Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"And Though She Be But Little..."

Standing tall at 4'9" I've always struggled with making my presence felt somehow. Like the wild birds who ruffle up their feathers to confuse predators into thinking they're larger than they really are, I admit I've taken on sarcasm and a sharp tongue to put people in their place. Sometimes it's more harsh than it needs to be, but insecurities and a childhood full of teases and taunts have taught me to strike preemptively. Perhaps if I develop a loud personality people will know not to mess with me, I figured, or at least acknowledge my presence. Then they won't treat me like I'm so tiny.

But there are other ways to be fierce. In college, I had a close friend, an incredibly calm guy from Ghana who made me laugh with his quiet wit and ran away from my overly eager self when our friend tried to teach us karate. During our training to become resident advisors I discovered something about him. He was easily the quietest in the sea of noise and only slightly taller than me, but when he spoke, people grew quiet and paid attention. He rarely raised his voice and they knew that if they kept yelling, his message would be lost on them. He demanded respect and attention not by trying to overpower the din, but by remaining calm and collected instead.

I want to be fierce in that quiet powerful way where I can just be at ease in any situation, completely fueled by my passions, and have that confidence translate into respect. Then I'll know that my small stature is of no importance; that I could just as easily be 10 feet tall for all the attention my ideas and my actions command. I may be tiny, but you'll hear my roar.

Do you ever struggle with being heard/listened to/respected because of your size or shyness?

Image: racheleward.tumblr.com


  1. I think, when you finally find that inner calm as an adult person, you WANT this. You want to be able to command based on your actions and thoughts rather than your physical or verbal presence. A listen first, think second, speak third approach has become my mantra both because of work and home life lately. And I dare say I think it's working to make my everyday a better place for me.

  2. Wow! Your post really strikes home. I found this blog while googling the Shakespeare quote above. I refer to myself as being "4'10 on a good day." I'm always measured between 4'8-4'10 (apparently doctors can't figure it out).

    As a working professional who has always been the shortest since day 1, I understand your feeling. I felt inferior growing up and got sick of being the tiny, cute girl. So I adapted the sharp tongue you spoke of. Sadly, it was survival... to get into the ring with the big dogs so to say.

    I have been so grateful to work alongside and know many petite, 5'0 and under woman who are immensely successful and have the same wit about them. What I have learned from them is that sure the spunky, tough personalities may seem like a cover at some points, but what you know is what you know. The attitude and personality will only get you so far. Being cute and tiny can only get you so far if you don't have the smarts to back it up.

    Once a petite girl understands her gifts, skills and talents, commanding an audience is only so much more valuable. When you realize what you have in your corner the people who view you as having a Napoleon complex (sorry for using this term) will see that you're intelligent and witty, and a person will gain respect then.

    It hurts when you realize you're being viewed for just your size no matter what that may mean. We all just need to courage to have faith in our talents and gifts. No one can take that away from anyone. It makes us unique and rememberable. That in itself is a gift.

  3. You have taken the feelings from my heart and have put them into words.

    I'm 23 and I too am also 4'9 and have always been teased about my small stature. though I'm attractive than some models in looks department, I could never be a model. But I don't care. What I really long for is a really tall guy to love and to protect me.

    I'm petite and legally I'm a midget. I get called on by my height tons of times by adults as well as children. I look twelve. Everyone says it's a compliment to look really young. I guess lol. I dunno though.

    But despite some of the negative thoughts and words people have/will say to me, I like being the way God made me.

    I just hope to find my very tall soul mate soon!

  4. Hi all!!
    I am also tiny, 4'8" and 3/4 to be exact~Yes that 3/4 always means alot :) and find as I get older I notice people treating me different because of my short stature. I am 35 a Corporate professional who fought to get where I am and am very proud of who I am and how far I have gotten in life. I think between my Italian heritage and Big mouth there is no way to not see me. Its great to hear others who feel as I do.


Say word.