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Hold Your Head High | Manolo for the Big Girl

Hold Your Head High

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.

6 Responses to “Hold Your Head High”

  1. Kimks March 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    Right On Twistie!!

    I too am short and have always wondered why this comes as a surprise to people. As first I thought it was because I wear high heels- a lot- and that somehow people had not noticed that I was wearing 3 or 4 inch heeled shoes. Then I though it was because I had always dated really tall men (until my husband) and thus became really comfortable with walking to keep up with tall people, looking tall people in the eye, just being me around tall people.

    I asked my husband once, after someone noticed that I was short, how this could suddenly dawn on someone, and he said “Darling you have a wonderful way of making people pay attention to you and not your size- It has something to do with giving and getting respect.”

    Yes, I know- that’s why I married him.

  2. dcsurfergirl March 22, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    Thanks, Twistie! I needed that. I am 5’4″, try not to slouch and wear flats (I am a bit wobbly in heels).

    I am just curious as to why the significantly taller (and thinner) guys find me! Just wondering..

  3. Twistie March 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm #

    kimks, I think I love your husband! He’s definitely a keeper.

    dcsurfergirl, I’m 5’2″ and always wear flats because I can’t navigate heels well, either. In fact, I’ve been known to fall off my heels while wearing flats. Mr. Twistie is 6’1″. On our wedding day he wore a top hat and I wore flats. What can I say? We just work.

    In my single days, I noticed that most of the guys who noticed me seemed to be on the taller side, too. No clue why that is, but it worked out just fine. It was, however, kind of funny the time I dated a guy who was only about two inches taller than me. I know it shouldn’t have been awkward, but I just wasn’t used to looking my date in the face sans neck trauma. I’d have gotten over it if he’d really been the guy for me, but it did feel odd.

  4. Plumcake March 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    well all y’all short people with tall husbands can just get on a step stool and get your chompers ready. I’m 6’4″-in-heels-and-hair (that’s what’s known as “pageant height” in the South) and 5’10” in stocking feet.

    I yearn, YEARN for a tall man –or at least someone not significantly shorter than I am– but all you little Shetland people are snatching them up! And it seems the taller the guy, the shorter the girl. It’s crazy-making. Quit it!

  5. Twistie March 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    (neighs like a good little Shetland and loves on Miss Plumcake)

  6. dcsurfergirl March 25, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    Plumcake, I am not quitting anything because they find me.

    Maybe the tall guys need to see that it’s the heels and hair that makes you 6’4″. I am sure you will find some totally fabulous guy closer to your height.