Real Life

I’m shorter than a two-year-old

Devoted auntie Renata oarsters loves nothing more than doting on her two-year-old nephews. But unlike most aunties, standing at a tiny 83cm, Renata (21) has to tip-toe to see eye-to-eye with the boisterous toddlers.

The young boys adore their auntie – a playmate who’s the same size – and they don’t mind that she’s different from the rest of the grown-ups.

“of course they ask questions about why I’m so tiny,” Renata says. “I just tell them I was born this way. God made me different and unique and they completely understand.”

The Whangarei woman says her uniqueness has made her deeply connected to her spiritual side, which drew her to the religion of Wicca, which follows mother nature and witchcraft. This makes Renata one of the world’s tiniest witches.

“I call myself a creature of mother nature. There are bad witches and good witches. I’m a good witch,” she says.

Renata was born with Pseudoachondroplasia, a rare form of dwarfism in which an adult’s height peaks at 1.3m. Because she was born a normal height and weight, Renata’s parents didn’t realise she was different until she stopped growing at age three.

“Although there have been challenges while growing up, I wouldn’t change anything about me. This is just who I am,” she says.

Renata may be tiny in stature, but she has a huge personality. Her family and friends taught her to be confident and act like she’s six feet tall, despite being gawked at by strangers which, at times, she says makes her feel like she’s being stalked by “the paparazzi”.

Renata recently celebrated her 21st birthday. She says she has achieved so much in her young life – living by herself in a small flat, driving a modified car and using specially designed steps to help her cook.

“I didn’t think I would be where I am today. I thought I’d be still living at home. But I’m just like everyone else. I like to party, I get tattoos – I know how to have a good time. I’m living the dream.”

But it’s her devotion to her religion and being a witch that keeps her grounded. “I always knew there was something different about me as a person.

I had this spiritual connection,” says Renata, who has a black cat tattooed on her arm. “I knew this was my path. I chose it and I’m sticking to it, because it’s me.”

Renata is in the process of learning how to do spells. She currently reads oracle cards for friends, giving them guidance.

“It’s not like, ‘Abracadabra!’ You’ve got to know what you’re doing. My motto is that when you believe, you will receive.”

She says that her intuition has allowed her to predict friends getting pregnant and friends being in car accidents. For Renata, being a witch means being in touch with mother nature, and she says it’s that close connection that makes her strive to have her own children one day.

“I have mothered people since I can remember. It’s something I was born to do.”

Renata has always had people tell her she can’t do things because of her size, and those negative comments have only made her more determined to succeed. She wants to prove wrong those who say she can’t conceive and give birth naturally.

“I’m going to do everything every normal person does. I want to be a mum and I will become one someday.”

But Renata says her main purpose in life is to change people’s perspectives on how they see someone like herself and teach people to be more tolerant.

“I’ve had to change a lot about myself for other people, but I have truly found myself and discovered who I am,” she says. “I’m happy this way and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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