Life Being Little

Forever a small fish in a big pond

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Moving out

"Moving out"

Well that's certainly two words I didn't think I would say... Not yet anyway, not now... and most certainly not as a university student. Growing up, the world was a scary place. And as a school girl, home was the only place I felt safe. The streets were full of bitterness, the school corridors filled with bullies... I never wanted to leave home on the weekend, not even for 10 minutes. So how is it possible for me to leave for 10 months?

This was never part of my plan! When I applied for University 18 months ago, I insisted the halls weren't for me. The commute was enough, enough to almost make me not want to go, so you're kidding yourself if you think I was gonna add any more worry to my plate. And then when year 2's application came through, again I ticked the same box. [X] Living at  Home
in the craziness of uni life, home was the only normality, the only place that wasn't challenging me, I was already out of my depth... Working full time whilst studying a BA degree at a campus 2 hours away... I was exhausted, and of course my body wasn't making this any easier. Six weeks before my final portfolio was due for year 1. When all my class mates sat frantically typing away in the library, I sat frantically in two hospital rooms, Injections, MRI scans, Physiotherapy... all these words fried my head more than any textbook could... Suddenly I was given so much more to learn about, all on top of the heavy modules I was already studying. I thought I was going to fail. In fact I had convinced myself I had. There was no way I was capable, to add a professional degree into my mix. I cried. So much. My body had disappointed me. My body was stopping me. Stopping me achieving what I thought I could...... Well at least that's what it felt like.

But to my surprise I scraped through- Then year 2 came, and again I spent another 3 months in and out of hospital rooms. It didn't feel fair. And it most certainly did not feel possible. My confidence was starting to fall, I told myself I didn't have the strength to go through the same battles again. But again, I did. And I started to realise... perhaps I was more capable than I had first thought.

So year 3 begun to creep up, and the third and final application came through... This was the final time I had to tick these boxes. This time was different to previous, the feelings were different. I was more calm. More in control. I had faced and overcome so much in the last few months, more than I ever thought I could, and because of that... the whole process felt like a breeze in comparison to what I had become used to. I didn't feel so out of my depth this time. And I also didn't tick the same boxes either.... [X] LIVING AWAY FROM HOME

Why? This question is one that I have asked myself about 100 times a day! Why? Why now? Why, just when I was in control. Just when I had overcome what I had, just when I was managing to spin all my plates... I was learning to live the life I was given, and suddenly my decision had meant it was all going to change... More learning, more juggling... More fighting all over again.

Why? Well... Because I didn't fail. Because I wasn't out of my depth. Because I was managing. Because I was capable....

In the last 18 months, I was thrown hurdles I never thought I'd jump, But I did. And it was that, which taught me that anything is possible, even if you've told yourself for 12 years that it isn't. It is. If you really want it to be. I thought it was my body stopping me... From achieving what it was I wanted, but in reality, it was my mindset of believing it did. Yes it still hurts. A lot. Everyday. But I can still do things. Things I've feared over the last year that I wouldn't be able to do. And sure things would be a hell of a lot easier if I stayed home, Safe. But if there's anything this last year has taught me is that you don't grow when you're safe. You grow when you're challenged. When you're tested. When you're doubted....When you're sat in A&E at 4am in the morning surrounded by the beeping of machines. That's when you grow.

You grow in the situations you never thought possible. You grow when you don't stick to your plan. You grow when you learn. When you spin plates.... and for me, I'll grow when I move out.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Easy, doesn't always mean happy

University is something that many people dream of, but for me it never really felt like a path I was ever going to walk. Since transitioning to secondary school in 2015 and having my whole world turned upside down.... I guess part of me has just eliminated the thought of ever experiencing another big change. But life has funny ways of working out, and after falling in love with an industry I never pictured myself in- I realised that maybe university was the way forward.

I'd like to think that since leaving secondary school and moving away from the challenges and difficulties that it faced me with, that I'd grown to be stronger, mature and even a little more resilient, but that still didn't take away the daunting feeling I was filled with during my application process. I remember my first open day- all my friends were the first to check out the bars, the clubs, the halls.... my attention however was on the simpler things, libaries, classrooms, canteens.... now don't be fooled, i'm not that much of a geek! I mean I was interested in all that of course, but I wasn't really paying attention to any of the academic stuff, instead my mind focused on door handles, light switches.... how many stairs each block had... how far each classroom was from the next.. I wanted to enjoy the process. I wanted to enjoy becoming a fresher and experiencing all things uni life would have in stall for me, but I knew what uni life had in stall would be a much bigger test than any exam I could ever sit. 

Fast forward to open day for university number four.. now this one was probably the best so far, I liked it a lot. The campus was beautiful. The course was incredible. The people seemed lovely. And all in all everything seemed in my reach. Perfect! Well.... almost..... yes everything was in touching distance but the same could not be said for the uni itself, it was quite a long way from home.... a two hour train journey in fact. It was bitter sweet. I had found the most perfect university. Somewhere I could see myself going. But I'd never been on a train before... I certainly had never travelled on my own. The transition to uni I had just about come to terms with.. but taking on the challenge of commuting just didn't seem thinkable!

