• Cait Simmons

Just Breathe


When I was younger,

it would happen.

Walking through halls

in bathroom stalls

a rising panic

would lead to shortness of

breath

until I was

gasp—

ing

for air.


There were times when I could not take a deep breath no matter

how

hard

I

tried.


I felt an unbearable weight on my chest,

a coiled snake around my throat.


Is this normal?

Why me?

How can I make this

STOP?


The hot tears would well,

my mind would race,

and the snake would tighten its grip.


In this life

I have experienced

pain so intense

at first

it stopped my breath—

fear felt like plunging into

icy waters,

a sharp inhale

followed by an unrelenting hold.

Grief was a long, slow sigh

with no end in sight.


UNTIL

I realized I had one tool within me.

Always.


In. And. Out—


I learned

to find peace

in between

deep breaths.


To feel the sus—

pension of thought:

weightless

blissful

peaceful

and vast.


And I knew

I would have it with me

always.


Through everything.

I knew it had been there all along.

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