I wish I could say that I do really know her. Where she was born, what she enjoys doing, how she feels. If I knew her, I would tell you how old she is and maybe even her nationality. If I talked to her, met her, I could at least tell you those things and give her that small piece of human dignity.
Instead, I turned away from the carnival booth declaring “Smallest woman in the world!” and refused to pay the admittance to step behind the plywood and look upon her, or even to see if the promises were true: “You talk to her, She talks to you!”
I could only stand there and wonder how this woman’s life came to this. What circumstances could have led her to this circus of a life. When did her disability became an oddity on display. How does she feel when they peer at her, night after night, like an animal at the zoo.
And, how does she feel that I won’t look at her? That my discomfort borders on nausea.
The truth is that my shame is greater than hers. I am ashamed that I live in a society that allows her situation. I am ashamed that my community that is usually so caring, and the rodeo organizers, accepts it. I am ashamed that I can’t turn my disgust into action.
Now look who feels like the smallest woman in the world.