Everyone goes through crazy phases, like goth or rock. Or, maybe you fall in love with a boy band.Some of the things we do during these crazy phases stick with us forever, like a tattoo. It becomes something unique, which represents your past. One woman chose to do a different type of radical thing. Instead of a tattoo, she decided to stretch her neck. She got the nickname “Giraffe Woman” and is likely to remain with the consequences of her past decisions for the rest of her life, despite she gave up on the idea of stretching her neck after five years.
Sydney Smith, 30, from Los Angeles, had become obsessed with giraffes and their long necks. So she decided to use neck rings to elongate her neck. She wore neck rings for five years, day and night, then she decide to give up on the idea of expanding her neck, so she removed the rings. The result was completely unexpected.
Smith took the idea of wearing the rings from the women of the Kayan tribe, from South East Asia. They are famous for their giraffe-like necks, which they obtain after wearing neck rings since childhood. When a girl reaches her fifth birthday, she receives her neck rings.
There are multiple theories on why the Kayan women wear the neck rings. Some people say they do it to become less attractive for the rest of the world, which minimizes the risk of being kidnapped and traded as slaves. Other theories say they do it to establish their own cultural identity.
But for Smith, the decision to wear neck rings came with a lot of problems. The woman began to feel isolated and she faced lots of restrictions regarding her neck rings. During an interview, Smith confessed: “I couldn’t function properly as a long neck woman with fifteen rings around my neck in the United States of America. Unless you are willing to completely isolate yourself and you’re a trust fund baby and don’t ever need to leave the house, don’t ever need to drive, then maybe you can pull it off.”
“I spent five years of my life with rings around my neck and I just became very introverted and isolated and felt like the rings were taking over my life in every way. It was always about the rings, it wasn’t about Sydney anymore. I tried sticking my neck out to make it work but logic kicked in after a while.” Smith removed her coils and revealed her neck, which was nothing like the doctors expected. She still considers herself to be the “Giraffe Woman” and continues to share photos of her neck with her social medial followers.
Even is she removed the coils, Smith is still suffering the consequences of wearing them for five years, in the attempt to stretch her neck. She is doing physical therapy twice a week, so soothe the stiffness in her neck. Right after she removed the coils, she had bruises on her collarbone and she felt her neck was unable to support her head.
Despite all the troubles, Smith is not regretting her initial decision to elongate her neck. Everyone expected her neck to look really long after she removed the coils, but it looked rather normal. Moreover, she says her neck returned to its normal length after she removed the coils. The Giraffe Woman is missing the feeling of wearing the neck rings, which gave her an eerie comfort, despite the weight of the rings was considerable.
Doctors who examined Smith are stunned at how fast she recovered after removing the coils. Because few people choose to wear neck rings to elongate their necks, Smith’s experience is going to serve as an inspiration for both doctors and people who want to follow her lead.