At 5’4”, I’m not terribly short for a girl, but when you were shorter than most kids in school and your family calls you the “runt of the litter,” you know what it feels like to be vertically challenged. At some point you accept it and the challenges of being short become part of your everyday life. When you get down to it, there are a lot of things short girls (and short guys, too) have to deal with every day.
1. You can’t reach anything.
At home, we have to use a chair or climb onto the counters to reach things in the upper cabinets. At the store, you either have to risk climbing on the shelf and knocking everything over or suck it up and ask someone to get an item down for you. If you’re like me, you never like asking for help, especially from a stranger, so that could be a little awkward. Grocery store parkour it is!
2. Everyone always talks about how short you are.
I was recently at a church event with my sisters and I heard one older couple at our table trying to figure out who was who of the four Wagner girls. Apparently, I was easy to pick out because, “Sarah’s the short one.”
Yes, I’m short. I get it.
3. People think you’re younger than you are.
When I worked at Subway my senior year of high school, a customer once asked if I was old enough to be working. Like what kind of question is that?! I said yes, and that I was 17, but I know I look younger. Even at the small church that I’ve gone to all my life, some adults who know my family think I am the baby!
The biggest problem with this is that people don’t take you seriously when they think you’re a child. I noticed this when I went to the bank one time to find out about opening a different type of savings account. I could tell the worker was surprised when I started asking questions about the interest and if it was compounded monthly or yearly. Another time, my mom and I were having a discussion with my orthodontist about surgery, and he said I could get it when I was 18 (acting like that was a few years into the future). My mom and I just stood there shocked, and all we could do was smile because I was already 18. I wonder how old he thought I was.
4. You can never see over anything. ANYTHING!
At concerts or plays, or even in the classroom, there’s always someone sitting or standing in front of you, blocking your view. This also applies to driving. It’s hard to see over the steering wheel when the car was designed for taller people! If sitting on a cushion or phone book helps you see better, please do it for everyone’s safety! It might be a little bit of a hassle, but don’t be ashamed of it!
5. Clothes don’t fit!
Rolling up your pant legs isn’t just a fashion statement, it’s practically a requirement, because most pants are WAY. TOO. LONG. It’s not unusual for us short girls to have to cuff our pants. Dresses and skirts can also be an issue. They are usually made for taller people, so when you try them on, it comes down to a weird length on your legs (you know…that place where a hemline hits that makes you look even shorter). The struggle is real. But if you find a store you like with a petite section? Bliss.