I have recently come across the notion that some people are constantly aware of one aspect of themselves. Be it ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or what have you, it is always a characteristic that separates one from the norm. For me, it’s my height.
I am short.. very short for the average male. I am 5’1.5-ish, 155 cm. It has always been something that defined me, not because I want to, but because that is the first thing people notice about me. I’ve been laughed at for it many times. It’s ok if the joke is tasteful or if it is a friend who makes the joke. I joke about it too sometimes.
I don’t know why, but people definitely treat you differently when you are short –mostly in an appallingly condescending way. They call you cute, adorable, and other names used to describe children or small animals (Edit: cute and adorable are ok if the person gets to know me). They walk past you, and push you when you go clubbing as if you’re not even there. They lower themselves to your level (this about that for a second), to talk to you. Sometimes they talk to you as if you are younger then them, immature, or less intelligent. And many many times, they ask you stupid questions about your height. No, I am not “legally short.”
I used to be more sensitive about it, and in some cases, I still am. An off-hand, dumb comment about it, and you’re on your way to my bad side.
I am uncertain how precisely these height-related experiences affected me, but I think they pushed me even further to grow: to become more vocal and outgoing (God knows that took years!), invest in knowledge and education because this ugly duckling had that going for him in middle school and high school, and to outwardly emphasize other qualities about myself. Yet with that also came this mannerism of trying to prove myself to others. It is something that I am conflicted about because one shouldn’t have to prove him/herself to others.. and it is sometimes a setback because I pre-occupy myself with what other people think about me and how they perceive me. I worry about that too much.
On the other hand, I gained something a bit more important. I accept things about me that I cannot change (it’s a mantra because it’s constant process; I find that common in my posts). I shouldn’t worry about things that are set in stone because it would yield nothing positive. It will take energy away from me, make me brood –which I have come to learn is a terrible thing to do. You beat yourself up for no reason.