Being short is both a blessing and curse. On the one hand, people always think you are adorable and you can still sometimes get away with child discounts (and when you are a broke college student, any discount is worth it). On the other hand, there are numerous short jokes made daily about your height and obstructions in simple tasks (why must everything you want be on the top shelf).
Everyone defines short differently, but I define short as 5’4” and under. And being 4’9”, I face even more struggles than my other fellow shorties. So for those who were miraculously blessed with height, here is a look into the average everyday struggles that us “munchkins” must endure.
When we have to crawl out of bed in the morning, it is essentially like descending down a small mountain.
Having to stand on our tiptoes in order to see ourselves in a mirror. Sometimes we sit on a counter if we’re desperate.
When someone moves our stuff to a high shelf and we either have to use a chair or jump in order to reach it (which works sometimes, but usually ends up with us getting a small workout).
Putting our books into our backpack and feeling like we are Atlas carrying the entire Earth. Also, our backpack is the size of us, and we feel like glorified turtles.
When we walk, we have to essentially run in order to catch up with our taller friends.
“Did you get shorter today?”
It may be easy for the average person to grab or reach for something over a counter (napkins, cups, straws, etc.), but for us, it is a mockery of our short arms.
When the tallest kids in the class decide to sit of all places in front of us so we can’t see the teacher or the board.
When we encounter people and they think we are 12. It’s even worse when we are with people younger than us and people think they are older.
“Aw, I didn’t see you there.”
We have to shop in the kids’ section in order to find clothes that fit. Bedazzled boy band tees and Spiderman shorts, here we come.
There is one shoe store in all the land that we can shop at: Payless. No other store will guarantee us the right shoe size. If it closes, there is no hope for us.
No matter how old we are, we will get carded at the bar for the rest of our lives. Even when we are 60 they will still be questioning our age. There is no escape.
“Are you legally a midget?"
“Hey, look, it’s a Hobbit.”
We have to be on constant vigilance when we are near doors or very tall people in order to avoid a door or arm slamming into us. Kind of like Spidey sense, but for short people.
We have given up on seeing a performer in a large crowd. We would have to push our way to the front, but we might get crushed in the process. It would be better if they all could just disappear.
Our friends can sit on top of tables, walls, and beds very easily, but we have to channel our inner Olympian and vault ourselves on top of whatever we are trying to sit on.
"How's the weather down there?"
And the pinnacle of short struggles, is the inevitable fact that at least three people will use us as an arm rest every day.
Even though these daily challenges are frustrating or slightly annoying, we have learned how to adapt to them. And for all these struggles, there are even more advantages that we have by being so small. In the end, our height is one aspect of who we are.
I have come to embrace my shortness, and I wouldn’t trade my height for anything in the world.