Big Scary Things aka. Zumba Instructor Class

“You did WHAT?!” The rational part of my brain (that we’ll call Me for now) screamed at the less rational part of my brain (Myself) that was happily bouncing up and down to a peppy salsa beat.


“Signed us up to take a class to be a Zumba instructor,” answered Myself.


“You do know that we’re out of shape. Like, really out of shape. And it’s been at least seven years since we did anything remotely resembling Zumba,” Me stated in a slightly sarcastic tone.


“Yep. But we need to exercise and we’re more likely to if we’re teaching other people. And besides, it’ll be fun!’’ Myself reasoned. I did, in one moment of freaking out, think about canceling, but I was going to get less than half of the fee back, sooooo.... I didn't cancel and did the darn thing.


I’m one of those people who has a very active internal dialogue if you haven’t noticed by this point. Whatever possessed me to sign up for a Zumba instructor class? Other than completely losing my mind? It all started with a Facebook ad - “Learn to be a Zumba instructor! Dance! Have fun! Get fit!” And so on. There was even a 30% off coupon! And so I signed up to do the Big Scary Thing and then actually did it.


I don’t like to exercise. I like to work out in the yard, but I’m not a fan of going to the gym and using machines and getting all sweaty that way. I only run if I’m being chased by an axe murderer or there’s some other dire emergency. I do like to swim, but I’m more of a play in the water swimmer than swim laps swimmer. Several years ago when I was working in the schools, a bunch of us would stay after the kids left and do Zumba. Or something Zumba-like. And THAT was fun. I’d always wanted to learn how to dance, but growing up Baptist - that didn’t happen. Our weekly Zumba-ish sessions made me feel like I was actually dancing! And I was getting a really good workout while I was at it. Then job changes and life happened and Zumba stopped and I’ve missed it ever since.


So why not just find a Zumba class near me somewhere to take? That’s a really good question. That probably would definitely be easier. But it would also be easier for me to blow off and not go to because there’s no obligation to make me go. But if I’m teaching, there are people relying on me and I have to go. Also, my calling is helping people. If I can help people have fun while getting healthier - so much the better!


Zumba Instructor class was hard. It was a good six hours of movement. Fast movement. I was pretty sure I was going to die. I had my first asthma flare up in years (thankfully not a bad one) and I didn’t have an inhaler with me, so that was exciting to work through. Then there were the comparison factor and impostor syndrome that kept sneaking in and still keeps rearing  their ugly heads. Our instructor was beautiful and had the perfect body in a cute little Zumba-wear outfit with hips that move. The girl next to me was literally a dancer and was, of course, gorgeous and in perfect shape also. I was one of the oldest people in the room in my capris and dri-fit shirt that I thought looked cute on me till I looked in that giant room-long mirror in the studio and decided I looked kind of like a box with legs ending in shoes with too much tread (discovered that too late!) and ankle socks.


Annnnd then we started learning the steps. As long as we did easy steps or just arm movements or just leg movements I was fine. I didn’t feel graceful or agile particularly, but I was ok. I could handle it. When we started more complex movements or put arm and foot movements together? Well…. Have you ever seen a baby giraffe try to stand up and walk? Yeah, that was me. I’ll tell you, I felt like crying a time or two. I didn’t quit, though - and by golly my extra small flexi kept my hair in a nice little ponytail and didn’t budge despite all the bouncing around I did.


Thankfully, all four of the rhythms we learned are on the website in different modes of breakdown from super easy to dance along. I’m still working on learning all the basics. It’s taking me a frustratingly long time. Problems with being on the gifted end of the spectrum - we feel we should be able to learn all the things as quickly as we learn the things we’re gifted in. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up when we don’t learn things as fast as we feel like we should.


So I work on one rhythm a night. I tried doing two a night, but that makes me get to bed really late and the tireder I get the harder time I have keeping up! I keep at it even though I get frustrated and I feel… clunky. My hips definitely don’t know how to move like they’re supposed to. The instructor’s advice to just bend one knee to make the other hip pop out doesn’t seem to *quite* work for me. Probably because my hips aren’t so young anymore and both my knees and my hips are a tad stiff. I also did not realize just how uncoordinated I am till now. If I had to guess I’d say I’m overthinking everything and I need to figure out how to loosen up, relax, and just have fun with it. But there’s that part of me that Has To Get It Exactly Right. What I should probably do is quit working on the individual rhythms and start learning the choreography for the first class they also thoughtfully planned out and videoed for us to copy. There’s a TON of songs already choreographed for us to use until we feel confident enough to do our own if we want. Or we can just keep using theirs.


Anyway, I’m rambling, which is what I do best. I will continue to work on my Zumba moves because I love dancing and I want to be in better shape. I want to help other people get in better shape. Maybe one of these days I’ll work up the nerve to video myself and post it so you can see my progress. In the meantime, if you’d like more daily doses of OpalTurtle Ramblings, come over and join us on Facebook in The OpalTurtle!





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Sarah Sanford

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