Last night was my return to Zumba after approximately three weeks off. Trust me, I: didn’t want to go; was hoping it was cancelled; considered lying to Jay and saying it was cancelled anyway; sat in the locker room for a long time considering both my options for escape and the emotional and physical tolls of an hour of exercise while taking in deep, long breaths and, straight-backed, hands on knees, trying to take a measure of how I was really feeling. But also, trust me, I: went.
Class was pretty full for a Wednesday. The other regulars nodded over to me, distantly acknowledging my absence and and happy to find that I haven’t quit (so many have quit). Plenty of new people, too, so the back of the room is crowded. I don’t mind the second row from front, which has much more space to move around.
The dances begin, the moves feel familiar. My favorite motion is when we mimic drumming in various styles, including hand drums during the Rumba and big bass drums during some song by Pitbull. We start moving and drumming to one particular song that I am familiar with, ‘Desi Girl’ – I’ve never loved this dance as it seems a little be appropriative of Indian culture, especially when we’re jumping on one foot with our fingers pinched like some botched Bollywood dream sequence. But anyway, ‘Desi Girl’….
While we were dancing and jumping and banging on the drums, it occurred to me how much easier these moves have become. Here we were, dancing to the 8th song of the hour, and my jump still had gusto! My kicks had pizazz! And I realized – I may not have lost much weight so far, but it has been enough that already, my body is moving more easily. My muscles are responding to training, and responding well!
Could I have jumped like this 10 pounds ago? What will I be jumping like, another 10 pounds from now? And I felt so happy, so proud of my resilient, soft body and my personal commitment to betterment, and I could actually feel my muscles moving and working and it felt GOOD!
And I burst into tears, right there in the middle of ‘Desi Girl’.
Luckily, only the instructor caught it, and Laurie knows me well enough to know that I probably don’t want to talk about it, so she left me alone and I pulled myself together. It was embarrassing but it was profound – I’ve been exercising and dieting to different degrees for pretty much my whole life, and I’ve got unhealthy relationships with all kinds of foods and would love to be a slug if life would only permit. But I feel that I am on the right track – it’s slow, and in the heat of the moment it’s hard to think about the future. But something I think I’ve finally learned is that slow and steady really do win the race, and that maybe I can’t snack after 8 PM today, and maybe that bums me out, but just think… pretty soon, TWO MONTHS of not eating snacks after 8 PM will be gone like that, and the wedding will be here in no time, and I won’t regret a single one of those missed opportunities to gorge on, I don’t know, peanut butter I guess?
And my body is feeling better. My body is moving better. ‘Desi Girl’ is getting easier. I mean, talk about the payoff being worth the work, I feel like a functioning, healthy, whole human being.
If that’s not inspiration to get my butt to Zumba on the regular, well then I just don’t know what is 🙂