• Bear

You're tall....

This is a label I've heard my entire life. Being a head taller than most people, I tend to get asked, "How tall are you?" or they make some other comment about my height. My favorite was when an older gentleman stared at me when I walked into an elevator he was already standing in. He said to me, "Ha, you're a big fella. But you know what they say. The bigger you are they harder you'll fall."

I responded to him, as nicely as I could, "True, but you have to make me fall first." He laughed and said, "Good point."

Now, don't misjudge me. I've never used my height to intentionally intimidate anyone. It just kind of happens. I've never been in a fight in my life. Maybe my size has saved me.

I've always been amazed at how easy it is for strangers to ask me how tall I am or make a comment about my height. They've stopped me in stores to ask for my help reaching for something on a high self. I've always been polite and have assisted them. But just once, I want to ask them, "Would you ask a little person to get something off the bottom self?" Or, "Would you ask a little person how short they are?"

To most people, being considered "tall", is a label you can wear with honor. Except when you're trying to pry yourself into a coach seat on a long flight. I can think of a lot of other situations when being tall isn't the best choice. Many young women would love to give up this label. And, it certainly hindered my professional horse jockey career.

The fact is, I'm tall, and I proudly wear that label............most of the time.

Years ago, I forget which English class it was, but I had to write an essay. I don't even remember the assigned topic, but I do remember what I wrote about. For some reason, at that time, being the "tall" one must have been bothering me. I wrote in this essay how easy it was for people to remember me for my height. But I didn't want to be remembered just for my height. So, I wrote about being tall in character, so others might remember me for the kind of man I was and not just for my height.

Some labels we are born with and others we earn because of choices we made or acts we performed. I was destined to be tall but I made a choice at one time in my life to be remembered for something else and earn new labels that might overshadow that "tall" label.

Now, I have new labels to worry about. But just like in that essay I wrote, I made the decision to work hard and overcome those negative labels. In short, I have chosen to not be that label.

For those who may be reading this that struggle with negative labels and the stigmas they carry, choose to not be that label. The world may not be in your favor and offering it's helping hand. Don't use that as an excuse. Choose to be someone or something other than that label you carry.

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