Friday, October 8, 2010


Let me take you back to my freshman year of high school.

I wanted to be a cheer leader.

I had zero cheer experience...

I had 2 years of dance experience...

when I was 4 and 5.

But, I had two things going for me.

I had a lot of energy.

And I could yell really really loudly.

So, I had my dad drive me to the high school so I could try out.

We parked in the small parking lot and sat there, truck facing the entrance to the cheer tryouts. We sat there, and saw from a distance many confident, blonde, high pony-tailed, long-banged, well dressed, chatty girls go from their cars to the school. We sat there in silence, waiting for me to open the door, waiting for me to step outside and walk alone to that same entrance, waiting for me to overcome fear and take a leap to carve my high school destiny and make a name for myself on our cheer squad.

I turned to my dad, and said, in almost a whisper, "Let's go home, dad."

Was it insecurity? Maybe. Was it a sudden realization of who I was? Most likely. I wasn't that girl. Plus, I was still able to use my two talents on the other side of the bleachers. High school was still awesome.

Now, let's fast forward to this past week.

Zumba classes were being taught at a location very close to my house.

The price was very reasonable.

The time was workable.

The need for exercise was undeniable.

So, I drove alone, oddly enough, wearing a T-shirt from my freshman year of high school.

I sat there, in my car.

I had zero zumba experience.

I had two years of dance experience, when I was 4 and 5.

And the two things I had going for me was either now non-existant of no use here.

So I sat there, in the far parking lot, watching the confident Zumba ladies with their high pony-tails and long bangs and mini belly-dancing hip-shawls enter the building.

This time, I did open the door. I did enter the building. I did pay for the class, 10 classes in fact. And I sat there, surrounded by 50 chatty women, and stared at my shoes.

The music started, and we Zumba-ed. I stood in front of the only part of the wall that didn't have a mirror. Not that it mattered...I was too focused on following the teacher's feet and arms that I didn't have a chance to look at myself in the mirror. I was in a sea of swishing shoulders and jingling hips, arms whipping to the rhythm of the music, feet twisting under floating bodies.

Then, I moved and saw myself in the mirror.

My arms moving stiffly like a rusted machine, my legs stomped like a child wearing oversized boots. Where there should have been chest thrusts, I mistakingly did arm pumps. Where there should have been hip shakes, I unknowingly did head shakes. Where there should have been curves, I was all angles. When there was movement with the right, I moved with the left. Where there was Zumba, I was doing "the robot."

And after only an hour of publicly humiliating myself, it was over.

But, gosh darn it, I did it!

Unlike the high school me, I stepped out of my comfort zone, rediscovered myself, and overcame fear.

Now, I just have to overcome it nine more times.

so excited.


cheryl said...

Way to go! That is a huge accomplishment!!! And it made me laugh. It also took me back to my high school days {which was way way way back}of cheerleading tryouts except I went in & no I did not make it becuz I quit on the second day of tryouts & will never know if I would have succeeded. But that experience helped me to succeed in the other things that I tried becuz I kept trying...not without a lot of failings...but the sweet few successes definitely overshadow all the fails. So hang in there. You can do it...nine more times :) I love your blog!!!

Pam C. said...

Brilliant. I also totally relate. I could never understand how I could be quite adept and coordinated while playing tennis, racquetball, and volleyball, and completely out of rhythm and step and basically lost while doing aerobics. I can't even picture myself (nor do I want to try) doing Zumba. Best of luck.

Brooke said...

I wasn't that girl either. I had the blonde ponytail but not the bangs, the clothes, or the coordination. Anything athletic terrified me. So when a friend recently asked if I wanted to be on a woman's football team, I was nervous, but gave it a shot because who wants to be stuck in high school? Good luck!!! By that tenth class you'll be moving like a pro. =) And what the heck is a belly-dancing hip-shawl?

Token Asian Friend said...

Thanks for the support everyone :) I don't know what a belly-dancing hip-shawl is really called, but a lot of women had them. Imagine a long scarf with lots of hanging pieces of metal that you wrap around your hips and tie in the front. Now imagine lots of women shaking their stuff with these on. I already looked uncoordinated, the last thing I needed was to sound uncoordinated, too.

Brooklyn said...

Way to rediscover yourself! Now I know what to buy you for your next birthday. I saw some of those shawls at Gardiner Village on the witches. Ha, ha!

Brian and Janette said...

I'm totally with you on that--I find I get more of a mental workout in those type of classes then anything physical. My mind is working so fast to try and keep up with what they're doing/saying, that it's too busy to get my feet actually moving. So, for this reason, I've never tried Zumba. Well, that and the fact that it is borderline cheerleading for me...and I just won't go there. But I know a lot of people REALLY enjoy it. You'll have to tell us if by the 10th class, you had fun and you found your coordination.

Payne Family said...

Don't worry my Friend, I have one of thos shawls that you can borrow, but I will need it back ;-)

*MARY* said...

I'm too cheap to actually go to zumba. I just dance to the infomercials.

Oh and I just got your Wabi Sabi comment, and am so happy your husband liked his burger.
I was a little worried and was going to tell you that you can't believe everything you read on the internet, especially my corner of the internet.

Anonymous said...

Pssssst: the expression is actually "blew a gasket" -- a part in a car's engine that can give out and cause the engine to fail. (Forgive me if you already knew that, I wasn't sure if your comment at SSB was all tongue-in-cheek or not.)