There’s no crying in Zumba

I haven’t been here in a while, I know. You’ll have to take my word for it that I’ve been out there living my (active) life while I haven’t been here writing, unless you’re on my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feeds, in which case you know about the fun stuff I’ve been up to lately. (Now could be a good time to click and follow, if you’re so inclined.)

Last week I went to a Zumba class at the fitness center at work with a work colleague/friend; it didn’t go well. It was the same old stupid stuff going on in my head: you’re too fat, too clutzy, not graceful enough, not pretty enough, just plain not enough to shake your body and enjoy Zumba. I hated it and couldn’t wait for it to end.

As I processed the experience, I realized that it was another perfect example of my fear of being vulnerable rearing its ugly head. Again. I resolved to go back to class this week and every week until it either became something I wanted to do or at least the voices in my head stopped making me feel less than while I was in class.

So I schlepped my workout bag to the Fitness Center when I should have been eating lunch, got dressed, and went to class.

Same songs, same instructor, same thin, graceful girls in class.

And then suddenly, I was crying. Still dancing, but crying.

leaves by Jasmine Fitzwilliam via Flickr

Why was I crying? Because I was listening to the words of the song coming from the speakers and realizing that I wasn’t thinking about how stupid or fat or ugly or anything “less than” I was, but rather I was just dancing with abandon.

Which song was it?

Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell
You don’t know (oh oh)
You don’t know you’re beautiful!
If only you saw what I can see
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe
You don’t know (oh oh)
You don’t know you’re beautiful!

What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

Yup, I was overwhelmed by joy while listening to a boy band – crazy, but true! And that’s when I realized that I don’t hate Zumba – or myself – anymore, and so I cried a little and smiled a little and finished my second Zumba class.

How’s your week going?

10 thoughts on “There’s no crying in Zumba”

  1. Denise, what a breakthrough! I’m so happy to hear you went back and had such a positive experience. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Shelly,

      Thanks so much for coming by and for your support! The difference between the first and second classes couldn’t have been any greater, and it was all in my head because the classes themselves were nearly identical. Crazy how “stinking thinking” can derail so much of my joy!

      Happy Friday,

  2. Denise – Kudos to you for going back. I’m glad you liked the music and that you had a breakthrough.

    If you lived closer (I’m in Atlanta) I’d invite you to one of my classes of the many differently sized, shaped and aged people there. Big girls can do it too, and we have more to shake while doing it. Good luck on your journey.

    1. Hi Beck,

      Thanks for the invite and the kind comment. I know that the self-consciousness is all in my head – none of the girls in my class were judging me, only I was. Still, it might be nice to see a few girls who look more like me and aren’t trained dancers from a past life!


    1. Thanks, Kay Lynn! Looking forward to a quick visit with you helps get me to the early Saturday WW meeting and it certainly helped me stick with healthy habits even when the scale wouldn’t move for four weeks. 🙂


  3. First of all, I love that you went in the first place because I won’t step my foot in the door because I have those same thoughts.

    Second, I LOVE that even though you were having those thoughts and hated the whole experience, YOU WENT BACK!!

    Third, I couldn’t be happier that you had a breakthrough and now know that you are not too fat, not too clutzy, are graceful enough, pretty enough, and can now enjoy shaking your groove thing and enjoy Zumba!!

    You’ve inspired me to step out of my comfort zone!

    1. Hi Vicki,

      What a lovely, supportive comment – thank you!

      I don’t know if every Zumba class is 100% accepting but I know that each one I’ve tried has been that way. The insecurity that I felt really was all in my head because everyone else was dancing and smiling away the whole time. How many chances do we have in our organized and orderly lives just to be silly and let loose? What I know now is that Zumba gives me permission to do that on a weekly basis, and I’m pretty sure that’s something I need to do more of as part of my journey to better health & more happiness.

      Have a lovely week,

  4. And you are much more courageous than I was back when I lost weight! I was much too self-conscious to go to fitness classes or a gym. Thinking that others would see me like that was unbearable. Kudos to you! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the visit and the great comment!

      Honestly, I only went the first time because a friend/work colleague who’s trying to get back on the road to better health asked me to go for moral support and I didn’t want to let her down. I really had no intention of going back after the first experience but I somehow knew in my (still large) gut that I needed to get over my discomfort with not fitting in if I was going to make this a lifetime commitment to health and happiness instead of just a diet & workout quick fix. Does that make sense? (Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me with the crazy self-image/perfectionist problems.)


      p.s. LOVE your internet name – how clever!

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