Clocking in at 5’2″, I’m generally regarded as a short person. I’m shorter than most people, so I have to look up when I’m talking to them (but I usually just end up talking to their chins) and I have trouble reading menus or watching plays over people’s heads. You know, the usual slew of short-people problems. (Not that tall people don’t have problems, too.)
In elementary school, whenever we had assemblies, the fifth graders would sit on chairs in the back and everyone else would sit in
neat rows on the floor in front of them in descending order of grade with the kindergarteners in the front row. In theory, this is a good idea because older people are taller, right? So, hypothetically, if the older kids sit in the back, they’ll be able to see over everyone else’s heads because everyone else is younger. For me, at least, this didn’t really work out. After kindergarten, I was always seated behind taller, but younger, students, so I never got to see anything. (Another flaw in this plan: those freakishly tall kindergarteners that make me jealous of their height.)
Being short my entire life, I’d come to accept that this is the way it will be forever, no matter how much I hope and wish and stretch and dream.
Until I went to Bangladesh.
It turns out that Bangladeshi people just happen to generally be even shorter than me, and for the first time in my life, I got to experience being tall. I got to look over people’s heads, I got to look straight at (or down at) people when I was talking at them. I got a taste of being tall, all 5’2″ of me.
And I never wanted to go back (to being short). But I’m back in America, the land of tall people, and here we are again, short.
But this isn’t the shortest I’ve ever felt. When I lived in Kentucky, the general population seemed to be significantly taller than the general population of Michigan. When I walked through the hallways, I was stuck staring at people’s shoulder blades instead of the backs of their heads. I had trouble finding my classes because I couldn’t see anything except humans. Whenever I talked to sixth graders, they were always shocked that I was in the eighth grade. Every single one asked me twice to double check and when I assured them that, yes, I am, in fact, an eighth grader, they always responded with a “but you’re so short!” In Michigan, while I am on the shorter side of average, my grade is never questioned.
Warning: This following segment will feel contradictory to the rest of the post.
While I’ve always felt short, I’ve never felt extremely short. As I said, I’m on the shorter side of average.
Mare Barrow from Red Queen, as I recently learned, is a fellow 5’2″.
Mare Barrow, as it states over and over over the course of the four-book series, is extremely short. She barely makes it to the shoulders of most of her acquaintances.
Which begs the question, “How ridiculously tall is the general population of Red Queen?!” and “Was this entire series developed to make me feel bad about my height?”