Tall Poppy Syndrome Can Bite Me

Joeanne Isaac
Joeanne Isaac

The definition of Tall Poppy Syndrome according to Wikipedia is:

“A pejorative term primarily used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.”

When I was a kid, my primary school teacher took me aside and asked me if I had heard of ‘tall poppy syndrome’. I was 7 at the time, and like most 7 year olds, I hadn’t. She went on to explain its meaning and that life would be considerably tough for someone as sensitive as me. She described society’s need to dim the glow of someone whose light may shine slightly or significantly brighter than others. She knelt down to my height, put both hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye and told me to never give up. That whatever God had given me; no cattiness, whispers in the hallway or snickered breath with eyes slanted my way could take away. That it was my light, to expand and retract as I so desired. Just like most of the information I was given as a child, I soaked every word she was saying right up. Not fully understanding, but totally recognizing, its weight. I stored our conversation deeply within, year after year, tucked away safely in the folds of my mind.

Now at 30 I am very aware, with much first hand experience of the lengths some people will go to just to try and dim your light for even the slightest moment. I understand to survive this harsh reality we sometimes retract, out of pure necessity, from society and cloak our own light in darkness; but I’m not 7 anymore, and this light is unequivocally mine. This light is mine, your light is yours, and nobody can change that fact.

Image from www.ausmed.com.au

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s