Taking Up Oxygen

Written by on April 10, 2019 in Conversations on the Journey with 0 Comments

Taking up oxygen. You know that reference? When someone presumably worthless is using up valuable resources better used by someone else?

Individual standing under an oak tree in a field

Photo by Norbert Tóth

It’s how a lot of survivors of abuse feel like.

After pulling through an exceptionally long period of chronic fatigue, I took a short walk last night … more like a stroll. Then again this morning.

Walking this morning, I became aware that even though this walk was pushing me a bit, I was not breathing.

Oh, I was breathing, but barely. My inhales were shallow … even as my body was saying,  “Hey, a little oxygen here, please?”

I reminded myself to take a nice inhale, and then moments later, realized I had gone back to shallow, unassuming, only-a-fraction-of-a-whole inhales.

And I was barely exhaling before the next shallow breath.

I suddenly got this image in my mind of me tiptoeing, careful not to disturb anyone, careful not to draw any attention, careful not to offend, apologetically quiet for having the nerve to be here, so that even my breathing was a kind of theft for which I could not get caught.

This image was the child me, the one who lived that reality, the one tapping on my shoulder now. The one who, with the exception of being put on stage to shine for her parents’ esteem, or praised for being pleasing to look at — again my parents’ accomplishment — was careful not to be seen.

Oh, some of my words could be heard … in specific situations and with appropriate topics, giving me the illusion that my thoughts mattered. And it was that thought that became my parent that fed me and grew me … but not without cost of the actual reality.

If you were abused, I want you to know you are worth not only the air you breathe, but you deserve clean air, pure air. You deserve air that is pollutant-free in a world that is vibrant and healthy. You deserve clean water and clean love, bright futures and tender memories. You deserve all of these and more, and a deep-inhaling/joyful-exhaling world in which to experience all those things.

The people who ravage this earth for profit are, in attitude and entitlement, the same people who said you didn’t matter, who denied your humanity and right to exist, to be happy.

But they’re wrong. All of them.

There’s much to be done, but just for today if you do nothing else, take a long, deep breath. It belongs to you. And then take another one and another one. Let them fill and expand your lungs awake and let the power of your breathing carry away the tension and toxins of your wounds.

Just for today, let this be your radical act. Let this be your defiant statement that you belong here, that you are here. And world, watch out.

You’re the reckoning, the awakening, the tender flower cracking through man-made concrete, the wild oak tossing its hair in the storm with abandon, the last straw of something wonderful breaking through the weight of apathy and greed.

There is nothing more frightening, more awe inspiring than someone who recognizes their worth.



~ Keeping the Dream



About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, using spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. Demian is a traveler on the healing journey with a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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