No one wakes up in morning, thinking about how they have blonde hair and blue eyes. No one thinks about how his or her abnormally sized nose is going to be perceived by the general public. Just like them, I don’t think about the things that make me different. I don’t think about needing a stepstool in the morning to grab my clothes out of the closet. I just get one and get ready to start my day. I don’t think about the pedal extenders on my car that will help me get to work. I don’t think about the stool that sits underneath my feet at my desk. It’s all just a part of life. I don’t think about my dwarfism until someone reminds me.
Some days I can go the whole day without being reminded. Most days I receive the gift of rude, inconsiderate people that remind me constantly. Yesterday was one of those days. When I was able to get tickets to go see Luke Bryan, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew just the person I wanted to bring, my friend Lindsey, whom I consider a little sister, who also happens to be a dwarf.
We were so excited as we drove to the venue, but my excitement slowly dissipated as I slowly realized that you can’t bring two dwarfs, especially females, anywhere without the jackasses of the world showing up. It started right after we parked. I overhear two teenaged boys saying, “Look, it’s a midget.” I hoped that Lindsey didn’t hear this, but I know that she does. I can tell it bothers her just as much as it bothers me. So we’re less than five minutes in and the performance hasn’t even started and already the allure and excitement of the day has worn off.
We decide to head to the bathroom before the concert starts and notice people looking and staring at us while we’re waiting in line. It’s not easy, but we ignore it. It’s just become part of our daily life and at this point, has just become borderline accepted. For most people, getting to use a Port-A-Potty would be a pretty terrible experience. Not for us, at least it gave us a few moments to not be stared at.
After our Port-A-Potty adventure, we get on line with our tickets to go into the show. While waiting, I notice two people take our picture as if we were the new additions to the polar bear exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo. You know, like we’re not humans. I ignore it. I knew things like this would possibly and almost probably would happen. I ignore it out of fear of creating a scene and making the situation worse. I know that no matter what I do I’m not going to change the perception of the ignorant people there and only risked Lindsey’s and my safety. Afterwards, we have the honor of meeting a fan of ours. A man, reeking of Pabst Blue Ribbon, came over to us, crouched down, and told us that “y’all are the sexiest people I ever seen.” We knew that we were sexy to him for only one reason. His beer goggles were only seeing our height.
After Mr. PBR leaves, another fan of ours comes up to us and asks to take our picture. I politely decline, which causes him to go off on a rant about how we are discriminating against him and he knows what it is like to be different because he is 6’5. The first thoughts that come to my mind are “How in the hell is this offensive to you? What are you going to do with this picture? Are you going to share it with your friends and post on Instagram and Snapchat about how you met a midget?” Instead of saying what I really wanted to say, I tell him to check out Little People of America’s website and learn more about people with dwarfism. This is not met with the same enthusiasm he had before. He tried one more time to get a picture with us. I just scream “NO!” at him. Finally, he asks for a hug. I realize that this is the only way to get rid of him. I decide to begrudgingly accept. It’s then that I notice a line forming behind our new friend, like Santa had arrived three months early. When giving him a hug, I hope that he realizes that we’re human and have feelings, but I know it’s probably all for naught.
After he leaves, the next guy in line asks us for a hug and all I can hear is his friends laughing, with their iPhones out. At this point, I’m done. I try to see if I can spot a security guard to help us, but I see no one. It then hits me. I have not seen a single security guard while there. I know there’s no chance of one showing up now. I look over at Lindsey and can see she’s angry and fed up just like me. Even though she doesn’t say a word, I can tell she wants to get out of there, but doesn’t want to tell me. I tell her that we’ll stay for three songs and try to get some value out of the night. Within the next five minutes, I see two more people taking a picture. I grab Lindsey and decide that we’re out of there. We hop in my car, get on the highway, and head home without having heard a single song. Basically we spent a couple of hundred bucks to get mocked.
Sadly, nearly every person with dwarfism has a story similar to this one. In many cases, it’s not just one. Times when they were made to feel less human than the rest of the world. When they were treated like they were put on this world to entertain those they came in contact with. October is Dwarfism Awareness Month. The purpose is to educate people about those with dwarfism, what they go through, the ups and the downs. This month, and every month, I ask that we try to treat people a little bit better, especially those with differences. Let’s try to make this world a better place to live.