jazz hands

by MrsFatass on September 26, 2012

This is what Fitbloggin felt like to me:

Biggest Jazz Hands EVAH


The end.

No, I’m kidding. It’s not the end. You know me better than that.

Anyone else find re-entry after Fitbloggin’ to be fricking hard? I sure do. After all of the anxiety anticipation, then living that four days turned up to eleven, with a constant stream of hugs and high fives and flash bulbs and Patron self acceptance, we weren’t in the car 20 minutes when we realized we were no longer in the protective, loving fitbloggin bubble.

A few of you were with me, and helped the hashtag #fbomb38 trend for a little dot of time between 11:55 on 9/21 to 12:05 on 9/22, when I kissed 38 goodbye and dove headlong into 39. 38 tried to break me. Eff you, 38.

But 39 has already had its moments because let’s be honest, when you start out the year surrounded by several hundred brilliant, funny, caring, brave, amazeballs bloggers who ALSO come do Zumba with you, well, you’re bound to have a bit of a B-Side when you have to get into your car and drive away.

I’ve been trying to keep my head up, blogosphere, but my dive into 39 was less beautifully executed swan and more big ol’ cannonball. Once I sobered rested up, I pulled out the laptop, chomping at the bit to catch up on the tweets and FB messages and recaps from all of you, because I didn’t do much of that while I was in the bubble.

And then I cried.

Because I looked fat.

In almost every photo I found a flaw.

And in the video I looked like I was trying to digest a basketball.

And all over again I was reminded how my inner voice just doesn’t match my outer body.

POP! Fitbloggin bubble officially burst.

I know, right? I feel like a bit of a hotass dumbass even writing this because I spend so much time encouraging others NOT to, but it is what it is I guess. Happens to everybody, moments of doubt and insecurity. Even me.

Because losing weight is hard. And I’m overwhelmed by my life.

Today I taught class at our downtown studio. It’s an interesting mix of people that come in there. It’s partially a corporate lunch hour crowd, and partially a mix of non native English speakers/minorities/lower income folks that sort of ebbs and flows and changes from week to week.

I have kind of A Favorite who comes in pretty regularly. I mean, I love ALL my students, but this one in particular has kind of a special spot in my heart. She is a young and sweet African American woman who is married and raising a child on a very fixed income. And I am sure I’m about to use a non-pc word so please somebody correct me, but she’s a little bit slow.

The first day she came in she walked in 100 degree weather. Had no water bottle. Her clothes were well worn and her toes poked through the tops of her sneakers. She told me she saw the Zumba sign in the window over the weekend and wanted me to help her. She’s got a wedding to go to a year from now, and she wanted to lose some weight. I think she quoted me a number, somewhere close to 100 pounds.

She’ll come regularly for a few days, and then disappear for a few days. Then out of the blue I’ll get a call from her, apologizing profusely for missing class and saying she’ll be back. I get the feeling she doesn’t get much support at home and I would give her every class for free because she seems to want it so badly, but she tells me how she budgets her check once a month and keeps out the money she needs for the 10 class punch card, and she’s so determined. So I told her to keep coming, even when she’s strapped for cash, and we’ll figure it out. She bought herself some toning sticks, too, and has never forgotten her water bottle since that first day.

Today after class I went over to tell her how she’s smiling more and more in class without me having to remind her. She was sitting down and had a cold washcloth on the back of her neck. She was feeling a little lightheaded. Then she told me she’s “on a diet.”

Hoo boy.

I asked her what she’s been eating, and her response was that she’ll have a bagel and cream cheese in the morning and then nothing (nothing!) until dinner. So every now and again she gets dizzy.

Then she looked at me with those deep brown eyes and said “It’s just so hard. I’m so tired of being fat. But I just don’t know what to do. I’m overwhelmed.”

It was like looking into a mirror.

Our skin color or socioeconomic status or education or age or gender DON’T MATTER. We’re all more alike then we are different. She and I feel exactly the same on the inside.

