Saturday, August 16, 2008

Body Image

I have a walking buddy that I met last year. She lives in Connecticut and only comes up here on weekends during the more desirable months of the year. I always enjoy finding someone who is willing to walk the number of miles I like to walk AND can keep up with me. She also likes to talk!

She belongs to a woman's discussion group. One of the questions she would like to pose to this group is- Name a part of your body that you like with no qualifications.

Hmmmmmm... that is a tough question. My whole life I have focused on what is wrong with my body- as I believe most women do. I have no chin, my teeth are too big, I am built like the long distance biker that I was with very athletic legs and the list goes on and on.

But I have made peace with many parts of my body too. So many people define me by my outsize smile that I have just accepted it as part of me. I have gained a few pounds over the years, but I am still a respectable size 8 or 10, which isn't bad for my height. My hair is SO thick and wild that I have found the only acceptable thing to do is cut it off as short as possible, which most people say looks quite chic.

So what do I like about myself? My height. I am 5'9" and when I wear heels, which is most days, I am about 6 feet.

It is a part that wasn't always my friend and something I was a little ashamed of. As a younger woman I envied all the petite French Canadian girls, who are the dominant culture in New England. They were all so cute. I felt like a horse. I am sure I suffered from the tall girl slouch.

I think after marrying it became a non-issue for me. My husband was 6'8" so I was petite in his eyes, but I don't think that's why it went from being a liability to an asset. I think it had to do with the fact that being married meant that I was attractive. I am an odd cup of tea, but at least I am someone's cup of tea.

The older I get the less important it is for me to make men feel comfortable in my presence. Thus, I never hesitate to wear high heels. If they want to feel uncomfortable, it is their problem. And they can make up all the lies they want about their height:

"I am six feet tall."

Yeah, in your stilettos. Besides, I am looking down on your bald spot.

Finding clothes can be a little bit of a hassle. I need tall pants which aren't too hard to find anymore, but shirts are a pain. The 3/4 sleeves comes up to my elbows and fitted blouses tend to have a waistline that hits me half way up my rib cage. But my height gives me automatic authority and power that I enjoy. I am also pretty easy to find in a room. I wouldn't give it up for the world.


Blackswamp_Girl said...

This 5-7 and 1/2" girl definitely envies you that height! My mom is almost 5'9" and that makes me the shortest one in my immediate family somehow. My former husband was the same height as I was, incidentally, and his reluctance to see me taller than he did NOT stop me from wearing high heels, either. *grin*

You know how sometimes when you read a blog post a certain phrase really hits you and sticks with you for some reason? Well, today, in this post, it's this sentence: "I am an odd cup of tea, but at least I am someone's cup of tea."

Michelle said...

When I saw you have a huge smile, I don't really mean the actual size of it. You smile with your WHOLE face.
Jeez, from one short, dumpy french canadian, to one tall willowy wasp, it take all types.

SMC said...

BSG- I am not even the tallest girl in my family. My older sister is 5"11". She was my height by 6th grade. I think she likes it too.

M- Ohhhhh.... Well you aren't the only one who mentions the big smile. I always figured I could be the poster child for the orthodontics society.

LYC said...

Well, this short French Canadian at 5'3" figures I'm almost as tall as you...heh's how you feel about yourself....certainly it's an illusion, but it's a usefull one.

smith kaich jones said...

I am 5'8" & love it. Love it because as I've gained weight over the years, I STILL don't look awful (even though I notice every new lb.), love it because, as you said, it gives you authority. Funny, though, that I've never been particularly attracted to tall men. (I've never rejected anyone because he was tall, but it's never been something I looked for.) The best relationships of my life - 23 years so far with the ever-wonderful Michael - have been with men about my height. There's something about being able to look eye-to-eye that I like.

PS - I'm loving your posts lately, and have noticed that you now say you're posting about whatever you damn well please. I love it.

:) Debi