Too short to be a flight attendant, so I became a storyteller instead

My first failed career

Let me tell you a story. I love writing, and as of now I can’t see myself doing anything else! But that hasn’t always been the case. Let me take you back to when I was 18 and just graduated from high school.

But be warned: this is not a succes story.

I’m a pro in climbing. I can jump on the kitchen counter without blinking an eyelid and reach for the soup plates on the highest shelf. I always win in a limbo contest. When shopping I can choose between the children’s or adult departments. A blouse becomes a dress and high heels are more of a practical than fashionable choice.

I enjoy being small.

Can I see your id?’
Me: ‘Are you joking?’

I’m 20 years old and standing at the checkout with a bottle of schnaps under my arm. All I have is a 20 euro note and a couple of coppers in my pocket. I give the cashier a pleading look and beg her if just this once she will make an exception. I return home empty handed.

‘Later you will take it as a compliment when someone thinks you look younger than you are.’

Being small has it’s disadvantages.

Flashforward: I’m now 22, graduated from university and thinking about where to go next. I have no specific talents, but passions in abundance. I love travelling and listening to stories of far off places. So I decide to follow in the footsteps of my parents and become a flight attendant. Without any hesitation I send my resume and cover letter to a fancy airline company. Some months later I receive a call. The friendly voice on the line proceeds to question me in three languages. I breakout in a sweat, my throat feels like sandpaper and I answer to the best of my abilities. With success, I’m through to the next round, but there’s one detail lacking.

‘How tall are you, Miss?’ 
‘1 meter and 60 centimeters.’
‘Are you sure?’

I feel trapped and finely admit that perhaps I may have exaggerated my height a bit.

I do dislike being small

I am angry. Very angry. How can a couple of inches play such a big role in my life? Until now my height was never an issue. But suddenly being small meant that I couldn’t become who I wanted to be. Angry at everything and everyone, I book a long distance trip.

Small also has its benefits.

While travelling on a vietnamese sleeper coach, a group of Canadians next to me were complaining about the skimpy beds. It didn ’t bother me. I just stretched out, closed my eyes and slept like a rose.

Later when I visited a festival with a group of friends, I was reminded again of my height.

‘ I can’t see a thing!’

A friend standing next to me came to the rescue. She suggested that I sit on her shoulders for a few songs. Before I knew it, I felt like a queen on my soft cushioned throne. I can see everything and more. Even Alex Turner’s shoes!

Being small… it gives you a great story to tell!

Later on, after a few beers, on the way back to our tent we were waylaid by a group of students who challenged us to a limbo competition.

Great! This is just up my street.

Although I have few obvious talents, I am — if I say so myself — one of the best when it comes to the Limbo dance. I won and was rewarded with a caraf of Sangria.

‘It’s so easy for you!’
Me: ‘Yes, it definately is.’

I may never become a flight attendant, but I sure love telling a story.