I can breathe, and to be honest, I enjoy that freedom—and also feel guilty about it.
Sure, there have been isolated moments or situations in which I couldn’t breathe well, when life closed in and sat heavily on my chest. But those times came because of a choice I’d made or because someone was mistreating me. I’ve written about that season in Fractured Into Wholeness. The mistreatment wasn’t because of who I was but because of who someone else was.
To have someone cut off my breath because of who I am—not really who I am but what I look like. I don’t know if I have the right words to capture what that stirs in me, but it is a deep empathy.
For anyone who has been in a similar situation, I am sorry.
For anyone who fears being in a similar situation, I am sorry.
I can use my breath to help you breathe. I can speak up more. I can listen and engage in difficult situations. I can be aware and stand up for you. I want my breath to help you breathe better.
To say I’m in this with you is pretentious. I’m not really “in” it. I don’t experience the hate and disrespect you do. I don’t experience the assumptions you do. I don’t experience the stares you do. I don’t experience the fear you do.
But I will see you. I will get to know you. I will notice your surroundings and your struggles. And I will speak up when it’s helpful and stand nearby when that’s a better option for you. I won’t tell you what the solution is. I won’t try to fix things. I will let you take the lead and share, and I’ll be closeby.
Because you matter. You are loved.