Aug 21 2011

Overheard By A Tall Person

My dearest Height of Lifers,

I haven’t taken the Overheard By A Tall Person feature out for a spin in quite a while. Does that mean that I haven’t had to dodge all kinds of idiotic comments like so many games of dodge ball and I’m not even in this gym class? Alas, no. I’m lucky in that most of the comments I get now are of the well-meaning but mind-blowingly repetitive, annoying and kind of intrusive variety. Yeah, it may wear me down to hear this tripe on rewind from gormless idiots who somehow feel entitled to ask random strangers highly-personal information, but I am genuinely lucky that I don’t have to endure hate-crime-level harassment. A sense of perspective is always important.

All that said, since many comments I get are like cut-out snowflake versions of each other, there haven’t been too many memorable, truly bizarre/hilarious ones of late…except for last week.

We lay our fair scene at the gas station (not even the gas station in Verona, I’m afraid). I’m filling up my car, as one does at gas stations, and I see this older man (for visual clues, see the over-enthusiastic Texan from “The Simpsons”), staring at me with a big grin on his face. The wheels are turning. He gets really close, even though is pump is on the other side, and asks me how tall I am. Before I could respond, he bellows the question at me again, just in case I missed it a second earlier. I don a long-suffering smile, and give a “oh, pretty tall” in my reply. Missing the point, he goes, “6’2?” I was so shocked at him actually getting my height right (most people who try and guess my height come out with a “7-million-foot-eleventy?!”), so I answer with a surprised yes. He then starts telling me about his grandsons, and how they’re 6’6. This is a pretty common element of Stupid Tall Comments, but a lot of people blather on about their suuuuuuuper-taaaallllll uncle who stands at a towering 5’9 SO TALLLLL!!!!, so at least the grandsons were undeniably tall.

Up until that point, this exchange hasn’t been anything memorable. Same tedious-chats-with-strangers, different day, y’know?

UNTIL!

We’re talking about the grandsons, and their hobbies, and yadda yadda yadda, and then he brazenly looks me in the eyes, and brazenly goes: “They’re too young for the likes of you, anyways.”

THAAAAAANNNNNKKKKKKKKKKKKKKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!


Aug 4 2011

“Tall Women Can’t Hide”

5565284073_271f3e70f3The magnificent Daria Werbowy, looking breathtaking in Lanvin.

Shot by Mert and Marcus for American Vogue, March 2011

And why should they?

As I was scrolling through Jezebel today the other day, always on the procrastinating prowl clearly, the article “Tall Women Can’t Hide,” by Austinite Elaine Dove, came like manna from I’ll Get to That Tomorrow heaven.  “Expletive yeah!” sayeth I, as I grabbed some popcorn and settled in to read the heck out of this article.   The commenters on Jezebel truly are a cut above the rest, and since commiserating and joking around with other tall women is one of my favourite things, I was pretty stoked.  Of course, I felt compelled to include a rambling, verging-on-incoherent comment of my own in response.

The author stands at 5’9, and she talks about some things that are pretty familiar to many tall girls, like finding pants and skirts that are long enough (I’m still undaunted in my search for long jeans that fit me properly, kind of like what I imagine the really-ripped Spartan dudes of 300 felt in the face of Xerxes’ ridiiiiculously large army, but I’ve embraced the too-short skirts a long time ago, like Xerxes does in the movie.  He looked fabulous, and so do I.  Delusions of messianic grandeur can do wonders to one’s posture.) ANYWAY.  In addition to the clothing conundrums that so many people of so many sizes face, Dove also brings up the concept that tall women can unwillingly serve as the target for other people’s insecurities, that dating can be fraught with the difficulty of not “offending” your potential paramour’s ego by wearing high heels, and that fitting a traditional definition of femininity can be challenging when society still clings to the outdated equation of tallness with masculinity.