I spent a little time with her jotting down a list of things that would be good for her to eat. We sketched out schedule so she knows to eat her meals and have a few snacks to fuel her throughout the day.

And then she said “my husband wants sloppy joes for dinner tonight, so instead of eating two, I’ll just eat one. Is that right?”

And I said yes. That is exactly right.

Here I sit, covered in new Reebok swag with books and my laptop and this whole community of people helping me, and still I’m overwhelmed. And this lovely woman in her ripped tank top and worn through shoes taught me once again that it all starts with one good choice to make one small change.

And just like that, a little piece of that Fitbloggin bubble started to reinflate.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca September 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I can’t begin to explain to you how much this post resonates with me today. It’s come at the most perfect of times, on a day when I considered purging after a binge, sliding back to an eating disorder that nearly killed me as a teen, on a day where the sheer overwhelming toughness just got to me. At a time in my life where every thing is changing and I’m finding it hard to feel secure anywhere. I WISH I could have been at Fitbloggin, there is a shortage of sponsors for UK bloggers though ! I’m loving the recaps and the stories and the pictures. I love this post the absolute most.


Kyra September 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

This resonates with Miz’s post today. At the core, we are all the same.


Kimmi September 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

This post just made me tear up….we are so much the same…all of us trying to get better, to be better, to make the right choices.

You’re amazing for what you did for her…what you continue to do. It’s wonderful that you gave her just the little bit of advice that might help her find her way.

Big cheers to you, and from the smile and the jazz hands in the picture above…I just want you to know that is the lady we see…no matter how you pick yourself apart…..all we see is that happy lady who is about to rock the world!


Tamara September 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I LOVED meeting you this past weekend! Even if I didn’t Zumba…
And that’s the thing about pictures; there’s always something to criticize. I posted a trampoline picture of me on Instagram and one commenter asked if I was pregnant!!!! Um no, that’s just a little carb belly and some ‘traveller’s slow digestion’. Yikes!


Steve September 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I hope you are truly able to realize what you did for that woman. Not only is she smiling more because of your classes, but she now has a better idea of what to eat, which will hopefully lead to a healthy lifestyle and a happier life. You planted a seed of change in her, and that could very well change her life.

You, are awesome, compassionate, and more beautiful than you could ever know. Definitely one of the good ones. 🙂


Tara September 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Please let me in under the bubble…


Meegan (@redstar5) September 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Dear Sue,

How is it that when we live in the moment and just rock it we do it without judgement and the minute we spy ourselves in pictures or the GD mirror we get all “judgey eyes” on ourselves and ruin half of our fun by worrying about we “looked”. And dammit I’m doing it to. Thank you for turning that moment with one of your fav zunba-ees into something empowering. That’s who you are power and spirit and love in those jazz hands. And one seriously hot ass. (and that goes doe Every damn picture I have ever seen of you.) Don’t you forget it. xo


Kerri O September 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Would you people stop making me cry! Sheesh.
I remember fitbloggin re-entry last year. It was tough. I think next year is on my birthday!
OK, here’s the thing: I see so many around me. They’re hurting. They’re me. They’re where I’ve been. But, somehow I came through on the other side. I have this overwhelming urge to throw them a rope and pull like hell. I just don’t exactly know how. Like I said on Tara’s blog. I want to help. So bad. But as of yet I haven’t really figured out how. I know I can’t fix the world, but surely I can do something. I’ll figure it out…


KCLAnderson (Karen) September 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

You have such an amazing gift…and you know what it is? It’s just you being you. I know how freaking corny that sounds, but it’s really and truly true. In your presence I feel I can be my very best. Embrace that.


Amanda @ Click. The Good News September 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Awww…it’s so hard to go through all these ups and downs. I feel like our inner critics get too loud sometimes & it’s so hard to find that place of grace and kindness with ourselves. It’s wonderful that you are choosing to remain focused on others instead of just turning inward and swimming around the thoughts in your head. Finding energy to give to others is a great first step that often helps me get out of myself & my moods to connect with others.

