on bravery and the body

I don’t know what day today is, but yellow bounces off everything outside, and my children smell like sunscreen and chlorine. Their eyes are blood-red from opening under water. I’ve been propped next to a pool, sucking in a little, covering my shoulders with a wide-rim hat. My babies, they know how to play.

When I was small, already in school, PE felt like death to me. I wasn’t good at anything. I begged for people to pass me in line. I was slow. I was seriously afraid of airborne balls. I still duck when one soars my direction. I think I made C’s in Physical Education.

Every time I run, my mantra is “I hate this. I hate this. I hate this.” Why anyone would ever ever ever run a marathon is the greatest mystery to swamp my brain.

Lately, I braved it into a class called Zumba, because if I’m good at anything it’s a little natural rump shaking. I had heard that they turn the lights down low, only women. I stood in the back, and then boomed in Latin music, and we postered ourselves like Shakira in one of those really oily videos she does.

I loved it I loved it I loved it, smiling so big that my teeth got dry. And so after that little dose of worked-out bravery, I put on a swimming suit, and I wore it in public next to all my girlfriends who could win great big prizes for how beautiful their bodies are. They don’t hate exercise at all.

I’m only here to take note. I still don’t want to know if it’s Wednesday or Thursday. Bravery feels good. It feels good to not care what people think. I mean, I’m still going to suck in, but I don’t want to forget that the red face that comes from the endless possibility of failure eventually goes away. And after the red is gladness and a pair of legs that feel just a tee-niny bit stronger.

About me


Don’t Run Away and Change Your Name
November 01, 2010
On Living Out Simplicity (from the long-drive to Alabama)
April 08, 2010
Nightlight: A Girl’s Guide to Sight
February 19, 2010
I’m going to need a re-do on this one
November 13, 2009
how to build a house of prayer: look for flags of JOY
September 02, 2009
the pattern of joy
August 27, 2009
on where I dwell and how it effects prayer
August 19, 2009
on attention and paralysis
July 27, 2009
my Author, my Reader
July 13, 2009


mandy Eoff
Reply June 23, 2010

:) enjoying your writing and smiling...and i think it takes way more coordination to zumba than run!

Reply June 23, 2010

I am far braver running a few miles on an open road than shaking my uncoordinated self in an enclosed space with mirrors. I am not gifted, rythmically, but would love to zumba with you. Let me know when you go next time!

Reply June 23, 2010

Zumba is so much fun, isn't it? It really doesn't feel like exercise--just a strange combo of fun and humiliation.
I'm with Meredith though--I'm way more comfortable by myself on the open road then shaking it like a polaroid picture in a crowd.

Kelly Langner Sauer
Reply June 23, 2010

I have to smile. And I should think about finding out what Zumba is. I think my husband would love it love it love it. :-) I like seeing you enjoying you.

in the hush of the moon
Reply June 23, 2010

i need this. bravery. thank you.

Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms
Reply June 23, 2010

Oh girl. You are singin' my song with this one. I am so physically inept. Always have been. My tall, lanky, figure-more-like-a-12-year-old-boy self stinks at anything physical. BUT. Zumba works for me. It's the first dancy/sporty think I've ever done where I feel comfortable, even almost possibly just maybe cute.

Thank you for this today!

Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama
Reply June 23, 2010

Um, never heard of it. Going to google it right now...

Reply June 23, 2010

i have the hate it mantra when i run as well. but i'm deathly afraid of dancing or anything that resembles it. if there is another person around, forget it!!! the mere IDEA of it makes me sweat. :) but i like the idea of being brave.
and i once wrote a poem where" my stomach, once held sucked in a constant POPULARITY contest now squishes out, having won 3 times, MAMA" and it makes me feel a little better about my squishy belly, hehe

Reply June 24, 2010

I read this last night and wanted to respond, but didn't know what to say....I love that you're in Zumba (I've ONLY heard fun things about it!) and that the pool was good. But your post struck a nerve. I wish wish wish we didn't care so much about measuring up, that it wouldn't take BRAVERY to go to the pool, for heaven's sake. I know that while we're on earth, that's how it's going to be. But what a waste of our minds to concern ourselves so much with appearance. And I am preaching to myself, that's for sure. I'll end with this- I can't wait for the GLORIFIED BODIES!!!!!!

Reply June 24, 2010

You make me smile! Loved this. Totally want to try out some Zumba!

Reply June 24, 2010

You go girl.....this old tired momma body thats been havin and nursin babies for 7 years is nothin to bear in a swimsuit....I want to though....bad!

Elizabeth (@claritychaos)
Reply June 25, 2010

I have a couple friends who have been trying to drag me along to Zumba for a year now. I still haven't gone. We'll have to see about that. ;)

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