Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sound Off: 44 Things Every Short Girl Can Relate To

I'm not even that short.  I'm a pretty respectable 5'3", a full 4 inches above midget status.  I'm the tallest of the Casdorph daughters, and I'm even taller than one of my sisters-in-law.  Sometimes, I wonder if I'm even actually short (or if being married to a 6'3" guy just makes me feel short).  Having read the circulating list, however, I no longer have to wonder.

6. Frankly, you can’t reach anything.

We were lucky enough to get custom built-in closets when we built our new house (Kirk was friends with the construction supervisor and we got a killer deal).  The whole process was pretty cool; basically, I stood in each closet and described where I wanted very shelves to be.  The guy marked the walls with a pencil, then built exactly what I had asked for.  When discussing the requirements for my walk-in closet (Kirk has his own), he actually had me extend my arm to my full reach to see if I could adequately reach a standard-height closet bar.  Proud moment: I did not have to have him lower the bar height!

However, that doesn't mean my little grey stool doesn't travel from room to room with me, helping me reach the upper shelves.  It lives in the kitchen, though I frequently use it in the game closet, my walk-in closet, and in the pantry.

7. It actually feels weird when your pants are the proper length, because you’re used to them being too long.

I bought a few nice pair of business pants after I lost my post-Dylan weight.  Having finally adopted the ballet flat trend (I was a very late adopter), I quickly realized these nice pants were going to look ridiculously sloppy as they pooled at my ankles.  The handy work of my neighbor, Cheryl, meant that for the first time in my life, my pants didn't require 2-inch heels to make up the difference between pant leg and, well, leg.

The skinny pant trend, however, comes with a pretty easy built in alteration.  Take a look at my ankles on any given day, and you'll see a 2-inch cuff.

8. Dress codes are unforgiving. You actually look like you’re drowning in fabric if your skirt or dress reaches your knees.

I actually don't mind knee-length stuff at all (which is good, considering my chosen religious dress code).  Instead, I find this to be one area where being short is a good thing.  I can wear a lot more straight-off-the-rack summer dresses than my taller and equally religious-dress-code-restricted friends.

9. “Wait, no. You have to wear heels or I can’t stand next to you all night.”

Kirk has never asked me to wear heels.  He really doesn't mind our height difference.  But if I actually want to be able to dance with him or appear in the same cropped photo, I choose heels.  The heels I chose for our wedding day not only required my seamstress to make fewer alterations to the length of the dress but would have bridged at least a bit of the foot gap between our heights.  I say "would have," because the heel of my right shoe broke early in the reception line.

Thankfully, Kirk really doesn't mind if I occasionally do this:

11. You don’t always have to squat in the front of photos.
12. And if you’re not in the front of photos, you might as well not be in them at all.

I was always grateful for my elementary classmate Thayne Cullimore who was kind enough to take turns with me for the title of "shortest in the class."  (His little sister, Kira, offered the same service to Lisa.)  In fact, being on the Middle Row was an aspiration no Casdorph girl would realize until Michelle came along and gave her best effort at being average height until her classmates grew, and she didn't.

13. Your yoga pants are all ripped at the bottom.

Yep.  Any pants I wear regularly without heels are missing a chunk of fabric in the back where they've been stepped on too many times.  I chuckle silently at the thought of "floods."  Never gonna happen to me.

14. Boys like short girls more.
15. …because you’re “easy to throw around.” Hmm.

I've always been okay with this phenomenon.  In retrospect, fighting against boys who thought it was funny to try to put me in garbage cans or lockers (just because I would fit) was probably a pretty odd way to flirt.  But it worked for me.  When I met Kirk, he discovered that it was kind of fun if, while I was lying on the ground, he would grab me by the waist and place me upright on my feet.

16. Middle schoolers are taller than you are.

Correction: Most middle schoolers are taller than you are (except the ones destined to be you).
Many 5th grade students are taller than you are (which makes me a 5th grade teacher fun).
Some 2nd grade students are taller than you (though thankfully this is an exception).

