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On Being an Older Sister

I have two sisters. One is 3 years younger than me, and one is 10 years younger. I call them my Middle and my Youngest sister.

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Here’s the most recent picture I have of us (Middle on the right, Youngest on the left), and here’s one from last year where we’re flipping our hair like we’re related or something.

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My Middle Sister and I exist on opposite sides of the family spectrum. She has the body type of all our Foley cousins, and physically I’m more on my mother’s side of things. She’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. She’s more mainstream culture and I’m more indie. She follows trends and I stare at them in bafflement. My parents got one of each and then a compromise, because my Youngest Sister is an exact split between us.

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Here’s me and Youngest Sister on the plane to New Zealand last month.

Continue reading “On Being an Older Sister”

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Chicago, Edits, and a New Story

Friends, please forgive me. I’m just not in a chatty mood lately. I suspect it has to do with the new story I’m incubating. So here’s my monthly update, short and sweet, and even some info about said new story:

Writing

I finished my second round of edits with THE COBWORLD, did a whirlwind edit on A CURSE OF ROSE AND SNOW, and now I’ve moved on to a new project whose code name is Shotgun Girl. (I have a real title for it, but I’m more comfortable just calling it Shotgun Girl for right now.)

You might remember that story from this post, where it was briefly mentioned as an idea I hadn’t quite developed yet. Well a few months ago some more ideas came to me, and I’ve been slowly working out a plot for the book [series?] ever since. In fact, I feel pretty committed to this project, but I’m trying that thing where I keep the details pretty locked down, so though I have a pinterest board I don’t feel ready to debut it yet.

The secrecy is one of the new methods I’m excited and slightly nervous to try. Other methods include brainstorming by post it note, and writing in third person instead of first.

When I can, I spend my weekend mornings and my lunch hours at a local Cafe 153, where I order a dirty chai with 1 shot of espresso (highly recommend!) and brainstorm in a fabulous new colorful notebook. It’s great fun to fill such a lovely notebook with dark topics such as wizard bones and death magic and damaged girls wielding shotguns.

Usually I look to Laini Taylor as my role model in writing, but for this project I’m looking to Maggie Stiefvater and Holly Black. This will also be my first time delving into urban fantasy. Wish me luck!

Chicago

I was graciously, generously invited on a trip to Chicago, where I had All the Fun and did All the Things.

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Lunch at the top of the Hancock Tower. Best crab cakes I ever had. The bathrooms had floor to ceiling windows, too!

I lived in a suburb near Chicago for the year leading up to my high school graduation, and returning was… odd. I didn’t particularly care for my time in Illinois, and so unlike visiting my home state of Washington being in Chicago made me feel slightly paranoid, as if I was in danger of being stuck there again.

Returning to the green hills of Alabama was a relief :-) I had so many stereotypes of Alabama in my head when we first moved here, and it’s been a wonderful surprise to find that I love it here so much. I can’t even say what’s so great about it; it’s just pleasant in so many different little ways, including the weather, the people, the food, and the fact that they actually have hills!

A particular highlight from the Chicago trip was getting to eat some new foods, including real ramen!

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Ramen at The Slurping Turtle!

Chris and I watched the David Chang reality show (called The Mind of a Chef – I highly recommend!) on Netflix and were fascinated by the episode on ramen, so trying authentic ramen in Chicago was a must. If you can call ramen in America ‘authentic’, which according to David Chang, you can’t.

In other food brags, I drank Guiness at an Irish pub and ate Irish sausage and blood pudding for the first time, both of which were fantastic. I’m suffering terrible cravings now that I’m in Alabama where we don’t have any of that stuff :(

In other favorite moments, I learned how to use a heat wand to curl my hair!

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Selfie in the hotel to show off my hair.

I also spent the trip severely appreciative of the fact that I’ve now lost around FORTY POUNDS, and was able to rock some awesome new dresses and shirts in sizes smaller than I had to wear just a few months ago. I’m gearing up for a Color Run at the end of September. Excited/nervous!

