Wednesday, 9 May 2012

All The Best Things...

On searching for a suitable topic for today's post I ran over a few of the randomnesses currently rolling around in my mind, to see if any of them fitted the bill. Are aliens real? Are YOU an alien; how would you know? ...or how about chameleons - if you sat one in front of another, would they look at each other and explode through trying to emulate one another exactly? ...why does it never seem to rain until you need to go outside? How about the undeniable awesomeness of giant bean bags, and how it should be the law that everyone in the world should own one...or how many people, when they receive a txt from someone they really like, spontaneously kiss their phone before realising that someone is watching, and then try to make it look like they were merely breathing on the screen before cleaning it... (what? I've never done that o.O )

However, in the end I decided that today I would like to talk about an issue which I know bothers so many girls (and you gents too of course, but I can only really speak on behalf of the female population!) out there, and I feel a need to tackle it head on. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you (drum roll please) ..........Living Life As A Short Girl. 

I myself (as illustrated above, posing with a friend not one hour before he got married! Great stuff!) stand at a reasonably petite 5"2 - or 157cm, for my overseas readers - and to start with, I rarely had a complex about my height. I grew up hearing that 'all the best things come in small packages', although it has to be noted here that a. despite rumours regarding the awkwardness of taller girls, I have always managed to achieve impressive levels of clumsiness regardless of my dinky size, and b. growing up, most of my tall friends seemed to have a kind of sophistication about them which I sometimes felt I lacked...but in general I didn't give it much thought.

At the age of 16 however, I became obsessed with the idea that extra height was needed to achieve what I felt was a much-needed transition from cute little munchkin to irresistible goddess. However, I chose to gain this extra height by buying myself the most hideous, giant pair of yellow three-inch chunky rubber-heeled knee-high lace-up straw boots the world has ever seen (thank you Shoe Zone). As if this indignity to boot-wearers everywhere was not enough, I decided that the best outfit to wear them with would be a pair of denim dungaree shorts, worn attractively (or so I thought) with the legs turned up as high as could be, and only one strap buttoned up. I left the other strap dangling down, over a giant red and white t-shirt. This new look was appropriately finished off with a blue and white choker necklace. Made of seashells. And some bright heather pink lipstick. Even Pixar wouldn't have animated me in a role, I looked too weird.

I went out to a church youth group meeting dressed in said outfit, and can confidently state that I have never been teased quite so much for how I looked before or since. I quickly realised that I did not look like an irresistible goddess at all. I looked like a very small person who had fallen by accident into a large pair of boots and was then thrown up on by a peculiarly mismatched wardrobe. To add injury to insult, when I woke up the next morning I discovered that walking on three inch heels had not in any way agreed with me, and hobbled around like an old lady with sciatica for the rest of the day. The hideous boots were promptly disposed of. Thus ended my brief love affair with heels. To this day I can't manage more than the occasional kitten heel if the need arises. I am resigned to the eternal quest for flat shoes that don't look like they belong in the children's section.

Life went on as normal, until the age of 22 when I had the great privilege of living in South Korea for a few months. For the first time in my life I experienced life as a tall person! Of course some of the men - and about one in a hundred of the women - were a little taller than I was, but in general I was definitely at the higher end (no pun intended) of the height spectrum.

I absolutely loved it. Mirrors in public bathrooms were low enough for me to see more than just my head and shoulders. Clothes fitted me properly without having to shop in the petite section, or chop inches-worth of hem off so new trousers didn't drag along behind me when I walked. I sat at the very back of a friend's wedding and was able to watch the entire ceremony without craning my neck. When my derrière was grabbed and squeezed on the subway by a random old man I was able to turn around and tower over him indignantly, and my extra height made me feel that my impressive 'get your filthy hands off my behind' moment (shouting 'ANDE!' - 'no' in Korean) held much more weight than it would have had I been squeaking up at him instead. Oh the power trip! It was awesome!

The strangeness of the day when I found myself back at Incheon Airport, waiting to board the plane home, surrounded by other Westerners of all shapes and sizes, cannot be adequately expressed in words. I literally felt as if I had shrunk by about two feet in the space of five minutes. The illusion was shattered and I was once more plunged into a world where I was officially short.

