Another Friday, another week down, another night at Zumba with Morgan and Mary Beth. The class was smaller tonight and I didn't feel like my left lung was going to need to be surgically removed from my right knee when Mary Beth was finally done with us, so my mind drifted a bit while I "kumbia-ed" my way across the floor. The past couple of weeks I haven't been able to avoid the variety of bodies around me--all attending class with different goals in mind. My goal has been so neon-bright in my mind that it's all I can think about during class. I feel things shake and my thoughts shudder trying to imagine what other people see as I attempt Latin-style moves a bit too hip-hop for the whitest girl this side of the Mississippi. I watch other women and contemplate, "Do I look like THAT when I cha-cha?"
The self-consciousness took over. In several classes, I found myself refusing to give any extra hip movement, pulling my waistband up in order to "secure" any love handles that might shake during a squat and wearing bigger t-shirts to cover up offending parts that could not be strapped down or in. Today, as I hiked my britches in an attempt to do some quick camoflauge, I realized something: I like the way my body feels when I do some of those moves. Granted, if I were to catch a glimpse of myself in the floor to ceiling mirrors at the front of the room, I would probably see something the equivalent of that African anteater mating ritual from Can't Buy Me Love. But the way it looks is beside the point. It FEELS amazing. There is a freedom in some kinds of dance that is just...liberating, I suppose.
Truthfully, the problems is that it won't matter how much weight I lose--I will still have this body. I will still have problems with this body. Stretch marks, weird angles (or lack of) and odd proportions will get on my nerves when I'm not focusing on the last 60 lbs. The fact that I am the color of paper will probably come to my mind more often than my shaking thighs do now. It's not fair for me to believe that losing the last bit (as though it's just 4 lbs...HA!) of the weight I'd like to see go will all of a sudden put me into a romantic relationship with my form. But appreciating what this form can do--movement, feeling, stretching, touching--that will change the way I feel about me and what I walk around in.
It's so funny. There are different women in that class on Monday than on Friday, and it's possible that for every person, there is a different personal goal. Morgan and I joined with the intention of losing weight. In the process, I gained a friend. Who knew that exercise could give anyone the opportunity to get to know someone else without yelling about how much running sucks?