Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On Sucking Air

A dear friend of mine has totally lost her mind and decided that Bikram Yoga (wherein you voluntarily walk into a room which is kept at a steady temperature of 105* (YES. ONE-HUNDRED FIVE DEGREES!) and work out.) She looked me straight in the eye and swore to me that "It feel so good. Cleansing."

I think she's nuts. Obviously. But the good kind of nuts. Like pistachios. Not walnuts. 

Anyway, I asked if she could breath. She said something about the air being thick, but that they reassured her they were constantly pumping fresh oxygen into the (hotter than hell) room. I told her yoga would do me no good at all if I couldn't breath. 

Every time we talk about this experience, I see myself lying in the fetal position on my purple yoga mat sucking air while my lips turn blue and my face pales. I imagine I'd last 5 seconds feeling like I'm drowning in the sweaty air and wishing myself dead - because at least then I could float up above all the heavy heavy air and find something fresh to inhale which must be hanging out near the ceiling. (lessons from this paragraph: dead people float and even though I'm way too chicken to ever participate, I cannot get enough of hearing about my friend's experience)

I sometimes get embarrassed when the people around me can tell I'm sucking air. 

I run up the stairs at home and refuse to answer the phone because if someone asks if I've been working out I won't have the strength to be honest and tell them I wasn't. 
I hike with people I love and walk as slow as is humanly possible - constantly willing my heart to beat slower so I can breath steadier. 
I don't run with other people. Because admitting that I can't hear them over my own panting is only slightly less embarrassing than that time I wore a sweater vest (over a t-shirt) to 9th grade lagoon day and rocked the sweat pits which probably became columns as they met the waist of my pants rather than sticking to the much more socially acceptable sweat rings the rest of the people had.

I get embarrassed about physically sucking air, but I'm getting better at being caught emotionally sucking air. 

Maybe it's just because I hang out less with "acquaintances" and more with the kinds of friends who will notice you sucking air, and give you an oxygen mask instead of asking if you're working out - clearly looking for some explanation for your bizarre behavior. The people who know that the sucking will slow eventually and remind me that there is plenty of air for everyone. They sooth my panic, sit with me in the crazy and remind me that it will pass. 

The more I am around these friends who recognize the need for air, the need so deep that you simply can't NOT suck it in spite of the embarrassing noises, the more I want to be that kind of friend for someone else. 

I spent my weekend with these kinds of friends and somehow I just breath easier around them. Even if I'm not sucking air in the moment, they are still MY PEOPLE. They are Air-Suck Preventers, and I love them. 

If you need an Air-Suck-Preventer yourself, will you let me know? I'm no expert at solving crises, but I am quite used to sitting in the crazy and I'd love to sit there with you. #codesafespace

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