It’s funny when you look through old photographs and see the person you were years ago. Through the decades you see the different hairstyles different boyfriends and the different fashions. You can laugh at that yellow top (Yellow?? with your complexion??) Those bright orange dungarees (that you called ‘dungas’) and the various home knitted (with love) jumpers. At university the clothes I wore really bear no relation to the person I am now. I’m not saying I dressed like a ‘working girl’ but I did have a few low cut tops that showed my, mostly okay, cleavage. I never really wore shorts skirts and high heels but I did, like others my age on a Saturday night in Bar Med or Brannigans, put on my uplifting bra and made my top half something to focus on. But as the years roll past the focus changes and the boobs that were shamelessly used to attract like a peacock and sometimes flashed at strangers (oh yes, I did) took on new meaning and new directions…
I worked in a Catholic School and covered up, got married and stayed covered up even on the weekends. I was loved for the whole of my body and mind and not just for the 2 things pointing out from my chest. The balcony bras didn’t come out so often and I learned to feel amazing wearing the most amount of clothes I had ever worn. I had a baby, breastfed and carried him round which all took its toll and looking back as I never realised it then but my shoulders became more rounded to naturally, instinctively, protect my baby. Pushing a pram out in front made me stoop to check that he was okay and slowly, very slowly the boobs began to disappear.
Years later and after 2 more babies my back really started to hurt. I found out that I don’t actually have a back problem as such but I do have muscle weakness from 3 pregnancies, 3 births and carrying the boys around. I had a fantastic posture after playing the ‘cello for years and having a father who always said ‘pull your shoulders back!’ whenever I slouched but now I was the parent and you tend to forget yourself a bit when that happens. Lying in bed hurt, carrying Tobes around on my hips hurt and the only cure is exercise as this strengthens the muscles which, in turn, supports my back.
I’ve started running again and although I’m finding it tough I know I’ll love it in a few weeks. I used to run lots when I was younger but this has been forgotten after the years of sleepless nights, toddlers who needed chasing and entertaining and the lives of 3 little boys that overtook everything. The boys are older now and there is beginning to be more space available in the day. Time that was taken up with nappies, feeding and sleeping (them and us) now gives me time to do something for myself so one of the things I now do is have a horse riding lesson each week. I’ve mentioned this before in my blog in that I’m never going to be a competitive rider but the freedom I feel when I ride and the excitement of the anticipation of my lesson gives me time to be well…me again for ½ an hour each week. But riding has brought out the problem of the boobs again…
Whilst riding today my teacher (a tough talking Yorkshire woman) kept saying ‘rib cage out, shoulder blades together!’ and as I mentally pictured this it suddenly occurred to me that she was asking me to basically stick my boobs out. When I said this she giggled and said ‘yes, you need to stick your boobs out!’
Well I tried.
And then I tried again.
But it felt odd in a ‘that feels a bit strange like I’m trying to show off my boobs’ kind of way.
I got home and looked at myself in a full length mirror and saw for the first time that I rounded my shoulders and hunched my back which caused me to stoop a little. So I pulled my shoulders back, pushed my ribcage out and my head naturally went up towards the ceiling. I’d grown 2 inches in 3 seconds and looked much better. All the rest of today I have tried to walk taller and it’s actually been pretty difficult. My natural posture now is to stoop over and I think I need to change that. I need to check myself and alter my posture whenever and wherever I find I’m slouching. The boobs need to come out again but this time for a different purpose. They don’t need to be in a fancy uplifting bra displayed for all to see in a lacy top (much though my husband would like them to be) but I need to remember that they do need to be out front because this means that I’m standing properly and this is so much better for my back.
So if you see a woman looking a little odd at reflections of herself in windows trying to stand taller and altering her posture this week it could just be me. You may smirk a little looking at me, and linger just a couple of minutes to see if I manage to get it right but if you want to, and aren’t too embarrassed too, I really don’t mind if you feel the need to shout across the street ‘…just stick out your boobs Emma!’ I won’t be offended and I may even smile a little…
My thanks to Mrs B (the younger) for not minding me using this photo of us. It always makes me smile xx