This was my year of self-discovery, which meant that this year was all about new experiences. Nothing was too dumb or too reckless to try. And although most teenagers going through an identity crisis resort to promiscuity, alcohol, and drugs, I decided to give meditation a try.
I knew a couple of people who were into this kind of stuff – mostly hipsters and Gwyneth Paltrow, but that didn’t scare me off. The day before I had kind of hit a low point after binge-watching five movies in a row and eating a whole chocolate cake by myself. At two AM. I had zero regrets, but this wasn’t getting me anywhere near to who I wanted to be as a person.
After a very long guilt trip, I picked up my journal and wrote: “I am gonna get a grip on my life.” I also made some doodles to make the page look pretty.
There was a time when I knew who I wanted to be. Kind of an exact copy of somebody else. But now that I realize that no one’s life is worth envying, I’m trying to be myself. And it’s difficult because who am I really? We’ve been taught to think in boxes, but I don’t fit into any of them. And I doubt whether anyone else does.
I’m happy with that – being all over the place. But sometimes it means that my thoughts are all over the place too. That’s why I decided to tidy up a bit and become more put-together. Because I want to at least be the person who brushes their teeth twice a day. Not that I don’t. But really, every day?
So I decided to get my shit together. And I had heard that meditation was a way to do so.
Considering how I had zero experience in that area, I decided to start with guided meditation. You know, the kind where you hear this female version of Morgan Freeman telling you to relax. Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? That’s what I thought too.
After having found a guided meditation on Youtube, I set my alarm to six AM. The title promised that it would completely change my life. I was in a very inspired mood and believed it.
The next morning the sound of my alarm sounded as unwelcoming as a sledgehammer busting my skull. This was the first time in my entire life that I had woken up this early voluntarily. And it didn’t feel nice. But I wasn’t going to give up, so I opened Youtube and pressed play.
“Feel the warmth and the peace…” said the woman in the recording. I was simultaneously fighting the urge to go back to sleep and trying to be grateful for the miracle of the electric light in my home. And I wanted to believe the woman when she said that this was a healthy, harmonious, loving, prosperous and creative day for me, but I kept hearing the voice in my head saying over and over again: “This is bullshit.” Nevertheless, when she asked me to repeat after her the words “I approve of myself”, I did. I approve of myself. I approve of myself. I approve of myself. I approve of myself. And when she told me to send out love to everything and everyone, I decided that that day, I would give it a try.
In the morning, my experiment seemed to be working. I wasn’t as sarcastic as usual and tried to be nice to people. Even one of my best friends, used to hearing my snide remarks about others, noticed the sudden change.
Numerous events were taking place, varying from tests and grades to teenage girls and drama. But remembering the relaxing words of the meditation lady I wasn’t losing faith. Today was going to be a healthy, harmonious, loving, prosperous and creative day for me.
I swear I was trying to be kind. I really was. But there are times in life when you are allowed to get mad. Like when the day that was supposed to be harmonious and loving is also the day that Trump gets elected. Or your geography test doesn’t go as well as planned. Or when your bike breaks down and it starts raining the moment it’s time to go home. I don’t mean that you should be mad all the time. I just mean that it’s perfectly normal to swear when your bike chain jumps off.
When I got home after my day of sending out positive energy, I wasn’t feeling very loved myself. To be honest, I was feeling a bit used. Because for all the love I had tried to give, I hadn’t received any more love than usual. Which was okay because I have caring and attentive friends and what I send out to them, always comes back to me – be it good or bad. But the fact that I had suppressed all this anger and resentment to make room for calm and warmth, wasn’t exactly paying off.
The lesson I learned from this new experience is that negative emotions aren’t necessarily bad. Sometimes setting them free can work just as relaxing as meditation. Because no matter what the Youtube woman is telling you, your appliances don’t give back love, which makes it okay to swear at them from time to time. So if muttering ‘shit’ under my breath while cycling in the rain makes me feel better, I will do it. Because I approve of myself.