This afternoon, I went back to Zumba. I know, blah, blah, blah. But, for the three of you still reading this, I will admit that it took courage. And really, I have been struggling with being that kind of brave since last June, or maybe since college. It is a very different thing to go and shake a body that moves when you don’t want it to, than it is to go and dance with a toned, disciplined body. At least, I imagine that it is. I don’t really know, as I have been overweight since grade school. The difference is, I didn’t really know it. Mostly.
I mean, of course, I knew I was bigger than most of my friends, but in my head, I was lithe and gorgeous, at least until a few years ago. Perception is a funny thing. Seeing your true weight in the mirror of photographs, is not so humorous. I guess maybe it’s because when I think of people, I think of who they are, talented, good, kind, funny, smart…I don’t usually think of people based on clothing size. And let’s face it, denial has been one of my besties for years, as far as my health goes. But, things change, and I need them to.
You know how so many things are hidden in plain sight? Like, they’re right in front of you, but you don’t see them for years? Yep, me too. It was this last summer that I actually realized that my arms need to be exercised and targeted in a specific way in order to look better. I know it’s ridiculous, even my husband laughed. But, it’s true. I kind of just thought, well, I’m big, so of course my arms are big…. Whatever.
But life is not made of whatever. Not a good life, anyway. Life is made up of a million little things that matter, and somehow, I had forgotten that I matter. That what I eat matters. That what I do matters. And, that there are five little people who are watching every choice I make as if it truly matters. Because to them, it does. Those five little people mean more to me than anything else. I make sure they know it. I make sure they eat healthily and get exercise. I am a guard dog about what they watch on Netflix, how much sleep they get, and the brushing of their teeth. I read studies about how many hugs and “atta boys” my children need to thrive, and then I follow through.
But for myself, not so much.
Fortunately, things have a way of coming around. Life tends to offer more chances than most of us deserve. So, I’m taking it. I got my butt back to Weight Watchers, and the rest of me back to Zumba class. I am sure that I will fail, and get discouraged or bored, and make a mess of things. But, then I will try again. Because that’s what you do. Life is worth every moment of embarrassment and fear and resolve that it takes to go to a public place and workout. It is worth all the sweaty, unattractive, red-faced, offbeat steps that it will take to get myself healthier. At least, the life I want to have for myself and pass on to my children, is worth it.
I have been given gifts that I can never repay. The use of these arms and legs, my body’s defiance of the diabetes that runs in my family, and the ability to choose my own path. I’ve taken all of that for granted for a long time. But not today. Today, I had the courage to walk into a room where I was the biggest person, hold my head high, and dance. I plan on repeating that act this Thursday, and hopefully a thousand more times. Only I can save my own life. No one else can do this for me. And besides, who would be there to knock over the fan if I don’t go?