Napoleon Complex

Patrick - Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in being short. I believe in stocky legs, wiry hair, un-funny jokes, button noses, bushy eyebrows, effeminate giggles, sweaty palms, speech impediments, and all other tidbits and tendencies that drive people to become self-prescribed losers.

I was only able to compose this assertion several years after having endured the most emotionally painful experience of my scholastic career. As I walked up to the relatively tall, and relatively leggy blonde (whom I had relatively worshipped from afar for two years), my little middle school heart began to flutter. I tapped the shoulder of her shiny purple cocktail dress with a sweaty finger, and managed to splutter out a “Hello. Would you like to dance with me?” After taking a cursory glance, she laughed and walked away, letting the words “you’re weird and short” fall like bombshells behind her.

Now, whenever I secretly flex in front of the mirror, practice pick-up lines, or attempt to talk in a seductively baritonal voice, I end up thinking bitterly about all the people who are worthy of the title “flawless”. I think to myself “if only I could alter this a little bit, or give those a touch-up, or, for the love of God, get rid of that all together, life would be so much easier for me.” And maybe I’m right. I would most likely be able to quell the irresistible inner-cry that implores me to fit the molds of my friends and peers. Nevertheless, if I were given the choice to be able to change myself, I would not take it, for I believe that every minute detail – every flaw, grace, and attribute – composes the individual essence that I claim to be.

Every person has his own obstacles to overcome – physical, mental, and spiritual – that either inhibit him, or compel him to change. If I did not have mine, I would never be able to experience the beautifully aesthetic Napoleon Complex of this compensation. Being a person is not merely what you see, feel, or think, but it is also in a large part how you act in the face of adversity, and challenge inadequacies.

My father says anything that does not kill you will make you stronger. While I am not gifted with height or looks, I have been given the opportunity to diverge from easier paths of social enlightenment that they might have brought. My relationships with family and friends are founded on bases of cordiality and goodwill. I cannot say for certain whether or not these attributes would be present in my personality had I not been “weird and short”. Perhaps a piece of what now makes me who I am would have been lost. In light of this, I humbly thank my most influential teacher: the relatively leggy blond.