Love, Wellness

I never felt safe at the gym, until I discovered twerking classes

Instead of being afraid that my stomach or butt was too big, I noticed how well my hips moved to the beats.

When I moved to Boston two years ago, it was a really hard transition.

Though I had friends that lived in the area and enjoyed my work colleagues, I found it hard to find a place where I belonged.

This also coincided with my recent social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion work. I was very outspoken when it came to race in America. Using my privilege of being a multiracial black woman, I felt the need to speak up about what I was seeing. The microaggressions directed towards me regarding my hair. Even the unequal treatment between my white colleagues and people of color at my organization.

After Mike Brown died, I was going to protest marches and trying to get my friends involved. Which led to mostly blank stares of confusion as to why I would choose to do that on a Friday night, instead of going to a bar.

It was then that I realized that I needed to branch out of my comfort zone and meet new people.

It’s true what they say about making friends as an adult. It’s hard. Not just hard in the sense that you have to find new people that you vibe with, in a city of thousands of people. But you must develop a friendship from scratch. Many people, specifically in Boston, already have their set groups of friends from either college, childhood, or work.

This makes it incredibly difficult to break into those circles and make meaningful friendships that last.

Finally, I decided that maybe I should focus on doing things solo that make me feel good, and that if friendships come out of it, so be it.

I was on a new health and fitness kick, and an avid ClassPass user in Boston. ClassPass is a monthly service that allows you try out to different gyms and workout classes in your city. It was the perfect way to attend a lot of different classes and meet new people without breaking the bank.

As was the case with most fitness spaces in Boston, the ones I went to were filled with thin white women. I’ll never forget how awkward I felt showing up to my first barre class and not only being the only person of color, but the only person who weighed over 100 pounds, give or take.

I needed to expand my options.

That’s when I found TrillFit.

It’s a twerk dance class whose workouts were accompanied by custom hip hop mixes and led by badass black and brown women.

I was sold.

When I showed up to my first class, I felt like I was hanging out with old friends.

The creator behind TrillFit is a young black woman entrepreneur who led an all-women team to offer hip-hop dance, yoga, and sculpting classes.

Checking out their website, I was inspired by what she’d done at such a young age and in such little time. Especially somewhere in Boston, where black-owned businesses are practically non-existent.

I’m always looking for ways to support black-owned businesses, specifically black women-owned businesses. They could have all my money.

Showing up to my first class, I was welcomed by the creator of TrillFit and the lead dance instructor.  I was immediately obsessed with them and the vibe of the studio. They showered me with uplifting and positive comments about my workout clothes, and we compared our big curly hair.

I knew I was in for a good time.

As the class was about to start, I made my way to the back just in case I embarrassed myself.

Shortly into the class though, I wasn’t thinking about that at all.

I wasn’t worrying if my top was riding up or if my stomach was jiggling. Instead, I was twerking and making my hips roll like nobody’s business.

Surrounded by mostly white women, to see them somewhat struggling with the rhythm and moves, gave me a slight ping of confidence.

Embarrassingly enough, it felt good to not be the one out of place for once.

What made it even better was the instructor Melissa. She didn’t just stay at the front of the class. She was continuously walking around to give loud and positive messages of encouragement.

To have her telling me that I was doing great and that I was really making the choreography my own was a great feeling.

I was hooked!

Even though I couldn’t walk for a few days afterward, I felt amazing. I even learned some new moves to break out on the weekend.

TrillFit became my bi-weekly therapy. The atmosphere and overall vibe were intoxicating, and I wished I could go to every class they offered. The way my bank account is set up, though, I couldn’t make that a reality.

I even put some of my friends onto the class.

It was a space in my day that I didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t care if I looked like shit and was sweating profusely. When my face and shirt were drenched in sweat, I felt powerful knowing that it wasn’t because I was trying to lose weight, or killing myself to fit in a mold.

It was from having the time of my life.

When I decided to move back to Buffalo, one of the things that I told people I would miss the most were my TrillFit classes. I probably sound like I’m obsessed, but I was distraught thinking about not being able to blow off steam in a room of empowered and badass women once a week.

I’ve been in Buffalo for 3 months now and I still follow TrillFit’s Instagram and support them from afar. I’m most excited about attending a class the first week in October as I’ll be back in Boston for work.

It’ll definitely be bittersweet, as I’m not sure if or when I’ll be back after that trip.

I will, however, know that it was that class, that group of people, that really helped me get into a better place with my body and self during my time in Boston.