How ZUMBA has Changed My Life

That looks about as funny as a blog post heading as I thought it would.


So, I do a Zumba class every (most) Saturday morning for the past couple months with my friend, Asha. She picks me up in her comfy blue eco-suv car, and we chat and catch up a little on the drive. Then, we go to a class led by a feisty, tiny Japanese woman artist, for one hour that I have dubbed: Joyful Torture. It is exhausting and so much fun my face hurts afterwards from smiling. I sweat more than I would on an hour-long bikeride. And for the whole class I think of nothing but the music, and following (or remembering) the moves of the dance we’re doing. It’s bliss. And physically so challenging, it’s hilarious.

The music starts, and I am totally IN my body. My WHOLE body. And I feel safe. And like I can be flirty and sassy and sexy while I dance, and I don’t worry that something bad will happen. I feel free. No one’s watching me, everyone’s focused on their own moves, but I can make eye contact with whoever I want to and smile and laugh. I feel like MYSELF. And some little girl who loved to dance and move in ALL the ways comes out in me, and she is frickin’ tearin’ up the dance floor.

On days when I feel strong, I think the thing that feels the most criminal and cruel about the aftereffects of Childhood Sexual Abuse is this:

I had my own sexuality appropriated, and stolen from ME.

It’s taken me so very many years to get it back. But I’m getting it back. I’ve gradually gotten ME back, and reclaiming my healthy, expressive sexuality has been a beautiful part of that process.

Aside: I listen to/watch a bunch of online tarot card readers these days on YouTube. Some of them are so freaking brilliant and psychologically smart, also I’m learning to read tarot myself and it’s great tutoring. Anyway, as I was writing this post, I got a blurb on my phone of the heading of one of my favorite readers’ (Turning Tides Tarot) current video and it was:

“Divine Feminine: So tired of being resilient, it’s time for some Pleasure”

Perfecto. Thanks YouNiverse.

This is IT for me right now. Pleasure. And really taking in ALL the joy my body and mind can hold. For years, I needed support and witnessing for all the pain I lived through. The literal torture of intermittent sexual abuse from my father, and then random perpetrators who sensed the smashed energetic boundaries that earlier abuse had created in me meant I suffered so much alone, with no witnesses besides my tormentor, and no way to process or release that trauma. As a result, my body became full of energetic landmines. I had so many places that would hurt long after the initial abuse, or maybe worse, parts of me that became blank of sensation.

Now: I’m expanding my capacity to feel and hold Joy. That includes  physical pleasure, the gentle, easy pleasure of safe and inspiring company in my friendships (particularly with the amazing women in my life,) the humor and energy of my kids, the visual and sensual experience of seasonal change in the natural world around me, the sensual and spiritual pleasure in making music and art, and OH my god Zumba.

Thank you, Zumba. For being a safe space, with all different bodies and genders sharing that safe space, for me to experience my physical self in such a free and expressive way. I will forever sing your praises. And I will keep looking forward to Saturday mornings.

May you all find your Zumba. Whatever it is that helps you feel your body is YOURS. And it’s just right as it is! And your sass, and your sexy is yours to enjoy, first and foremost. And may you increasingly feel that your body is not only a safe place to be, but a fun one.


In safety and love,

Deb Talan

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