Short Like Me
Whenever bullying comes up, I think about how genuinely lucky I feel to have dodged, somehow, the childhood horror of being pushed around.
The only reason I even know what bullying is has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve always been partial to Nick-at-Nite and its vast assortment of semi-antiquated family sitcoms. I’ve never experienced full-on white bigotry, but I did watch a lot of All in the Family; and I don’t think I’ve ever been an unwed Jewish woman, but TheNanny certainly taught me my share of Yiddish.
And so was the case for the topic of being bullied; I’d just never experienced it first-hand. By the time my peers and I entered the treacherous grounds of puberty, I realized that would no longer be the case.
I was cursed, like anyone, with the acne that always seemed to fail in its timing and blessed with my lack of need for silicone implants, so in these respects, peers could only relate and not torment.
But the one personal feature of mine that differed most prominently from all my friends, the one thing my pituitary gland wasn’t addressing was: my height; a fact that the joke-makers in my life have always regurgitated. To my complete annoyance, it’s been a prime cause of double-takes over the years.
Most interact ions centering around my height usually go like this:
Double-takers: “Wow, you’re so short!”
Me: “And you are very observant.”
I was 4’10” in the 6th grade. Eight years later, the only difference is the diminished hope I have of it ever increasing. And that’s just fine with me.
Even in college, it comes up quite a bit. Depending on my mood and amount of hours slept, some days it’s insulting, but most of the time, it’s just a good measure of how often I encounter a person that wouldn’t know politeness if it slapped them on the face and then pointed and laughed for the remainder of the day.
Every other pair of pants I’ve owned in my life does a good job of reminding me; every group photo I’ve ever been in, every hug I’ve ever given. My height takes a stab at the most ordinary daily activities. No one needs to point it out to me (honest).
And yet for some reason, people, as if following a guidebook that everyone above 4’11” has received, blurt it out as if I’ll be caught unaware of the information.
The worst part is that I don’t spend my day surrounded by giants. At least if I lived in a place where the average height was crazy tall, the comments would not go unwarranted, for then I truly would be an interesting sight.
But in Miami, where the average height, at a staggering 5’5”, is only half a foot taller than mine, I have to continually ask myself why people are so obnoxious.
Don’t misunderstand, however. The flip side comes with several key advantages. Navigating the crowd at a concert is extremely easy when you can slip through people and especially if onlookers think you’re a child. Hiding things in the fridge is easiest when I’m the only one with my vantage point. And flirting with the opposite sex is facilitated when men are reminded that I will never be taller than them (even with heels on, even with multiple pairs of heels on).
Sure I have to pull off nothing short of professional acrobatics just to be able to reach the damn spice cabinet and stand on my tiptoes if I want Subway employees to pay attention to me, but I’m just like you. I’m happy with the knowledge that bigger is not always better, except where men are concerned (I’m referring to the naturally high amounts of testosterone in males, of course).
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