For fifteen years I have stood by and defended my decision to go through with the lengthening procedures. It was a personal decision that gained support from my family and friends.

My reasoning? Limb lengthening was going to add over a foot of height to my legs, yes, I cannot deny that. But that was not why I went through with these surgeries. As a child, I was in a back brace to correct kyphosis or sway back. My lower legs were severely bowed. I couldn’t walk a mile without becoming out of breath or in pain. My arms only straightened to a forty five degree angle. Need I elaborate?

Now, I don’t have to worry about any of that. Yes, I went from 3’9″ to 5’0″ but I DID NOT go through those surgeries just to become taller.

Guess what? There are people who do. Perfectly normal, healthy, fully functioning individuals who want to be a few inches taller. That, my friends, is known as cosmetic surgery.

Last night I got a text regarding a television program on limb lengthening from a sweet friend in California. We met in the hospital down in Florida back in 2009 while both undergoing surgery. She was born with a leg length discrepancy. Her initial lengthening surgery was performed by an inexperienced doctor and resulted in complications. Since finding Dr. Paley she has the hope of walking on her own two legs.

The show that she was watching was called ‘Taboo’ on National Geographic. The individual being ‘lengthened’ was perfectly healthy but unhappy with their current height.

“Is it just me or does that make you mad? I am watching this and fuming.” [Oh girl, you have no idea.]

Following some research of my own, I found that there were two separate Taboo programs on lengthening. The one I was able to view online showed a young man who wanted to remain confidential to the point that they even morphed his voice. [Ok buddy, if you defend your decision to go through with the procedure then what is there to hide?!] His reasoning for going through with limb lengthening?

“People say: ‘Oh yeah, have you met this person? The short one.’ That is what I want to change. The label. I don’t want it to define me.”

And. I. Quote.

I have no words. My jaw dropped.

He viewed his height as an embarrassment or an obstacle. Let me remind you, this guy was maybe a minimum 5’5″. Let me tell you about height being an obstacle!

First, I got downright angry. After all these years, standing my ground, stating that everything I went through was in no way cosmetic and now this? As the anger faded, sadness set in.

I get it. It’s a personal decision. One that I made for myself. If it’s going to make you feel better about yourself, great. But don’t put yourself in my category, please.

Taboo. A custom that is sacred or forbidden based on moral judgment. If that is what my choices are being labeled as now then I’m not sure what to think. My heart tells me otherwise. What I did was a choice. My choice. Sacred to my heart.

This ‘Taboo’ crap? Well I guess it’s a test. An opportunity to learn and make peace with what is. I have no control over other people’s decisions but I do have the power to change my perception.

Two minutes ago, in my head, I was playing victim. That’s all over. Empowerment is the game, Kristen is my name.

For the record, I am fairly certain that when people ask, “Have you met her?” Most people’s responses are not, “the little one.” It is probably along the lines of, “the sassy little lady living a big life and loving the hell out of it.”

Well, that’s what I tell myself 🙂


2 thoughts on “Taboo?

  1. Shauna says:

    aaaaand you took the words right out of my mouth. It’s one thing to correct a physical abnormality. But to gain beauty by growing an inch? (The Taboo episode I watched was a girl in Russia who was 5’5″, but wasn’t pretty because she wasn’t tall). It’s ridiculous. And if her self esteem about her height is bad enough to do this kind of surgery, her self esteem about the scars left on her legs is going to be worse.

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