The initial years of my asthma attacks have been playing on my mind lately.
How in order to not wake my mom up, I used to get out of bed and cower underneath the bed or try to squeeze my face between the wall and the cupboard so as to drown out the wheezing sounds my lungs were making. I hated not being able to breath. At 12, I had decided what I would eventually come to hate and fear for the rest of my life: breathlessness.
The one thing I thought I didn’t have to make an effort for, now I had to count each one preciously.
I hated and feared it yes. Hated it because how could my frail lungs deceive me when I had done NOTHING ever to make them this way. I didn’t smoke or took drugs. I didn’t participate in extreme sports, or any sports for that matter. Why then me?
Fear was natural. Now I had to be dependent on an entity that could betray me without a notice and I can do nothing about it.
Of all my memories associated with my time of breathlessness, this memory has stuck: me not wanting to wake my mom up. Because even then maybe I had some sense of compassion or humanity that urged me not to wake my mother whose sleep would be disturbed for the entire night: who never got to sleep enough as is because of me and now this.
I hated that I couldn’t control the amount of pain I was giving her. I hated being responsible although knowing that it wasn’t my fault.
I hate feeling the same now: unable to make her happy, struggling to give her that good nights sleep because today I am selfish. Today while my breathlessness is not the cause of her sleepless nights, it is still my presence. The sound of my wheezing used to wake her up; I hated that I couldn’t hide (my sibling and I shared a room with her). Now I hate that I am unable to disappear again and cause her agony just by being there.