I’ve been tall all my life, except for the two years I lived in Indiana. In the Hoosier state, being almost 6 feet 5 inches is pretty run of the mill.
For the rest of the time I’ve been alive, I’ve always been taller than most people, though never the tallest. In elementary school, I was always the second tallest kid in my class every year because I went to school with a behemoth of a child that always outpaced me by a couple inches. We went to different schools after the fifth grade, but I’d love to know whether I finally caught up to him.
I still didn’t really stand out for my height in middle school. I was a tall middle school student, but there were always bigger kids and basketball players, plus I didn’t want to be noticed so I nearly never stood up straight. I developed pretty poor posture to better conform to the heights of my classmates and not stand out. Unfortunately, that posture’s stuck with me, so people usually don’t realize my true height until they need me to reach something.
I working on being better about standing up straight when I walk, but years of a bad habit are hard to break.
I don’t really remember how tall I was when I finished eighth grade, but I know I wasn’t that close to this 6-foot tall kid who had been held back a year. However, I hit my biggest growth spurt over the summer and started high school at 6 feet 2 inches.
That definitely made me stand out among freshmen, but it also made it much easier to blend in with sophomores and juniors. I grew a couple more inches over the next four years and graduated at my current height.
I first entered the workforce around that time with a part-time job at a department store. That’s when I really started putting my height to use as some of the managers and employees quickly realized it was easier to get me to retrieve items on the top shelf than to lug out a ladder.
These days I’m back to being proud to be tall and it’s been so long since I was shorter than anyone that I find it a little unnerving to be around people taller than me — except when I need them to reach something on a really high shelf.