(This is my I-just-killed-a-fucking-demon-tonight face. It's a little frighting.)

I had a hardcore melt down Friday night.

A legit, sobbing, unable to fully understand what was going on, shaky body kind of melt down... and it was all over a dance class.

A friend had invited me to Jade's African dance class, and I agreed to go with her; no problemo! But an hour before, my system suddenly realized what I had signed up for and went into total shock. Guys, I freaked the fuck out. I felt like I had a momentary break into insanity; it was so unexpected and at the moment I couldn't even tell you why. I panic-attacked all over Liora's message box and I think I'll share the gist here, since it perfectly captured my state of mind:

Me, at home in tears: 
Nope. I’m not going. 
Goddamnit dude, I’m too fucking scared to go. 
This body stuff is so HARD. 
And I feel totally guilty. 
I’m the worst fat person ever. 
I’m having a panic attack. 
Like crying and shit. 

Whats the issue at hand here? The real issue?

Lots of things. 
I haven’t been in a dance class since college and I’m positive it will be harder than then and I’m already a physical failure 
and I’m positive I’ll fail in this class and I don’t love my body today 
and I feel like I’m supposed to go and my brain keeps telling me I have to or else I’m the worst fatty ever 
and when I see you I’m just going to regret not going 
and then I’ll have to sit on my fat ass all night knowing I didn’t do it 
when I should have but I can’t. 
I just cant.

Can I talk you through a little bit about what the class is like? 
It’s a new teacher and no one else will know what’s going on. And last time there was a 60 year old guy there and he could barely move around. 
There are people of all shapes and sizes and everything and it was a challenge 
but I decided it was COMMIT OR GTFO so I committed and it was awesome and afterwards I felt like I had 10 orgasms.

I hate being fat Liora. 
I hate everything about it. 
I hate how hard it makes daily living 
and how many mental barriers I have to fight through just to do what others do. 
And I hate having to justify everything to myself because I feel like I owe the world to lose weight 
or at least try and lose weight or eat differently and lose weight… or something. 
It’s just really hard and sounds crazy but it’s so common for me. 

I understand. 
Body image is all of the shit, and I totally get it. 
But do me a favor: don’t do this class for the weight loss. 

Do it for the orgasms.

So, 'do it for the orgasms', I did. The night turned into a spiritual experience; one that really altered my perspective. And I would estimate I doubled my friend's record of 10 orgasms in a night. It's was. Amazing.

Most of you know that Jade is amazing from her international coverage, but she is even more incredible in person. Her infectious energy reminded me that it's important to love others and even more important to love yourself. And you should see her shake that incredible booty on the dance floor. God. Damn.

I had to force myself to put on my dance pants while I was talking to Liora so I wouldn't back out at the last second. I then turned my brain off and focused solely on my promise to just show up for the warm-up, but I of course stayed for the entire thing. I allowed myself to make mistakes, friends, and a fool out of myself. I wasn't worried about the steps for the most part because I had triumphed over my biggest insecurity just by being there.

Now, today, I look back at the transcript I shared above and I read it void of emotion. It's hard for me to understand how something as simple as going to a movement class could shake my world so much that I would lose my ability to function. But it did. And it was real. And that sort of freak out is so common.

So often, us fat ladies feel the social pressure to "better ourselves" by losing weight but then feel ostracized in a workout setting. We feel obligated to join The Perfect Body Factory (okay, maybe you call it a gym) but once there, we feel out of place and pushed into a competition we've failed at before even stepping foot inside. It's a mindfuck, and scares a lot of us shitless. The combination of fat bodies and exercise can resurrect a lifetime of shame. The most powerful kind of shame in the world.

I'm really glad I "documented" the experience that night through our conversation. It was such a good reminder of the fucked up social construct we live in and how much it can affect our daily lives. I have missed out on too many opportunities in my time. I've stayed away from so many events, people, and adventures because I was convinced I would fail.

I was convinced I would fail last night too. I would have bet $1000 dollars on it. But I DIDN'T FAIL! I finished the entire class and loved every single minute of it. There was one arm move that confused the shit out of me that I couldn't get down, but that wasn't because of my weight. It was because my brain was like "WHATTHEFUCK COUNTING ON OFFBEATS IS HARD". Sweat was never so rewarding, and I had a lot of it. Well, we all did. Proof:

I was lucky to participate in a class that was inclusive and focused on feeling good. I was lucky to have a friend who encouraged me to go because she knew where the value could be found. I was lucky to see my "before" and "after" and realize that none of this is about obligation, weight loss, or skills sets.

It's about feeling good.

And feeling good is not exclusive. Endorphines are not just for those who have perfectly toned bodies. I am allowed to move my body in any way I like and not apologize for the way it looks while doing so. I don't have to be perfect and I don't have to go to change my body. I can go because I want to. Because I like to work the machine I live in. Because I want to feel amazing. Because I deserve to feel amazing.

My advice to every woman who wants to participate in a cycling, aerobics, yoga, Jazzercise, pilates, swimming, dance, or Zumba class but is scared to try?

Don't go for the weight loss.
Go for the orgasms.

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