“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… You are magnificent… You are radiant… Positive vibes only…” I was doing all right until the teacher started talking about positive vibes. I hated when people talked about positive vibes. I always believed people gave off vibes, but the signs and shirts talking about positive vibes only was something else. It was almost if they believed you couldn’t be sad. Could never be upset. Could never be anything but happy. I couldn’t be happy all the time. It just made me miserable to even try.
I had only come to this conference because Andrea had not wanted to come alone. And really, it had originally been a nice way to try and reset. There was some guided meditation, some yoga and a lot of what the instructors were calling forest bathing. Forest bathing was something I had never heard of, but I was ok with any time I could spend outside. Yet everything started going downhill when positive vibes got brought up. I knew this was Andrea’s love language and I knew she was eating it all up. I also knew that she was one of the people who was often accused of toxic positivity, but yet had done nothing to change her behavior. I couldn’t be happy all the time and knew it would come off as fake if I did. I wish I was happy all the time, but real life did bring some hardships along with and even if I wanted to ignore my feelings and disappointments, I couldn’t.
The longer the ‘Life Coach’ went on about being positive and about how to choose to only be happy, the more irritated I became. I tried to tune him out, but his voice overrode my deep breathing. I needed to get out of here and fast. If I didn’t, I knew that chances were I would explode. Exploding is not what I needed to do in front of a bunch of strangers who believed in positive vibes only.
“You should know be in a state of euphoria…” said the Life Coach (as we were instructed to call them) said, the same Life Coach who seemed genuinely surprised when I stood up and walked out. When Andrea didn’t return to our rented apartment two days later when the conference was over, I knew something was wrong. I thought she had had more brains than to continue drinking the Kool-Aid, but after multiple attempts to get her to come home, I knew she was done. I had to leave it up to her parents and siblings to convince her to come home, but I’m not sure they realized she had been indoctrinated. She was now a member of the PV cult.