Dwarfism. A simple eight letter word which in the least technical sense means, I’m short. People have always handled this in all sorts of ways when the forever asked question is posed.
“Why are you so short?” Phrased so delicately and asked always so gently and politely. To which I reply, “I have spondaloeoithaseal dysplasia, which always wins scrabble. It’s a rare form of dwarfism.” Of which there are two responses.
“I’m so sorry.” And “I bet you’re really good at hide and seek.” And I reply to not feel any pity for me because I love who I am because having dwarfism is great, justice plays great music for clothes shopping and how often does hide and seek come up in your life that hiding spots are that big of an issue?
Then the issue of sympathizing.
One year I was giving a girl a tour of our school and she asked why I was short, I replied and she said, “well I know like six little people at my old school.” I was floored. Six? I don’t know one! I asked how she knew so many! Did they have a factory or something or did they store them all up there. Was that where they all played hide and seek? Was hide and seek actually a bigger deal to people with dwarfism than I knew?
Then came the issue of the human arm rest, I often become furniture to people because I’m not eye to eye, I avoid standing right next to people cause that’s when they think it’s alright to use me as a cocktail table, leaning their elbows on me. Oh yeah, also people have an infatuation with wanting to pick me up, I won’t get into it, cause, well, I don’t understand it at all. I personally use a wheelchair and the oddest thing I find is people tend to disconnect you from your chair and like to grab you, you as in the chair, like say at the store you’re in the way, they grab the handle and move you. It’s like grabbing someone by the shoulder and moving them without asking. Very very confusing. Something to know if you’re ever end up in a wheelchair is people really want to sit in your chair, like really bad. Sometimes if you can walk still, you leave it unattended and leave coming back to a chair being ridden. That brings me to another point, dating. There is one boy at my school with a gland problem who is a bit taller than me and everyone is always swooning over how cute we would be together. I don’t see it, he doesn’t see it. We danced together at prom to hit people on the dance floor to hit people so they could see us and they’d be confused. I personally like super tall guys cause I like stuff on the top shelves.
I have what I call “dwarf moments.” Vaccums are too tall, I climb on a lot of counters and stairs pose a big difficulty. I use the elevator and people like to jump into it. It’s really awkward, do you kick them out? Do you stand there and make small talk, do you ask what floor? Who am I kidding, I usually kick them out. But something you never get used to is having to sit out and miss out on life. I remember being on the beach with my friends and they were in the ocean and it was way too deep for me, I tried to go as deep as them but, it got too deep for me. I went under and then swam to shore crawling onto the sand and staring as my friends continued to play not noticing that I wasn’t even with them. I laid on the shore staring up at the sky wondering what life would be like in a different body. A body that wasn’t mine, one that functioned like it should, one that was tall and could make it through the ocean. One that wasn’t laying on the shore staring at the stars praying to be someone else for five minutes. But I’m not and that’s okay, I love being who I am, and who I am is okay, my body isn’t always practical but it’s the one I was given.
Overall the life of disability is not one to mourn or to compare. You can cherish to that of an able bodied one cause it has the same value. Everyone has value. Everyone is valuable.