Sunday, January 9, 2011

Collateral Damage - A Story of Zumba

If I remember correctly, I said something about publishing my epic New Year's Resolutions soon.  Oh, they're epic, all right.  Huge.  Biblical, with a side order of Earth Shattering and Altered-Reality à la mode. 

At least they were.  Then I went to Zumba.


In case you're wondering, this is not me.

And now, I'm thinking things like "Hey, was the status quo really so bad?  What's all this talk about change?"

The problem with taking an aerobics class, or a dance class, or any class that requires that you be surrounded on four walls by mirrors, is that you are surrounded on four walls by mirrors.  This is done, of course, so you can observe first hand your public humiliation without having to read the witness reports on Twitter.  ("Giant yellow t-shirt chick hiding a VW in her bike shorts." *tweet*)

That lady in the yellow tee shirt?  Also not me.  She's quite fit and coordinated-looking by comparison. 
I only put this in because, well, she's wearing a yellow tee-shirt.  And she has dark hair.  In a little ponytail.
But she's standing erect, and to all appearances hasn't maimed anyone on her row.  So, clearly.  Not me.


As a beginner, you do have one advantage: Because you don't know the steps yet, most of the class is spent with your eyes on the instructor. My instructor happens also to be my friend, a beautiful Irish woman named Kim. Kim may have been born in the Emerald Isle, but her hips are one-hundred percent Brazilian. She's great; teaching (as she is) the "Zumba for Bricks" class, she goes over each step very carefully. "Left foot, right foot, cha-cha-cha, right foot, left foot, cha-cha-cha. Turn around, cha-cha-cha, call 911, cha-cha-cha."

Now, as long as we're learning, I gotta tell you, I'm one hot tamale on the dance floor. My hair is long and lush, my tush completely under control, my -- and this one is important for we over-40 types -- chestal region is a good nine inches above my belly button, shields at 87% and holding. And dang! You should see me Cha-Cha! Just for good measure, I do a little 'dig' to show those wannabees in the back what an investment in personal fitness can do for your calves, and then toss in a shimmy to show there are no hard feelings. "Look!" my fluttery shoulders and perky collar bones seem to say. "We're all just here to have fun! Am I right? Cha-cha-cha!"

Then it's time to add music.

Briefly, "I" disappear from the mirror to crank up Michael Bublé, and am temporarily replaced by this giant yellow blob sporting a teensy ponytail and gym shoes she wore to paint the garage.  "Yikes," one of the less astute voices in my head mutters. "Check out Mrs. Lemon Head! Sure glad we ain't her!"

Michael starts crooning about marimba music, and with one last pitying look at the middle-aged warning against matching your clothes to citrus fruits, my attention returns to 'me,' enthusiastically shaking and shimmying and shouting latin dance instructions in an Irish accent.

The trouble starts when I begin to figure out the routine. In my pre-blob days, I was actually a pretty good dancer; I've even been known to throw down a little Merengue when the wait for a table at Red Iguana goes too long.

So I learn the drill pretty quickly. And of course, once that happens, there's no reason to keep watching the instructor, right? Right?

Wrong.

Let this be a warning to anyone over the age of 29 who has ever been pregnant, breast fed an infant, or lived consistently on planet earth without taking the necessary precautions against the effects of gravity, by which I mean filling your lingerie with daily doses of helium:  Under no circumstances should you ever, ever, ever take your eyes off the instructor when you are in a beginning Zumba class. Believe me, girls, you do NOT want to know what is going on in your personal corner of the mirror. Stuff is moving around in directions the instructor never imagined. When she says, "Take it left!" you'll discover that a full third of your body has already been there and is on its way back, handing out postcards and complaining about the waiters. The risk of bumping into someone else is nothing compared with the likelihood you'll collide with yourself

At one point, Kim handed out these jangly hip shawl things and announced we'd be doing some belly dancing. This was news to me; at least one of us had been belly dancing since she waltzed through the door in her big yellow tee shirt. There weren't enough shawls for everyone, especially after I took six of them and tied them together. (Look, it was that or wear a single one as a bandanna.) 

By now you should have figured out, this is also not, in any possible way, shape, or form, me.

