• Tiffany Renee Johnson

Shoulders Too High

Chin up. You’ve got steps to take.

Eyes forward. Looking at the prize in the distance.

Stare it down. Until your feet move.

And then keep walking

With your hands open, journey embraced.

Lower your shoulders. In your pursuit,

Move forward with elegance. With grace.

With presence that transcends present reality

And stares faith in its face.

With surety. Let your belief make you whole.

It is yours to take. To build. To reach.

To create. To do. Lower your shoulders. And know.


I was standing in the shower one day and noticed my stance. My shoulders were high, creeping into the space created for my neck and ears to occupy. Whenever I find myself standing like this, I feel far from the me I believe myself to be. I feel foreign to myself. The me that I know stands with her shoulders down, neck elongated, chin up, stride rhythmic and long like a gazelle. Hips moving inevitably about. But sometimes this other “me” tries to show herself. And I don’t know her. She feels small. She feels like she’s shrunken. So I readjust, whenever I notice. I cannot be my own stranger. I cannot afford to shrink. When my shoulders float up and try to remain, it feels synonymous with untruth. So I call myself to lower them. And walk. Exactly like the woman God made me to be. Neck long. Chin up. With somewhere to go.




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