I appreciated Dove’s honesty about her insecurities, and her challenges in navigating the world as a tall woman rang true for me.  The article wasn’t exactly brimming with feel-good pep-talk goodness, but it’s also worth noting that it takes some people longer than others to develop self-confidence and to fully appreciate their height as a positive asset.  It’s an ongoing process.  If anything, the tone of the article really highlighted how friggin’ essential it is to develop a sense of self; an identity that isn’t defined in relation to other people, especially dudes.  It’s a tall order (oho hahaha) to do this, I know, since it’s human nature to come down with a wicked case of Compare-itis pretty often.  We’re also surrounded by a culture that loves body policing, reinforcing old-as-the-hills gender stereotypes, and making people feel badly about their perfectly lovely selves so that they will buy stuff.  But if you can see past all this every once in a while,  you will be an unstoppable tornado of love in the form of a girl!

Okay- back to the bitchin’:  Many of the comments from fellow tallies reinforced the notion that tall women are especially public targets of the insecurities and hang-ups of other people, and that these unresolved self-esteem issues, mixed with the fact that many people (especially guys) feel inexplicably entitled to comment on womens’ bodies, means that tall women face an undue level of harassment and running public commentary.  Even worse?  Many of us take all sorts of measures to make other people feel comfortable with our “impetuous” height, and resort to slouching, sitting instead of standing, losing weight as to appear more frail and to “take up less space,” deliberately changing our mannerisms to appear more passive and “non-threatening,” and being far too kind to people who truly deserve a proper verbal smackdown.  I think I’ve avoided the deliberate slouch, but I’m definitely guilty of suffering fools far, far too gladly (usually while Morrissey’s voice sings in my head “In my liiife, why do I give valuable time to people who I’d much rather kick in the eyyeeee?”)  The internalized belief that we’re somehow to blame for triggering the insecurities of others, and thus feel compelled to play therapist by changing and diminishing ourselves is….pretty friggin’ screwed up.  It’s a much larger societal screw-up, and not created by tall women themselves, so it’s pretty hard to fix by just switching into a pair of flats.  Pretttyyy screwed up.  We know that “heightism” is mere peanuts compared to systemic, all-pervasive forms of discrimination like racism, etc…, but it’s still important to note that height, weight and sexism intersect in some pretty insidious ways, and that the only way to start dismantling all of this is to talk about it.

Dove noted that she “wasn’t alone in this dilemma, even if none of us are talking about it.”

And that, ladies and gents, is precisely why The Height of Life came to be.

Have any of you read the article?  If so, what were your thoughts?


Jul 1 2011

Happy Canada Day!!!!!

Happy Canada Day to one and all!!   Legend has it, as is foretold in the moose-hide scroll of our ancestors, that every Canadian must leave a bowl of maple syrup outside their doorways, or else Celine Dion will come in and claw out our eyes.  Mine are still intact…yours, too?  Excellent! Let’s celebrate, eh?

I don’t know if I can fully convey the sweeping majesty of our great land, but I’m pretty sure Robin Sparkles can:

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Much love and patriotic sprinkles to all,

Kylie


Jun 18 2011

I’m Internet Famous!! (No, Not Quite That Way…)

I made that joke to my parents, and oh were they ever weirded-out!  Almost as bad as the time when my sister and I were joking about downright-uncomfortable possible e-mail addresses, and my dad suddenly piped in with a horrified “Hotmail?  Hotmale.…?”

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Anyways!  This news is hotter than a hotmail, and more delightful than a pony waking you up in the morning.  The High Priestess of the Internet, the incomparable Miss Gala Darling, was concocting a series of articles exploring fashion bloggers and body image, and asked her readers for their thoughts.   I was intrigued, as I’ve thought a fair bit about the subject, and so I sent her a ridiculously-rambling e-mail outlining my thoughts on how the diversity at the grassroots level of fashion blogging isn’t being represented or rewarded at a more mainstream, highly visible level, how how the most popular, highly paid bloggers overwhelmingly skew white, slender, young and fairly wealthy, and how the Manic Pixie Dream Girl look that dominates fashion blogging at the moment is just as unattainable as the blonde Hollywood bombshell look.  Miss Darling kindly included my thoughts in her series, and I’d be thrilled if you gave it a read!  I’m honoured to be included with a whole host of thoroughly awesome and badass bloggers.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t completely elated and singing Queen songs to myself at the moment!!  Many thanks to Gala and all the other smart ‘n savvy contributors to this series!

