• Jessica Lau

My Life as a Short Person


Edit by Jessica Lau


The average height for a woman is 5’3”. I’m 5’1”, and people may think that’s not much of a height difference. However, if I am doing the math correctly, people who are 5’3” are at least two feet taller than me.


MORNINGS

I sleep on a Queen sized bed, and as a 5’1” foot tall gnome, getting out of bed is always a challenge. Getting out of bed isn’t necessarily a death wish, but there is definitely a much safer route to take. Luckily, after years of planning and experience, I’ve developed a route to get out of bed. Basically, I make my way through my lampstand. There's a small 3 cm gap between my bed and my light stand. To get past that gap, I always leave my iPhone charger close enough to grab so I can either:


  1. Use it like a trapeze rope and travel across from it or...

  2. Do the little Tarzan rope thing and hope for the best.


Sometimes, when failing to get to the other side, I get bruises from the fall. On the bright side, I get to make some new friends like Dirty Sock and Dusty Hair Tie.


SCHOOL

Every day I step foot on campus, I fear getting pushed around by the Titans known as my so-called “classmates.” No matter how many times I try to avoid the big crowd of giants, I still end up getting elbowed in the face or gut at least 5 times a day. Sometimes, on really bad days, I get trampled.


In class, I panic whenever I don’t sit in the front. I can never see what the teacher is writing on the board because someone who’s like 12 feet tall is always in the way. Even worse, when I try raising my hand to ask questions, the teacher can never see me. It’s almost like I’m invisible. People think I’m lucky because I can literally do nothing in class and get away with it. But, my attendance is low because teachers never see that I’m here or even know what I look like. The only way that teachers know that I’m present is when I yell “Here!” My teachers know how I sound, but they don’t know what I look like. I’m too short to even be recognized.

Although I am not seen most of the time, there are still people who do notice me, my friends:). Usually, they’re people who sit next to me during class and call me “fun-sized,” or people who I meet when they accidentally stomp on me.


At lunchtime, I meet up with my friends. They have this little routine where they let me sit on their shoulders as a safety precaution. I feel so special when I’m around them. Not only do they try to protect me from the rest of the giants of this school, but they also give me nicknames like “Ant,” and “Molecule.” Whenever I’m up on one of their shoulders, I get a taste of what it’s like to finally be the average height. I no longer have to lift my head up at a 90-degree angle to meet eye to eye with someone!


GOING OUT

Whenever school’s out, I always have the option to either take the bus home or chill someplace while I wait for my parents to pick me up at 5pm. My friends always ask me why I get picked up so late, and the answer is simple: my parents just have to work. People would think that the nice and easy option would be to take the bus and go home early, where I’m isolated from the Trees. But, any option is complete misery when you are 5’1.


Usually, I like to go to a quiet place where I can grab some food to eat and do homework, but that could be complicated too. First and foremost, going somewhere with food and drinks includes three things: walking, ordering food, and additionally to do homework, finding a place to sit. For everyone who is average height and above, these three things are not that difficult to achieve. Unfortunately, I am the literal size of a rat. To me, walking in public is a gateway to getting trampled over or stomped on, ordering food means having to climb onto the counter for the cashier worker to notice me, and sitting is the equivalence of asking to get sat on.


Taking the bus home may be the better option as it comes with fewer consequences. The only issue I’d have to face is the possibility of getting squashed. On the bus, there are two ways I could possibly get squashed: getting sat on or getting stomped on. On a brighter note, I’m too short for the bus driver to notice whether or not I pay the bus fee. I can’t even reach the box that takes in the money.


SHOWERING

I hate showering. I mean, I love it because it eases my stress and makes me smell good, but taking showers as a short person is no bueno. What I hate so much about showering is that the water is AGGRESSIVE. Wanna know how I feel when I take a shower? I feel like the roof of your home on a stormy day getting punched by raindrops. Why and how is water even so strong and heavy? I don’t get it.


NIGHT TIME

Every night before going to sleep, I pray to be alive. Before climbing back into bed, I always worry that I won’t be quick enough and that the demons under my bed will grab and take me. When I safely reach my bed, I stare at the ceiling and contemplate my existence. I tend to think about how my whole identity revolves around how short I am. Sometimes, I wish that height surgery existed. Wait, does it exist? I gotta google that later...

THOUGHTS ON BEING SHORT

I don’t really recommend it. Nobody notices me, and doing daily activities is so difficult. Everything is gigantic, and most of what I own is custom-made, which makes items even pricier. Sure, it has some of its perks like being the best at hide and seek, crying without people noticing, and cheating on tests... But, I’d rather live normally. I want to be able to talk to people without having them look down at me, and purchase items that aren’t custom-made, or shop at the kid's section. Hopefully, if God is real, I will get out of bed one day without getting injured and finally say “Goodbye” to Dirty Sock and Dusty Hair Tie.