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.

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Beer With Breakfast

An escaped hyper pit bull at my daughter’s bus stop? This calls for Blue Moon.

So. Here I am. 10:45am. Sitting at my kitchen table. Drinking a beer. My second, actually. I had my first…. Hmm…. 20 minutes ago?

Pick your poison. What’ll it be?
Beer is my drink of choice and Blue Moon is my beer of choice. It’s brewed with orange peel so it’s cool for breakfast, right? I love Belgium-style beers. (New Belgium Fat Tire is another good one.)  My body does not react well to wine or liquor.

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So beer it is. This morning it’s beer because, as I stated above, there was an escaped pit bull at my daughter’s bus stop.

I do not like those dogs. I’m not comfortable with dogs in general, I’m just not used to them. Growing up we had only a few pets- some goldfish, two hamsters, one guinea pig, and the occasional temporary cat. My mom is very allergic to dogs so we never had one, and most of my childhood experiences with dogs were not so good. Dogs are so freakin’ hyper! When I was little even small dogs scared the crap out of me. Big dogs terrified me.
And you have to understand that as a child my parents didn’t have us around the most refined or responsible people. Most of them were not responsible dog owners so their stupid dogs were really stupid and scary- jumping in my face, barking, growling. Pretty much just actin’ a damn fool. It’s no wonder I didn’t like dogs.
Now that I’m older I’m good with small dogs, I’d even like to get one one day. But I’m still very leery of big dogs. I’m also completely distrusting of pit bulls, rottweilers, bull mastiffs, and all the other dogs on the Top Most Dangerous Dogs list, but especially pit bulls.

Pit bull advocates will argue that they’re a “misunderstood breed.”
Bull. Shit.
It’s not about the likelihood of whether or not a pit bull will bite (or out right attack), it’s about the physical harm they are capable of causing.

The dog that was at my daughter’s bus stop this morning is a dog we are somewhat familiar with. It’s a neighbor’s dog. It used to get out a lot but other people complained so they finally took better action to keep the dog in the house or the yard. It’s been a while since this dog has got out, but somehow it did this morning. Several other kids and families were on their way to the bus stop as well, and almost all of them were scared or at least nervous about this dog running around.
It’s a very hyper dog. The owner never takes her for a walk! So when she gets out she bolts straight for people- adults and kids alike. Like I said, she’s a very hyper dog so it’s hard to tell if she’s just trying to play or if she’s being aggressive. I do know for sure that she’s bitten one kid. It was a girl who was visiting at the owner’s house. She was playing with the dog and I guess the dog got confused or too rough…. I don’t know. The fact is the dog bit the girl on the arm.
Luckily, as my dayghter and I were about to walk down to the bus stop I happened to see the dog dash across the street. So my daughter and I got in the car to drive to the bus stop instead. On our way down the street we could see a couple of families (moms and their kids) who were already huddled together because of that stupid hyper-ass dog. Unfortunately,  once we got to the bus stop we saw that the dog was there. Only one kid was ok with that dog- the rest were scared and either standing back frozen with fear or running away, which is the worst thing you can do! But I’m telling you- that dog makes people nervous.
I was parked right at the corner by my daughter’s bus stop. The bus was there waiting for her. But she couldn’t get out. She didn’t want to and I certainly wasn’t going to let her anyway. The dog was on the other corner and the bus was across the street. I was afraid the dog would chase my daughter when she crossed the street to get on the bus.

So she stayed in the car, the bus left, and I ended up having to drive my daughter to school- which isn’t really a big deal, far worse things can happen. However, we did bust our butts to make sure she was ready to go in time for the bus. We even made sure we had time to actually walk to the bus stop. This is an accomplishment for us! And then here that damn dog comes ruining everything.

I tried not to let it ruin my morning, but it kind of did.
It really raised my anxiety, and I just couldn’t seem to let it go.

I was really looking forward to today. I’m going to the craft store to get some fall and Halloween decorations. (I love this season!) And I have a special dinner planned for tonight- crockpot mac and cheese, turkey tenderloin, and baked zucchini. My husband is out of town for work this week so I invited a friend over for dinner. She is an excellent cook and one of the most amazing, generous people I have ever know so I want to make sure I really do it up for her.
But, like I said, my anxiety was up and running and I was starting to feel like I wasn’t going to be able to follow through on all of my lovely plans for the day. So I thought to myself, How can I fix this? What can I do? 
Normally I would take my medicine- Xanax. But I’m out. My appointment is next week so I’m sure I can wait until then for a refill. But since I didn’t have that available I thought, Well, sitting down with a beer would be nice right about now.
I’ll just sit, sip my beer, calm down, and then I’ll be good to go. 

I needed to go the grocery store anyway- macaroni, toothpaste, children’s ibuprofen (my daughter has cough and sore throat). So I just added a six pack to my list. In addition to the beer I also got myself some smoked salmon sushi, an avacado, and ice cream. Whatever I needed to help reset this day.

I’m so surprised, and you might be too, that it took so very little to send my anxiety soaring to such a high level. However, anxiety is a complex, multi-layered thing. There usually isn’t just one cause behind it. A pit bull at my daughter’s bus stop will always be a cause for concern, but there’s more to my anxiety this morning. I’ve been having strange, angst ridden, emotional dreams ever since shit went down between me and my mom back in February. Last night I had a dream in which I was very angry at my husband because he purposely left our kids at a fast food/gas station!  So, obviously, in the dream I was very worried about my kids. I’ve also been having a little trouble with my fifteen-year-old son. I’m sure the dream, as well as my concerns regarding my son, had something to do with my anxiety this morning.
I wish this didn’t happen.
There is a voice in my head that’s been saying, Ok, I’ve GOT to get rid of this anxiety thing.
But lately there’s been a different answer.
Maybe you’ll never be rid of it. Maybe it will always be there, for your entire life. There is no getting rid it. You just have to live with it. Minimize it, manage it, but there is no getting rid of it- no cure. 

Well, I’ll manage. I’m feeling better already. I’m going to turn on some music, finish my sushi, make eggs and toast, some coffee, and then I’ll be good to go. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy- shopping, cooking, decorating, dishes, laundry. I like having a lot to keep me busy, but I also like that most of it doesn’t have to be done today. Most of it can wait until tomorrow and I like that. My husband will tell you- I am the Queen of tomorrow.

Eh. I’ll just do it tomorrow.

Like Scarlet-freakin-O’Hara, I am the queen of tomorrow.

scarlett and rhett b&w