The view from up here

When my sister gave me her copy of “Julie & Julia” to watch this rainy weekend, it was with a twinkle in her eye.

“This movie made me think of you,” she said.  “In fact, there’s a scene in it that made me think of us…you’ll know it when you see it,” she said mysteriously.

And of course, I got it right away.  Meryl, as usual, plays her character exactly true to form; and in Julia Child that form is statuesque – the nicest word I can think of in the English language to describe women like us.  I am 5 foot eleven inches tall when I’ve just gotten out of bed and had a shower (i.e. actually woken up) and sadly, I’m on my way down.  If it wasn’t for the scoliosis that invisibly curves my back from side to side like an ‘S’, I would be 6 foot and one inch – and also, still, on my way down.  When I walk, I stride because my legs are from here to here; that is to say I get bruises from doorhandles on my thighs.  My greatest fashion moment was when it became trendy to have jeans that dragged on the ground as you walked…finally I have womens jeans that don’t freeze my ankles.  And only just.  Wondrously, I have one pair of womens  jeans that are actually frayed at the back of the hem; when I wear the patches out of them I will be in mourning!

I detested my height as a young person, not only because my clothes didn’t fit (“when’s the flood coming?” hahaha), but because I had to stoop to hear the whispers of my peers (which contributed to a very poor posture) and later because it seemed like tall boys only liked to have petite, helpless girlfriends.  And I was, very clearly, far from helpless.

Eventually, I did see my height as an asset.  I modelled as a teen (until I realised that while my height and lack of figure were ideal in the modelling world, my live-and-let-live attitude were not – Seriously NO competitive spirit at all), I carried my babies and birthed them well because they had lots of room (TMI?  Sorry), I can get things off the high shelves for anyone who needs it in the supermarket (and, yes, that does make me feel like a superhero) and I don’t need to worry too much if I’m a few weeks late dying my hair – like, who’s going to notice?

Still, it’s always there – in your conciousness.  You’re tall. A very petite friend once told me that I could be intimidating to someone who didn’t know me and I was shocked.  I had always thought of myself more like the BFG, how on earth could I be intimidating?  But she measured herself up to me (she came just below my bust) and then she stood on a chair on a copy of the yellow pages, on her tiptoes, right next to me.  Towering over me because I came up to her bust.

It was like a slap in the face.

All of a sudden I started to think of my body language.  And while I consider myself a mild mannered person, when pushed I put my hands on my hips and I straighten my spine….and I pity the person who got me there.

Really, I’m sorry. 

Having realised I will never be a petite person, unless I embody the Hunchback of Notre Dame, at the tender age of 40 I am embracing the tall, the Amazon, the statuesque.

When I see a woman taller than myself, I stare at them – I am mesmerised by them, I am attracted to them because they are my people. I also check out their pants, because they may have contacts for tall chick jeans that I don’t know about.

So, in the “Julia & Julie” scene where the two statuesque sisters meet at the train station and squeal with delight, oblivious to the eyes of everyone around them, I laughed out loud.  That’s my sister and I – I am way the tallest but when we are together we are…statuesque, and even if we aren’t carrying on like two old chooks, I think we are hard to miss – for all the right reasons.

Being tall is character building, it’s a super-ability, it’s different and it’s wonderful, especially when you can find pants to fit!


13 thoughts on “The view from up here

  1. That’s amusing to my 5 foot 3 inch self, who has to cut the bottoms off everything, can’t see over the steering wheel, needs a box to stand onto reach most surfaces, loves 3/4 pants because they fit full leg length.

    Wait till we have a cuppa together on day.

    Can I offer you a collection of cut off circular jean legs, all around 7 inches wide?

    • It’s funny you should say that little Rhu, because I have a bag full of denim pant leg offcuts that I use in my sewing to make bags, purses etc…and quite a few of them are from lovely petite friends such as yourself!

      I look forward to that cuppa too 🙂

  2. I was tall for a while Alyson. For years I was in the back row in school photos. I came from a tall family. I believed I would be tall, but as it turned out my height slowed, and I became a middle heighted person. I became 5’7” – the shortest in my family. I love to wear heels to play at being tall. I always look at women who are over 6 foot too. I think, it coulda been me, it shoudda been me. Truth is, I am fairly happy being middle-sized or too tall for ballet, too short for basketball.

    • Too right! Cos then you don’t have the pressure of telling people you can’t join their basketball/netball/whatever team because you’re seriously uncoordinated, despite what it might look like!

  3. I’m almost 5-foot-two. When I see 6-foot-tall women, I check their makeup and hand size to see whether they aren’t trannies. Guess I lived in Boyztown, Toronto too long.

    Seriously, though, statuesque, Rubenesque, petite, whatever — CLAIM IT, don’t shame it! L’chaim!

    (And now, E.g. and I are going to have to rent that movie.)

  4. Umm, lemme think, Al’s Sister… Ah! Does your voice sound like you smoked two packs of cigs and drank a bottle of bourbon last night? I mean, does it always sound like that? If not, you should be gender-identifiable.

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