On Karma


The concept behind karma is that you ultimately get what you deserve. Sometimes you deserve something good, and sometimes you deserve something bad. But whatever you deserve, you’re going to get because that’s the way the universe works.

So you sometimes want karma to exist, and sometimes you don’t. You hope you can get away with silly misdemeanors without any repercussion. And then the one time you do something wholeheartedly kind, you pray you get something equal in return, perhaps in the form of a Balenciaga or a free bottle of wine. If you’re really lucky, the frog you kiss could become a prince. With karma, who really knows?

As a very anal micromanager, I obviously believe in karma. Knowing–or hoping–that something will come out of something else is reassuring. Just the productivity itself is reassuring. I believe in karma. I also believe that me believing in karma makes me kind of a bad person.

For example, if I’m ever holding a piece of trash–like paper, or a wrapper, or something like that–and I accidentally drop it in the street, I chase after it, pick it up, and throw it away. I know my mom hates it when I don’t turn the fan on while I’m in the shower. So, I try to turn the fan on as often as I can when I’m showering at home (which really means turn it on whenever my mom is home while I’m showering). If I finish a roll of toilet paper, I replace it. I turn off the lights before I leave the room. If I forget to and then remember after I’ve already left, I go back in and turn them off.

Whenever I think about all of the bad things I do, I always feel like I should do a little good to counter them out. It’s like a self-regulating karma. If I do too much bad, I’ll be a bad person, and I don’t want to be a bad person so I do some good stuff to make it all even. When I replace that roll of toilet paper, I think, “Good. Now you’ll get good karma.”

Yeah, I care about the environment and keeping the paint nice on the bathroom walls while I shower and all that other good stuff. But I will admit that I primarily do all these little deeds in the hopes of getting some good karma in return. This, I’ve concluded, is kind of bad karma in itself… or is it?

Who regulates karma? Who decides what gets put on the good list and what gets put on the bad? Do they care about my intentions? Or are they just glad that whoever uses the bathroom after me won’t have to sit on the toilet for half an hour, hollering for someone two rooms over to come give them more toilet paper?

A while ago, I did something pretty bad: I snooped on someone else’s Facebook. I’m sure everyone is judging me for this, and I’m sure everyone is thinking, “wow, what a low blow” right now, but I’m also sure you’ve all done it at least once. Don’t worry though–I learned my lesson and I can promise you that I will literally NEVER do that again. You know why? The whole next day, I was sick to my stomach with the worst diarrhea I’ve ever had in my entire life. I went to go visit my high school teachers and found myself running to the bathroom every 10 minutes, rudely excusing myself on behalf of “my little brother waiting for me” or “this phone call looks really important.”

I have always believed in karma. But since then, I’m more hyperaware of it than I ever was before. You’ve probably heard a bunch of times that “karma’s a bitch.” Well, I can vouch that it’s pretty shitty, too.

Image via