Dwarfism Awareness with Danielle Webb

Mastering the basics- The reality of being a little person in lockdown.

As restrictions have begun to ease over recent months- and the covid world we came to knew has begun to fade- I have taken time to reflect on the last two years. A lot has happened in my life, I graduated from my BA hons degree, published my first book, moved into my first flat, started new jobs…. all of which made harder by the climate we all found ourselves in. I learned so much about myself, but truthfully, the one thing I learned was something I thought I already knew. 

And that was how to be little. 

Let me explain. 

When lockdown began, I knew many challenges laid ahead. As I said- there I was with a degree to finish, a dissertation to write, a job which now needed to take place from home…. and all whilst being in a different country (technically) from my family. The first few days felt like a whirlwind as I’m sure it did for many, this was all new, what was I supposed to do? And how the hell was I supposed to feel? 

I tried to build myself a routine, started to find my feet but often a few days into feeling organised, I’d lose my mojo and be back to the beginning again, I guess that’s how lockdown emotions work, Somedays you feel like you have it all together, and others…. well…. you’re lost. Lost in this whirlwind of uncertainly.

For all the reasons mentioned above, I knew lockdown was going to be tough. But before I could even comprehend facing my degree. Before I even thought about opening a textbook. Before I could even think about trying to thrive in this newfound environment, we had found ourselves in… I had to learn the basics.

Moving away from home was a huge transition for me, and a hurdle that made me jump higher than I ever thought possible. I learned the full extent of what it was truly like to be small in today’s society…. or so I thought! Because lockdown- was about to reinforce that even further. For the last 7 months of living away from home, I had been blessed to live with the most supportive flatmates, surrounded by incredible support networks in the form of friends, colleagues, and tutors, who I knew should I ever need it, they’d be there.

Apart from this time they weren’t. It was just me. 

So….. how do I go about reaching the top shelves now? The jars which my hands are too small to open…… the washing basket that’s too big to lift…… for the last 7 months my coping mechanisms for all these things had been in the form of another person, a person who wasn’t there anymore. For 7 months we’d built ourselves a routine, I’d built a routine, and it felt like overnight all of that had been taken away. 

It didn’t feel fair. I was already under immense pressure, and so much was changing…. every day…… no one knew what the next day would bring. The whole world was worried, so you really think I wanted to spend even a semi-fraction of a second contemplating how I was going to open a jar?……. But this was the reality I was facing. This was the full extent of what it was like to be small in today’s somewhat slightly weird society. 

Somedays….. were easier than others….. as days passed, I started to find my feet, I found new places to put things, places I could reach with ease even if some did mean my kitchen looked a little messy. I found new routines which meant the washing basket never got too heavy. I learned how to do a one-woman cooking act… in place of the 4 people I usually have beside me. I learned how to master the basics all whilst trying to also master a degree.

And some days I kicked ass.

Other days. It kicked me. 

And that’s ok. Because with every hurdle sometimes you fall at the first one…… sometimes you fall at the 1000th one! But you get up and you try again, why? Because we don’t have any other choice. 

We have no say in the cards we are dealt, only on how we play them…. and whilst I never imagined, opening jars, reaching shelves and cooking with step stools to be part of my game, I embrace each level- have I mastered all the basics? Most likely not. 

But for now, at least. 

I think I at least stepped up a level.