Ayushi's story of Waacking and mental health
For many of us, dancing is everything. Today, I bring you story of Ayushi who found beauty and joy in moving to the beat.
In college, I would spend my free time watching the dance crew practise. One day the crew leader Abhishek, asked me to join in and that's how it began. My journey with waacking was a serendipitous one, Abhishek showed us a video of an Asian dance crew moving their hands around vigorously. It looked unique, crazy and I just had to learn it. I met my now mentor on the internet - Kumari Suraj, who guided me. Dance became an integral part of my life and I loved it. But my journey has not been all rainbows and butterflies. In 2016 a couple of things happened. One, my crew and I made it to the semi-finals of “India’s Got Talent”, it was very draining physically and mentally. Two, my long term relationship turned out to be an abusive one. These events took a toll on my mental health and I got swooped into depression. I quit dancing and took up a job. Although I was good at my job and feeling better (I met my now partner around then), I felt incomplete, my healing process was slow.
By Jan 2017, I was going through a tough time- I would get a nightmare of being physically tormented repeatedly. It went on for a month, till I realized it was a reflection of my abusive relationship. I had to do something if not I would lose my mind forever. So the next day I spent the last Rs.3000 I had, to enroll for a self defence class. Unbelievably my nightmares stopped after just the first session. This was liberating and one of my biggest breakthroughs in my journey of healing.
In the same year, I got a call from a good friend and crew mate Tee J, she, among others, encouraged me to dance again. I was in a good place by then, and thought “why not?”. So I decided to participate in the “Waackfest”. Something got into me that night - I never felt so alive before. I recall dancing my heart out in that pretty red dress. After that performance, I felt that I belonged to the community again. This was my 2nd big break-through and this time I had really emerged out of a really dark place that I spent the last two years living. Since then I have been on a beautiful journey of life equipped with a strong heart, a stronger mind and the strongest love for dance
- Ayushi Amrute