Monday, November 07, 2011

Eye of the Beholder

I'm still teaching my Bollywood class on Sunday evenings, and still really enjoying the music and the exercise.  I have a group of regular students that I look forward to seeing, and I also love seeing new students of Indian descent smile when we dance to a tune that's familiar to them.

But now I follow that class with Zumba on Monday mornings, taught at our local rec center by my long-time friend Regina.  Our lives have moved in parallel paths for decades now:  first college choir, then vet school, then moving to the Austin area, having babies -- now teaching ethnic workout classes in our 40s!  She has a terrific class on Mondays with women of all sizes and ages, and there are some good dancers in there.

A few times Regina has let me jump in to lead a song or two.  That's when I notice that the lights in there are really awful.  My skin looks so ghastly white, with blotches, then I notice the permanent wrinkle in my brow, and my pot belly...  Blech!

There is a friendly woman who usually takes a spot next to me.  She is older, and doesn't jump around or grind her hips, but she is moving (slowly) the whole time.  "How are you?" she asked me between sets.  "You just look so perfect, with your blonde hair, and your smooth skin, and your cute figure.  You know what you look like?  You look just like Barbie.  That's what I'm going to call you: Barbie.  'Cause you just look so perfect." And she does, every week.

What?!?  I am no Barbie doll.  My boobs sag, my waist is not narrow, I'm getting jowly, and my skin is not smooth or perfect.  My hair is a sweaty, frizzy, blonde mess.  But I realize I look in the mirror and see my imperfections and loss of youthfulness (especially under those lights) -- but to her perspective, I am still  youthful, and jumping around with enthusiasm even if I can't roll my hips and shake my booty at the same time (like Regina).

When we're 13 we wish we were 17, and when we're 40 we wish we were 25, and when we're 70 we wish we were 40...  So today I tried to be happy to be fit at 41, injury-free and able to dance with abandon.


EdamameMommy said...

Who needs glucosamine and condroitin when you've got Jenn and Regina?

What's your nickname for the Barbie-caller? I think the Oracle will do! :) Having older friends does help keep things in perspective.

Lula said...

This is a great story, and a great reminder to be thankful for what we have and not wistful.

Emily said...

This is a great post! Sorry I'm just now catching up on all your writings.

I love taking your Bollywood class!