Friday, March 2, 2012

Close Encounters of the Dwarf Kind

I have a confession to make.  Actually, a more accurate way to phrase this following statement would be to say that, I simply have an awkward truth to reveal.  I don't like the use of the word "confession" in this situation because it implies a wrongdoing of some sort on my part which is not at all the case.

I am proud to admit that at 37 years old, I have almost totally overcome my phobia of short statured people.  Considering the fact the I'm a wheelchair user who is only 2 foot and 7 inches 'long,' this admission probably seems rather strange or even contrived.  I assure you of the authenticity of my weirdness.

I was born and raised among who I jokingly refer to as "Biggers."  I went to 'regular' school from elementary school throughout high school and met very few people with disabilities along the way.  I didn't even meet another little person until I went to college.  

Her name was Ellie and she was super nice.  It is very hard to describe what befriending Ellie was like for me.  As an adult, it was the first time I was eye level with another adult.  I would get nervous and awkward around her but I would not avoid her because I was intrigued by her.  Plus, as I said, she was super nice.  I think she sensed my goofiness but I'm not sure if she knew what it was about.

Well, it was near Winter Break at the college and Ellie waved me down in the hallway.  She invited me to a Christmas party sponsored by the local chapter of the Little People of America.  At that point in my life, the thought of turning down a party invitation was just absurd!  So, I went.

December in Ohio, especially near Lake Erie, is generally painfully cold.  It was snowing and blowing like mad on party day...and freezing!  It was never too cold to keep me from a good time though because I was a party girl!  As soon as I rolled my wheelchair into the festively decorated banquet hall that was full of people eye level with me, I started sweating like it was 150 degrees outside!  I was grateful to be a 'sitting' person at that moment because I surely would have fallen down otherwise.  Knowing what I know now, I'm fairly certain that I had a panic attack.  When I saw the baby dwarf-toddlers wobbling at the speed of light on their bowed little legs I was terrified to move my wheelchair because I was afraid of squashing them.  I am REALLY freaking small and they were about a quarter my size!  I finally got a slight grip on myself and backed my chair up into a corner where I felt all parties would be safe.  Everyone was very nice and came over to talk to me, and welcome me to the group.  I admit...I have no idea what any of them said to me because I was too mesmerized by the fact that I could see the tops of some of their heads!  I was overwhelmed.

I managed to survive the party without losing consciousness or killing any babies and hopefully I did not make a total ass of myself.  I never went to another LPA event and I eventually lost touch with Ellie.  

On a positive note though, I no longer have such severe reactions when I encounter other little people when I'm out in the world.  I even accepted a date with a short statured guy several years ago.  

Little baby dwarf steps...(pun totally intended)

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