"You're SO TALL"
"Are you nordic? You're tall and blonde, you must be nordic"
"How tall is your family?"
"Your legs are a mile long"
"You look like a giraffe running"
"Can you reach the top shelf for me please?"
Welcome to being a tall gal, In the world of athletics I don't notice my height because most other rowers are also super tall! Go back to the normal world though, I can be the tallest person in the room at any point in my day.
I love my height, it has never bothered me and frankly, my family is tall so it's nothing out of the ordinary. My Grandfather was 6'6 at his tallest with flippers for feet to match! Like any person, woman, human, or athlete though, I have my self conscious moments too.
Proportion is one of my least favorite words. It has never applied to my body! At nearly 6 feet tall with broad shoulders, I sometimes appear as an amazon lady. Cool right?! Yes when I'm standing, but should I sit down you'd think I was closer to 5 feet! I've got long legs that go for miles and an itty bitty torso. Unfortunately biology says that all of my organs have to fit inside that little torso so I've got that torso packed full. I've always appreciated what my body can do for me, it functions well, it's healthy and the pros to being tall really outweigh the cons (I have yet to find a con other than maybe a low ceiling but that is the ceilings fault so...). However, having 2 abs show instead of 6, my shoulders not fitting in most girl's tops and the little surprise comments about how I don't look like "your average athlete" can really etch away at the confidence sometimes.
Body image wise I don't necessarily have the look of an athlete. My muscles do this magic trick where they go into hiding when they're not being exercised so I just look like a tall curvy person. Nothing to complain about there! Enter the society view of athletes though and the image of a ripped, muscly, beautiful track sprinter comes up. A lot of people associate exercise with aesthetics. There is nothing wrong with that- I used to tell my personal training clients that how they want to look can be their greatest motivator. But, it's about how they look at their best, not the person next to them. I am not a track sprinter, I was a rower who was told to pack muscle on. I was a swimmer who hadn't gone through my growth spurt yet. Now I'm a triathlete with a combination body. My body has taken on different shapes, curves, weights and widths through all of those sports but I have excelled in the departments I needed to; speed, power, strength, determination.
As a rower I could deadlift like nobody's business and then go row and match the power of a girl who had 75lbs. more overall weight than me. As a swimmer I could turn faster and dive further. As a triathlete I can tap into my length for power per pedal stroke and take longer swimming strokes than people around me. I have so many weaknesses as well but I choose to focus on what I can do to motivate myself to get those can'ts to turn into cans.
I had teammates in college that suffered eating disorders, depression, and major major self
confidence issues because they felt their body didn't look like it should. And they were athletes! They were ompeting at a very elite level of sport, watched by people all over the nation. It can happen to anyone- everyone has self conscious points and times. The pressure to perform is immense and it broke my heart to see women I admired be put down by wanting to look different than they did. Women who were incredibly powerful, fit, beautiful and talented in their sport.
After 15 years in sports I have determined a method to avoid dwelling on the negatives and self confidence killers; No matter what you look like, how you're built, your genetics, where your fat sits, where your muscle shows- at the end of the day in my world it's about what you can do. Function over looks. I believe life is too short to dwell on the "what ifs" so I work very hard to make my body function at a high level because that's what makes me happy.
Besides, the best part about my proportions is that people underestimate me all the time. I show up and don't usually look the part. Then I blow their socks off and have a great time doing it.
You do you.