Thursday, October 27, 2016

Melissa Does Zumba®

When I do workout classes, I expect to move.

I also expect certain types of movement. Burpees, Crabwalks, Planks.

So, when a friend asked me to try her Zumba® class, I groaned.

That is not a judgement of those who love it. It's just, dear reader, that I am the biggest clutz in the world. My experience with Latin music only really extends to that time I was in a musical number from West Side Story.

I was a Shark girl, pouting about not being Maria (because I had some kind of illusion that I was a coloratura soprano. Pfffft) and I couldn't get the moves in the "Dance in the gym number," becoming frustrated, the choreographer told me "Melissa. You have a large butt. When you get lost, just move the same direction as every one else and shake that tush." how I explain Zumba.

I look like none of these people by the way.

But the high point of the class is that no matter how bad you look, there is always someone worse than you. So there's that.
The thing is, no one cares how their neighbor looks. The first thing my instructor told the class was, "Don't worry about the choreography. Just move and have fun."

Because I am just an observational person by nature, I looked around during the 10 songs we did and everyone was smiling and happy. Sometimes they were just making up their own moves...but dang it...they were smiling

If you decide to take a class, you can expect a two to three song warmup comprising of some basic step-ball-changes, grapevines, and squats.

Then "la caca" gets real. You will do a series of repetitive moves that usually add on more complex movements as you go along. The instructor servers as sort of your "bailar" flight attendant with hand motions that border on, "in case of a lack of oxygen, grab your overhead mask."

Those hand motions give you beat counts, indicate turns, a directions your steps will take.

So was I lost on more than one occasion? Yes. Were they people in there that looked as though they were taking an entirely different class? Yes.

Who cares? They were having fun. And I actually had fun.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oops... I did it again

Good news! I went to my second class. Bad news. I went to my second class in a bad mood. Apparently, the sacred domain of the yoga room is a place where you are supposed to forget time. There are no watches, no clocks, no cell phones. It sort of reminds me of my 9th grade algebra teacher who had a sign over the classroom clock that read, 'Time will pass. Will you?" But before class, I was attempting to balance my budget on a paycheck that needs to be spread as thinly as possible. I weighed the heaviest I had in months and it resulted in another small meltdown. I went in, frustrated that I kept wobbling to the point that my teacher came over to me and whispered, "Grace." I couldn't tell if she was trying to tell me to cool it or mocking me. I think it was the former. My cousin Felicia, who has a lot of the same idiosyncrasies I have messaged me to let me know that she, too, had taken up yoga. She shared a photo of Britney Spears in a headstand to inspire me. (If you know know I have a soft spot for Britney). This inspired me. Britney had a rough period. She gained weight. She got dumped. She shaved her head. (I haven't done that yet) So if Britney can do take a photo like this.
Someday, I will post one as well. But not yet. All you get now is my sweaty locker room photo.
More later.

The Tao of Ratliff...or the awkwardness of me recognizes the awkwardness in you.

It’s been something of a year. Nothing bad has really happened to me. It’s just been a year of changes. Physical changes. Emotional. It’s not that David Bowie died. Or that Alan Rickman left us. It’s not this national upheaval of a presidential race. It’s not even that both my last two serious ex-boyfriends got married within weeks of each other (I am happy for both of them. I SWEAR). People continually asked me if I was okay, not seeming to believe I was. It was at that point I began to question whether I should be okay? Work is good. My shift exhausts me. I became more physically active over the last few years although the weight gain that is notorious in my family is starting to creep in and my love of Qdoba has to find some balance with my genetics. I began teaching barre. I am obsessed with it. I talk about it a lot. I’m still traveling. I find my self-worth in my experiences. Not sure if that’s healthy. Mentally. I am the same. Clouded under the occasional fog of anxiety that I have had my entire life. Constant questioning of myself. Am I where I should be at 32? I was talking this over with one of those friends who really seems to have her life together she suggested I take yoga. Let me blunt. I have no problem with people who love yoga. I just can’t stand it. CAN’T STAND it. I’m not good at it. Therefore...I don’t enjoy it. This probably goes back to the fact that when I was a little thing, I was pretty good at most of the stuff I did. I’m not being arrogant. I just did things. I read the hardest books. I sang in the choir. I did reading festivals. I acted. I memorized information that I could spit back easily on tests. I wasn’t good at Physical Education. So I hated it. I wasn’t good at math. I hated it. I wasn’t much of a dancer, so I quit taking lessons. In other words, if I wasn’t good at it...I was a brat about it. I’ve taken yoga classes before. I was assured it was a time to connect your mind and body and Instead, yoga for me is trying my hardest not to fall flat on my face while dripping sweat and trying to quiet those voices in my head that screamed at me as a child when I wasn’t good at something. And that time of quiet exhaling..(well, not so quiet....looking at you shirtless lumberjack man) while holding my foot straight in front of me allowed for all those thoughts about why I am still single, still not losing that mysterious five pounds (it’s not’s Qdoba. I know. I know), how I’m not pretty enough or smart enough or how I will inevitably screw something up at work until the point I wonder how no one else in that studio heard those internal screams in the first place. It’s an incredibly isolating experience for something surrounded by tons of people. But then, something clicked. I can’t shut those voices up....I can only prove them wrong. So I pushed through. I wobbled, I had to drop poses to not fall and then when it was over I got to my car and sniffled a little bit. And, for the first time, I found myself thinking ‘next time you’ll be better.’ Next time. I think I get it now. I’m going back Thursday. But I’m not standing next to lumberjack dude. Sorry, bro.