Depression is insidious.
Sometimes it starts slowly, like the latest leaks under my house before I got the plumbing fixed; and fixed again. But sometimes depression gallops into one’s peripheral vision then wallops us between the eyes.
Kind of like the pandemic.
In early 2020, the New Virus was barely in my peripheral vision, yet raising the hair on my arms and the back of my neck. Then: POW. Life changed shape. It changed for all of us, some worse than others. At the very least, “normal” got scary, tedious, exhausting, and/or surreal. The traffic lightened, the pace slowed, acquaintances and colleagues and friends got sick or almost sick. I learned to work at the kitchen table, cats pouncing on my keyboard, showing their tails on video meetings, or puking under my feet. I stopped my tradition of monthly writers’ workshops, stopped being a restaurant foodie, stopped enjoying farmers markets, birthday parties, concerts, etc.
Stopped dance class.
I’ve been taking dance classes for my entire adult life, these past 10 years at a nearby studio. I am not a great dancer, but I move well, and I enjoy it. I like the making-noise-with-my-feet of tap; the whimsy and poses of jazz. Dancing keeps my weight down, my energy up. It convinces my knees to cooperate. Dancing keeps people young at heart, or at least more limber. It’s fun.
But in 2020, 2021, and the beginning of 2022, I did not dance. My weight inched up. My arms flabbed. My knees began to creak. They looked like two potatoes. I could feel my years popping out like acne all over my skin. I began to blend with the couch. I found new series to watch. I grew lazy. I munched pretzels.
Then: March 2022. Post shots-in-the-arm, I finally, FINALLY returned to the little neighborhood dance studio. I ripped off the old mask, burlesque fashion, and hugged old friends, sweat dripping everywhere, muscles locking up. I can’t dance anymore, I worried. I’m too freaking old.
And then…I danced.
One time, then again, and a third time. My muscles eased. Delight seeped in. Who’s old? I asked my knees. I woke up and smelled the possibilities.
I’m me again. Almost.
So, thank you, Jean’s Dance Studio. Thank you, Shots-in-the-Arm. Thank you, doctors, nurses, scientists, delivery people, etc.
Thank you. We love you.