hiphopI’m not sure when it happened, but a couple of months ago my friend and I were making plans to meet at the gym for a group fitness class. I mentioned that I was desperate to do anything – even put my winter white self into a swimsuit and I don’t know….swim? We looked at all the options and landed on a strength training class that meets twice weekly. This was nothing new for us, we have done this class many times before and it’s FINE, but I kept being distracted by what was going on in the next room: good, I mean really good, current music and some serious dancing. Remember how I said I was desperate to do anything? Obviously, because somehow I found myself in the dance class with a beautiful, vibrant instructor and a room full of women who appear to have very strong dance backgrounds. I have never done anything like this before, except some 80’s aerobics and that was not what was going on here. I grew up being told by the church that dancing was sinful, and although I’m no longer attending that church or theology, the message has remained firmly affixed; it is still difficult for me to express myself when music is being played. And I fall down a lot. And I’ve been a Mom for a long time. This should be fun, right?

At first, it really wasn’t. I had to think about each move and watch others and loosen up a lot (serving wine at 9:30 in the morning probably would be wrong), but after several classes I started to notice something; I like to dance! I’m not good at it, and I sure don’t want somebody watching me yet, but I am doing this for me. When I am in that studio, I take up just as much space as  anybody else and I make up my own moves as often as I want to, the only real rule is that you need to constantly shake something! One time we were making these big sweeping moves across the room as a group and I realized I hadn’t done that since I was a little girl. When did I learn that I needed to take up as little space as possible, and not draw attention to myself? I started laughing at the freedom!

I think our society teaches girls to be small both physically and socially, and then when we become Moms we often fade into the background so much that even we forget that we’ve got moves! It’s okay to stretch and roam and enjoy the music. If you need permission like I did, let me give it to you right now. You are deserving of the space you inhabit. Now go out and shake something!

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