I walk into my Zumba class packed with women a few times a week when I'm not on the road. Dozens of women, of all different shapes, sizes, ethnicity, hair color, and ages get together to dance as exercise. Novel idea, right? Dancing for exercise. It makes you forget that you're actually doing some pretty good cardio.
But I continue to go to this class because a lot more than exercise happens in that wooden-floored room covered in floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The room becomes a celebration.
That room becomes a place where women are free to be themselves. It becomes a place where no woman can stop smiling bright, no woman can stop cheering, and no woman can stop celebrating life- the fact that she can dance and move and be her- just unashamedly her. It becomes a place where women don't worry about their weight but they focus on their health. There aren't pictures of Victoria's Secret models on the walls, no Instagram feed of girls lifting their shirt to show us their perfect tummy, no magazines filled with absurd diet plans that make us feel bad. We. Are. Free.
There's no judgment of what another looks like - only community and celebration of each other. The teacher puts a random class-goer to the front to teach the dance, and the other women cheer like she was just elected President. We don't worry about what she looks like compared to us or how her clothes compare to ours or pick out everything she can do so much better than us. We celebrate her - and in doing so, we celebrate ourselves. Ourselves as women...happy, healthy, strong, and supportive.
I'd imagine that if the world was like this Zumba class the world would be a happier place. Women spend so much more time tearing each other down than building each other up. We spend so much time worrying about our weight rather than our health. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to other women. We spend so much time being hard on ourselves rather than celebrating ourselves.
It's time we let that go.
Today, in that moment when you feel less-than, far from perfect, torn down, too big, too small, whatever it is...imagine yourself in the class I've pictured here. Imagine yourself dancing with wild abandon, free to love yourself and be yourself, absolutely perfect the way God made you. Then smile, don't stop smiling, and just keep going.