It was hot, like only the city can be. The kind of hot that keeps you crossing to the other side of the street to find shade the buildings create just to realize you have to cross back over a minute later. And you can’t help but feel absolutely dragged down by the mixture of heat from the subway and the hordes of people passing by and the blazing sun that makes your skin feel like it’s been stuck in an oven, but it’s the city and what are you supposed to do — stop? No, you keep going.
So it was one of those days. I had already been stuck in a cafe for a few hours, reading through manuscripts for an internship. I wanted to do something, anything really, but I’d already hit all the spots of “What to do in NYC when it’s raining,” which is basically the same list for what to do when it’s too damn hot to do anything else.
Then I knew. It was something I’d been thinking about doing for a while, but I felt like once I did, I would find myself in a downward spiral: a girl who considers her horoscope too seriously does an aura reading and suddenly finds herself involved with tarot cards, palm readings, maybe even crystal balls. But it really was just an aura reading, and there was probably little harm in being curious about the type of energy I was giving off — and what it could mean.
So I found myself in Chinatown, being buzzed into a small room through a door that instantly locked behind me. The woman smiled at me and told me to sit for a photo. After that was done, a man showed me the Polaroid that was taken. I was surrounded by a light pink haze, with a blue blur in the lower right corner and a green one on the left. A white streak hovered above my head. The man referred to a chakra chart while he read my photo, interpreting what the colors meant.
Of all the things he told me, he emphasized how hard I hold onto things. He said I get wrapped up in the past and collect memories and thoughts that I wind up tighter and tighter. I had to be careful — my brain could only take so much information.
I was reminded of something that happened to me and a few friends during my senior year of high school. We were taking a train back from the city when a man started talking to us (it was in no way unwarranted or inappropriate). He said he had the power to read us, just by looking into our eyes. He said one of my friends would be the type to enter a crowded room, survey it and go exactly to where she felt comfortable; for that reason, she needed to to be more open to new people and experiences. I was last. When he looked at me, I shrank back a little. I remember he tilted his head to the side and said, “Ah, interesting,” and proceeded to tell me that I carry too much baggage around and get caught up in my past experiences. I needed to realize that many things had to be “taken out to the trash,” and it was okay to do that.
After my aura reading, I slowly walked out of the building, wondering how and if these two experiences were connected. Was it coincidence? Maybe. Did I think so? No.
But as the week progressed, I started thinking more about what it all meant. So, I was told by a random man on the train that I need to utilize a trash can for my overabundant heap of memories. So, I was told by an employee at an aura reading that I’m being weighed down by my past and need to look towards the future.
But what was I doing? I knew I hadn’t been sleeping well for weeks, so caught up as I was with past people and experiences that were making me think nonstop — about what ifs, what nows. And I didn’t want to let go, because as much as I had questions, I wanted to figure them out by sorting through what I had gone through. It was as if I could just put the puzzle pieces together, I would arrive at a clear picture and know what to do. But after my aura reading, when the man said it could be detrimental to keep doing this, and after I remembered what had happened in high school, I realized I wasn’t changing. They told me things that were scarily connected.
And I was fascinated by that connection; it made me think maybe there was some way that someone or something could read me and tell me things about myself that I was unaware of. I enjoyed telling people, “Look how much they understand me without knowing me. Doesn’t it mean it’s so real?” I found it more important that someone had the power to tell me something about myself more than the ability to now use that knowledge to better myself.
Because of a sudden-eye-reading experience or an aura reading or not, I knew what my tendencies were and I knew they weren’t healthy. I had people, perfect strangers, telling me to my face that they recognized those flaws as well and urging me to move on. But it’s not always enough for people to tell you to make a change in your life. What I did learn was that I felt relieved there was some kind of power — ambiguous and vague as it was — that seemed to know me without knowing me. And maybe a little hope or faith in something is what everyone really wants.
Gaby Leung is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Serendipitous Musings appears alternate Thursdays this semester.