• Madelynne Juenger

a rebuilding of sorts

You sit cross legged on the floor, a yoga mat cushioning the ground beneath you.

Your eyes are closed, your hands on your knees, and your focus on anything but those two things.

Your mind drifts and begins to play events like a movie reel on fast forward. And then on rewind. Fast forward. Rewind. Fast forward. Rewind.


“Take a deep breath in. Exhale to let something go. Inhale fresh breath. Exhale to empty it out.”

The voice comes from the computer screen set up on the floor in front of you. And you try to listen. To breathe in. To let go. To be present and aware and still and conscious.

Slowly, you flutter your eyelids open and take in this room. Between eyelashes you see the bright pink wall that your dad painted for you this summer after you searched pictures of flamingos for inspiration. You see the slightly dilapidated desk pushed up against the window in all its teal, chipped paint glory. You see the fuzzy hot pink pillow sitting on top of this “new” bed and think about how you used to hate the color pink. You see the stacks of all the books you read in middle school and high school lined up in rainbow order, toppling into each other.

Towers of typography leaning on one another for support.

This is what your room looks like now.

* Breath in. Breathe out. *

It’s not the room where you grew up. But you’ve never liked referring to yourself as “grown up” anyways. You know you still have a whole lifetime of growing to do and now this room (with its pink wall and teal desk) is added to the list of places in which you are growing.

You think about your room in Philadelphia. This is the room that you have covered in postcards of places and artwork and people. There are maps on the walls and stars on the ceiling that sometimes fall on your head as you sleep. The curtains are yellow and they magnify the sunlight that enters through the windows into brilliant golden waves that sweep upwards and downwards as the sun rises and sets.

These are the rooms in which you are living. These are the rooms in which you are growing.

* Breathe in. Breathe out. Exhale to let something go. Inhale fresh breath. *

You think about the Autumn and how you felt like you were constantly holding your breath.

Don’t say the wrong thing. Don’t think too much. Don’t get ahead of yourself. But don’t fall behind either. Don’t stop moving. Don’t overthink. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.

You think about all this pressure to not overthink. You think about how hard you thought to not overthink. And this is when you realize you need to pause. The movie reel is moving too quickly and it’s hard to take in the plot when you are living at three times the speed of a normal person.

* Exhale to let something go. *

You exhale the idea of constant movement.

You don’t like to go to sleep early, because you feel you are missing out. And you don’t like to sleep in late for exactly the same reason. But you try to let go of this idea that you need to be constantly moving in order to keep up. The world is always spinning, but it’s okay for you to stay still. Pause. Sit. Sleep. Breathe.

* Inhale fresh breath. *

You let in room for rest. You go to sleep when your body asks for it and wake up naturally (or at least after the gentle push from several alarms set at five minute intervals). No more zombie eyes. You accept your sister’s invitations for face mask dates and movie nights. You stay in and watch Hallmark movies and “Love Actually”. You stay still.

* Exhale to let something go. *

You exhale the worry that comes with being overly cautious.

* Inhale fresh breath. *

You see friends from high school and slip back into the rhythm that comes with being in the company of people who have known you for years. You have dance parties in the kitchen with your sisters and revel in the comfort and silliness that only appears when you are in the company of people who have known you their entire lives.

* Exhale to empty it out. *

You exhale. Extending your breath. Straightening your spine. Feeling the weight of your hands against your knees.

You inhale and smell paint. Behind you sits the dresser you’ve had for years, but this week it has changed from light purple to bright pink (you begin to notice a theme). Usually fresh paint means a fresh start.

And your fresh starts have always taken the form of something visual. A new layer of color. A new haircut. A new pair of shoes.

But this isn’t a fresh start. As you breathe in and breathe out, you realize that you aren’t starting over. This time you aren’t relying on New Year’s Eve to hand you a clean slate.

Right now you are simply moving forward.

A rebuilding of sorts.

You realize that life would go nowhere if we kept running all the way back to the beginning.

Instead we build something up, see what works and what doesn’t, and adjust from there. We take out the parts that were faulty and we add in the parts that excelled. We diminish our pile of bad and add to our pile of good.

We rebuild and we move forward.

So instead of being overwhelmed by the fact that touching your toes requires a good amount of effort, you decided to start the yoga video because it would be a good addition to your daily routine.

And somehow within the first five minutes of breathing techniques, you’ve built up this entire blog post.

And instead of being overwhelmed by how little you’ve written in the past months, you finish the yoga video, sit still for a while, open up a word document, and write.

It’s not an award winning novel and it’s not a breath taking poem. But it is a series of words on a page. It’s a step in the right direction.

You breathe in.

You breathe out.

You move forward and you keep on building.

x Madelynne


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