By Leota Harriman

For the second time in as many months, I’m going to invite you, nay, plead with you, to come and dance in a parade with me.

You read that right. I’m doing it again, and I want a human shield—I mean, lots of people to join me—in the parade.

I’m talking about Run, Rally, Rock, Edgewood’s annual event celebrating the incorporation of the town, along with the first two businesses to hang up a shingle in the brand-new town back in 1999: The Independent and Rich Ford.

Rich Ford hosts events all through August, with music, fireworks, a steak cook-off, Bigfoot, free food, and lots more fun for the family. The best place to find a schedule for that is on their website.

The Independent takes a more subdued role, participating in the parade and in the business expo that same day at Rich Ford. This year the business expo will have a wellness theme, with its first-ever health fair bundled into it.

Because of that slant, The Independent’s booth will be in the center of the tent, featuring this column and my own journey toward fitness and good health.

I’m extremely humbled by that, but I’m happy to share my story in that context. We’re all more or less in the same boat, right? The average age in this are is a few years younger than me; obesity is epidemic; diabetes and heart disease kill far too many people; and a sedentary lifestyle has become the norm, with many of us going from a job where we sit at a desk, as I am now, to our homes, where we are likely to sit some more. My struggle and my work toward getting fit are shared by many of you.

Okay, back to the, ahem, begging and pleading. Those of you who read this column regularly are no doubt familiar with my go-to workout, which I call “crazy dancing.” It’s really just dancing with weights and other stuff thrown in for fun, which I do in my own bedroom, to my own playlist, and usually, all by myself.

That’s because of my extreme self-consciousness about dancing in public.

We got into Moriarty’s Independence Day parade, where some awesome Jazzercise folks joined us, along with some women from a group at the Tijeras Senior Center called TOPS, for Taking Pounds Off Sensibly, and others. We had a glitch or two but we have a plan for ironing out those kinks this time around.

The same offer applies: If you have a health- or wellness-oriented service, and you join us in the parade, you will get an ad next to this column free for three weeks.

Our theme in this parade is not dancing to get fit, but dancing because we are perfect just the way we are—it’s a celebration of who we are, right now, today. We are good enough, we are beautiful enough, we are silly enough, we are physically fit enough—whatever we are right now is enough!

It’s a simple idea, but one that many of us have a hard time embracing. If you’re like me, you may have a nasty stream of negative self-talk hounding you day and night. This can be overcome.

If you would like to celebrate, too, please join us in the parade. My shy side will thank you. Granted, my shy side is more or less a wisp of a shadow of a ghost at this point, but she does rear her head from time to time, recently mostly around the idea of dancing in parades.

If you would like to join us and want to find out how to cash in on my offer of advertising, call me at 505-286-1212 or email me at You can also join the ongoing conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.