I’ve always had a terrible posture. I’ve always sat, stood and walked round shouldered and with my back slightly stooped. Over the years I’ve often tried to address it, making an effort to walk with a straight back, putting my shoulders back, and hold my head and neck upright, but I always end up in the same old lazy, bent slouch. It is a real shame because being slightly on the tall side, just under five foot eight, I could look quite elegant when I did make the effort to stand correctly.
I had always assumed that this poor posture was due to my years growing up, with endless hours spent slaving over a sink washing pots, bent over a cooker day after day preparing endless meals for our enormous family, long days spent washing and ironing piles of laundry or the years stood in the old stone kitchen, grooming dogs until my back and shoulders ached and drooped with exhaustion. I’d even put the blame at times on the oppression of my upbringing, the tongue lashings, the need to keep my head down and avoid trouble.
After some searching for my natural family, at the age of twenty eight I travelled to America to meet my maternal aunt for the first time. I walked across the airport lounge to meet her, where she hugged me and declared, “My God, I’d recognize you anywhere – you walk just like your father!” At this point I had not met my father since I was a baby and knew very little about him. Reuniting with him for the first time some years later, I was given a stark reminder of what my aunt had said at our first meeting, especially when I watched him walk. Videos of the two of us walking together have confirmed it beyond any doubt; our posture and the way we walk is exactly the same
This has often caused me to consider the question – Is it Nature or Nurture?