I had my growth spurt at 10 years old and I didn’t even know it.
I was 14 years old the last time I went back home to the Philippines and I saw my family, I found that I was taller than many of my cousins. I know, I know, Filipinos aren’t known for being tall anyway, but my height at 14 years old made me think I was a normal height.
My friends in the UK always commented on how little I was and I never took notice because many of my friends were just ridiculously anyway.
Then over the years I found everyone was growing taller, and I felt like I was getting shorter but despite this, I was patiently waiting for my growth spurt to happen, not realising it had happened many years before.
As a young girl, it was my dream to become an Air Stewardess. I would get to dress in pretty dresses and wear fancy costumes, I could be the mermaid of the skies and I couldn’t imagine following any other career path. Sadly after much research I discovered that international commercial flights had height limits and sadly I was a few inches short.
In my 23 years of life, I’ve found myself hindered by my height, there’s a whole nother’ world I have and will never discover…
Here are 10 reasons why, being 5 ft 1 SUCKS!
- Chairs are always too big.
This is a first world problem I experience on a daily basis. At the office, I have a very comfortable spinney chair that I enjoy very much, one problem though. My feet don’t touch the ground. I find I have this problem with most chairs I encounter, every chair is like some sick joke made by someone who has obviously never experienced short people problems. Have you ever been at a job interview and they offer you a seat on the sofa in the waiting room where you can get acquainted with your competitors. They’re sat there waiting, watching you walk over to the sofa, sit down and you find your feet can’t touch the ground unless you’re sitting on the very edge. How dignifying.
- Kitchen cupboards are always too high.
When we moved to our house, I chose to unpack our kitchen stuff first. Excitedly I gathered our spices and choose a beautiful corner cupboard to put them in. I thought, how convenient, they’re easy to access, blah blah blah, but then came my shock when I realised that I could barely reach the bottom shelf and definitely not reach the top shelf even on tip toes. So what did I do? Do what I always do when I can’t reach something, grab a chair and stand on it to gain more inches in height to complete my task. But it’s not just my kitchen that I’ve had this problem, it’s every kitchen. In fact I’ve yet to find a short person friendly kitchen.
- You get lost in crowds easily.
Please tell me someone else has the same problem as me?! You’re there enjoying your lovely stroll through the busy streets of London with your friends. You’re all having a laugh as you dodge the throngs of people who don’t seem to see you walking, then suddenly you’re on own. So you try to look for your friends but they just blur into the many other people, you suddenly realise how many people are taller than you. If your friends are short too then chances are you’re better off calling off the search party and finding new friends.
- It is possible for other people to accidentally use your head as a book rest.
The true story is, I’ve sadly suffered this fate. It happened one fine day on my journey on the underground. It was a relatively busy day and so space on the carriage was scarce. Someone behind me was reaching for the overhead railing to hold on to, they were leaning above me so I ducked down a little lower than my 5 ft.’ 1 self so that he didn’t bash me in the head. A little into our journey I felt the spine of a book hit my head, I didn’t take much notice of it because I didn’t really have the space to turn around to see. It wasn’t until I heard a page turning that I realised, someone was using my head as a bookstand. I turned my head around and their book almost fell and when the reader realised what he had done, he apologised. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, him or me.
- You must wear high heels on nights out with friends.
Like I mentioned before, most of my friends are A LOT taller than me. So on nights out, I feel like I have to wear high heels to keep up with everyone. You’d think that a 5-inch heel wouldn’t make much of a difference, but for me it’s a big confidence booster… but did you know short people often have smaller feet and as a result wearing heels is more painful for us. But in a competition between the aching feet or getting lost in amongst a crowd, in a club where you have no chance at shouting for your friend’s attention, well I’d choose the heels any day! No Pain No Gain. But just so you know, if I wear heels when I meet you… then I obviously don’t want to loose you.
- Dating taller guys, people ask questions.
When I say this I think of this…
Thankfully my partner is just short of 6ft so our height difference is not quite as huge, but still we face difficulties. For example, people do comment on our height difference. People question how you have sex… oh has no one ever outright asked you how you manage? Lucky you. Then there’s one of the best parts about having a partner, being able to lean your head on their shoulder, you can assume that we can’t do that because it’s actually very uncomfortable, what Habibi can do is lean on my head if he gets tired, but that’s less romantic than I would like. On the plus side, I rarely face the situation where I can’t wear heels to feel sophisticated on dates, every guy I’ve ever dated has been substantially taller than me so even in 6 inch heels I can still strut my stuff and have someone tower over me.
