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Sep 2015
I need someone to breathe for me
because between the binder squeezing under the too tight seat belt
and the panic clogging my throat
as I scramble for my glasses
so I can at least see the wreck in front of me,
I cannot breathe on my own.

I get in a car and suddenly everything around me is a threat,
and I can't do anything without second guessing myself,
so breathing isn't really a priority anymore.

Telling someone to breathe will not make them breathe.
Telling me to breathe makes me breathe even less,
because now I have to spit out the words I'm trying
while feeling even more like I can't do anything right.


If you want me to keep crying, tell me that everything is okay.
Tell me that I will be okay.
Make me think of a million outcomes.
where I won't be.

When you work in insurance
you don't even have to use your imagination.
I can tell you how many things can go wrong
and how often they actually do.
I am a bad statistic
but I can't calmly transfer myself to claims,
I can't ignore the process that comes after.
Sitting calmly at my desk and playing solitaire
Is not an option anymore.

And now I'm in class learning about
and personal finance
and risk management.

Being constantly reminded of your failures
does wonders for your self-confidence.


I drove to the endocrinologist a week after my first accident
and as they checked my vital signs
they said my blood pressure was a little high,
and my heart rate was a little high,
and they asked if I was nervous.

I didn't know then if it was excitement or fear.
I still don't.
My heart is still beating too fast.


Through forgetting how to live without panicking,
I've in turn forgotten how to do anything else.

My dresser has been standing empty in my room
since the beginning of the month
when I dusted it off and dragged it into the house.
My laundry has piled up
and I still need to buy a three ring binder.
I have boxes sitting in the living room that I need to unpack,
and I've been meaning to go outside and get some sun for years.
I have a mouthguard that I need to start using
so that one day my mouth doesn't close and never open back up again,
and I still haven't talked to my father about
what exactly I'm using his health insurance for.
I had a 150 day snapchat streak with a boy
but that disappeared with one day of panicking under the covers.

Whenever the light turns green
I have to stare at it for a few extra seconds
To make sure I'm not imagining it.

Every time I'm at a stop sign, I look left and right five times, ten times,
And still hold a scream in my stomach whenever I finally move.

I think in the crash my car wasn't the only thing to stop working.
I think I caught on fire that night too.
The circles under my eyes look like ashes, anyway.


There is one nice thing about crashing two cars.

It forces on me a sense of invincibility.
I am wrapped in a cape of steel and debt and guilt.
The collar is tight and scratchy and
it's like the tinny voice on the other end of the phone
telling me to breathe
because I literally can't afford not to anymore.
In a way my life is not my own to end anymore.

Besides, I just got a new mattress,
so I guess I should stay alive for another eight to ten years at least.
the last line is literally another thing on here i wrote a month or w/e ago and i just ?? don't ?? care ????
Written by
Noah  Atlanta
   agreenthrow, Maddie Fay and Ash
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