I can’t breathe.
I don’t mean that in a figurative sense (though clearly, I’m not taking a whole lot of figurative deep breaths either)
I mean I literally can’t breathe, thanks to the cold that took residence a week and a half ago and seems to have no plans to vacate.
I’m a mouth-breather.
With the chapped lips to prove it.
And there’s the cough and the runny nose and the coughing and snoring 8 year old who’s been sleeping beside me, and the coughing and snoring 42 year old who’s also been sleeping beside me.
And the dog with diarrhea – which really has nothing to do with a cold, and is a just another small part of the whole reason I am not sleeping again.
Is “again” really the right word when I haven’t really slept for as long as I can remember?
I almost said in “forever”, but forever’s almost never a fair word, and I’m pretty sure I slept when I was a kid.
I’m not allowed to complain about the dog, because he’s not supposed to be here in the first place.
He was a stray, abandoned on a desert dirt road. And I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed him, just as much as he needed me.
We didn’t choose him. But he chose me. I saved him from the harsh desert, but really…. he saved me.
And now he has diarrhea.
I’m tired, so very tired, and only partly because of the diarrhea.
And the cold.
And the lack of sleep.
And the lack of breathing.
It’s mostly because my brain Doesn’t. Stop. Thinking.
At all. Ever.
My therapist tells me I shouldn’t expect an on/off switch (which is good, because I’m certain such a thing doesn’t exist, at least not for me)
He does say that I should be able to dial it down though.
I think he’s lying.
Or my dial is broken.
BROKEN, I tell you.
It’s forever stuck – except forever’s almost never a fair word – stuck on the highest setting.
Like the Vitamix, when you flip it up all the way up to that mega setting that shows it you mean business.
The one that makes your teeth rattle, and keep your hand on the cover for fear that your banana berry Jamba Juice smoothie knock-off is going to end up all over the damn kitchen ceiling.
Only instead of blending up a banana berry Jamba Juice smoothie knock-off, my brain is blending up a soup of regret, and hope, and worry, and problem solving, and wondering, and religion and politics and pop culture and the kids and the pets, and the thing I said to my best friend’s brother when I was seven, and the mistake I made when I was 22, and my to-do list for the next 24 hours and the next 24 years, and the question of whether or not I’ll even be given another 24 years, or hours.
I want to dial it down.
I do. I DO.
But I don’t know how.
And so I do the only thing I know to do and I sit.
And I drink my coffee and I try to breathe.
Except I can’t breathe thanks to the cold that took residence a week and a half ago and seems to have no plans to vacate.
I’m a mouth-breather.
And I’m tired.