Years ago, when I first met my husband, I made some flippant remark about the fact that I was tall. “You’re what now?” my then beau asked. “I’m tall.” I replied confidently. The guffaws and hilarity that then ensued had me a little baffled.
You see, I had grown up being told by my mother that I was the tall one amongst my sisters (my brother was heading towards 6ft by the age of 15). My soon to be husband, once he had sufficiently recovered enough, managed to gasp out, “You aren’t tall, in fact, you’re rather short!”
I was shocked. All this time I had not been tall? What?!
Now, although I feel I have come to terms with my somewhat diminutive stature, I must have some remnants left over from my ‘tall’ past.
I have attended two school functions this past week, where the idea is very much to be able to see one’s little darling performing their heart out up on stage. Out of respect for those behind me, I have sat in the second row, so as not to block anyone’s view by sitting in the front row. Clearly, I still believe that people may not be able to see over my enormous 5ft 3 frame.
Tall people (factually tall people, not ‘tall’ by my mother’s definition) sat in front of me…both times! So, either, I do actually look tall to them, or they are unaware of their own height advantage and oblivious to the fact that my perfect view of the performance was now marred by their head and shoulders.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not…<insert politically correct word for short people who don’t like tall people>…it just made me think about how different our perceptions of ourselves are.
I very rarely see size or height in people. My husband may comment after meeting someone that they were tall or short and always has a chuckle at my shoulder shrugging “oh, were they?” response. I just don’t see it. I tend to think I am the same size as whoever I am with at any given time.
We have all seen tall people who stoop to try and mask their height and we are all familiar with ‘short-man’ syndrome, so which came first? The personality or the stature?
Maybe it’s a combination of both – some people are so sick to death of it being commented on that they are tall or short that they compensate as best they can and their personality then has a bearing on how that plays out.
Regardless, of how we got there, we all have a view of our own space. Those who sat in front of me may not genuinely be aware of how tall they are, maybe they feel small on the inside. I do not know either of them, so this is pure ‘homespun psychological’ conjecture but maybe how we feel inside is how we project on the outside. We all know those short people who we refer to a ‘pocket rockets’, they have a dynamic element that goes way beyond their actual physical size. Conversely, some of the quietest, shyest people I have met have been over 6ft tall (or so I’m told ).
Or, maybe, this is just all a reflection on me and how I see myself. Maybe I am the only one who is short but thinks they are tall. Maybe I just have an inflated sense of the amount of space I take up.
If I do, I blame my mother. She started it.