Whether I’m 5’11” on an athletic roster, 5’10” which is the height I claim, or 5’9 1/2″ which is my actual doctor’s office official height, I’m only tall-ish; borderline tall. Why oh why did I stop growing? I really, really wanted to be 6’2″. In order to tower, I’m reduced to wearing (very high) heels, which my aunt has abbreviated FMP’s. Put on a pair of flats or tennis shoes and it’s back to being kinda-tall me.
So, why did I stop growing? Remember going to the doctor as a child and being told how tall you will be? Well, I was supposed to be 6’…and I would have been happier with that than I am with my current (whispered) five foot nine and a half inches. The doctor told my brother he would be 6’6″…and that’s exactly what he is; unless his height is listed on a sports roster where an inch is inevitably added. I’m pretty sure that the doctor’s number is not based on some elaborate, highly tested hypothesis as my mother just informed me that the doctor just took my height of 3′ when I was 3 and doubled it, but I do know that the doctor gave me a number that I strove to reach throughout my teenage years. And I didn’t get there. I hate when I don’t reach my goals.
After I realized that short of some insane bone lengthening surgery, I wasn’t going to hit my target, I sulked. And I’ve continued to lament the loss of those two inches my entire adult life. Recently I picked up a book called “The Tall Book” by Arianne Cohen, who is 6’4″. I figured that enough people ask me my height for me to be qualified to read it. The author helped me figure out where those two inches went. I did not reach my full growth potential. Our height often does not reach our maximum potential because something stunts us. Could be a childhood illness…not my problem: the worst thing I ever had was the chicken pox. Could be the stress of a life fraught with peril…not my issue: I grew up in small-town, middle-class America. Could be environmental toxins…hmmm: my uncle Bill always said that all the power plants near-by would make funny things happen. Still no definitive answer for me. Mom? Dad? What happened? Why did my growth get stunted? Why didn’t I reach my potential?
As my parents must have dropped the ball somewhere, I present this statement to my future progeny so that they may be relieved of the burden of unreached potential.
I swear to marry a man @ least 6′ tall. I swear to keep cigarette smoke, lead based paint, asbestos and other harmful products out of your home. I will assist you in any way I can in order for you to be aware of and to reach your maximum growth potential, whether it be proper stretching or becoming a one-woman cheering section. You will not bear the stigma of “shortest person in the family” as I have done all these years.