Memoirs of a Short Person


I’ve been short for as long as I can remember. I come from a pretty short family. We’re not a bunch of lawn gnomes or anything, just slightly vertically challenged. With my genetics, I had little hope that I would grow taller. But still, I faithfully drank milk every day and slept eight hours every night, hoping for a growth spurt that never came.

Being short meant constantly finding creative ways to reach new heights (pun intended). Forget playing on the monkey bars in the first grade—I couldn’t even reach them when I jumped. By the third grade, I had figured out how to reach the top of the cabinet; I would unleash my inner primate and quickly climb onto the countertop, much to my mother’s dismay. Just as I figured out how to retrieve things that were out of reach, I began thinking of ways to make my down-to-Earth life easier. When I was ten, I very seriously asked my parents for a pair of stilts. I should have anticipated their laughter at my request; I had been the undefeated champion of falling flat on my face ever since I learned to walk. I suppose it’s better to be a klutz when you’re short, though. I’m only five feet from the ground, so rather than the awkward scramble a tall person might have, I get back on my feet in a matter of seconds. Call me a cat.

By the age of twelve, the boys I had been able to see eye-to-eye with were now a foot taller than me. This brought a whole new element to my teenage problems. Not only is it socially unacceptable to use a stepladder when dancing with a boy at your first dance, but it is also physically impossible. Walking into my mother’s closet when I was thirteen, I had a delayed epiphany: shoes can make someone a few inches taller. Heels soon became my trusty companions, but they came with a price. From heels arose the gym class dilemma of walking into the locker room five-feet-four in pumps, and then walking into class five-feet-nothing in sneakers.

At fifteen, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to grow anymore. This increased my coffee intake tenfold, since stunting my growth was no longer much of a worry. As a senior now, I’ve learned to embrace my height. If you see me in the hallways these days, drinking all of the coffee I like and no longer suffering in three-inch heels, realize this: I like my height, because when it gets down to the nitty gritty, I’m not short. I’m fun-sized.

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