University number five had everything that number four had.. the course, the campus.. and what was even better it was right on my doorstep. No trains. No commutes. I was so excited. This university experience actually seemed possible, nothing seemed as if it could be or cause a problem. Well expect for one thing.... I didn't love this one quite as much.. in fact I didn't love it at all, yeah the course seemed interesting, yeah the campus was kinda nice... but I couldn't see myself there, not really. Not like I had done before. I tried for three weeks to love it. I wanted to love it. I wanted to choose it. Because choosing it meant not having to open myself up to the world of challenges that commuting would give me. But I couldn't. 

So maybe I just wasn't cut out for university. Maybe I was right from the start when I thought of it as a path I would never walk... or maybe it was time I put my past behind me, time I took a leap out of my comfort zone... time I listened to my heart and not my body. But what would life have in store if I chose number 4?

Well there was only one way to find out.

Fast forward to now. Mid-way through second year in university that  had captured my heart from the very start. The one that in fact has made university life possible.. The last two years have  taught me a lot.. I have come to realise a lot... for example just how much of this world isn't built for someone who's almost 4ft tall! Ticket machines, automatic doors, card machines, train seats, train platforms... there's a whole world up there I've never had to venture into before. I sometimes get jealous. Jealous of my class mates, who come in at 9am feeling refreshed for morning lecture, when i'm already physically drained. Jealous of everyone who needn't give a second thought to the daily tasks that are made so daunting. Jealous that they can reach textbooks off the shelf without worrying about who they may ask for help..... I've cried a lot this year. Tears of frustration. Tiredness. Fear. Panic. But I've also laughed. A lot. Experienced a lot. Learnt a lot. And loved... a lot. Loved the new life I embarked on, the friends I gained, the memories I've made. And although some days I wonder how the heck i'm ever gonna get through. I'm grateful for the adventure. I'm grateful for everything that being a small student has taught me and everything it has built me up to overcome.

My life may have been easier had I made a different choice. But easy. Doesn't always mean happy. And happy is just what I'm making uni life to be!



What is Dwarfism?

Many people often ask what is Dwarfism? The simple answer is of course... a condition which means a person is of restricted growth. The truth however....

Dwarfism is.... 
-Being 20 years old and still the size of a six year old. 
-Knowing that even when you are 40 years old.. still you will be the size of a 6 year old. 
-Forever trying to come to terms with this 
-Being too small for adult clothes and yet too big for kids clothes.. 
-Never buying new clothes because well... It's impossible. 
-Learning to dodge rucksacks and briefcases when you're on a busy train
-Jumping off the train and hoping you land on the platform that feels 10 miles away

  -Asking, "Excuse me, can you reach this for me" everytime you enter a shop

-Sometimes leaving the shop without what you went in for because today you just don't have it in you to ask
-Flinching every time you hear the words "Mummy why is she small" and praying you hear the answer you want. 
-Learning to hold back the tears when in fact you don't hear an answer and instead watch as a parent pulls their child away from you. 
-Having 101 step stools everywhere possible in your house 

-Wanting to cry when you realise you've gone away and not taken one of those step stools
-Getting to a bar and realising you can't see over it to order your drink 

-Having to embrace the awkwardness that both you and the person serving you feels at this moment 
-Over thinking even the simplest of tasks and routines all based around what will be in your reach
-Training yourself to not need the bathroom when out because most of the time they're out of your reach anyway

-Feeling like a kid in a sweet shop when you discover something you actually can reach!

-Phoning a friend to come over because your parents are out and your dinner is on the top shelf in the fridge 
-Saying "It's ok I'll stand", When someone offers you a seat when in reality you daren't even attempt to climb onto it in public
-Realising you forgot to ask your Mum for something before she left the house and accepting you now have to go the whole day without it.
-Wondering if, I couldn't reach it, beats the my dog ate it, excuse
-Feeling like a burden when you have to ask for help with almost everything!!
-Being grateful for the friends who put up with helping you with everything!

