Today I took a Zumba class. My friend persuaded me to go. I am not one to go to classes, as I feel like everyone is staring at me. Actually I know they are. Because I am staring at all of them; and thinking very critical things. I wouldn’t mind if they stared if I was coordinated and graceful, but I am a klutz, with no rhythm. But my friend assured me that this was special “In the Dark Zumba” and no one would be able to see me. She said I’d burn off “at least 1,000 calories” and the moves would be “simple”. So I skipped my run for the day and tried it. She lied.
We walked into the very well-lit room about five minutes late.
“This isn’t in the dark,” I said.
“Oh, it usually is,” she laughed.
We found a space towards the back of the room and joined the class, salsa-ing and shaking away. They moved right and I moved left. They tapped forward and I tapped back. They shook their boobies and I shook my booté. When we had to turn in circles, I got dizzy and nauseous. I was so embarrassed. I looked around the room to see if anyone else was as lost as I was. Nope. The two gymnast type girls up front where basically showing off. There was a 300 pound lady Zumba-ing away, not missing a step. An old as Moses lady spinning in circles, and although she was stopping to breathe out of her oxygen tank, she got right back to the beat when she was done. There was even a lady who was so into it her crotch was sweating through her shorts in a Z shape. No joke. (Okay, not a Z shape but it was really wet and I couldn’t stop staring.)
That’s when the flashbacks started. It was like every other group activity in my life. I was always the worst one. I started remembering dance class when I was seven. Trying to learn to “click- ball -change” across the studio. I just couldn’t get it. The other girls could make their shoes sound so awesome, mine barely made noise when I walked. In fifth grade I took “modern dance”. Another doozy for me. I thought I was good, until I looked in the mirror. Every girl was five steps ahead of me. When the recital came they put me in the back; which was odd because I was by far the shortest girl. At the end of the recital my dad suggested I try a new hobby. I did not argue with him.
Next, I took up softball. Another failure. I started in 7th grade, when everyone makes the team. The coach put me in center field because “no one could hit a ball that far”. I liked it out there. I was part of a team and no one knew I couldn’t catch a ball. But then there was batting. I struck out every time. I blamed it on being left-handed. By high school, I needed to learn to catch, but still just couldn’t do it. The coach just really liked me and put me on the team. But I NEVER played in a game, not for four years. There were times my team was losing 36-0 and I still sat on the bench.
I also remember not being able to balance on or ride a two wheeler until I was ten. I still can’t dive. I tripped walking down my wedding aisle, and have broken almost all of my dinner glasses just by taking them out of the dishwasher. I can’t imagine what I look like having sex! Yikes.
There are a lot of things I have gotten good at with age. I am brave when getting shots at the doctor. I am awesome at math. I can cook an entire meal appetizer to dessert without using a recipe. But using my body gracefully I have not mastered. I snapped to it and took a better look around. There were a couple more girls like me. Short girls. Hiding in the back. Excited when they finally figured out a move, and then realizing the choreography had already changed. Apparently they thought the class was “in the dark” too. I figured, “if these girls can brave out the embarrassment so can I”. I stayed until the end, looking like a spaz. I danced, I burned calories AND my crotch was dry…(thank god because that lady had me nervous). Maybe I’ll try Zumba again; otherwise I’ll stick to the treadmill and elliptical, where I’m forced to look like I know what I am doing…unless I fall off.