Breathing Lesson
Author: Willahh


"Don't sit like that!", He shouted. My toes were touching. He told me I looked stupid. This is when I started wishing I were a spotted pony. The voice of my father is still with me.

"So what?", I thought to myself. I dare not to speak this outloud. Another something to be aware of. I was practically forced to do a self-assessment. Why was I sitting this way? Why did it seem to bother my father so much? Why was I being chastized for this? All my love, compassion and emotions came easy, simple. My father was, in his own ways, trying to teach me self-consciousness, reserve and doubt. It wasn't a very long time until he started in about the way I was breathing.

"You're not breathing right," He said as I stood there staring at him, my father, with a blank expression. My mouth was wide open. I didn't know what to say. I probably wouldn't have been able to say anything even if I had wanted to. I was thinking, though. I was always thinking, I think. I think he would've enjoyed controlling that process, too. Sometimes I had to let him think he had. Only I knew he hadn't. It was easier to be quiet sometimes. At least back then it was.

Ok, I give - "How am I supposed to be breathing?", I thought to myself as he continued his disertation. "I've been breathing ever since the day I was born, and now you are telling me I've been doing it all wrong? I am still alive, aren't I? Am I? Seventeen years have already passed and you are just now telling me I am not breathing right? Who taught me to breathe? I don't remember. But, Now I feel as though I must know." I stopped thinking for fear of the next question my heart would ask silently. "Is it that you resent the fact I am breathing without your consent, Daddy?"

I didn't really want to know all of the answers. I just wanted to be able to ask some of the questions. My father said, "Your stomach should rise when you inhale then fall when you exhale." Alright, Dad, it's almost twenty years later. I am still afraid. Afraid I'm not doing it right.


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