…your feet don’t touch the floor.
I no longer have to endure playground torment.
Nobody calls me Short Stuff, Half-Pint, Shrimp, Tiny Tot, Runt, Baby, or Shorty.
Nobody grabs my hat and holds it high above my head to taunt my jumping, reaching, little self.
Nobody bends over to look me in the eyes and asks, “How’s the weather down there?”
I never imaged there’d be problems after I outgrew the playground.
During those early years of tremendous teasing, I’d cross my fingers and hope I’d eventually grow. After all, I didn’t know any adults my height.
In sixth grade some of the first graders were taller than me, so I resigned to the destiny of a lifetime of standing in the front row during choir concerts and group photos.
During most of high school I was under a hundred pounds and wore slim sizes, back in the day when girls’ clothing only went up to fourteen. My Physical Education teacher was astonished by my four-inch growth spurt one year, but not enough to give me a medal or a trophy.
Finally reaching five feet tall had been a life-long ambition, but I also knew I probably wouldn’t do something that fantastic again for a long, long time.
I approached college with confidence, a mature adult who was five foot two, eyes of blue, excited to see what those five foot could do.
Even as an adult, life as a short person has its own challenges.
I still don’t fit at the grown-up table, even though the big 5-0 is looming dangerously ahead.
It never fails. I’ll accompany my hubby to an elegant company dinner, dressed up in my Trying Not To Look Like a Stay At Home Mommy Attire to feel like I’m a part of the grown-up world.
I learned to walk as if I own the world, so march in, my high heels staccatoing my self-importance, and follow the waiter to our table. I sit down, scootch my chair in, and feel my feet dangling helplessly above the floor.
But it’s WORSER when I sit at a booth. Yea I know that’s not a word, but I had to get your attention in case you’re losing interest in my blog post. The seats are too wide, so unless I sit forward on the edge of the wide bench my feet dangle like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann.
THE WORSEST was being pregnant and sitting in a booth. My tummy stuck out like a woman trying to steal a basketball. If I sat back to accommodate my tummy, my arms couldn’t reach my plate. And, of course, my feet dangled.
I’ve learned tricks to survive.
I strategically sit where I can rest my feet on a table leg or crossbeam. I wear the highest heels I can handle without tipping over or looking like the little girl sitting at the big peoples’ table while wearing her mother’s shoes.
We had traditional pews at our church until a few years ago. The wooden benches with vintage gold material were replaced with modern inter-locking chairs covered with a respectable blue fabric.
I was sold on the modernization project until I sat down the first Sunday. You guessed it, my feet dangled just like my 9-year-old’s. I fidgeted like crazy, then my legs turned numb, so I placed a few hymn books beneath my feet. I was stunned with my light bulb moment.
Is this why kids fidget so much Sunday mornings?
If I sit correctly at the piano bench on a Sunday morning, my feet don’t touch the pedals of the ancient, upright piano. I sit on the very edge of the bench and reach for the pedals.
I can’t rest my foot on the floor of the car and press down the brake pedal, so can develop a leg cramp in nasty start-stop-start-stop traffic.
Couches, especially the modern, huge, over-stuffed ones, are also uncomfortable. At home or at a friend’s home, I tuck my feet under me instead of dangling them to numbness, or sit on the floor. If I have to sit with good manners, I choose the smallest piece of furniture in the room and hope my toes at least touch the floor enough to keep me from squiggling in discomfort like a toddler. Vintage furniture perfectly fits my style and my size.
I’ve learned to adapt, but I still think life might be a little easier…
Just a short one! Part 2
I currently take a fold away stool with me to places I know ill be sitting for long periods. It’s something you might find in your kitchen to reach the top shelves but obviously, it’s not designed as a footrest.
I’m a pretty good climber though and on many occasions, I’ve climbed shelves to reach something, I’ve even made makeshift tools to drag something from the top shelf. The other day I couldn’t reach a packet of stirfry, no one was around or they just ignore your struggle, so I grabbed the longest thing I could see, ha a cucumber, that will do! Problem solved.
Ok being short does have its funny moments but in terms of health if anyone has any legal standards for posture it would be very much appreciated. xx
Just a short one! Part 1
I found this site because I was trying to look for solutions, not to my height but in regards to anything that states how unhealthy it is for your feet to dangle and any legalities put in place or recommendations of health.
I’m 4’11 and soon to be an Early Years teacher, this kind of helps as I’m at their level.
