I was recently having a chat with my good friend and sometime commenter here, Fabrisse, when we noted something we had in common: people don’t notice that we’re short.
It’s true. We are both petite women, and yet we’ve each had acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and even – in my case – a boyfriend suddenly be startled by the realization that we are kneecap biters. In fact, when that guy (whom I’d been dating for three months at the time) gasped: ‘Twistie! You’re short!’ in front of a roomful of people, I did threaten mild violence to his ankles if he didn’t become more observant pronto.
He didn’t. He’s been an ex for a very long time, now. The last time I saw him he didn’t even recognize me. Like I said, not one of the most observant people I’ve ever known. Good kisser. Great sense of humor. Lousy observer.
Still, Fabrisse and I mulled the question of why people rarely notice that we’re coming up to their belly buttons. We’ve come to the conclusion it’s because we don’t carry ourselves short. We look people in the eye, and we’re both good at exuding authority. And in defiance of all reason I tend to slouch, which is a behavior more often associated with being quite tall. Also, slouching with authority while looking taller people in the eye? Is a job for professionals. Do Not Try This At Home. Even I have no freaking clue how it’s done, but I do it.
We don’t ever try to defy the fact that we’re short, and we don’t tend to play it up deliberately. I think the trick is that we simply…are. We’re not trying.
The result? We both tend to get treated the way our body language indicates we expect. It’s not infallible, but it often helps.
So why bring up short body language on a plus-size blog? Because body language, whatever your size, shape or circumstances, is important. It tells the people around you how you expect them to treat you. The more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more people around you find themselves dealing with you more than the packaging. By the same token, if you’re holding yourself defensively or timidly, people tend to recognize you as a potential victim, or at least as someone they don’t need to treat with respect.
Be out loud and proud. If you find yourself trying to make yourself tiny, stop it right now. Yes, I know this isn’t easy and you won’t be able to change your body language overnight, but keep trying. Do whatever it takes to get comfortable enough with your own body and your own soul to own it without apology in public.
Tall or short, fat or thin…no matter what your body looks like, you deserve to be treated with respect. How you carry yourself lets others know whether you understand that.
Me? I know I deserve respect…and I know that you do, too.