Just over a month ago I announced I was starting burlesque dance classes. I knew they weren’t going to burn huge amounts of calories or help with my very poor cardiovascular fitness…. but I wanted to feel a bit better about myself and my body. And I wanted to have some fun.
Five weeks in and – I have to tell you – the classes have had the opposite effect.
My biggest fear when starting wasn’t the dancing itself. I’m relatively coordinated and once did a heap of different zumba and body jam classes and the like. I was mostly worried about feeling out of place as a fat and frumpy 40-something in a room full of lithe 18yr olds.
However… to my surprise my challenge has been the dance itself. Well, more specifically, the fact we’re dancing with a chair.
By the end of week 1 we were flinging ourselves sideways across the chair. I was not doing a lot of flinging however, as I was on a borrowed chair and paranoid my hefty weight would break it. But, by week 2 I’d procured my own chair (an old dining chair made from timber and steel) from a second hand store for $10 and was ready to go. That week we had to straddle the chair backwards, put our legs over the backrest and lie back.
Which I couldn’t do. It may only be the fact I have a long body or short arms, but… I couldn’t lie back and still hold onto the backrest. It was okay though. I felt a bit self conscious, as if it was weight-related; but I hung in there. Literally and metaphorically! 😉
In week 3 I bravely donned some high heels I found in the back of my cupboard. I had however, been dreading the class all week as our instructor had (casually) mentioned us ‘standing’ on the chair. I’d watched the week before as she’d tested someone’s chair… standing up on it and jumping off. Faaaarck!
As it happened my fears were both realised and unfounded. If that makes sense.
Firstly I did something weird to my shoes so that the entire class was interrupted by a loud cracking noise as I knelt forward onto my toes. I can only think that as the soles were wooden and unworn for a decade, I ummm…. broke them. Though not visibly. We all paused to see if I’d broken the floorboards or similar, but no…
Then there was a move which required us to kneel on the chair and reach our arms down to the ground and crawl along until we’re in a plank pose and then crawl our arms back. It reminded me of the ‘ball walks’ of my pilates days. I could do it, but not particularly quickly. And just after that…. the pièce de résistance – we get up onto the chair and ‘pose’. Now fortunately that was the end of the routine so getting down OFF the chair can be done however gingerly is required.
I found myself quite breathless with the last few movements and struggled to move as quickly as necessary. I felt clumsy and awkward.
That was two weeks ago and I have to confess I skipped last week’s class. I wasn’t feeling great and had an achy back. But… when
obsessing about pondering on the class, it occurred to me that I was seriously dreading it. Rather than making me feel better about myself, I was feeling worse.
I emailed the coordinator of the studio saying I was finding the class a bit hard. I have to admit I was hoping she’d offer to transfer the rest of this term’s payment to next term when there will be no chairs involved. Alas, she didn’t.
Instead I received an email from the instructor yesterday. A lovely email. She was worried that she’d made the dance too hard and said that she could alter the choreography of the second dance (again a chair dance, as that’s what we’re doing this semester) so it is easier.
So, of course then I felt bad. Others shouldn’t have to suffer because I’m fat and unfit.
I’d all but convinced myself I could quit. Even IF I didn’t get a refund. I told myself it was no good if it was making me so unhappy, nervous and self-conscious. I’d wait until next term and re-enrol. When we’re dancing with fans or the like. Quitting felt justified.
However, now I’ve had this sympathetic email from the instructor who said she’d ‘hate for me to quit’ I feel bad. Guilty. Like a wuss.
So – though I’d legitimised my need to quit in my mind – I’ve now decided to hang in there. I don’t want the instructor to feel bad on my account and it is all self-inflicted. I can hardly expect sympathy when my weight and fitness are MY issues. MY fault.
So… wish me luck!
Do you ever feel that quitting is justified?