Friday, September 19, 2008

My Story... I Refuse to Take All the Credit

So this week was a big revelation for me, both in dancing and in my progress in my lifestyle changes. All of which are intertwined to such a degree, I can't untangle them. I mean I can't dance without trying to constantly improve, and I can't improve without dancing.

More appropriately this week was a big reminder for me on why I do this. Once again I was in the studio every night for a lesson or a group class. So I'm becoming more familiar with some of the students I don't normally see. At one point one of the students asked me to tell her in my own words, my story about dancing. She knows I've lost weight…she's read the magazine article, but she wanted to hear it come directly from me.

I was thinking sure…I've been asked to tell "my story" before…no big deal. I'm still amazed that people want to hear it. So I decided to tell my story… the way it happened, more accurately than the article describes it…This... is my story... you'll see how I can't take all the credit for it...

"Well, I was given a gift certificate for 5 lessons because my co-worker had a deal worked out with the studio. So I called, and when I scheduled I wasn't told who my instructor would be, only that one was available.

I walked into the studio for my lesson scared out of my mind! I had no idea what to expect, then throughout all the commotion of people introducing themselves and dancing going on, this nice looking guy dressed all in black came forward and quietly introduced himself (it was RT). The thing I remember most, is that I felt like a fish out of water, I was nervous, I felt bad that I was this fat chick this teacher had to dance with, I wanted to run out the door and never come back. Right after all those feelings is the equally strong memory of RT seeming so calm, like teaching me to do these little steps is the way it's supposed to be, that I wasn't this fat ugly chick he HAD to dance with. RT made me feel like I had a place there.

By the fourth lesson I had auditioned for "The Biggest Loser." (I didn't make the cut) and I had already started to lose some weight. Let me be clear here… I was NOT looking for the next big thing in weight loss… I had given up on that idea years ago!…I had auditioned for the TV show as a favor to my mom, if I got it great… if not…that was fine. I had a sit down meeting with Jesse and RT to talk about continuing beyond my five lesson gift certificate. I remember telling Jesse that I had already lost 10lbs, and I was shocked by that because I wasn't trying. I told him that while everyone else at the audition I had attended was nervous about it, I was standing in the middle of the sidewalk practicing my Rumba box!

All of that because RT made me feel comfortable, he NEVER judged me, he NEVER said I couldn't do something, he took the time to explain stuff to me, and had patience beyond measure. In about a month of lessons RT had become my hero, and my muse. Some of the happiest moments and revelations have happened with him on that dance floor... I can't trade that for the world.

It was about 2-3 months later…still very new in my dancing… the weight loss had become a regular occurrence every week, and I had begun all my other life changes as well. It was during a Friday night party… I don't even remember the theme…I remember RT had asked me to dance, probably a Rumba, and as he walked me back to my seat at the bench I became overwhelmed with sentimentality and pride, I had to tell him…so just before I sat down I whispered "I owe you my life you know." It was a moment... one of those spontaneous moments that life sometimes has. I followed up with "It's true, because of you I've been able to do all this... Thank you."

RT just gave me a hug and I sat down.

The rest, as they say... is history...and I'm still here well over 100lbs down, and still thankful and proud to be RT's student."

I've actually been asked to tell "My story" a few times this week... and each person has been moved to tears. I've even become a tad emotional about it, remembering all these things that have happened. Which just blows me away. It also reminds me of how far I've come, how far I have to go...and most importantly how PROUD I am to be RT's student.

My story isn't's ours...(whether he likes it or not!! :-) ) RT has been there with me every step of the way, encouraging me and supporting me. None of which is part of his job as a dance instructor. I can't tell this story and claim full credit for it... Without RT none of this would have happened. Every time I dance with Largo, or MSU or any of my other favorite leads, it's a blast...but it reminds me of what I have with RT...and it makes me want to try and ensure I don't lose that.

I've been walking around all week with my chin up and my heart filled with pride. I will forever be in fate's debt for having him be my dance instructor. We've both been through and accomplished a LOT in two years... personally, professionally... everything... and I am as proud of him as I would be of anyone in my own family.

That's a feeling that is truly priceless...

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