HURRAH!!!


Jun 17 2011

Kate Middleton For The Win!

A little while ago, you might recall a little wedding between a lovely girl and a lovely guy (haven’t actually met them, but by all accounts, they seem to be rather nifty people), that just happened to be a worldwide sensation and was broadcast around the globe.    Like many of you, I felt like I was a spectator of history when I watched Prince William and Kate Middleton exchange vows in the hallowed Westminster Abbey; the very place that has witnessed some of the absolute best and worst days of William’s life.   Admittedly, the thirteen-year-old version of Kylie was in a bit of a snit when she/I (referring to oneself in the third person is creepy but also complicated) heard of the engagement.  I had always dreamed of luring Prince William with my vast knowledge of Commonwealth history.  Irresistible, right? (Lest you were labouring under any delusions that I’m suave, have Great Hair and am really good at flirting, that should clear those up right now!)  Thankfully, the Kylie of today wishes the new couple all the very best life has to offer, and is thrilled that they’ve found true soul mates in each other.  I’ll make this confession right now.  The following tumblr image has been my desktop background for the past month and a half, and I do hope that it’s still more endearing than creepy.  Perhaps it is my desktop background right now:

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Although this wedding was more expensive than most, like all declarations of love in front of family and friends, it released love and magic out into world.   I felt like the world was somehow a little more magical- slightly more enchanted- than usual as I went about my day.  But I should probably note that I was also on some pretty strong post-operation pain meds.

Despite the media breathlessly reporting every single little detail they could find, not very much is known about Kate Middleton, which is a marvel in this TMI, all-access-all-the-time age we live in.  One thing we do know, however, and one thing that so many people can unfortunately relate to, is that Kate was teased as a girl for being ‘tall and meek,’ causing her to transfer schools.  Her experiences were reflected in the fact that one of the charities on the wedding registry was devoted to stopping bullying.  I’m fortunate to have never been at the point of transferring schools, but have I gone through much grief for being tall? Heck yes.  And I imagine many of you have faced/continue to face bullying, too, for whatever reason (although there should be no ‘reason’ behind bullying; no one deserves to be bullied).   I might be projecting here, but one of the reasons why I was so entranced by the Royal Wedding is that it was the ultimate example is that life is full of extraordinary possibilities beyond bullying and hardship (I’m thinking of Lady Di here), and 5’10 Kate is living proof that tall is pretty wonderful.  As she and William glided down the aisle to greet the cheering throng awaiting them, they looked so elegant and well-matched.  I imagine all her former bullies were quietly eating finger-food-sized humble pie and sipping haterade out of delicate teacups.

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So now that we’ve been a spectator to history, let’s go out and make some history ourselves, yes?

Cheers and a regal hand-wave to you,

Kylie


May 20 2011

Things I Love Thursday, May 19th 2011

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Hello hello, long-lost friends!!

It’s been far too long since I’ve written anything new around here, although I’ve checked back often and stared longingly at the screen until I was sick of the St. Valentine’s Unicorn.   Even as I type this weak apology, I’m feeling this electric current of excitement at just being able to write again.   All has been well in these parts- no major catastrophes, disasters or black dogs- but I’ve been spending the last while being sliced and diced and put back together again (which is a fancy way of saying that I’ve spent the last little while readying myself for skin cancer surgery on the lower rim of my left eye, undergoing the two-day extravaganza, and being handily grafted and stitched up several times over.  I’m so happy to report that the cancer is gone like yesterday’s recycling, my eyesight hasn’t been damaged, the (previously unexpected) skin grafts took and are healing well, most of my eyelashes were saved (oh hey vanity!) and that I’m the luckiest kid around to have such a supportive and caring team of doctors, nurses, family, friends and boyfriend.  Simply put, my posse rules like Queen Victoria.  She also rules).  I’m not quite out of the woods yet, for I’m undergoing this cream treatment that targets basal cell cancers that are new to the scene, and those that are still in the nefariously-plotting-schemes phase.  The Oh! Hallelujah! news is is that the cream is working- thanks in large part to my little brother, who keeps me on track and jokes with me that part of my face and neck looks like a scene from a Sci-Fi rip-off movie.  Like the Holy Fool (thanks, Gaga) I am, I vastly underestimated the amount of recovery time it would take to get back to true Kylie-form, and didn’t think it was worth writing a “Heads up! Things are going to be a little slow around here for a little while and here’s a little explanation why”-type post, since I was just going to be tired for a day or two and then after that I’d be juuusssst fiinnnneeee, right?

