My therapist gave me an interesting homework assignment a while ago: Make a list of all the reasons why/ways in which I am “Dope.” It’s supposed to be an exercise in combating the massive self-doubt (and the accompanying anxiety) I experience every day. The assignment seemed simple enough; list-making is, after all, one of my favorite hobbies. However, as my pen hovered above the page, my brain eager to bullet point all the wonderful adjectives and characteristics that, I believe, make me Dope As Fuck!, I couldn’t get myself to actually write anything down.
“Are you sure you’re smart?” a soft voice in my head wondered.
“You can’t declare anything unless you’re certain,” said another.
“Bitch, now you know you ain’t nobody’s sexy!” exclaimed La’Quentin, the most ratch-ign’ant of the voices in my head. (I hate his punk ass the most.)
I put the pen down and closed the notebook. The very thing this exercise was supposed to help eradicate stopped me from declaring, with confidence and sincerity, who I know myself to be. I pushed the exercise somewhere out of the forefront of my thinking and went about my non-declarative life.
And then the Universe moved in my favor.
A friend invited me to a meditation session at a place called the Montauk Salt Cave. Quite the novice/skeptic when it comes to meditation, but desperate for a breakthrough, I entered the session, wincing at the $40 entry fee, open to the experience and ready to receive whatever blessings and/or teachings that awaited me. Upon arrival my aura was cleansed with a flaming bowl of burning sage, and I was instructed to remove my shoes and take a seat in the Salt Cave.
Inside, about a dozen or so seats, arranged in a half circle, surrounded a glowing mound of rocks and a rug ornamented with a bevy of multi-sized Tibetan Singing Bowls. Each seat had a blanket and was equipped to fully recline so that one could relax and gaze upon the makeshift starry night sky above. It was beautiful and I immediately felt at ease; ready to "Woosah", or whatever.
The meditation was simple enough. The Healer, as the leader described herself, chimed each bowl repeatedly, as a musical track with a booming “Ohm” voice played from an iPad. As we lay there, each in his or her own state of meditative bliss (or sleep, as light snoring coming from my right suggested), I did my best to remain focused on my breathing, as incessant thoughts zoomed through my head. I waited for an internal awakening. Nothing. Just concentrated breathing, and the swatting away of thoughts, to the sounds of singing bowls and Jesus(?) "Ohm"-ing in the background. As the session came to an end, I sat up in my seat fully relaxed but a little disappointed that I had not (to my knowledge) had a breakthrough.
And then it happened.
“As you may know,” the Healer said, “next Friday is a New Moon. It will be one of the strongest, and its effects will last a very long time. In preparation, my Shaman has asked me to use this New Moon to declare myself, who I am, to the Universe. I am going to start by declaring who I am, and I would like for each of you, in turn, to speak and declare to the Universe who you are.”
Floored I tell you. I was FLOORED! If that ain’t the Universe putting me in the right place at the right time, giving me what I need RIGHT when I needed it, I don’t know what is.
I listened intently, trying my best not to prep my own answer, as the three people to my left declared themselves. When it was my turn, I took a noticeably deep breath and said:
That was all I could think of in the moment, but it was enough. I felt freed. Free to now make my dope-as-fuck declarations, and free enough to start believe them wholeheartedly! What a blessing this was! RIGHT. ON. TIME.
So...here they are:
REASONS WHY I’M DOPE AS FUCK (in no particular order):
I Am Smart
I Am Quirky
I Am Funny
I Am a Great Writer
I Am Transparent about my life, my struggles, and my accomplishments
I Am a Great Cook
I Am Attractive
I Am a Good and Loyal Friend
I Am Liked and Loved by almost everyone who knows me.
By no means is this a complete list, but it’s enough to help swat away those insipid self-doubting thoughts that keep me from believing in myself. My therapist agrees. All I have to do now is put these declarations into practice during times of insecurity.
Shoutout to Shaymus for inviting me into the Salt Cave. That experience was truly a blessing!
What about y'all? Go on and Declare yourselves, people. What makes you Dope As Fuck?