When Worry Catches Hold
Stop. Look. And listen. Three things they tell young children to do before crossing the street. Three things I should’ve tried before it got to this--three practices I must undertake now.
The air in my lungs is still. And yet, I force myself to stop walking. I do nothing but recollect. I urge the oxygen free from its frozen hold, save a moment for my lungs to be allowed to remain ridged, then convince my airways to expand once more.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in, breathe out.
One--again, not two. For now, one is more than enough, one is all I ask of my body. Over and over again.
As oxygen helps me regain muscle control, I take the time to look around me. I relish in the cool breeze across my bare arms. I note the delicate grace of bronzed autumnal leaves as they float down, spiraling and spiraling. Finally, settling.
After what feels like an eternity, I am able to feel the weight of my feet on the ground.
I make the conscious decision to listen. To hear the noises of cheering crowds as yet another person sprints past the finish line, to hear a faint exhale of breath through my parted lips.
Another moment passes and I hear a friend calling my name. I feel my body move towards the noise. And I am myself once more. Breath flows in. Breath flows out. That is what I need to regain control.