Hello readers! I have an exciting story to share! About 3 weeks ago, I came across a shared screenshot on Instagram from one of my running friends, Elana. It was a post in which Whitney Way Thore announced a pop-up Big Girl Dance Class being held in Pittsburgh on 6/19/18! I immediately signed up and waited for the day to come!
I knew I had to leave work early if I wanted to get to Rex Theater (South Side) before the line got crazy long. I arrived and parked around 5:15. I had a mini meltdown because I thought I lost both my license and debit card. I put them in my skirt before I left work and thought they fell out of my pocket. They ended up getting buried deep inside my pocket, not knowing the pocket wrapped around the entirety of my waist until that time. Crisis averted! I placed my purse inside of my trunk and did so with much difficulty. As I pulled my hand out, I scraped the top of my thumb inside of my trunk.
Only me. I figured, it can only go up from here!
When I finally made my way to the event location, the line had roughly 30 people in it. I quickly got in line to hold my place, while I waited for my friend, Elana, to show up. The show’s crew came around with clip boards, in which we were required to sign a waiver for the show if we were to make an appearance! *Fingers crossed we do!*
Anyway…we stood in line for over 1 hour. There was some sort of delay; I’m still unsure of what happened. I’m glad I had a buddy to keep me company while we waited. We heard people screaming and around the corner came Buddy! It was pretty surreal to see someone in person whom I’ve seen on television dozens and dozens of times. He walked down the entirety of the line and waved to everyone. I’m super proud of how much he has accomplished in his continued sobriety and his openness about it. Way to go Buddy!
It was cool to see some of the behind-the-scenes action happening around us.
Because of the large group in conjunction with the small venue, we were split up into 2-3 smaller groups to accommodate everyone/have room to dance. Luckily, I was able to make it into the 1st group and didn’t have to wait even longer to go inside. Upon entering the theater, we were directed to the stage/dance floor. My friend and I were pretty close to the front of the room, which made it even more exciting! I looked around and saw several camera-men ready to go. Moments later, Whitney and Todd came out, and everyone screamed! After her introduction, we started the dance class, which had to be rushed due to the unfortunate delay. Regardless of the length, it was quite the experience.
I’m not very coordinated, and I usually have trouble mirroring dance/fitness instructors, but I had a blast and felt comfortable (despite my awkwardness). My favorite part of the class was when we got to incorporate our own dance moves in addition to the sequences they taught us. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Another thing I loved was when Whitney invited several women of all shapes and sizes up on stage to dance next to her. Then at the end of the class, she invited the few men that showed up to the class and made each of them do a solo. Hilarious! And Todd, of course, was super extra! The cast was exactly how they are portrayed on the show.
After the class ended, we all had the opportunity to meet Whitney, Todd and Buddy face-to-face. We were towards the end of the line, and the closer we got, the more nervous I became; I was shaking and felt like I was going to refund my lunch I had earlier. Haha!
The moment arrived…
Whitney waved and greeted me with open arms. As we hugged, she asked me my name.
I told her my name and knowing I had a very limited time, I quickly said that I wanted to tell her something. I told her that I’m a weight loss success story, but then went on to explain how I lived behind closed doors when I was overweight. I told her that I love how she lives her life and the message she gives to her viewers about self acceptance. She responded by telling me she appreciated what I had said. We took a group photo, and I walked away. I still can’t believe I didn’t stumble over anything I said!
After everything was said and done, I posted about my experience on Instagram. To my surprise, Whitney showed me a lot of love. It made my night!
But going back to what I told Whitney…
I, being the person that I am, analyze a lot. So, I reflected on what I have learned over the last several years during and following my weight loss. You can hate a food or a television show. But you don’t have to eat a particular food or watch a show that doesn’t peak your interest. You should never hate your body. You only have one. I drove myself into the state-of-mind of feeling worthless because of my body. I missed out on so much growing up for the fear of being body shamed. Your self worth should never be placed on your outward appearance. I do regret my lost opportunities, but at the same time, I became stronger and wiser on the other side of my journey.
“We want you to be seen, heard, and valued, and we know that when you can courageously engage with the world without fear of judgement, you will become connected – not only to yourself, but to others.”— Whitney Way Thore
I’m looking forward to see if I make an appearance on the upcoming season of My Big Fat Fabulous Life.