Meant to Stand Out
By Kimberly Hall
As a young girl, I was tall and very thin. I was taller than all the boys, and I hadn’t developed as fast as the other girls. I remember reading the book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. In that book, Margaret did some exercises in hopes of increasing her bust. Inspired, I would stand in my bedroom with my door locked, doing these exercises and silently repeating, I must, I must, I must increase my bust. I wish someone had told me that 200 of these exercises a night would not increase my bust. It would have saved me months of heartache and disappointment!
You may read this and think, What, is she complaining about being tall and thin? It might be hard to believe I was unhappy about that! As a young girl, though, I wanted to fit in and look like the other girls in my high school. Most of the girls were shapely and curvy. The boys use to say behind closed doors that they liked “thick girls.” Being 5 foot 10 and 105 pounds, with hardly any curves, I was far from “thick.” My body looked like a child’s. I was so embarrassed to show my skinny legs that I rarely wore shorts. In pictures, I would slump down or bend my knees. I hated being taller than everyone else.
My parents had no idea of this embarrassment since I kept my shame of my body to myself. My parents loved me unconditionally and I knew it, but our conversations back then were more about getting good grades and making good choices. They didn’t see me the way I saw myself—and to be honest, if they did, I’m not sure it would have been talked about. In our home, we didn’t talk about sex or anything close to it.
What I hoped would be my saving grace—the “Freshman 15,” the myth that most college freshmen gain 15 pounds their first year—somehow missed me. By my sophomore year, I started to feel more comfortable with my height and weight. I still had some slight insecurities, but I was growing more comfortable with my body. I started to stand taller (in photos and in general!). I was still very thin and tall, but I was blossoming into a young lady and becoming confident and self-assured. I started wearing kitten heels to sorority events and I stopped stooping for pictures, though I still had moments that rattled me. In 1989, a young lady told me, “Men like meat—dogs like bones.” That statement hurt me to the core.
Thirty years later, I look back at those years and giggle sometimes. I stand at 6 foot 2 most days, as I wear 4-inch heels. What I once viewed as embarrassing, I now view as beautiful and commanding. That girl who used to slump for photos still stands out in the crowd . . . and owns it completely! I can’t quite pinpoint when I decided to walk tall with glide in my stride. I do know that the older I got, the more comfortable I became in my own skin. I’ve grown to accept my beauty, flaws, and subtle nuances. Most importantly, I’ve accepted that I won’t fit in because I was meant to stand out.