Sunday, 5 August 2012

Storytelling Sunday: The upside of being low down

Hello hello.

As it's the first Sunday of a shiny new month, Sian of From High in the Sky is hosting her monthly international 'Storytelling Sunday' - so, when you're finished here, make sure to swing by Sian's where you can find links to many more tales from story-sharers around the world.

As for mine ... it's not a tall tale. In fact, it's quite the opposite ...


The Upside of Being Low Down [a story for my Height of Summer series]

At around 5'2" I'm not the tallest of folk. And, bar an unexpected [and medically miraculous] growth spurt, I think that's the height I'm going to stay.

And, let's face it:
  • I'm never going to be able to reach the top shelf of my kitchen cupboards let alone become a much sought after super-model;
  • I'm always going to find myself in a changing room pulling up a dress by its shoulders about 5" until the fitted bust section actually vaguely resembles the location of my own ... then wondering if anyone would notice if I wore 5" deep shoulder pads ... and ...
  • There's always going to be someone who underestimates me because they think small = cute and sweet. And while I'm that too. [Obvs. ;-)] I'm also more than that.
But, actually, I'm pretty sanguine about my height these days. But I haven't always been.

Oh no.

If you think I take being called 'little' as a slur on my character now ...  woweeee you should have met me when I really was little.
Yes, I blurred out everyone's face. No, they're not about to shape-shift / teleport.

I hated it. I had a giant, proud, ego trapped inside a minute body.

If, like a teacher I had, you had once called me 'Little Julie Kirk' ... I'd still be holding a grudge against you all these years later ... trust me.

And, as for the school photographer who joked that he had a cat bigger than me ... well ... quite frankly he was lucky he lived to say 'cheeeeeese' another day.

Now, let's leap forward 20 or so years to when I had a job as a Learning Mentor in a primary school and when all of these 'little' experiences put me in the perfect position to empathise with a similarly petite ten year old ...

I was walking around the playground with Courtney, a funny, fiesty... but admittedly small girl. She must have recognised me as a kindred spirit and, from nowhere, began telling me about the height-related teasing she'd experienced from her brothers and friends:

"They tease me Miss" she stated, "because I'm little. They think it's funny."

I wasn't too concerned about this as I could tell she wasn't either ... and then, what she said next convinced me she'd get through this particular stage [and indeed, the rest of her life]  just fine ...

Because ... she didn't just repeat the words a comforting adult might have said to her, something well meaning but pretty useless, something like: "You've got plenty of time left to grow" or "Good things come in small packages" etc ...


What Courtney told me, about how she handled being teased about her size.... went like this:

"I just say to them Miss ... that if we were all in a car crash ... I'd be small enough to escape through the car window ...

... and they wouldn't."


Now there's a girl who, no matter where she measures on a height chart, certainly has her glass half full!

Julie :-)

If [during August] you want to share a height/size related tale of your own then click the image below for more details:


  1. this did make me smile, I was always worried I would get too tall!!

  2. LOL! I was just about 5 feet tall when I graduated from high school, but I grew almost five inches at University! My husband is 6'7" (2 meters), so he has lots of height related stories to tell.

  3. I used to be teased for being tall and skinny (gosh the skinny is long gone now!!)Beanpole was one of my least favourite names and i hated seeing relatives with their 'gosh haven't you grown' tales! I always wanted to be petite! DD at 13 overtook me in height I think she must be about 5' 10" so I am pinning my hopes on her being discovered and becoming a supermodel lol!!

  4. I bet you twirled and twirled in that dress :)

  5. I too will never reach the top shelf in the kitchen without the aid of a spatula to flick the contents of the cupboard down so I can catch them (it's mainly cereal boxes).
    Great post.
    C xx

  6. You made me smile ;o)
    Love the dress... and the girl... she's awesome!!!

  7. This really struck a chord with me Julie. While I'm on the small side myself, my daughter is tiny for her age. When other children tease her, she tells them, "Well at least I won't bang my head!"

  8. And that is the perfect response....though let's hope she never has to act on it!!

  9. lol! great story and great photos to accompany it. "the look" made me smile x

  10. Great quip - I teach a fiesty 'little' Courtney too it must be the name!

  11. My ambition was always to be 5' 2" I only needed a quarter inch more! but now I am going the other way. When we did the measuring of the grandchildren against the door post last year they insisted that I should be measured too. I am a half inch away from my target now so I am shrinking!!

  12. Hmm - getting out of the car window after a crash, may make up for needing a cushion to sit on in order to see over the steering wheel!!!
    I was teased for being tall ... I used to say that at least I'd always be able to see the sights in a crowd and it's true :o)

  13. Priceless pictures! And you know what I always say? "Tall Inside"! My Mum grew between the ages of 18 and 21 - but I didn't so I'm stuck hovering at 5'2". That's still 2 inches taller than my sister. ..

    A perfect "short story" Julie. Many thanks!

  14. Well you may be a shorty but you were the only one brave enough to go down those cellar steps in the dark so you obviously make up for missing centimetres with bravery :) and you were able to find all the low down Easter eggs in the egg hunt

  15. Great story and attitude - made me smile. My Mom is that size and points out to her grandchildren that overtaking their Grandma is no feat... and to go after their uncle (at 6'4") instead.

  16. If anyone had the temerity to mention my lack of height in my grandmother's presence, she would always retort 'there's good stuff in little packages'. And she would know, standing at just 4'11" in her stockings.
    I just love that photograph of you with attitude in your pretty dress.

  17. I know what it is like to be the short one, as I am the short one in my family - at 5'10"! I was this height at 13 and it was not fun - it can go either way I suppose.
    A great story!

  18. I love that second photo of you, even back then you were stylish with that red belt!

    Great story :)

  19. Loved your story and the photos were just brilliant:) I'm no giant, just average I suppose (I don't even know my exact height) but was either teased about freckles or my red hair when I was younger.....when you grow up you find that most people like them after all:))) strange!

  20. I love your story ... wasn't expecting the ending though. Classic!

  21. Ha, love her attitude and the surprise end to the story! I'm also glad you don't mind your height these days, I'm sure it's given you advantages at some point, though hopefully you haven't had to try it out in car crashes. x


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