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16 October 2014

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By Abi Lasebikan
October 2004, Cardiff
A digital story from Capture Wales

A sizeable difference

Abi is 4'6" and her brother is 6'2" but, for her, being short is highly satisfactory.

"My brother wasn't always taller than me - honest!

I was taller than him once. As time went on though he quickly overtook me and today, I'm 4'6 and he's 6'2. So I learnt from an early age that folk aren't all the same and don't adhere to a convenient 'One size fit for all' box.

Yet people just can't seem to help commenting as if it's big news to me. "My aren't you small!"... or if they want to use a lesser word - "cute" or "petite". Nice things come in small packages you know.

Kids aren't so kind, their cries of, "hey shorty", exclaimed in loud voices followed by laughter accompanies me down the street.

Shopping is more like an aerobic workout, whose bright idea was it to put that way up there?

As for finding the right item of clothing that's the right size, Oh! the joy and relief when something that doesn't have bunnies on fits. No surprise then that I wonder what would it be like to be taller, I don't know. But I'm sure that my size is not the sum of who I am. I've experienced life on two continents, spending a wonderful childhood enjoying all the marvellous experiences that another culture provided.

I have wonderful friends and a great life. Being short hasn't stopped me doing anything I want. It's what's unique about someone that makes then interesting to know.

So let 's embrace our differences - it would be a boring place if we were all the same and if one size did indeed fit all."

Abi Lasebikan

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Nigeria and moved to the UK with my Welsh mother and brother and sister in 1983. My dad still lives and works in Nigeria. Apart from when I went to school in Ramsgate for two years and University in Ormskirk for three years I have lived in Wales ever since 1985. I have worked in Direct Sales and Marketing, in a Call Centre, and for the past five years have been working as a Civil Servant.

What is your story about?
My story looks at the height difference between me and my brother to make a light-hearted comment on the human need to box and compartmentalise people and how futile this is as everyone is different. Being 4'6", I do not fit into society's idea of 'normal' (i.e. 5'10", size 10, etc) and as so few people do fit that ideal it was a story I knew a lot of people would relate to.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
To see everyone's finished stories. It was so wonderful to see how an encouraging and supportive environment had enabled people to produce such great and powerful stories.

Your comments

"What a wonderful piece of work. I'm a fashion designer working in an environment that caters for the masses, conforms to the ideal, and uses the average as a template for all. Differences in size S, M & L goes in one direction only... girth! How can the manufacturing industry change to accommodate and embrace our differences? Plenty of food for thought here. Thanks Abi." Rachel Lasebikan, London.

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