It looks like there are penises on my yoga mat. Thousands and thousands of kissing penises. This, I think, is unacceptable. Making a yoga mat does not require a pattern of pig-piling penises. It means someone chose—someone designed—someone approved of a yoga mat modeled after a confetti cloud of dick. It means that, along the way from conception to production, not a single person in the chain of command walked up the ladder to say, Hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed—but these are penises. It means that the world is devoid of something—of perception, humor, courage. And It means that the next time I have to go through the screaming charade of purchasing a new yoga mat—3cm, 5cm, 10cm thick?—4ft, 5ft, 6ft long?—I must now find one that keeps up my rejuvenating daily routine of giggling uncontrollably.
My father had a mindfulness mantra he’d use over-and-over throughout my childhood when we’d all be together in the car, around the table, at the park or beach, and my brother and I bickered, he’d say: Everybody shut the fuck up—I can’t hear myself think! Little did I know I’d learn for myself all the benefits of mindfulness later in life. But what came easy to him cost me six hundred dollars to have a guru tell me to close my eyes, stop thinking, ignore the world’s problems, blame myself, forgive myself, love myself, and find my center. And after seventeen guided meditations, a series of hour-long YouTube videos, and an infographic, I have found the mindfulness they’ve been pushing me towards; I have achieved what all those silicon valley tech-bros, celebrities, bloggermommies, and talking heads are going on about. I am in the moment. I am forgiven. I am loved. I am self-centered.
I’ve been a pack-a-day smoker for twelve years. Twenty times a day, rain or shine, I take the stairs to the roof, trek to the end of a driveway, step into an alley, and am alone. I try not to be too hipster about it, but as meditation has become more in vogue, as people fiddle with their apps, set playlists, and light their lavender candles, I can’t help bragging: I’ve been at this for years. But they don’t believe me. How so? They say. How not? I wonder. I find a quiet place; I get comfortable; I feel my breath, in, out, in, out; I let my mind wander; I am at ease with the wandering. And they say, Okay, but aren’t you afraid of dying? Well, yes, I tell them. Obviously. That’s what the meditation is for.