I also recently became licensed to teach Zumba because of my Inner Wild Woman. She also loves to dance. To move her hips. To pretend she's in a club like back when she was 20-something and random people would grind up against her in the heat of a crowded dance floor and her hair was all disheveled and the music was more intoxicating than the cheap booze and she never wanted the night to end... uh, oh, excuse me, wait a minute...um, what was I saying again? Oh, yes... My Inner Wild Woman made me get licensed to teach Zumba. So, like she often does, she allowed herself (and consequently myself) to become distracted from one goal by taking on another midstream. She is so very fond of doing this to me. In the past few weeks, my Tri training has taken a back seat to dancing in my kitchen to latin pop rhythms. Until today. Today I woke up and realized, OH MY GOD! 2 weeks until the Tri! Time to train! We can spend a whole post talking about what's wrong with me and why I put myself in these situations later. For now, let's consider this Inner Wild Woman.
Today, she was out in full force. I raced from my morning Kickboxing class to my bike where I hit the trail hard and fast for 30 minutes (not a long bike but I knew I still had a fairly long day ahead) and then I locked my bike back on my bike rack so that I could do a 20 minute run. For those non-Tri people out there, this is called a "Brick" Workout. I have heard it is called this because it makes your legs feel like Bricks. And, yes, it does. Lately I can run about a 9 minute mile if I'm really pushing (I'm a slow and not especially enthusiastic runner) but today, after Kickboxing then biking, I felt like I was running in a pool of molasses...in 85 degrees and full sun. As soon as I was done with my Brick Workout, I had to hop in my car and drive back to my Step class.
So there I was...
I had a small hand towel soaked in cold water on top of my head, my tupperware full of Chopped Vegetable Spinach Salad in front of my beet-red face, a fork shoveling said Salad in about as fast as my gullet would allow me to swallow it, and did I mention that I had to run in my bathing suit and bike shorts? In short, people, I looked CRAZY. I also happened to be speeding down a small dirt road when I came upon some bizarre little tractor (they are all over the place out here) and had to slow to an absolute crawl for a minute which really pissed my Inner Wild Woman off. It was in this minute that the white-haired lady in the mini van passed me going in the opposite direction and we were face to face. She stared in horror upon the wreckage of what could potentially be a perfectly respectable woman. Her lip curled. Her eyes got wide. Her brow furrowed.
In that moment, I saw my mother's disapproving face again. It was the same as the woman in the mini van's face. My mother was not especially disapproving on a regular basis but in this moment, I remembered that she could be disapproving from time to time of seemingly unimportant things. My mother was raised in a very different era from me. She was fond of pointing this out -- especially when I was a teenager (mental note: don't do this to your own kids, JodiAnn!). Apparently, in her era, women always behaved as upstanding citizens with never a hair out of place when they were out in public. Women did not speak too loudly. Women did not dance at bars with strangers (oops!). Women presented themselves with grace and what my mother called, "class." Any time I lacked "class" and "grace" (which was pretty much 24/7), I got my mother's disapproving face. I hated getting that face. But, I also hated every time I saw her use it on others. It was a painful face. A sad face. A judgmental face. A face that I now realize meant my mother held herself to an absolutely impossible and downright stupid ideal. I rarely possessed any of what my mother's era taught her were the right qualities for a woman. I still don't. I'm often disappointed in myself for this lack of decorum. But I shouldn't be. And it was looking back into the face of the White Haired Lady in the Mini Van when this hit me.
My mother knew she had an Inner Wild Woman. My mother's Inner Wild Woman loved poetry. She LOVED to dance. She loved music and singing and sun. My god, my mother loved the sun. My mother's Inner Wild Woman smoked cigarettes (that's not cool -- but it is "wild"). She drank blackberry brandy and mimosas (occasionally). She worked on the first Obama campaign despite being surrounded by conservatism in both our family and her small Michigan town. She loved to shop. She was a "red hat lady" which is, at its core, a social sorority whose main goal is to celebrate the Inner Wild Woman. My mother's Inner Wild Woman loved men. As much as she had a disapproving look, she had a naughty look too and let me tell you, every single time Tom Cruise or Andy Garcia graced the screen, she whipped that baby out. Maybe some people think that a daughter shouldn't know this about her mother but knowing that my mother had a naughty look, had desire for attractive men, makes me feel human somehow. It makes me feel like her Inner Wild Woman and my Inner Wild Woman would've had an awfully amazing time painting the town red if we were ever allowed to actually meet. Instead, many of our interactions were spent with her non-wild side trying to talk the Inner Wild Woman out of me. I know that somewhere she is extraordinarily proud and happy that she never succeeded.
My guess is that the White Haired Lady in the Mini Van has a desperate-to-be-unleashed Wild Woman inside of her too -- and she needs to finally let her out. Or, maybe she has let her out in the past from time to time. Or, maybe she lets her out in the small ways my mother did -- naughty smiles at hot actors or actresses, chocolate ice cream on a Wednesday afternoon for no reason at all, the rocky, wild voice of Billie Holiday pouring from the speakers of her car, or dancing in the kitchen to Runaround Sue. It is for this White Haired Lady's Inner Wild Woman that I sped back to my Step class as quickly as I could and rocked that shit! I ruled the Step today. I love "dancing" all over and around the Step. It's the 80s in me, I guess. It is for this White Haired Lady's Inner Wild Woman, My Mother's Inner Wild Woman and My Own Inner Wild Woman that I blasted through roughly 100 minutes of hard cardio today to train my body for a Triathlon that will kick my Wild Ass for a little while. It is for our Inner Wild Women that I MUST re-commit myself to this blog, this book project, whatever the hell MoJo's Kitchen is. And not just for Our Inner Wild Women -- but for Inner Wild Women everywhere!
Go. Be Wild.
& Vaya Con Dios!