So glad we met & I’m so looking forward to walking down this road with you. {hugs}


Heather@YSP September 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I just got through this too. Days of feeling shite about how I looked in the pictures or how much slower or weaker I was than I’d planned to be… and then… comments on my posts + posts like this one and Tara’s + support from my family, and today is… better.

Thank you for that Zumba class. I felt strong. I felt sexy. I didn’t care about the size of my stomach or my thighs.


Amy September 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Ah….I so hear you on the re-entry. It is hard to go back to real life when you spend Three Whole Days just focused on you and all of the good things surrounding you. But wow, just wow. Your ability to give this woman just what she needed, when she needed it…it is what you do for all of us, really, through your blog. I’m glad you were able to step back from everything and see the positives in that. It truly is often just the smallest pieces of kindness and concern that can really make a huge difference. You made a difference to that woman today, and to yourself, and now to all of us by sharing this story. Thank you.


nic. September 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

She is lucky to have you as a teacher. I think sometimes our fitness instructors don’t realize the impact they have on us! You’re like heroes!


Donna September 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I try to keep my religion to myself, and I realize others may roll their eyes or disagree, so forgive me for saying this, but I don’t care. So often we neglect to notice that Christ walks among us, and He is evident in the work we do, and the people He brings into our lives, if we allow ourselves to see it. The two of you found each other for a reason, and the beautiful thing is that you both think you are the lucky one. What a wonderful story. Sue. Thanks for sharing that.

And … a little sneak peak from someone about to hit 45? Big whoop about 39. You haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.


Staci September 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I have been feeling a nudge to write about my own struggle and this is just another one. It’s so hard and exhausting to continually see that “fat” person looking back at us in the mirror. I’m the thinnest I’ve been in years and yet? I feel fat. I hate looking at myself and I’m doggone sick of it. I’m sick of feeling this way and hearing other people who suffer to get away from the same awful self-destructive talk. I’m thankful that woman has you. Keep encouraging her; and I hope in doing so, you recognize just how valuable (and hot) you are.


Miz September 27, 2012 at 5:39 am

I cried at zumba.
that was the most powerful snippet for me.


Queen Wackaddo September 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

What a wonderful thing you are doing for this woman, and for me, and for you. 🙂


Nellie September 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

“Then she looked at me with those deep brown eyes and said “It’s just so hard. I’m so tired of being fat. But I just don’t know what to do. I’m overwhelmed.”

This is powerful.

I think the most important part of all of this is to make sure that you keep putting one foot in fornt of the other. It is SO crazy how you can make 4 great decisions, make one bad one, or get no results then end up right back where you started. Support, I learned this weekend, is what I have been missing all along. Its one thing to have your friends, family and husband say “YOU LOOK FINE” but then when you look at your self you feel in shambles.

I am overwhelmed myself as well, and I think we all are. But we just gotta push through.


Lena September 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

You are such an awesome person, and I had the most incredible time helping to kick 38 in the ass with you. I hope that your FitBloggin bubble continues to reinflate over the days because you deserve all of the happiness in the world. Remember, 39 is for rebuilding, so those downs will be followed by ups.


Jennifer Alderfer September 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I don’t even have the words. You wrote the thoughts I’ve had over and over through the years of losing and gaining weight. It’s such a never ending battle and we beat ourselves up over and over, often unnecessarily. You’ve got this, and you have a huge support system behind you and your nonfatass 🙂


Sean @ Learn Fitness September 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

You did an amazing thing and are helping change that woman forever. Life can be hard at times but with people like you taking the time and making the effort to help it’s a better place.

