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Struggles of being short

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MARCO VERCH PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER | CREATIVE COMMONS

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NOVEMBER 28, 2022

Being short is all fun and games until you have to ask someone else to grab your Amazon package for you from the top locker at the Amazon Hub. I have a list of struggles so long, it might as well be Santa’s nice or naughty list. In case you were ever curious about what it’s like to be so close to the ground, my 4’9” self is here to reveal the struggles of being short. 

One thing people tend to tell short people is that they’re short. Thank you, Captain Obvious! While I’m not opposed to people saying “Oh my gosh, you’re so short,” it just becomes repetitive. People say such phrases as if I’m unaware of my short stature. 

All my life people have gotten my age wrong. In other people’s eyes, I look like a child, despite being 20 years old. I have never felt more awkward declining the kid’s menu at restaurants or explaining to adults that I am not a lost child in the grocery store. As someone who will be 21 in a few months, I wonder what it’s going to be like to have to explain that my ID is not fake — I’m just short. 

While being mistaken for a child isn’t the worst thing in the world, something strange and uncomfortable that comes with being short is being infantilized by random people. Working in retail exposed me to a group of people who believe it’s acceptable to treat short adults as children. Being short does not discount my knowledge or the authority granted to me at any job. It’s also not a reason for random people to make unnecessary comments about my height or weight and proceed to call me endearing terms like “cute.”

Interactions with others as a short person are almost as bad as trying to find clothes catered to my height. Oftentimes, I find myself shopping in the kid’s section because their clothes fit children who are the same height as me. I often am conflicted as to whether I should buy cute clothes that don’t fit me or children’s clothes that do. Luckily, oversized clothing is in. 

Now, we have reached the end of my article … forget that, I’m too short to reach it. Trying to reach things at a certain height often involves me performing an acrobatics show where I’m climbing on counters and shelves, jumping up and down and using random objects to push items in my reach. I just hope there’s no cameras around because I surely look foolish trying to grab anything high up. 

After so many years of being short, I’ve had to adapt to the tall world around me. There’s nothing I can do to grow much more, so I might as well embrace my height. Just don’t be surprised if I add an extra inch or two when it comes to filling out paperwork or questionnaires.

Contact Sophie Ward at 

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NOVEMBER 28, 2022