This time the sting lingered. It took a good few months to not get exasperated over not being able to reach things from the top kitchen cupboard without a chair, having to be put at the very front for group photographs like an awkward footstool that nobody knew where else to place, hauling myself up onto busses like a child because of the ludicrous height of the step, and so on and so forth. I started to feel increasingly stupid on a regular basis. Simply put, my confidence started to dwindle.

As time has moved on however I have pretty much made peace with my littleness. There are lots of benefits to being short, and I have always tried to be a glass-half-full kind of girl in any case. Getting to know myself better on the inside has helped me to accept who I am on the outside. And I now feel, on behalf of all you gorgeous petite sized ladies everywhere who may still be lamenting their size, that it is now my duty to make a list of all the reasons why it is AWESOME to be tiny. Listen up!

1. We can still fit on children's rides in theme parks. Don't look at me like that. I know you've tried it.

2. We have more options for escape. Remember that. It will come in handy one day if you are ever kidnapped. 

3. We are adorable and cute. I know that many of you will be thinking 'but I don't want to be adorable or cute. I want to look willowy and graceful and sexy and mysterious.' However, being short does not mean that all of those physical attributes need to be stricken from the list. Think of actresses like Isla Fisher, Amy Adams and Eva Longoria. All of them are 5"4 and under, yet they manage to be stunning, sexy, mysterious, graceful, adorable and cute all rolled into one! Because it's not about height. It's about confidence. I have met tall girls who are almost crippled with shyness, and short girls who are larger than life and twice as loud! Who you are has absolutely nothing to do with how tall or short you are. And no, I haven't entirely got the hang of this one yet either. But I'm working on it.

4. We are easy to rescue. I can't count the number of times I have found myself stranded on a sheet of ice, or stuck in some mud, or blown off my feet in a strong wind. The relative ease with which I am able to be yoinked from my usually humiliating predicament/caught as I fly past, and returned to safety, has always delighted me. Of course, people usually laugh at me first. But let's not go there.

5. We're closer to the ground. Children seem to hurt themselves much less when tumbling on their faces in the street than the average adult. Whether this should be attributed to their more malleable physique rather than their close proximity to the ground I'm not entirely sure. But it seems reassuring to know that if some moron does decide to trip us up when out and about, the journey downwards will be significantly faster than anticipated.

6. We get to kiss tall guys. Guys and/or non-romantics can skip this section. But it has to be said. As a short girl, most guys are taller, and tall guys can be kind of irresistible. There's just something so butterfliesy about the moment when a guy leans down to kiss you, followed by the feeling of totally disappearing into a massive bear hug. It can't be just any guy of course, let me make this clear: this is not an invitation, readers, should you be male and over 5"2, to hunt me down and test this out! It has to be someone special. But there's no denying that for me at least, in order to be swept off my feet, it really helps if he's big enough to do some sweeping. And I know I'm not the only one...ladies, come clean...

7. We can easily wriggle through windows. Trust me. You will need this one at some point. And no. I don't want to talk about it.

The fact is, whether you are short, tall or middle sized, you are who you are for a reason. We can all make endless lists as to why we wish we were different. But if you look more closely, you will discover that who you are and how you were made is exactly right for you. And the people who really count will love you for it no matter what. When it comes down to it, nothing else really matters.

So let me end by simply saying: My name is Becki, and I am a short girl...and I love it!

Friday, 2 March 2012


Why is it that ghosts mostly come out at night?
A song, a word, a sudden ineludable feeling -
And there they are...the ghosts of my heart

The fullness of day has emptied itself out
Leaving a quietened mind, a heart less guarded
And there they are...the ghosts of my heart

Eyes drinking me in more passionately than ever
An absent kiss, melting me forever from the inside out
That nose, wrinkled in adorable self-conscious confusion
And there they are...the ghosts of my heart

'You can never lose me...I love you so much'
Rootless words which weigh more than the cosmos
And leave me abandoned, these ghosts of my heart

Morning comes and shooes them away
Shadows ebb and flow, whispers come and go
Subtle, hidden, waiting...the ghosts of my heart

Until the cloak of nightfall flutters, unravels
like a dark velvet river, exposing memories once more
And there they are: never fading, ever seducing
Sparkling, painful, wonderous, haunting...the ghosts of my heart.

© R.K.Mancey 02.03.2012