. While it is true that I play basketball and volleyball, not all tall people choose to just because of their height.

I have always been on the tall side, and my dad is six-foot-four, so I always expected to be tall. Growing up, I looked forward to having an impressive y-axis. 

It was not until about eighth grade when the growth spurts ramped up and I started growing fast that I realized some of the hidden hardships that came with my height.


As I have grown taller, the problems associated with height have grown too, and I have grown tired of growing.


At first it was exciting to reach milestones and to mark the doorway in my house with ever climbing tick marks representing my height, but now that I have passed my dad and can dunk a basketball, my height checklist is complete and I hope I stop growing. As I have grown taller, the problems associated with height have grown too, and I have grown tired of growing.

While I generally love being tall, with great height often comes great inconvenience. Fitting into seats of cars or airplanes has become increasingly uncomfortable, and even trying to fit my knees under the school desks built for those with much shorter dimensions has become a challenge. In addition, my feet always seem to extend off the end of beds, I am constantly bumping my head on low doorways and everyone seems to feel the need to comment on my height, no matter how long I’ve known them. 

Incessant questions like “Do you play basketball?” or “How is the weather up there?” and comments like “Wow you’re so tall” and “You are like a giant” are said with friendly intentions and do not exactly hurt or make me feel self-conscious, but having the same cookie cutter conversation with every new person I meet gets tiring. 

People do not approach a short person to ask them how short they are, because societal norms have deemed that rude, but for some reason it is perfectly acceptable when it is in reference to someone tall.


In short, while being tall does have its drawbacks, I love being tall and the weather up here is in fact quite nice


In a recent tweet, seven-foot-tall former NBA player Dirk Nowitzki wrote “Not that it bothers me cuz I heard it too many times but is it cool for parents to point at me and tell their kids: look how tall he is???? Can I run around pointing at people telling them how small they are??”

For someone so impressively tall, being treated as a freakish novelty must be a relentless experience. 

While my height is not at the same level as Nowitzki, this is a situation that all tall people encounter.

Despite the inconveniences, I am proud of my height and I like being tall: I can reach items that many cannot, I can see over others, I’m easy to find in large crowds of people, I can quickly bound over stairs and it serves as a significant advantage in many sports and physical activities.

In short, while being tall does have its drawbacks and the constant bombardment of questions and comments about my height does get tiring, I love being tall and the weather up here is in fact quite nice.