- You never quite fit in the bath.
I am aware this sounds absolutely strange, but let me explain. This is for every standard long bath I have ever been in. Picture this, you’ve had a long day and you’re looking to pamper yourself, maybe you give yourself a mani-pedi? Maybe you treat yourself to a glass of wine or slice of cake? And then there are some who seek comfort in a candlelit, warm (hot as I like it) bubble bath to soak your tense muscles. I was so excited when I bought my first bath pillow and one day I decided to treat myself to a much needed bubble bath. I’m a self-proclaimed shower person so since moving into our house in February I’ve never used the bath. But on this day, I said to myself, forget convenience, I’m all about the pampering. So I lit a couple of beautifully smelling candles, I got my sparkly bath bomb and eagerly waited for my bath to fill. Then I got in expecting to have the most relaxing experience of my life, to begin with it was, until I got my bath pillow placed it on the edge of the bath and lay down, and then I almost drowned. For some reason I expected myself to just lay back and relax, I never considered my short legs would not be long enough to touch the end of the bath, laying down to secure me comfortable along the entire length of the bath. Instead of relaxing, I was bobbing up and down in the water, feeling like an apple on Halloween. So my bath experiment began and ended there, it was disappointing and a further example of how my height ruins my life.
- Climbing trees are hard; you may as well being climbing Everest.
I have another story to share. One evening my friends and I decided we wanted to trespass into a building that was supposedly haunted. Trespassing involved free climbing up a very tall wall to get into the premises. Problem was, for a short person like me, reaching the nooks and crannies that would enable me to climb were impossible to reach, so instead I had to wait for everyone to climb over, being left in pitch darkness completely alone in a supposedly haunted place. My friends then reached their hands out to them and they lifted me up, again, how dignifying. But it’s not just that occasion, it’s trees generally… they are biased against short people, except small trees I guess…but who wants to climb a baby tree? It’s hardly like you’re going to get much of a better view. I feel like even if you’re short and nimble, you also have worse grip than normal heighted people, there’s no scientific backing for my hypothesis, but maybe it’s what I should have covered for my dissertation. But if I am right then this might explain my inability to climb trees.
- Having someone tall sit in front of you at the cinema is a nightmare.
URGH! This annoys me, because if you are 5 ft 1, there are many, many people who are taller than you. So if you go to the cinema, chances are your view will be somewhat obscured by the tallest person in the building. I don’t know what it is but short people seem to attract tall people, and even if there is a tonne of seats elsewhere, you’re short ass will likely end up with some tall asshole sitting in front of you. I recently experienced something similar when I went to the circus. The good seats were taken, but when I finally found a seat, I was overjoyed to find I had a good view until the tallest woman I’d ever seen, sat herself right in front of me. In anger I got up, I found that the only other seats that could give me a good view were in a section designated for young kids, because, and I’m only guessing this, they were short and would find it difficult to see in the normal people seat. Well, I paid a lot of money to see this show, so despite my embarrassment I went and sat to enjoy the show with the “other kids”.
- Keeping to the pace of others is harder.
Walking is a general struggle for short people. Why? Because people with short legs have many more steps to take than taller people, and generally those with longer less often have a faster pace. So when I’m on a lovely scenic walk with my partner, he is strolling and I am on a brisk jog trying to keep up with him. I find myself chasing after people most of my life, I think this is down to my naturally slow walking pace but also because my short legs struggle to walk any faster without having to jog/run. That doesn’t mean I don’t try though! I really try to speed up my walking to keep up with the pace of London life, but I feel like I should be cut some slack if I can’t keep up with you because for every step you take, there’s a shortie taking 4.
Despite the many reasons why being 5 ft 1 sucks, I can say that there are a few golden reasons why it can also be great! For starters, I hardly have to share my umbrella with anyone because no one likes to duck down to share with me. I also have been blessed/cursed with size 3-4 feet and it means that whilst you’re all paying full price for shoes, I have many size 3-4 shoes that are on SALE to choose from! I embrace my shortness because even though I’ll never be an air hostess, or a catwalk model, I know that I will always be able to pretend to be younger than I am, so I don’t fear turning 40 quite like some of you lanky people.
So please do go on living your days, enjoying your 5 ft normal + life. I’ll be here living the life of a 5 ft 1 woman, still patiently waiting for her growth spurt, just giving you a head start.
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday and you proud everyday.
Peace and Love,