Keep being amazing and compassionate and please continue to jazz hand your students to be healthy and fit! 🙂


Melissa (@TheDailyMel) September 28, 2012 at 3:32 am

You. are. amazing.! Your heart and spirit just soar. I’m bummed I had to miss this year, but can’t wait to see you again next year at Portland. I’ll bring my toning sticks! LOL


shauna September 28, 2012 at 8:05 am

Oh you wonderful woman. While you were thinking about your so-called flaws, I was cursing how I look like a giant red-faced pumpkin in a photo with the post-Zumba glowing, foxy vixen that is YOU.

I loved this post; really puts things in perspective. I am with Karen, your gift is being YOU and you fucking shined like a star up there mate. It was so fab to hang out with you again 🙂


Valerie (seattlerunnergirl) September 28, 2012 at 9:52 am

If only we could all see ourselves the way the ones who love us see us. I’ll bet that lady in your Zumba class thinks you’re amazeballs (because you are). And you think she’s an inspiration (because she is). We’re our own harshest critics sometimes, and I can’t really figure out why. So that’s my hope for you; that you can catch a glimpse of what we all see when we look at you.


Tigerlilly September 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Best post I’ve read all day. Thank you.


chris October 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I have stopped doing that. Maybe it’s because I am learning self defense, or maybe it’s because I am getting old…but f*ck it…so my body isn’t perfect. I don’t care. I could say you shouldn’t, but quite frankly…I didn’t get to this place till a week ago, so what do I know. lol. It feels good though. Get here if you can. You are so much more than the shape of your tummy. You are an inspiration to that woman who is having her fair share of struggles…and when she thinks of sue, she thinks of the kind woman who helps her. Your soul is bountiful.


Pamela October 3, 2012 at 1:04 am

Wow. Today is the first day that I have stumbled upon your blog and I can say that you had me at effing. Thank you so much for sharing about that lady. I teach what would be her children and there are very few people who relate and realize we not too far off from being the same. Thank you for supporting and trying to help her. I think today alone I felt like a dieting failure about 12 times so that you for making me feel so normal.


Jillian October 3, 2012 at 8:08 am

Oh, my Michigan friend, I want to hug you so hard that I can feel your bones creaking under the pressure. You are fucking amazing. Don’t let anything steal your joy, because even though you may not be able to see it in your photos, you freaking’ radiate it. That woman is lucky to have you, but you’re also lucky to have her. Stop picking yourself apart; you are more than you think you are. <3


Debby October 4, 2012 at 10:18 pm

It’s just so hard for me too.
I’m tired of being fat too.
I’m overwhelmed too.
I used to know what to do.


Ted Wilson October 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

Thanks for sharing… I have been dieting and exercising for 2 years, I have lost 60 pounds and probably have that much more to lose.


Linda H October 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

Wow, I don’t know what to say. I am so glad you are there for this student. I’m so busy trying to get in and out of class that I have failed to pay attention to other students in the class that might need my help or encouragement. I’m all the time judging myself in the mirror thinking how fat I look and how this jiggles when I exercise. But I look at you and others and that motivates me to keep pushing because one day I will look like you’ll. I enjoy Zumba and you are such an inspiration to me. You have a heart, you pay attention to your students and you give us that push we need. I have been to some Zumba classes and did not feel welcome. Of course I did not return, but from Day 1 you were nice and smiling and I just felt liked I was just where I needed to be. I brag on you all the time. Please let me know if I can do anything to help this student.


The Get Fit Diva October 26, 2012 at 10:42 am

You are amazing and beautiful. I wish you saw yourself the way everyone did/does! I saw this incredibly confident woman dropping it like it’s hot and having a undeniably fabulous time whilst doing so at Fitbloggin. I was simply amazed! You made me dig deep and dance hard like no one was watching. However, I feel the same way when I see pictures and all I see are the flaws when people say I looked good. We are our own worst critics! I see myself as a work in progress and still have weight to loss and confidence to gain. Thank you for sharing this story—everyone has their struggles and we all need to realize we are not alone!


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