by MrsFatass on January 14, 2013

I’m a party planner.

I’ve always enjoyed planning and executing special events. In college I actually had a job throwing birthday parties at a swank health club in Lincoln Park. My name tag said Sue Bennis, Party Coordinator. I still have it somewhere because I just happen to think it’s very fitting. And also because I love my former last name.

One thing we’ve incorporated into the business plan of this partnership that I’m working in are fitness parties, and we had a doozy on Saturday. January’s theme was Commit to Fit, and we were encouraging and supporting people to publicly declare a goal or commitment, with the idea that we will be there to support and encourage all year long.

Lots of the commitments were fitness related of course. Do more Zumba. Drink more water. Lose some pounds. Eat more vegetables.

Some were a little more ambiguous. Personal.

I didn’t fill one out. It didn’t even occur to me, actually. I was greeting and hugging and directing traffic and making sure everyone was welcomed and comfortable and usually when we do an event like this I am totally in my element. I enjoy the public persona. I mean, it’s still me. But it’s me in glitter. The fantasy me. And I really enjoy encouraging others to explore that fantasy them, too. I really think that one reason Zumba is so fulfilling to so many people is because we get a chance to really act like that person we feel like on the inside. The person we could be if we didn’t listen to the critic in our head.

So through the course of the weekend, as I was editing pictures and making notes and working over all the details of the day, I thought a lot about commitment. I’ve made plenty of promises to myself over the years, some of which I’ve kept (more cardio), and some of which I’ve broken (let go). I don’t think anyone is more aware of my shortcomings than I am. Especially in the last two years, I’ve done a little therapy and a lot of writing and a shitload of battling my way through some really dark days. I know I’m defensive and that I hold tightly onto grudges hurts and that I can be cold and am deathly afraid of confrontation. And I know that I set high standards, not only for myself, but for the people around me. Impossibly high. Which is a problem because most of the time people aren’t going to live up to the standards you set for them. It’s hard enough living up to the ones we set for ourselves. Right?

In the grand scheme of things, people are going to disappoint you. And hurt you. Leave you hanging and piss you off. I mean, they’re going to do great things too. Love you. Hold you up. Fill you with joy and humble you with their goodness. But sometimes people suck and that’s just the way it is. And it’s really easy to point the finger at the suck and use it as an excuse for our own bad behavior. She didn’t do what she said she was going to do; therefore I get to say terrible things about her. Or he broke his promise to me, therefore I get to break a promise too. Even the score.

I don’t know if I’m getting to a point, really, except to say this: I have baggage. A huge trunkload full of icky, emotional, negative reactions to all the shit people have done to hurt me or piss me off or let me down that dates all the way back to when I turned 5 and had a birthday party in kindergarten and my frienemy was jealous of the attention I was getting so she tore my birthday crown in half.


I’m doing a better job of keeping the lid on that trunk, and not using it as my reason to give up or be negative. And that, my friends, is huge.

I had something happen this weekend that disappointed me. Like, on several levels. It hurt. And left me feeling a little thrown under the bus.

But in the face of this situation I stayed true to me. Even in the heat of the moment, when it would have been easy to avoid something terribly uncomfortable, I did what I said I was going to do. I didn’t let the threat of confrontation make me cower. I stuck to the plan, even though I was doing it on my own. You know those people who talk about somebody, but justify it by saying “it’s nothing I wouldn’t say to their face”? Well, I was that person. I was the same person IN the situation that I was when talking ABOUT the situation.

And I’m pretty freaking proud of myself for that.

As it turns out, it wasn’t really as hard as I thought it would be. In the moment, my hands got sweaty and my voice got shakey and I was all of a sudden terribly anxious. And it took most of the day to put that anxiety behind me. But what was awesome was that I didn’t have to sit and criticize myself after. Kick myself for not saying the right thing. Put myself down for not doing what I’d promised. Even though my stomach was churning and I wanted to crawl in a hole, I didn’t have to make an excuse. Or feel ashamed. Actually, I felt pretty good. It was the best shakey nauseous feeling I’d had in a long time.

So my public declaration would be this: In 2013, I commit to . . . being the me I am on the inside on the OUTSIDE too. Not just in Zumba class. But out in the world. Here’s to MORE shakey nausea in the year ahead!

Do you have a commitment for 2013?

Note: This post goes hand in hand with the launch of the anthology Strong Like Butterfly, a project of the amazing women over at GirlBodyPride. More to come on this wonderful book, but in the meantime please read about the launch here.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Miz January 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

and yes.
Im committing to looking through the WINDSHIELD and NOT THE REARVIEW MIRROR.


Ivey January 14, 2013 at 8:50 am

LOVE this, Sue, and I think you are pretty freaking fabulous!! I love what you do for others, your positive energy and your very warm, welcoming nature! I always feel like a rock star after your classes! My commitment is to be the best ME that I can be this year…and that means LESS of me, lol!


Laurie January 14, 2013 at 8:56 am

Beautiful. And, congratulations on shakey nausea.
I would have had so much fun at your Zumba party.
Check this out:
She is amazing and talks so much about all the stuff you just referenced. She has Ted talks that you can download and great books, and yes, I have a crush on her and want her to be my friend, but she is kind of famous. Despite being famous she is real and has issues too. I think you will enjoy her message.
Sweaty Zumba hugs to you.


Cathy January 14, 2013 at 9:27 am

You go Sue! Very proud of you. I know from personal experience some of what you are dealing with. You know by now that I have some baggage as well. Most of mine goes back to my childhood. I still have a lot of fear and anger in my heart. My one year of therapy a couple of years ago my therapist told me that I need to make one of my goals not to apologize and say I am sorry to everyone about everything. I always feel that whatever has happened it was my fault. I second quess everything that I do or say. I think I feel that I need to please everyone – you and I both know that will never happen. Thank God that I have a wonderful husband who tries very hard to make me feel loved, wanted & needed.


Donna January 14, 2013 at 9:56 am

I’m still trying to figure out how you & I were separated at birth. Here’s to a very positive & productive 2013, for both of us. XO


Sam January 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I’m sorry I let you down on Saturday and I’m proud of you for sticking to your guns when mine failed to lock and load.

In 2013 I’m committing to being true and mindful and making my back bond not fail on me.

I love you, lady.


jennifer January 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

The shakes and nausea will go away quicker and quicker each time. Be true to yourself, and know you are doing the right thing, and all will be fine!


Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me January 15, 2013 at 6:10 am

I’m happy you’re being you.

I’m committing to taking it one day at a time and not getting bogged down in the little crap.


Shannon January 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm

It took me a while to find your blog again. Since I last read you have done amazing things! It is tough to let things go when people hurt you it is a process.
Zumba instructor? Pretty cool! I tried my 3rd class last night and see how the right instructor can make you fall in love with it. I wish I was closer to you to try one of yours I am sure they are fabulous! Looking forward to following you again.


Caroline Calcote January 20, 2013 at 6:53 am

You go girl! We all have baggage. And I’m in your blogroll??? What? I am so honored! xoxo


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