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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Breathe Me


Once, while driving through Framingham, I saw a chimp on a leash. Only, when I got closer, it wasn’t a chimp at all. It was a dog on a leash and he was hunched to take a dump. I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes, things aren’t all as they appear. While waiting in line to enter an attraction at Nashoba’s Witches Woods, a friend asked, “What are those? Paper towels?” We looked at the side of the building where she was gesturing.

“Those are speakers.” We replied. Speakers that looked a lot like paper towels, suspended high above us throughout Witches Woods.

Many Halloween’s ago, mom took me trick-or-treating around our apartment complex. I knocked on apartment doors where people we knew lived. “Oh! Minnie Mouse!” One elderly neighbor crooned.

“I’m not Minnie. I’m Mickey, you dummy.” I said, voice blessedly muffled behind my plastic mask, MICKEY MOUSE emblazoned across the bow tie of my plastic costume. After that, mom began to make my costumes by hand which may or may not have been a coincidence. I think that happens a lot – people looking at us and making an assumption of who we are, only to get it all wrong. After high school, during a long-distance phone call I’d made from Newport News, Virginia, where I was attending an Army training before shipping off to Korea, a guy I’d been friends with from high school remarked to me, “I know you!” There seemed no worse fate so naturally, I stopped talking to him.

Nowadays, I can be guarded unless I’m hiding behind my keyboard, writing. As I’d previously written, in a somewhat whiny post, October left a lot be desired. I descended, not too low, into a low spot. To call it a dark place sounds melodramatic. If you read my personal essay about loss, you’ll understand that any minor indication of faulty mental health is enough to send me running to a therapist’s couch. Are my genes pre-disposed for sadness? I don’t know but don’t want to take any chances.

What made October more bearable is that I was seen. I often fear being seen. Does being seen mean I failed to tuck in my crazy? Did I allow it to whip in the wind like a flag on a blustery day? In HR, I get to witness a lot of crazy on display. But I think there is a difference between vulnerability and crazy on display. Whichever it was, I am forever grateful for my colleagues Allison and Mairead who recognized and honored my crazy, vulnerability and pulled me out of the muck so I could start November in a better place. I feel at peace with the unknown. I’ve been meditating with more regularity than I had in a while (and shout out to my colleague Frank too) using a new app called FitMind which gets a slacker like me back to basics. When people tell Gabrielle Bernstein that they don’t have time to meditate, she asks them if they have time to feel like shit. I don’t have time to feel like shit so instead, I sit on my meditation cushion and acknowledge, without judgement, random, non-zen thoughts that pop into my head.

Breathe Me - Sia

Help, I have done it again I have been here many times before Hurt myself again today And, the worst part is there's no-one else to blame

Be my friend, hold me Wrap me up, enfold me I am small and needy Warm me up and breathe me

Ouch I have lost myself again Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found Yeah I think that I might break Lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Be my friend, hold me Wrap me up, enfold me I am small and needy Warm me up and breathe me B my friend, hold me Wrap me up, enfold me I am small and needy Warm me up and breathe me


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