I signed up to get articles from The Huffington Post sent to my email when I turned 18. I’m an adult, I thought, I’m going to law school, taking a writing degree, I should know what’s going on in the world.
Except I never really ended up reading anything that important and just got stuck reading the ones about Hambre the gorilla, what Kylie Jenner puts in her Ramen noodles and the most recent one which arrived in my inbox last week; an article titled “Zumba saved my life.”
Honestly with a title like that, how could you not read it.
I’ve had a gym membership for a little over a year and limit myself to the treadmill or the Boxing, Pilates and Yoga classes. There was a stage where I tried a variation of the group classes but most of them ended badly. HIIT or high intensity interval training made me want to do exactly what it’s acronym suggested HIIT the instructor in the face. 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off sounds okay until the 45 seconds on is picking up 15kg medicine balls and slamming them back on the ground or squat jumping up and down off a block the height of your chest for half an hour. The other mistake I made was the time I tried Cycle class, thinking if the old ladies at the front of the class could do it then so could I.
I have never struggled so much while only staying in one place, 20 minutes in I was wishing that the stationary bike was not so stationary so I could ride the fuck out of that class.
However, when I read the article on Huffington Post, on Pal, 25 year old woman who claimed Zumba literally saved her life by pulling her out of depression, curing her anxiety attacks and giving her back confidence she’d lost. I thought fuck it, if Zumba can pull Pal out of her rut, the least it can do for me is make me not want to walk out of the class.
And it actually didn’t.
My initial thought as I walked into the studio early Tuesday night was that I didn’t get the memo I was supposed to wear fluro clothes.
Or be over 45.
My second thought was whoever said white people can’t dance clearly had just come from watching a Zumba class.
I’ve never been a good dancer, when I was in the school musical in the 12th grade the choreographer actually thought I had a learning disability it took me so long to get the moves right.
So half the time in my Zumba class I spent trying to follow the steps and the other half I spent wondering whether my butchering the latino inspired salsa routine was considered cultural appropriation because man, I was shit.
But I had a good time, I was bad but the class wasn’t. It didn’t make me want to assault anyone like a HIIT class or exit the room on a stationary piece of equipment like Cycle.
Did Zumba save my life? No. But it didn’t make me want to die and that’s got to count for something.