Inching Towards The Unknown
Everyone knows their height by the time they hit their twenties, right? Wrong! I was recently asked how tall I was by a friend and, with high confidence, I declared what I knew to be my height – 5’ 3 ¾”. I didn’t have to think about it twice. I’d been measured at home numerous times and by an NHS nurse about four years ago so I was certain of this. I wasn’t surprised by the question; my height has always been a topic of discussion and dispute because I (supposedly) look taller than I actually am – all an illusion of long legs and a slender frame. Anyway my friend was convinced I was taller than that and after much “discussion”, I agreed to let myself get measured again.
Oh, the shock I received when the tape was stretched upwards and I read off the new figure – 5’5”. How was that even possible? Aren’t we supposed to stop growing in our late teens or early twenties? Based on this new discovery, had all I learnt in biology at school been wrong? Okay, I didn’t go that far in my mental outcry but I was clearly confused. Even though the evidence was right before me, I wasn’t satisfied till I had myself measured again by someone else. Same result. I was utterly baffled. After many teenage years of wishing and praying that I would grow taller so that I could at least be called average height, I had given up any hopes of this and accepted that I was on the short side of average. I had accepted my fate and even revelled in shocking people by telling them that I wasn’t quite 5’4”. So you can imagine the irony in the fact that I felt disappointed that I was over an inch taller than I thought I was.
Finding out something like that about myself so late in life made me feel weird, like I had no idea who I was. I know it sounds silly but that’s exactly how I felt – like I was in someone else’s body, because how the hell did I grow that much taller and not notice? I guess it didn’t help that most of my trousers/jeans are extra long and my skirts/dresses are mostly short – nobody ever notices another inch off on something that is already considered too long or decidedly short. And it certainly didn’t help that nobody ever really checks their height once they get past the age of twenty two, except when they have to register with a new GP. Excuses, excuses.
My next move was to find out why and how this could have happened. But once I hit that search button on Google and came across frightening words like pituitary tumour, pregnancy and increase in disc thickness (whatever that is!), I decided to skip the questions and just accept the more positive suggestions I found – that I was taller because my posture and diet have improved over the last few years (oh yes, we at caeblogs embrace good news, not the freakishly scary). So now when anyone asks me how tall I am, I’ll have to take a deep breath and remember not to look sad when I say those alien numbers out loud – 5’5”. Oh, the irony!