Mental Health, Mind, Selfcare

How to forget

Sometimes I just want to forget about the world.

Forget all the shit, the heartbreak, the loss. Pretend none of it has happened, and it isn’t happening. You might say it’s running away – it’s not. It’s a short rest for the mental muscle I’m using, what feels like a lot, if not all, of the time at the moment, to just, well, “be”. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes it feels like it sucks and sometimes it actually sucks. Either way, well sometimes your brain just doesn’t feel like it’s working and you want to just turn it off and on again – like a reset for your phone or computer when it freezes. Well, this post shares my advice for how you too can just “forget” for a while.When people think about a ‘reset’ for the mind they often jump to meditation. Now, some people are able to meditate, to clear their minds an free themselves of those burdensome thoughts and feelings and the rubbish. But this is something that I haven’t managed to get to work AT ALL for me just yet… it’s something I do want to try within my project 35, but it’s not a ready tool I can use at this point if I feel I need to get away from reality. It will not help me to forget.

Some people use alcohol (or recreational drugs) as their tool for forgetting. Despite being a “I need a glass (ok, bottle) of wine after this shit” kinda girl, I have no time for recreational drugs and very little time for those that use them regularly. Yes, each to their own but people are generally freaking boring when they are ‘on’ anything. And I’m not one for boring people, or being boring. So this isn’t ideal. The potential for alcohol addicition (and the fact hangovers hurt more now) means this isn’t the best way long term to forget.

I have something else. Something better. Something soooo much better. It gets my heart pumping and makes my palms sweaty. It’s something that at times I’ve thought I would do almost anything to get my fix of. And I get SUPER grumpy if I don’t get it, particularly when I thought I was going to get it. I can do it on my own, but it’s not as good as when it’s with someone else. I *NEED* it.

Yup, you guessed it! No wait, no, NO – not THAT! (Although I won’t say it doesn’t help you to forget… haha) For me, my vice is dancing. Specifically dancing cuban* salsa.

After some searching (and trust me it’s hard as most people do the ‘other’ type of salsa) and practising my best spanish, I finally got to dance last night. I hadn’t danced, properly danced ‘cuban’ since my mum’s wake in June when I got to dance with my most favourite-ist dance partner. And although it has been 5 rather tough months, it was worth the wait. I got my hit. I truly and utterly love to dance. “Me encanta bailar.”

For the two songs I had, it was incredible. There was nothing else. All I could hear was the music. All I could feel was my body moving with the guidance from my dance partner as he led the dance. My face had a permanent smile and I guess my soul just felt lighter. Free.

There was no worrying about what I was learning in spanish, or the homework I had to do. I didn’t think about the destruction and devastation from the hurricane. The hurt and pain and how much I miss my mum sometimes and the ongoing ache for all the shit that has happened. There was just nothing. No noise. No interference. My mind was clear. I just… forgot.

Now, I know that this is not a permanent solution – my two songs (and thus my forgetfulness if you call it that) lasted now more than 6 minutes. Although by all means I would love to dance more often until I find that salsa dancing husband** it’s unlikely! But there are some important features of the process of forgetting which can help you to forget, or at least ‘reset’. I was doing something physical and challenging. I know how to dance, but it’s not a routine, it’s not a set sequence, so you have to follow which requires effort. So although I don’t have to think about the actual dancing I need to concentrate on how my body, and my partners, is moving and interpret the signals as to what they want me to do next. I’m aware of dancers around me so that I don’t step on them or turn into them. I have to really listen to the music – and sometimes I still count! And whilst doing all of that you can’t be thinking about anything else.

It’s like trying to do a dance routine for the first time – you have to concentrate so much you can’t think about anything else. Find one on youtube and try to copy it. Don’t like dancing? Try some skipping or even the fancy crossing your arms skipping. Don’t have a skipping rope or don’t like physical activity? Try to get something that uses more than one sense and motor skill – reading a book is great, I can definitely get lost in a book, but your mind can still wander as you’re only using one main sense and no motor skills. How about trying to sing and do the cup thing at the same time? (You don’t have to do it in front of anyone else!) Or do the ball swap game thing for a competitive time (with yourself…?)

Sometimes you need to forget, to reset, and that’s ok. It’s not running away from things, so don’t feel bad about it.

Just find your thing (that isn’t food/alcohol/drugs ideally please) and let yourself go. Reset. You might need to try a few things before you find one that absorbs you, but I promise it is worth it.

*OK, so lots of people say there isn’t actually cuban salsa, it’s actually called casino / son etc etc, but for most people to understand, there is basically 2 types of salsa – in a line salsa (bleugh) or not in a line salsa (yay!). Each to their own, and I can do both, but I’m way better and the not in a line stuff.

**If you do happen to know anyone who may fit the bill, feel free to send them my way 😉

Photo credit – me. And yes, it was taken in a toilet. But hey, when inspiration strikes… you gotta just go with it!

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