Tuesday, January 3rd, 2011
Allegre Dance Studio
Private lesson with Ivan
I arrive a few minutes early today and the place is already hopping. A couple I met at the Galaxy competition are here to work with their instructor and have a coaching with Ivan’s mother-in-law. They are from out of town but when they come here they continue their dance lessons. Talk about committment. Also, the husband is a huge inspiration. He is a below-the-knee amputee and dances with a metal leg. I swear, there are just some amazing people and dancers out there.
So Ivan pulls up a moment later on his little Vespa. A big hug to say good morning, and we’re off. Got to work on that Latin Rumba. Ivan is starting to get the routine together. We count out some sets of eight in the beginning where he will move, then I will come and join him. Then we find the place where we will begin moving together. I still only have chunks, but it seems to be coming together, and it is so fun, I must say, to be working on this.
We do basic Rumba step, fan, spiral turn, and then he starts adding sliding doors, a spin with my leg in attitude, and this move where I bend forward then stand up and lean against him with my leg in a parallel posse position and my back to his chest, him framing me. I think it looks funny with me being so big and all in the moment, but it looks different in my head, I swear! lol.
So here I am, dancing my little heart out, and Ivan is being a butt. While I’m in the aforementioned and awkward position, my shirt begins to shimmy upwards. I take a moment to pull it downward. I know, it is a silly thing we overweight people do, constantly tugging at our clothes, as if it will change anything. But at least we are covered, or so we think. Anyways, it is an unconscious habit sometimes, and the instant my clothing begins to creep up while dancing, I am immediately aware I don’t want it to go there and I will interrupt my dancing to fix it. Ivan sees me doing this and grabs my shirt and pulls it upward to completely reveal my blubbery, white, stretch-marked belly. Yes, I have pants on and yes I have both a bra and sports bra to cover all the important things, but it is unexpected, vulnerable, uncomfortable.
“Stop that Ivan!”
I pull my shirt down.
We do the move again.
He pulls my shirt up again.
“Ivan, no! You are being such a dork! Stop it!”
“Okay, okay. Not again.” And he keeps his word.
But I’m laughing. I am genuinely surprised at this turn of events and, stranger still, is that I’m not angry. Anyone else on this earth tried to do that, including my husband, and I’d probably explode in anger, give him or her a talking-to, and ask for an apology for revealing me in that way. I certainly don’t want to show my belly, but in some weird way, it is okay that Ivan’s did this. Miraculously, I’m feeling comfortable in my body, even with it being exposed in such a manner as I would never choose to show at this time. What a gift that is – to be comfortable in one’s own skin. I haven’t ever experienced it until now. Even when I was thinner and more fit, I was still so ashamed of it. How ironic that now at such a horrifying size I am finally able to begin to love myself and even my body, even if it is not where I want it to be. Ivan, I can never thank you enough.
We continue dancing and Ivan’s actually getting a little excited with the moves. He shows me this turn into a backward step that I’ve seen on DWTS and always loved. I used to wonder when I would get to learn this particular step. Well, today was the day. It felt so good!
Then he has another crazy idea.
“You gonna step up on your tippy toes and put your knee like this (posse) and reach upwards. Then you gonna lean back.”
“You want me to do what?”
He calls over his wife and partner, Marieta, and she demonstrates the move.
I’m like, uh huh. Right.
I feel like I’m probably flexible enough, but I’m at least two Marietas. How will Ivan hold me up? He wants me not only to go backward in a bend, but to release both my arms toward the floor, and also to extend one leg up in the air. This is not possible. Maybe later, Ivan.
“You down 9 pounds by now. It easy. You can do it.”
“Yeah, with 264 left!”
“No, it easy. Come on.”
So we try it.
The first time, I bend back with both feet on the floor and holding onto him with both arms.
On the second go, I release one arm.
Then two arms.
Then, well, you can see it here:
I had this moment, an out-of-body-experience, where I couldn’t believe I was doing this. I wanted Marieta to video it as proof. At the end of the video, Ivan is advising me that I have to let my fingers touch the floor next time and push my hips forward to create bend.
Sheesh! Red shoes, being dipped by my ballroom instructor even while I’m still big, and a new haircut and outfit to come….my life, and my self, is changing right before my very eyes.
Again, it looks different in my head (ha ha), but not bad for my first time trying this.
And also again, I don’t know what my limitations are, even if I think I do. Here is video proof! What an amazing way to start the day.
I am so grateful, I can’t even tell you. I used to wake up and cry going to work. I used to wish for a better life and feel so unhappy. I know what it feels like to be stuck, stagnant, dying. Now, I am excited to start my day. I remember when I began doing these personal growth and mastery workshops and the facilitators would talk about being so excited to start the day, they didn’t even need an alarm clock to get up in the morning. What a crock, I thought. It’s a myth. These people are crazy. I thought such a life wasn’t possible, at least for me. I had to work hard. My life was stressful. I never felt fulfilled, energized, rejuvenated.
But now, after lots of inner work, and taking proactive steps to change a few things, I am starting to be excited about the journey of life once again. Dancing is my practice, my walking meditation, and it is breathing new life into me at every step.
This is what I know: If it can happen for me, it can happen for anyone who is willing to do the work.
Of course, there are no “free lunches” meaning that every choice has prices and benefits. I was paying some pretty high prices in peace of mind, and health, and balance in my old life. I chose differently and I got different results. Simple, right? But I can tell you it was pretty scary at times to choose differently, even though the current choice was miserable, because it was also the choice in my comfort zone. I realized that if I kept doing what I was doing, I’d keep getting what I was getting. Thank Goodness I did something, anything different, and that I was supported by friends and my husband!
After all, it led me to a path in which I got dipped in the ballroom today. I never could have predicted that when I took the risk to quit a job and embrace a different life not-so-long ago. I am in awe of the miracles, and the expansiveness of possibilities, in this life. The world really is our oyster.