This story is part of a series on body neutrality, where we shine the spotlight on five women on the journey towards self-acceptance.
Cheryl Regina Lim, 32, stands at 147cm.
“I’d already noticed that I was smaller than my peers when I was in primary school – I was always in the front whether in a line-up or a class photo. But it was only when there were fewer and fewer friends that were around the same height as me that I really started feeling like an oddball. At the age of 12, I stood at 121cm, and by the time I was 15, my height plateaued.
I struggled the most with my height in my teenage years – I was always picked last for games and activities in school. As a result, I felt like I wasn’t good enough for a lot of things. I chugged glasses of milk daily thinking it would help me grow taller. And because people would ‘baby’ me as I was small in stature, I’d grow out my hair and dress in more adult- like clothes in a bid to look older. I’d also ask my mum to buy m eas many pairs of heels and platform shoes as possible so that I could dress in a more mature fashion.
The lowest point was when I started using my size as an excuse. I would say that I wasn’t able to do Cheryl Regina Lim, 32, stands at 147cm things because of it. It took me a long time to learn that I can do whatever that I set my mind to, no matter my body shape or size – apart from reaching for things on a high shelf, ha ha!
I started by thinking about what I was truly unhappy about, and listing out things that my body allows me to do – I practise Muay Thai and Crossfit. I also thought about what I can do to help myself if my height is a challenge to getting something done. The thing is, a lot of things can be solved by asking for a hand. Yes, it may feel awkward or uncomfortable, but after a few tries, it really isn’t that bad.
A lot of how we see and feel about our bodies is influenced by the material we consume, and I suggest unfollowing social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. I can safely say that I am comfortable with my body now. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, though, and on days when I feel negative, I allow my feelings to come and go, and not beat myself up.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Vee Chin
STYLING Debby Kwong
ART DIRECTION Adeline Eng
HAIR Ann Lin
MAKEUP Lolent Lee & Eunice Wong
This story first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Her World.