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What I'd Tell the Father Who Taught His Daughter I'm a 'Midget'

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Hypochondroplasia is a mild case of dwarfism where my upper limbs and legs are shorter than the average person’s. My parents treated me no different than anyone else growing up. My mom worked with me every night to develop my social skills so I could hold my own. I never really noticed my height difference until I went to ride amusement park rides and saw I was under the limit. It wasn’t the greatest feeling.

I always felt the biggest because of my attitude; I feel like I can see eye-to-eye with my best friend, who’s 6 feet, 4 inches tall. I’m proud of who I am. However, some people in this world have different views of little people and make fun of me. I even came across a person who has​ a phobia of little people and ran away from me when being introduced. How can we live in such a judgmental society?

To make everyone feel comfortable when they meet me, I always crack a short joke. That’s how I’ve formed some great friendships and memories with wonderful people who love and accept me for who I am, no matter what my size.

I’ve been out with my tall best friend and had people laugh at us.​ I literally had to hold him back from beating them up. P​eople have asked to take a picture with me; my friends jump in to stop them. Sometimes I’ll oblige just to avoid conflict. After,​​ I’ll just continue my evening with people who love and care about me for who I am.​

I adjust to everyday society. I have pedal extenders on my car so I can drive, a step stool at work so I can cut hair and have an expertise in climbing to reach everything.

I’ve been called a midget before, and I never let it bother me. However, there are other little people out who find that word offensive. I work at a hair salon in the mall, and when I was carrying a big box that was almost as big as me, I saw a little girl next to me ask her dad, “ Why is she so little?” The father replied, “Because she is a midget.”

I never corrected the man. I kept walking, but I was thinking about that little girl. Now she will call every short person she meets a midget. She might offend someone. Society needs to make “little person” the politically-correct term for a short person.

This is what I’d want that father and his daughter to know about me:

As a short person, I embrace my differences, live life to the fullest and have fun. Yes, I dress up as an elf at Christmas and send out cards with myself and Santa on it. Yes, I tell little kids I’m an elf and that they have to behave for their parents. I’m great at hide-and-seek. I’m travel-size and can do anything anyone else can. I’ll always find a way to overcome challenges and accomplish my goals no matter what they are. I’ll always prove people wrong when they say I cannot do something. Height does not matter for anything in life. I​​t’s the size of your heart, your willpower and your ​determination that help make you a better person.

Ana Songin

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Originally published: May 12, 2015
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