We presume things about people of a certain height-man or woman. Basketball player, horse jockey, fashion model, or even someone’s age. What about that small man syndrome? Those men who drive hot rod cars to assert their masculinity. The ones who seem overloaded with testosterone and make up their vertical deficit by bulking up their muscles. Height seems to matter more to men than women. Well, except for those single Amazonian women looking to meet someone eye-level.
Then we watch as our children mature, growing taller year by year, at a rate that’s hard to notice day in and day out. Then the walls of the homemade growth chart get crowded with penciled hash marks. And as someone who’s on the petite side, every hash mark on that measuring stick counts. Kids brag when they surpass their parents in what becomes a surreal day showing just how fast life goes by. Meanwhile, the parents’ height begins moving in the other direction.
So last week was the first time I had a physical since entering adulthood. Like many women, I stay healthy and usually just see my gyno for annual check-ups (or biennial as of late.) I step on a scale, pee in a cup, and spread my legs. The visits are swift and painless and never involve a vertical measure. I tell the nurse what I’ve always been, 5’4”, or so I thought. But on this doctor visit, I lost half an inch. Just like my kids’ growth, I can’t pinpoint my own shrinkage. (If you’re still here, wrong site. You know who you are.) Maybe it’s these months of computer time, writing a book and blogging.
It’s weird to know yourself as one height and then all of a sudden have a new identity. One that wrecked my BMI. I’ve always been afflicted by height dysmorphia, too. I never realize how short I am until I see myself in pictures or crane my neck to speak to someone. Or try on a regular sized pair of pants that have to be hemmed a foot.
Now I know there are lots of people with real health issues so my complaints are relative. But if the saying goes that 50 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 30, where does that leave me and my height? At this pace, I’ll need a booster seat to drive when I retire! It’s true- getting old sucks. I just never thought I’d be complaining in my thirties.