I'm African-American and six foot tall. Growing up everyone has told me I would be a professional basketball player. But, I was more concerned with something else -- seeming smaller.
Since middle school, I've been taller than almost everyone else in the room. Taller than most of my teachers. Adults acted like my height was something I should be proud of.
But they weren't there when I walked home and the locks on every single car door shut tight. Cops didn't eye the other kids like they were already grown. Being tall never felt like it made me special. It felt like it made me a target.
In high school, I tried to "not be tall." I walked with hunched shoulders and my eyes down. I practiced walking quietly. When I entered a classroom, I tried to anticipate where I could sit without getting in the way.
I'm in college now, and I barely even recognize that person. Now, I sit up straight. I look people in the eyes. When I walk, I don't shrink into myself. If people feel the need to lock their car doors when I walk by, it doesn't make me feel guilty. I know I'm not the one scaring them.