Beyond Measure: A Memoir About Short Stature and Inner Growth
A touching, tender and at times funny account of a woman’s struggle for stature in a 4 foot 8 1/2 inch tall body, Beyond Measure speaks to the heart of soul-breaking attempts to fit an arbitrary and elusive cultural ideal of physical perfection. Being short isn’t the problem, Ellen Frankel insists. Instead, the real difficulties lie in the social bias against short people. Ellen shares the difficulties of living short in a world in which stereotypes are based on gender and size. She moves beyond her own experience into the political realm in revealing how pharmaceutical companies–with government backing–are expanding the market for human growth hormone treatment by reclassifying healthy short children as patients in “need” of such injections in hopes of making them taller. She shares the dilemma of being subjected to simultaneous messages that her physical body should be bigger–that is, taller, but not wider–while her expansive spiritual body should be smaller. As a result of too much attention on the external rather than the internal workings of the soul, Ellen flirts with eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with powerful males in an attempt to compensate for her feelings of not “measuring up.” In the process, her real self slips farther away. The path out of her dilemma lies in the shadow of the tallest mountain on Earth. It is through a spiritual pilgrimmage to Nepal that Ellen discovers her own strength and spirit, and that we are all dwarfed by Everest and beyond measure.