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I think as women we can come far in believing in our own beauty. We embrace that curly hair we tried so hard to straighten growing up. We actually miss the red hue in those curls that we so badly wanted to be blond. We realize having a big nose isn’t so bad and no one really notices bigger ears either. Crooked teeth? No problem. You’ve seen lots of beautiful people with crooked teeth. Think about your 16-year-old self looking in the mirror versus the way you look in the mirror now. Hopefully you’re not as hard on you. Hopefully you smile a little. That is, until your eyes fall on that one part. You know what it is for you. I know what it is for me. The one thing you still consider your exception. “I like everything about myself, except ____.”
It’s that thing that can bring you down for the rest of the hour, or the day. And for me, it has always been the one absolutely irreversible, unchangeable part of me: my height. The official measurement, without shoes, is 5’10 ¼”. I know because I had a friend measure me recently with a measuring tape against my wall. I have always been tall. I didn’t have a big growth spurt in elementary school or junior high. I’ve just been consistently taller than most of the rest, including boys, until I got to college. At my best, I am indifferent toward my height. At my worst, I hate it. But I don’t recall a time, ever, that I liked it. High school consisted of a lot of slouching, a lot of shopping for “fancy” flats to wear to dances and a lot of sticking close by one of my best friends who happened to be my exact height all the way through school. God knew I needed her as my friend in adolescence.
I’ve talked about my beauty struggles here before. I’ve talked about them with friends a lot and with teenage girls and with women older than I. No matter your age, there is something about your body that you are at best indifferent toward and at worst you hate. You settle for liking most of yourself and resolve that one thing will always bug you. At some point, somewhere you were either told or you decided inside your own head, that that part of you was wrong. I know I’ve said that to myself. I am the average, American male height. And in most other countries, especially the Latin American ones, I am well above it. I have believed my height is some sort of glitch. I have even believed men have dated me and been attracted to me in spite of this part of me and not because of it. It’s not something I consciously decided; it’s a belief that slithered its way into me somewhere along the way.
I only recently got to a place where I could confess to myself and a couple of close friends that I thought something about me was not just unfortunate but actually wrong. And it took that confession for humility to start staring at me. I think my body is wrong? If I think this, how will I ever fully like myself? And if I think this, how will I ever believe in a God who knows what He is doing, instead of a God who almost got it right?
Since I confessed this, I’ve been able to trace back when I started to believe my height was wrong and why. Comments made by people who weren’t friends contributed to it. But comparing myself to every other girl everywhere all the time contributed to it the most.
This helps, knowing the source. Maybe you could stand to do a little backtracking and digging into the hard places. Where and when did you start to dislike that one thing? I think it will start you on the journey toward a deeper self-acceptance, and a deeper self-like. And the world could really use more women that like themselves.
I can’t imagine a world in which Andrea Lucado loves being 5’10” (and some change). But I do, for the first time, hope for a world like that. It’s actually something I’m going to pray about. That I not only accept this part of me, but that I would wake up one day and like it.
I don’t often drop everything to comment on newsy topics, but when it involves…19 May 2014