February 5, 2012

Learning to Breathe...The Backstory

I probably should have written this as my first post about, oh, a year ago, but I was so excited to write anything I just overlooked this.  My first real post was about a mix tape, and I still love it.  Two really amazing chicks convinced me it was okay to do, and it was.  I still use music to take me where I want to go.

So, what the hell is the/a Breathe Chick?  Um, go get a cup of coffee and we'll talk.

There was a time in my life when I couldn't breathe...literally.  Once I started connecting the dots, a lot of it stems from the epidural I had during Girlo Two's birth.  She was an emergency c-section, and they tilted my head down while my feet were raised so gravity could help keep her in till they could get to her.  The epidural went further up than intended, and I lost the sensation of my chest rising and falling.  I remember looking up and saying, "I CAN'T BREATHE!"   He assured me I could; if I could talk, I could breathe.  It got me through, but I now have an irrational fear of not being able to breathe.  

Years were rocky after she came along.  Not that she was; she is the most precious, patient, and caring child I have.  This is not the first time she has walked this Earth, to be sure, and I sometimes think she was sent to me for that very purpose.

I held my breath for many years after that.  I was scared of my life, but didn't know how to change it.  Girlo Two was reason enough to try anything to make it better.  I returned to school for a graduate degree and worked two jobs throughout to make ends meet.  This is not a statement meant to seek pity, just to clarify why I was holding my breath for so long.  There was no time to think, which was probably best.

Then I became a single mom of two.  I never thought I'd be able to pull off that gig.  I carried a little notepad in my purse and recorded every penny I spent because I couldn't fail them.  My parents were always there as a safety net, but I wanted so, so badly to not depend on them.  There were times I had to suck up my pride, but I did okay for the most part.

When I ran into Better Half, I was still holding my breath and moving as fast as I could.  Downtime has always been hard for me.  If I sit still, I think.  If I think, well, it's just best that I keep moving.  I'm not a hypochondriac, but I can convince myself in five minutes or less I'm having a heart attack or have cancer.  Truly.

For the first time, it was okay for me to stop moving at such a frantic pace.  I could quit holding my breath because I knew it was going to be okay.  I quit and then about 10 years of crap came falling down on my head.  (Read Here.)Breathing became very hard for me.  Most of my anxiety starts with having shortness of breath, which is common but ironic.  Life's funny that way.

I was told that I could regulate my breathing during anxiety by singing.  Who knew?!  Singing is not my strong point.  I would be the comedy clip on American Idol. Well, if I even made it to that point.  But sing I did.  I would sit in the car and sing at the top of my lungs, and I would feel better.  The residuals of the anxiety would be there, but I could talk myself down from the ledge, so to speak.

This blog was/is about me being able to breathe.  I thrive on connecting to other human beings, feeling that sense of belonging.  I feel alive when I do this, like I'm trying to change my path.  Breathing, to me, is about being who you are meant to be.  Sucking in air and pushing it back out with force and purpose.  I push words out in hopes that someone will like them and come back here again.  I shove these thoughts upon the Universe because holding them in is just too hard.

This is one of the songs that helped me to breathe again.  I remember listening to it for the first time when I worked with my aunt for a couple of weeks one summer.  I had my own little office and updated law books.  It was certainly one of my less glamorous gigs, but I listened to music all day and got free Diet Coke, so it was all good for a 14 year old girl.  I love the message.  When we stop looking so damn hard, we find exactly what we are seeking.  Closer to fine.

Thanks, Universe.  Breathing is good.  


  1. I love this. You inspire me, sister!

    1. Well, then, we have a reciprocal feeling! I just wish I had foresight instead of hindsight! :)

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