I hold my breath a lot. I noticed it the other day when I let out a big sigh in the middle of a conversation with someone.
I don’t breathe regularly. I’m constantly holding my breath. Letting out huge sighs over and over. People comment on them.
They ask me things like“why did you let out that big sigh?” They ask me what’s wrong. Sometimes they laugh. Sometimes, they make my sighs a joke. Like “there she goes doing that thing again.”
I can’t breathe here. And that hurts me.
Sometimes, I think about that mom from The Pursuit of Happiness. How she ran away and left Will Smith with Jayden.
How she needed to get away for her own sanity. And sometimes I wonder if I’m her. Or if there are other women who feel the way I feel. Like their entire world is suffocating them and if they could just run away and live without the guilt, they’d be okay.
And then I think about my mother. And how she sacrificed for us.
She abandoned her own desires and dreams so that she could have a family; because that’s what she’d always wanted. To be what she didn’t have.
And then I look at myself.
And I wonder who I am and how long I’m going to have to be her.
Suffocating. Not breathing.
Wondering if it’s okay to run away, just for a summer; to gain some clarity and resistance.
And nothing around me tells me that it’s okay.
Nothing around me tells me it’s okay to run away. It’s okay to leave and go be by myself for a while just so I can gain some peace.
So instead, I sit here; not breathing. Pretending everything is fine. Until I have a break down. Like today. Crying until I can barely see out of my own eyes.
I don’t understand the clarity that comes with my own sanity. The sanity that comes from being away from my kids and my husband and my family for hours and hours on end just so I can breathe a little bit. Just so I can get to know myself in this season of my life.
I don’t really know how long I haven’t been breathing. It was before children. It was before marriage. It might have even been before boyfriend.
I don’t remember. But now, it’s bad. And I don’t know what else to do, other than leave my husband and children behind so that I can find somewhere that helps me breathe.