When the music started, there was so much jingling from my spot o' floor folks were looking for flying reindeer.  And with the light reflecting off those 20,000 sparkly bangles I was in danger of being suspended from the ceiling in an homage to disco. 

So, needless to say, I'm rethinking the whole "New Year's Resolution" thing.  I hadn't realized how much pain and suffering my efforts to change could cause others. Maybe I'll follow the lead of so many other bloggers who, instead of setting specific goals, are choosing a word of the year. I already know what mine will be:

Inertia.

37 comments:

Becca said...

Holy cow, woman. You are so brave. A class full of dancing women is one of my top 5 fears. I have no plan to attempt overcoming that fear.

Kristina P. said...

Oh, DeNae, this is so funny for so many reasons!

I have been Zumba ignorant. I see the Zumba fever catching on on FB like gonorrhea. On Saturday, one of my FB friends posted that she is officially a certified instructor, so I decided to YouTube it.

Holy crap. Apparently, anyone can do it. If you are Jennifer Lopez. I too decided that I should try it for a hilarious blog post. Not because I want to get healthy.

So, Zumba on, my friend!

Beka said...

Awwww! I agree with Becca, every time a "friend" invites me to Zumba, I have to re-evaluate her status! Does she not know me but at all?!

I hate January for all of the body image crap: no I do not run-for-fun (& neither do you so stop telling yourself, and me, and the mail man about your new obsession!)

Pass the nachos, please!

Annette Lyon said...

I think I'll stick with the treadmill.

Inertia. I like that for a word of the year.

Melanie Jacobson said...

How difficult do you think it would be to enact a city-wide ban on mirrors? I don't think I'll be in the mood for one in March. I don't think I'll be in the mood for dancing in front of one until May. Or next year.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

hee hee hee hee hee hee I ditto Kristina P.

I have yet to put myself out into the Zumbaphere. It's on my bucket list.

I have stuff to chat with you about. Some time. Down the road. The yellow brick road is going to be glittery, girlfriend.

LY!

MommyJ said...

Never, not ever, in a million trillion years would you find me in a zumba class. Who needs to work out though? I'm sure I burned at least 25 calories just laughing out loud at this post. Reading about YOU working out is way more fun than me actually working out myself.

T said...

I have to say I was getting a workout just trying not to laugh - ALL true... of course, I will never make it past "beginner level Zumba" because after my first class (and the resultant 2 months of vertigo) I am under strict medical orders to be a couch potato.

Momza said...

HA! I love that you went to Zumba!

Mallory said...

I went to a Zumba class once. It went much the same you that you described it! (The only difference, is I'm under the age of 25, and it was still a nightmare!) My instructor was a skinny skinny skinny pole of a woman. And every knew the routine except me...the postpartum baby fat woman! Needless to say, I won't be going back until I lose a million pounds and get injections of "beautiful latin woman".

Hel said...

oh dear. that was priceless. I loved every part of that post... LUUURRVED it! I am happy to see you are out and about researching new ideas for all of us. I see Zumba wont be anyone's to do list any time soon. Inertia - (insert snorted giggle here).

Jess said...

hehehehehehe I almost spit on my screen you had me laughing so hard... I can relate on sooo many levels....

I have thought about doing a Zumba class.... thank you for sharing your experience with it... as it solidifies my thought to just buy the dvd and do it in the privacy of my own living room.. lol...

Big hugs and thank you for sharing and for the giggle!

Lisa Loo said...

Oh.dear.

My daughter Zumba's--she has double jointed hips--I think that helps.

I have to cross my legs when I sneeze--I can't imagine what would happen if I even thought about a Zumba class...

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I feel the same way. I have gone to ZUMBA a dozen times and I LOVE it, if it weren't for those blasted mirrors. I hate them. So when I say I understand, I mean it.

Kim Bee said...

"passing out postcards and complaining about room service".....I seriously am in the fetal position crying hysterically after reading your post.
Keep coming and maybe if you're a good girl, I'll throw in a little tango next week!!! arrrribbbbbaaa! (with an irish accent)

Qait said...

HAHAH!!! You really DO make me laugh aloud!!! This was so funny. Man, you are hilarious.

Rebecca said...

