This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Rowena Samuel. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Yes, I Am Short And I Love It!

More from Rowena Samuel

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 heightAlways 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. 

You must be to comment.
  1. Angel Sharon

    Damn relatable article. Each word. Each experience. Each statement. Felt like I myself wrote it down. I too stopped to worry about it. Now when I’m told about marriage or job, I just respond – if they truly like me, this damn thing won’t matter to them…
    Lots of love to u …

    1. Rowena Samuel

      It is not even something that should matter. Being short is as much a blessing as being tall 🙂 <3

  2. Himanshi Dhawan

    This is seriously amazing! Frankly-speaking, appearances don’t matter. In fact, they are deceptive. And how can we forget that we are having numerous epitomes as far as appearances are concerned. Starting from Lal Bahadur Shastri to Deepa Malik, all these people have set an example for all those who think that appearance is one’s real identity. Loved your article!

  3. Bhavya Jain

    Very well written and very well realised and explained….
    keep going… God bless you 🙂

More from Rowena Samuel

Similar Posts

By Ananya Pal

By Unorthodox Stance

By Sukanya sahu

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below