Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life in the Short Lane


Every vertically challenged individual has seen it all and heard it more than necessary.
"How tall are you?"

"Ahhh.. are you writing a book, or is this just a random act of curiosity and rudeness motivated by needless insensitivity."

The man I have been with for eight years is above average in height, I often see the look, or their eyeballs going from one of us to the other, up, down....yep, we are a wonder to behold, a long tall drink, and a wink.
"...my Mom was tiny too he says, unfazed by my diminutive stature" lovingly unable to comprehend my insecurity packaged with a closet full of cruel shoes I never wear anymore and a lifetime of double takes, finger pointing and bad jokes.
Pocket size... I see myself through the eyes of others and compare myself more than I would like to admit. I'm so grateful for the love that lifts me up and helps me not take myself too seriously in spite of myself.
Recently there has been a story in the news about a high school girl who killed herself after being terrorized by fellow students- bullying has been honed to a whole new level. Thankfully I look back on my childhood and see a much easier level of emotional boot camp from peers than the current times require. My torturers were the eyes and cruel words from parents of my male friends who targeted me and my DNA, threatened by imperfect grandchildren and potentionaly destroying their future Christmas cards even when dating or kids wasn't even on the table or in our minds.
Why do the hurtful words stubbornly remain when the compliments don't.
"don't get too serious with her, I don't want midget grandchildren"
Forty years later those words still sting, but not like they used to. When you are young and impressionable one sentence from an adult can take you down a path of personal torture unparalleled by your peers.
A gentle reminder to teach your children to love and live as you would want to be treated in an world where we are all perfect, and loved just as we are.

3 comments:

debbie said...

Well written Rose. It's certainly not easy being different.

Leah Fry said...

I love you dearly. I must have been clueless, as I was oblivious to it. It never occurred to me that your size was an issue. The truth is, I thought you were super cool and couldn't figure out why you were hanging out with a nobody like me. Kids are cruel. Hell, I don't even know why I was picked on.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rosie,
You dont have to be short to feel the cruelty of others. Stringbean and Beanpole were words I got to hear many more times than I would have liked and the look on a guy's face at a High School dance when I stood up and he discovered I was a head taller than him was enough to cause my self esteem to plummet. My mom telling me, "sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you" didnt really make me feel any better.

But by the time that I reached the age Im now at, Ive come to realize that because of my past, I am a much stronger person, independent, able to trust my own judgement over that of others. By now I like being different and would never want to be just like all the others. But its sort of like that Johnny Cash song, "A boy named Sue." Being different made me the person I am but I wouldnt wish it on anyone else.
Hilarie