Learning to Breathe Again

This final drag fills my tired lungs as the red tip of this white cancer stick glows. My mind covets the rush of this smoke, tricking my good senses to envelop in the temporary and forget that it's killing me. I feel light headed and I know I need to let it out. I need to let it out now. I need a breath of real air....

I recently realized that I have developed a bad habit of holding my breath without being conscious of it. I think it started as something I did to avoid breathing in cigarette smoke, something that happened pretty often growing up with a smoking father I would say. This piece isn't about my disdain for cigarettes, and it certainly isn't about this actual increased awareness I have of my breathing patterns (thanks to yoga). I have never put a cancer stick to my lips nor am I planning to; if you actually bought that first paragraph, I win. This piece is about becoming aware of and reflecting on how fundamental writing has been to my being just as breathing is fundamental to life. This piece is a commitment to grow as a writer, as I'm learning to breathe again.

Going through my high school notebook reminded me of how honest I was with myself then. My poems and notes were so raw and human; I was on that ride of self-discovery. (Fascinatingly enough, that's what I currently look for in quality literature.) After comparing my current works to those written without instruction or prompts, I now understand why I have five half-written blog posts sitting in my Google Drive and why I don't push myself to further discover myself in my writing. It now makes sense why I limit myself to word counts and page numbers. I like being in control; I like protecting myself. Only now have I realized that, just like holding my breath, I'm not getting inspiration I need; the inspiration that once ignited my soul. Through my growth as a writer, I want to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly, because at the end of the day I will do my best and the best will come.

Here's to striking the match of self-discovery: "All I can hear now is the sound of my own heart, opening and closing, opening and closing, opening." (Margaret Atwood)