What I want people to understand about my life as a little person
I wake up every day to the sound of birds chirping, and to bright light cast through my thin bedroom curtains. Normally, the weather is beautiful, but every day I get up out of bed wondering whether or not it is going to be a good day for me. I go into the bathroom and spend five minutes just evaluating my appearance. I usually don’t pass my own test, but there’s nothing I can really do about how I look,
People tend to judge a person based on physical characteristics, rather than their personality or their actions. This has caused me to have some pretty low hopes for humanity throughout the years, since I’ve been delivered my fair share—and then some—of criticism due to my appearance. And I can tell you this: it doesn’t feel good. I feel terrible from time to time, mainly because people look down on me. . . literally.
I have this condition called Achondroplasea, which is the most common type of dwarfism. People don’t understand my condition, and tend to be confused or think that I’m some sort of extraterrestrial, judging by the creeped-out looks I receive. But it’s likely that most people just haven’t been acquainted with someone like me before they meet me, so it’s their natural instinct to question and to laugh at things that are unnatural to them. But this reaction makes me feel as though I have the worst life in the world—which is not true, of course, but doesn’t mean I can’t be made to feel that way.
When I was much younger, I used to be OK with my appearance, since my body had not developed much and it wasn’t very prominent to others that I was an age different than my height implied. But once I hit puberty, my face changed, my body changed, and the fact that I was a little person was very much apparent to people. And there’s another thing: the term, midget. It’s derogatory. People don’t realize it and fling that word around willy-nilly, but it’s hurtful and offensive.
Now, I realize that my appearance isn’t going to change, and that I’m going to have to live with it for the rest of my life. But what I’ve realized throughout the years is that other people’s opinions of me shouldn’t matter. If I go on through life with my head held high, I can show others that I am better than what they think of me. I can be successful, just like one of my personal heroes, actor Peter Dinklage.
Mr. Dinklage is successful, well-known, and well-liked. He displays confidence and doesn’t appear to care what people think of him, mainly because he knows he is a good person and that he lives a great life. That is what I want my life to be like. I know I’m going to have to deal with ignorance and with rudeness, but as long as I am successful and follow my dreams, this ignorance and rudeness won’t matter as much to me.
I don’t want to make it seem as though my life is a giant sob story, because it’s not. There is plenty of time when I am been pleased with how my life is going and have even forgotten the fact that I happen to be very short. If I am doing something I love, if I am spending time with people I love, I tend to forget about my height. As long as I get myself through the difficult times, as long as I keep going, I can prove, not only to myself, but also to others that I am just as human as they are—that I am just as valuable of a person. I can prove that no one’s opinion should matter to me except for my own, and that this rule should apply to others, as well (unless those outside opinions are kind and constructive.)
You shouldn’t care that someone looks or acts differently from what you consider normal; everyone is different in this world, and that’s the way it should be. Let others live their lives. Just because someone is different from you, doesn’t mean that they’re “weird” or “outsiders.” Don’t categorize others at all. Practice kindness and respect always—you don’t know what that person has to go through every morning and every day.
Lakshmi Shyamakrishnan is the second child in her family, and has a strong ambition to prove herself to the world. She has always wanted to spread her messages to the public, but has never truly felt as if she had a voice of her own. She is grateful to HelloGiggles for allowing her this opportunity, and wants to help people realize that everyone should be confident about themselves. Her dream is to one day make a difference in the world, and to make it for the better.