If you slouch in a suit, you give the same impression as standing up straight in stained sweats. This is what I am learning. I wear suits and ties quite often. I always come across very Annie Hall even though I’m shooting for Marlene Dietrich.
But the last 48 hours, I am walking around with my head up and my shoulders back and I feel like an egotistical, attention whore. Hm. Just because I’m an inch or so taller? I see that this is deeper than weak core muscles. I identify as a self-deprecating, well-humored, tiny-tittied, bookworm. People like me are supposed to slouch. Straight spines are for hedge funders, Barbie dolls, and politicians.
On the subway, my husband told me if I asked, “Do I look like uptight? mean? weird? snooty?” one more time, he was going to stop talking to me. But I couldn’t stop thinking the whole car was staring at me. Mind you, I’m an Asian woman in a men’s suit with a mohawk. The few glances I get are likely not about my posture. But I’m so self conscious, my eyes are darting around, trying to catch a stranger’s stare. I feel like there is a long rod stuck up my ass.
Allegedly, studies have shown that good posture affects self-esteem, mood, and even memory. Sitting and standing straight has proven to have at least immediate effects on how one feels about self and their environment. We change when we hold our head up. It at first made me fear that this lifestyle change will change me…
Will I get cocky? Will I start taking control of random situations? Will it be strange when I’m hosting a Sunday Assembly and I talk about philosophy with a professorial stature instead of my more humble lean into the mic? Will I be less funny? Do I even know a comedian with good posture? Louis CK likely has worse spine issues than me, but he is so fucking funny.
[Edit: Many comedians have great posture. Do not fact check my neurosis.]
For now, the posture is not helping my self esteem, it’s making me realize how low my confidence has been and I didn’t notice. It is so weird to correct my posture, I don’t feel better about myself, I feel weird, bulky, obtrusive, and too damn serious. I went to a play and almost apologized to the row behind me, “I’m so sorry. My doctor said I have to do this. If I could, I’d totally not be in your view. I’m so sorry.”
So, this is new. Let’s see how it changes over time. Who knows, maybe in a few weeks, I’ll be taking over a corporation and signing autographs.