Twerpsville

Perfection. Where exactly, in the history of my life, did I get the idea that my work had to be perfect?

Next question: When did I become so tyrannical about it?

I’ve never been one for psychoanalysis, though understanding my past definitely sheds light on the present. A friend of mind talks about over-focusing. I guess you could also term it obsessing. I definitely have that capability, and it’s hard to catch myself. Even if I do catch myself, it can be hard to stop myself. To make a decision to walk away, to reorient my mind.

Jonah and I have been talking a good bit about choices in our ongoing discussion of “goodies” and “baddies.” Today at church, they were having a sort of commemoration for all of the men in the Russian Brotherhood Organization (I know it sounds like a Russian mafia cover, but it’s actually more of an Orthodox Rotary Club, as far as I can tell). Jonah’s first question: “Are they policemen?” Jonah’s second question: “Are they baddies? Or do they sometimes just make bad choices?” The kid’s thinking, and no one escapes his reckoning, be they mommy’s or brothers or villains or, uh, the Russian Brotherhood. Gosh that’s fun to say.

Grey area is tough. Especially when he notices that a person can respond more than one way to the same situation. Like say, he spills something. A lot of the time, this is no big deal. We get a rag, change our clothes, whatever. Other times, I’m irritable about it. And he can feel it. At my worst, I fly off the handle and overblow. So he tends to ride somewhere in the middle. He tends to expect me to be irritated; if I’m not, whew. If I am, well, that’s what he banked on.

It’s got to be hard for the kid (not to mention his daddy and brother), living with a moody mama.

This morning he called me a twerp (which, thankfully, I heard hours after the storm had passed), and I deserved it. Spot on, J. I was banging around, pissed off that we were running late despite my (and everyone else’s) best intentions. We leave Gabriel alone in the porch for 30 seconds (not exaggerating) and he’s bowling up dog food like we’re going to be gone for a week. He’s usually pretty tidy about it, but today a trail of chicken and rice niblets betrayed his generosity. This twisted me up considerably. Twerp doesn’t really do my behavior justice. When I asked him about it later, he referred to a comment I’d made in the car, in my fit of frustration: “You weren’t supposed to say I hate going to church! That’s what I do!” At which point he recognized what he’d just said and started laughing. He said with a smile, “That’s what I do!”

One final observation involving blindness. I was the recipient of a pretty bad eye infection this week (sores and more) and have been denied my contacts for 10 days. I have terrible eyesight. Legally blind in one eye they say. Not wearing contacts, for me, is a major inconvenience, and I haven’t been terribly long-suffering about it. On our drive to church some tears were shed, and I was at risk of completely retreating into that blessed state of self-pity. Due to the crying/fogging effect, my glasses were off and it occurred to me (as blurs of color sped by at 65 mph) how isolating blindness must be and what it must take to stay engaged with the world. I could shoot off onto the topic of spiritual blindness here, but I’m not qualified. And it’s time for bed.

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