Sometimes I forget to breathe. I’ll be hurrying out the door toaster waffles in hand or washing my face before bed and realize that all day long, I haven’t remembered to breathe. Obviously, I inhale and exhale, keep myself oxygenated and alive as all humans must — but rarely will I take the time to think about what that breath means to me and how important it is that I do it.

What I do remember is the constant political strife felt in our country and the crushing expectations that come with being a University of Wisconsin student. I remember exactly how much money I spend on coffee each day ($2.62 if you were wondering) and where I put my favorite pen when I take notes.

I remember all of the thoughts I’ve categorized as vital and absolutely necessary, yet breathing never seems to make the cut. It seems that unless we devote ourselves to daily meditations or expensive yoga practices, breathing won’t make the to-do list for any of us.

Courtesy of Patty Geary

The act of inhalation, so simple and delicate, does so much for us. The older I get, the more I wonder why the hell I’m alive, and the further I find myself from those answers. I do know, however, that I was made to breathe.

Breathing reminds us that at our core, we are equal.

No one on the planet can neglect this basic need of human existence. We all inhale and exhale, regardless of who we are, and sometimes I forget I’m not alone in that. I forget that all 7.53 billion of us understand what it’s like to feel air rush in and out of our lungs. Beyoncé, President Donald Trump and every student on campus has this is common — yet our world still has rifts and pains that feel like an eternity of differences.

Fall 2018 Editorial Board’s stories to watchThe Badger Herald Editorial Board deemed the following stories important to watch throughout the semester. Spaces on campus named after Read…

As I’ve contemplated my place in all of those differences, I realized I wanted to do something about it, something to help people start to understand that among these differences we are equal.  So I started writing furiously about it all, bugging my editor to give me a space in the Herald to be heard.

Two months and countless annoying pushes about “A Meaningful Monday” later, these words are here for you to read. Although I have a deep understanding as to what kinds of words will be shared in “A Meaningful Monday” column, you’ve only read the first 406 of them.

To remedy your curiosity, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from the pitch I created when trying to get this column off the ground, hopefully giving you a better idea of what to expect every week, and encouraging you to keep coming back.

Empowerment is essential for a new generation of confident young womenIn an era of rapid technological advancement, our society has highlighted the many perks of media — increased productivity, power to Read…

In A Meaningful Monday, I hope there are articles about how to love yourself more, or interviews of people on this campus who are doing things right, the ones whose voices will empower us all. I would like to write articles about historical figures who empowered the world and bring that back to how they can still inspire us now.

I want to talk to people and learn about what inspires them, what inspires this campus. I want to write and use my words to connect more people with the bodies around them, leaving them more likely to smile next time they’re walking down the street.

I would like to write about how important it is to dream, and about TED talks that will change your life. Because I think if people start to feel empowered, they are just a heck of a lot more likely to do the right thing and be the best versions of themselves.

Poet, activist Cleo Wade promotes self-love, self-care to communityThe fear of being lonely is one most people can relate to. College is a breeding ground for these feelings Read…

In addition, I think there are a lot of readers on this campus who want to feel good about themselves, but don’t. I think it would be awesome if the words of this column could touch the lives of people on campus.

That’s why I fell in love with writing, and why I want the chance to give someone else that feeling. It truly empowers me.

Let’s start loving again.

This column is a source of empowerment for me, and I hope it will be the same for you. In the end, we’re all just breathing. There’s something poetic in that, something which I hope to never forget.

So with that, I leave you to your own Mondays, hopefully, excited to read more of the words I have to share and consider the words you have to share as well.