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Four Foot Two and Proud

All right, I have two confessions to make before I start this post.

One) I totally pushed myself into this. I felt almost called to say something. After some clarifying on what a birth defect was via Twitter (thanks, DJ Moo :)), I felt like I had committed myself.

Two) I suck at blogging, writing, and this whole world of wordy creativity. I fully support it and have a Google Reader addiction, but I don’t have the knack for writing, so bear with me. 🙂

Allow me to introduce myself: I am 17 years old, a strong believer in God, and a Starbucks addict. I talk way too much and adore my friends more than anything else in this world. I work at a preschool, as well as babysitting for two of the sweetest girls in the world. One more thing: I’m just over 4 feet tall.

Mmm, you got that right. I have achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. I was officially diagnosed at 3 months, and it is just as much a part of my life as your birthmark on your forehead or her bright blue eyes. I do everything that everyone else does, just in my own way.

What has truly shaped me within my “defect”? My parents are average height. I am the only one in my entire family with this genetic disorder blessing. I walk this road alone on a day to day basis. Does it suck sometimes? Absolutely. Would I want my life any other way? Absofreakin’lutely not.

Little People of America has been the greatest support system for me. We have conferences 3 times a year – over 200 people in my district alone, as well as nationwide with over 2,000 people – that I’ve been attending since I was 3. My true second family. But 10 days out of the whole year isn’t enough to make me feel mixed in with the rest of the world.

I think the reason I pushed myself to write this was because it’s been weighing down on me lately. I am going to college in the fall, and though I’m beyond thrilled, I’m a bit scared as to how my dwarfism will hinder my college experience. I’ve battled depression, and honestly, my physical differences and incapabilities have got to be a huge source of it.

As my mom put it, “It sucks to be a teenager, you think nobody ever understands you. But to be a teenager with dwarfism – that is truly when you know people don’t understand you. It’s got to be even more impossible.”

So… yeah. It’s hard not to be able to work in the kitchen without a stool. It’s hard to be 5 minutes late to class – while you’ve got all the sympathy in the world from your teachers – because your school is so darn big. It’s hard to be stared at. It’s hard to be shrieked at because someone is truly taken aback by your height. It’s hard to be asked “how’s the weather down there?” It’s hard to be called a midget – basically the equivalent of the n-word. It’s hard to have many close friends who “get” you to a point, but will never be able to “get” that one piece of you. It’s hard to have how much you actually can do alone be underestimated. At the same time, it’s hard to have to ask someone to grab that one pint of ice cream you can’t reach because, though you’re best at shelf-climbing, it’s too risky sometimes. 🙂

But it’s what has made me stronger. I am really outgoing, and I think my dwarfism contributes to that extremely. My average-height friends have supported me in every way they can. They honestly have told me they forget I’m short. And I love that. They have seen beyond my differences.

My uniqueness is part of me, but not the whole. It has made me who I am, and I would never, ever want to change. I have more opportunities to stand up for myself. I want to educate people about dwarfism as much as possible. It’s not a “disease” that can be cured, but there are thousands of lives that hold this genetic blip that gets over-judged by everyone.

I am me. I always have been, and I always will be. I most likely won’t be growing any more. And I’m okay with that. I have learned to accept myself. I am beyond sure that God had a supreme purpose for putting me right here, right now, just as I am. I just haven’t found that purpose yet.

Thank you for listening.

I just needed to get that out… hoping to find a support system here, because the one in my ‘real world’ is slowly coming down.