I am 31 years old and stand 3ft tall in height due to the fact I have diastrophic dysplaysia, a form of dwarfism. Because of my short stature, I have experienced many odd situations in life – from awkward moments to somewhat embarrassing ones.
These are just some of the awkward things I experience as a person with dwarfism…
“Does he need a high chair?”
Once I was going out on a dinner date, and the waitress asked my date if I needed a high chair before we got to our table. Needless to say, I do not.
As you can imagine, this was an embarrassing situation for me and my date – but also for our waitress, who felt really bad and apologised. I didn’t take any offence, though; in fact I had a giggle about it afterwards.
Speaking to the person I’m with, not me
When I am out with a friend or family member, people who don’t know me sometimes ask questions to the person I’m with, rather than directly to me. For example, someone might ask, ‘Does he want a drink?’ I am quite capable of speaking for myself without any trouble.
Getting spoken to like a child
Another common awkward moment for me is being spoken to like a child. Sometimes, people – especially teenagers – will say things to the effect of ‘Awww, look at him’, as if they’re feeling sorry for me being short.
In all honesty, I don’t really want people feeling sorry for me. I lead a happy life just like anyone else – the only difference is that I am a bit shorter. It doesn’t mean I am not living a good life!
Children who stare and sometimes laugh
I do come across this a lot, children who stare and laugh. To be honest, this does not upset me at all – what does upset me is the way some parents handle the situation by yelling and punishing their children.
I think there’s a better way to handle it: by simply explaining to the child who I am and educating him or her a bit more.
Ending the Awkward
If I’m honest, we all go through embarrassing situations in life, disabled or not.
I think the best way to tackle these awkward moments is to be mature about it – explain and educate those who don’t quite know what to do, so that these awkward moments can be prevented from happening again. And remember that the awkwardness comes from both sides!
I think it’s important that we as disabled people need to start spreading awareness about what it is like to have a disability, and I strongly believe that educating people through campaigns such as this is a great way of doing so.
So please remember to handle those awkward moments with respect and understanding. That way, we can all help and educate each other.
Watch our comedy shorts on how to end the awkward, made in partnership with Channel 4. And we’d love to hear your awkward stories – email us on firstname.lastname@example.org