Saturday 9 October 2010

Towering Tall

It is common knowledge, I guess, but occasionally it just hits me how much of our lives are influenced by perception. Meaning the way we see ourselves and others, and how we are seen by others. Humans are visual animals; even how we choose our words is confirming this: We build us a picture of someone or something, or we take a point of view.

So looking from where I was standing, at a height of 5.38 with a fat bum and beige hair it was quite natural for me to think that my back then teenage goddaughter was one of the most gorgeous human beings on the world. This girl features a height of a about 6 feet, has the curves in all the right places, and soft brown curls with a golden glow. How could I think differently? And thus I tried to push her towards my image of her when we went out shopping for clothes.

When she then told me that she was far from happy about those features I was rather shocked and asked her to write her story.

PS: Ulli that is me - My birth name is Ulrike which during my school days always got abbreviated to Ulli. As this is the short form for the male Ulrich as well I never realy like it. Moving into a new life at university I became Rika, however stayed Ulli for my friends from the olden days.

By Jorina Schlanke (2007)

Last spring I visited my godmother Ulli in England.
When we were on the way to the supermarket we came across a problem about which she hadn’t thought yet, and we thought that this was something for her website 'Incredible Ladies'.
The time went on and we forgot about this chat. But today when I called her we descended to this topic again and she suggested that I should write about me and my little problem (which is in fact almost solved by now).
So, here I am: Jori, 17 years old, from a small town in southern Germany. I am 180 cm tall which has been my problem for a very long time.
Nobody in my class is as tall as I am. My best friends are all very short and even most of the boys don’t reach my height.
At the beginning it were my friends who made the issue worse than it really is. They complained about having to look up when they wanted to look into my eyes. I can and always could understand them, but I couldn’t help them, because I had the converse problem: I had to look down and I felt as strange as they did.
If we wanted to hug each other it sometimes just looked ridiculous. But of course I wanted to hug them for they are my best friends and needless to say everyone does it.
The reason Ulli never realised that this really can be a problem is that she never was in my situation and therefore thought like everyone else – so many people want to be tall and thin, like a model. And that is really strange: So many women would give up everything to have my body, and I have it and don’t want it! It would be smarter to accept what you are. The best example for that is my friend Judith.
I came to know Judith this summer holidays. She is a really funny girl, is very self confident – and 150 cm short. When I told her that I hate being so tall she said: “Yeah, you’re right. Being small is great, I love it.”
From that I learned - Everybody should have this attitude. Everybody should love ones body as it is, because there is no reason why we shouldn’t.
Who defines which size is the best? We can’t change what we are, so we have to accept what we are, there is no other way. Moaning doesn’t help, and the earlier we are starting to accept our body, the earlier we are starting not only to feel good with it, but also to be really happy with it.
These days I just don’t take these things personal anymore. If somebody has a problem with my height it’s theirs not mine.
Eventually I’m feeling good about myself.

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