my life to others. I was a serial people
pleaser. I never really took the time to
get to know who I was. It wasn’t until I
became a mother of two incredibly
beautiful, wild boys that I found dancing
and, ultimately, myself.
Like so many other women who are moms, I found myself asking, “Did I shower today?” “Did I brush my teeth, eat?”. I certainly wasn’t taking care of myself or my health. Mental or physical. My body looked different after babies, of course. I didn’t like it but I didn’t really make the time to do anything about it. There were so many other things, and other people, that took priority. One day, my mom wanted to start working on her physical health. She wanted me to join her in a dance fitness class. She said it would be a great time for us to spend time together, and I could put the boys in child care. Have a break. She convinced me. I went.
I’ll never forget that first class. I stood in the back row of a packed class. The music was pumping, there was so much energy. I loved watching it, but I couldn’t keep up. I was so out of shape and so exhausted from moving muscles that I hadn’t moved in years, or maybe ever? I was pretty sure I would not be going back. In fact I came up with a million excuses why I shouldn’t go back. But, something inside me felt alive in that class. Something I had never felt before. I convinced myself to go. I was on my own, the hardcore rap music wasn’t my mom’s cup of tea. I went back week after week. I started seeing small changes in my body. The faces in class became familiar and I looked forward to seeing them. Not only was I feeling better physically, but I was feeling better mentally. I was more fit, happier and healthier than I had ever been. I stayed on this path for two years. I never actually had the desire to lead the class. I was happy being a student, I was comfortable there.
In 2011 we had to move to Colorado from Georgia, my home of 23 years. I was leaving all my family and friends behind and going to a place where I didn’t know a soul. To say I was devastated is an understatement. I didn’t want to go, I was scared for so many reasons. But, it was happening whether I liked it or not.
Then I found out our family was moving across country…to Colorado. I didn’t know a soul there. I was leaving all my family, my friends, my home town and the only fitness class I had ever enjoyed. I felt lost for so many reasons.
I got to Colorado and immediately starting looking for a fitness class that was similar to the one I knew and loved in Atlanta. I tried and tried and tried so many classes. Nothing. I began to have this thought out of pure desperation…”I know a handful of songs from my old class, maybe I can teach? Even if it’s just me, myself, and I, I will be moving and doing what I love.” I knew I had to keep going or I would go backwards. I couldn’t do that. It was a terrifying decision and put me out of my comfort zone, but I did it. I got certified to teach.
I’ll never forget the day of training. It was a new beginning. I started to get excited about the opportunity ahead of me. As luck would have it, there was a studio owner from the town I was living in at the training. She approached me when it was over and asked me if I needed a job. Of course I did!! That studio was the beginning of something beautiful. It’s where my life, my passions, and the best version of me began.
That little studio was a huge crutch for me, transitioning into my new life in Colorado. It gave me back the physical/mental health and the community/comradery I so desperately craved. Once I started teaching, the weight began falling off. I lost 20 lbs, 4 dress sizes, and so many inches. An awesome byproduct of dance fitness. I felt fulfilled. I was doing something for myself and, in return, I was showing up for others that needed me in ways I never could have before. I was touched by the women coming into class that were feeling inspired, losing weight, and becoming healthier emotionally and physically. I found my passion.
In April 2012, Tricia came into my class. I saw a lot of myself in her when she first started. She’d hang in the back row and as the weeks turned into months I saw her weight melting away and the next thing I knew she was in the front row right next to me. The rest is history. We started creating together, pouring our hearts and souls into it. We created Groove. It was a labor of love. We wanted to do it. We needed to do it.
Unfortunately, the studio we had been teaching at closed. When that door shut, a window opened. We quickly found a new home to teach Groove at a local gym that really provided us with an opportunity for growth. And that’s exactly what it did. Grow.
Sadly, in 2016, my time in Colorado came to an end. I was moving back to Georgia. An oddly enough, I was more upset about leaving Colorado than I was about coming to it. We were about to launch REB3L and I was leaving. Starting over, again. That was a big setback. I was on this path, everything was looking bright, everything felt right for the first time ever. Coming back to Georgia was hard. I knew I “should” be happy about going back home. Everyone was there, it was my home. But, moving back wasn’t easy. It was dark. I lived in an apartment for 6 months. I didn’t have a job instructing fitness. I wasn’t working out. I was sure I would NEVER find anything like I had in Colorado. I became depressed, started gaining weight, losing muscle, and not taking care of myself. I was stuck, paralyzed.
It took a lot of perseverance to get out of that funk. I had to go through a few different places instructing before I found my new “home.” Once I found it I had to completely start over. I had 3, 5, 8 (if I was lucky) students in my class. That was tough. But, I knew that I had to teach to those 3 people like there were 50 people in the room. I had to bring the energy. It wasn’t easy. I managed to muster it. I succeeded. Those 3 people told 3 more and those told 3 more and so on. My class grew, each week. I began to see it as a challenge. One year later… 50 people in my class!
At 40 years old I am proud to say I know how to say “no” (most of the time). I am recovering people pleaser. I am stronger mentally and physically. I am healthier. I found my purpose, my passion. The REB3L success stories that I have witnessed on the west coast and on the east coast have all touched me in ways I can’t put into words.
In the end, women share a common thread. We are on the same journey. We are lovers, givers, doers. We are self-sacrificing humans. Sometimes to a detriment. Taking time for ourselves can feel like taking time away from something or someone else. But, through this, I have found that taking time for me and taking care of me helps me show up and be a better version of me. I am now a better lover, giver, and doer. REB3L has forever changed my life and watching how it continues to change others is truly an inspiration.