Friday, October 19, 2012

Flash Mobbing New Friends

Two years ago this January, I embarked on a journey. One that was initially all about losing weight and getting into better shape, yet one that has profoundly impacted me and turned my life completely upside down. In a very good way. I may still have a little bit left to go (still…seriously…), but those last few pounds are almost just gravy. And are really more to be toned than anything as I’m generally comfortable with myself these days.

Anyway on to the change…

I could probably write volumes about the change that has occurred, beyond just the number on the scale. Feeling better, more energy, loving foods I previously didn’t and detesting foods I previously craved, fun clothes, multitudes of compliments, better confidence and self-esteem, the importance of balance as opposed to extremism, etc. etc. And know each of those items could most definitely be spread-out into many more words (I mean, especially fun clothes. Because they’re pretty).

One thing, though, that I never dreamed would happen is relationships. When I very first started this journey, I did the boring ole elliptical. Then one day I mustered the strength to mosey into a class. I think I first went to spin, just since I know how to ride a bike. Quickly realized I’m a little too free-spirited and not quite intense enough for spin (I mean seriously, those spinners are INTENSE!).

At some point, I don’t really remember how far down the path, I found myself in a zumba class. I was instantly intrigued. Latin music? Loved. Dancing? Brought back the ole days of ballet and making up countless dances with my friend, Brenda, to any and every song we could find. Always played on my purple boom box. And typically choreographed from the front yard. Yeah, we had no shame blasting Paula and likely looking like crazy kids for the entire neighborhood to view.

Anyway, I initially just went to zumba on Monday nights. It was nice, and I enjoyed it, but my addiction (and I’ve come to grips that it’s a full-on addiction…of the healthy variety) didn’t start until I made my way into Saturday. Ahhhh Saturday zumba with Julie. The very first time, I stood in the very back of the 50-75 people packed room and marveled at how she was able to dance the way she did. I’m pretty sure I looked more like a two-left-footed elephant since I was much heavier and hadn’t danced in, oh, 10 years. And yet, I loved it.

I won’t bore you with more oohing and ahhing of how much I loved it as, if you know me even in the slightest, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it. A lot.

As time went on, though, I felt this surge of confidence. Slowly but surely I moved forward in the room. And even more slowly but surely, I began talking to the women I saw week-in-and-week-out. It was mostly small chit chat, but it was better than silent Sarah. My wings spread and, after a period of time, I looked up and realized I had new friends. And the most fun part? They’re all different ages, lifestages, backgrounds, etc. This has continued with another of Julie’s classes I go to at a different location. We’ve started getting dinners or happy hours occasionally after class and each time I have so much fun! Sadly my original favorite class on Saturdays is no more (or not the same as it still happens) as Julie is no longer teaching it, but thankfully I can still go to one or two of her classes a week in another location. And see my fun friends, there!

This past Saturday, a group of us embraced our mutual love of dance and participated in a flash mob! My mom was visiting and she happily joined us, along with my cousin, Libby. It was! A few years ago, I don’t know that I would have done this, being fearful of what others thought. Now, I could really care less. My old love of dance has reemerged and I’ve seen how much joy, stress-relief, and downright fun it brings. We spent a few hours in the afternoon learning the routine with the whole mob, headed to the location, had a pre-dance drink, and then flash mobbed it up! It was for a guy’s 60th birthday. And he’s a longhorn…hook ‘em (we’ll just not talk about the sad longhorn news of Saturday and focus on fun things only). I definitely would love to do another flash mob! So fun.

The next day after class, a group of us went to happy hour. Denise and Cindy were part of the flash mob group (Denise is who introduced us to it!) and then Denise’s sister, Renae (who I’m quickly growing to love as well, particularly since we’re the same age and same lifestage!) and Julie, our instructor, joined. We were introducing Julie to beer-ritas. Quite yum. We were there for a while and just laughed and talked about random things.
I just love my zumba friends. As I think about what it is, I think some is the atmosphere that Julie specifically creates in her classes, but I think, too, it’s the freedom to be completely yourself. No one really judges you (though we occasionally laugh when we’re off-step) and you can be free-spirited and expressive. I, too, have always had dance in my soul, so think some of that childhood, dance-loving Sarah has reemerged after being stifled for so long being “cool” (ha!). I do still struggle at times even in zumba with worrying what people think, but then try to remind myself they like me more when I’m myself so I should be myself. These girls are just downright fun.
Who knew that a decision to become more healthy would bring these awesome girls into my life!