Tuesday, December 30, 2008

more than breathing

People would ask, "How are you?" For a long time my response was, "I'm still breathing," and that was on my best days. Things had gotten so bad that was the most positive and honest response I could give. I didn't want to complain, and though I knew (most of the time) people didn't really want to know how I was doing, I couldn't bring myself to lie and say, "I'm fine." Ok, sometimes I would say that, but I always felt bad about it afterwards. It made me feel fake. It made me feel trapped in the misery, as though by saying those words locked the door on my personal prison. To admit that all was not lost, that, at least, I was breathing, left the door open and gave me some hope.

A few weeks ago I realized things are pretty good nowadays. It's far from perfect, but I am not feeling that hopelessness, the feeling that this is all there is and there's nothing I can do about it. I realized I've been doing more than just breathing and that's a really good feeling! What's even better is that I even recognized it. I mean, there wasn't some monumental thing that happened to brighten my hopes; it was a slow process -- a painfully slow process.

Everyday I would get out of bed (that is a very important start--crucial) and decidedly put one foot in front of the other and tried, tried very, very hard to remain positive. I would breathe. Often. Things happened that were completely out of my control and I would breathe. Things would happen that hurt me more deeply than I thought I would ever be able to survive and I would breathe. Take another step. Breathe.

Finally, breathing is not so much an effort. Taking the next step is still a little difficult, but my new motto is "no excuses." I've started looking at the different areas within myself that I've needed to work on and started taking steps to improve them. No excuses.

Today I am more than breathing. I am living.

10 comments:

Kristi said...

I came to the realization last week that my life is pretty good. I've not been happy for many years. I've struggled with so many inward things. I've felt cursed. But I realized that self-inspection is priceless. A willingness to look inside yourself and get to the root of the whys and hows of who you've become is priceless. I realized that it's been a long, slow process. But slowly, light has entered my world. Not overnight. But in the tiniest moments, light has peaked in. And suddenly, I look around, and I see more light than ever before.

Kristi said...

Sorry, I meant to say Congratulations on living!

Trueself said...

Everyday I would get out of bed (that is a very important start--crucial) and decidedly put one foot in front of the other and tried, tried very, very hard to remain positive. I would breathe. Often. Things happened that were completely out of my control and I would breathe. Things would happen that hurt me more deeply than I thought I would ever be able to survive and I would breathe. Take another step. Breathe.

That is an apt description of my life right now and for the last couple of years. Your post helps me hope that I too can get to a better place and say that I am living rather than just breathing.

Sailor said...

I am sooo happy that you're getting beyond the point where just breathing is the best there is. I was there, and can so remember that feeling. Heck, there were way to many days that I didn't manage the crucial step of getting out of bed- I'm glad you did.

Hugs, hoping and praying that the good things keep coming, and getting better.

lime said...

thanks for delurking at my place. i am glad to hear you've re-entered the land of the living and certainly glad you never gave up breathing.

Jeff said...

Living looks good on you!

Buttafly32681 said...

Someone had wondered to me before..."Do they actually care when they ask how you are? Do they listen for your answer, or just expect you to say something in passing?" I think of this every time I say hi to someone in passing. I want them to know that I do care, if I ask. And I want to know that someone cares when they ask.
I haven't quite gotten to the point you are at, where there is better life than just breathing. I am still trying to figure out how to do so... :)
Glad you are doing more than just breathing...

flutterby said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt and insightful post, Phyllis.

I'm glad that breathing brought you to life, so to speak.

Xavier said...

I am so glad you are feeling life now, that breathing is not all there is.

for a different kind of girl said...

While I'm sometimes struck on various days and at various moments over how happy I am 'in that time,' I think I'm still a huge work in progess on this matter. What I wish is the ability to savor it when I feel it and not try to find ways to push it away.