One morning on our honeymoon, as we walked to the restaurant area for breakfast, a woman eating with her husband stopped me.

“Are you a dancer?” she asked.

I couldn’t help it — I burst out laughing.

“No, I have the grace of an elephant, but thank you!!” I said. “Why do you ask?”

The woman proceeded to compliment me on, of all things, my posture. (Which surprised me because she is not the first person to ask me if I’m a dancer — people sometimes think it because when I walk, my feet turn out instead of point forward.)

Without even realizing it was true, I told her, “It’s because of this girl I knew in junior high.”

This girl had the most incredible posture you’ve ever seen in your life, especially on an eighth grader. She walked with her shoulders back and her head high. She exuded confidence, and I admired that trait so very much — so much so that I started to emulate her. I found myself walking with my head up more often. I didn’t slouch as much. I kept my shoulders back. Eventually, it stopped being something I had to think about. It started to come naturally. Today, it is the position I find most comfortable.

The junior high girl was never a friend of mine. We were acquaintances through high school, and we had some mutual friends, but this wasn’t a girl who slept over my house or whose mom made me lemonade. And yet, as little as I knew her, I always had this image of her in my mind — that of a confident, intelligent, self-assured person.

And I wanted those traits.

Apparently, it has also make me look like a dancer. Which I am not. I actually dance like this.

Don’t hate, you know you probably do, too.

Anywho. In the past, I’ve made note of plenty of people who are largely responsible for traits about myself: There was the first love who told a pre-teen me how beautiful and wonderful she was all the time, at a time in life when I could have considered myself fat, ugly and stupid. There is the autistic brother who has utterly altered the way I view religion and God. The high school journalism teacher who is the reason I majored in journalism. The lesbian acquaintance who was the first to make me see, “Oh. A gay relationship is exactly like a straight one. Got it.”

But the redhead with good posture who is the reason I walk with my shoulders back and head high? That’s one I never saw coming.

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