When I was in sixth grade, Jayne Massaro felt compelled to point out that I had a large head. It didn't require much to become Jayne's target. She was a popular cheerleader and made fun of girls who started to mature early and once called Mr. Lomax (who is black) the "n" word under her breath as she walked out of the room after he sent her to the office for some infraction. Everyone in the room heard it.
"Noelle," I heard her whisper. She sat in the middle row, fifth person back. I sat in the first row, third person back. Unable to ignore her and knowing that some humiliation would ensue as I swiveled my enormous melon head in her direction, I looked at her anyway and saw her puff her cheeks and hold her hands in an enlarged circle around her face. The kids around her laughed.
Back then, I was an awkward runt with thick hair, and my stick-thin body and short layered hair accentuated my awkward shape.
Jayne's taunting devastated me. My mom made me "feel better" by asking me if my teachers made me sit in the back of the room because my head was so large that other kids couldn't see around it.
I even took Jayne's taunting into my pregnancy 13 years ago. My ex-husband is also blessed with a large skull, and I feared that his large-head genes plus my large-head genes would make for an extremely painful childbirth.
Ultrasound revealed that my baby's skull topped out the growth charts in the 90th percentile. Two weeks past my due date (more time to fertilize that cranium growth), I was relieved to have a Cesarean.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a woman of my height (63 inches) has an average head size of about 22 inches. Mine is 23. I looked that up today, expecting to validate Jayne's discovery of 30 years ago, as a way to explain why I look like a mushroom in my bicycle helmet and have a hard time finding comfortable sunglasses.
I'm sort of disappointed to learn that my head circumference is average. I'd embraced Jayne's melon-head moniker and even come to like it. All these years, I've been carrying around the scars left from some silly girl's taunting, only to find out that I'm normal.