Striving For Beauty and Completeness

Two things.
One, I went off on my son last night.
And two, I’ve been watching Touch on Netflix the past week or so.
I’ll tell you how these two things fit together.

Touch is a really cool show. I liked the earlier episodes more than what started happening in season 2. The earlier episodes had a more positive message. The episodes in season 2 are increasingly more tense and violent but still good. One of the episodes we watched last night (my son watches it too) had an incredible line of dialogue regarding a deeper meaning behind numbers- specifically the number known as The God Sequence. On the show it’s also called the Amelia Sequence. Amelia is one of the show’s main characters. This is how she explained the number in her own words:

“The numbers define the recurrence relation of interconnecting parallel and distributed systems– systems that strive for beauty and completeness, that permeate all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical. The magnetic resonance of the spins in cobalt niobate crystals proves their existence at the atomic scale. But I believe the proportions are evident in human genome DNA. The systems appear in recognizable biological settings, too, like the branching in trees, phyllotaxis, and the fruit sprouts of pineapples.”

Well me being the word lover that I am I thought this was just absolutely beautiful and stunning. In fact, after my daughter was in bed I spent an hour searching for that episode just so I could hear that quote again. And as it turns out some of those words and the idea they convey really helped me out as the night went on.
My anxiety was elevated again. This time it was due to my concerns regarding my son. I am really, really, really frustrated with him. He has learning disabilities and impulse control issues, but the impulse control manifests itself mainly in the form of lying, so it could be worse, but still….. it’s exhausting. However, that isn’t what was really bothering me and keeping up into the early hours of morning. What was really bothering me was how I had reacted to him earlier in the evening.
Like I said, I went off on him. I told him I quit. I give up. Do what ever the hell you want because you don’t listen to me anyway so what is the point of me continuing to put forth so much effort into doing what’s right for you? I said all that and then some.
And then some more. And then some more.
Oh, he was freaked out all right.
He asked me why I was freaking out.
What?….. What?!…. WHAT?!!?  Why am I freaking out?!!? 
Because, damn it! You don’t do ANYTHING unless I make you do it!!!!!!!
It’s exhausting.

He’s fifteen and he still has almost the same hygiene issues that he did when he was 11!! Why is it taking so. many. YEARS! to teach this boy to take a shower?!?? How is that possible?!!?
Same thing with brushing his teeth. I’ve been teaching this boy to brush his teeth since he was TWO!!!
All of this is stuff my 8-year-old daughter can do on her own- stuff she’s been able to do for at least the past year.
And added to the hygiene issues is the school issue. I have to keep a constant eye on his grades, but slacking on classwork and studying is more typical teenage behavior.
But hygiene?  My husband and I just cannot figure that one out. Our family counselor was a bit baffled by it as well.  But I’m starting to see the answer– he’s lazy. That’s it. He’s just that lazy. It’s pathetic. He doesn’t want to do anything that doesn’t have something to do with video games.
I swear sometimes I just want to punch him in the face!
I don’t of course. Cussing him out is bad enough. I don’t go off on him like that all the time. It’s not something that I want to do. I don’t want to be that kind of parent. But sometimes I lose control. Like I did last night.
I stand by the main points that I tried to get across to him, but I don’t stand by how I said it. I could have and should have been more calm about it. I wish I would have been. Sometimes I am. But not yesterday evening. And as the night when on and I was sitting in the living room alone with my thoughts, reflecting- I regretted losing control like that.

So that’s what was keeping me up past midnight last night. Years ago I would have mentally berated myself for this, but I know better than that now. I’ve also learned that you can’t just make yourself stop thinking certain thoughts- you have to replace them with different thoughts.
So as I was trying to come up with better thoughts for my anxious brain, as I was searching for a reason and asking myself Why do I act that way, small snippets of the Amelia Sequence dialogue calmly materialized in my mind.

interconnected systems….
systems that permeate all structures, forms and proportions…
cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic.
Systems that strive for beauty and completeness….

It was that last one that struck me. Suddenly my reaction to my son made more sense.
I thought to myself  Oh my gosh! That’s IT! That’s why I got so upset with my son. It’s not because I’m a bad mom or a bad person. It’s because I’m a human being striving for beauty and completeness. I may not always achieve that, but it’s what I’m always moving towards.

Because that’s what we all are, aren’t we?
Individual organic systems striving for beauty and completeness.
That’s why I worry about my son.
(And freak out when I feel like I can’t help him.)
That’s why most of us do most of what we do-
We’re striving for beauty and completeness.

I made a mistake in the way I handled things with my son last night and I regretted it. But remembering those words, striving for beauty and completeness, really helped me move on. Hopefully the next time I make a mistake I can use those words again. Maybe they can even help me avoid the mistakes a little more often.

Strive for beauty and completeness.