Friday, February 6, 2015

Standing up straight has stirred up old insecurities.

I've been having painful shoulder problems.  Enough so that it is affecting my exercise routine.  So I finally went to the doctor.  Who sent me to a physical therapist.  

Who told me that I need to stand up straight.  

Learning to stand up straight after 40+ years of slouching is a painful proposition.  And it got me wondering why I started to slouch in the first place. 

Oh, yeah.  Breasts.  

I was the first to develop breasts in my 6th grade class.  That kind of attention was horrifying to a shy wallflower.  

So I started to slouch to hide them. 

And have continued to slouch.  I wanted to be respected for my intellect. In my mind that meant denying I have breasts.  

At my age, I don't particularly care what people think about my looks.  

Or thought I didn't care.  Until I looked at myself in the mirror as I was checking my posture.  

Breasts, boobs, whatever you want to call them.  Sticking out farther than I am comfortable with. 

A lot of the old insecurities came rushing back.  Fear that I would be cat-called again.  Dread that I wouldn't be looked in the eye.  That I would be considered a dumb bimbo.  

Which is stupid.  Because the people I work with, my friends, all know I am smart. 

I realized that the behavior of unknown "others" isn't my problem.  My fear and reaction is my problem.  And I can control that. 

And I need to stand up straight. 

So I am going to be a grown-up and stand up straight.  

Because I am not a 12-year-old wallflower any more.  

I'm a grown-up. 


  1. Ooh, I have the same issue! It's not because of boobs, but because of childhood abuse. Friends call it my "please don't hit me"-stance. It's amazing how a simple act like standing up straight can have such a huge psychological effect to make you feel so exposed!
    Did the doctor give you any exercises to do? I find that after all those years of slouching, my back is just too week to support me standing up straight 100% of the time...

    1. Lots of exercises. I've only started with a few, since it's been painful. My body is objecting to being corrected. Mostly it's pinching my shoulder blades together, and sucking my stomach in.

    2. The other thing that's been helping is posting notes all over the house reminding me to stand up straight. I really do straighten up when I see them.

      It gets easier after time, but it's a slow process.