So funny!!! I do hate the mirrors in there, I caught a glimpse of myself once during a step class and immediately tripped cause I couldn't believe that was me looking so dorky in the mirror. I had a different image in my head. Would love to try Zumba, but have two left feet and am also worried about the leftover baby jiggle. Plus everyone is going right now and I don't want to seem like I am following the crowd. Can't have that....

Jen said...

I totally went to a Zumba class last month!!! Just one. I hid in the corner where I couldn't see the mirror. Seriously, who's idea is a mirror in that class anyway? It was very fun, but I have not been back. I once did a belly dance class which was fun too--in florida where everyone is elderly and slower and saggier than me, so it worked out okay. I'm considering Zumba for the wii (no mirrors in my living room).

That Girl said...

Curves.

No mirrors.

Heaven-sent.

Cheeseboy said...

Well, you've pretty much talked me out of that zumba class that I've already paid for. I mean, I can really move, but those mirrors are kinda freaking me out

annie valentine said...

And this is why I breast feed. Calorie burn central. Also I hate Zumba.

Kazzy said...

My class is in the huge gym at a local charter high school. No mirrors, but seriously 150 people. I took my eye off the teacher a few times at first and was almost trampled to death. Learning the routines makes it even more fun. Cha cha cha.

Amber Lynae said...

I tried Zumba once..... and I doubt that all the shaking going on in my corner was what the instructor intended when they told me to shake it.

You are a brave woman. ANd if you returned for a repeat class you are a MUCH bravery woman than I.

Sher said...

Hey, how did you get a picture of me in my yellow T shirt?

I relate to this on so many levels as one who has also recently discovered the charms (and humiliation) of Zumba.

If I don't keep my eyes on the teacher at all times, I trip, and if I even so much as glance in the direction of the mirror, I will fall down. No joke. I did it once. I even got smacked in the face by the person on my left on the way down.

If I were ever to resurrected my blog, I would've blogged about it.

seashmore said...

As always, I lost composure while reading your blog. Luckily I found it again.

AS Amber said...

I wonder if Annie would let me come over and nurse? Apparently, it burns a ton of calories.

This was one of your best, sister. Seriously. Brah. Voe.

JoeinVegas said...

I compliment you on making the effort. Good work.

Marianne said...

I never went for Zumba. I tried Tae Bo. Pretty much the most dangerous non-contact form of exercise ever invented. You can trip AND kick yourself in the same move. Awesome.

I think I'll work oy my inner beauty instead...

(NO WAY!! My word verification is RUMPLOG. How humiliating.)

wendy said...

Well, you got one up on me...as I never even had the priviledge of "pre-blob" dance skills.
I have NO dance skills, or any skills that require movement of most kinds.
I really reALLY want my pre-blob to be gone-blob.
I tried doing zumba by by DVD.
I was at least working up a good workout with my cussing. I could feel my blood pressure rising.
that counts...RIGHT??

Mikki said...

oh my heck! So funny. This is exactly the reason I choose to exercise at home in the privacy of my little living room with NO mirrors.

Karen Peterson said...

I plan to try Zumba in the very near future. I plan on clearing no less than a fifteen foot radius to avoid hurting anyone, especially me.

Lara said...

My mom (a fitness professional, on TV and everything) has urged me to try Zumba for months. There is finally a class in my area and I'm trying to decide if I should...

And I'm thinking that I shouldn't.

Thanks for saving me!

Kimberly said...

Gah. I just laughed so hard I bruised my spleen, Woman. OW!

L.T. Elliot said...

The hilarity in this post is made of win! Alas, you have convinced me that zumba and I are bitterest enemies. =]

Andrea said...

I can't stop laughing. Is it creepy to say I love you?

InkMom said...

I have a treadmill in my basement that gets the job done, but we also have this expensive gym membership. So I decided to give the treadmills there a try.

I was running, feeling pretty good about myself, when I glanced in the mirror to the side, about five treadmills over. "Ew!" I thought to myself. "That girls butt sticks out way too far! And it's . . . jiggly. A lot!"

And then I looked a little closer, and it was me.

And that is why I run in my basement. Sans mirror.

And you are the funniest blog I read. By a long shot.

Tiger Bailey said...

I recently tried Zumba at my own home (so as to avoid embarrassment...)

I found it pretty enjoyable without the worry of everybody judging me constantly :P