I remember being in the middle of a panic attack while alone in my apartment. The walls were closing in on me and I had the urge to just start walking. I grabbed my gray sweatshirt and keys. Skipping the elevator, I took the back stairwell hoping to avoid overly friendly neighbors-I wasn’t in the mood to explain my tears or disheveled appearance.
With my heart feeling like it was literally jumping out of my chest I half ran and half skipped down three flights of stairs into the cool autumn air.
God that felt good.
The brisk wind ruffled through my thick, black locs. I hurriedly covered my head with my hoodie and began to walk uphill. My wobbly legs became more sturdy as I climbed the steep hill-I tightened the draw string around my ever thinning waist as I climbed higher and higher. My heart beat slowed down and began to beat more regularly the more I walked.
As I reached the top of the hill my cellphone began to ring. Looking down at the cellphone gripped in my right hand I saw that it was my older brother. Answering the phone he knew right away something was wrong.
I spent the next twenty minutes ranting about how overwhelmed I was. Nothing was going right. My career, my fairly new marriage, my student loan debt and my vanishing waistline were all topics I discussed in a monotone voice.
My older brother listened quietly, softly interjecting with a “hmmm” here and there but mostly staying silent as I unloaded all my emotional turmoil onto him. When I was finally finished he simply questioned:
“Anika, when was the last time you went out?”
“Huh?” I questioned.
“Anika, when was the last time you went dancing?”
I thought and I thought. I honestly couldn’t remember.
“I don’t know” I admitted. I really didn’t know where he was going with this line of questioning.
My brother later went to explain that there was nothing wrong with me that couldn’t be fixed. He explained:
“You’re not doing what you love. Go back to the Dancehall. I’m not saying party every night but every other weekend will help you. Do what you love-it will save your life”.
I would be lying if I said I went out right after this conversation. As a matter of fact, I was hospitalized soon after this conversation.
However, I didn’t forget this conversation as I began intensive therapy. Slowly but surely I returned to the Dancehall. Taking my brother’s advice- I’m not there every weekend but I do make a point to go more often.
I have chosen to do what I love-because my big brother was right: dancing is one thing that has helped to save my life. What are your some passions you take part in that keeps you sane? Until next time, peace and blessings.