As I have shared on my blog before, I love going to Zumba. I really love working out, but it is something I do not get the chance to do all the time. With a family of six, dad working full time as a youth pastor, and mom going to school full time, our time is limited. Luckily, I have found a Zumba class in town that meets twice a week in the evenings. I have been able to go the last month or so, and it has helped my anxiety and stress level recede tremendously, which I am thankful for.
Although I love going, I have noticed some attitudes with the other ladies in class about my presence. It is not that they have said anything about my weight before (at least, I would not know because half of them speak in Spanish), but it is the way they look at me. Many of the other “big” women in the class stand in the back corners, all in black, hoping that no one see’s them. They love coming, and they are great dancers, but the majority of them are trying to hide.
If you know me at all, you know that is not how I operate. I am not a hider, and I have been on stage since the age of nine as a singer. I have always loved being the center of attention (sad but true), so being up front does not bother me at all. I can see the instructor better, see myself in the mirror and see if I am doing the moves correctly, and I just like up front better. It is just who I am, who I have always been.
The problem comes when other women in the class expect me to hide like the other women. They seem completely confused as to why I am confident in my body and willing to look like a fool no matter what I am doing. Both gyms I have attended were this way. There was just a general sense of them not really getting why I could care less about being in front of other people as a big girl. Big girls in movies are funny when they want to be up front (Big Amy in Pitch Perfect) but people are not really sure what to do with that type of person in real life. They are not sure how to respond, since most of our self confidence and body assurance tends to come from what we look like.
I pray that at some point, I can point out that my confidence does not come from myself. I cannot and do not do what I do of my own accord, because without the help of a Father who loves me no matter what size I am, I know that I would completely avoid the gym forever. When I go to Zumba and shake it, I am doing it to look good in front of everyone else there. I am going because I love to dance, I love feeling good, and I love to work out. No matter what size I am, those things are true. I thoroughly enjoy living outside their stereotypes, and being the woman that God created me to be: fearless, sure of myself because of whose I am, and am willing to look like an idiot because it is fun. I will continue to do these things whether or not I am 500 pounds or 100 pounds, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know whose I am, and that’s all that counts.