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.

A New Approach: Books on the side

It’s been four weeks since my last post. To be honest I thought it had been longer. It feels like it’s been longer, but that’s probably because of the time of year that it is (was)-
back to school time.
Back-to-school is always a pretty busy time of year so I probably shouldn’t be too hard on myself for slacking off on my blog, but I am a little disappointed in myself. I’ve started and then abandoned a blog more times than I can now count, I’ve lost track. I’m not proud of this, I’m actually a little embarrassed by it. I don’t like to be the type of person who says they’ll do something but then doesn’t follow through.

So here I am again, four weeks later, picking it back up. And I actually had to sort of make myself do this today. Pitiful.
There are several reasons why I decided to come back to this blog today, several reasons why I decided to keep plugging away.

  1. A lot of people know that I am attempting to be a “blogger”, some people even consider me a writer. I want to live up to this if at all possible, or at least give it more than a half-ass try.
  2. My husband got me this nice, expensive laptop for Christmas last year and the whole point of me asking for it was so that I would be able to blog. I need to do what I said I was going to do. It’s important to me that I be true to my word.
  3. I realize there needs to be more to me and my life than husband and kids.

One day my kids will be grown. They’ll be gone. Even if they still live close to home, even if they still live at home, the kids I know and adore today will be gone. Because they won’t be kids anymore and it will be oh-so-different. I know this because my son is fifteen. Obviously I can’t hold him and kiss him the way I used to. It’s a different relationship now. Luckily, my daughter is only eight so I can still hug her and hold her and smother her face with kisses. XOXO  And it’s a good thing too, otherwise I would be very lonely right now.

But one day that will change too. My daughter will grow up and I won’t be able to hold her anymore. And then I’ll have to get a puppy.

My point is, I know there has to be more to me and my life than my family. I don’t want to wait until the kids are grown and gone to start something for me. I want to already have it in place. Besides, I think it will make my kids respect me more and help them see me as more of an actual person. Having interesting, successful parents- parents they can be proud of- is important for kids. It’s good for the development of their own identities, and it’s good for the adult relationship between parent and child.
This is why I think it’s important that I keep blogging and writing.

I’ve almost always wanted to be a writer. I can remember thinking in fifth grade that what I wanted to be when I grew up was a writer. And from then on that’s what I always talked about doing. But I’ve always been too scared to actually do it. Besides, even if I did write an entire novel, how in the world do you get published?! Where do I send it? Who do I send it to?
I’ve tried looking into this a little bit but it’s so overwhelming, and now with ebooks and the internet making it so easy to self publish- it seems even more overwhelming to me.

However, I don’t want to give up on writing entirely. So I came up with a plan to help me keep going. First, I have given myself permission to choose something else to do in addition to writing. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, I don’t know why I thought I had to choose one or the other. For about the last 6 months I have thought about taking some art classes. I’d also like to (maybe) do some “crafting”- but to me that still falls into the art category. I told my husband the other night,
“Hun, I don’t think I want to be a writer. I think I want to be an artist.”
He said ok.
I then said, “Would you be disappointed in me if I decided not to be a writer?”
He said no.
What I didn’t say in that moment was that I think I would be happier doing art vs. only writing. Writing can be exhausting!  Not to mention frustrating and depressing, at least for me. Most of the time I put a lot of time and effort into something but end up with very little in return- almost no one reads it, and I myself am rarely ever completely satisfied with my end product. I can’t stop editing!!! Writing is a very solitary thing, perhaps even isolating. It can be very lonely, which can be depressing. And I’m not saying anything that many, many other writers (if not all writers) have said before.

With me being already so prone to depression I figure I should have something else in addition to writing. Something that is easy to share with others, something that will naturally lead to me being around other people rather than alone with my laptop. I think art can fit that bill. Art classes are plentiful, accessible, and affordable.
And I used to be pretty good at it back in school. My creations were always being chosen to be shown in various shows…. But I never got to see them. My parents never took me to the events where my art was being displayed. That makes me so sad. That’s another reason I want to try it- I want a second chance to experience that. I think it would be good for me; good for my psyche, good for my soul.
As I mentioned above, when I write I am rarely completely satisfied with the end result, but when I do something more creative- something that involves color and the use of my hands-  I’m more likely to feel satisfied, even happy. And, like I said, it’s easier to share with others. For example, card making. Occasionally I will make cards- birthday cards, thank you cards, Christmas cards, etc. It’s fun and it’s very purpose is to be shared with someone else. I want to do more of that kind of thing.

But I don’t want to give up writing entirely. The most realistic way for me to continue writing is actually this blog, especially if I do it in more of a journal style. That’s the kind of writing I’m best at anyway- less structure, just let the random thoughts flow. If I allow myself to do that I’m more likely to sit down and do it. I wanted this to be a book blog, that’s the type of blog I’ve wanted to do from the beginning, but I discovered something. I love to read, but lately when I’ve been reading with the specific intention of writing a review/blog post it takes away the enjoyment that I usually get from reading.

So I realized that I needed to take a step back and rethink this blog. Should I give it up altogether? Should I completely change the type of blog that it is? I didn’t want to do either so I found a middle path. I’ll continue with the blog but switch to a more intimate, diary-like type of approach. I’ll focus more on the details of my life and inner world. Considering everything I’ve been through (and what I continue to deal with), all the therapy I’ve done, the tremendous growth I’ve experienced– I have a lot to offer. Maybe that should be the main course and books can be on the side. I’ll still want to share my thoughts on books sometimes, but not always. I have to allow myself that flexibility.