It came to a screeching halt in 6th grade. It forever altered my life. There was nothing I could do to change it.
I had heard those crazy stories of kids hitting a sudden growth spurt in high school, but my horizontal reach peeked at the young age of 12. I wasn't going to break any dunking records on the court or stand eye-to-eye with most of my classmates. A step stool would always be a familiar companion to reach the top shelf in the kitchen cabinet. When most people are standing in the 5 foot end of the pool, I would be on my tippy-toes to make sure I didn't drown. My feet rarely rest on the ground so I look even younger because I can swing my feet back and forth in the air to occupy my time. What you wear as a shirt actually fits me like a dress. You look like your teenage son's girlfriend from the back because he towers over you . . . already . . . in 8th grade.
Yep. I'm a towering 5 feet 2.5 inches tall. Those point 5 inches mean the world to us short people! We count every centimeter we can muster.
Although my height was not my biggest insecurity growing up (read the past blog "25 Years of Pain" to find out #1 on the list), it still was on the brain. It's not as noticeable through adolescence because everyone's bodies . . . and voices . . . are changing. Mine just finally gave up reaching for the stars (or even the top shelf) pretty early in the game.
I was short. I was petite. I had naturally curly hair that resembled Ramon Noodles. And I wore heels sometimes to school. I know. You're probably thinking . . . why?!? Doesn't every sophomore wear pumps to their history exam? Part of the explanation is due to my personality . . . I liked the more mature, business look and yes . . . I felt and looked taller. There's something about a pair of heels that brings an extra sense of confidence to a woman who is vertically challenged. And to this day, I still love shoes that push me closer to that average height that most of you reading this enjoy each day.
Being in the entertainment industry brings this insecurity to life often. There are times when I have to stand on an apple box to try to match my scene partner or even look "more normal" for those of you watching at home. Like the corporate video screen shot below . . . my #fakehusband was a foot taller than me so up I went on that box. I recently did a photo shoot for KLOGS and ended up standing on a pile of books to make myself taller behind the kitchen counter. I even had a client on set once tell me, "Wow! You looked taller in your audition video." It can be VERY intimidating to walk into auditions with legit models who meet the height standard and not think to yourself, "why am I here?"
But . . . I have compensated for the lack of confidence it could steal from my life and replaced it with trying to live a life that "stands tall." One of the most memorable compliments I've received was when a friend told me, "Jessica, you may be short but you sure stand tall." And I obviously never forgot those words. On days when I feel close to the ground (literally - ha!), I remember that kind statement.
There are some bright sides to being this height. It wasn't difficult to find someone taller than me to date growing up (because everyone in my life met that criteria). I have lots of leg space on airplanes. I can play hide and seek like a ninja, fitting into spaces only the brave would dare.
Here's what I've learned . . . don't let insecurities bring you down (for me . . . I'm close enough to earth). Don't let them dictate your life. What the world tells you is "perfect" is not truth. You were beautifully and wonderfully made the way you are! It's okay to wear flip flops and put the heels away. Be yourself and surround yourself with others who see the value in you, not based on how you look on the outside but who you are on the inside.
Besides . . . this fun size gal has a lot of life to give! Remember the good-ole saying . . . Good things come in small packages.