I’ve always had problems sitting in normal chairs as my feet also dangle or I end up wrapping my ankles around the chair legs which I know isn’t good for your posture. I feel relieved to know that I’ve sat at a table with a crossbar under it to rest my feet.
The older I get the more concerned or irritable I get that there are things put in place for taller members and not for short. For instance, having extra legroom on a flight! whereas I cant touch the floor and my legs go numb. Once my legs and feet swelled because I didn’t move, sitting with dangled feet cuts off the circulation as the weight of your legs puts pressure on the back of your legs. I’m only 34 and I know this isn’t going to get better.
Julie Posey says
Mindy, I totally relate! I’m 5’1″. One of my closest friends, we go way back to early teen years, is 5’10” so she can relate to you tall gals (we’ve had our conversations). I have to hem practically every pair of pants I get. Plus side, I can wear junior clothes. I guess that’s a plus, right? I hate having to stand on my tiptoes at counters, get a step stool to reach things in my cupboards (or beg my husband to get it for me… or jump up onto the counter. Have done that lots also) or that I can’t reach things on the top shelf at stores. There I am, standing on tip toe, straining to reach something on the top shelf… in public. Also, about pregnancy… yes! I always showed so early and I figured it must be because I’m so short. I guess on the plus side, I never got really huge, although, to be fair, my oldest daughter was my only full-term baby. As I was saying the other day, I used to wear high heels all the time when I was a teenager and in my early 20’s (even while pregnant with my first two kids). Actually, I wore them more before my ankle injury last year also. They kill my feet now and I’d rather be comfortable, but I still wear them on occasion. I understand you! Ha! 🙂
Cherrie Herrin-Michehl says
Wow, another member of the Short Girls Club.
For some reason, my feet don’t usually dangle. Sometimes, yes. But normally no. Maybe my legs are longer than I thought.
I was one of the tallest kids in my class until 7th grade. Then most of them bypassed me.
And now..I stand at 5’2 1/2 on a very good day. That I, if I stick my neck up really high like an ostrich. 😉
Vanessa Brannan says
I’ll jump on the too tall bandwagon. Everything is too short– not just the leg length on pants, but also the rise– my waist is significantly higher than it should be to suit even “tall” pants. Wedgies galore!!
And it’s not just pants. I can’t remember the last time a shirt covered my wrists– .
I look ridiculous in heels– towering inches over my husband.
Don’t even get me stayed on leg room in airplanes.
And while your feet don’t touch the ground while sitting, my knees are higher than my hips, causing joint pain.
Also, I have a bad habit of kicking people in ballet class. In the face. They stand to close and my grand battements have landed on a few chins. Or bums, but that’s not as big of a deal.
Mindy Peltier says
Tandis, you NEED to write a post about being tall! And, if we lived next door to each other we would ALWAYS go grocery shopping together.
So, while I was one of the shortest girls in Junior High, my best friend was built just like you. She was the tallest, but I think she was only 5’8″. We both played softball, she was the pitcher and I was the catcher, only I had a hard time giving her a good enough target for pitching because when I crouched down behind the plate, I was even a smaller bundle.
I remember before the extra long sizes and the petite sizes being available, my jeans always drug on the ground and my tall friends had high waters. One friend never put her pants in the dryer and when they were wet, she’s stand on the hem and stretch the legs out. I love these days when I can always find jeans short enough and you have an easier time finding jeans long enough. 🙂
Hahaha, wellllllll, I’m here to tell you that being 5’10” when you turn 13 years old isn’t all that great either. =/ And trying to find pants isn’t fun either and when you’re 5’10 with an inseam of 34” and you shoe size is 11 that is another issue. My feet touch the floor alright, but it’s a problem if you go “out” barefoot because many stores don’t like to order size 11 for a narrow foot and thus I feel I never have the right shoe. My husband, 6’2” requests I don’t wear heals that make me tall enough to look him in the eye… lol…. I do get a little joy at doing this anyway on occasion.
Well anyway, just wanted to encourage you that being freak tall has a downside too.
Let’s write a blog together picking on those “average” height girls. 😉 jk.
Mindy Peltier says
Oh, you are TALL! I didn’t know that. 🙂
I’ve had that different view feeling once, when I met a woman who was actually several inches shorter. It felt so strange to look DOWN to talk to someone, I sat down to finish the conversation.
And widening… 😉
Ya know, I never thought about size…until I was able to both stand and look around. I never thought of myself as tall, but after viewing the world sitting for over a year, 5’7″ feels quite strange. It really is a different view!