flashback Friday: the Netherlands & “normal”
I was having a conversation the other day with coworkers about work attire, and dresses and boots and shoes and heels… which ended up a the “do you wear heels?” question that I often get routed to in conversations. It’s not that I don’t like heels or hate my height. It’s that it’s a rare day when I find myself feeling “normal” walking down the street or around campus or shopping… and that adding extra height just pretty much eliminates any chance of finding that feeling during the day.
In my musings with said friends, I mentioned the freedom I felt when I first visited the Netherlands. I was there to study the politics, and really had no idea I was going to be immersed in a world of taller people. I can close my eyes and remember walking down to the Dam in Amsterdam, and feeling like I was just a part of the whole instead of standing out. I walked into clothing boutiques and I looked up to the retail staff instead of down, and could pick up clothes off the rack. I felt so comfortable, and wondered why I couldn’t feel this way on a normal basis every day.
Ridderzaal, Den Haag, 2001
After that experience, I realized there really wasn’t anything stopping me from feeling like I fit in… other than me. Now that I knew what that comfort was… I could live it each and every day.
It’s funny how you can travel somewhere far across the world and feel more at home than ever before just due to your surroundings. And even a silly first world problem like being “ > 97th percentile in height” can be disappear if you surround yourself with the right people and put yourself in the right frame of mind. There was just a sense of relaxation instead of feeling like an outlier… and heck, I’m not even close to being at an extreme height. But that calm was refreshing and invigorating and very welcome.
Den Haag, 2001
Maybe, you too, have felt that “at home” feeling somewhere other than home…
It’s funny, I actually don’t remember the people in Amsterdam being especially tall. But maybe that’s because when you’re short, everyone seems tall.