Oh man, we did so much stuff… saw the Blue Man Group, went to a Cubs game and ate real hotdogs, visited the Field Museum and the Art Institute, but I think my favorite was the very hurried morning at Lincoln Park Zoo. I wish we’d had more time, because I would have loved to spend all day there. I can’t get over how wonderful it was, and this from someone who grew up going to the fabulous Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. But did I mention the Lincoln Park Zoo is FREE? It’s funded almost entirely on donations. Just amazing.

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For example, I would have liked to have spent an hour or so just watching these little guys run around!

Other Life

After twelve years, six of which he spent with me, my wonderful boyfriend Chris is finally graduating with his Bachelor’s Degree :D

The graduation party is this Saturday, and I’d just like to say publicly how proud I am of Chris for his hard work and sacrifice, particularly over these last 2 years where he worked full time and attended school full time. He did it to make our life together better, and I can’t wait to celebrate his accomplishment this weekend with our friends and family. We will hopefully have more exciting news to come after that!

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My sister, Chris, and I at the family stables on July 4th

I hope your summer is going as smoothly and productively as mine!

<3, Savannah

PS: I’m getting ready for Halloween! Guesses as to what this costume’s for?

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Things I’m Up To and Into

First, I want you to know I’m working on subsequent articles about social issues related to beauty, makeup, weight, etc., but I’m trying to move slow with them so I’m certain of my position and how I want to talk about this stuff. Glad to know you guys are as interested in it as I am :-)

Here are some things I’m doing now:

Writing. It’s been a bad few weeks, writing-wise. I’ve been stuck and unsatisfied, but it worked out, like it always does. I took a few steps back and just let my characters play around, and broke through my obstacles. Just asking myself, ‘how are they feeling in this scene? What do they want right now?’ really, really helps. I’m considering making posters of writer’s-block-breaking questions like this.

So ACORAS is moving forward, and I’m tinkering in my mind with a few side projects.

Running. Chris and I ran THREE MILES on Saturday! Whaaaat! Full disclosure: I only made it 2.25 before I had to stop and walk, but I finished strong!

Planning for Halloween. I’m attending a conference in early October in Atlanta, GA, and there’s going to be a costume ball! This year I’m going as Persephone when she’s Queen of the Underworld. My vision was big, black, and gauzy. Here are some of the inspiration photos:

   

I’ve also ordered a black wedding veil, and my sewing-talented mother is getting involved, so I can’t wait to show you all the final product. What are you going as for Halloween?

Last year I felt pretty lackluster about Halloween and autumn in general, so this year I avoided thinking about it so I’d feel ready to do it big!

I’m really loving this Martha Stewart Halloween Handbook. Picked it up at the magazine rack at the grocery store.

You can see my other Halloween plans here on my Pinterest board.

Preparing for Christmas. Every year Chris and I throw a party at our house for our two families. This year we went with a Godfather theme. Here’s the party invitation:

The menu includes  Chris’s Nana’s meatball recipe, home-made baguettes for custom crustinis, and home-made cannolis. Chris tested out the cannoli recipe at my parent’s house this weekend and they were so good. We made them with Kahlua filling ;-)

My color theme for Christmas this year is light green and silver. You can see my decorating ideas here on my Pinterest Christmas board.

…Have I mentioned that I love holidays?

Take special note of this pin. I’m currently making it in white and green.

DIY. Speaking of Pinterest, it led me to discover tons of DIY projects that rip off Anthropologie decorations. If you’re like me, you love Anthro but don’t want to pay the high price. Now you don’t have to. Special thanks to this blog, my new favorite.

Music. I’m adding music all the time to the ACORAS playlist, if you were interested. The latest piece is this absolutely beautiful instrumental piece from one of my favorite calming music artists, Liquid Mind. It literally made me cry. Do you know how rare that is?

I’m also loving Little Talks from Of Monsters and Men. I designed an animated music video for it in my head that is about ACORAS. What? You do it, too.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Chris and my dog Bella wrestling on the floor:

What are you doing for Halloween? What are you into lately? Got any Christmas plans yet?

