Humans come in all sizes, shapes and styles, and just when you think you’ve seen every possibility you see someone who looks different yet again. I think we all find people to be interesting — they are variations on ourselves and the world-wide human community.
Height is one of the greatest sources of differences with people. People can look different and act differently in many ways, but height is a unique and obvious trait that we can all agree on.
Height is tied into the process of human growth: we all start very small, as babies, and then grow taller. We become aware, as children, that we are in fact growing taller, and are cheered on in this by our family — especially our aunts. We come to think that being taller is something we are striving for, even though we don’t have much influence in how tall we’ll become.
And then one day we stop growing taller — we lock in a height and become adults. We don’t lose our awareness of height, but we understand that it is not something we get to choose. Since the the majority of people are kind and understanding, we stop teasing people who are shorter than us, and get down to making our way in the world, which rarely has height as a factor.
But height remains in our awareness and daily interactions.
How often are a group of people together when someone says “I feel short”? They often say it with a half-laugh, and even people who aren’t much shorter sometimes say it.
When people say they feel short it always makes me stop and look at them. And it makes me want to protect or comfort them. Why? It’s not because they are shorter, but because they said it.
Although saying they feel short might just be an observation, I think it is more. I think that proclaiming we feel short is a universal way for people to express being vulnerable and different, and wanting to be accepted despite of that.
We all know that height is a terrible measure of a human. No matter how self-interested or critical we can be, at our core we know that each and every person has value. In fact, any person can be the one who does something vital and important, and we all know that.
We are all the same size inside.