It is one thing to say it. Another to do it.
But the world is spinning before my eyes. My brain can’t keep up with the thoughts running through my mind. Over and over and over. And over. My head is stuck in a loop.
But there are nails digging into my back. My shoulders are carrying the weight of the world. My mind hurts so much I think it’s going to explode.
Don’t you know there are bills to pay? Don’t you know I haven’t touched another person in over two months? Can’t you see the people being attacked in the street? Everything is so wrong, how can things ever get better? HOW CAN YOU TELL ME TO JUST BREATHE?
But the oxygen is escaping my chest. I feel woozy. There’s a fist clutched around my lungs. If I don’t take a breath now, my body may give way. So breathe. I grimace.
My first attempt is a shutter. The kind you get when the winter wind blows right through you. I feel the emptiness rattle around inside and my shoulders twitch up to my ears. It is more like a gasp and less of an inhalation. Keep breathing.
The second is easier. It’s still not perfect with the air catching in all the other places except where it needs to go, but it softens the pain in my forehead. At least for a second.
Do it again.
I do it again.
I do it over and over and over. And over.
Do you feel better?
No. Yes. I don’t know. A little.
I can’t just stay here forever.
If you want to live, you keep breathing.
But what about money? What about the loneliness? What about the world?
You can’t do anything for anyone without first taking a breath for yourself.
I keep breathing. My shoulders sag. My vision sharpens. The nails in my back fall out one by one by one. The fist clenched around my lungs loosens, slowly… slowly… slowly….
Are you breathing?
How do you feel?
Now, go do what you have to do and don’t forget
©2020 Jai Lynn