My friend Beth gave me a big “shout out” here about how “I” led her to wearing high heels despite being a tall girl through my example. The whole post was great in her very self-deprecating way and it got me thinking about my body image and how it has changed through my life.
First of all, being a tall girl has been part of me since I can remember. I remember my first embarassing time where I recognized that I was not your “typical” girl. I was in First Grade and in Catholic school. There was an annual festival for Mary (mother of God) in May and they usually had the youngest girls in the school participate by being some sort of “princesses” – all I remember is getting to wear these really pretty dresses that they passed along each year. Anyway, they chose the youngest so that the dresses would fit…unfortunately they didn’t count on me! I started Kindergarten at 4 years of age (at the time, you only had to be 5 by Jan 1st of the year you were in it and seeing how my birthday was end of November…) so I was always one of the youngest in my class. Anyway, I was designated to being in this festival and I was (literally) a foot taller and 20 pounds heavier than any of the other girls. Of course, the dress didn’t fit! and I, being the mature 6 year old at the time had a huge FIT when they tried to convince me that I shouldn’t be in the procession! So, I had to be “wedged” into the dress and I remember lots of comments about how I didn’t let the other (smaller) girl take my place.
Okay, can you say trauma!
Throughout my grade school career, I was consistently the tallest (and though looking back on it now I realize that at 5’10” and 140 pounds in high school I was far from FAT), I always interpreted my tallness as “bigness” as “fattness!”. Didn’t help that I always had curves and never that stick straight body habitus of the adolescent boy/girl.
So, somewhere in residency, I lost weight and was exercising alot and got down to one of the lowest weights I had been since high school – and I was accused of being SICK. Not once, but repeatedly!! For me, it finally hit home that I just couldn’t see what others did. At the same time, I was able to wear clothes that looked good on me and …well, they looked good with high heels. Heels became my way to feel better about myself. No matter what my weight, no matter if I was tired or anxious…the way I felt and held myself with heels was much better than when I wore flats…maybe it was the dressed up feeling they gave/give me…maybe it was the change in posture they afford.
I still struggle with my body image…heels don’t take that away…but they certainly give me an edge and I like that!