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The Front Row

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I wasn't always shy. I remember when I was little I liked attention. Like many young girls things changed for me once I was in school. One example that comes to mind is all the girls in my 6th grade class not talking to me for three days. I found out later it was because I talked too much.

Maybe that's when things changed. I'm not complaining - all of those growing pains shaped me into who I am today. By the time I got to high school I was painfully shy. The summer before my freshman year in high school I was in tears because none of my classmates were in my lunch. This was devastating. My mom gave me some great advice - find someone that you have a few classes with and looks nice and ask them if you can sit with them. It was hard. It was really hard, but that girl I asked to sit with ended up being my maid of honor in my wedding so it worked out pretty well.

I still have a hard time with social situations now as an adult but I refuse to hide at home. I push myself outside my comfort level and meet new people, try new things and even do a little public speaking.

So, that brings me to Zumba.

My Zumba Girls (Shannon, me and Beth)

I was happy in the fourth row, not knowing anyone and just doing the moves. But I wanted more. And over the months I moved up row by row and started chatting with some of the girls in my class - both very hard things for me to do (and I will blog more about those experiences).

Finally I made the jump to the front row when some of our regular front row girls weren't at class. Hesitantly and with some classmate's encouragement I took the vacant spot in front. It was scary. I felt totally exposed. I felt judged. The regular front row was full of these super fit women that were all Zumba certified. I was neither of those things. But I knew the moves and I knew I could do it. I knew I could.

Now I find myself in the front row at Zumba more often than not. Last night was my first night back at Zumba after being gone for a week and a half because of vacation. The thing about Zumba is if you miss a few classes you pay for it. I knew it would be tough on me and I had told myself I wasn't going to be in the front row. But when I got there last night and saw that empty spot in the front I found my feet taking that giant step forward to claim it. And I did well. And I was proud of myself.

Class at the Baxter YMCA. (Instructor Tina in the green. I'm in black - in the front row!.)

With a blog called "I'm My Favorite" I want to be careful about not coming across vain. But I have to share why I like being in the front row so much. A big part of it is that I get to see myself in the mirror. It's not about vanity. For me, it's about discovery. When I am doing those moves that I have memorized and I look in the mirror and I see my collarbone peak out or see an actual check bone or I start to see some definition in my arms from wearing hand weights, it's pride on my face that I see. I'm doing this. Me. And it's paying off and I want more.

Being in the front row also pushes me to my limit. I know there are people behind me that whether they're watching me or not will be thrown off if I mess up a step. If I'm not pushing it to the max it would be easier for them to not push it either. It's a lot of responsibility and I take it seriously.

Last night Kim, our Zumba instructor, split the room in half to give the other participants a chance to see what it's like to be in the front row (I love that she does this). She said to me "do you want to come up with me and help lead the song?" My gut said - no, run, hide. But my heart said "sure!" I walked out to the middle of the room and there was the sound of spontaneous clapping and woot woots. I instinctive raised my hands in the air in fist pumps. I wasn't the shy girl. I was the front row girl and I loved it.

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