Last week, as I was browsing through the Living Social deals that are oh-so-conveniently delivered to my inbox, one stood out. 20 Zumba classes for $10. Only $10? I can afford $10. So, I bought the deal. I bought the deal with completely delusional confidence in my Zumba ability. You see, there are things that I am comfortable and confident about, and there are things that I am not. Coordinating gross body movements in front of complete strangers, driving in rush hour traffic at ridiculous speeds in this city that I am largely unfamiliar with, and the potential for having to make small talk are a few that top the NOT list. I’m am, however, an expert at convincing myself that I actually love to do these things; much like cottage cheese, a food I detest but oddly crave enough to purchase about twice a year.
Moments before of heading walking out the door to samba and salsa clumsily through an up-tempo dance routine my heart begins beating a painful, desperate rhythm inside my chest, begging me to find some last minute excuse to stay at home in the safety of my apartment. It would be easy to say ‘forget it, I don’t know what I was thinking’, and write the $10 off as a donation to the arts. Fortunately, I have 30+ years of bottled up self-talk forcing me down the stairs and into the car. You know that once you get there, you will have fun. Nobody is going to judge you. You need to step outside of your bubble. It’s a chance to meet new people. You never know unless you try. All of these things run through my head, and I suddenly realize that I have my mom to thank for getting out the door. I can actually hear her voice in my ear, saying these things to me as I write. I used to be annoyed by these generic go-get’em-tiger sayings, but they were always comforting. I knew that I could always count on them to be there. And, even five years later, I can still hear her encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone.
So, I drove to Zumba. It was everything I thought it would be: uncomfortable, uncoordinated, and awkward. But, it also something I didn’t expect: liberating. I realized that I had just spent an hour doing something that completely terrified me. It felt good.