Writer | Editor


Photo by Emily Ibarra

Deep Breaths

Deep breaths. One after the other. Small things, the constant cycles you can count on. This is where solace lies. I trace the cloud-colored tiles on my shower floor with my fingertips and think about what lies beneath. Beneath the floor, beneath the house, under the earth, it stretches out for miles and miles. I think about what my mother used to say; “Relax love, the whole world is supporting you underneath each step.”

Wet hair and pruny fingers from too much time spent in the water. Deep breaths. I open my dresser and notice for what feels like the millionth time that the empty spots left by your absence have yet to be filled. I open the bottom drawer, that drawer filled with beautiful, delicate, and forbidden things. You hated that drawer. Be quiet, you said. Hush. Move softly. You’re too loud, you move too quickly, and attract too much attention.

Deep breaths.

I shake my head, shake away your memory, and pull out those treasures that have stayed hidden for far too long. I move carefully, like they might turn to dust at my touch. Slowly, I slip them on; over my hips, ribbons tied and lace soft against my skin. Leaning close to the mirror I apply lipstick then stand back. The corners of my mouth are tugged up into a smile. Head fighting against heart.

Deep breaths.

In the end, the simple truth is, it was never me who wasn’t good enough.

Chin up, sweet girl. Lipstick on. Eyes bright and laughter at the ready. You’re alive. And you are enough.

Arielle Mullen