A sense of holding your breath – “Broke” by Modest Mouse


Every morning I wake up and I am terrified. I wake up and I am frightened and scared and worried. About everything.

Please, spare me the comments about self-pity. And spare me your pity.

I wake up afraid because I am so committed to what I do. To an extent, I want this. I care, people, is what I am saying.

I take this fear as a challenge, as an invigoration, as a way to remind myself that I am on a path that I am attempting to carve. We all take this challenge.

In the morning I wake up and I am alone but that does not make me cry. What makes me cry is when I stop being the individual that I am. You can be yourself with someone else just as easily when you’re not, I have come to find, so I am not as averse to the idea as I once used to be. It can be nice with someone that makes you smile. Quite nice.

The trick is when there are those that blot out your sensibility. Your presence.

So being alone in my bed, with the streaming light making the room musty with dust particles, my mind going in three thousand different directions and the silence of morning surrounding me, I am happy.

But yes, maybe I could do without the fear. Or some of it. I’m not sure.

There are so many people that tell me that I need to stop worrying. They try to do things for me to “calm my nerves,” like their actions are oh! Charity! Oh how generous of you for trying to change me!

I know that not everyone is trying to change me. Sometimes I use that excuse as a defense mechanism that I have built up over the years. I get annoyed, frustrated, irritated. You want me to find a diagnosis so I make your life easier? So you can follow a little booklet in your mind?

But there are those that understand, those that know where I am coming from. They know that yes, this is difficult on me. I’m part of the pressure. I sometimes play a tug o’ war with their offerings of insight. But those who do care have a way of exposing their genuine nature. I know when you mean it.

It’s just addictive to push yourself. I know I can do it. I just know.

But it’s when I look up into the sky to forget about the scuttling about on the ground when I realize that I’ve been holding my breath; I didn’t even know that I was doing it. And I just stop and I lazily let my eyes drop and my shoulders fall and I breathe in, breathe out. I look at the clouds and I feel so much bigger than the screened devices we put our souls into, our eyes glued to them.

Something I have to stop doing is to keep apologizing, apologizing, apologizing because that’s another excuse. Why am I saying sorry? Laziness? I know how I am, so when my hands feel like pins and needles and I waver on my emotional scale, I can immediately offer up my actions as a grievance. It puts the weight off, just for a little bit. But it’s not helping anything in the long run.

My favorite Modest Mouse songs are “3rd Planet” and “Broke.” I’ve been listening to “3rd Planet” since about junior year of high school. “Broke,” though, I found last semester and, man, not a better time. It’s so easy to think of yourself as broken, so in those moments in which I wanted a blanket of melancholia over me, “Broke” satisfied some weird anguish I have to find the most depressing songs, like, ever.

But it’s not helping anything to think of yourself as broken, even if you are, even if you’re not. Don’t ever let yourself think there is something fundamentally wrong with you. You’re supposed to be living as yourself for the rest of your life, right? So you’re just going to keep letting yourself think that you’re a force of distress, that you can’t quite do anything right? No wonder you don’t breathe often.

Let yourself be human because that’s what you are. You’re a person, and there’s a lot of different types of people out there.

Wake up and don’t be afraid. Wake up and be alert for the opportunities you have to change your life. Or, there is a simple grace in consistency and healthiness that cannot be overlooked. That alone might be the change enough that you need.

I wake up and I am afraid but I’m working on being less afraid and more just a force of energy. I want my compassion to not make me sick to my stomach from thinking about everything I could be doing wrong. I want my compassion to be my thruster, let me leap out of my bed and I jump to! Here’s the day, and here’s all I can do.

Here’s what I can give back.