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Personal Essay on Being Petite

This Is What Life Is Like as a Petite Person — and How I've Learned to Love It

I come from a long line of petite people. I am part Ecuadorian, Puerto Rican, and Italian. I take after my Hispanic ancestry and have been blessed with being 4'10". Just to give you a visual, if you ever meet me in real life and attempt to give me a hug, you will probably be met with my head aligning somewhere between your armpit or torso. It's awkward, and we will surely have a laugh and probably never speak to each other again.

I can't say I always saw this as a positive.

I mean, I love my height now, but growing up, it wasn't always the case. I would look around me and in the media and think, "Why don't I look like that? Why is everyone white?" Being a child of an immigrants, it is common that you are raised in a pretty whitewashed manner to succeed and fit in.

We are both standing, and I'm at his shoulder.

It also probably didn't help that I couldn't reach the bathroom mirror growing up so I had no idea what I really looked like. Once I learned, I was shocked! I wasn't a model?! Insane. But that is neither here or there. In reality, I was shocked because I just didn't see myself represented in the world around me. I mean, you learn by watching TV about what is beautiful and what isn't.


When you are petite, there is also a certain way you get treated in the world, which is almost like a real-life doll. I get picked up and cuddled, and, to be honest my feet don't ever touch the ground when I sit in a chair. And it is hard to command the room when you wear child-size shoes and need to jump to reach things at the grocery store. So it's not really people's fault for finding me something they need to decode. They wonder constantly what my perspective is like living so close to the ground. My response is always, "You know when it's raining before I do."

This guy definitely knows when it's raining first.

But truthfully, I used to be superoffended by these comments and would even google ways to get taller, and you'd be surprised how many techniques I found. One technique directed you to hang from a monkey bar or pull-up bar and just hang there . . . for 10 minutes. This would apparently stretch your torso, and you would get taller. This obviously did not work, and my mother one time walked in on me and was very disturbed.

Another technique was to wear nothing but heels. I tried this too and fell more times than I can count because I am not only short but also clumsy. Other techniques suggested taking steroids.

For a split moment, all of these techniques were very attractive to me, and I considered trying all of them — EVEN steroids! Thankfully, I didn't try that one.

I was able to finally accept my figure to be "normal" because after awhile, I started getting tired of trying to alter myself. I got tired of thinking that there was something wrong with me and that my natural body type was not attractive or wanted. It's an exhausting way to live, looking for ways to make your naturally beautiful body to seem more like other people's.

I'm as big as a grown man sitting down.

Life as a petite person has its advantages, like, for example, you never need to overexert yourself when a tall person is around. Going to the grocery store is easy, unless nobody is around — then you need to improvise. You can even constructively argue with roommates that you NEED to have the bottom shelf, and if they protest, just stare them blank in the eye until they realize why. You can demand that a tall person sit down when you are at a party so you can look them in the eye and not strain your neck. You can escape the zombie apocalypse . . . easily. Zombies don't look down, just straight ahead.

All jokes aside, I really can't say how happy I am now to be in the body I have. While I do fight with my insecurities and self-esteem on a daily basis, I am getting closer to fully loving myself for who I am. Also, one of the perks that comes with being petite is you can save tons of money shopping in the kids' section of clothing stores. You can actually find clothes that fit — which is a great feeling! There is no shame in finding deals as well as feeling great in those perfectly sized leggings! The only bump in the road is you need to explain to salespeople that you aren't being weird by shopping in the kids' section as a grown adult.

Two grown women standing next to each other.

In general the biggest thing I've learned when I finally accepted and started loving my petite figure is that, if my body is healthy and if my body is comfortable, then I have already won! And so have you!

Image Source: Becca Beberaggi
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