The day my grandmother’s biggest fear was realized was the day when she heard the dreaded words “Your grand-daughter is really short”. As a child, I remember being dragged to the park near my house and my grandmother would coax, persuade and threaten, in turn, to go and play on the monkey bars like other kids so that I would grow to be a ‘taller’ kid.
I was always one of the shortest kids in my class and I grew up as a ‘shortie’, ‘fattie’, ‘darkie’ etc. Name any negative adjective and I had it. The thing that would bother my family most would always be my height. Always being on the shorter side, I never thought it abnormal till I reached 7th grade. Kids around me hit puberty and started shooting up and I remained short and stumpy in their midst. My height soon became a standing joke with most of my friends and family.
I could never comprehend why height mattered so much. What did it matter if I was short? My health was not affected, I was still going to look the same, my intelligence was just the same and my personality was not limited due to my short stature. I went through school, first convincing myself that I should want to be tall which soon gave way to depression and then trying to figure out how to force my body to stretch.
Relatives suddenly showed their sympathy by suggesting exercises and medication to help me grow taller. I was told people would never take me seriously and I would always be looked down upon (figuratively and literally). I would never get a job because people would feel that I am incompetent. I dreamt of being an Astronaut and my dreams were shattered.
I had tried every exercise my relatives suggested. Thankfully, my family could not afford medication and doctors were sensible enough to advise my parents that I was not abnormally short and medication would ruin my health. I still remained ‘vertically challenged’ as per the society.
I hated the fact that I was always dragged to the front for any picture just because I was short. I would always be in the front row at class and whenever I noticed anyone, I would first notice their height and let myself wallow in self-pity.
When I joined college, my first best friend was a girl shorter than me. She was my roommate, my soul twin sister. One day, I confessed to her that I felt I was not good enough because I was short. She said something that got me thinking and set me on the right path.
“I love being short. I have always loved the fact that I would be the one in front for everything. I always get noticed and I get to be in the center of things and steal the spotlight”.
That one statement changed my thinking. Could it be possible that someone could love to be short? She underwent the same thing I had and she loved her experience while I despised mine. Why was I bitter and she was not?
That started a whole new thought process in me and I began introspecting.
My height as not the problem. My attitude was.
People were not pushing me down. I chose to jump into the well of self-despair.
Now that I am of marriageable age, I get rejected by 9 out of 10 proposals just because I am short. People still make fun of my height. My relatives still mock me to my face. People still ask me which class I am studying in.
I am hardly five feet tall. My hands are smaller than that of an eight-year-old and I wear size four shoes. When I go to a shop to buy shoes, I am immediately told that there are no adult shoes for my size. I have a body that is not proportionate to my height. I don’t have those long legs that men go gaga over.
I am constantly given advice on how most clothing will not look good on me because I am short. I am told to wear heels so that I can look good. Since when did feet become the main deciding factor on how good looking a person is?
To the world out there, guess what? I have broken free while you still remain bound to your own prejudices and ideologies. I still wear flats when I want to. I wear long dresses and I think I look beautiful in them. I love my less- than-five-feet tall body. I love my small child-like hands that can’t manage a 5-inch screen phone.
People were wrong and they still are. I am not shunned to the side because I am physically un-intimidating. I am noticed more because my personality perfectly complements my size. People don’t look down on me because of my stature, they look up to me because I respect them and I respect myself. I may not be able to apply to my dream job due to the height restrictions but I am in a job that suits my personality and aspirations better.
When I tell people I like being short, people respond in disbelief.
“Seriously? Who wants to be short”
“Like you have any other choice”
“Right, keep convincing yourself”
And it doesn’t matter anymore if I don’t see eye to eye with people. I know where I stand and I do not seek any validation from others. I have chosen to open my eyes and see myself the way my creator has created me and I am grateful for every flaw. If given a choice today, I choose to remain short because I can see myself no other way. Being short is part of what makes me, ME!
To everyone reading this, it seems like it is a major flaw to be short or fat or dark or whatever. It is not! Give yourself the love that you would give if you felt you were perfect and I can promise, your imperfections will cease to matter. I am glad I had to walk this path to truly accept myself. If I wasn’t, I would have still been blinded by the opinions and limitations of the society.
It feels good to be set free. It feels good to look into the mirror and know you’re the best version of YOU out there.