So, I send my apologies and my gratitude to all of you who are still kicking around like so many beautiful tumbleweeds- -I appreciate you like whoa!!! (Um, Emily Post would likely have a slightly more eloquent way of expressing her thanks).

What better way to make a glorious return back to The Height of Life than to start off with a TILT- a collection of all the tiny and all the monumental lovely bits of life that make it worth living and worth celebrating!  It seems that my Things I Love Thursday offering is already well underway, considering the first few opening paragraphs, so here are a few more morsels:

* Looking at the tumblrs that have photoshopped celebrities with no eyebrows, looking at the tumblrs that have photoshopped celebrities with no noses, and combining the two in my brain.  Don’t look at me as if I’m some sort of weirdo: you have to make your own fun! Fine, I am that weirdo.

* After a solid dsfwjh2r03483824 days of rain, including devastating floods in different parts of the country, it is finally gorgeous weather out here.   Sunny, but not sweltering.  You don’t need boots, but you still need a thin coat. Perfect!  And much more importantly, let’s hope and work together so that these floods return from whence they came.

* One of my oldest and dearest friends had a baby!  On Easter! Welcome to the world, Maggie-Mae!  We’re so happy you’re here!

* Surprise pizza!! The “surprise” and “free” aspects made it that much more delicious!

* Looking in the pantry/the internet/magazines and dreaming up all the fancy-pants and actually edible meals I could make, then shutting the pantry door.  Of course, I don’t actually make these meals.  It’s just nice to think that I *could* make them, if I had the inclination or capability.

Alrighty, it’s your turn!  What’s making you all googley-eyed this week?

Much love to you,

Kylie


Feb 14 2011

Valentine’s Day: A Guide

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Valentine’s Day is almost here…just in case the rows upon rows of drugstore chocolates, influx of “diamond ring or it’s not truuueee looooovvveee!!!!1!!!” commercials, and the anxiety-inducing high school candygrams (ugh- not exactly an inclusive idea) didn’t make their point.  If the commercials are to be believed, ideally one spends Valentine’s Day riding a cotton-candy cloud, prancing around on unicorns (who are also riding the cotton-candy cloud- keep up, people), while being showered by diamonds, fancy jewellery, chocolates, candles (err..maybe the candles aren’t showered, but placed gently) and all sorts of romancey-things by your One True Love.  Oh, and you have really bitchin’ hair.

If our inner cynics had their say, VD Day (bwahahahahahaa!!) is just a hollow, meaningless day created to hawk chocolate and other faaancy expensive things faster, and to make people feel badly about themselves- no matter what their relationship status.   If you’re in a relationship, then there must be overwhelming expections that you simply cannot meet.  If you’re not in a relationship, then you surely must spend the day moping and trudging through a dreary, opposite-of-cotton-candy cloud, and round it off wearing ratty pyjamas and nursing pints of ice-cream.  Your hair lacks volume.

Both reactions are equally cliche.  Regardless of your plans for the day, or whoever you plan to spend it with, I propose looking at the day in a new way.   Carefully compiled from years of experience, I humbly submit my guide to both surviving and thriving Valentine’s Day.

1) Realize that Valentine’s Day is just a day, and that every single moment of every single day is a prime opportunity to tell and show all the people in your life how much you care about them.  Valentine’s Day is just a reminder- a powerful pink and red reminder- to do that.

