by Kassandra Lamb
Contemplating this month of February that we’ve just entered got me thinking about being the shortest or smallest in a group—a team, a classroom, a family, etc.
We humans are fairly obsessed with size, as if that’s some indicator of power and, in turn, worth. Small equals powerless equals unworthy.
Big equals better. Bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger you-know-whats…
Look at football players. Definitely bigger is better, right? Hey, it’s Super Bowl time so we’ve gotta have some football references.
(But wait, who’s that wiry little guy ducking and dodging around the big bruisers? You know, that receiver who makes a bunch of touchdowns because he’s a bit smaller and leaner, and a lot faster, than the others.)
Being the shortest/smallest one can bring on teasing, and whether it’s good-natured or mean, that teasing can leave one feeling less than and can undermine self-esteem for years to come.
Poor February is the shortest month—the runt of the year. Do you ever wonder if February feels self-conscious about it’s lack of length—inferior even. Do the other months pick on February? Do they point and make fun?
Here’s some advice I found on the Internet* for short kids who are teased by their classmates. Just for fun, let’s see if we can apply these ideas to February.
1. Ignore those bigger ones who put you down for being smaller.
Ha, I turn my back on you, January. You are so yesterday!
2. Confront those who tease you.
Hey, March, cool it with the short jokes. You’re no better than me. I may be cold and snowy, but you’re rainy and dreary, and about that wind…
3. If it gets to be too much, tell an authority figure, someone with the power to stop the teasing.
Hey, April. You may be 30 days long and the true beginning of spring. But if you don’t stop picking on me, I’m gonna tell July and August. They’re each 31 days long and they will burn you!
4. Embrace your size. (It may be that you just haven’t had your growth spurt yet.)
There’s nothing wrong with being short. (Oh, and just you wait until the next leap year!)
5. Play to your strengths.
Yes, I’m short, but I’m sweet, and a lot of fun. I’ve got the Super Bowl, Presidents’ Day (Yay, long weekend!), Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras going for me.
6. Stand tall and be confident!
That’s it February, head high, back straight!
You may be short, but for those of us who hate winter, you sure seem like the longest month of the year.
(*Loosely paraphrased from WikiHow: How to Handle Being the Smallest Person in Class.)
What are your thoughts on being the shortest, or the youngest, or in some other way, the runt of the litter? Do you have other suggestions for overcoming the message that you are less than if you’re the “runt?”
And speaking of teasing, my protagonist’s daughter is now in middle school and coping with being the youngest kid in her class, among other things. Check out this subplot in my upcoming Kate Huntington Mystery (#9), ANXIETY ATTACK.
Cover reveal today. Ta-da!
ANXIETY ATTACK, A Kate Huntington Mystery, #9
When an operative working undercover for Kate Huntington’s husband is shot, the alleged shooter turns out to be one of Kate’s psychotherapy clients, a man suffering from severe social anxiety. P.I. Skip Canfield had doubts from the beginning about this case, a complicated one of top secret projects and industrial espionage. Now one of his best operatives, and a friend, is in the hospital fighting for his life.
Tensions build when Skip learns that Kate—who’s convinced her client is innocent and too emotionally fragile to survive in prison—has been checking out leads on her own. Then a suspicious suicide brings the case to a head. Is the shooter tying up loose ends? Almost too late, Skip realizes he may be one of those loose ends, and someone seems to have no qualms about destroying his agency or getting to him through his family.
Release Date: 2/18/17 ~ Will be available for Preorder on 2/14/17!
Just $1.99 during preorder.
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
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Barb TaubFebruary 7, 2017 at 4:50 am
I was almost through college when it finally sank in—I was NEVER going to be taller than my pint-sized mother. My nine siblings, who had all passed me in height, took to patting me on the head. About that time I started to assemble my list of the advantages of being height-challenged. I could buy my shoes in the children’s department, where they were much cheaper. I could cheerfully buy the tiniest car I could find, and laugh as my long-legged siblings groaned about riding with me. But the absolute best didn’t come until airline deregulation. As the seat and especially legroom began to shrink to lilliputian proportions, I could comfortably stretch my legs, while my 6-foot-plus husband tried desperately to contort his limbs into the available space.
There is power in being small, even if just the element of surprise. They just don’t see you coming. Of course, leave it to Shakespeare to say it best: “And though she be but little, she is fierce.”
Kassandra LambFebruary 7, 2017 at 11:23 am
LOL Love your list of advantages, Barb! Especially “they don’t see you coming.” 😀
Vinnie HansenFebruary 7, 2017 at 6:09 pm
Hey, Barb, I have nine siblings, too! How about that? Which number are you?
K.B. OwenFebruary 7, 2017 at 12:08 pm
Cute post, Kass! I can’t give advice about being short…I spent most of my middle school and high school years wishing I were. (Oh, and another advantage Barb didn’t mention: short girls get asked to dance WAY more often than the tall ones).
For a while in middle school (until the boys caught up) I was teased for my height. One day I had the misfortune to wear green to class, and was dubbed The Jolly Green Giant. Never wore green to school after that.
It takes a while to get comfortable in one’s own skin, but it’s worth it!
Good luck on your release!
Vinnie HansenFebruary 7, 2017 at 6:14 pm
Yeah, Kathy, I was tall and skinny and traveled through the school years in our small town with the same crop of runty guys. I’m only five foot six, but grew up with the sense I was a tall person! After I graduated high school and left that town, I started playing volleyball and was shocked to learn I was not tall at all!
Kassandra LambFebruary 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm
That’s a good point about not wanting to be the tall girl either, especially in middle school, which I deem to be the purgatory of the earth plain. So true that it takes time to be comfortable with whatever package you’ve been blessed with!
Kassandra LambFebruary 7, 2017 at 7:27 pm
I too was 5’6″ most of my adult life, Vinnie, and I also got there before most of my classmates so I thought I was “tall.” Turned out I was more average.
Now I’ve shrunk a couple of inches in the last few years. So frustrating to have to get a stool out in order to reach a shelf I used to be able to get to without even standing on tiptoes.
MarcieFebruary 14, 2017 at 5:23 pm
My oldest daughter is very tall, is about to pass my 5 ft 4 height and she is only 12. Her little sister is very short and told me excitedly in 2nd grade, “I’m taller than one of the 1st graders!”. I’m listening to Anna Kendrick’s memoir “Scrappy Little Nobody” and she talks about being the smallest, too.
Kassandra LambFebruary 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm
I passed my mother at about that age, Marcie, but now, in my 60’s, I’ve shrunk back down to her height. I’ll bet she’s laughing her head off at me up in Heaven!
She was definitely short but scrappy.
Karen McFarlandFebruary 21, 2017 at 4:02 pm
Better late than never! lol. Cute post Kassandra! Love number 3. But since I live in Phoenix, I have a different viewpoint about February. It’s the last month we have of cooler weather. So yeah it’s too short. I don’t even want to think about July and August. They always kick my butt! It’s just too hot! But hey, I am savoring every bit of every day of this short month. 🙂
Kassandra LambFebruary 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Savor away, Karen! I understand about July and August. I’m a hot weather person but down here in Florida, even I get tired of the heat by the end of August, and then we have two more months of it before “fall” sets in.