<3, Savannah

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A few more words on tallness, and some new ones on weight and apperance

The most popular post I ever wrote on here wasn’t about writing or my books. It was about my experience being a Very Tall Female.

That was a year ago. Today I saw this disturbing image on an online tall community I frequent. Warning, it uses NSFW language and might be a trigger for any other tall females out there.

For those of you who don’t want to look, it’s a chart of heights for females pointing out ‘ideal’ heights for femininity, and at what height you should either get a sex change or kill yourself.

Yes. Change your gender or end your life. Because of your height.

To top it off, the author of the page is a ‘6’4 alpha male with PhD.’

Before we go any further I just want to say that I’m fine, this image doesn’t make me feel sad or worthless, etc., and I’m not posting it as a cry for pity. It’s obvious this image is trolling, and tall females aren’t the only ones insulted here. The author also goes after guys who like tall females, using very derogatory terms such a ‘beta’ and ‘neckbeard’, among others. I just thought it was an interesting lead-in to today’s topics, in which I continue to discuss height and throw a new one in there – weight.

So a year ago I posted that article. Over the past year I’ve had more run ins with people who think the world wants to hear a running commentary of their thoughts on other peoples’ bodies. Joining online communities and hearing other stories has shifted my perspective on my height and made me consider it in new contexts.

Here are some of the things I’ve been told this past year:

  • I am fetish object
  • I am manly and unattractive
  • I’m not allowed to complain about my height because the benefits obviously outweigh the negatives
  • I should be a model
  • Wearing high heels should make me feel uncomfortable
  • I should want to wear 5″ heels and flaunt it

As you can see, there’s a lot of contradictory opinions out there. And they’re just that: opinions.

Everyone’s got one and this past year has taught me that my opinion is that everyone should keep their opinions to themselves.

Don’t talk to strangers about their bodies. Don’t fat-shame, don’t skinny-shame, don’t short-shame, and don’t tall-shame. Not your body? Not your right to say anything.

I have been particularly thinking about the vocalizations of people as I lose weight. In previous years I heard a lot of commentary. Many people would come up to me and ask me if I played sports or how tall I was. But this year was different.

This year was… quiet.

I’m pretty sure it’s because I was 50 pounds overweight.

Yeah, you heard me. 50 pounds. In short people terms that’s probably 25 pounds. Look, I’m a big person. At a desirable weight I have an hourglass figure, and a large chest. It’s a cliche, but with my nordic ancestry I literally have big bones. What I’m saying is that even at my smallest I was obese according to the BMI scale (PS, the BMI scale sucks and is totally inaccurate), and even when I gain weight it’s very easy to hide. For comparison, my Hollywood body match is probably Christina Hendricks.

But 50 pounds is too much even for me and I was definitely chubby. It showed in my thighs, my arms, my stomach, and even my face. I maxed out at 250 and realized pictures of me no longer reflected my mental image of myself, no matter how I contorted or sucked it in. Office settings, no exercise, and eating out all the time were not the ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It was time to change.

I went on a diet and lost 15 pounds last year. Still overweight, but better than it was. Then I went on another diet with Chris’s help this summer, and have lost another 15 pounds. It’s these recent 15 pounds that made a difference.

(Quick brag: We started running together, and for the first time in my life I’m able to run a mile without stopping. Then 2 miles! We’re working on 3 miles now and I’m loving it!)

My face sharpened. My stomach slimmed down. And suddenly people were Noticing me again.

Listen, I don’t photograph well. I’m not using that as code for, ‘I don’t like the way I look,’ I’m saying that the person I see in the mirror is not the person who comes out in pictures. Something about my facial structure and how cameras capture light is messed up. My smile is a little goofy, and I have big teeth. So for those of you who have seen pictures of me and look skeptically at what I’m about to say, wait until I see you in person at a book signing :)

The truth is… in person? I’m beautiful. Before I gained too much weight 3 years ago, on a good day I could literally make people speechless when they saw me. Children would whisper, ‘She’s pretty’ in my wake. I got ‘you should be a model’ as frequently as ‘you’re tall.’ Heck, even last year on the LTWF retreat trip when we met a reader in person the first thing she said to me was, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re so pretty!’ Because, you know, the whole pictures thing.

