The 6’5″ woman and her fear of heights

Whenever I tell anyone about my phobia they laugh uproariously. Because, apparently, it’s really funny to laugh at people with psychological problems. Listen jerks, I know it’s funny. The irony that I’m 6’5″ and afraid of heights is not lost on me.

It’s not your average fear of heights either. I don’t mind flying, or going way up high in an elevator. I don’t mind looking over the railing of bridges or any of that stuff. See, those kinds of height fears would be sane. I’m afriad of sort of mid-heights, specifically I’m afriad of standing on chairs/ladders/benches and reaching over my head.

I won’t change a lightbulb unless I can reach it with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Lucky for me, this is usually not a problem because I’m 6’5″. However, today as I was trying to finish painting the kitchen, it was a problem. I managed to talk myself onto a chair a few weeks ago when I painted the diningroom. But the cold sweats and shaking, didn’t feel like a good idea today. Besides the diningroom is carpeted and the kitchen is not. If I fell off the chair in the kitchen, I was sure to die.

I like to blame my height for a lot of things, it’s easy and most people buy it. Why? Because they have no clue what it’s like to be so tall, so they figure I must know. I blame my height for my weird standing-on-a-chair phobia. I say being just a few feet off the ground upsets my equilibrium, causes some sort of inner-ear disturbance that causes me to lose my balance. I don’t let the fact that I can’t remember ever falling off a chair while standing on it stop me.

So today was I was trying to finish the kitchen I stretched as high as I could and still came a couple inches short. Never before, in my entire life, had I wish I was a little taller.

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  1. Herb 25.Sep.06 at 12:56 pm

    Dear Jodi:

    Although it is humorously ironic that a woman as tall as you would be afraid of heights, when you look at your specific fear, it’s not really so strange. It is probably awkward for your center of gravity. Think of a small woman, someone who is barely 5′ tall, standing on a chair. She would probably not even be as tall as you when she is standing on the chair! That person’s center of gravity would be closer to the chair and the floor. It probably makes you feel more awkward and unsteady to be so far above where everone else is, including yourself, since, as you know, you are living in a world not planned for people who are so tall.

    Also, what about a ladder or stepstool? Chairs were not meant for climbing! And when you use a ladder, don’t climb to the top few steps, or you will feel the same way. I know I would.

    Love your site. It’s always nice to read your refreshingly intelligent ideas and observations.

    All the best,


  2. jodi 25.Sep.06 at 1:35 pm

    Yeah, ladders are just as terrifying, even more terrifying than chairs. What with all those great big gaps and itty-bitty steps.

    But thank you Herb for rationalizing my generally irrational fear.

  3. Joseph 21.Oct.06 at 2:12 pm

    I’m a freakishly huge man too, brinking the tops of 6’10.5″. It has it’s pros and cons, but i wish i was only around 6’2″ or 6’3″


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