When your Square Peg was a precocious tween, I used to walk around the house with a book on my head like the photo to your left. But it had nothing to do with posture. It was just the excitement of getting from one side of the room to the other without dropping the thing while my siblings cheered me on. In other words, posture? What?
I’ve been slouching since I woke up one morning and finally understood why my mom had banned me from wearing my beloved All This and Brains Too t-shirt. (The “This” part was incurring the kind of attention no mother wanted for her 11 year-old daughter. Yep, you get it.) It was almost immediate: I began to hunch over like some kind of creature. Some of it was the literal pressure on my back, some of it was the emotional confusion that came with development, some of it was the desire to hide what was suddenly the only thing people seemed to notice about me. By the time I reached college, I was basically Quasi Modo. And now? Well, I wish I could tell you that your Square Peg sits straighter, walks straighter, and no longer slouches. All lies. Those would be lies.
I have the worst posture. It doesn’t help that I sit in front of a computer all day, that sometimes I lean forward to even see the screen because I’m apparently 85 and can see nothing, that I contort my body in the kind of horrible ways that would make an aerialist from Cirque de Soleil shake her head pitiably. Throw in the fact that I was in a car accident some years ago and you have someone who does not sit or stand well.
So the other day, my mother saw me standing in kitchen, my neck in its typical hunched over position, and nearly screamed.
Ma: Why are you standing like that?
Me: Like what?
Ma: Like that. It makes you look sickly, especially with your weight loss. You look frail. Straighten up.
Of course, I knew I didn’t look frail (the absence of rice from my life has convinced my African mother that I’ve become sort sort of 80-pound weakling; we’ll discuss that in another post), but I looked at myself in the mirror and certainly agreed that my stance was terrible. And yes, with the weight loss, I did take on a kind of starving imp from Les Misérables quality. It’s surreal, isn’t it? You recognize things about yourself, you know yourself, but to turn towards a mirror and really look at these things is an entirely different animal. After all these years of telling myself to straighten up, it was kind of interesting to see the need to do so before my own eyes.
Won’t happen overnight; I’ve slouched and de-slouched about five times while writing this post. We’ll get there, though. Confidence isn’t necessarily in the shape of your back, but it helps. Onwards!