By Jenay Wright – In the midst of a anxiety attack, I hear Azucar and immediately come back to reality. Who knew that was the magic word to pull me back together. It was shocking because I avoided building a connection with salsa because I couldn’t dance and my Spanglish couldn’t keep up. Ofcourse I can sing Yo No Se Manana from word to word but who couldn’t these days.
It was almost like the Latinx national anthem. Anyways, salsa music became the medicine to calming my anxiety and my panics. I’ve tried everything from mediation, breathing methods even journaling. Nothing seemed to work. My therapist challenged me to find my therapeutic space when I am feeling anxious. I almost gave up. Until Celia Cruz the Queen of Salsa popped up on my playlist just at the right time. It all clicked! Literally the beats of the drum and the rhythm of salsa calmed my mind,kept me grounded and I resonated.
I always loved music. I am always singing lyrics out loud in my soprano voice but I never thought it would have been the cure to my biggest battle. I put on Ruben Blades, it was like another world. I felt great even when I knew I was overwhelmed and worried. It didn’t matter because the salsa was upbeat, lively and liberating. All things that connects back to who Jenay embodies. And that’s who I needed to remember at the end of the day. I am okay. I will be okay because it’s okay to have a rough moment. There is no Negra without tumbao. And this girl had lots of it.
It was a life changing experience to finally feel like I had a space that accepted me. Salsa was flowing it was welcoming. No matter where you hailed from you can enjoy it to. It was more than just a way of dancing or a fast paced song it was the cure to my happiness and alleviated my soul. To finally feel like I had something that worked and kept me sane from overthinking and worrying.
Through the music of salsa it felt like everything will be alright. To feel like nothing is wrong with me was the best feeling in the world. I felt more aligned, more concentrated and I can truly express myself. I can dance like no one is watching. My anxiety could be under control and no one will judge me or tell me I’m over dramatic. Who knew every Sunday morning when my grandmother blessed her salsa music and cooked Sunday dinner that would have truly impacted me.
The saxophones and trumpets soothes my nerves and takes me to the islands. I envisioned myself in a beautiful ruffled dress with a handsome young fella moving my hips and dancing so freely. I feel the wind blowing against the soles of my feet. My bare feet touching the sand and my smile so wide. I feel on top of the world, so untouchable that nothing can interfere with my peace or my mind.
Salsa makes me feel like I am the strongest person in the world. Salsa is my therapy. Trying to find a coping mechanism to help manage my anxiety was the hardest battle I ever endured. People make minor jokes that I over use the word anxiety but until you go through it yourself you wont fully understand.
How in the blink of a obstacle my emotions transpire ? It takes a lot of energy to take control over the situation and tell yourself everything will be okay. I couldn’t do that for myself, but in this long journey salsa did that for me. And you it showed up and showed out in time. I know it will for you to. So don’t give up on your mental wellness.
Please don’t throw in the towel on yourself. Better days are coming and if you just keep holding on and take shift over your mindset it will get there you will get there. I sat and watch people around me have so many different tactics that helped them with surviving through those rough patches. And I constantly ask myself what is wrong with me? But there was nothing! Through patience and a lot of prayer and therapy I was able to find the tools that help me. So I truly thank you to salsa for saving my life.