People, I bet, will always think of me as short. They might even subconsciously link my height to my name. If I had a common name like Emily, people would refer to me as “short Emily.” Even if I’m not “short Zia,” my height used to be an invisible nickname of sorts.
The other day, I was walking with a friend from Almond (my extremely short days). “Saved your life!” my friend said, and pulled me out of the road. “The car may not have seen you, you shrimpie!”
“I’m 5’3”,” I protested, waving my hands around. “That’s a perfectly reasonable height. Plus, I drink a lot of milk.”
My friend squinted. “Wait … you do look taller!”
That’s right. I’m taller. For those of you who didn’t know me, in my freshman year I was four feet, nine inches. Kind of midget status.
I used to joke around with my friends that I’d eventually grow. “Whatever floats your boat, Zia,” they would say.
I wasn’t even sure if I believed I would ever be tall myself.
After all, during my first week in high school a mean kid told me that Almond is located just down the road. And waiters and waitresses who thought they were just being nice gave me kids’ menus until two years ago. (I have negative feelings about Crayons.)
Then this summer I realized I am taller than three of my friends! I shouldn’t take credit for something I don’t control, but there’s no denying that I’m proud.
But what have I learned?
For one, I’m sick of clichés. People say things like, “Good things come in small packages.” Believe me, I’d rather reach the gas pedal. (Which, contrary to popular opinion, I definitely can reach.)
But being taller isn’t always better. I lost a game of hide-and-seek the other day (admittedly, I was baby-sitting toddlers). One of my chores is now putting the dishes away, which I never had to do when I couldn’t reach the high shelves in the kitchen.
Don’t worry, small people. I’m still looking out for you.
Never tell a short person that they have a Napoleon’s complex unless they’re talking about taking over Europe in the near future. Never ask a short person if they’re enjoying eighth grade because they just may be in high school. Don’t bet against the shortest kid in your group.
So take another look at your friends: Maybe they’ve grown. Maybe you shouldn’t call them “shortie” in the hallways and ruffle their hair. Maybe—just maybe—they will end up taller than you!
And me? I’m going to go drink some more milk.