I’m not Hollywood pretty, and no, I could never be a model. I’m actually TOO tall and my feet are too big. But, as Chris puts it, I am ‘striking.’ I have an interesting beauty, bold features, and my height gives me an added ‘wow’ factor. And, you know, I wear makeup, but let’s talk about that another day.

The point of all this is that I was used to strangers talking to me, even if it was annoying, made me uncomfortable, or bordered on creepy or harassment. But when I gained weight that all dried up.

It was nice, honestly. But when I started to look at my weight problem and dig into the reasons WHY I was overweight (aside from eating too much bad food, obviously), the whole ‘public appearance’ thing gave me pause.

I asked myself, ‘Do I subconsciously want to be overweight because it makes the attention stop? Am I hiding inside my own body?’

Eating disorders are one of the topics I’m interested in. Some people are super interested in cults, or cannibalism, or the mind games behind ‘psychics’, etc., but I care about eating disorders and the culture surrounding them. One of the things I read, from women who developed binge-eating disorders due to trauma, was that they hid inside their large bodies. As if they could protect themselves with the excess weight. Even though there was more of them physically present, there was less of their true selves visible and available to the public.

I think they are right in that assumption.

Ultimately I decided that no, I’m not hiding in my weight. I just comfort-eat and associate food with reward and was never taught about portion size. But losing weight and seeing the return of public attention on my appearance proved to me that those women were correct: You become oddly invisible when you are overweight.

Even me, a 6’2 rarity, felt as if I moved through the world no longer making a ripple. I didn’t see as many eyes on me. It made me feel more normal to be less ogled.

The things I’ve learned about gender and body relations over the past few years are ever-present on my mind as I continue to lose weight. I’d love to talk more about being attractive as a female and what that’s like, and if I use it to my advantage and how, or about the social politics of makeup, but this post is very long so I’ll defer to another day. Here’s a few final notes on my weight loss in case people are curious or concerned:

  • Chris and I consulted with a nutritionist to make sure we were eating nutritionally well and within a healthy caloric deficit.
  • We view this process as a re-education on food and portion sizes. It’s a lifestyle change, not a quick-fix diet.
  • I’m working on giving up misconceptions that fat or carbohydrates are inherently bad for you and should be avoided. Avoiding entire food groups? Not a good idea.
  • We don’t just eat less, we also exercise. Chris quit smoking and so now our major concern is Heart Disease, the #1 killer of Americans. I go to Body Pump at my gym and we run together 4 times a week.
  • Can I get an amen for Chris quitting smoking? 5 weeks on and I’m SO FLIPPING PROUD!

Thank you for reading. I look forward to your thoughts in the comments :)

<3, Savannah

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What it Feels Like to be Really, Really Tall

“You have a very good height.”

This was said to me by a young Indian man running the register at a gas station somewhere in Georgia. I was on a roadtrip with Susan Dennard and Kat Zhang on our way back home from Florida where we’d been on a writer’s retreat for the last 5 days along with Biljana Likic and Sarah Maas.

This was the second time someone had commented on my height, just on this trip alone. The first time it happened was in a gas station in Orlando, FL. The cashier was female, and asked me outright how tall I was.

“I wish you had said that while my friends were around,” I told her. “I get asked that all the time but I don’t think they really believe me.”

And it’s true. Not a week goes by where a stranger doesn’t take it upon themselves to initiate a discussion with me about my body. I have two potential reactions to these questions.

The first is a feeling of genuine connection. As with the girl in the gas station, who went on to tell me about her brothers and father who were above the 6′ line, I felt interest and comradeship from her, and didn’t have a problem talking about my height and the various issues associated with it.

