I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the changes over the past 3-4 months. Within about a week, I started a temporary job as interim development director at Vermont Works for Women and attending Zumba classes.
Given how many women attend Zumba classes, that might not seem like a terrible unusual thing. It was more the timing and the irony that is amusing now looking backwards.
I was coming out of one of the most mentally mixed up periods in my life. Not just a little, but that midlife brain scramble that had me questionning everything. I had quit a job, we had a long-term guest at the house, I’d started therapy. I wasn’t sure from day to day what life would bring, or if I would be okay. I had no clue how long it would be before I found another job – before I wanted to work again – before I felt like I really could “get it right.”
Seemingly out of the blue, a call came from one of those people I tell people unabashedly that I have a Mutual Admiration Society with, asking if I wanted to help out their organization, their development director had just resigned.
Okay, scratching my head, “Can I do this?” I took the position. I had a lot to learn – grantwriting is a key element to this position. But – I had a lot to bring. I’m good with computers, databases. What I wasn’t expecting as part of this package deal was how quickly I would start to see another work culture and style.
Visionary. Supportive. Grouded. Compassionate. Fun-loving. Hard-charging. All in the same day in the same space. I found myself questionning reality for a while about this. Was it just cause I was the newbie in a small workplace?
As I said, about the same time I started there, I took up and followed a friend off to Zumba. I took that first class with her and wondered if there was room and space for the fat girl in the back who was having fun, but definitely out of shape. I hated the mirrors in the class room. I hated the skinny folk that made it look so damn easy. I hated the gods who made Latin footwork so complicated. And yet…
I loved that sense of fun. The smiles on the women’s faces in the room. The fact that I seemed to be the only one judging the fat chick! The music rocked my world, and I found myself dancing in the car at stoplights. First one class a week, then two. (Now it’s often 4!)
I got downright pissed when bronchitis interrupted my workouts. I had just gotten on a roll when I had to stop. But, the other side of it? I wanted more! More Zumba baby! I signed up for the local master class and retreat. What was I thinking? I KNEW that there was no way I’d survive that weekend. Four master classes and one night dance. And strip hop? No way was I removing any clothes, but I wanted to see THAT class.
The weekend came and went. I made a ton of new friends. Discovered that indeed I COULD do Zumba. That I loved it, the people teaching it, the people in the classes. That you don’t take clothes off in strip hop – it’s more about the dance, the sass and the chair! That although I am out of shape, these people would support me in doing this – whatever I wanted to do.
The crossover? While at work I was hearing about empowering women. About empowering young girls. Work about body image. Not sexualizing women. And here I was feeling empowered by work, emboldened by Zumba. I was getting my sass back. Why – because it was okay to feel sexy as a woman again – EVEN when I don’t feel sexy per se. I feel sexier. I want to grove, shimmey and shake. While I might not want a 6 year old to dance like the classes I’ve been going to – it has truly been a releasing event to discover that it really doesn’t matter what size a woman is – Zero or 30 – we all pretty much have the same battles. I’m learning to have fun again!
So a shout out to the amazing group of women that are in my world now – I’m not sure where we are headed, but I am SOOOOOOO glad we’re heading there together.