Whenever I have a need to walk down the junior high hall at the school where I teach, I do so with wonder and amazement.  I don't remember feeling so little when I walked through the halls of my own high school, but maybe that's because Emilee Andersen was kind enough to be both my best friend and just as short as I was.  I guess there is a certain comfort that comes from walking with other short people.

17. When you’re sitting, your feet don’t always reach the floor, and you don’t care how childlike you look swinging your legs.

I checked as I read the list.  My toes touch the ground when I am seated at the kitchen table, but if I flex my feet, I can achieve a really great swing.  Couches are the worst, though, because they punish short people both for having a short distance from knee to foot (or cushion to floor) and for having a short distance from hip to knee (or back-of-couch to front).  The worst is when the end of the cushion hits below the knee, impeding the ability of the joint to bend.  Ottomans are my friend.

18. You can’t dust the snow off the top of your car, because you can’t reach it.

People do this?  I am generally unaware that three dimensional objects have a side labeled "top."  Take the fridge for example.  The front is where the water dispenses.  The side is where the magnets stick.  The bottom is where small toys go to die.  But the top?  I literally cannot see it.  Hence the rule at our house: if I can't see it, Kirk can put anything he wants to up there.  Top-of-fridge is his domain.

19. You don’t think it’s weird to have friends who are over a foot taller than you are.

Or husbands.  I actually wrote in a journal once that I wouldn't date anyone taller than 6'2", because I wanted to have less than a foot between me and my husband in height.  But I bent my rule to marry Kirk.  What I didn't necessarily bargain for was spending time with Kirk's 6'4" brother Mark, or his 6'5" buddies Kevin and Nick.  It's no wonder I have neck problems.

21. You see as much of the performance at a jam-packed concert as you would if you were listening to the radio.

Me at a sporting event when everyone jumps to their feet in excitement: "Can't we all just watch this game SITTING DOWN?"  Standing ovations are also not my friend.  Even with tiered seating, I often cannot see above the shoulders in front of me.  I

22. Cooking dinner becomes an acrobatic experience, because you regularly have to hoist yourself up onto your kitchen counters to reach things.

It's not terrible in my own kitchen or even in my mom's kitchen, but the 9 months we lived with Kirk's parents was quite a struggle.  All the important things in their house are kept on the 2nd or 3rd shelf (the ones I save for things I rarely need).  I remember once trying to be a good daughter-in-law and cleaning the kitchen.  I stood on my tip-toes, straining to place the stack of plates in their correct place 2 shelves up.  I managed to slide them on top of the existing stack, but something about the angle and the pressure pushed the entire collection out the back of the double-sided cabinets.

Another time, Kirk and I had arrived early at his parents' house with the ingredients to throw together some cupcakes.  I searched the kitchen for some muffin tins.  I opened every logical door and drawer, finding nothing that seemed logical.  Each storage space housed the types of items you rarely use in a kitchen - items my family reserves for the top shelf.  It was then that I realized I was searching like a short person.  As soon as I checked the higher cabinets, I quickly located the pans - logically placed above the double oven.

23. Before reading this sentence, you didn’t know that normal-sized people can see the hoods of their cars while they’re driving.

I have heard this rumor before.  Statements like this remind me of when/how I found out my dad had actually modified my first car so I would be able to see a bit better.  When Jack was 15 and everyone was a bit concerned whether he would grow enough to drive the Jeep my dad had waiting for him, my dad casually mentioned, "I wonder if I will have to modify the seat like I did for you?"

"Like you... what?"  I responded.

He went on to explain that he had customized the seat of my 1989 Hyundai Excel, allowing it to permanently do what many cars are capable of now: adjusting the height for a short driver.  I had no idea he had done this until 15 years later!

