Monday, January 23, 2012

Outside the Bell curve

All my life, it has been a good thing to fall outside the Bell curve. I was never an average student. I always wanted to earn the As on the far side of the curve, not the Cs of the top.

It never occurred to me that being out of the "norm" of the Bell curve could someday come back to bite me in the butt. However, as I'm far removed from any schooling and grading, I am now finding that being outside the Bell curve really just leads to massive inconvenience. It no longer pays to be "above-average."

Blow #1 against landing outside the Bell curve: SHOES.

Here's the deal: my dad is tall; my mom is short. As fate (and genetics) would have it, I am completely average. I measure in at exactly 5'6" tall. The average height for an American woman. The thing is, my feet didn't get this memo. My feet, in fact, just kept growing throughout my childhood. I stopped being able to play dress-up with my mom's shoes early in elementary school, and by middle school, my feet measured in at a ginormous size 10. Now, I'm not calling everyone else's size-10 feet huge, I'm just saying that for a person who is only 5'6", size-10 feet are not really in proportion.

When I got pregnant with Molly, I started to worry about the warnings of pregnancy making your feet grow. I couldn't stand the thought of my feet getting any bigger! I was sure I would even more resemble a duck. Or a water skier who had forgotten to remove her skis. So, you can imagine my relief when none of the doomsday predictions came true. I came through my pregnancy with Molly with my size-10 feet still intact. Thank god for small miracles, I thought.

Along came Charlotte. My pregnancy from ... well, let's just say it wasn't heaven-sent. Not only did I throw up every day of my pregnancy, my feet grew a whole half size. I now measure in at a whopping size 10 1/2.

You might think that a half size really isn't that big of a deal. But, guess what? They don't make size 10 1/2 shoes! The shoe stores go up by half sizes right until size 10, then they jump to size 11. Apparently, with big feet, it doesn't matter if you get a good fit. Well, actually, that's not technically true. Size 10 1/2 shoes do exist, but you have to order them online. You can't just run into your local Target or DSW to pick up a pair of cute flats or boots to coordinate with the outfit you have to wear that night. Not to mention, any ordering online is bound to be more expensive. I am able to buy some shoes in brick-and-mortar stores, but only after extensive trying-on to find large size 10s or small size 11s. It is beyond annoying.

Now, blow #2 against landing outside the Bell curve: CONTACTS

I have really bad eyesight. Like really bad. Although, I didn't realize it, I'd probably needed glasses for quite a while when I finally got them in 4th grade. My teacher commented on how much faster I did my work after I got them. It's amazing what being able to see the board will do for you! So, my eyesight continued to get worse and worse. I got contacts in middle school (around the time my feet reached their huge length), and even though my eyesight was bad, it didn't really affect me too much. Well, minus that time in college when I took my contacts out before I'd gotten out my glasses. I had to call my roommate to rescue me from crawling on the floor, arms outstretched and grasping, trying to find my glasses. But, other than that, not a huge inconvenience in my life.

Well, today, I had my annual eye exam. I thought maybe my eyes had gotten a little worse, but wasn't sure. I got my exam and was told, that yes, my eyes had gotten just slightly worse. But, here's the thing. Once you get up to prescriptions as high as mine, they stop making contacts in quarter prescriptions. Ok, here's how it works. I had a prescription of -8.00. My eyes are technically measuring in at -8.25, but the contact manufacturers don't make them in quarter sizes at that high of a myopia. The next step is -8.50.

Is this sounding familiar to anyone else? Really?!?!

So, now, I'm truly annoyed. I know it's all about the bottom line for both the shoe and contact companies, and that there's not as much demand, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah ... But that does not stop me from being peeved.

Not since middle school, when every single girl wants to look like every other girl, have I wanted so much to be "average."  (Are you sensing a theme with middle school? I know it might be hard to believe, but curly red hair, braces, glasses and big feet were not prized commodities in those awkward grades.)

But, the truth is, I really don't want to be average. No one is ever really average. Everyone is different and special. At least that's what I tell my girls every single day. So you know what? Screw the Bell curve. C'mon companies, cater to some of us outliers! We deserve some love, too. Long live the outliers!

But, on a practical note? If  regular stores could carry some 10 1/2 shoes, that would make my life so much easier. Thankyouverymuch.


  1. Long live the outliers is RIGHT!!!!!!!!! I sure love you just the way you are---you are a perfect you!!!!!!!!

  2. One thing is for sure, your writing isn't within bell curve norm. Love the post, you can certainly tell a story.

    1. Awww, thanks Christopher! That's really sweet!