Photo credit: Kelly.a.Lee via flickr.

[Yes, I realize “posturizing” isn’t a word. Or, it wasn’t until just now. I have purposely typed it into existence. Work with me people.]

I have quite decided that I am no longer happy with approving of my own posture. Like much of me… it is not what it once was.

There is a tradition each January at
Rift Valley Academy for the juniors and seniors of the high school. It’s called “Interim”; at least it was titled as such many moons ago when I was in attendance there. Students are given the choice of various week-long trips, adventures or learning experiences: Photography Safari, Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Aviation, Motorcycle Safari, Reef Ecology, Lamu… and the list goes on. Always drawn to the ocean, I chose the Scuba Safari. Both years. During my junior year I earned my basic PADI license and the following year, as a senior, I upgraded that to an advanced license. In retrospect I should have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro while I had the chance. Ah, youth.

Like me, my mother the farm girl, was quite the tomboy. There were no lessons in my house on proper make-up application or how to walk in high heels. I certainly didn’t walk around with a book on my head and I didn’t grow up with her voice nagging, “Stand up straight!” in the back of my brain. It was in
Mombasa during my first scuba excursion that I remember my posture first being a topic of interest.

The sound of the ocean has always seduced me. I love to be lulled to sleep by the waves lapping or crashing on the shore. And I, the single most non-morning person of my own acquaintance, love the ocean sunrise. Mombasa is the one place on earth where I have been known to rise, without the aid of an alarm, before the sun. I would wash my face, brush my enviously awesome hair (Can one envy their own hair?), don a swimsuit, throw a wrap around my waste and take a few steps to the beach where I would walk the shore alone while the rest of my world, save a few fisherman in their dhows on the horizon, slept. It was in these moments, now lost to memory, where I felt completely in tune with nature, with God and with myself.

Unbeknownst to me, my Mombasa morning routine had not gone unnoticed that first year of Scuba Safari. Our teacher, chaperone and friend that came on that particular excursion was a habitual early riser and he captured me on video one morning as I walked. As we neared the end of our week on the coast he gathered us all into the living area of the guest house where we slept and showed a video presentation of the highlights of our week. In it was a shot of me walking at the edge of the shore while looking at the horizon, the waves at my ankles and the morning sun reflecting off the glassy surface of the Indian Ocean. I remember gasping, a little bit embarrassed, before one of the senior girls with whom I was not very close commented on how she thought I had the best posture of anyone she knew… and the conversation spiraled from there.

True, I was a natural athlete growing up… playing basketball, field hockey and running track; but conscious thought about my posture was nonexistent. There was no need to remind myself every moment of every day to stand tall or sit up straight.

I want to regain that posture… that poise. I know, if I can reach the point where good posture is habitual natural again, that I will look better (God, I miss my old young body.) and, more importantly, feel better about me. So, if you happen to walk by and hear me whispering something along the lines of “Sit up, damn it”… please know the comment is directed squarely at myself. If your posture needs correcting then I’ll leave that to your mother.

“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” ~Morihei Ueshiba


  1. Funny, my posture was always bad as a kid. It is only recently, as an adult, that is had gotten better. I do still have to remind myself when sitting at the computer though.

    I suggest Yoga for a start. It helps with both the body and mind aspects.

  2. In a similar vein to Finn's comment, my posture was horrible during my teenage years. It got slightly better once I made a conscious effort to correct it two or so years ago. And now, I wouldn't go so far as saying it was perfect but it's gotten REALLY good over the past 4 months. What happened? I joined a gym and, for the first time ever, I stuck at it.

    You might want to consider that (again), Bethe. If joining a gym is not an option at the moment, there are other ways one could get their daily dose of exercise. e.g. Pilates DVDs, jogging, swimming...


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