BELIEF ARTICLE

Why Do You Want to Be Small?

Hiding your strength isn’t helping anyone

I’m an unremarkably tall 5’ 8 ¾” female. But while I may be on the average side of tall women, the lineup of guys I’ve dated reads like a basketball roster ... I’ve always liked tall guys but it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten physically stronger—now I actively seek them out because I just want to feel small. I assumed every muscular female, even ones smaller than me, felt this way, but a recent conversation with a much physically stronger woman than me proved me wrong.

“Why do you want to be small?” she asked with a scoff.

"Um, because I’m big?” I hesitatingly replied.

"You work out to be big,” she pointed out without judgment.

I do. I work out to be strong, capable, and independent. I work out to look good, feel good, and BE good—at sports, at moving bulky objects, at carrying groceries. Life is easier when you’re strong, and I actively pursue that strength.

So why then would I pursue weakness in relationships? By definition, being small relative to another person quite literally means being inferior, at least in physical size if not strength.

I've long walked this thin line between loving my body for everything it does and loathing it for being imperfect. This tall-small quest is another iteration of the same struggle: being physically smaller than someone doesn’t automatically make my body better.

Being smaller than someone doesn’t make me skinnier, or prettier, or better. Being smaller than someone just makes me smaller than someone. It can make me feel protected, but that comes from the person more than his strength. It can make me feel precious, but that comes from the person more than his size. It can make me feel feminine, but that comes from me (and stereotypes) more than his height.

Now I understand why my friend seemed offended that I feel a need to be small. I am a confident, outspoken, strong female. If I try to shrink, I hide those aspects of my personality—that have nothing to do with height or weight.

It’s easy to hide in someone else’s shadow, even a physical one. But what’s the point of building up strength—physical, emotional, mental—if you’re not going to use it?

Your tall may not be the same as mine, but is there something you think you need that’s masking a deeper conflict?

Image: Snow Kisses Sky

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