Yes folks – that’s a real question that someone has asked of me. I was in college taking the elevator down and this guy got in also. I couldn’t help but feel that he was “checking me out” so to speak and it was kind of creeping me out. Finally, he got the nerve to ask me, “what’s it like to be short?” I just looked at him. In my mind I couldn’t get over the question. What kind of question is that? My response to him finally was “well, I’ve never been tall, so I don’t have anything to compare it to.” He just nodded in understanding – thank God because if I had to explain that the conversation would have really gone sour. I’ve since told people I really wish my response had been one of the two following either: “it means putting up with stupid questions,” or my favorite, “I don’t know. What’s it like to be stupid?” I just couldn’t understand why the question needs to be asked. How is being short so much different than how anyone else lives? I don’t know.
Okay so to be fair I should be honest and tell you all that I’m not JUST short… I’m extra short. As fate would have it, I’m only 4’8″. Yes bloggers, I’m only four feet, eight inches tall. I promise you all… it’s not by choice.
That picture right there – yep, that’s the story of my life. I remember the day I learned this would be my fate. I was 10 years old and in fifth grade. My mom finally took me to the doctor to see how come I didn’t seem to be growing. Well, as it would turn out the growth plates in my bones were all done by fifth grade. This could be why I look like I still belong in fourth grade – I was already considered short by fifth grade. I remember sitting on the table as the doctor was talking to me. It was seriously the most depressing moment in my short life (no pun intended) because I could already tell what would be in store for me. I was on the verge of tears and I’m sure he could see this. In his attempt to make me feel better he told me the good news is that at least I wouldn’t shrink as much when I’m older because my bones wouldn’t lose as much density as other adults do. Great. I’m only 10 and I have my old age to look forward to in order to finally get redemption. Awesome. I didn’t say anything. What could I say? I just weakly smiled and nodded so I could show some appreciation or acknowledgement. I appreciated his attempt though it really didn’t do too much for me. I just had to accept this would mean plenty of jokes and other comments. I didn’t know exactly what was in store, but I knew it would be a lifetime of it, whatever it would be.
The photo at the top is one example of what I do still get. I have to laugh when people point out how short I am. Thank you Captain Obvious. There was one incident in high school I was walking in front of two popular kids and she said to me “God you’re so short.” I quipped “Well I don’t try to be.” It popped out of my mouth before I could do any editing. I told my dad and he thought it was hilarious. There are lots of moments like this. There was one time I was walking down the hall in high school and a couple of girls behind me were talking about me as if I couldn’t hear them. I chose to not respond and give them the satisfaction. I could hear them saying something like “holy cow she’s so short.” Really? How’d you notice? I really do try and keep it hidden from everyone. No I didn’t say any of that but it was tempting. I was also tempted to tell them to whisper louder not everyone could hear them talking about me. Truth is, the worst part of it was simply thinking I couldn’t hear them. I was told once, can’t remember when perhaps it was in college, I’d have to marry a man 7 feet tall so my kids would come out “normal.” He thought he was being funny. When I was working at Sears in college, I had some random guy get in my personal space bubble, no really he was right in my face and I just about panicked, and he asked me how tall I was. He then proceeded to tell me that I could get help from the government for being so short. He has a friend who gets government money because he’s so short. Say again? Um… I have four fully functional limbs and I do fine on my own. Thanks. I’m short not disabled. I know some “disabled” folks who are less disabled than those without so called disabilities.
As a freshman in high school, I was only 14 mind you, and this girl in the bathroom asked me how I could have sex? Say what? She couldn’t figure out if I could even have sex because the guy would clearly crush me. Um…again… speechless. All I could muster was I don’t know. Okay folks, I’ll be real honest here – I’m pretty “boy crazy.” I love to look at guys and frequently have crushes – ask any of my friends, but I’ve never been promiscuous. At the tender age of 14 sex was the last thing on my mind. I was totally floored. To this day I think this may have contributed to the idea I wouldn’t ever date while I was in high school. I began to think it wouldn’t be possible. I, of course, realized later that that’s just dumb. Again, ignorance at play, but she was only a high schooler so it’s okay I guess. It was one of those moments I pushed so far back in my memory due to embarrassment I almost forgot it happened but it did. There were plenty of other comments, jokes, looks etc., but those are probably the highlights.
It gets pretty funny when it comes to my driving also. People have a tendency to ask me if I need to sit on phonebooks or pillows – that’s standard. I really love it when they ask if I have to sit in a car seat, like children, or tie little wooden blocks to my feet like “Short Round” in “The Temple of Doom” movie. Um… no I don’t, but thanks for asking.
Yep, that sign right above is my new excuse for being short, as if I need one. I do like it though, probably why I’m so perfect haha. Just kidding. I would like for people to understand something. Yes I’m really short but that does not mean I’m a “Little Person.” For clarification Little People are those who have a type of dwarfism. I believe it’s genetic. Most often people call them “midgets,” which to the best of my knowledge, they don’t like that term – it’s usually associated with a negative connotation. I could be wrong on that and it could vary person to person as most things do but that’s how I understand it. Also from what I’ve heard, little people prefer the term little person or dwarf, as that is the condition. I also want to be clear that my problem with people assuming I’m a little person is not being associated with them but that people can’t seem to understand that it’s possible to JUST be short. There must be something “wrong” with me. I don’t want to sound like there’s anything “wrong” with being a little person because there isn’t. I can identify with them in some ways. The preconceived notions, judgements and more are often frustrating to say the least. Yes I need a bit more help on occasion or I need a step stool when others don’t. I keep most of my kitchen and bathroom items down low but I’m not disabled, I’m not handicapped or anything like that. Please learn to accept me as I am and quit having such a hard time with the notion that I’m short. It’s not complicated.
p.s. all part of the get to know “stormy” bit. Added a new category for these types – “Chapters About Me.” Enjoy!