PARTY IN BLUE Zumbathon for Autism


PARTY IN BLUE Zumbathon for Autism

PARTY IN BLUE Zumbathon for Autism

Thank you for visiting our ZUMBATHON fundraising page!  The march 31 PARTY IN BLUE zumba event raised $2000 THANKS TO YOU. 

Zumba is to me that moment in the movie the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy steps onto the yellow brick road and the world turns from black & white to vivid color. Can you remember that feeling when the screen was suddenly, miraculously full of color? That’s what Zumba looks like. Technicolor. One of my favorite Zumba warm up song starts: “Move your body, out on the floor, put your troubles aside, and start living…” I love that line! That’s what Zumba is to me, an hour that I can put everything aside and turn off my troubles. That’s what Zumba feels like, a point where I can begin again, to “start living,” and in color.

A few short/long years ago my daughter sat at the kitchen table watching me lying on the couch one late afternoon and said to me “Gee Mom, you really do sleep a lot.” Yes. All I wanted to do was curl into a ball and lay on my couch in the fetal position. Getting up off that couch was near impossible. I was tired. See, my son has autism. It’s heavy. It’s demanding. I was achingly exhausted by the time the end of day rolled around at 9, 10 at night, and then I had to get up the next day at 6 in the morning, put one foot in front of the other, and do it all over again. I was tired: physically, spiritually and emotionally; after a decade of dealing with the demands of autism on top of three kids and a full time job, there were many days all I wanted was to curl up on my couch permanently. Later that year, my dear daughter had suggested that she give me Zumba classes as a gift and we could go together, but at the time we never got around to it…

And my husband had been encouraging me to join a gym but how was I going to get to a gym when I was already exhausted by 5 PM? Well I forced myself last January 2011 to finally join a gym. I vowed to try to go just two nights a week, hopefully more. I wasn’t in great shape and I knew that it was long overdue. I looked at the equipment and was uninspired. I decided to check out all the classes. I tried spinning which only made my butt bones sore, nearly passed out in my first “wellness” yoga class, and wandered into a Zumba class. Well I took that first Zumba class and I was hooked. Even though after the first ten minutes I was gasping for air and watching the clock, but the music kept me going song by song. I thought the instructor was on crack. I hid in the very back corner and tried my best to follow her frenetic routines. I thought I’d die. But the music got me and the energy in the room was infectious. It was remarkable to me that the class was packed with people of all ages and sizes having a blast. And in fact, I noted that the ladies with some curves could really move and could move better than the “stick figures.”

So I kept coming back. I kept watching the clock and gasping & dying, but the music and the energy kept me coming back. I’d laugh at myself trying to follow the routines. I’d imagine how ridiculous I looked trying these crazy dance moves and I’d crack up. Hey Shakira, “these hips don’t lie either and they aint movin like that,” I’d laugh to myself. It might not be pretty, but what the heck: I was dancing and sweating, and I was laughing. For the first time, I understood the advise to find the work out that you really love, then you’d want to go and you’d look forward to it instead of looking for excuses to get out of it. I was looking forward to my evening Zumba “party.” No matter how much stress I had or how tired I was, I knew the music would move me, the energy of the instructor and the class would carry me and I’d feel better. My brain and body were both so fully engaged during class to follow the ever changing routines, that I couldn’t even worry if I wanted to (except maybe to worry about tripping myself, lol).

So a year and a half later today, I’m still dancing in my Zumba classes as many as I can each week. And now my hips now do move like that; watch out Shakira! I still get discouraged and frazzled with my life stresses at times, but I know Zumba will help me to escape even if for just an hour. I still get down sometimes, but Zumba will bring me a brief respite and an outlet to de-stress. The brain and the body engage and the music and the dancing conspire to flood my beleaguered brain with much needed endorphins. I’m now a “zumbaddict!” Zumba brings me one Technicolor hour where I move my body out on the floor, “put all my troubles aside, and start living.” 

Kelly Milazzo

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