Size has been a point of conversation my entire life. Mind you, it’s not a topic I’ve initiated or enjoyed. Mere dislike of a subject doesn’t keep it at bay, unfortunately.
In elementary school, I was often “volun-told” to crawl under the bathroom stall and unlock the door. Not only does my current germaphobe self think that’s gross, but who were the kids leaving doors locked? Seriously.
In later years, the struggle to find age-appropriate and stylish clothing was real. The cute jeans were always too long. The trendy ankle pants were my full-length disasters. While seemingly insignificant now, it was dangerous territory then for my conflicted heart.
My first teaching job proved more of the same. One woman referred to me as looking like one of the 5th graders. She thought that was quite comical. I did not. Though she didn’t say I was too small, she did.
“You’re cold because you don’t have any meat on your bones.”
“Be careful. It’s windy out there and you might blow away.”
“Do you shop in the children’s department?”
Well-meaning people said these things to me on numerous occasions. I usually met their comments with a half-cocked smile, and carried the weight of their words.
The sum of these words added up to one message: you’re too small. Lest you think I could forget, someone always reminded me. Sometimes-the reminder came from me.
A dangerous shift occurred when I allowed the too small message to penetrate all areas of my life. The body-shaming led to ability-shaming, which caused me to step back from my dreams. Because I felt less-than, I began settling for lesser things in all arenas of life.
When I was a child, I wanted to be a lawyer. I think I could have been a good one, but I agreed with the theme of my life and didn’t go for it. I was too small for such a big job. I love writing and speaking, but the too small message told me it was outside my ability. My skill and connections were too small.
It’s taken me more than 40 years to begin healing that line of thinking. When you believe you are too small, you behave in the same fashion. Same is true on the opposite end of the spectrum. I know people that wrestle with feeling like they are too much and make decisions from that place.
If you have sidelined yourself with a too much or too little belief, I give you permission to get back in the game. Your team needs you. You have a unique contribution this world needs.
Let’s agree to make thoughtful decisions with our words. We won’t always get it right, but goodness the effort matters. Since we can’t know how one joke or flippant statement can layer on another, let’s consider the heart of others BEFORE we let that phrase slip out of our mouth.
Everyone’s fighting an unseen battle. Be a shield, not a sword.
#MomentofTruthMonday #NoMoreShaming #LifeLessons #SpeakLife #ChooseKind