I have been 5 feet tall for almost eight years. “Hey, cuties”… “Hey, pumpkin”…”Hey, little”… those kinds of comments and various nicknames teasing me about my height have surrounded my life. Furthermore, my younger sister is taller than me, and this has been true since middle school. When we have family dinners for relatives that we haven’t seen for a long time, they always assume my younger sister is older than me because of her height. I’m so embarrassed to face such situations. I still remember that I was the tallest girl during my elementary school years. Now I’m not.
When I get on the bus, if I can’t find a seat, I feel like it’s the end of the world. It is too demanding to hold the handgrip on the bus, since I always need to keep jumping to see clearly what’s in front. If I put something in the overhead compartment, I need to ask someone else to take it down for me. Whenever I buy a new pair of jeans I have to alter the size to make them shorter. My seat is always at the first row in my class room and also in the front row of every picture. These pressures are like a basic training program in military, in which I am always being pushed to reach higher. I stopped growing taller after I entered middle school. I have tried different ways to increase my height; for example, skipping rope every night before I went to bed. My mom tried to offer me some Chinese medicine that is said could help make me taller, and many neighbors and relatives gave us remedies for me to try. Nothing ever worked.
This problem of height became worse when I associated with my taller American friends. I always have a sore neck because most of the times I need to look up when I’m speaking to someone. My feet often feel sore because I have to walk on that pair of 12cm high shoes back and forth all the time. After a few years’ trying all kinds of stupid ways to grow taller, I have started to think the other way around. Maybe being short is not as important as I thought it was. People who are not tall can also be successful, and to be short can have some advantages as well; for instance, people will think we are so cute, they wouldn’t bully us as often as may happened to others. We can usually get a good seat at a concert because it is easier to push to the front. The most important thing is that my confidence is much stronger now no matter how tall I am.
Mom always told me this: “Feel like a giant and you wouldn’t mind that much about height.” She is right. Being shorter is no longer a problem. Napoleon, for example, conquered Europe and became one of the greatest emperors in world history. I may not resemble Napoleon, but I plan to work as hard as he did to achieve my goals.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.