Brain Distracting 101: Contra Dancing

I need to get out and move. We all do, yes, I know. I used to commute by bike 30 minutes to and 35 minutes from work. I was smoking it. Could eat what I wanted and still lost weight because I had that hour plus for fitness. I wasn’t where I wanted or needed to lose weight, so in order not to, I ate more. Sweet! Honestly, the route home should get the most credit. Congress Avenue going south is uphill from the river. Add to the challenge of cycling uphill was going through the smells of pizza as I passed Home Slice.

The only complaint I have about learning to code would be the sedentary nature and my 90-degree angles. I have a standing desk at home. Don’t tell me to stand. I get up plenty. I have hounds that have bladders. I’m up. My standing desk is better for when I’m just writing or reading. It’s not my position for creating or head scratching. That is curled on a couch with hounds hogging my space or in bed propped up on pillows. I’m not employed, either. That brings me way down. Fitness, lack of self-esteem from unemployment, and now grieving the loss of my stepsister and dad, I’m just a mope in need of movement.

I’m getting better at getting out, but now that I have grief brain, doing solo exercise activities can take me to dark spaces. Or into the paths of cars. I walk. I run. I space out and think about what I’ll say at the memorial or how much I miss my dad and then realize that I am not watching where I’m going. Not safe. And I also end those activities sadder than when I started them.

Contra dancing just might save me. I’ll still walk, run, cycle, and do weird machines, but contra dancing will be three hours of moving without dipping into grief. How could I? People are barking directions at you all of the time. I have no time for my inner voices because the caller is telling me to balance, swing my partner, hey for four, do-si-do my neighbour, circle, allemande, ladies chain, … I have no time alone in my head. Even after a few rounds when I think I have the muscle memory down in the dance and drift into my head, I collide with someone. Contra dancing is dangerous for the distracted.

For three to four hours, I move my legs and arms, smile at strangers and laugh with some familiar faces and forget for a while that I’m deeply sad. I never forget that I miss my dad or stepsister. I think about what they’d say about this activity (they’d be amused), but I am, for a while, not worried about my tearing up.

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