By Jessica Keith
I take a deep breath in through my nose, pausing for the moment to admire how clean Barbie’s dream house is, before I close my eyes. I exhale recognition that I’m not married to a Ken.
Focusing on the now, I breathe in appreciation for this moment, that I am “safer at home” not having to see millennials at the coffee shop posing for selfies in their tight clothes that are new and unstained. I exhale a heavy sigh, to think about the cold cup of joe I will get to reheat, eventually.
I breathe in, mindful of the distraction my children provide. Without them I’d be bingeing on Netflix. Instead, I hear the waves crashing in the background, Captain Barnacles from Octonauts sounds the alarm, “Creatures report,” alerts me that I am grounded. I redirect my thoughts from wondering, “how long before someone interrupts my moment to breathe?” Instead, I concentrate on the now, hearing the voice in my head whisper, “no one hears me, no one sees me.”
Laying on the ground, I feel the earth below me. I count my breaths in and out, tracing the numbers around my body, using the corner of Legos poking at my skin as markers. I tighten my toes, and release, letting go of what pieces in the carpet are lost forever. I exhale the need to see if they fit in the Lego friend’s catamaran.
With an inhale, I scan my body, breathing in gratitude for the soft bits that hosted three healthy children. I exhale the pressure of my bladder. I breathe in the nourishment the air provides my lungs. I exhale my high carb diet of goldfish and mac and cheese. I visualize the goldfish swimming through my mouth day in and day out. My breath is synchronized as the waves crash over me. The air and sea must join to sustain me.
I breathe in adventure picturing where Dora the Explorer would find her missing backpack. I picture the landscape she would cross, over the hill, through the snow, arriving at chocolate mountain. I exhale knowing the road is long. I inhale to acknowledge my resilience, to keep trying, to stand over the flame day after day, meal after meal. I exhale the number of meals turned down by my family.
I breathe in wanderlust, for an image that is now on its own adventure. I exhale letting go of the special drawing that ended up in the trash bin.
I inhale slowly, pause, and then exhale the vision of the last glass of rosé, that shattered before it touched my lips. I take my deepest breath in, mindful that just like the pieces of glass, life is fragile, and the parts that sparkle are all around, even when you can’t see them through your rosé covered glasses.
About the Author
Jessica Keith is a professional lecturer at San Diego State University. When she’s not busy saying, “don’t make me repeat myself,” to her children (ages 2, 6, and 8), she is getting paid to discuss the diverse implications of repeating oneself, teaching Cross Cultural Communication. Currently, her favorite pastimes are sitting in a room by herself, and guessing what day of the week it is.
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