So You Are a Bit Tall

Image by ZeroHour99

I wish I were a big deal.

A stupid wish to make when you live in New York City.

With careful steps and several apologies, I got into the subway car and squeezed into a seat. Ordeal though it was, I was more embarrassed by the book in my hand. Everyone can see the title: So, You Are a Bit Tall

I'd gone to bed at five foot four. I woke up with my head pressed against the headboard and my toes peeking over the bottom edge of the bed. I grew through the morning, and by lunchtime I was in search of somewhere, anywhere to take me out of my constricting studio apartment. This led me to the Brooklyn Public Library, where I perused the shelves until a thin, red hardbound volume caught my eye.

Presented as a series of encouraging tips, the book employed a subtly superficial tone, typically reserved for teens and young adults. Scattered through the book were pictures and factoids of 'tall' celebrities and public figures, as well as candid shots of tall women looking unnaturally happy in casual settings. One photo depicted a woman laughing while eating a salad with friends who stood shoulder high next to her. For the life of me, I can't imagine what could be so funny about eating a salad with a bunch of short people.

I checked the book out and read it on the subway. The chapters were peppered with ‘encouragement and inspiration for young, altitudinally blessed ladies.’

Look to a tall role model or relative for inspiration.

My tallest brother would not even reach my inseam.

People assume you are mature and responsible.

I tripped over two different children on my way here.

Dress to your height, and remember: tall is beautiful.

I shot a smile at a salt-and-pepper business type sitting across from me, who blushed and hid behind his newspaper. It would later occur to me that, in my attempt to take up as little space as possible in the seat, I'd been flashing my underwear to all the passengers across from me.

...mature and responsible.

At my stop, I squeezed my giant butt through the subway doors and crawled up the steps to street level, where I could finally stand up straight. It felt nice to stretch my legs, now longer than most doorways were high. 

At home, I stood tall enough to look in my second-floor apartment window. I made a mental note to re-paint my soulless taupe walls and replace one of the three bulbs that had burned out in my lamp.

Committed to finishing my book, I flipped to the last page and struggled to read the small print.

Accept it—it’s who you are.

It occurred to me that, while I’m big compared to last night, I'm still small compared to what I will be. I probably should be more concerned about my growth, but that's a problem for future me.

...when I'm a bigger deal.

Originally published September 25, 2018