Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I wrote this essay for class...

In order to understand what I want my blog to be about, I need to go back over its inspirations. I've learned a lot over the past month or so, and I want to get it all down here so you all can understand too.
I entered the spring semester at UWO looking forward to my classes. I had Magazine Publishing, and I was looking forward to learning what it takes to design, edit and publish a magazine. I was also taking Feature Writing. I was excited and a little apprehensive about this class; I knew it would be a challenge, but I also knew if I worked hard I could write some great stories. The teacher was Grace Lim, a woman whom I respected, but also sort of feared. Let's just say she's intense. But I knew she would challenge me to produce good writing.
Our first assignment was to write a personal essay. I've never been to type to talk much about personal stuff, so i wrote about the jobs I have to help pay for college. I took the story to Grace and she promptly gave it the axe. She told me that if I didn't write something truly personal then no one would want to read it. She shared how she had wished she were white instead of Asian growing up, and she encouraged me to write about being tall.
So I went home and poured out all these memories from my childhood, adolescence, my entire life. I wrote the essay focusing on how I was, and still am, singled out for being a tall woman. I recalled how, during my teens, I stuck out as different when all I wanted was to fit in with the crowd.
I read a draft of the essay in class the next week, in early March. My face was red the entire time, but my voice was clear (I think). It was difficult to read it in front of my peers, and I don't think I could have done it even 3 years ago, I was still too uncomfortable about my height even then. But everyone seemed to like the essay, especially the kicker (final sentence) where I defied the shyness I had felt about being stared at: "In fact, sometimes I wear heels. Just to make them look twice."
I felt good having written it. I had accepted and embraced my height, but I had never really put the whole story into words and shared it with so many people. It reminded me to be proud of my height as well as my writing ability.

2 comments:

Megan said...

Hi Becky,
I am a freshman at UWO as well and also have Professor Lim as my instructor for Intro. to Journalism. Professor Lim sent our class your essay from the New York Times and I loved it. I am not tall, but am a Journalism major like you. The way that you wrote this essay really inspired me! I loved your essay and seeing how far one college paper can take you! Congratulations on everything that has happened and I look forward to everything that comes from you in the future! I hope to see you around campus so I can say hi and tell you how much you inspire me!
Thanks again and congratulations!
-Megan Jacobson

mcfadden said...

Hi, Becky: I'm a psych professor (on sabbatical this year) and I have a dear niece who is about your height. I was thrilled to see your blog with all the good information and have sent the links for the blog plus your NYTimes article to my sister to forward to my niece. I think you're going to hear from women around the world once your blog becomes known! I thought it was great that you included some links for clothes as I know how challenging that quest can be. I wish you all the best, Susan McFadden