But I can have another reaction. One where I feel shakingly angry, and disturbed. This is caused when I feel people are treating me like a curiosity, a sideshow, a freak. When people look me up and down and say, “Wow!” like I have a third arm or something, or worse, when they say those dreaded three words: “You’re really tall!” How am I supposed to respond to that? “Gee, I hadn’t noticed” ?

This is the body I live in. I’m going about my day, normally, involved in my own thoughts, trying to fly under the radar, when suddenly it all comes crashing down with a simple “How tall are you?”

Suddenly I’m not just a regular person. I’m an object. A curiosity. My face flushes. I see multiple eyes turn in our direction.

“6’2,” I say tersely, but they don’t pick up on my discomfort.

“Wow,” is typically the reaction I get. Nothing more. Just, “Wow.” Their curiosity satisfied, we all go back to standing around awkwardly waiting for the cashier to hand me my receipt so I can leave, feeling like the 50-foot woman stomping through the grocery store.

Let’s be honest: 6’2 is not really all that tall. For guys. But somehow, when people see a 6’2 female they just lose their shit. Case in point:

My boyfriend Chris (who’s 6’3) and I are standing at the counter of a gas station/Dairy Queen (lol what is it with me and gas stations?), buying some sodas and joking like we usually do, when a voice interrupts us from behind:

“How tall are you?”

I don’t turn around. I know what’s coming. The speaker is male, and his tone is that familiar tone I hate. My face flushes. My mouth hardens into a line. Because I’m not going to respond, Chris turns, and asks the guy, “Umm… which one of us?”

No answer. I assume the guy gestures because then Chris says, “Umm… she’s 6’2.”

I do finally turn, because I feel bad not acknowledging this conversation is taking place, just in time to see him say, “Wow. That’s really tall.”

There’s nothing to say. I get our receipt from the cashier and we leave. I still don’t say anything as we get into the car.

“Wow,” Chris says, slamming the door to the truck. “So, like… does that happen often?”

“Yeah… Just curious, does anyone ever ask you how tall you are?”

“Never,” Chris says.

Amazing. Chris is taller than me by an inch, but no one ever asks him how tall he is. Because he’s male. It’s okay for him to be that tall. But as a 6’2 female I’m an oddity.

Here’s the thing about being tall: It’s one of those physical characteristics that is socially acceptable to talk about, because it’s seen as a positive. People tell me all the time they wish they were a bit taller, just like people talk all the time about wanting to be skinnier. But what would happen if I had a different defining physical characteristic? What if I weighed 400 pounds? Would it be okay for someone to come up to me and say, “Wow, you’re really fat” ? Is it okay to say to extremely short people, ‘Wow, you’re really short” ? What about the really ugly? People born without arms, or fingers?

Is it okay to just start talking to a stranger about their body?

I don’t think it is. I don’t want to be a whiner, and there’s totally worse things that could happen other than people constantly asking how tall you are, but I wish people would be more considerate. I wish that people didn’t think it was okay to start talking to me about my body as if it’s public property. As if I’m a creature to be marveled at, something to say to your friends, “Hey guess what I sighted today? A 6’2 female!”

Also it would be nice if girls stopped complaining about being ‘too tall’ at 5’10 :-) Having been that height, I would honestly say that I think 5’11 is the ‘perfect’ height. You’re tall, but not too tall, and you can probably still find shoes in your size.

So social complaints out of the way, let’s talk about the other aspects of being tall:

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Shopping. Where do you shop for clothes? Everywhere, right? You could pick up a new pair of jeans at Target if you like. But when you’re 6’2 your choices get limited in terms of what you can wear, and where you can find clothes. I moved to wearing a lot of skirts and dresses because they’re easier to fit than pants. I can’t go to the GAP and walk out with a new pair of jeans; I have to try on pairs that don’t fit length-wise to get a good feel on the waist, then special order them in a longer size.