2) Don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is a powerful pink and red reminder to take care of yourself.  Eat your favourite meals (and if that includes chocolate, then you’re in luck),  surround yourself with your favourite people, pull a Ferris Bueller and flake out on your day’s responsibilities, go out and enjoy a party to end all parties, stay in with your favourite movies, have a bubble bath, walk a dog…the possibilities are endless.  Do what makes you happy.

3)  While you’re being a valentine to yourself, you can also be a valentine to the universe.  Get outside your head for a bit, and show kindness to someone in dire need of it.   Spend some time volunteering at a soup kitchen.  Stick up for that kid in your class who is constantly tormented by bullies.  Visit someone who rarely gets visits.  Again, the possibilities are endless.

4) Candy.  Ohhhhh maaaannn, so much candy.  And it’s on sale the day after VD day!

And finally,

5) Always remember that at any given time and place, there are a million people and things that you can love.  Your capacity to love and be loved is endless. Limitless.

 

Much love and delicious chalky candy hearts (with subversive messages written on them!) to you!

Kylie


Jan 7 2011

Things I Love Thursday, January 6th 2011

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….Yeah, I totally typed that as “2010″ at first…

Glittery greetings and sunshiney salutations, everyone!!  Welcome to 2011, and I hope you’ve all had a wonderful, promising start to it.   Yes, yes, every single day holds the potential for fresh beginnings, but there’s just something so symbolic and satisfying about using the new year to push the dregs of the old year out the door and usher in a dazzling new start, full of potential and promise.   Plus, an opportunity to wear cardboard and/or rhinestone hats and play with kazoos is fine and dandy with me!  This year is going to be a banner one for The Height of Life, and there are all sorts of features in the pipeline that will entertain you, inspire you, make you think a bit, and maybe even make you laugh your rear off, so let’s kick it all off with a healthy shot of gratitude, eh?

* Having a perfect New Year’s Eve.  I don’t know about you, but NYE has often been a source of stress.  Like really amateur fortune tellers,  we often heap such wild expectations on it- -”If you don’t do xyz on New Year’s, you’ll have a *teerrrrrible* upcoming year”- -and still manage to be surprised! And shocked! when it all collapses under the weight of our expectations.  Mind you, I’ve usually had a good time, but my stress and anxiety leading up to the date was always unnecessary.  This year, my Special Man Friend (is that term endearing or creepy?  Truthfully, it’s a little creepy, isn’t it?  I think I better come up with a less-creepy, privacy-protecting term for him sometime soon.  Any ideas?) and I chose to relax at his place, rather than navigate through the hordes of revellers outside.  We drank fancy chocolate drinks, talked, laughed, cuddled, wore party dresses (fine, fine, that was just me), and, of course, watched “Buffy.”  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!  Aw, between Hellmouths and alcohol, this year is going to be spectacular!!  

* Discovering a new (and fantastic) shawarma place very close to SMF’s house!  It’s a fierce rival to Cedars in the food court of Cornwall’s greatest (and only full-size) shopping mall, Cornwall Square, and that’s one delicious battle in which I would like to partake.

* Basking in the glow of a wonderful Christmas.  It always goes by so quickly, and there is always so much preparation leading up to it, but it is always so worth it. 

* Playing Secret Santa, but minus the chimney business and reindeer games. 

* My out-of-this-world-awesome cousin Emily having a magical, memorable, “best day of my life”-style wedding at the end of this December.  We are so, so proud and thrilled for you!!  A very regal, elegant, foufy-white-dressed high-five to you and Rebecca!!

* Wearing the right amount of leather in the form of a jaw-droppingly beautiful leather jacket.  Add in a trajillion bonus points of extra-meaningful-ness, since it was a Christmas present from my wonderful SMF.  Don’t worry, dear readers, I will keep the gushing to a minimum!  I keep prancing around in it, posing in front of reflective surfaces, imagining that I’m Joan Jett or Joan of Arc, and petting it reverently. 

