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Learning how to love my height was a new opportunity for growth – The Channels

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Allison Budde (center) celebrates “senior dress-up day” on Oct. 4, 2019 at La Canadas high school in Flintridge, Calif. “I felt out of place and awkward,” Budde said about her taller-than-average height of her.

Is being tall a personality trait? It is for me.

I love being tall. I love walking into places and seeing the tops of people’s heads. I love wearing heels and platform shoes to accentuate my height. I love how powerful and intimidating being tall makes me feel.

Growing up tall made me very self-conscious. But I learned to view my height from a new perspective which has led me to be confident and comfortable with my physical self.

For as long as I can remember I have been undoubtedly lanky. I’ve always been taller than my friends, the boy I liked and even my elementary school teachers.

For someone who never drank milk as a kid and always drinks coffee, I ended up pretty tall. I thank my dad and the Budde genes for the inches. 5 feet and 11 inches to be exact.

Standing seven inches taller than the average woman, people often greet me with, “Whoa, you’re tall,” or ask “How tall are you?” My height is the first thing someone notices about me. This makes me feel like my body is the most important and prominent thing there is about me. And I don’t like that.

I didn’t always admire my stature. I hated towering over my friends in photos. I hated going shopping for clothes because nothing would fit properly. I hated wearing heels because they emphasized height. I hated being taller than all the boys.

I started my growth spurt during my fifth grade year. I grew like a vine for the next three years, adding 4 inches or more every trip around the sun.

Although people often said to me “you’re so lucky to have such long legs and be this tall.” Growing so fast and at such a vulnerable age created big insecurities. I was known as the tall girl. I wanted people to notice me for something else other than my height.

I remember one day in 6th grade, I stood next to my older brother and I was taller than him. By middle school, I was taller than most of the guys in my grade. This made me unsure about myself. All I could think was, “the boys are supposed to be bigger than the girls.”

My insecurities towards my body grew just as fast as I did.

Trying to find clothes that fit was a challenge in itself, but finding clothes I felt pretty and confident in was almost impossible. Everything that was long enough to fit me was too big for the width of my body. Finding jeans, dresses and shorts that were long enough was an absolute mission. My style and fashion were limited at an age where style and fashion are everything to a girl.

This battle to find clothes long enough left me to wear clothes that didn’t fit properly. My shorts were always too short or my shirt was too small. This resulted in getting dressed coded at school, a lot.

I felt targeted for my body and how I looked in high school. I was one of the few girls who would consistently get reminded to “pull down your shorts”, or to “put a jacket over your top.”

I was even pulled out of class to change into gym shorts and a shirt on multiple occasions. But when my 5’2” best friend would wear the same outfit as me, no one would look twice.

Around my junior year of high school, my thoughts towards myself started to change. I adored my height after years of athletics and some time to grow into my body.

My height was an asset when it came to athletics. I realized what a natural advantage I had. My coaches would always remind me “you can’t teach height.”

I also found out about certain clothing brands that offer “long” sizes for all the tall queens in this

world. I learned to love that I “have” to scout for guys who are at least 6 feet or taller.

My height opened up doors to crazy opportunities for me. I have gotten the chance to model for clothing lines and apply to modeling agencies.

Being just a sliver under 6 feet, I feel confident in my skin. My height is my favorite thing about me. I feel lucky to have a strong and tall frame. It’s been a tough mental health journey to feel good about myself, but it has been the most rewarding one.

My height shaped how I look at the world. I have a bird’s eye view now – if you know what I’m talking about.

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