And shoes. Oh man do I have a lot to say about shoes. First of all, women complaining about having shoe size 8, 9, or 10 seriously need to get over it and realize how good they have it. Do you know what my shoe size was in grade 8? 15! Freaking 15! Thankfully they seem to have shrunk and I can now squeeze a 13, though 14 is more comfortable.

My feet were at one time so big my mom and I resorted to searching for shoes for transvestites just to find sizes large enough. Do you know how that feels to a 15-year-old girl just trying to find some nice shoes to wear to her Homecoming Dance (for which she does not have a date because she’s the tallest person in her school)?

Thankfully Payless shoes carries up to a size 13, which is great for sandals and stuff, but for work shoes I order through Nordstrom’s. They fit great, but a pair of nice shoes can cost over $100. Being tall is not for those on a limited budget.

I’ve tried Zappos but I just don’t like the selection. Chris urged me to get on Amazon, which does have the bigger sizes, but they also come with a 4-inch heel. If you think I get attention being 6’2, imagine what it would be like at 6’6. No thank you.

Dating. Ah yes, this is the big one. I was my full adult height at 16, a sophomore in high school. In our culture, dating and boy-girl relationships are so important. I agonized all through high school because I didn’t have a boyfriend. The only people who seemed to be interested in me were creepy older men. I wasn’t interested in dating anyone shorter than me, something my shorter friends couldn’t seem to understand. I got so much attention in public in the first place, why would I want to seem like even more of a freak by being part of a physically mis-matched couple? I’ve met women who could do it, and honestly, more power to them, but I couldn’t. Too self-conscious or vain or something, I guess.

My height led to severe self-esteem issues. I thought I would never find anyone acceptably tall enough who would love me (Let’s be honest, I’m not a weirdo [I hope] but I don’t exactly have a mainstream personality. I might be a little difficult to love). I honestly expected to spend adulthood alone in an apartment somewhere, writing because that was my only love. I thought my height made me unloveable.

This was not helped by a few near-dating disasters as a teen. There was one guy who told my sister in a text, “When God was handing out body parts, Savannah must have been in the back of the line because you got all the good ones.”

I was horrified. My sister was one of those stick-skinny girls and I was very curvy. And 6’2. In that moment I felt like a monster.

There was also the time I was on my way out of the mall and I passed two young girls. Still five feet in front of me, one whispered to the other (loudly): “She’s really tall.”

As if I couldn’t hear. It made me so mad in that instant I snapped, “I’m tall, not deaf,” as I passed them. And yes, I did feel bad about it later :-(

Thankfully everything changed when I met Chris. Usually when I meet people taller than me I get intimidated. They just feel so large. But Chris felt normal. In a world where I was the odd one out, he felt life-sized to me. And thankfully he wasn’t one of those tall guys who fetishize tiny women. Chris made me feel normal and beautiful. He made me realize there really was someone out there for me, and being scared that I’d be alone forever because of my height was ridiculous.

Here’s the truth, for any tall young women out there listening: High school is not your time. College is where you’ll meet lots of tall guys, some of whom will even be interested in dating you. Just hold out a few more years.

Sports. I don’t get this one as often anymore, but when I was younger the most common question asked was, “Do you play Basketball?” or “Do you play volleyball?” These questions infuriated me.

First of all, I did play basketball. In seventh grade. And I was really good at it, too. But my heart wasn’t in it, not like writing. Plus, playing was incredibly painful. I had to go to the chiropractor twice a week if not more, and at times my lower back pain was so bad I couldn’t walk. I really wanted a scholarship for college but knew sports just weren’t for me, so after seventh grade I never joined a team again.

But because I’m tall I obviously played sports, right? Some people got aggressive with me, demanding explanations when I said I didn’t, or telling me I really should, even after I explained that it physically hurt me, and plus I was seriously not into it. Did this contribute to my strong dislike of sports in schools? Probably so.

But you know what was really insulting? Walking an air conditioning repair guy through my company the other week to show him a malfunctioning unit, and having him ask me, “So did you play football in high school?”

