(reposted from my Diet Diaries blog)
So way back in October of 2006, I decided I wanted to learn how to dance. I even wrote a column about my experience of being invited to not return to a salsa class that I once attended at a local gym. Well, I’m a glutton for punishment. After battling my weight for more than a decade and needing to do something to ramp up my game, I decided to give a dance class another try. You see, I love to watch people dance. It looks so graceful and expressive, and, well, I want to feel those things, too. I mean, in my delusions, I think I could dance like this:
This morning I reaffirmed that if I am ever to shine, it will not be on the dance floor. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll never even be competent enough for the back row of a class.
I found a class at my local health club that described itself as a great class for beginners of any skill level. What a perfect match! So I hurried into a classroom full of ladies, set my keys on a table on the side of the room and took the only spot left – dead middle in the front. The instructor facing us at the front of the room encouraged us to “get ready”. You know, I’ve been “getting ready” for years, and it never helps. I’m still awkward and clumsy when I get moving.
She started the steps out slow enough that I for a minutes I thought I’d maybe found a class suited to my skill level, but it didn’t take long to realize it wasn’t going to be pretty. After a short warm-up, with her feet together, the instructor hopped sideways and back, telling us to move with attitude. Ok, I thought, bring on the attitude. Getting a little braver, I hopped back and forth behind her, letting some attitude show through.
“Ok. Faster now!”
She doubled her speed. I threw attitude out the window in an attempt to just keep up.
Double-time? What the heck were we doing? With my feet falling all over each other, I attempted to keep up the best I could. But within a few beats, I was off from the instructor and the rest of the class. Holding my chin up high (to keep from crumbling in embarrassment), I reminded myself that I was in the class to move and lose weight, not impress anyone.
The instructor turned back around to face the class and gave me a quick puzzled look for going the wrong direction. I smiled apologetically and kept moving awkwardly and as quickly as my uncoordinated legs would go. She made several more calls, changed up the routines, and each time I ended up just doing my own thing since what they were doing certainly wasn’t happening with what I had going on.
It was then that I heard the snickering start, and I turned to see two of the women in the class pointing in my direction and laughing. Really? We’re back in seventh grade? They had no idea the courage it took to just get through the door that day, and here they were having a jolly time at my expense. At least one of them had the grace to look embarrassed when our eyes met. I turned back around.
Once I was back inside the safe confines of my vehicle, the tears started. This was even worse than seventh grade. These were grown women, most with children of their own and jobs and husbands and responsibilities. How had they not learned that it wasn’t ok to openly laugh at someone else? Seriously. I’ve raised three kids, started two successful businesses, and yet I left that class feeling more embarrassed and more like a failure than I have in a very long time. A kind word would have gone a long way.
Crazy as it sounds, I may go back. I dearly want to lose weight and learn to move. Then again, maybe I’ll try the kickboxing class next. There were certainly times I’d wished I’d known some of those boxing moves back in seventh grade.