one of the best, and worst things I’ve ever learned how to do in my life, is inhale.
when I was a child I used to obsessively pray. i’m not sure if my mom ever noticed, even though I don’t see how she didn’t. it didn’t matter where I was… school, home, with my friends. if I thought a bad thought, said a bad word, I would silently pray:
please god, forgive me.
everyone has their ticks, things that they’re weirdly afraid of. for me, it was strange things: like the color red. I always associated it with evil. with wicked things. with darkness. I wouldn’t wear it, I wouldn’t color with it. I wouldn’t decorate my room with it. it’s strange how these things happen, and why they do. i’m sure as a child growing up in the church and seeing pictures of big, red demons, I automatically thought: “this color is evil, I can’t have anything to do with it…or else i’ll be bad too.”
I also had recovery words for when I thought of strange or bad things. words that I would repeat over and over in my mind to make the bad thoughts go away. If I told you the word, it would make absolutely no sense. i’m actually pretty embarrassed by it, because its so utterly ridiculous so, I’ll keep that to myself…even though its pretty funny.
so I prayed a lot, and I demonized a color, and I used the repetition of a word to calm my brain.
then one day, and I don’t remember when or how, but I started praying less. most likely because other kids would catch me mumbling under my breath as I sat in class and I would get embarrassed. I thought: “I don’t need to pray every time I eat, that’s ridiculous…right?” and one day, and I don’t remember where I was or why, but I saw something red, and I liked it. It was probably someone walking down the street with a beautiful red skirt, or a rose petal lying on the ground and I thought: “wow, that’s beautiful. red can’t always be an evil thing…right?”
And one day when strange thoughts would enter my mind, instead of banishing them away with my “safety words”, I would let them come. I would let them intrigue me and interest me, instead of being so afraid of them.
one of the best things I’ve ever learned to do in my life so far, is to inhale.
I’ve smoked socially with friends at parties, and sitting on sidewalks with my best friend when we were 16 to feel cool, but here’s something embarrassing that I learned about myself this summer: I never knew how to inhale.
Its funny how doing something as simple as breathing in smoke into your lungs can affect you, change you. but it does. it does.