I’m large, so I’m manly? Excuse me? I said no and walked off.

Normal Life. Honestly, unless someone is confronting me in public about it, I forget how tall I am. This is just my body. This is just my life. I do sometimes feel like I’m observing life instead of participating it, because I’m looking at everything from a distance, but when I’m at home with Chris, he’s life-sized to me, and we do what we do and are regular people. But when I see myself in pictures with my friends I’m always surprised at the height difference.

This is me with Biljana and Kat at Universal Studios.

And it’s not just height, because I’ve seen tall women who look like they’ve been stretched upward. I’m naturally just a very big person.

Here’s the way I usually describe it: You know when you have a picture in Microsoft Word, and you can stretch the picture out? I’m like a regular picture, except you take one of the buttons at the corner and make me bigger all around.

The person on the left is a normal woman. Let’s call her 5’5. The person in the middle is a typical taller woman I see on a regular basis, let’s call her 5’10. She’s the stretched version of the short woman. And the person on the far right is me. The smaller woman with every proportion increased, not just stretched.

Chris jokes that I come from ‘good stock.’ My father’s family is very tall, and my mother’s is all Swedish, so I’m just naturally larger. Which really pisses me off when I look at a BMI chart, because even at my skinniest I was considered borderline obese, which is just ridiculous.

It’s Not All Bad. Really, I don’t mean to be a whiner, I really don’t. I just wanted to write this to explain how being really tall feels and how I think about it. There are definitely some good parts.

For one, I can reach everything that would ever need to be reached. I can see over book stacks in bookstores. If I’m in a group of friends I’m the flag that can always be rallied at.

Tall people statistically make more money and are considered smarter. People usually think I’m older than I really am, which I appreciate because they take me seriously. Growing up, not being taken seriously was my worst fear, so this is one aspect of my height I really enjoy.

I was never picked in in school. To this day I feel more comfortable in some situations because I know my height deters people from starting stuff with me. And if I ever need to, just standing really close to someone while I’m talking to them acts as a very deep, biological intimidation method.

I can also hide weight gain better than a shorter person. 10 pounds on me can barely be seen, but on someone 5’5 that can be devastating. It also makes my weight loss goals a lot larger, lol.

Occasionally when people stop to talk about my height, it’s to ask if I’m a model. When I was skinnier strangers would frequently tell me that I was beautiful (thirty pounds later, I still maintain that I’m attractive, just not to the point where people feel obligated to tell me about it anymore ;-). You can’t imagine what a relief that was to grow up and enter the adult world and find out that this physical characteristic I hated as a teen was actually something to be prized.

Because let’s face it: If you’re going to remember anyone in a crowd, it’s going to be me. People recognize me. Remember that story about the guy who asked Chris how tall I was in the gas station? Six months later we went back there and when I handed the cashier my ID she told me not to worry about it, that she remembered me. I did not recall this woman at all, but she remembered that six months ago I was legally old enough to be buying what I was buying.

This happens frequently across my town. One time I went into Target to pick up some stuff for dinner, and as I was walking out my cashier said, “You always look so nice when you come in here.” Again, I did not remember this girl at all.

So while sometimes I do feel like I can never just anonymously be in a crowd, I also appreciate the fact that I have mini-celebrity status. When people remember you they treat you better. You form relationships with them. So does my height give me an advantage in these situations? Definitely yes.

~~~

Being really tall sucked when I was younger. There are still some sucky parts. But those experiences made me who I am, and define me today. So would I give it up? Definitely not. I’m happy with who I am and pretty much happy with my body, so what more could I really ask for?

“You know, no one’s ever described it like that,” I said to the young Indian man working the cash register in Georgia. I could tell he was in the group of people that wanted to connect with me, not just treat me like a circus attraction. “I’m 6’2.”

“Well, it is a very good height,” he said again, and handed me my receipt.

“A very good height,” I repeated. “I like that. Thanks.”

Read the follow-up post here.