This blog has been about a couple things and those aren’t 100% why I started it. It started for introspection, to generate conversation, and to noodle with expanding my social media presence. The introspection piece was the most important of those three. Conversation helped with outcomes and understanding what I should do next. The social media piece was experimental and, while I enjoy it, I’ve also learned that it’s not worthwhile to go looking for validation there. The other big piece was the growth which came out of introspection. Growth is always incremental and the blog is my journey along the path of my life for the past half decade. Lao Tzu, who is attributed with the founding of Taoism, said what’s below in the image. I only recently came across it, and the quote struck me as deeply true. The inevitable fate part of the quote has hit me in two very personal times and this post goes into one of them. My next post will touch on the second.
The blog started in early 2012. By the end of 2013, my father’s slowly building dementia exploded on our family. The stress was bottled up and I honestly hid from it for a time. The blog deliberately skirted it for a while, but I didn’t write about it until July of 2014 just after things got truly dangerous. He was psychotic and had bought a gun just as we were getting an emergency guardianship. It was easily the most stressful time in my life to-date. That incident was the tipping point which finally got the words flowing. He lasted about another two years before passing away last summer. He slipped from a vigorous person who was physically threatening to an old man quickly. It all caught up in the bat of an eye and it was terrible to watch happen.
Over that time, I wrote regularly about what he was going through and what it meant to me. I captured the descent. I explored how it made me feel about the man who’d raised me. I chronicled visits to see him. I reflected on what it all meant to my family. I wondered on what a legacy is and how we’ll be remembered. I also drew pictures and explored different ways to express myself which evolved out of earlier blogging.
I don’t think I’d have gotten through it all nearly as well without writing about the experience. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that work without what came before it. The introspection helped me understand how to take my thoughts and feelings apart from different directions and capture them. Being on that journey was the right thing at the right time for me. The Lao Tzu quote was fulfilled because I’d been paying attention. To my thoughts which became words which became actions which really did change my character. That led to my fate which was my ability to cope with a terrible situation. Parts were crisis management. Parts were feeling crushed after I’d visit him. None of this happens overnight.
I called this post The Big Picture because I heard the London Grammar song of that name on the way to the airport. It’s about someone who had something bad go on in their life and at the end of it all said “Only now do I see the big picture / But I swear that these scars are fine.” There’s also a lot of conflict in the song. Scars like this are never really fine. Scars endure and you live with them. Sometimes it’s hard to see the path you’re on and where it’s headed. Then there are times when you really do look around, see the big picture, and appreciate where you’re at the best you can. This week, close to the anniversary of my father’s passing, it’s more about scars that I built up which growth helped me deal with. The next part of the story I’ll tell is a happier one.