26. There’s at least one item of clothing from your childhood that still fits you.

Childhood?  Not really.  But teenagehood?  Yep.  For years, I've kept the shirt I was wearing when my first Richard Thorup asked me if I would be his girlfriend (and coincidentally was wearing again when he kissed me on the steps as I was leaving his Halloween party).  Will I ever wear it again?  Not likely, seeing as how it is so 1995, but it still fits.

Technically, I guess I did wear items from my childhood for Halloween once.  But I'm not sure "fits" was the right description.  (Halloween 2010: Kirk and I both went as SYTYCD contestants with the skirt and jacket coming from a box in my mom's storage room full of dance costumes.  I quit dance when I was 12.)

28. Your head is an armrest — as if everyone’s arms are just so tired all the time that they need constant resting.

I actually love this, and I cannot wait to have sons tall enough that they will start to use me as an armrest.  I think it is cute, and I don't mind being of service.

30. Your “big growth spurt” shot you up to 4’10” from 4’4”.

I actually never had a growth spurt.  I was consistently short, growing just enough to keep up with the bottom of the growth chart.  But I do remember being 4'2" in 5th grade.  My best friend Rosie and I were discussing the song "Five Foot Two" with the lyrics, "Five foot two, eyes of blue," and changed it to "Four foot two, eyes of brown," to accommodate my physical description.  Incidentally, she was 5'2", probably the beginning of me getting used to tall friends.  Also incidentally, we're about the same height now.  :)

32. Maxi dresses. Lol.

If I wear a maxi dress or maxi skirt, I had better be prepared to get the hem of my skirt caught under my foot.  Repeatedly.

33. Amusement parks become a constant “Are you tall enough for this ride?” joke.

I didn't suffer from that too badly.  However, I struggle to understand how my kids can be tall enough but not brave enough.  I would have given anything to ride Colossus as a younger child, but I just didn't mean the height requirement.

34. If you know an 11-year-old, his favorite party trick is making you stand up to show people that he’s taller than you are.

Thankfully Adam is only 9 and currently only just past my shoulders.  However, it is likely that when he is 11, this will start happening.  Currently his party trick is showing others than he can carry me.

35. You were always first when you had to line up in size order.

Actually, not always.  But I definitely knew to head to the short end.  I have had my small successes over the years.  For example, 2 weeks ago at a Fife extended family barbeque, I proved Kirk's cousin Kelli wrong when she tried to insist I was shorter than her.  Short?  Yes.  The shortest?  Actually, not usually.  And aware of who I will beat in a back-to-back line up?  Definitely.

36. Peepholes are pointless.

We opted not to bother with one in the new house.  We're going to use the window, which I can see out of.

37. Wearing jeans when it’s raining is your own personal torture treatment.

Picture me in the parking lot, as high atop my tip toes as I can get without toppling over.  I also have a fistful of fabric in each hand, trying desperately to keep the hem of my pants out of the puddles.  FYI, this method is not usually successful, and Kirk just laughs at me.

38. No one can fit in the driver’s seat of your car, and the amount of time it takes for them to electronically adjust it makes it feel like the vehicle itself is mocking you.

When I remember, I adjust my seat if I know Kirk will need to drive my car.  And he has an established procedure: adjust first, then climb into the car.  As for me, I can't even back Kirk's truck out of the garage without adjusting the seat; I literally cannot reach the pedals.

39. Putting something at the top of your closet means you’re not going to see it again for a very long time.

Actually, this refers to all top shelves and specifically to the cupboards above the microwave and refrigerator.

42. There are people who are still taller than you when you’re standing on an elevated surface.

Yep.  Still short.  :)  Depending on the couch, I can sometimes stand on a couch and still be shorter than Kirk.

44. You resent people who are shorter than you are, because being little is your thing.

Being little is my thing!  I realized one day as I was wearing roller skates in the kitchen and finding out how much easier even 2" would make my life that despite the inconvenience, I love who I am!