Friday, July 6, 2012


I know this woman.  Not terribly well, but I do know her.  I follow her posts on Facebook and I have actually spent time with her.  In person.  
This woman.  This mother, wife, friend.  I rarely see her laugh.  That bubble up, burst out explosion of air that speaks joy without words.  The break in a calm facade that starts with a wrinkle of your nose and sneaks out, head thrown back, that's funny!
It makes me sad that I cannot call to mind a time in our recent history when I recall her laughter.  So.  Sad.  She has funny things in her life, I'm sure.  Happy people.  Time.  
I think perhaps, these days, she is missing the one thing you cannot laugh without.
The following excerpt has been reposted from its original location on in July of 2010 because I found myself writing the same essay all over again.  And that didn't seem necessary.
"You can hold your breath, 
but you cannot pretend you don't breathe."

Even as he speeds back to me I can feel myself clawing towards the surface.  Mouth gaping in a silent scream.  Chest burning, ready to explode with my need for air.  The harder I push the father away it seems.  He's been gone for weeks now...the Father, my partner, my Love, my air... and I've been holding my breath.  Blah, blah, blah...I can function without him here, yes.  But it's not natural.  You can hold your breath.  I can hold my breath.  It is my choice.  My ability.  Yes. 

I'm better at it than I used to be.  That's how it is with learning to hold your breath.  The more you practice, the better you get at it.  The longer you can go without air.  So yes.  I can go longer these days.  I'm better at it.  But it keeps getting harder too.

Because now it's not just me.  It's me and three little girls.  And the part time job.  And the house guests.  And the old black dog.  And the new puppy...what was I thinking?  Oh that's right, I wasn't thinking...thinking is a non-essential function when you're just trying to make your breath last longer.  I've learned that if I stop doing all sorts of cooking, and reading, and shopping, and blogging... while I hold my breath, I can go longer before I start clawing towards the surface.

We do hold our breath sometimes.  We do dip just below the surface for a time and go without the things we need, because by doing that we gain something.  We can be enveloped by that water that lets us fly as long as we know at some point we're going to have to come up for air.  Because that same liquid that supports our unburdened flight, can also become too much.  If we stay too long it can swallow us up just as easily as it lets us fly.  You can take steps to stay beneath the surface, to go without air.  You can learn to live differently.  But even the fish needs air.  If you're going to live, you need air.  You need the things you need.  To be yourself.  And having him here is a big part of being me.
So now he's back, the one I needed, and I'm not holding my breath any longer.  But I'm not breathing easy yet.  No, not yet. Because when you do break the surface, and take the breath you've been dying for, it's not just a breath.  It's a gasp.  Deep.  Frantic maybe.  A bit of taking in as much as you possibly can because you've gone without.  And that can be both good and bad.  It takes some time for my breathing to return to normal when I've gone without air for so long.  I was doing just fine here without him, as unnatural as that was, just fine.  Restricting my movements, less of everything, just so I could make my breath last.  And now my gasping to have my needed one back is a new struggle.  I need him to do all those things I wasn't doing while I survived.  And do them quickly.  Now!  Please.  Faster.  More.  Now that I have my breath back there's no limit to what needs to be done.  Right?  Wrong.  It takes some time for the breathing to return to normal.  Just give it time.  Catch your breath.  Breathe easy because pretty soon you're going to do it again.
"You can hold your breath, 
but you cannot pretend you don't breathe."

...and when you're holding your cannot laugh either.  Exhale my friend.  Exhale.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reminding me to breath. It's all to easy to forget sometimes.

    I love your posts.. Count me among your newest fans as well!