Me? Dancing? And I’m Not in Montreal?

What a weekend – a Zumbathon, dancing for the opening of lululemon athletica, the Green Mountain Derby Dames, a little Divalicious Dancing (crack out the boas and burlesque attitude!) and Pilates for dancers. It’s no wonder that I am a little sore at the moment.

It’s also been a weekend rampant with emotions. This week has brought waves of them.

It wasn’t so bad as all that – many and much has been for completely good reasons.

It started with a discussion where someone who I really respect and admire reminded me of things about myself that I had lost or given up on this fall. Over the past 7 months, they have slowly come back. Was it the therapy? The Zumba? Geoff? The new job? Who knows, perhaps it was the perfect storm. Or the Universe cutting me a break. Whatever it was, I was reminded how resilient and creative I can be. That was a good reminder. It was the comment, however, where she called me a dancer where it took a while to sink in and some convincing.

Dancer? Me? Not on your life. After the discussion of how much time and effort goes into my Zumba, how much focus it has brought to my world, and more importantly – the side benefits. Yeah, the weight loss is great. But it’s almost secondary to the joy and excitement and the friendships that have come from it. If I can put aside all the things about perfect techniques and images of thin ballerinas, people on So You Think You Can Dance and just roll with it, she’s right. Writers don’t necessarily have novels. Dancers need not be accepted into Julliard!

I had a ball at the Zumbathon – even with the crunch of people. I had that hip scarf out and was shaking what my momma gave me (a big butt!). I was smiling, sweating and having fun.

Surprisingly, what was more fun? Going down the street and dancing with the lululemon gals. Allison’s groupies went down the street and did about 4 numbers to celebrate thei opening of the new store. On the way there, someone said something that a few months ago would have devastated me. Would have made me stop the thought that I deserved to be out there with these women dancing away. But, it’s a new day, and a new dawn – and a rediscovered new Stace. I was out on Church Street in full daylight dancing!

That may not sound like a lot, but a year ago – when Geoff did want to go dancing, I made him take me to Montreal to some little tiny club so that we could avoid being seen by anyone who might notice me. Then, at best, he might have gotten me to dance for 4 numbers or so before I sat down and watched him go off and shimmy shake.

I didn’t think I could feel more alive or hopeful than that for the weekend. It was a rush and I’m glad I did it. I still cringe at the sight of me on that video, but hey – I was there and doing what I love.

The best – the Pilates for Dancers class with Stephanie Justine. Now mind you, it was after all that yesterday and an hour of Strip Hop on Sunday. I was sore, tired and still beaming with a smile. But that class totally blindsided me. Yes, there were so many places I was frustrated with myself because I couldn’t do something just the way it was described because of my size. Yes, I felt extremely self-conscious lying there on my back stretching. I felt at times more like a beached whale than graceful mermaid tail! I’m not sure where or how though – someplace between the music, Stephanie’s voice and the endorphins, I slipped into a trancelike state that I haven’t experienced in many many years. I felt like I was on the mountain top at witch camp in a ritual.

Emotions flew through me – shame at the size I am mixed with the hope of the work I’m doing to change that. Frustration that I couldn’t do “it” whatever it was, paired with the realization that there are many who weren’t ever even going to try. There was something happening that just made me feel even more deeply connected to ME than I had been in some time. And it was liberating.

I cannot say this enough, but thank you to all of you who are really making these challenging exercises and workouts something that I not only want to try, but really MISS when I can’t go. You have all changed my world, my me. I hope one day I can help someone the way you all have for me.

To the Zumba and S-Hop family from me, peace love and a ton of shimmey!

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