I’m a guy who stands forty-eight inches tall in my stocking feet. I am not a halfling to be pitied, a pet to be pampered, or an object to be fetishized. I am not an inspiration. I am a human being trying to figure out this thing called life one step at a time, just like you. As for a politically correct label to affix to me; note — no one likes to be referred to by a label. My name will works almost every time, unless I’m trying to be subtle in avoiding you. But if you’re in search of a term to describe my most noticeable physical feature — hot is always welcome (just kidding) — short, short-statured work; but “Little Person” is the preferred term.
I find it strange that people interpret my silence in the face of looks, stares, pointing, giggling, comments, and countless other feeble attempts at wit and not-so-subtle ways people attempt to demean me as proof-positive that I am unaffected or too timid to respond. Perhaps my silence belies the strength that comes from successfully thriving under the weight of challenges that might crush their soul to smithereens before they reached the first hundred yards of walking a mile in my shoes. Another way to interpret my silence is that I choose to take the higher road by not bringing to attention the very shortcomings within that they strive to deny that all the world so clearly sees.
While the chances are slim to nil that I will be contracted as a member of an NBA, NFL, or MLB franchise, there are dozens — if not hundreds — of other options available to me to which I am better suited. After all, the measure of a man is not his height. For example, a color palette of only red, yellow, blue, and black in the hands of a novice is a limited range of colors; that palette in more experienced hands is a means to a painting rich with a spectrum of color. I’ve worked in a number of fields in the visual and performing arts. And I kinda like to think I can string a word or two together.
After my first few years on the planet, I was well aware that I was shorter than the general population. But for some incomprehensible reason, there’s still a few cretins out there who feel the need to tell me that I am “adorable,” “cute,” “fun-sized,” “little,” “short,” “small,” “tiny,” or how much they’d like to just pick me up and love on me. I already know this. Trust me, I can spot the gleam in people’s eyes at fifty paces. This includes pats on the head and any other unsolicited public displays of affection typically reserved for children and pets. I exist for no one’s commentary no more than they exist for mine.
While my height may be one of the first things people notice about me, but rest assured it is only a small portion of who I am. (See what I did there?) I think of dwarfism much the same way most people would regard hair or eye color, weight, emotional disposition, or ethnic make-up. These things are but only a piece of the whole of anyone. Like so many other anomalies of human nature, dwarfism is one of the ways God reflects the humanity in us all.
Now if you can identify situations or circumstances in your own life that parallel my experiences dwarfism — bravo! You, my friend, might be an honorary Little Person and member of the human race. (Your membership card is in the mail.)
Love one another.