Yesterday I saw the news that in November the world’s tallest woman died at the age of 39. Yao Defen, from China, was 7 feet 7 inches. She lived a very sad life for the most part in a country where adult women average 5 feet. By the time she was 15, she was 6 feet 7 inches and of course was playing basketball. Tallness is revered in basketball but not off the court, especially if one is a young girl.
Medically, her height was as a result of a pituitary tumor. Being poor in rural China, she had no recourse to medical evaluation until she was finally noticed as a teenager. She couldn’t understand why she had to be so different. All she probably ever wanted was to fit in.
I have never understood the importance of being “normal”. I’m sure it happens all over the world but here in America being anything but cute and petite at least through high school, is a recipe (at least it was in the 50s and 60s) for loneliness.
With the number of obese girls skyrocketing in America, it is even more prestigious to be in the petite group. Girls are dying of anorexia to maintain their membership in that exclusive club. Those that are proportional but taller don’t have the means to do anything at all about their heights. Americans are still holding their heads in the clouds and maintaining the extreme importance of being “normal” in size.
A friend of mine is 5’9″. We talked about being tall. In her words as she was growing up, “It SUCKED!” Yes, being anything but “normal” does suck.
I’m certain the life of Yao Defen sucked. Although there are no answers, for those that are kept on the outside for whatever reason, life sucks. It is being an outsider that creates so often the destructive behaviors that are not “normal”. Living on the edge for many hurts.
We are entering the season of “good will to men (and women)”. During this season many people seem to be kinder and more welcoming to everyone. Wouldn’t it be great if the season of good will lasted all year long? Wouldn’t it be great to live where there is no normal, where everyone fits in and there are no exclusive clubs anywhere? It ain’t going to happen, but wouldn’t it be great? Namaste. Attic Annie