-Escaping to the toilet in the middle of a 10 hour shift because everything hurts.
-Not knowing why everything hurts. 
-Not being able to explain why you hurt, You just hurt. 
-Trying to make baggy clothes look fashionable 
-Failing at this. 
-Hearing the word freak, weirdo, or loser on a daily basis. 
-Having to pretend like you didn't hear it 
-Having to pretend that it doesn't hurt. 
-Doubting yourself and your ability to carry out even the simplest of tasks
-Calling everything small after you because.. well... it's just what you do!😂

-Getting home from an awful day and then crying.......because you can't reach the light switch 
-Sleepless nights as you pay the price for every single move you made that day

-Going to work the next day and no one knowing of the pain from the night before
-Asking "They know the situation right?" Before you meet anyone new  because you daren't walk into a room and watch everyone's jaws drop... 
-Being afraid of a change of routine because it's taken you 6 months to adapt to managing this one
-Being jealous of your tall friends 

-Wishing you were your tall friends 
-Not really knowing how to explain any of this to your tall friends 
-Keeping your feelings hidden because crying over a light switch isn't really seen as the norm
-Wondering if anyone really understands 
-Worrying that people won't understand 
-Feeling like every hair has to be in place to make up for your obvious flaws
-Not giving a dam what you look like because let's face it... they'll laugh at you anyway
-Feeling both of these feelings at once. 
-Not really knowing how you're feeling
-Being Positive about everything 
-Wishing you didn't have to be 
-Being angry, but knowing it won't change 
-Being upset, but knowing it won't change 
-Forever imagining your life if you weren't small
-Wishing it would go away
-Wishing you were normal
-Accepting that THIS is YOUR normal

And not wanting to change any of it for the world.


Monday, 31 December 2018

2018. A year in the life....

2018... what a whirlwind! Some of the lowest lows but also the highest highs. This year has been jam packed with changes and challenges.. smiles and tears with some pain, but above all it's been packed with the most amazing memories.

From travelling around Belgium with university... celebrating another positively unique year with Little People UK.. dancing the carnival procession dressed as a pirate... producing a show!!! Two dance competitions, my first solo holiday, I hosted my first ever dwarfism social and spent my first Christmas away from home.. I achieved a first at university! Finished my first year and am now almost half way through my second. I started my third year as a Youth Worker, and my second as a Nursery Practitioner, I've laughed a lot! But have also shed tears as my body took me on an emotional roller coaster. It's fair to say that this year has definitely taught me a lot. But above everything it's taught me that whatever life throws at you, whatever challenges you face.... nothing is impossible, not even producing a show! 

It's a big and sometimes scary world out there.... but I share mine with the best people! And with all the tears and worries that this year has shown... I wouldn't have changed it for the world. 2018. You've been life changing. Now 2019... what have you got in store?😍😍

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

MY FIRST SOCIAL- New friends, New memories

Growing up, I didn't have any contact or interaction with other little people, being born into an average height family, it wasn't until the age of 10 that I really started to realise that actually there were other people like me. Then at the age of 13 my world was transformed when our life with Little People UK began. Ever since we joined LPUK, I knew that I wanted to help to bring people together. My family did a fab job in bringing me up, and I wouldn't say my childhood was hard, however It would've been a dam lot easier if I had known someone else like me. It doesn't matter how many people you have around you, sometimes when you're different, it's lonely. It's also scary.

As a child approaching my teenage years, I'd come home from school, lock myself in my room and sob. It felt as if no one understood, how could they. I was small. They weren't. So when we found support in Little People UK, I knew that one day I wanted to give back, and bring the same joy that I had been given, to other people like me.

Being a full time, working university student, means that weekends are usually spent under a textbook or behind a coffee bar trying to pay off student loans! However as Christmas approached us, in my mind there was no better time than to bring people together. As a child I loved spending Christmas weekends in Cribs Causeway, the magic of the environment, the activities, music, food and not to mention the endless shopping, I have so many memories, so what a perfect place to create some more!

But it was all very well, organising a day out.... I knew I could do that, no question. The biggest question, was would anyone come? To my relief they did.

I am so grateful to all the families that made the journey to join me and my family in Bristol for the day. I was amazed with how far some had travelled just to be a part of our day. It was so wonderful to spend time with friends before the Christmas holiday, but even more so to meet so many new friends who I hope now feel a part of our extended family.

Surreal probably doesn't even come close. 7 years ago, I was introduced into the little people community, and on this day I was the one to do that for someone else. When I sit back and think about it, it feels almost as if I now life a different life to the one I knew then. Gone are the days I lock myself in my room, gone are the attempts to bunk school, gone are the days I look in the mirror with pure dread and shame. 

Instead, I'm proud. Proud to be part of such a wonderful community, and even prouder to be able to share this community with so many other people. Being able to meet so many people, hear their experiences whilst sharing my own, was a feeling I will treasure for a long long time. 

Living with Dwarfism isn't easy. But It's made easier when you get to share it with the most beautiful people. I was truly overwhelmed with the love and joy we got to share on this day.... Hearing so many inspiring and positive stories, whilst also making them too. This fantastic group of people are made of tough stuff! And I am so excited I can now witness what the future holds for us all!❤️

ARE YOU AFFECTED BY DWARFISM? DO YOU WANT TO MEET NEW PEOPLE? DO YOU WANT US TO COME AND EXPLORE WHERE YOU LIVE? I would love to hear from you! Visit my new "Life Being Little Socials" page on my blog, and you can contact me with any enquires. 
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