Sunday, November 3, 2013
I would like to be a big fish in a small pond. In Zumba there are Jammers, education specialists and special presenters that draw crowds of people to learn their choreography and work out with them. I love going to events but I don't think I want to be one of those people. The time and travel commitment. A lot of people using my original ideas in their classes. Neither of these really appeals to me. Plus, I have no desire to deal with the drama that will inevitably come with it.
But to be a trainer in one of my water fitness specialties. That I can do. I don't know if I can make a big enough impression at the live certification events because there is always someone there who is willing to go above and beyond to be the center of attention. Even if I perform amazingly, I don't usually get the attention because I blend in with the rest of the group. But for most of these certifications there are home videos that you have to make to demonstrate your proficiency as a teacher. In my home gym with my members I can be a rock star. And if I can convey that to the home office, maybe I'll get a shot. Maybe I'll apply for a position the next time there is a call. I would love to inspire other people. I would love to show people that you don't have to be a skinny white girl to be fit.
I feel like this is an achievable goal that is on the fringe enough to keep me out of the drama of the local mainstream instructors. Because lets be real, water fitness definitely takes a back seat to land aerobics and I like that. I like that outside of the pool a lot of people don't even know that I teach fitness classes. I want to be the shining star in my own little corner of fitness.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
When I first became a Zumba instructor, a little over 3 years ago, I was shocked at how unfriendly other instructors were at jam sessions, conventions, training classes and other events. Women are definitely cliquey and catty by nature but Zumba seemed to bring out the worst in a lot of people. Most of the large studios in my area had so much drama among the instructors and their "pet" members that it was often uncomfortable to work out there. I used to take another instructor's class at least once a week but I stopped going because there was so much negative energy.
A year after getting my Zumba license I became AFAA group exercise certified and then AEA aquatic fitness certified the following year. To maintain these certifications I attend a lot of non-Zumba events. The people at the non-Zumba events were so much friendlier and more open than I was expecting. There are always a couple of divas in the room but nothing on the level of Zumba drama. What is it that makes some Zumba people so catty? Why do I find myself sitting in a corner by myself when I go to a Zumba event outside of my city but make 10 new friends every time its any other certification?
I have to admit part of it is definitely me. As my confidence as an instructor has grown (which I definitely have to credit to Zumba) so has my willingness to network and reach out to people. Maybe sometimes I was sitting in the corner by myself because I didn't appear friendly. Why should someone reach out to me if I'm not going to reach out to anyone else?
This Friday I am going to a master class with a local Zumba Jammer. I have all but sworn off these events because of how un-fun they generally are. But this Friday I'm going to walk in with a smile on my face and my expectations high. I'm going to talk to people and dance my ass off. I'm going to do my best to ignore the negative energy and focus on the positive. I have to believe that people who teach such an awesome class that has totally changed my life aren't all bad.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
I am super important. At least that's what my subconscious thinks. In my brain everyone is always looking at me and judging me. I'm not sure when this phenomenon started but I'd sure like to make it stop.
Yesterday I went to spinning class with my husband for the first time in a year and a half. I always struggle when I ride a bike because I can never get the seat comfortable or I'm gripping the handle bars too hard (both leaving me sore for days after). I have been told that biking once a week will reduce my running injuries and improve my overall muscle tone. I know this true because I can feel the changes in my body after just a few weeks back on the wagon. This is what should have been going through my head last night. I should have just listened to the instructors voice, enjoyed the loud music and the dimly lit room and gotten in the zone. Instead this is what was going through my brain: Why didn't I wear a more supportive bra? Does anyone notice how much my boobs are shaking? Am I pedaling fast enough? Do I look like I'm working as hard as everyone else? Is the instructor watching me? Does she think I'm pedaling fast enough? Is my stomach hanging out?
A similar dialogue runs through my mind in almost every other situation in my life. This leads to headaches, back pain, depression, heart palpitations, panic attacks and so much more. I have been working on daily yoga and meditation and putting myself in situations where I am not comfortable while pushing myself not hide in the corner. I am definitely a work in progress. Sometimes I have good days, other times not so good.
When I was single I was so much more self confident. I went places by myself. I did challenging home improvement projects alone. I was kind of a bad ass. But I was also lonely, a workaholic and a heavy drinker. Somewhere in the middle there is a healthy 37 year old woman just dying to get out. I think people say that 40 is so fabulous because you finally leave all this immature B.S. behind and you're ready to kick life in the ass. I sure hope I figure it out before then.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
The back page of Sports Illustrated used to be my favorite part of the magazine. Rick Reilly would write editorials that made you cry, think or laugh (sometimes all at the same time). Since Reilly left for ESPN the back page has been largely unforgettable. Various sportswriters take turns at the back page now with varying levels of success. Sometimes there is a Reilly-esque piece but just as often there is a piece that doesn't hold my interest. I'm happy to say that this week was one of the better ones.
