To exercise! I couldn’t bring myself to do this for weeks. With every thought of movement I crawled a little under my blanket on the sofa. I assured myself that they will come again. but when? If I don’t exercise for a long time, my head will shut down. All that is miserable settles between my ears. You might consider running to the gym, but no. Even that realization didn’t get me into the gym.
About fifteen years ago I moved from Uden to The Hague. Why? There was a friend I could go to. This was literally my only point of contact with that beautiful city behind the dunes. My parents let me go after I dropped out of college in the South after two failed attempts. the timing It was great, because there was a crisis. Chaos even caused a job in one Call center mission impossible used to be. What the hell was I supposed to do next? No education, no job. The only work experience I had was in my parents’ company. They’ve had a gym in the south of the country my whole life. It was only natural for me to help my father with the lessons. Isn’t that a thing… Before I knew it, I had a gym job.
Not long after, a new aerobic sensation came to our country: Zumba. In no time, I was, with a Zumba license, teaching entire halls full of Hagenezen. That period was magical. I just lived on my own and all of a sudden I had a very cool job in a city where I got to know more and more people. It was a gift. Once the room door closed and South American sounds filled the room, our party began in a room without mirrors. Lessons felt like a holiday. Everyone went wild.
I lay on the couch and thought, what’s going to get me out of this? Zumba! It disappeared from my mind for fifteen years, but I suddenly realized that this is what I want. Dancing, sweating and moving. No need to bother with weights, slamming exercises, interval training, or Pilates. I want to dance. It was a bit of a search, but it worked. It still exists! I now dance three days a week as if my life depends on it. And it does so much more than I could hope it did. I have air in my head again and my condition is coming to a head. This Zumba class is a gift again.”
This column by Gwen is from Flair 23-2023. You can read more of these kinds of stories on Flair each week.
Gwen Van Burten (32) is a broadcaster and creator of the #metznallen podcast. She lives with her boyfriend in Amsterdam.
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