By now at the age of 52, you would think that I should be used to certain comments about my height.
I stand 72 inches exactly barefoot. Yes, I played basketball but I was known for my three pointers rather than my layups. Yes, it’s hard to find pants long enough and yes, I get asked countless times a month on “how tall are you?”
After telling this to most men, I usually get some kind of disagreement with them saying “I am 6 feet 1 inch and you’re taller than me.” Well, I hate to break to you fellows, but while women usually shave a few pounds off their real weight, men tend to add a few inches to their height. Proof is usually a handy tape measure; I used to carry a mini one when I was a bartender in the past and won a lot of bets with it.
I remember growing up in a small town and how I was known as “that tall girl.” I was confused for being older or failing grades because of my height. I learned that boys didn’t ask a girl to dance that was a head taller than them but I learned to ask them instead. I was taller than my mom when I entered high school and had outgrown my older sister in grade school, and I didn’t know another female taller than me for some time.
I knew when I entered a room that I would be noticed simply because of my height, so I made sure I stood up straight and never shrugged my shoulders nor hunched my back. I was and still am told countless times by females that “I wished I was that tall” but sometimes am still looked at like a freak of nature.
My daughters, Lizzie and Sterling are both tall like their father and me. (Their father is 5 feet, 10 ½ inches tall). My daughters have learned the same as I to take pride in their whole selves, including their height. Both are less than 6 feet tall and both are beautiful inside and out. I have tried to be a role model to them in all the right ways as a good mother should but also as a female who is taller than usual.
Both are used to hearing, “gosh, your mom is so tall” and seem to be proud of the real things that matter about me. I raised them as a single parent most of their lives and put them first before my own needs. I raised them to have a strong self-worth and even more important, a faith in God that binds us together. I tried to teach them about the right guy and the wrong guy, the wrong guy thinks of girls as books, if he doesn’t like the cover, he won’t bother to read what’s inside. But the right guy is out there, finding him isn’t the answer, let him find you. I guess with age comes wisdom…that and a pair of rose-colored glasses, reading glasses that is.
I've learned to embrace self-love. I've stopped apologizing for who I am and have learned that I am "perfect" the way I am, right now, right here. If I could talk to my younger self — that girl desperate for love, for acceptance, I'd tell her, "Love will come to you, Lorrie, when you learn to love yourself, all 72 inches, first and foremost."
I can't go back in time to correct my mistakes, but I can, today, share what I've learned with younger women to know your value and don't accept being treated in a way less than you deserve. So before you ask me “How’s the weather up there?” I hate to tell you that you will find out when you grow up, or if I played basketball, yes I did, did you play miniature golf? See, I am still working on bad habits, but those flaws, those imperfections are part of the beauty that makes me, me. And yes, I am a tall drink of water…are you thirsty?