In the September 16 issue of Sports Illustrated Phil Taylor wrote about Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player. His argument is that people said they supported Collins in May when he first came out don't really support him because no one has added them to their team. My first instinct was to disagree with him. If Collins wasn't talented enough or didn't fit a vital role on a team why would a GM waste the $1.4M veteran minimum on him? Collins is not a superstar. He is an average player that will come off the bench and score a few points a game. Not exactly someone to build your team around.
But then Phil Taylor brings up other average players that have been given contracts, specifically Juwan Howard and Marcus Camby, despite their lack of production. These players were given contracts because they were chasing a ring, because people liked them or because of the leadership that they could provide off the court. Every year some veteran retires after the NBA finals that I didn't even realize was still in the league. This veteran has finally made it to the finals and is ready to hang it up. The player didn't play a significant roll in the team's success. This player is way past his prime or his prime wasn't good enough to turn him into a household name. Yet this player's resume is now complete and he can ride off into the sunset feeling like a champion.
So why not Jason Collins? Why not spend $1.4M to prove gay men and straight men can co-exist in a locker room and on the court? Why not show young gay kids that there are no obstacles to their dreams? Why not show some closeted homophobic players that there is nothing to be afraid of? That Collins isn't going to hit on them or turn them gay just by being there. That Collins is a man and an athlete before anything else and that his sexuality doesn't make him less of either.
I hope that Taylor's piece makes one GM go for it. It would be a step in the right direction for the sports world and for society as a whole. No matter what Collins or other gay athletes do on the court there will always be people who assume they are softer, weaker, less than non-gay athletes. But, much like the black quarterback argument, at least they will be in the conversation and given a chance to prove people wrong.
Monday, July 29, 2013
I have been absent-minded with work lately. I'll make a snap decision that comes back to bite me in the ass and then look back and realize there was a better decision that I could have made to avoid all the drama. The problem is that my bosses have gotten involved because I involved them. I alerted them to a situation that I could have resolved on my own. And in doing that, I brought additional scrutiny to everything else that I do. The benefit of working remotely is that I don't have people breathing over my shoulder watching me work. Now I feel like I have to justify every move I make because I'm so far away and they can't check up on me in person.
I have done this not once but three times since my last group meeting. Once a quarter everyone comes into the office to review things with the bosses and to catch up with each other. That meeting is taking place this week, while things are still hot from all my screw ups.
My stress level has gone through the roof. I am normally very stressed out about things that most people would just blow off. But now that I actually have something to legitimately stress over, it has taken over my life. I can't sleep, exercise, read, anything without running through one doomsday prophecy after another about how badly my bosses are going to come down on me. I have imaginary scenarios that play out and in my brain. I have responses to every imaginary argument that is brought up; like somehow this will prepare me for an in person argument.
I have a bad habit of crying when I am in stressful situations. It happened in college and graduate school when I was called out. It happened at my old job. It happens when I argue with people. I don't think I'm upset in a way that would warrant crying. I think I am just wound up so tight and can't say what I really am thinking so it comes out as tears. It's frustration more than anything. But it paints me as weak, a crier, a chick. If I could tell someone off and get everything off my chest or, better yet, punch someone, I don't think I would lose it. But of course these aren't realistic options. So I have to figure out how I'm going to make it through the next two days, where I will surely be confronted face to face by my bosses, without losing it.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
The list of things that I want to improve in my life gets longer every day. I am disappointed in myself for not following through on my own expectations. But I'm not going to focus on that. I'm going to start fresh today. I'm not going to make some big list of all the things that I'm going to work on or set some deadline for success like I normally do. This time I am not going to set myself up for failure. I'm just going to start fresh today. I am going to do my best to stop dwelling on all the things that I haven't done in the past or all the things that I need to do in the future. I am going to work on one thing at a time. I am going to rebuild my confidence and my life in baby steps.
This week my only daily goal is to meditate. To relax, breathe and think. I know that when I am more balanced I will be more successful at everything else that I need to do.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
In a recent issue of USA Today there was a statistic indicating that more black Americans were getting degrees than every before. In 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 21% of blacks 25 years or older had 4 years of college or more. My immediate question was how does this compare to other ethnic groups. By reporting only the numbers for one group, the newspaper paints an incomplete picture. Is that a low number? Don't all kids go to college after high school at this point?
Looking deeper into the same census shows that only 33.5% of all Americans aged 25 to 29 have earned at least a bachelor's degree. The college graduation rates across all racial groups have increased. Socioeconomic status is the biggest indicator of whether or not someone will be successful in college. If someone comes from a low income family they are less likely to graduate from high school, attend college and graduate from college. More affluent states have significantly higher graduation rates than poorer states.
The fact that only about a third of the population has a college degree is something we should care about as a country. We are constantly hearing reports about how American children are not as smart those in other countries. What is being done to bridge this gap? That is the article I wanted to read. I'm sick of hearing skewed statistics about minorities that reinforce the assumption that we are less educated than whites.