So I thought I was on a journey to being “woke”, like in the new-age-possibly-bullshit sense. When, really, I was just a shabby wannabe Buddha. Really I was on an eightfold path to self-destruction. I was a pretentious bum parading as an artsy-fartsy student. You can picture the type: dreadlocks, funky-shirts, charity shop couture. Everyday, I’d roll off my bed in a sigh, sight set low on the usual half-drank organic ale on the floor. Millionth kebab of the month splayed on the carpet.
Man…I was dire.
I’d grab a kebab strip covered in carpet scum, then decide, fuck it, tomorrow is the day I’ll be vegan again. Tomorrow I’ll get back to the endless to-do lists and self-improvement plots. But with tomorrow came the usual excuses…I will, just as soon as my mind recovers and clears…can’t do yoga over a toilet bowl or meditation with a migraine…can’t find Nirvana with a belly full of shawarma…blablabla. Always excuses.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Always tomorrow.
So what do you think happened to tomorrow?
Years later, still the same rehashed to-do list. Always parties too good to miss. Always an excuse. First it’d just been comedown Sundays. Then comedown Mondays, Tuesdays, everydays…years. I’d convinced my parents to fund several different degrees. Until they realised, correctly, I was a complete fuck-up.
So I turned to selling the soft stuff, then the hard stuff, stealing nice things…anything to fund my next kick. I ignored my parents messages. I floated around without roots. Gradually, I became a ragged imprint of my previous self. I reached a point where I looked in the mirror, really looked in the mirror…
fuck me…I looked like a junkie.
I knew if my parents ever saw me again, they would cross the street to avoid me, with no recognition, without a thought. I’d taken a wrong path for too long. I wasn’t even myself, not even close to the self I wanted to be. I felt like I’d reached a final tipping point: carry on and completely fuck myself up or stop and recover myself again.
So, here I am talking bollocks so clearly I’m here and alive.
I’d decided to find the parents I’d selfishly left behind…but only my inheritance was left. I ran to Nepal, went to chill underneath a twisting Bodhi tree, like Buddha, for 49 days, hoping to “find myself.”
But, I didn’t manage even a day.
After hour 2, an ant started crawling around on my bare knee. I tried to imagine it tracing a calming infinity symbol. It’s just Buddha testing me. I’ll just focus on my breath, let it flow with the wind; but it was my Achilles knee, the tosser was like a joyrider, burning a circle into my skin, donut spins, my knee a fast-food parking lot. I kept reminding myself: it’s one of mother nature’s creatures. I tried to focus on the rustling of the tree leaves. But it just kept doing it, over and over, circling.
Eventually, I gave in, had to have a squint, just a quick peek. Red like fire. I swear it’s head big enough that I could look right into its eyeballs. I didn’t think. I squished it. My journey was reduced to the glee and guilt at looking at it’s mashed up remains. Then I cursed Buddha, “what a boring nobber.”
Flicked it off with a sigh, decided to go find a sensible pint instead.
So anyway…I thought I’d share my bent journey with you all. I’m not an enlightened being, I’m still, in many ways, just a wannabe Buddha. But, for once, I did something, I went on a journey. Now I know actually being a Buddha isn’t realistic, and that’s okay. I’m okay.