"Many women share a common thread…We are unselfishly giving, doing and pleasing. Why? To make the people we love feel important, to meet their needs."
WE ARE LOVERS, GIVERS, DOERS, ALL ON THE SAME JOURNEY.
In 2009, I, like so many other women who are moms of small children 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 wasn’t proud of it, but I also wasn’t motivated to change it. There were so many other things to do, so many other people to worry about. Those were my priorities. Those were the things I “should” do.
My mom was ultimately the one who ignited my passion. She wanted to start working on her physical health and appearance after a recent break up. She asked 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 got me at childcare…
I’ll never forget that first class. I stood in the back row, 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. But, I was on my own, the music genre (rap) wasn’t as enticing to my mom. 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 also mentally. I was more fit, happier and healthier than I had ever been. I was doing something for myself for the first time in a long time and felt great. I stayed on this path for two years. I never actually had the desire to lead the class or become an instructor. I was very comfortable being a student.
In 2011 I moved from Georgia to Colorado. I was leaving a home of 23 years, a life filled with friends and family to go to a place 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.
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 many classes, formats and instructors. Nothing. I began thinking 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 do something to keep myself moving in a positive direction. I was terrified about to taking the leap into the instructor role. But, I felt I had no choice.
“SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE THE LEAP AND YOU WILL BUILD YOUR WINGS ON THE WAY DOWN”.
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 was an awakening. I was no longer in the passenger seat of my life.
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/camaraderie 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.
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 wasn’t instructing. 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.
Now in my 40’s, I am proud to say I am in recovery, recovery from the female disease of people pleasing and all the “shoulds”. 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 now 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 in life, a journey to be good, to do good. We are self-sacrificing humans by nature, sometimes to a detriment. Taking time for ourselves can feel like we are robbing time from something else we “should” be doing. But, through this, I have found that taking time and taking care of myself helps me show up as a better version FOR my people. REB3L has forever changed my life and watching how it continues to change others is truly an inspiration.