November 14, 2016

And Then She Exhaled. {Poem}

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For so long, I have been everything to everyone.

Every. Thing.

To. Every. One.






Always defined by my relationship to those around me—


I hated the cliché I had become—

Reaching midlife and realizing I had disappeared.

So busy doing what others needed me to do,

Being what others needed me to be.

Having forgotten myself along the way—

Forgotten the lover,

Forgotten the passion,

Forgotten the writer.

Forgotten what makes me tick—

What makes me smile.

What makes me laugh.

What makes me exhale.

Allowing others to label me as they saw me—

Less-than-stellar friend,



“Just” a stay-at-home mom.

Instead of standing up for who I was—

A little bit wild,

With strong opinions,

Big dreams that won’t fit into a box,

And the unbearable urge to become wilder and stronger still.

Like that girl—

That girl who asked her confused parents

If she could go to a boarding school,

Knowing in her heart that it was right for her

Even at the tender age of 13.

That independent spirit

Who ditched her safe ad agency job

Less than a year out of college,

Bought a one-way ticket across the country

And never looked back.

That brave young woman

Who went into her own version of the wild

In the Colorado mountains

And created her own adventures.

That girl?

She was badass.

She was brave.

She was my hero.

A few years ago, the universe decided to help me remember that girl—

By shaking things up a little

With people who helped me remember

And events that I still can’t forget,

That launched me straight into the heart of the cliché.

A midlife crisis? For sure.

A spiritual awakening? Perhaps.

Dark Night of the Soul? Undoubtedly.

All leading to One. Hot. Mess.

And leading me back to me.

And when I started to remember her

I felt returned,

Returned to my Self,

Returned to me.

Like, I can breathe again.

Like, I don’t want to settle—

Settle for less than being fully awake:

For work that doesn’t light me up,

For people who don’t lift me up,

For the unconscious life I was living,

For anything at all.

And now—

I don’t want to stop feeling alive anymore.

I don’t want to forget again.

I want everything to stay in bright technicolor.

Vivid. Exciting.

Like I used to feel,

Once upon a time.






Free. (Yes, I know I already said it.)

It was lovely feeling that way again,

Like my old Self,

Remembering who I was,

Who I had forgotten

Who I am. (Hello, Soul.)

But now—

Now I feel myself slipping away again

And it scares me.

Oh, does it scare me.

It scares me because I don’t want her to go away again.

I don’t want to lose her.

I don’t want her to get swallowed up again—

By an unconscious life,

By the busyness of obligations,

By that box that I’ve tried to squish myself back into,

By the expectations everyone else has of me—

Of all of us.

I’m scared to lose me again, in the middle of life.

This life.

My life.

A life that I created

Heartbeat by heartbeat,

Teardrop by teardrop,

A life that I still want…


And in the next moment,

A life I’m not sure I want at all.

It engulfed me wholly before

And I’m afraid that it might again.

And in this moment, all I can do is pray,

Ask for help,

And signs for the right next step.

For clarity,

For courage.

Before I lose my grip on my own soul,

My Self.

I close my eyes,

I get quiet

And I know,

I know.

Then I take a deep breath—

And exhale.





Author: Christy Williams

Image: Grand Budapest Hotel  

Editor: Travis May

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