Walking Tall & Feeling Small

Years ago, under the influence of other human beings, I believed that height was everything in a social setting. Being tall meant that you had everyone’s attention, you had a lovely view and life was good, in general. Have you heard of a more foolish thought? If yes, let me know!

I was the shortest person in my class in middle school and for some bizarre reason being tall was a big deal. I felt small, physically, and that slowly translated into a state of mind. I see it now, but I barely realised it at that age. I slouched while I sat and felt invisible in the corridors. I made myself out to be shorter than I was. I figured that I lacked confidence simply because I lacked height. I attributed so much to height that it sounds ridiculous to think about it right now.

This state of mind that I carefully built over the remaining course of my school years was interesting; I had an incredible growth spurt that I considered a miracle, I pretended to walk tall with my new-found height and I thought I would now be able to witness what other tall people could with their view above people’s heads in a crowd. All that really happened was that I grew tall.

My confidence didn’t flare up, I didn’t know what good posture was thanks to all the slouching and I didn’t suddenly value myself. I still felt small. At this point in life, I was still wishing for height to work its magic. Pathetic.

I was at a loss. I walked shoulder to shoulder with people I literally used to look up to, but it still felt like they were higher up. I was on par with them in the physical plane, but it took me years to figure out that being tall and walking tall are two very different things, just like being small and feeling small were equally different as well.

I believed in the wrong kind of magic. 

I thought height came with its effects, but I failed to notice that the people I considered blessed with height never really thought about it. They had had the same personality no matter what height they were; we all begin somewhere, right? I have since then realised the magic we hold within ourselves in the form of talent, determination, compassion and so much more. We walk tall when we are proud of our efforts to exist and co-exist.

I didn’t understand self-worth.

Popularity is a disturbing concept at times. The whole idea of gaining popularity and measuring one’s worth in the number of likes or comments makes me clammy. I stayed away from sports and competitions in school as much as I could, lest my worth, or lack thereof, was revealed to the audience if I happened to fumble. I believed I wasn’t popular enough to make a mistake and shrug it off. I never learnt much about myself because I never made enough mistakes by myself. I was never my own competition, let alone someone else’s. I was a little above average and that is where I thought I belonged.

I made feeling small a part of my persona.

I was called shy, timid or an introvert and that developed into an identification mark over the years. I used it like a security blanket to avoid situations and people. It was easy to act like something or someone people already expected you to be. I felt small on a daily basis. I let other people make me feel small. I am still an introvert, but I barely feel small anymore. If I am shy now, it is when I feel the blood rush to my face when I am trying something new.

I misplaced my belief and trust.

Do you know that nagging at the back of your mind or in your gut or that bad taste in your mouth when you are in the middle of doing something you know isn’t going to turn out right? I ignored that voice, my gut and that bad taste for the longest time possible. I thought hurrying to catch up with and blend in with the rest of the herd was the way of the world. I believed and trusted everyone and everything, all while choosing to be blind and numb to the cues my own body and mind generated.

I have now come to understand that walking tall and feeling small are parallel to each other. How you feel depends on which path you chose. You can’t always walk tall and you ought to find ways to love yourself even when you feel small.

The one way I have learnt to balance between the two is by identifying my sources of magic, whether that is within myself or in my person, practising caution with how I place trust and belief and through constant introspection. I listen to myself and I make mistakes. I work on myself like I would on a project and it’s worth it to see the distance I have covered so far, and there is so much further to go.

Nandika's Notes : On Self and Surroundings

DreamingAtMyDesk View All →

Reader. Learner. Dreamer.
I am all about the little things in life!

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