* Had another skin cancer surgery by my left eye this past Tuesday, and despite a few unexpected twists (Oh hai! Surprise! Skin graft! Ahahahahaha!), it generally went pretty smoothly.   My ”Kylie-as-perpetually-calm-and-brave-and-cheerful” armour was cracked a bit, allowing the “Kylie-as-fidgety-and-panicky-and-terrified” to seep in.  Fortunately, I am so, so lucky to have such exceptional doctors and nurses on my team (or I’m on theirs, more likely), as well as my always-lovely Aunt Rosann.  And I had two hot chocolates!  

Much love and holiday cheer that’s been pushed back to the recesses of the fridge to you!

Kylie


Dec 25 2010

Merry Christmas!!

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Hi everyone,

You’ll likely have noticed that this website (and this author) have gone into a bit of holiday hibernation.  I’m drinking fancy drinks involving chocolate, some sort of alcohol and more chocolate, feeling nostalgic for Christmases I likely wasn’t even alive for, and fondly reminiscing of Christmases that I mos’ def’ was alive for.  The beginning of this month was quite difficult, to be honest, and so I’m especially thrilled that all seems well with my little world again, and I sincerely hope that that’s the case for you, too.  This dreamy, slowed-down pace is not conducive to my mom’s schedule.  Her zest for the holidays is largely manifested in a perfectionism and over-achievement that could put Martha Stewart to shame.  Today’s itinerary included making approximately eleventy billion different types of muffins and washing the kitchen cabinets.  Festive! Jolly! 

This time of year is full of magic and all sorts of special, but it can also be incredibly overwhelming and rather stressful (more to come in an upcoming article), but may we all continue to appreciate the magical moments this season brings us and to keep the light in our hearts.

Merry Christmas, kiddywinks!

Much love and holiday cheer,

Kylie


Nov 26 2010

Things I Love Thursday, November 25th ’10

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While most people are posting pictures of turkey and stuffing today, I thought I’d mix it up by posting some pictures from a recent editorial featuring Iekeliene Stange.  Turkey-ta, turkaa-ta.  I feel it’s incredibly fitting that Things I Love Thursday falls on American Thanksgiving, and it’s the perfect reminder that the spirit of gratitude is something to be cultivated the entire year.  So let’s jump in the gravy boat of gratitude!  (Yes, I’m fully aware that this makes no sense and actually sounds kinda painful.  Second-degree-burn inducing, at the very least). 

* Being so fortunate to have participated (read: eaten) three separate Thanksgiving meals with loved ones on Canadian Thanksgiving (we try to make sure we get all the harvest-y scenery and foliage (“foilage,” if you’re Marge Simpson) in, so we celebrate our Turkey Day a wee bit earlier, in October).   In honour of my sister, who is home from teacher’s college in the States, we’ll also have a big family meal this Saturday.   It will be a meal of turkey and turkey friends, not family members.   

* Prince William.  Kate Middleton.  Engaged.  Modern enchantment.   Temporarily forgetting casting off the shackles of Imperialism.  Four-day holiday.   Rejoice!  Today-Kylie graciously wishes them all the happiness in the world, and commends them on their mix of romance and pragmatism, but thirteen-year-old-royally-smitten-Kylie is in a bit of a snit!  Like the proud Commonwealth country we are, Canada is eating all this up with a spoon.  Alas, not a silver spoon.

* One thing that really struck me while reading about William and Princess Shiny-Hair’s engagement was that the prince had proposed a month earlier, while on holiday with friends in Kenya.  Therefore, their friends knew about this explosive news story, but not one of them ratted them out to the media.  What excellent, excellent choice in friends!  So I’m also thankful for my wonderful friends, whom I’m sure would also never inform the media if I were secretly engaged to Prince William.

* Pants with an elastic waistband.

*Making elaborate birthday plans….ooooh in a fortnight I’ll be 27!!!  That’s still mid-twenties, right?  Right?

* Coming down with a serious case of the Christmas spirits!!

* Spending quality time watching episodes of “Buffy” and the surprisingly good spin-off “Angel” with the super-awesome Special Man Friend.

And that about sums up my TILT: American Thanksgiving Version.  As things start gettin’ all festive up in here, I wish you all much happiness, love, peace and easily-accessible parking spots at the mall.

Much love and holiday cheer to you,

Kylie