Tag Archives: zumba

Fear of Newbies

One of the things that holds me back in life is dealing with new, unfamiliar people. I’m not sure if it’s gotten worse as I’ve grown older, but I’ve been this way since I was a young girl. I remember dreading the new school year at the end of each summer. Who would be in my class? Would I have at least one friend? Would that friend still want to be friends? Growing up very poor left me without the means to be a “cool kid” so I had to rely on being friendly to my classmates to fit in. Not an easy feat for someone who has a social anxiety. 

As an adult, I still deal with social anxieties. Those who know me probably find that hard to believe because of my outrageous personality and antics while teaching my Zumba classes, but I promise it’s true. Each time I step in front of a class that’s not my own, I have to fight the urge to run. My stomach starts churning and fluttering. My chest starts to tighten. My mood starts to falter. I wonder how I’ll even get through the class. Will they like me? How many people will walk out? Will they judge me based on my appearance? So far my nerves haven’t got the best of me. But believe me, they’re always lurking behind my smile.

These anti-newbie emotions reach into every facet of my life. In college, I have to sit in the back row of every class because I fear all eyes will be on me. Online course are a God send to me. Unfortunately, not every class is available online so I must brave being on campus. Each day I survive is a small victory. When I go out to eat, I request booths because I feel the enclosures will conceal me. Being seated at a table makes me feel exposed and uneasy. Are people watching me? The answer is probably not, but I still can’t shake the feeling. I’m not a fan of bars or clubs either. How can I stay hidden in those kind of places? I can’t. Trying to relax while sitting on bar stools or standing around the edges of a dance floor is almost a painful event. When I go out, I can’t wait until it’s time to go home. My friends don’t know that I suffer from social anxieties. Well, until now anyway. When they ask me to go out for a night and I say “no,” they most likely believe I just don’t want to spend time with them. So far from the truth. I love the people in my life and cherish the ones I call “friend.” I just can’t bear to be around large groups of people that I don’t know. Sad isn’t it?

I wish I didn’t have this issue. I wish I could go out and enjoy life without worrying about who’s watching me or who’s judging me. I wish little things didn’t have such an adverse effect on my life. I wish I could just….be free. 

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To The Zumba Instructors

I’ve been a student of Zumba® Fitness for 5 years and an instructor of the program for 3 1/2 years. I absolutely love it. Maybe not so much at the moment, but that’s a story for a different day.

The biggest transition from student to teacher is losing time taking classes. Once you begin teaching your own, it becomes very difficult to participate in others. I still love being a student; perhaps more than I love teaching. However, between working, attending college, teaching my own classes, and being a mom there isn’t always spare time.

Lately, I’ve found that when I am able to sneak into another class, the instructor tells me I’m making them nervous. Why? What about my presence is making you uncomfortable? I’m not in your class to stand out or draw attention. I’m not in your class to judge or criticize the way you teach. I’m not in your class to “steal” your material(even though I admit to getting ideas from other instructors). In fact, I always take a spot in the back of the room as a show of respect for the teacher in front of me. You see, I’m a non-competitive Zumba instructor; I wish there were more like me. My sole reason for taking your class is to enjoy myself. To relive those days when I could take a Zumba class for the fun and freedom of it. To remember what it’s like to simply do and not think. To not have to put on a constant show because all eyes are not on me.

So when you see me in your class, please don’t panic. Don’t feel pressured. Don’t feel the need to be a perfectionist. I know I’m far from that! And if you happen to make a mistake, who cares?! As instructors, it’s important to remember that even when we do miss a step or have to wing a move because we forgot our own choreography, our students don’t notice. Just keep moving, even if you have to improvise some moves. They are going to do whatever you do, and that includes me. As someone who never or very rarely takes your class, I’m going to follow every move you make and not question the steps.