Learning To Stand Up for Myself, Literally

Grade 2

I have never liked being tall, and for as long as I remember, I have been taller than my peers. When I was in elementary school, we would all ride our bikes up to school a few days before the new school year began to see what class we’d been assigned to join. I would throw down my banana seat bike (The Sunflower), run up the sidewalk, and press my face against the class doors. Most of my friends wanted to see if they got the favorite teacher or were in class with their friends. Not me. I wanted to know if Kyle Lucas or Laura Weismann were in my class. They were the only two kids taller than me. If they weren’t, it meant I was once again was in the dreaded spot of center top row of the class picture, a.k.a., the tallest kid in my class.

The only thing worse (in my mind) than being the “big” girl in the class photo was Cotillion. We would line up girls in one row and boys in the other and our dance partners were selected in a musical chair type of fashion. Once the music stopped, there was your partner. Typically, my partner’s head was about at chest height. As you can imagine, this was a horrifying thing for a middle school girl. It probably wasn’t much fun for him either, to be fair.

But that brings me to my other big body insecurity for me: my chest. I’ve hated my boobs since the day they happened and over time it has only gotten worse. I am now fine with being tall, and have learned to actually like it, but I hate having a large chest. If I could change one thing about my personal appearance it’d be to reduce and lift those suckers, but a fear of surgery has prevented that.

As an adult, I realize this is a high-class problem. I am not trying to complain. I also realize if you have always been the shortest person or the flattest chested girl, those situations come with their own collections of insecurities.

Note Laura Weismann in the pigtails next to me.

I tell you all this because these are the two reasons I have always struggled with (well, my confidence, but also) my posture. I can’t remember a time when my mom didn’t come up behind me, stick her thumbs between my shoulders and pull back my shoulders to make me stand taller.

Now that I am an adult, I have Megan Brown – also known as Dr. Megan Brown of Mind the Mat Studio – taking on my mother’s role.

Here is the other thing, as I get older, I notice that it is getting worse and it is leading to other problems. I went to Italy earlier this summer and I noticed that after walking for miles and miles, my back hurt. This didn’t used to be the case. Even when I sit, I am hunched over. I see elderly women walking around severely hunched over and I fear this is going to be me. I know one thing I can do to avoid it is strengthening my core. I have to tackle this now, because at age 46, it isn’t going to get any easier.

I decided to turn to Stylebook for help and accountability. If anyone can rescue me it is Dr. Megan Brown. Yes, she wants us to all be fit but that isn’t really what she is about. She wants us to all be able to use our bodies the way they were meant to move. She wants us to be able to move as we get older. And hey, I had the dreaded brand “AMA” in red letters on my medical charts when I had my son, which means if I want to see my grandkids and enjoy them, I have to take care of myself.

So here goes: how can you help me, Dr. Megan?

[Editor’s note: Dr. Megan responds in tomorrow’s Stylebook.]


  • The latest from Elizabeth
I spent the first part of my career as a copy-writer who helped elected officials brag about their support for entrepreneurs. Then I decided to get off the printed page and do it myself. The Shoe Hive made a splash on the fashion scene in Washington, and was named the region’s best shoe store in its first year. Fourteen years later, I have tripled the store’s size and also opened a sister store, The Hive. At The Hive, we offer clothing lines that are sophisticated and approachable like Rag & Bone, Tibi, Raquel Allegra, Ulla Johnson and Veronica Beard. We have tried to fill our racks with clothing you will want to wear all the time, elevated basics that are worth the investment.

Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.


The Shoe Hive                         The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street               301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
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703.548.7105                          703.548.7110

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