Learning to Breathe

Shoulders down, head back, chest out, breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
I don't breathe. When things are stressful and make me uncomfortable I hold my breath. Because I can control it.
I alone decide when I breathe. Doesn't matter what you're doing or saying I choose when to inhale and exhale.

I hold myself just so. Shifting and diverting the uncomfortable gazes and conversations that challenge me. Breathe Breathe Breathe Breathe. I hold my breath; like a child in the midst of a temper tantrum. Fists clenched by my side, neck, arms, legs; all tensed and ready to flee if it's to much, to intense, to direct, to honest.
Clearly it is socially unacceptable to just run screeching from every uncomfortable situation. So I hold my breath. I withhold my breath.

For so long I've held myself just so. Rigid and unyielding, not breathing, unmoving. I'd bring up how T-Rex's have bad sight so if you don't move they can't see you, but Stephanie would make fun of me (which I secretly love). If I don't move, don't even breathe then you won't notice me. You won't notice the awkward girl that while so desperate for you to see her longs to just be invisible and unnoticed.

My body doesn't know any different anymore. I've held myself just so for so long that it's become the norm for my body to go into those poses. It sometimes is more natural for me to hold my breath than to inhale and exhale.
I feel protected, comforted by those poses. Because I don't want to look foolish. I don't want to breathe to heavy. I don't want the way I stand to expose the girl I see when I look at myself.

Trying to relearn how to breathe; how to hold myself naturally, in a way that strengthens my body instead of adding pressure to these weary bones is hard. It's a locomotive that's been chugging along and full speed ahead for 20 years. Stopping it is hard. Learning to breathe the way my body needs me to is hard. I've been holding my breath for more than 20 years.

I'm trying to move past the appearance. The appearance that this is easy working though this issue that God has made clear to me is a spiritual one and not just a physical one. It's not easy. It is really hard and really painful. I cried 5 times tonight, ugly snot all over my face cried in front of a roomful of women that I didn't know (and one I did). I couldn't stop.
The muscles stretched and I broke. Again and again. I broke. The hurt I carry around my waist and on my thighs was mad that I dared bother it. The anger I've rested on my hips and chin is just to much it has to go.

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