I’m Really Not That Tall

I need to declare something publicly and I need to say it to people who will hold me accountable.  I hope y’all don’t mind the responsibility.  I guess this is as good a place as any.   OK, here goes.

I am a blogger.

Well, DUH.  Over the last four months, I’ve been writing diligently and posting with great regularity and really digging the feedback from the people who read this…stuff.  I can say that I enjoy writing.  I can encourage others to express themselves.  But that exact arrangement of words?  Yipes.  So today I’m putting it out there–I am a blogger.

So what?

Well, there’s this conference for female bloggers called BlogHer and it’s in Chicago this July.  I’ve had it on my radar for months and had it on my calendar for months.  I saved tax refund money to cover the expense.  I’ve even reserved the vacation days at work.  I’ve stalked the website, clicked on the schedules, looked at the photo gallery of the hotel, checked flights to Chicago, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger on registering.  Because that conference?  It’s for BLOGGERS.

There's an impostor among us...

There’s an impostor among us…

If I actually went, it would become some “Carrie Goes to the Prom” nightmare, right?  They would let me register, but once I walked in the meeting I would be called out in front of everyone for presuming to place myself at an event for REAL BLOGGERS.  For example, I looked at one of the photos of a discussion group at last year’s conference and noticed that everyone was using an iPad to take notes.  I don’t even own one.  Well, we do have one that G won in a raffle and we mostly use it to entertain the kids on long drives.  It might be under the love seat in the den, cloaked in a skim of Cheetos dust.  Why would real bloggers let me in with my nasty Cheeto-smelling raffle iPad????  I am a fraud, clearly.  

But even I must acknowledge the ridiculous nature of posting on my BLOG that I can’t call myself a blogger.  Every word on this thing is written and managed by…me.  Baddest Mother Ever is a wholly owned subsidiary of MissAshleyCo, Inc. Worldwide.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that I am allowed to claim what is mine.  Even when I have done the work myself.  Sometimes I can’t even recognize myself.  Do you ever feel like that?  

A couple of years ago, I got a Facebook message from a woman I knew in college.  Lizzie was a year behind me, an international student from Bangladesh,  a young woman very far from home.  Back in those days, we had an old tradition where the sophomores hazed the freshmen, so my class indoctrinated Lizzie’s class.  Then 20 years later, she wrote to me on Facebook to say that she always appreciated the fact that I was kind to her during the hell week.  She said something along the lines of “I remember you because you were this tall girl with laughing eyes and your smile let me know that it was all a joke and it was going to be OK.”  My first thought upon reading this?  She must have me confused with someone else because I’m not really that tall.

I’m 5’9″.  That’s pretty tall by most standards, right?

After many years of therapy, I can at least catch myself doing this.  My brain heard a genuine compliment.  But I was so uncomfortable with someone acknowledging the simple fact that I’m nice and generally kind to people that I had to deny the very idea that she was talking about me! 

I shared this story about Lizzie with my friend, Heather (who blogs here at Allonsee).  Heather is one of the few people I know who doesn’t essentially doubt herself on a daily basis.  She gets frustrated and she gets muddle-headed at times, but she’s pretty secure in the fact that she’s an OK, intelligent person.  Can you IMAGINE what it would be like to live in her head for a day?  Now, whenever I start belittling my own skills or attributes or chances, Heather can simply say, “And you’re not even TALL!”  It’s become a form of shorthand that is much more polite than saying, “Get your head out of your ass and look around.”

To make a long story longer…This afternoon, Heather happened to ask me if I had registered for BlogHer at the very moment that I had the registration website open for a little spot of stalking and self-esteem bashing.  Damn her and her impeccable timing.  She sent me this list of reasons I should do it:

Why Ashley should go to Chicago …

1. It’ll be like her giant girl college experience. 
2. It is in Chicago in July for pity’s sake 
3. She loves writing and so do they 
4. She gets to take time and money to do things that are interesting to her because SHE HAS TIME AND MONEY THAT IS HERS 
5. There is NO entrance bar for BlogHer – she is not going to need to show her “Valid” pass to get in. 



#5 hit me right in the gut.  Yep.  That was what was stopping me.  I thought there was some “Official Blogger” pass that I didn’t have in my wallet.

I did it.  I registered for the conference and I booked myself a hotel room.  I even registered for the pre-conference session called “My Blog as a Book Proposal” because while I’m putting it out there to the universe I might as well put it ALL out there.  It’s time to start calling myself what I want to be.  I am a blogger.  I am a writer.  I am a creator and an author and a storyteller and a joyful citizen of the messy parts of life.

Oh, and for the record–I am tall.

Are you feeling tall today?  Or curled up in a ball?  What word do people use to describe you that you have trouble calling yourself?


29 thoughts on “I’m Really Not That Tall

  1. Genie Smith Bernstein

    Ashley, I remember the 1st time someone casually asked me “So what do you do?” and “I’m a writer” hopped out of my mouth. One of the most freeing moments of my life. Am loving your blog — GO TO CHICAGO!

