How many of you are familiar with the term “Vertically Unchallenged”? Do you think it’s appropriate? Did you ever wish that some of your body features were different?
My friends, every person has mental and physical characteristics that makes them different from other people. Some may consider them advantages, while others think they are disadvantages.
How would you look at your features objectively? I didn’t look at mine objectively while growing up.
Coming from a family of tall athletes, ever since I was a kid, people used to tell how big I’ll be when I grow up. Our family friends would point out to my dad, who was 6’6”, and say: “Someday you will be taller than your dad, kid”.
That became obvious by the time I started elementary school, as I was almost a foot taller than most of the other kids my age. Whenever we took class photos, I was always instructed to stand at the back, that way I won’t cover anyone. Yeah, it started early.
Accelerated growth wasn’t noticeable until I became as tall as my mom, who is 5’8”. I remember her taking the measuring tape and standing me against a door frame. She would put a little line, with date and height. That way we could see how fast I’m growing.
I was always imagining how will it look like when I outgrew my mom. She was very proud of me standing in front of her and looking straight in the eyes. I kept taking measurements hoping to grow even faster.
By the time I turned 13 years old, my height reached 6 feet. My next target height was my sister’s, who is 6’3”. During that period, my parents noticed that I was slouching and that my posture changed. It turned out that my excessive height caused me to feel different. I wanted to try and blend in with the other kids by bending my back and dropping the shoulders.
It didn’t bother me much, because I felt similar in height with some of my friends. What I didn’t notice is how this stance made me look like, until I saw a few photos. It felt discouraging looking in the mirror after that day.
My parents would always remind that I should straighten up and pull my shoulders back. It felt uncomfortable trying to stand with the right posture for longer periods. I even had to wear elastic back straightener, which felt awkward underneath the shirt.
Have you ever tried to put on an elastic band around your shoulders and back? I can almost feel it now making my muscles sore, trying to force me to stand straight. I wore it for about a year, until I decided to straighten up.
Straight up Challenge
All those problems went away after my dad enrolled me into school of basketball. Being surrounded with kids my height and even taller, made me feel like I should be proud of what I have. It felt as if I grew almost overnight to reach 6’6” and finally look my dad straight in to the eyes.
He kept on reminding me that I should be proud of my height and respect the gift that I’ve been given. Of course, I had to get used to being that tall very fast. You might be wondering why? Let me clear that up.
Can you imagine how does it feel like to have a close encounter with a door frame? How about a chandelier? I must’ve hit a hundred door frames before my neck reflexes started kicking in.
My dad used to say how we proudly bow down whenever entering a house or a room. It was a sign of respect, for our forehead. After a few years of bowing down, it became a bit boring bending over each time I’m passing through the door.
I figured out a way to make it more fun and decided to utilize a “different” approach to the door. That is how I learned to “limbo”. People passing by used to stop and say “Did that guy just do that?”.
No matter what your physical features are or how you walk in through the door, whenever you look yourself in the mirror, know that the person looking back is very proud. It took me many years to understand that, and now, I can’t be more proud of myself.
My friends, appreciate what you have, because you are like a fingerprint, there are no 2 alike in the world.
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