when I found out that I would be working for cosmetics and fragrances at Macy’s this month, I thought I had prepared accordingly — i went to my closet and evaluated just how many outfits i could come up with that were all black, and proceeded to therefore stock up on the missing essentials: multiples of nude-colored hosiery, shades of the various fall lip and eye color palettes, and enough anti-histamines for me to be able to wade through the mist of perfumes and colognes without having one of my famed anaphylactic allergy attacks.
i guess i must have been so caught up in my first few days of work that i also forgot a few minor-but-important details, such as the meticulous art of eyebrow plucking and keeping your hands looking just as good as Vogue’s hand model’s ten phalanges do.
needless to say, after learning the ropes and settling into my new work habitat, i was a bit surprised that I continued to garner these continuous looks from customers … even my co-workers. Not the admiring type, nor the disgusted “what-in-god’s-name-is-that-girl-wearing” type of looks either — i just couldn’t quite figure out what was behind all those peeping black pupils dilating at me.
and even if I had prepared for a more exterior-judgmental setting and gone to all the beauty salons to look just like barbie, i think my look still would have been described as rather exceptional.
indeed, there was another detail that i had seemingly forgotten about scottsdale, arizona: a stature of 6 feet 0 inches can belong only to a celebrity, model-esque woman here to spend her billions on the latest and greatest botox surgical procedures … or a beshemoth. (i would like to think of myself closer to the aforementioned stereotype and not the latter, but then again … you all haven’t seen me after doing yard-work.) back in southern california, i never felt tall really – especially at disneyland, where there are people of every size there and everyone is the definition of normal. even when i walked down the streets of manhattan, heels were consistently clashing by me and i had no problem looking a good majority of women eye-to-eye. but back in arizona, the only tall women i could ever meet were on the volleyball courts. and the 5’4 asian women standing on the tallest pair of jessica simpson stiletto’s they could find, wobbling out from behind the estee lauder beauty counter didn’t exactly count as tall women.
when walking through the store up to HR, if I looked only straight ahead it was as though I were by myself (excluding the christmas trees and mannequins stranded up on dangerously high platforms). if I ventured to look down, I saw pairs of eyes gazing up in astonishment. now I’m no godzilla, but i was struck at how tiny Macy’s employees/the general population of Macy’s at the current time was. “Surely, this must just be a coincidence,” I mused. but then that day’s environment turned into a week’s worth, into two week’s worth, and into a trend I cannot deny existing any longer!
i have a boss up on the second floor who I love dearly, and is honestly one of the most cheery women I’ve ever met. but when I came in to discuss direct deposit, knocked on her door, and watched her rise up from her desk to stand just about at my chest level, I felt like the beshemoth I had so fervidly wished against becoming.
in that moment, I could imagine how Alice felt at the end of a day exploring Wonderland. she didn’t mean to be so big; she didn’t mean to grow taller than the average american woman. so why did the flowers look at her that way? she could have hunched over a lot as a child and gotten scoliosis and forced her posture to align with everyone else’s. She owned a pair of boring flats and heel-less, fashion-less shoes, but she had left them at home!
in the end, i decided i didn’t have to be ashamed of being as tall as the company christmas tree and let their looks of gaping wonder at my height in heels puncture my pride. i think i look just fine. and so what if they giggle at me because i can reach the top shelf in the storage room? i don’t want to be categorized as a model and judged by my exterior, but i most certainly did not want to purposely turn myself into a beshemoth just because their judgmental looks told me to. i may be a giant in a world of smaller people, but i don’t mind much. it’s who i am :).
so tomorrow, i am proudly going to be wearing my five inch, firetruck-red heels to work; because, even Alice ate the “Eat Me” pill, grew into the size of a large house, felt like the most massively awkward thing in the whole wide world — and she still turned out alright in the end.