I am short. I’ve been called all the names in the book from midget to fun sized. I’m not too fond of the nicknames but it’s not earth shattering. What was irritating was the moment when I was told that due to my height I was going to be unable to do certain things in life.
I was in elementary school at the time and paraded my somewhat chubby self outside to the play gym during recess. I was always interested in the climbing, tumbling and exploring aspect of the short time we had to do so. I followed a few of my friends to the monkey bars where everyone started taking a turn of climbing on top of them. I’m not sure how I managed to get up but somehow I found myself looking through the bars at those weird wood gravel chips that lined the ground. Those things were awful. A splinter paradise. What the purpose was of being on the top end of the bars, I’ll never know but we were all having a blast being up there….until it was time for me to get down. I had been friends with a taller crowd so their dissent was much more easily achieved than mine. I remember trying to ease myself down using the monkey bars to guide me and then jump the rest of the way but with the death clippings below me I wasn’t thrilled about my odds of landing safely. No one else seemed to offer any help of getting down either. I was stuck feeling embarrassed and scared as I clinged to the bars trying to find any solution. A teacher finally came to my aid and helped me shimmy down. I guess maybe she found it funny or interesting because she informed another teacher of the incident. We were walking up the stairs back to the classrooms where she told me that I shouldn’t have attempted to do what the other kids were doing. I can still hear the ring of condescension in her voice as she told me that good things come in small packages. That would have been fine if she didn’t keep telling me to stop fooling around by climbing on the bars because I was too small. She told me to brace myself for a lifetime of not being able to do certain things I wanted because of it. Being the little daredevil I was at the time I went back that next day to prove her wrong. I failed again at making it down and had another teacher come help. I get it… We shouldn’t have been climbing on the equipment the wrong way and I should have known better than to do it but the way she told me that I wouldn’t be able to participate due to my size really upset me as a kid. I’ve seen kids way smaller than me playing all different kinds of sports, doing all kinds of activities and whether or not it is something like being small, I don’t think it was a good message to send to a child. I understand the idea of toughening a kid up for reality but the truth of the matter is that these traits should not hinder a child’s belief of what they can do in their life. This is a very tiny example of something someone once said but it wasn’t the first time I had heard this notion go around. Yes, there are going to be impossibilities for everyone but the amount of stuff you can achieve regardless of your background, physical and emotional being is being proven each day.