In the spirit of my post about pilates the other day, I thought I would update you on my continued attempt to introduce new things into my life. Witness my comical attempt at trying a Zumba class last night at my gym.

I’ve seen the classes start a number of times, usually as I’m exiting a relatively sedate yoga or pilates class, and have been curious about it for a while. I was drawn to the sensuous, voluptuous teachers who walk in, oozing confidence and wearing tight, midriff-baring spandex, and the rhythmic, hard-hitting beat that commences soon afterwards. However I was never brave enough to try a class on my own, and had to wait until I found a victim, er friend, who was willing to give it a try with me.

Last night, said victim and I arrived at the gym, replete in our own brightly-colored form-fitting spandex. (The same bright color — a vibrant pink — might I add. Good thing she got the memo.) We started out by walking on the treadmill, which I could definitely handle. I felt good, confident, strong, ready to embark on new adventures, one aerobics class at a time.

Within minutes of said hard-hitting beat commencing, I was well and truly, thoroughly and disgustingly, one hundred and eighty percent lost. Not since middle school have I felt quite so awkward, gangly, and disastrously uncoordinated. The class consisted mainly of Latin dance moves done in sets, interspersed with intervals of squats. I got the squats down fine, but the dance moves, done rapidly with hardly any instruction, were absolutely beyond me. I’ve always enjoyed dancing, but when it comes to choreographed movement, turns out I am utterly hopeless.

But again, there was that one crucial difference: I did not allow myself to give up. About half way through, I thought longingly of just throwing in the spandex and getting on the treadmill. That’ll show them, I thought. They all think I’m just another uncoordinated goober of a white girl trying pathetically to shake her nonexistent bootie! I bet I can outrun anyone in this room! Yeah! I quelled the urge to regain my injured pride by returning to my safe go-to activity, and I stuck it out, laughing at myself the entire time.

I don’t mean to write again about my exercise addiction or my proven status as a gym-rat. The reason I tell this story is that I am starting to see a life-long pattern of perfectionism gradually getting whittled down, and I could not be more thrilled. The fact that I A) took the class in the first place, knowing full well how dorky and uncoordinated I’d feel; and B) stuck with it throughout the entirety of the class, knowing full well how dorky and uncoordinated I looked… that’s a far cry from the adolescent girl who refused to learn how to ski because she didn’t want to do anything she was guaranteed to be terrible at.

Who says you can’t teach a young dog new tricks? By next year, I’ll be climbing Everest. OK maybe not, but perhaps I will have learned a few Zumba moves by then.

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