Zumba Zumba Zumba!

Last night my 12-year-old son came up to our bedroom.

“Whaddup.” (Momspeak for “you better have a good reason for disturbing me”)

“I just wanted to remind you to set your alarm clock so you will not miss your Zumba class tomorrow,” says my beloved firstborn.

*melt* I do believe he is going to grow up to be a gentleman like his Dad.

Obviously I must have complained a LOT last Monday about waking up late and missing Zumba. There is only ONE (1) Zumba class the entire week at True Fitness and it’s on Mondays at 9.30am. So, if I miss that I have to settle for the *yawn* treadmill.

I’m new to Zumba. This was only my 2nd lesson but I could see why it’s the most popular class on Monday mornings. It’s a dance fitness class that employs Latin moves (samba, salsa…) and it’s just plain fun.

Our instructor is a pretty Arabic-looking boy-man who adds to the fun, making the confusing moves look easy as pie (they are not!) and reminding us to smile.

The class is 99% female, save for the one young boy (I’ll be honest, I always wonder how come he’s got time to be in Zumba – doesn’t he have Poly to attend?).

Girls Zumba'ing in a row!

Girls have more fun — if there’s a place this saying holds true, it is at Zumba class. This morning, I was sandwiched between a first-timer (who kept up admirably) and an Indian lady having the time of her life. We smacked our arms against one another and stepped on each other’s shoes, but all it took was a laugh and a smile and we were back on track.

Some of the Zumba diehards look so good! In their tight cropped tops and mini skirts, they looked like they didn’t get enough at Zouk last night. Then there are the 40-somethings and 50-somethings, some of whom have six-packs that Arnie would kill for.

But it really is the energy and one-ness in this room of women that’s the draw. Everyone’s just there, together, having a great, wild, dancing, sweating, sexy time.

Some of the moves are Rihanna-sexy, and it feels safe doing it in a room with 30 other women.

You can tell it looks hot, coz outside the glass-doored studio, the men have stopped pumping iron and are watching the gyrations happening inside. (The girls who are wearing the least and know they look the hottest are usually the ones closest to the glass panes — rest of us are on the other end!)

Some of the spectators, I suspect, are wondering if they should come early on Mondays to join in the class. But seeing how it’s filled with women… well, it’s great to be a woman, that’s all I can say!

I do suspect it would take about 4 hours of Zumba to burn some serious calories, but for now I’ll settle for that 1 hour of estrogen-filled fun every Monday.

Check out www.zumba.com if you’re curious!

PS Don’t forget to make your pledge — Why it’s Great To Be A Woman! Click here to pledge (and tell all your friends — let’s make it 20,000 pledges by 8 March!)

Quick! Make your pledge!

It’s Great Being A Woman

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’ve just passed the six-month mark since my mastectomy. Though I still wake up with some tightness where I had my surgery, I am 95 percent able to do everything I used to do, and I am so grateful for that!

These past six months, I have met women who have gone through different types of cancers and other life-threatening illnesses and incidents. I am amazed by the two things that unite all of us — the love for life and the spirit to “get over it and carry on”. There is no patience for moping or self-pity of any sort!

My buddy Joyce (left), who had a heart issue last year, is one of the most positive and funny women in the world.

I have also met men who have gone through surgeries for different things — while some of them are positive and have made healthy changes to their lives, I cannot say the men share the same joie de vivre I have experienced with the women.

It’s as if having a second chance at life has unleashed all their creativity and sense of fun. We compare scars like war veterans (except for the part where we collapse in giggles over games of “show me yours and I’ll show you mine”). We swop recipes for healthy, cancer-busting meals (and then some other recipes for “midnight comfort foods”). We encourage each other to live healthier — exercise, drink birds’ nest, take breaks from work, manage stress. We boost each other’s egos — my friends make me smile by telling me they never would have guessed I had a mastectomy because my breasts now look like an absolutely normal pair (from the outside, at least).

Maybe it’s just how God made women. Maybe we just have look-on-the-bright-side DNA. Maybe it’s our inbuilt survival instinct — we have to be our best, strongest self or how can we look after our children who need us?

Whatever it is, I know it’s great to be a woman. We are as strong as we are gentle. We are as intuitive as we are intelligent. We get to have babies, and our babies will always love us no matter how old they grow.

I’m blessed to have a husband who totally spoils me, who is my best friend, who laughs at my jokes and who makes me laugh till I snort rice grains out my nose. I’m blessed with children who know when to hug me when I’m down, who kiss me on my nose “till your chest gets better, Mommy”, who tell me jokes and get the punchline all wrong. It’s truly a wife’s and mother’s privilege.

My good friend’s mother, Aunty Mag, used to be a radiologist. When she visited me in hospital, she said to me, “You know, it seems terrible now, but breast cancer is one of the best cancers to have. Because when you catch it early it is in a part of your body that can be removed. If it’s colon cancer or stomach cancer, it’s far more terrible.”

In the bigger scheme of things, she is absolutely right. I didn’t even need chemotherapy or radiotherapy after my mastectomy. It’s great being a woman.

Post-script: Great Eastern is running a pledge campaign titled “It’s Great To Be A Woman”. Make your pledge at http://www.itsgreattobeawoman.com or click here! (You can vote for my pledge too – search “Threezframe”). For every pledge Great Eastern will make a donation to the Breast Cancer Foundation towards research and support for breast cancer patients. Let’s make it 20,000 pledges!