A couple weeks ago I realized that I have a tendency to roll my shoulders inwards and sort of hunch over a bit. As you can imagine, this causes a bit of back pain. So, I vowed to pay attention to my posture and try to change it. I always try to keep my spine straight but I never thought about my shoulders.
Over the next couple of days I focused on my shoulders and tried to figure out why I keep doing this. It did not take me long to come to the conclusion this is because I feel like keeping my shoulders back has the same effect as me thrusting my chest out - and this made me feel very uncomfortable.
Then I asked myself, why? Why am I so uncomfortable with holding my shoulders back because it pushes my chest out a bit? I measured the difference - it's less than an inch. I doubt anyone actually notices that difference, but the change in posture certainly is noticeable. Shoulders back makes a difference. Chest out, not so much.
So why am I still so self-conscious about it? The feminist in me wants to blame society and the patriarchy making me feel like I should hide the obvious signs of my femininity. Part of me wants to say it is society making me feel badly about having larger-than-average breasts. Another part thinks it is society making me feel like I should be smaller - after all, rolling inwards makes one appear smaller.
No matter the reason, this disturbs me. I want this to change.
A part of changing this is getting a bra that fits properly. Not all women wear bras - and there is nothing wrong with that. Personally, I feel physically uncomfortable without one (again, larger-than-average breasts). A friend of mine who underwent breast reduction surgery (they removed 5 lbs from each of her breasts and she could not be happier about it) told me that a proper fitting bra will make a world of a difference. I always thought I had the proper size; I got measured, I asked if that was the right fit, and so on. It turns out they were very, very wrong. So, step one was to get a properly fitting bra.
Just wearing the right bra has made a difference. Even without making a conscious effort, I found my posture improved and my shoulders were back more, chest out. Even more so, it feels good. This brought me to the conclusion the right bra is like armour.
The other part I need to do is focus on keeping my shoulders back and chest out. I need to accept that this is who I am, how I am, and to be proud of it. This will be the real challenge - and why I feel like the proper bra is armour. It offers protection against feelings of inadequacy based on this particular part of my anatomy. I am not walking around shoving my breasts in people's faces, nor am I trying to draw attention to them. With my chest pushed out as far as I can, it just makes me look taller, more confident, and prouder. The uncomfortable nature of this behaviour raises a lot of questions for me, the most prevalent being, why?
As I run out of things to say on this topic, I flash back to my old riding instructor yelling, "Thrust your bust, woman, thrust your bust!"