I throw my hands up in the air sometimes…
For six years, I ran at five-forty-five in the morning. Three years into the six, I added two days of sculpting classes at five-thirty in the morning. When I turned 40, I began getting lower back pain that would last for an hour after a run. I ignored it, not the best laid plan.
When I told my chiropractor that I wanted to run despite the pain, do you know what he said?
He said, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but you don’t have a runner’s build. The human body is meant to self-destruct, and running in and of itself wears the body down. You may want to try another route of exercise.”
Moving forward a month: I’m doing yoga core work, feeling stronger, walking two miles per day. I want something more. I need something more. I need to flail. I have runner’s itch, but am not a fan of perpetual ice packs and Motrin.
You know how you’re in a funk where you just don’t know what to do and you hope for a sign, some sort of direction? Enter my friend, Marie. Marie had started taking Zumba classes and was thrilled with the results. She loved it so much that she worked herself up to four classes a week and even purchased Zumba dance shoes. Well, if Marie thought that highly of it that was enough for me.
For those of you unfamiliar with Zumba, it’s a type of dance that blends Latin rhythms with dance steps. Sometimes the music is fast, sometimes it’s slow, but you’re always shaking your booty. And I mean shaking it. A few of my girlfriends were also interested, and we all signed up for a Tuesday evening class. I met my girl Wendi outside of the building where we both admitted to performance butterflies. We entered a large, spacious gym with no mirrors where 35 or so women were gathered, all ready to express themselves through dance. By the end of the first dance class, I was sure I was going to pass out. By the second class, my Zumba reservations had all but disappeared. Here’s how it went: Key music. I’m throwing my hands up in the air singing along with the song Dynamite by Taio Cruz. I’m feeling the groove. Feeling the love. My money maker is shaking up a storm. The music switches gears from Latin to African to hip hop. I’m no longer a stiff-hipped white woman. I’m a devil-may-care Latina beauty. I’m an African Queen. I’m John Travolta’s dance partner in Saturday Night Fever. Remember the Solid Gold Dancers? I’m the lead dancer! I’m the boss of hip hop ~ dare I say a pro hip hop dancer?
Yes, I dare.
I had no idea I could bust a move like this. I think I’m skinnier than I imagine myself to be because man, I’m like the wind! We’re back to me with my hands in the air saying AYO, gotta let go. Grapevine, hip thrust left, hip thrust right, hip circles and clap. Here we go, two steps up, two steps back, hip circles, clap and step and…and so it went. I caught glimpses of my friends biting their lips or sticking out their tongues in concentration. Not to compare, but they were a bit rigid. I think I had better range. After all, I did dance throughout my childhood. I felt a slight pity towards their inability to pick up the moves as quickly as I did, but hey, not everyone is an African Queen trapped in a white woman’s body.
Fast forward: I’m driving home in a satisfying sweat, the kind you get from healthy overexertion. I enter my abode in high spirits, walk to my laptop, and You Tube Dynamite so I could bust Zumba moves in front of my full length mirror. Key music, and…
Oh. My. God. Something is horribly wrong with my mirror. My mirror sucks.
I’m not seeing an African Queen or a Latina beauty. And whose ass is that? Certainly doesn’t belong to me. My hips were definitely moving ~ in a devil-may-care special needs way. Oh, how to describe: uncontrolled, spastic at times, doing the overbite thing, and sort of, but not really, in time with the music. Oh boy. I had myself on Dancing With the Stars and now I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t qualify if there was a town-wide dance contest held in the Zumba gym and three people showed up.
Yeah, so…I return for my third Zumba class thinking maybe I should tone it down a bit. Control my moves. I’m still not sure it’s great for my groove thang anyway; this is merely a trial class. Key music. Dynamite comes on. I’m overtaken by both the dance bug and my natural disposition for “more”. Suddenly it doesn’t matter to me that I’m sucking in my lips in concentration and missing every third step. We’re all too busy trying to follow the instructor to look at each other anyway. Before I know it, my hands are in the air like they’re possessed. I’m singing AYO, gotta let go.
And for the rest of the class, that’s exactly what I did.