Being tall and gangly for much of my life, I have had to deal with the expectation that I was naturally good at tall-people things, when, in fact, I was not. Basketball, Volleyball, Modeling, Light-bulb changing - I never broke the glass ceiling.
And I didn't even try. I admit it, I was never loyal to my tribe. For instance, I got paired romantically with the tallest boy in middle school, because I guess no one knew what else to do with us. We dated for about a week in January, but when he tried to put his arm around me, I told him I had a sunburn and that was the end of it.
Also in middle school, I was put on the basketball team, only to last 2 practices, due to asthma --- and lack of ability. My physical peak was the girls' PE dance to "Jump" by Van Halen.
In high school, I made the tennis team, but my coach told everyone that I was "sorry" due to "the asthma" that kept me out of practice.
In adulthood, I again joined a tennis team, only to break my foot during the second practice. I even tried training for a half marathon, but my body hit 6 miles and said "you must be high."
Being tall was my destiny, not athletics.
And as the years have gone on, my body has continued to disagree with me, to the point that I am now in Physical Therapy. And I hate it. The therapist is nice, but the tech is a punk that smacks gum and leaves me alone to check things off a piece of paper after he explains the exercises.
After my second day of PT, I met a friend right after for lunch at Whole Foods. She was about to start a new job and this was our chance to catch up before she got really busy. As we stood in line to pay for our salads, I heard a voice behind me:
"Women should never be taller than men."
I pivoted around to look down and see a shorter, older, African-American man smiling up at me. Before I could process his comment, he continued, touching me on the arm while he said:
"Men don't like women who are tall. We like to be in charge. Women lie and make us think we're the boss, but they control it all. My son just got married and his whole den was in a New York theme, and his wife got rid of it all."
Yep, this is my life. I'm a magnet. So, I told him that tall women loved being tall and in control. And then it was time to pay for my salad.
As my friend and I sat down, we laughed about how weird things always happened when we were together. And then the man sat at the table next to us, so that I was diagonal to him and couldn't avoid eye contact. He got up a few times to fidget around, and then came back to our table.
Him: "I've got to ask you - what is your nationality?"
Me: "Caucasian, as far as I know."
Him: "With your dark skin and eyes, you've got some Sister in you."
Am I on Candid Camera? Or is it time to pay for the full membership to Ancestry.com?
To his credit, the man didn't zero in on me. He proceeded to visit every table with females, and even flag down a car in the parking lot with a woman driver. But, despite his wide range of tastes in the opposite sex, he managed to identify my two truths - Number One, I am Very Tall, and Number Two, I might not be Caucasian.
So, where do I go from here? Well, nowhere. I still have the asthma, I am not shrinking - yet, and with summer approaching I won't get any paler. It is what it is, until I find out otherwise.
I have Physical Therapy tomorrow and have not done my exercises. But I will lie to the tech and say I did, and he will keep chewing his gum and the world will go round. And I will still be a giant black woman.
Until next time, keep crowin'!