Saturday, September 24, 2011

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me a Million Times - Chapter #76

#76 - "Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, chin up."

Just to give you some idea of how engrained in my psyche #76 is, I caught myself pulling my shoulders back, and pushing my boobs and chin out at 5:30 this morning as I stumbled back toward my bed to wait for the coffee to brew. I literally stopped myself halfway down the hall, my inner voice asking, “What the hell are you doing, SueAnn?”

At 5 feet 2 inches, mom was all about being as tall as possible which included exceptional posture, and she was determined to make me stand tall too. I suspect that she sent me to twirling camp when I was a teen because she knew they would beat exaggerated posture into me, and they did! Anyone out there that was a twirler in high school or college knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I also suspect that mom knew that a posture of shoulders out and chin up would give me a look of confidence, an invaluable quality. At a recent party, I saw one of my granddaughters standing slumped shouldered so I rushed over to pull her shoulders back and to lift her chin. “Stand up straight,” I said, feeling eerily like my mother. I suspect she was feeling a little self-conscious about her low-cut dress and was trying to hide her budding breasts. I remember being her age and trying desperately to sink what to me felt like horrifyingly gigantic basketballs sitting on my chest. I felt like a freak and that everyone was staring at me. However, after three or four twirling lessons, and a few admiring boys, I was sticking them out there so far it’s a wonder they didn’t trip someone.

When I was pregnant with my children, my posture nearly went to hell as I tended to slump everything onto the beach ball on my stomach. Then post pregnancy, I began to pull it all up again, trying unsuccessfully to disappear my persistent baby-belly. Now that I’m 60-something, I’ve convinced myself that if I don’t maintain my posture, I’ll start looking like one of those (gaud forbid) slumped over old people, and get one of those humps behind my neck, then comes the walker! Eeewwwwhhhh!

So mom was right! Stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, chin up.


  1. Oh, it was worse than you conveyed. Don't you remember having to balance a book on your head as you walked. I remember writing an essay in a graduate course in which I mentioned that my grandmother--in spite of her good education and successful career--believed that learning how to do the "Miss America walk," was the most important skill I could develop. Second to that was learning to arrange your husband's dinner on the plate so it looked appetizing and "pretty". Such a study in contrasts and, I'm not at all ashamed to say, I'm just like her. Let's hear it for #76 Jane

  2. This is the one thing that has always stayed with me - don't know if it came from my mother or from Momy. Doesn't really matter, it is one of the things that has helped me to walk with confidence. If she were still with us, I would personally thank her for this "isn" Lynda