Looking at my reflection in the mirror at Goonellabah gym this morning, I realised that the inevitable has occurred. I look like a mum. And just in case there was any doubt about my identity, I also dance like a mum.

Mum Dance  (noun) ~ a style of dancing that involves awkward, uncoördinated movement. It is generally self-conscious, full of apologies and excuses. Another commonly used name for mum dance is Zumba.

For whatever reason, up until now, I have been in denial. In my mind’s eye, I am a sexy, slim 20-year-old with no cellulite and great muscle tone. Unfortunately, the mirror at the gym told me today that I am actually more pear-shaped than slim, and I definitely have cellulite. And I am definitely not 20. Or perhaps it was the 20-year-old, toned Zumba instructor who made me feel old…and incredibly uncoordinated.

I am no stranger to dancing. I started at about the age of 5. I danced at eisteddfods, much to the anxiety of my mother and grandmother, who cringed behind crumpled programs at the back of the town hall. I dressed as a bear, an erotic 8 year-old porn star and a French artist. I joined the dancing crew in year 5 and 6 and we took it to state level, we were so splendid. Further to those junior dancing days, I have been boogey-ing on the dance floor at every given occasion. Although no dance expert, I could string a few moves together and look somewhat graceful.

At weddings and twenty-firsts, I would look around me sympathetically, but kindly at the mums and the dads in the room, shaking their booties and being ever so ‘cool’. Their faces would light up in bewilderment, soon followed by an apologetic grimace to all the younger people in the room, who had of course not yet had children. Sympathetically, yet kindly I vowed I would never be one of those mum dancers. Oh no. Not me.

And here I was today at Zumba, in a class full of grandmas, and I indeed found myself mum dancing. It was sad.

On a slightly more positive note, it was incredibly fun. And I felt fantastic afterwards. I will certainly be taking myself back there next week, and in the mean time will pray that my moves flow a little more gracefully.

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