I have attempted to blog again and again over the past week. I don't know that I would call it writer's block, but I would say that I have been experiencing difficulty deciding which topic to write about. I've been inspired to write about a few things, but to write about them all would result in a very lengthy post and I doubt most of you would finish it! So the topic I decided upon was Zumba. Sunday I got a CD one of my friends, who is a Zumba instructor, gave me and attempted to do the routines as if I were teaching a class. It was quite a bit crowded in my bedroom (in the top five attributes of must-haves for future house endeavors: studio/workout room), but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I surprised the heck out of myself with my ability to remember routines and not just that, but I was able to supplement and adapt some of the parts I couldn't remember. I've been on and off nervous about the Zumba certification coming up, but mostly I'm nervous about the drive down there. I worry that I won't wake up in time to get there in time and that I might get lost. The training part should be fun. Several hours of Zumba is a super fun way to get an awesome workout! :D I'm actually quite excited about that! And the calorie burn will be amazing! I may plan on having a treat when I get home that night.... ;) Monday night I planned on doing speed work on the treadmill, but I kept balking at the thought so I opted to go home and do some more Zumba! This time I scoured the internet for some Zumba videos I'd come across before that I decided to learn. I even found one that an old Zumba instructor made awhile back and that I've really been wanting to do. Other instructors have since used the song, but don't use the same routine, so I'm excited to add that to my list. The pleasant surprise that I felt while practicing reminded me of the first time I decided I enjoyed Zumba. I had been going to Zumba for a couple-a few weeks and I really wasn't "getting it". I was discouraged and a bit down about it, yet I was also tenacious. I wanted to "get it". I wanted to be successful and I wasn't planning on giving up anytime soon. I was embarrassed and pissed at myself for not catching on as quickly as I thought I should, but by golly something was going to give. So one day "Waka Waka" by Shakira came on the list and I mentally prepared myself to fumble through it yet again. But this time was different, my legs were almost doing their own thing and it felt natural. Suddenly, I was dancing! I remembered the moves (most importantly my body remembered the moves) and I was doing a routine! And I succeeded! It was an amazing feeling, knowing that someone that was 100 pounds overweight could dance, too. Not just anyone though... me. I could do Zumba. And that was the turning point at which I decided Zumba was worth the work and that I enjoyed it. That moment quite possibly could have been the time at which I fell in love with Zumba. Maybe not, it's hard to remember much after that "aha" moment in the middle of "Waka Waka"; in fact, I quite possibly could have sucked the entire rest of the class. For this reason, "Waka Waka" will always hold a dear place in my heart. ;)
Zumba has done so much for me over the past almost two years. I believe I got started with Zumba in April or May of 2010 and have been at it ever since. I love having a back up workout, per se. If I can't find the motivation to go for a run or do strength training or sweat my ass off on a bicycle, I can almost always entice myself to catch a Zumba class. I may burn more calories at other exercises, but no other exercise has that kind of pull on me. Perhaps it stems from being an overweight, younger and shyer version of me, and being envious of the other girls that could dance. And I never felt like I could. Not just that, but I feared ridicule from my peers if I were even to try. I loved music, dancing, and watching others dance. Looking back, perhaps if I had overcome my fear back then I could have danced my way into shape and submersed myself into classes. But I am also a believer in the theory that everything happens for a reason.
Sunday and Monday's Zumba workouts were just what I needed to boost my confidence. This is really happening and I can really do this, perhaps it may appear to others that I'm overreacting. That maybe I'm getting a little too excited over this, but I want an overweight person to honestly tell me they don't understand my exhilaration. Someone that has been overweight all his or her life and who has been chained in what feels like shackles to the stigma of being overweight would understand what comes with being overweight, the stereotypical theories and impressions. After years of hearing and believing that: "fat people can't dance, they can't hike, they can't run, they can't bike."(the list goes on and on), suddenly I feel as if I'm accomplishing the impossible. But I'm here to tell you the hell it is and the hell we can't! I danced while I was fat, I hiked while I was fat, I didn't run too terribly much while I was fat (I waited until I had lost a bunch of weight before I started running), but I know a lot of people that did or are running whilst overweight! We are people, too, and I'll be damned if anyone ever tells me I "can't" do something again. I can do anything I set my mind to, as long as I make the decision to do it. And that is why I signed up for my Zumba certification. Because I made the decision to, and I wasn't going to let anyone (including myself) convince me that I can't do it. I had to sign up as soon as I made the decision because I was unwilling to let my fear change my mind. Confidence is all I've really needed to accomplish all my goals and Zumba has certainly helped boost my confidence. Not only has it been a journey of accomplishing things I never thought I could, I've also learned to become in touch with my body. I feel like I've gained balance and a bit of grace. I've become intuned to my body and learned to move with it instead of awkwardly fumbling with it. I've become intuned to my own sexuality even. I'm not in any means insinuating that Zumba is sexual, as in I feel a need to engage in sex upon completion of a class, but after years of feeling awkward in my own sexuality, Zumba has aided in bridging that gap between the chang in my body and how to best utilize it to emphasize my feminism. This is not even mentioning the difference in the physical aspect of my body (according to my boyfriend, I have killer abs these days ;-) ). So in short, I love Zumba and it has done wonders for me. I love what it has done for me physically and mentally. I love my Zumba instructors and the unification of everyone in the classes. I love that anyone can do it. I love that you do not have to be an esteemed dancer to be Zumbaist. (Hey, this is my blog and I can create words if I want to!) And honestly I'm starting to love having an excuse to shake my booty! ;-p So if you're looking for an exercise that will keep you coming back, and you enjoy music and being a part of something, I highly recommend giving Zumba a go. In fact, I'd be happy to have you in a class sometime in the near future! Wish me luck at my certification/training, I hope to rock it!