If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. I am not a midget. I am not a dwarf. I’m not a tiny tree elf with stumps for legs. I am 5 foot 3 and 3 quarters and that is 1 quarter of an inch ABOVE the average height for a British woman. And 8 inches TALLER than the average height for a Bolivian woman in 1970. It is however 2 inches and 1 quarter less than the average height for a woman from the Dinaric Alps. (No me neither…)
As you might have guessed, I am quite sensitive about height. Apparently I give off ‘small’ vibes which can be quite frustrating when being pushed in front of in a queue, or when someone is resting a coffee cup on your head on the tube. I’ve been trying to do ‘tall’ for too many years, so instead in the spirit of anti-bullying week I am offering you a musical ode to small.
People out there can be cruel. We open to the jibes of a man whose cruelty knows no bounds.
People can just truly be really unkind. And usually it’s directed at someone who is less powerful, more vulnerable and not able to stand up for themselves. And being small can feel very vulnerable. Especially when people take small stature as a sign of weakness. As an adult however I feel fairly able to stand up for myself – I’ve got very sharp elbows and a killer kick and often use this to my advantage on the hockey pitch. Luckily I can also look very innocent (see- being small has its advantages!) But when you’re a child being small is not just about height. Bullying is something that most of us have experienced at some point, at school, on the weekends, even in a closely knit friendship group. Bullying is horrible – and it can make someone, no matter what their size feel very, very small. So it’s time that tiny fights back!
As Gavroche from LES MISERABLES tells us, being small can have its advantages…
David showed Goliath that height isn’t everything, and the tiny mouse in my kitchen that makes me scream is doing a good job of reminding me that there is always someone smaller than you who can probably kick your butt! When I’m feeling particularly small and a bit wobbly I remind myself that little is a state of mind. And I turn this one up really loud and get my growl on.
So being small is tough, but it’s also a little thing in the grand scheme of the universe. Back to the wonderful Kimya Dawson who reminds us to ‘pull off to the side’ and ‘look up at the sky’ to remind us that the world is huge and everyone, eventually is actually very tiny.
Kimya says that ‘all girls feel too big sometimes regardless of their size.’ So my last big thought on the topic of small, is that everyone at some point feels out of place. We feel too big or too small or that we don’t fit in a world that feels awkward and strange. Even when we’re being mean we’re probably doing it to make ourselves feel big. The best way to feel big is help other people up. So link hands and fight back against teasing or cruelty or unfairness and stand up to people who say you are not big enough, or too something or not something else. And if you see it, notice it. And say something.
What song makes you feel big and brave?