The story of my life had always been that I felt too tall. Too tall for dance lessons. Too tall for boyfriends. Too tall for high heels. Too tall for short skirts. Just too damn tall.

 

I am 5’10.

… Actually, that’s a lie.

I’m 5’11.

But girls who are as tall as me will know all about lying about their height. Why we lie about it? Because boys find tall girls intimidating. Because tall girls don’t impersonate all the feminine qualities that women should impersonate: Cuteness. Fragility. Sexiness. Or so we have heard. Mostly from our own mouths.

But this article isn’t going to be about tall girls. It’s going to be about all girls. Because as much as tall girls like me might envy small girls like you; small girls like you might envy tall girls like me just as much. I don’t know anything about feeling invisible in a crowd – but I’m sure it must feel just as horrible as feeling all too visible no matter where you go.

However, what I know all of us girls have in common is a sensational amount of insecurities – not only about how we look, but about how we talk, walk, dance, sing, write, speak, kiss, dress, – hell, if we think about it long enough we might even feel insecure about how we breathe.

Feeling insecure about who we are as girls is something most of us experience throughout our lives.

…Notice something?

…about who we are as girls.

As girls.

Girls.

I’m 29 years old and I’m still struggling to refer to myself as a woman.

I am a woman is a sentence that, for the longest time, sounded weird when it came out of my mouth. It actually made me feel uncomfortable. It felt scary. It felt like telling a big, fat lie – when in fact it is probably one of the most significant truths about me.

Until recently, when I looked into the mirror all I could see were my faults and flaws. Until recently, when I walked down the streets, I still felt like the clumsy, little (okay, not little. I was never actually little, or was I?) girl that would drop ice-cream on her t-shirt. Until recently, I felt like I’m a girl.

But recently, I started to feel like I’m a woman.

What the hell happened, you may ask.

Well, the answer to that one is easy: Basically what happened was I quit my fancy music-television-job, moved to the African wilderness for a year, lived outdoors, walked with elephants and buffalos and lions, learnt how to shoot a rifle, and slept on the ground under the stars for the most part of the year.

If anything, that should have made me feel more like a man than a woman.

But it didn’t. On the contrary: Living under these simple conditions, in the middle of nowhere, far away from fashion magazines, Instagram and even mirrors, I was finally able to embrace the fact that I am a woman.

Away from all the stereotyped views on womanhood spread all over the media, I finally found my very own way to leave the girl I was behind and learn to wear the label “woman” with pride.

And that, for me, was a big step.

Growing up, I had always felt some sort of pride in the fact that I’m not a “girly girl”. I wouldn’t put on a lot of make-up. I wouldn’t wear the colour pink. I wouldn’t paint my fingernails. I wouldn’t cry in public. I wouldn’t wear dresses unless on holiday. I wouldn’t bitch about bitches. Instead, I would hang out with the boys, prefer beer over wine, show an interest in cars and wear boyfriend-jeans and sneakers.

I was making a point, you know?

I wasn’t going to be one of those girls. But, in a way, by not wanting to be one of those girls I was actually sabotaging my own growth. And I was living proof of just another stereotype. I was Joey Potter. And, as a result, it took me almost my entire twenties to feel good about my body, my thoughts, my talents, my flaws, my self.

Being a woman in a world that is to a huge extant governed by stereotypes isn’t easy and we have all been a bit brainwashed into believing we must act, dress, look and behave a certain way to get likes. However, the most beautiful, remarkable, sexiest women in history have always been and hopefully always will be the ones that find their own truth and manage to give less and less damns about other people’s opinions.

Today I watched this woman from afar:

(She was actually the one who inspired this article)

She was about my age, her blond curls bounced in a messy bundle around her head, she was wearing a cap to protect herself from the sun but her leathered skin showed that she must have spend most of her life outdoors. She had sturdy legs and wore tight jeans and heavy boots. I watched her as she was busy manoeuvring a big truck with a massive trailer through the thick Namibian sand while her male colleagues stood by in complete awe. After she managed to get the truck through the thick stuff, she jumped out of the driver’s cab with sheer joy and all the boys gave her a high five.

…My word, that woman was so beautiful.

And yet, she will probably never be on the cover of a magazine – she probably wouldn’t want to either  – even if you paid for her very own overland-truck so she could travel rural Africa for the rest of her days with a case of beer and a dog on the passenger seat. But just for the sake of the immense diversity of female beauty that is out there? – I think she damn well should be.

…And as for me? I will probably still be clumsy and drop ice-cream on my t-shirt in the future. I will still prefer beer over wine and sneakers over high heels. That is after all – and those who know me will agree – who I am.

But if I do, I will do it as a woman – as scary as that may feel sometimes.