My name is Bree Wijnaar, and I'm a 6'4'' woman who unashamedly loves to rock a cute pair of heels. For years people have questioned my decision to add an extra two to four inches to my already towering frame, as if it were wrong of me to want to feel just as much of a woman as my smaller lady friends. I admit that I wasn't always so confident with my height, and that it took some time to accept that being different was nothing to be ashamed of.
I was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where the regal and powerful name Brunnhilde was bestowed upon me. Growing up in the “land of the tall," it wasn't uncommon to see men and women of exceptional height, however, I never imagined that I would be one of the few anomalies that would walk the halls of my high school. I was a little taller than average, but nothing noticeable until about the age of 10. Mother Nature had some interesting plans for me, and I started growing at a pace that was off the charts. I would grow out of clothes literally weeks after I had gotten them, and within the family there was a general feeling of “What on earth is happening to Brunnhilde?"
You can imagine that I was a fascinating phenomenon for doctors as well, who estimated that I would grow about six feet tall. There were frequent visits to keep a close eye on my growth, which in time revealed that their calculations were inaccurate as I grew well past the six-foot mark.
By age 14, I was a 6'4 teenager with size 14 feet and the curves of a grown woman. How do you like them apples?!
Being an unusually tall teenage girl made standing out from the crowd easy and admittedly uncomfortable. People would stare at me a lot, especially since tripping over my own feet was a regular occurrence as I attempted to adjust to my incessantly growing body. Boys were intimated by my size, so I wasn't often asked out on dates, and I would pass on going on shopping trips with my girlfriends because most retail stores didn't carry my size.
And then there were the questions and comments from strangers whenever I would go out and about:
“How tall are you?"
“Do you play ball?"
“How tall are your parents?"
“How is the weather up there?"
The comments and stares seem to multiply whenever I'd throw on a pair of heels. It seemed as if I couldn't go one day without being judged and analyzed by strangers looking for justification as to why I would want to be any taller than I was.
As a teenage girl just trying to adjust to the transition into adulthood, I struggled to manage the unsolicited attention. I masked my insecurities with humor and overconfidence as I maneuvered through those uncomfortable encounters.
But one day I decided that enough was enough, and that it was time to embrace the thing that I couldn't change. I accepted who I was and began to learn to love my beautiful, long legs and the heels that made them look even more amazing.
Today, at 32-years-old, I can sincerely say that I am very proud of my height and I would not change it for the world. For me, having a clear overview of the room standing at 6'6 in my lowest heels is a powerful feeling. On an average night out you can find me standing up straight and enjoying the view—people watching like everyone else, but with a 6'6 first class seat. I have learned how to take full advantage of my tall stature, and to use my voice to speak on the unique challenges and opportunities that woman of height experience.
To my fellow tall sisters, I hope you choose to wear what makes you feel beautiful, elegant, empowered, comfortable and ready to take on the world. Embrace who you are, and dare to be different!
Are there any tall sisters who can relate to my experience? Share your story below!
Bree is the founder of The Tall Society--a supportive online community bringing together tall woman worldwide. Follow her movement on Instagram at @thetallsociety.