I auditioned for a dance team last week, which I didn’t think I’d get to go to due to the whole COVID situation.
But all attendees were required to be vaccinated, I was double-masked and there was sufficient space between me and the others who auditioned. Yet, I experienced one of the scariest things I’ve been through in a while.
I couldn’t breathe.
And this wasn’t just being out of breath because I was out of shape. I wasn’t able to get through dancing for an hour or so straight without gasping heavily for more oxygen because I remained double-masked throughout the entire audition.
It was excruciating, trying to get in enough air though my nostrils and mouth that were each covered by cloth. My throat burned, as if lit up by a match on the inside.
At one point, a sense of panic invaded me when I realized that this was probably what it was like to actually have COVID, to feel like you can’t get enough oxygen in and your body doing everything it can to do so, to no avail.
And it became clear how much I really do not want to risk having that happen to me or anyone else I care about along with the sad reality of how too many people have had that happen to them already, resulting in death for a large majority.
Once I stopped kicking myself for going through with the painful audition and, more importantly, putting myself at risk (despite being masked and distanced), I learned to appreciate the importance of catching my breath that night – of taking a moment to think before you act, of gauging if something is worth risking your health and well-being.
I learned to appreciate choosing whether or not to become bitter for having so many restrictions.
At least we can breathe.
Having the freedom to do what you want can never compare to breathing freely on your own. The former isn’t fatal but the latter is or can be. And without the latter, there is no chance you can ever have or regain the former.
So I don’t want to waste my breath grumbling about not being back to normal yet anymore. Because we aren’t and probably never will be back to normal as long as this virus keeps circulating.
But we can breathe. And that is enough. What do you think?