I’ve talked in the past about why I started meditating. Here is Part 1 and Part 2 of the Why Do I Meditate Series. There is another reason why I started meditating, and after all this time, I had actually forgotten about this particular reason. It wasn’t until I read This wanderer’s comment that I remembered.
Even though I am now in my late twenties, I still look very young. Like, extremely young. I have been mistaken to still be in high school as recently as a month ago. Whenever I am at the supermarket and they check my ID, I always get a comment on how young I look. Whenever I meet someone new, I always get a comment on how young I look. Even at work, when I meet new people they always make a comment of how young I look, either directly to me or they will mention it to my coworkers who will then tell me about it afterwards. I am not even exaggerating.
After awhile it gets irritating to hear it so much. Even though they don’t mean any harm, it would still bother me for some reason. I would try to not let it affect me, but it would make me feel so angry sometimes. Why does everyone have to comment on how young I look?! I would think to myself. What does the way I look have anything to do with you? And why do you feel like you need to say something to me about it? You don’t think EVERYBODY notices the same thing about me? And has to say the same thing about me. Every. Single. Time.
I had that thought process go through my head exceedingly often. I wanted to find a way to not let it bother me anymore.
Then along came meditation.
Once I read more and more about meditation, I thought that maybe this would help me. Maybe meditation would help me not feel frustrated anymore, and maybe meditation would help me not let other people’s words affect how I feel.
And so far, meditation has indeed helped me. I still get comments on how young I look, but it just doesn’t bother me anymore. And until This wanderer’s comment, I had forgotten how irritated I used to get whenever someone mentioned how young I look.
Several months ago, before I started meditating, there was a tipping point to my situation. My fiancée and I were eating at a new taproom in town. I had been pretty excited to try it out; it was just down the street a couple blocks away from where we lived. So we decided to have dinner there one evening after a long day at work. We got dressed and headed out. I got a burger and one of the local beers they had on tap. My fiancée got a salad and a cocktail. They had a few big screen TV’s there and the Giants were playing, so I was enjoying my meal and watching the baseball game.
The taproom was overall pretty small so the tables were close enough where you could hear conversations if you really wanted to. From the sound of it, one of the guys in the next table over had plenty to drink at this point. They were getting a little loud so it wasn’t hard to discern what they were talking about, but they weren’t loud enough that my fiancée and I couldn’t have a conversation while having our dinner and watching the game. Later on, as they were just about finished, I noticed one of the guys get up, take a look at me, look back at his friend and say, “Isn’t that kid too young to be drinking alcohol?”
Even though I didn’t show it, I was heated. I am not the confrontational type so I just shook my head. They had just paid for their meal and were about to leave, so I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with anymore unwelcome comments. My fiancée was in the bathroom at the time so she didn’t know what happened. In my head, that whole thought process I mentioned earlier was running through my mind again, except it was dialed up to level 10. How many times do I have to hear someone talk about how young I look? And why does he have to say it so obnoxiously? I was really angry. I just wanted to pay for our meal and leave at that point. Even after that evening, for days and weeks I would think about that moment and feel immense anger. I would be driving on my way home from work, when randomly my monkey mind would remember that moment and I would feel my body temperature rise while I try to restrain myself from overreacting.
Then, I started meditating.
I no longer feel angry about how young I look. I realize I was attaching myself to what other people were saying about me. They say I look young, but that doesn’t mean I have to identify with their comments. Yes, they can say I look young; I can acknowledge what they say, and then let it go. I can hear what they say, but instead of internalizing it and making it part of my identity, I can let it roll off my back. Meditation helped me not attach myself to things. So I learned not to attach myself to other people’s comments. Is the message clear yet? Attachment makes me feel negatively about myself. I was attaching myself to something that wasn’t real. A person can say a word, a sentence, a phrase—but whatever comes out of their mouth doesn’t have to stick with me. I can see their words float there in the air, and watch as the wind blows them away without myself clinging to it.
Meditation helped me in this way. This wanderer’s comment helped me remember. And now, I can let it all go again and move on with my life, even if someone says something about how young I look.
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