I’m not the tiniest, but I’m not a big girl. This isn’t a play on my questionable maturity level, but rather, commentary on my size and my SIZE only. I’m about 5’4 and 105 pounds. I’ve always been the small one in a group, short and stick-like. My legs really did look like chicken legs for the majority of my childhood. Quarantine has helped these chicken legs thicken up (not in a cute way, just in a way). I have long, orangutan arms that reach far, but could probably be snapped like twigs. My fingers are long, and bent, and creepy. So are my toes. I’ve been told I have my grandfather’s toes, but I’ve also been stepped on by my 1000 pound horse, at least a 1000 times.
It may sound like I’m being critical of myself, but I’m not, just honest. I like myself, and my elongated limbs, and broken extremities. The broken parts remind me of Star, and wow, do I love being reminded of Star. Every twisted finger and smushed/jammed up toe reminds me of my girl. I wouldn’t change that for the world.
But as much as I love being tiny, there’s a part of me that has always wanted to be big. Not big as in tall, or big as in chubby. But big in presence, big in life, big in personality.
I used to think that to be big, I had to fight to prove it. I have two distinct memories that immediately come to mind.
Once in about 8th grade, TINY Ashley (70 pound Ashley), got tired of listening to a school bully pick on another student. I was definitely the underdog in the situation. Nonetheless, I looked him dead in the eye and told him to meet me behind the school after class ended. He never showed. I was big that day.
A few years later, I was at a concert with my mom, my high school boyfriend, a couple aunts and some other friends. A bunch of boys in front of us started climbing on each other’s shoulders, blocking our view, and acting like idiots. Eventually one fell, and hit my mom on accident on the way down, then had the audacity to insult her in front of me. Before I knew it, my (flat) chest was puffed up, my pointer finger was jamming that boy in his chest, and I was screaming at him to “hit me, just hit me, he’d only get one shot.” Turns out he was more of a gentleman than he let on and apparently hitting a girl was beyond his threshold of shittiness. I was big that day.
To me, big has always equated to defensive, to loud, to opinionated, to “impossible to ignore.” Big has always meant defending my loved ones with all of my being. Big has always been being the biggest personality in the room; whether it be by being the loudest, the funniest, or the smartest, I’d always striving for at least one.
So this “tiny” girl owns a big ass truck – Fiona F-150. There’s something empowering about being a hoss on the road. You can’t miss me, or her. No blind spots with us on the road. We sit up high, overlooking everything, and just take up SPACE.
You know what they say about big trucks.. it’s a complex complex.
Big is more than size, and as I have aged, I’ve learned big shows itself in other ways:
Big is not always being the loudest in the room, and sometimes, big is just not saying anything at all. There is nothing more unsettling to someone else than offering no explanation, no reasoning, especially when they want one they haven’t earned. Big means understanding that sometimes no explanation is necessary, and that some people, don’t deserve to understand you. You don’t have to understand them either.
Big isn’t outwitting or outdoing other people. You don’t have to be the smartest in the room, have the best stories, tell the funniest jokes, or have the quickest tongue. Big is being comfortable in silence, finding enough wherewithal within yourself to be okay with just being you. Big is laughing when other people tell funny jokes, and hearing friend’s stories and actually listening. Big is being you, not projecting you onto everyone else.
Big doesn’t equate with bragging, with show-casing, or with gossiping. Big doesn’t mean you are never wrong or that you never speak out of turn. Big doesn’t mean you never make mistakes. Big definitely doesn’t mean being mean, and hurtful, and using violence. However; big does mean owning your mistakes, apologizing when you need to, and being honest with yourself and others. Big is being kind to others, but also being kind to yourself.
But big also doesn’t equate to being liked by everyone.
It has taken me a long time to learn, some people are just not going to like you. No matter how hard you try, no matter what favors you do, no matter how sweet you are, they just won’t. People will tell you it’s jealousy because of what you have or what you’ve accomplished or it’s because they are insecure, but I’m not sold.
I’m just not sure that’s true. Honestly, I think it is much more simple than that. I think, sometimes, people just don’t mesh. Sometimes, it’s just you, as the human-being that you are, that they hate… and that is okay.
Learning to be okay with that is big. I’m learning to be okay with not being liked. I will always try to be friendly and respectful, but I won’t change who I am, how I feel, how I look, what I think, just to be liked by someone else.
I am who I am. Not the smallest in the room, but not the biggest in the room either. Sometimes loud, but working hard to practice quietness. Sometimes fairly intelligent, sometimes wildly outsmarted. Defensive, but always well meaning. Kind to others, but also kind to myself.
I’m the tiny girl, in the big-ass truck, taking up space, but only the space I am appreciated and wanted in and only in the spaces I choose. I am big.
Sunny daze ahead, friends. Be big. 💕