Step 1: identify triggers
Death. Trigger. Blood. Trigger. Guns Rape Patriarchy. Slamming lockers and tight collars. Trigger Trigger Trigger.
Step 2: Become more present
Tapping fingers. Twisting hair. Pulling Sleeves. Breathe slower. Keep breathing. Bell rings. Heart jumps. Stomach knots. Shuffling students. Echoing voices. Keep breathing. The floors are fake marble. There is a black shoe scuff. There is hair in my face. I can’t breathe.
Step 3: Remember you are safe.
You are safe. You are safe. Safe from what? Safe from who? You don’t feel safe.
Suffocating. It’s me. I’m choking myself with crippling fear. Fear from what? Fear from who?
Step 4: Know that you are in control.
I am in control. I am in control. I don’t feel in control. If I am in control why can’t I breathe? I am controlled.
I am controlled.