By Oluwatosin Oke
Beauty, some say, is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty comes in many form but mostly unrefined, unrecognised and often unappreciated. So is my beautiful self and the astute peculiarities God blessed me with. I grew up in a society where average is the norm; your skin colour, your facial makeup, height, weight, etc. and if you’re nothing but the norm or very close then you can be knowingly or unknowingly reduced to a shadow of yourself, maybe pushed to doubt your self-worth or sometimes victimised.
My story is that of my height, an approximately 6.3ft tall dude. I consider my growing up quite amusing and looking back at my primary and secondary school days makes my debt of appreciation to my maker, a huge one. I was ridiculed and called names like dongo, Tallie, lepa, pole, or is it when friends and strangers will look at me and say ‘you’re too tall’, etc. It was really not so much about the name, but the derogatory context with which the names were used got to me badly in my early secondary school days. In fact, I got ashamed of my ‘tallness’ that I began to bend my head while walking; an unconscious way of making my height less obvious. I was pushed to be ashamed of my height – someone always make jest of my height everywhere I go, even at the market and in church.
Oh! How much I thank God for my super amazing mother, Iya Tosin. She was the light that brought me out of my self-convicted prison. Her words of caution brought confidence to my being; I found a reason not to face down, but to look up and showcase the beauty God has made me to be. She told me “you better stop looking down and walk head up, else you’ll have a concave back”. These words beamed light to my soul, and here I am today grateful for the same reason I was once ashamed – I found something to fight for. I shouldn’t lose against myself even if I would lose to others were my new thoughts. I’m glad I conquered myself. That day was the starting point of my victory against my ‘height-shamers’.
Conquering my shame, I redefined how I see my height: As an amazing blessing rather than a shame, a gift not so much people can boast of. It does make me feel special and unique from every other persons. Amazingly, we’ve all got this priceless gift in my family but I got the highest share….Yippee (lol). Today I’m grateful because I’ve found purpose for my height, a resource to serve God and humanity, to help those who are less blessed in this regard. My height became a tool to support and make people happy during my university days and till date. My ‘tallness’ also got me a skill in decoration, a side ability that I can always build on.
The stress of ransacking the whole market before I get a long sleeve shirt that can match my length or a trouser that will not look like what we call ‘bonfo‘ (not your size) is now an adventure and a fun-filled activity for me. Growing up, nobody can buy me clothing or shoe as a gift without taking me along because it was always not my size (lol), so I often don’t get gifts, except from my parents (whenever they can afford one). This made me grow up to be hard working so I can be self-sufficient with no entitlement mentality nor expecting life to give me whatever I want on a platter of gold.
So, years ago I was ashamed of being very tall. Today, my height is a great source of motivation for me; it drives me to aim high and reach for the top in all my endeavours. These are some of the many priceless blessings my tallness has brought me. I SIMPLY LOVE MY HEIGHT AND I’M GRATEFUL TO GOD FOR BLESSING ME THIS MUCH. YES, I’M TALL. I’M A VERY TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME DUDE. I don’t have to be the norm, I am perfect the way I am… I have GOD to thank for that.
Shout out to both tall and short people reading this, you are perfect just as you are. Be grateful and rock your beauty height!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oluwatosin Oke is a development practitioner and an advocate of public value creation. He’s contributing to the development space in Nigeria by advocating for governance and public financial management reforms across various levels of government. He is a lover of knowledge and always derive joy in learning and sharing his bits to improve others.