Ah, another day in my crazy, awesome life. I’m doing my best to be my best and with summer rapidly (hopefully) approaching, I want to look my best. I race out of work. My Zumba class begins at 5:45. Running late. Typical mom brain. Really just typical Candice brain, but at least now I have a valid excuse for my absentmindedness.
I rush frantically to the gym, hurry into the locker room and throw my clothes into a pile. I reach into my diaper/gym bag only to discover that I forgot to pack a tee or tank. I’m stuck wearing a long sleeved black running shirt with my yoga pants. I’m pretty sure that I forgot deodorant, again, too. This is a fast paced class. I wonder for a second if I might die from overheating. Class will be at maximum capacity, as usual. I will be hot and sweaty. I contemplate whether or not I should just go home and curl up on my couch with a glass of wine and my favorite girls (Gilmore or Golden).
No, no, no. I need this. I need it for my brain, my soul and my body. I’ve been attending Shyam Thakker’s classes for ten years. He is amazing. I always feel good after an hour of his choreography. I convince myself that this will be good for me. I sneak in and hurriedly try to find a place in the studio. I need to be able to see myself in the mirror to follow along. Just dance, mama. Forget about it all. Be happy. Breathe. An hour of thoughtless booty shaking and hip swiveling. This is my “me” time that everyone says I need so much.
The music begins. The room is dark and strobe lights flash. If I had a well vodka and tonic, it could easily be a Saturday of my college years. Step, step, shake, shimmy, shake, hip roll, shimmy. Repeat. I misstep and I hear myself laugh out loud. My arms seem to be flailing around like some sort of crazed animal. I find this to be incredibly hilarious. I gain my composure and my rhythm . . . dance, dance, dance.
Blaring through the speakers, “To all my sexy ladies, put your hands up to the sky and just go crazy.” I am so hot. Not sexy hot. Boiling, sweaty, uncomfortable temperature hot. I spin around and peruse the room of mostly women. Beautiful, women. Some skinny. Some athletic. Some curvy. Everyone looks happy. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, clad in black yoga gear. I’m smiling. I’m happy. Genuinely happy. It’s been a long time since I have had this feeling about myself. I feel absolutely beautiful.
I peel my sweat drenched shirt off of my body. It is me, my sports bra, and yoga pants in full view for everyone to see. I watch my body . . my waist, the curve of my hips . . me. The body that I’ve been so critical of for so long. This body that God gave me that has been so incredibly good to me. My friend Allison races across the room and pokes my stomach and exclaims, “damn, girl!” I don’t know what she sees or what anyone else sees, but I finally see myself more clearly.
I see a woman who has climbed mountains and run a marathon (barely). I’ve frolicked in the ocean. Jumped out of airplanes. I’ve danced until the wee hours of the morning. I’ve given birth to a tiny human. This is my imperfectly perfect body. The stomach with the giant birthmark that I have hated for years. That is the stomach that carried my beautiful daughter. My milkies that Victoria’s Secret can barely contain have provided her with nourishment and comfort for nearly two years. These wide hips made childbirth a breeze. My arms carried her practically everywhere for the first year of her life. This body is perfect, damn it. And so is yours, mama. Embrace it. Love it. To all my sexy ladies. . .