How do you feel completely 1
Janina Nagel, when do you feel disadvantaged?
"I sometimes have the feeling that others are taking me less seriously. Maybe because we are not on an equal footing," says the 28-year-old about her everyday life in a world in which everything is geared towards "normal-sized" people. There are hurdles for Janina Nagel every day, for example in the supermarket: Currently, shopping carts are compulsory in many shops in order to maintain an overview of the number of customers. "The sense is cool anyway. Only, for me it is extremely exhausting to navigate a shopping cart through the store." That would not infrequently meet with incomprehension: "Many still associate a classic disability with a wheelchair." Accessibility is an omnipresent topic even for smaller people: inaccessible shelves in the store, ATMs, door handles and light switches that are too high - the next stumbling block is never far. But because Janina often has no strength (or no longer) to educate people, she usually ends up using the Wagerl.
The German measures 1.30 meters and is therefore considered to be of short stature. However, "short stature" is not a diagnosis of its own, but always the result of an illness. There are hundreds of different short stature forms. Janina's is genetic achondroplasia. Arms and legs are greatly shortened.
Janina grew up in a town of 13,000 people in Bavaria. Like many people with disabilities, she did not experience the exclusion as a child, but only later as a teenager: "Everyone in my hometown knew me." Her mother was a teacher there, and she herself was always present: "I wasn't looked at! Besides, I was always very extroverted, and after a day or two I got hooked up everywhere." If a stupid saying did occur, the Franconian countered quick-witted ... or could rely on her older sister.
Confident, quick-witted - and still excluded
Later, the fitness influencer had to change schools because of bullying: "I felt terribly weak. You are at that moment too." Her parents suffered almost more than she did: "I gradually learned from it. You grow into it. I had no problem. This situation wasn't my Error!"
A characteristic statement for Janina. In all of their words there is an incredible forbearance and patience for those around them. She always believes in the good. That is probably also the reason why she moved "head over heels" to her first boyfriend in Heidelberg after graduating from high school. The relationship didn't last. However, the separation led them to Berlin. A kind of liberation, as she says today: "Berlin is a protective shield. In the big city I'm not the only weird bird on the S-Bahn," she laughs.
Nevertheless, even in the German capital, crooked looks and disparaging comments were inevitable. "But I don't see it that critical," says Janina. People are simply ignorant: "People believe, for example indeed, that 'Lilliputians' is the correct expression and pass this information on to their children as a matter of course - next to me. "On good days, Janina gently steps between them. She wants to enlighten. Friendly, but determined.
In general, the 28-year-old would wish that people would be more open, that they would question the common ideals of society: "Different is not always bad!" Often she does not understand this "false sense of shame" of her fellow human beings. That is why Janina is all the more pleased about parents who encourage their offspring to ask her directly if they want to know something about their height.
So maybe the step to influencer (and thus into the public) was simply a logical one. Even if it happened "not at all structured". Janina marked a bikini fire on one of her pictures. The company then shared the photo on their channel. "My picture got three times more likes than the other postings of the brand!" The feedback was incredibly positive. "Finally a normal body!" From this their first cooperation developed, which continues to this day.
Since then, many "normal" parents of small children have reported to sports enthusiasts on social media. "There are hardly any entries on the Internet and it is ultra heavy, to make private contact with other small people. "Your account gives a lot of courage:" That also aroused my motivation. I can really support people, step by step. That's why I want to show more authenticity! "Because Instagram is so anonymous, it is not difficult for her to be constantly present:" Live, I would hardly hold monologues in front of thousands of people, "grins Janina.
Would she still like to be bigger sometimes? "As a child I had pretty crooked legs. When they were corrected surgically, the doctors carried out an extension at the same time. I am very grateful to my parents for this decision!" Later she partly thought of going under the knife again. One of the reasons for this would have been negative dating experiences: "An affair, for example, once said to me that he would want a woman of normal height for life." Thoughts of wanting to change something or to fit better into the picture are only natural. "At some point I checked that I wasn't even for me wants to be bigger. I accept me as I am! "
Today she lives with a "normal" partner after two relationships with short men. "At first I was skeptical about my current boyfriend!" But it was only through him that she would have noticed how unimportant the external circumstances are when you are in love: "I also needed it myself. My ex-friends always said 'Oh sweet, two found each other!' Why do you think so? Just because two people wear glasses doesn't mean they are made for each other. "
"There are people of short stature who are politically active, people of short stature who like to cook, people of short stature who like to lift weights," Janina wants to convey. She wants a society in which we not only tolerate and accept each other, but above all respect. There should be no place for exclusion and hatred. Diversity should be used as an opportunity. And differences are finally celebrated. Most notably. Absolutely normal.
The Federal Association of Short People and Their Families (BKMF) has been representing the interests of people with stunted growth since 1988, of whom around 3,500 affected and relatives with a total of 90 different forms of short stature are currently organized in our association. He strives both to ensure the best possible medical care and to psychosocial strengthening of small people, to integrate them into society and to break down prejudices.
For more information, go to the Austrian site HERE.
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