  2. Miss K

    Not tall, that’s for sure. Barely scraping the 5′ mark and eye to eye with my 11-year-old who can’t wait to pass me up. The 15-year-old leans on me and declares at least once a week “You’re short!” I also have trouble taking compliments on my writing, my parenting skills, my looks, although my fiancé is not deterred and keeps trying. But those two tall little people are awesome boosts to my self esteem. I got them right. And I can write my way out of a paper bag if necessary. Glad you are going to the conference…you definitely rate!

  3. Virginia Wilcox

    I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I am intimidating…I don’t think I am and when I press most say it’s not the way you act that intimidates…it’s everything else…WTH does that mean?

    1. Baddest Mother Ever

      Ummm…have you checked out your guns in the mirror?? I can see how someone would find you intimidating. You’re very accomplished in your career. You have a commitment to fitness that is impressive. When you listen to someone, you focus in a way that is unusual–you really listen–and that can be intense! I think you’re fantastic in so many ways–I guess because I know your gentle spirit I call it “awe” instead of “intimidation.”

  4. Rachal

    Yay for you, you will have a blast, and dammit, you deserve it 🙂 Thanks for reminding me of the things I need to be reminded of on a regular basis. I have a blog cooking in my head,.but haven’t gotten the gumption together to pull the trigger….yet. If you have the time in Chicago, go to Heaven on Seven on Rush St, amazing brunch, or try the Andouille Sausage and sweet potato polenta. Darn, now I’m hungry and drooly.

  5. Lisa Burke Allred

    You ARE a blogger, Ashley, and a damn fine one, at that. I’m glad you are going to Chicago. You deserve to be there. And, it’s Chicago, for pete’s sake!

    My word- confident. People comment on my confidence, especially regarding my work,
    and I am generally pretty confident that I do a great job, but, I’ll admit, there is a little voice inside me that tries to make me believe I’m not good enough, that I don’t deserve the praise.

  6. Mary Ann

    You are definitely a writer! I want you to take this as a compliment when I say that I find myself reading your blog like my Mom read Celestine Sibley daily! When someone can’t wait to read you, yiu can consider yourself sn author!

  7. Amanda Harris

    A few weeks ago, my boyfriend, my kids and I went bowling. I am a terrible bowler. In fact, whatever word connotes the worst bowler ever in the history of bowling would apply to me. But I enjoy bowling anyway. My 13yo, Marilyn (who on occasion acts as snarky as you’d imagine a 13yo girl would), was nearly doubled over in laughter at the awfulness of some of the balls I . . . sent down the lane. Her statement was “How can someone as talented as Mom be such a bad bowler?” I, of course, immediately heard the “bad bowler” part, but was COMPLETELY caught short my the first half of her statement. “As talented” as I was??? What? I asked her “really? you really think I’m talented?” And she looked at me and said “well, yeah, of course!” . . . with as much implied “duuuuhhhhh” as is possible without actually saying the word. I’m still trying to incorporate that piece of information about myself, as declared by my 13yo daughter: I am talented. So this particular piece really struck a chord with me. And yes, Ashley, you are that tall 🙂

  8. Katalina4

    So glad you are going! I get all that tangled up neurotic garbage about most things in life, but conferences are an ideal place to just skulk around the corners of the room and be vague and anonymous and do all those kind of immature, self-defeating things… 🙂

  9. Unconfirmed Bachelorette

    You are a blogger. And a writer. And the baddest mother ever. You’ve got it all, sister! You’re going to have a ball. And now it’s on my radar screen for next year. But I’m not really a blogger. Or a writer. Good thing there’s no entrance bar. 🙂

  10. maryhelenc

    I’m glad you’re going! I’ve wanted to go to one of those blogger conventions, but I never do because money, child minding are an issue and sometimes I think my ADHD sort of little blog won’t measure up to these women who write about amazing things. Maybe I should feel a little taller too.

  11. Heart To Harp

    Claiming all of who we are seems to be THE major developmental task of middle age. I’ve gone through the same thing about claiming to be a “real” musician. (Which I could not possibly be since I never took piano lessons.) Responsibility accepted: Yes, you are a blogger, a writer, and you belong at this convention! And you really are tall – and not just in stature.

  12. obsidiankitten

    I am so proud of you and I adore you and I love your blog and admire your writing. I’m SO glad you’re going to the conference — and can’t wait to read all about it. Not to mention — I’m just delighted that you’re in my life. And as my grandma said in her very last letter to me, “Keep writing and painting!” You’re inspiring me today, and I sure can use it. Love you!!

  13. LISA Hall

    Ashley- we have never met but I found you blog through a high school friend. One of the first columns I read was on the Imposter Syndrone. You need to re-read your own words! That column changed my life! You are a writer. You are a blogger. You are impactful. You had best be planning on having a fabulous time in Chicago!

  14. MaryEllen Miller

    I read this when you posted originally. Then I read it again this afternoon. Then I worked on my first blog post in a while. This one has been rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks, but before that, I was at a stall. In a funk. Writers block. Anxiety? I don’t have anxiety. Finally, I was able to finish writing the post today. Then, as I started to push “publish,” I felt a strange anxiety again. So, I read this post one more time – and now I’m OK. I’m 5’4″, but I’m feeling pretty tall! Thanks, Ashley.


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