Yesterday was a particularly spectacular day. The weather was fantastic, I made to die for pumpkin spice French toast, fell back to sleep next to my husband who is no longer on night shift, AND I went to a Zumba fundraiser for breast cancer.
In my opinion, all those things happening before noon, made for a pretty wonderful Saturday.
Now I am sure you are probably sick of hearing me sing the praises of my new favorite workout, BUT yesterdays event was beyond description amazing.
One of the women who attends my Sunday class, is a three-time survivor of breast cancer. She was recently diagnosed again, but as she explained at the intro to the fundraiser, she’s “got her gloves on fighting.” Her courage and strength is admirable and I commend the positive attitude she displays every time I see her.
Nearly two years ago, my aunt also passed away after a long process of struggling with the horrendous illness, so this particular cause is dear to my heart, and I try to participate in raising awareness, any way I can.
When an announcement was made that there would be morning filled with Zumba for this benefit, I was so excited to join. I walked into a new gym, nearly 40 minutes from my house, all alone and nervous like it was the first day of school. There were a ton of unfamiliar faces, chit-chatting away and munching on granola bars, as they waited for registration to end and the music to start pumping. I stood in the corner and situated my things, feeling somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t have anyone I knew to stand next to or join their circle of conversation, and then a woman came over to me, who I recognized from weekend sessions, and she said, “It’s good to see you hear! You missed last week, but im glad your back!”
She smiled and moved on but it was still very nice to have a person remember me. And then the introductions began and everyone took off their outerwear to get in lines.
Wow! It was awesome to see the amount of Party in Pink apparel, or just plain breast-cancer supportive gear, ribbons, shirts, arm bands, etc.; literally everyone was wearing something for the cause.
So I stood there in the second row, looking front, back, left and right, and smiled at the sea of pink that surrounded me. How cool to be part of such a caring community.
And then the voluntary instructors walked to the front of the wood floor. So many teachers had donated their time to keep us moving for a few hours, and represent such a meaningful reason why we were all together.
The res of the morning flew by, filled with dancing, breaks for raffles, lots of water, smiles and fun, all while remembering why I was there because I couldn’t help but see the numerous pink ribbons and breast-cancer garb shaking all around me.
The fundraiser concluded with a cool down featuring Bruno Mars’ hit “Just The Way You Are.”
As cheesy as this sounds I seriously wanted to cry. First of all, I love that song. The lyrics are fabulous for obvious reasons, but as I looked around, at so many women moving in unison, and singing along to such a powerful message, I felt the most comfortable in my skin that I have felt in a long time.
I was raising my arms above my head, attempting to sway my hips to the beat and I wasn’t concerned about the flab I used to feel jiggling everywhere, or that the person behind me was looking at how large my butt was in my black exercise pants.
I was totally believing the words of the song, and more importantly I was viewing the solidarity of people; women hugging and embracing one another to help through a difficult time.
This is new to me, because I don’t trust people. At least I didn’t trust people. Hugging lead to hurt because it meant you were vulnerable and let someone into your personal space. Going for a hug meant you could be rejected because someone didn’t want to hug you back. But today, as well as many others days that occurring more frequently, showed me that my past beliefs are flawed.
There are good people out there, caring people who may only know you from a class that happens an hour a week, but still will smile and can make your day with two sentences and a simple touch.
This week has been a tough one, but I have also learned so many important things. Between the loss for my family, and a fundraiser that was a huge success, both incidents have taught me that the small world I used to live in, which although I did not think at the time was totally focused on myself, was very self-centered. There are worse things that can happen than gaining a few pounds, or going up a jean size, and health is something to be valued.
I always say stuff happens for a reason. And not that I wish any illness, or loss, on anyone; witnessing both in a brief period of time gave me the boost I needed to continue on my journey, and even inspired me to try harder to spread a message of hope. No one deserves a life plagued with sadness, sickness, and hurt, and I just pray I can help someone as much as you all, have helped me. Even if it is just through a smile and hello.
Have a great holiday weekend!