As I stood at the door of the classroom I figured, just another ordinary day of subbing. I was wrong. It wasn’t the kids that made it unordinary, nor the assignments, or other teachers… it was my inadequacy. Yep… my physical vertical inadequacy. I found this out when lunch time came and I was searching for the microwave. I found it, sitting on top of a 2 1/2 ft. tall fridge that sat on top of the counter. I gasped, “Surely this teacher is not that tall!” Then I remembered, “Well, all of them are taller than me.” Yes, I am short! Or, as I prefer, I am “Vertically challenged.” I got on my tippy toes and I still couldn’t reach the buttons. So, what does a vertically challenged person do when she is hungry and only has 25 minutes to eat (or less)? Be resourceful, of course. I looked around for something to MacGyver my way to hot food heaven. This teacher had unusual seating for the students, beans bags, crates, unshapely sitting stools and more, but nothing for me to stand on while being held up by gravity. My next idea, well, long tools… pencils were not long enough and as I looked around (hearing time flying in my head), I found myself using scissors. Scissors! Who in the world needs scissors to press the dumb buttons of a microwave that sits 6 feet high?! Well, me! UGH! Nonetheless, I got my food in and began fighting the microwave’s touch pad and eventually heard the “beep” of the running heating machine. Sigh.. Finally After getting on my tippy toes to get my food out and eating I had 5 minutes. I had to leave to pick up the children from the cafeteria. I decided; I better get my bathroom break. So, off I went only to find the staff bathroom. Turns out, they didn’t have one. What they had was a “Staff’s stall” and gues what? It was locked! “Okay Raqui, breath, they don’t want anyone messing up the clean teacher’s stall, just unlock it from the inside.” I reached over the door stall, on my tippy toes (again…). Try as I may to strect like plasticman ralizing my arm can barely even make it over the dumb stall door… “Of course you know this means war! In the name of all who are short, I will get in that stall!” I went back to the classroom to get my trusty scissors. I reached over, struggling to finding the latch… meanwhile a 2nd grader comes in, looks at me very puzzled, or was that fear? “I’m vertically challenged… too short” and gave her smile, as I heard the “click” of the lock. WelI, I won. YAY!! It turns out that it’s easier to unlock it than close it and locking it back up from the outside…wound up leaving it unlocked. Sigh** That day I conquered the challenges of my height inadequacies.
It is not easy dealing with my physical limitations… I never thought of it that way until I came to the USA… Everyone arounds me likes to remind me. Like if I, somehow, was not aware of my height and didn’t know how short I am. In Venezuela I wasn’t “short” compared to every girl, I was pretty average. In Guatemala, well, I was above average! Yes, I admit I’m one of the shortest girls in my family, but not the only one. I have learned to live with it and make the best of it. I have found ways to make up for it. Use a lot a resources to get around. THANK HEAVENS FOR HIGH HEELS!! I married a guy of “average height” who is really good at getting things off the shelves for me. Believe me, he is tall to me, and I have step stools pretty much in every room. I became an expert climber too… There are just some things that are unavoidable, like “short” jokes. So what do I do when I feel frustrated?
I have learned to see my height not as a limitation, but as a blessing. A blessing because God created me and I am wonderfully made: “You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother’s body. How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14) Why? I don’t know. God hasn’t told me why even after I have asked Him time and time again. (Yes, God talks to me and “No”, I’m not crazy, well, maybe a little;) )I suppose that without us short people there wouldn’t be tall people. I’m sure that there is a scientific explanation due to genetics, environment and adaptation. None of this matters, really, because all that matters is that I am fine with the fact that God created me, with my vertical challenges and all. He created me. Best of all, I am wonderfully made.
I have learned that there are benefits to my shortness. I have been able to do things that others taller than me cannot. J I mean, why jump over obstacles when you can just go under them… My soccer coach learned this when she realized that I could steal the soccer ball from my opponents without them noticing. I was good at sliding between their legs and taking the ball! (No joke!) I was the best defense because of my height and my speed. Even to this day I can sit in a car, or sofa, and curl up taking less space (okay maybe I do take a little bit more space than I used to, but still…). I can also find and see things that others can’t. Did I mention I can use tools?? I also learned to climb just about everything just like Zacchaeus… not that I can do this well anymore…
“Short People: God only let’s things grow until they are perfect… Some of us didn’t take as long as others.” –Unknown
I have learned to laugh! How? Because, for every “short” joke there is a “tall” joke… Truth is, you can only laugh and joke about it too. It is just the way you see it. That positive attitude that makes us “tall” in our sense of humor is important. This is not to say that it doesn’t bother me when the short jokes don’t stop. I mean, if gets annoying and really?.. so you have to bring it up every time?? But letting it go and finding humor is better than getting upset. However, for those of you that are taller, and that means most of you, please don’t push it. There are so many times the joke is funny… In the meantime, laugh and smile and remind them that “the best things come in small packages”. (And if they don’t watch were they are going they are going to be surprise when they see stars after meeting the door way.)
I guess that even though finding a chair or stool to climb on may not be available, there is always a tall person that can help. Just like being short can be beneficial, realize that having tall friends is beneficial too. God created them so they can be helpful to those who are created uniquely vertically challenged.