Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Excelsior: Working with What Is

I. Half a Million Views: Thank you! 

I was trying to catch when the stats counter ticked over to 500,000 "pageviews all time history", but I missed it, and today l'astronave  registers 500,275 pageviews. Still. Cool!

I don't think that counts this blog's first years---blog turns eight in a couple weeks. And it definitely doesn't accurately reflect the number of readers:
to begin with, at least half those views must be the result of me thinking, "I can't believe I wrote that word, must sign in and change it NOW."

Still, it's a neat number, and it pleases me. 
It's also a marker of how the times change: 
I'd never have been so blasé about anywhere near HALF A MILLION views before 2003, the year Google bought Blogger and I started my first blog, the now defunct Flightless Parrots
 Now we're used to these enormous numbers on the Internet, eh?

But I am not blasé about saying thank you! to everyone here, past, present, and future. 
I love communicating this way, it means a lot to me, and I especially appreciate you all who let me know, one way or another, that you're out there, here, as it were.

II.  Negativity as Fuel

I might get therapy-ish here for a while, since I've started my midlife tune-up...
I've been thinking more about what it means to be the daughter of a narcissistic mother (that is, someone who couldn't see other people, which caused a lot of pain and confusion for her and for the other people, including me) . . . and where I go from here.

I figure, if a person's got scars from life (and who doesn't?), then they (I, we) just do--that's our landscape.
What I want, what I need, isn't a way to remove the lumps and bumps, it's a road map around and through that landscape. 

You've got to work with who you are, right?

A movie I find comfort and support in is Silver Linings Playbook because it's about working with what is the case, not what you wish were the case.

The main character Pat (Bradley Cooper) trying to put his fucked-up life back together after a bipolar explosion of his. 
His motto is excelsior. *
I found this misspelled quote of his, explaining what excelsior means to him, and I thought it'd be fitting if I just fixed it up rather than making a new perfect one:

[Link to a favorite scene.

Pat's dance partner Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) turns Pat's father's logic on him--she reasons with him on his terms--funny, and another example of how to be effective by working with the landscape you find yourself in, whether you like it or not.]

III. Find Your Peculiar Satisfaction

Temple Grandin is another cheering (to me) and useful example and teacher. 
I think of her advice to parents of kids who have autism, like she does, which is to focus on the kid's strengths not their deficits, and to accept that the kid might never get satisfaction from neuro-normative things you want them to, like hugging you, but that doesn't mean that kid won't find satisfaction in life: 
it's about finding the right, the fitting, satisfying thing.

I appreciate her blunt honesty. For instance, a mother told her that it seemed as if her son would miss his computer more than he would miss her.
And Grandin said, yes, that's right, he would: the computer is a far better avenue to his satisfaction.**

So--finding the map to one's satisfaction---that reminds me of the Cicero quote I posted a while ago:
Hold fast your peculiarity [but do no harm].

For me, just lately, that's sewing clothes for stuffed animals. I felt a little foolish, childish, about that, but I figure, so what? 
It gives me comfort, it challenges my brain (like squaring a circle), and it's fun, and maybe through that, it could even be useful. 

Tonite is my sewing group, and I'm taking my space monkey and some silvery material I just got to work on its astronaut suit.

*Checking excelsior's etymology,  I find a funny tie-in to sewing and fabric and stuff: 
Excelsior's also a trade name for "thin shavings of soft wood used for stuffing cushions, etc.," first recorded 1868, American English.

Also called wood wool, it was a common teddy-bear stuffing

**I paraphrased Grandin above, but she writes a little bit about such things here, on her website, that also includes "1950’s Methods For Teaching Social Skills That Worked for Me".


Michael Leddy said...

Congratulations on so many views. Or as my kids like to say, Congrats yo!

“Excelsior!” was also a battlecry or catchword (not phrase) or something of the radio guy Jean Shepherd.

Michael Leddy said...

On an unrelated note: Paige Vieux sounds like a vaguely louche pulp-fiction character.

Fresca said...

Thanks, yo! [does that work?]

Huh. I looked up Jean Shepherd, thinking I didn't know him, but he's responsible for the Christmas Story ("you'll shoot your eye out!").

Paige Vieux. LOL

Michael Leddy said...

That works. You can add a “yo” after almost anything. I did it once when teaching Wallace Stevens’s “Sunday Morning”: “Death is the mother of beauty, yo.” There was a Breaking Bad subtext running through the semester. Jesse Pinkman’s “yo” was part of it.

ArtSparker said...

sewig is connection, especially by hand, and healing also.

Zhoen said...

You have been noticed. It's that nice?

Fresca said...

ARTSPARKER: Yes, that's true for me---healing & connection.

ZHOEN: It *is* nice.