For those of you reading who aren't a relative or friend of mine (ha! like you even exist) - you may not know, I'm one tall lady. I stand 6'1" with a commanding stature.
My ENTIRE life, it has been a topic of discussion. People, mostly strangers, never hesitate to say "Wow! How tall are you???!" Most days, I try to maintain my friendly nature and I say 6'1" and smile. Some days, if I'm feeling like the female Green Giant, I still manage my friendly reply while feeling somewhat struck down on the inside. *Why can't I just blend in?* Sometimes, I consider countering with "How tall are YOU?" or "How much do you weigh?" - but I never do.
Height has a lot of perks - You can reach things that are out of reach for many. Your eyeline is above the norm - so you see lots more, and marketing tatics at the grocery store are wasted on you. You can see the stage at most concerts, from the back even. Usually, talls get higher salaries and more respect than their shorter counterparts - cuz people are dang intimidated by us. And yeah, you bet we use that to our advantage.
Height has a lot of drawbacks too - Your self esteem suffers (see above). You stick out like a sore thumb in photographs, and you're always placed in the back. Your body often feels like it does not fit the world - leg room is a constant issue. You bend your knees to meet counters and tabletops, making your posture suffer. You eat more, use more body care products, and your clothes have to have a "T" for "tall" next to your size - otherwise, you're sporting high-waters - Steve Urkel style. *"Did I do that?"*
I'm getting somewhere here, I promise.....
As a result of my stature, I have a horrible time with shoes. My size 12W feet are NOT sexy. Options for shoes either come from mail order or from Payless Shoes. Everything looks geriatric. I shop for size first, then hope to (read: try to make myself) like the style and color.
I am due at the podiatrist's office in only an hour - the poor choices I've made for footwear had left me hobbling around town and a few weeks ago I was given a VERY painful shot in my heel to ease my pain. So today, when I found an article about the tallest man in the U.S. getting some custom shoes, you best believe I clicked on that link quicker than you can put on a flip-flop.
Igor Vovkovinskiy lives in Rochester, Minn. and standing 7' 8" tall, he is the tallest person in the United States. He has size 24 10E feet. Due to his inability to find comfortable and fitting shoes, Igor has lived most of his adult life at home. Because custom shoes are so expensive, he has even had several surgeries to attempt to keep his foot size under control.
Igor started a facebook profile to raise $16,000 for a reasonable pair of custom shoes. The story caught the attention of Reebok, and here's where the story gets really GREAT:
Reebok flew Igor out to their offices and scanned and measured his feet for shoes. They gave him several pairs especially created for him. One pair even has a large "IGOR" on the soles. Best of all, the shoes were free!
|Photo from the original article|
It may be silly, but this article almost made me shed a tear. Here I've struggled with this issue for so long and I could really feel Igor's pain (literally and figuratively). I felt humbled by his experience. At 6'1" what the heck am I complaining about? I am SO happy that Igor got these shoes.
Reebok, you know what's up. I wish more corporations would pursue this kind of charitable publicity!
Today, take that one thing that's hurting you - and realize, someone else has it even harder than you do. Be grateful for your struggles - they make you who you are. And it could always be worse! Size 12W, pssh. I got this under control.
I'm off to the podiatrist - with a much better attitude now.
TGIF and XO.