My life: short and simple

katie mckeever

Genetics have never been on my side when it comes to standing in a crowd or being stuck behind the seven foot tall man in the movie theater. I like to think that my short stature of a mere five feet zero inches has equipped me with miniature “cute” features; nevertheless it is still quite embarrassing that a mere size six shoe makes me look like I am prancing around in my mother’s heels.
Over the years I have become well aware that all my characteristics are overshadowed by my immediately obvious shortness. Contrary to a typical introduction such as “What’s your name? Nice to meet you,” my usual first greeting consists of “You’re so cute! How tall are you?”

People label me with irritating and somewhat condescending characteristics such as “cute” and “doll-like.” From time to time some even go as far as to give me a pat on the top of my head as if I were a puppy or a toddler. I just can’t seem to shake the image of a helpless child.

There were years of my childhood I spent in denial, waiting for the summer I would magically grow six inches; but then I moved to an even greater denial that maybe I wasn’t that short, but that everyone around me was just freakishly tall. After I bought the jeans that read “short” on the label and realized that they were four inches too long, I came to cope with the fact that there was no denying my short stature.

Being short affects one in even the most trivial of ways. Instances such as walking down a hallway can become intimidating for someone small like me. It is a sea of giants, ready to engulf me, all of them shoving me in all directions, unaware of my presence. On countless occasions, I have taken an elbow, shoulder, or, yes sometimes even a rib cage to the eye.

Often people mistake me for a twelve year old, but I have to admit, that is generous, seeing that most twelve year olds tower over me. Furthermore, not one single day goes by that a short joke is not uttered in my direction.

The most common joke I get battered with is when someone says my name, then looks around without looking down, so that my head is out of their sight range and yells “Where’s Katie?” or people place an object out my reach, holding something as high as they can saying, “I will let you have it back if you can reach it!” Consequently I became rather self-conscious and so no matter the weather, the length of the road, the blisters on my feet, nothing has ever stopped me from strapping on some heels.

All jokes aside, I have come to realize that short stature is no shortcoming (no pun intended), in that it enables one to squeeze through large crowds, pay $5 less using kids’ prices, endure fewer headaches due to the rare occurrence of bumping our heads on things, and more impressive, live longer than tall people. If it takes high heels to achieve my full height, then that is a cross I will bear.

From where I stand there are days that a positive attitude seems out of reach, but, after all, my mother always instilled in me that “the best things really do come in small packages.”