Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moral Compass

Mother Katherine provided me with probably one of the most useful of tools yesterday in our Tuesday @ 10:00 a.m. utterances.

I had lost this feller so long ago, not knowing which way was north, nor which was south. More familiar with the neutralities of easts and wests, I struggled with what went where.

It was lost in a lonely living room, this moral compass o' mine, behind open doors that should have been closed, with my hands metaphorically tied behind my back and my eyes made to be wide shut. "Star 80" comes to mind, sweaty bodies fucking, willing oiled flesh against the flesh of the martryed, angry dark mustaches mingled with blonde innocence & ignorance being bliss as all get out. PTSD comes in the form of disgruntled 30 something males who have a willingness to please but are even more cunning in their acts of deception. & shotguns.

My moral compass was given back to me yesterday. I've forgotten how to use it, how to read it. There are many times I want to put it away & pretend I never happened upon it, even since yesterday afternoon.

I have to wonder at what God has given me....I mean, why was it ever taken away in the first place? Why was I allowed to lose such an important relic if it was only going to be returned to me at a point in my life when I thought I could get along just fine without one?

I was fine with seeing north for it's south-like tendencies, & okay with seeing a little north down in the delta too. My true north lay in the enigmatic comforts of the horizons of east and west.

Was I given this to be told I am wrong in my thinking, in my conclusive efforts to relate with this world? Or was it a reward for coming to a stance of neutrality in a universe that demands such a forced dichotomy of black & white? I may never fully come to understand this. I hope to, but if I don't, there is a belief deep down inside me that even if I don't, everything will still be okay.

Not everyone has that though. That ability to stand on a middle grounds, & still be even a shred of who you think you might be in this realm.

My oldest son and I were working on some math problems last night. Math is a sore subject for my son, particularly arithmetic that involves multiple steps & processes. His world has to be broken down into smaller parts, showing connection step by step to what the bigger picture is.

My world has to be presented to me in a very similar way in order to get a grasp.

I sensed his anxiety level, his stress factor soaring higher & higher with each problem we approached in his math book.

By problem #11 he was in tears.

My son is not a crier.

I was heartbroken to see so much pent up angst pour out over in waves of tears and sobs I haven't heard from him since he was 6.

It's his second week of being in Jr. High. He has shown no sign of feeling inadequate when compared to his other peers until now. This moment.

He tells me he needs to stay on track. He tells me he needs to try harder. He tells me he used to know his multiplication facts but now he can't remember any of them. He tells me he studies so so hard (his exact words) but no matter what he still gets only 50% on his tests, adding that 50% means an 'F'.

In his own 13 year old way, he was telling me he felt like a failure.

Someone who, no matter how tired he is, will strive to get his homework done, even if it means staying up until 11 o'clock at night (which I refuse to let him do anymore) to complete it so that he can say he did it.

Someone who, secretly pinches the insides of his palms to make sure he is staying focused enough to understand the many rules and regulations of this new and foreign land that is Jr. High.

Someone who later comes crying to those who care to listen, because it hurts so bad that he fails to measure up to what other's standards are of success.

My moral compass is spinning out of fucking control here, and all I want to do is cry right alongside Jr.

But I gotta be brave for my boy. I've gotta be strong so that he can sometimes feel safe about being weak in a world where weakness is deemed unacceptable.

I let him cry. I let him speak. I don't try to console him or tell him to dry his eyes. This is 13 years of insecurity spilling out over my 33 year old lap.

When he was done, I looked him in those beautiful chocolate brown eyes that resemble his father's in every way, shape and form, and tell him.

I tell him that because of his Autism that there will be things he is going to struggle with. Math is one of them. Not everyone with Autism will struggle with math, but for whatever reason, he does. I tell him that because of Autism, there will be so many other things he will continue to struggle with, even til the day he dies, because that is just how life is.

I also tell him that because of his Autism, he will never have to struggle to beat the pants off of his opponents in chess. And that because of his Autism he will own eternally on playing video games that most people only dream of owning on. And that because of his Autism he is by far possibly the cleanest teenager in all of the Indianapolis area.

& that because of his Autism, he has shown me one of the most beautiful facets of life that I would've never had the chance to embrace if he never had it.

He got me through this world without a moral compass.

Fuck this world & it's standards & measures for success.


sex scenes at starbucks said...

I have a crier at home. He's not autistic, and he's whip crack smart, but he struggles with writing (not the ideas, but the actual, physical writing.)

He feels like a failure pretty often. I imagine for him, and maybe for your son, that school is like a maze with stuff jumping out at him from behind every corner. Except for that one corner where he was prepared.

Sometimes he gives up trying. Actually, pretty often. Why try when it's gonna suck anyway?

I'll pray for yours if you pray for mine. :)

Realmcovet said...

I'd pray for yours even if you DIDN'T pray for mine.

"Why try when it's gonna suck anyway?"

That's when being a rock star comes in handy, cause that's what my boy & your Atreyu look a-like are gonna be someday. Go DemonStix! :)

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Yeah, it's funny, he has NO IDEA how adorably beautiful he is.

God forbid he ever find out!

Seriously, though, you were brilliant with how you pointed out all the great qualities your son has. I bet that's just what he needed.

Some prayin' comin' right up.

word ver: shisphic--sounds like some new slang. I might have to integrate it into the book.

Stephen Parrish said...

Fuck the standards. Einstein was thought to be retarded.


Read John Elder Robison's book Look Me in the Eye. They thought he (with Asperger's) was retarded too. He got a $1.25 million advance for that book. If he's retarded, I'm a cabbage.

If your son a) does his best, and b) knows his parents love him, he'll be fine. Because there are so many paths to success and happiness in this world, the grade you get in math when you're 13 is not anywhere as important as your math teacher would have you believe.

Realmcovet said...

Thanks for your prayers Sex. Means alot. Praying and sex all in one sentence. Sounds like my kinda prayer baby. :)

Stephen, I read that book, one of my top tens. I plan on letting my son read it when he's ready. Hearing those words mean so much to me, coming from you. :)

kathulhu said...

Poor Jr.!!! I struggled in math and I don't have autisim. You tell him that math isn't easy for most people, autisim or not. And most of us don't get to be awesome at things like chess or remembering other people's birthdays (which is really a very nice thing to do which most people neglect in this day and age.)

Realmcovet said...

Thank you Katie. :) I will tell him, for sure. He really likes you and your boys a lot. & math IS a hard subject.

Jess said...

Fuck praying, but for you, I'd drop the world off my shoulders.

Your boy will be fine. You're more than fine. You're fucking incredible. Math will always be a struggle...but not all areas.

You're talking to an Autistic- like your son, who cried over math problems- like your son, and then, for no particular reason, entered AP Statistics in senior year of high school and aced the pants off that class.

This? This is nothing. You'll look back on this when he's something awesome (even though he aready is, he'll just be an older something awesome) and remember.

Your moral compass is pointed just fine, love.

Realmcovet said...

If Jess were a prototype, she would've been the one I always wanted to create.