Watch this video before reading this post: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=785715
Joe Roach said it best when describing his memory of attending his first LPA convention, “It’s quiet shocking because you see yourself for the first time. You have an image of what you kind of look like and it’s not realistic.” Walking into every convention you must have an open mind. What you are about to walk into is a mirror maze. There is one week a year where everyone surrounding you resembles you. They have gone through the same growing pains as you. To me it’s a reminder that I am different. It takes me a little while to become myself during a convention. I am THAT kid in the corner, acting shy having people come up to me. My mentality in life has been that I am no different, I have a normal life.
Two thousand and nine was my last Little Person Convention. Before that though I have only been to 2 in the past 10 years. My reasons are a “little” personal and a little bit to do with inconvenience. Both very lame excuses. My grandparents have been the biggest influence when it comes to pushing me to be involved and to put myself out there. They took me to my first LPA convention and helped host the very first one in New Hampshire. They received the newsletters and kept me informed on other little people making an impact in the world. Through hockey, school and just my lifestyle put the conventions near the bottom of the list of things to do. I was living a life being perfectly content with who I was.
Growing up in New Hampshire you don’t really experience much culture shock. I attended high school with another Little Person, James Puchacz a person that during difficult times I could go to. Other than seeing him you don’t see any more little people. My friends are a blessing and my family is the greatest support system anyone could ever ask for. I have been fortunate to network with some pretty amazing people who respect me in a way that looks beyond the height. Never have I felt like I have been used or treated any differently. My parent’s raised me and disciplined me the same as my two brothers and one sister. Rarely does a night go by where I break down because I am different. Reminders do happen though every once and a while and I become culture shocked, I don’t know why. I guess from a psychological view it can be normal. But to me it seems like it’s not because of the great respect I have received from the environment around me.
It now leads me to my future. Will I always be perceived as this? Will I always find life to be as normal as it is now? Will making friends be as easy in the future? Will I one day find a wife, will she be a little person or of average size? Fortunately I do think about these questions all the time. Right now I am just going ride this roller coaster called life. I have found so many people who love me for me, even a woman who I am so appreciative of. When I look in the mirror, I see a smile. I see a smile than a frohawk than an open mind and finally a heart full of love and memories with the people who have impacted me the most. Attending conventions I see a dwarf who become self conscious at first. I hope to look past that someday and see the kid I see back home. I want to become involved in the LPA, for it’s a part of me. As for right now I just want to stay appreciative. I promise you that I will never change, I hope you won’t change either.