“I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” –Samuel Beckett and a Reminder to Take Three Deep Breaths

By Melissa Hohl April 20, 2015  |  Uncategorized  |  no responses

On Saturday, April 18, I drove to Boulder to see a friend and do a bit of shopping. When I returned to Fort Collins around 7 p.m. and began unpacking from my journey, I realized there was still a security tag attached to one of the dresses I bought. (Which dress? The blue one.) I called the store that I’d purchased the item from and was informed that the only way for the security tag to come off would be for yours truly to drive back to the store in Boulder and have it removed by a fancy security-tag-removal machine. After hanging up, I Googled how to get the thing off the dress myself; however, this search only lead me to the knowledge that there is ink inside these kinds of security tags. Not wanting to take the likely chance of blotting the bluebonnet blue of the dress with who knows what color ink, on Sunday, April 19, I found myself back in Boulder.

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There was a brief moment in time when I was actually angry about having to endure the I-25 again and use more gas to go to a place I’d just returned from. Sundays are “MY homework day,” I whined to myself and maybe also to my roommate. But then, in a Zen or something like a Zen moment, I remembered what Lisa Langstraat said, long ago in 2013, in GTA training—“it only takes three deep breaths to reset” yourself. I took three deep breaths. I reset myself. I went to sleep the night of the 18th. On the morning of the 19th, the sun woke up and so did I. I brought my homework with me to Boulder, because I remembered that I’m a graduate student and a problem-solver, able to sit at a café and read, just like I’d do here in Fort Collins.

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Often times, and especially near the later-tip of the spring semester, all of us in higher education—students, professors, administrators, everyone—come very close to occupying an uncanny space: the edge of the school year. Final projects, papers, a ton of grading, and stress creep in, and, when I think about all of the things on my to-do list, I get a little bit anxious and am more likely to get angry over petty matters, such as having to drive back to Boulder to get a security tag removed. It’s not as though I had to drive to Delaware.

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After taking those three deep breaths courtesy of Lisa Langstraat, I recognized that I was being crabby over having to drive somewhere, which ultimately meant: I am able to drive. I own a car that works. My birthday is next week. I’ll be 24 years old. I’m writing poems I like. I’m reading poems I like, those of my peers and others. I have food, a bed, and a new blue dress.

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And yet even now, as I do seven things at once (such as baking cauliflower, writing this blog post, considering a poem, and breathing), I have to repeatedly tell myself to not worry over my to-do list, over what my life will be like in a year from now, and over that Taco Bell I scarfed down a few weeks ago (what is it doing to my digestive tract?).

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I’m not sure why I so easily let my mind slide into the negative, the petty, the scary, the future. Why is it so much harder to think about the positive things, the wonderful people in my life, the many places I’ve been so blessed to go? I could (and, in part, do) blame it on the semester coming to a close, but in reality I know the answer to this question feels unknowable to me, like so much else, right now. All I think I know is that I must keep reminding myself to take three deep breaths.

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It’s April 20. Inhale, everyone, three times, deep. We’re almost at the end of the semester, at the somewhat illusory finish line that’ll eventually bring us back to a place we’ve just returned from—another semester at CSU. Don’t get angry (or sad); get glad! Three deep breaths.

 

 

 

 

 

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