I've been too self-absorbed lately to feel like blogging. I cried every day for a couple of weeks because the doctor said my son might have autistic spectrum disorder. I was crying mostly because I saw him as perfect before, and suddenly I saw him as having something wrong with him, and as sensitive as he is to my emotions, I felt guilty that he might be absorbing a flawed self-image of himself from me because I couldn't release the judgment. I also had the typical reaction that all mothers get when told that their child may have a problem--guilt about my parenting...and for a while I thought that I should stop writing altogether, as it was taking away from time I should be spending with him.
I've been reading a lot, educating myself from all sorts of angles...and I've concluded that it's unlikely that my son is autistic or that his developmental delay will be "pervasive." Still, he's undergoing some gradual dietary changes and is on a homeopathic remedy and several flower essences. Nightly I'm giving him craniosacral check-ins and sometimes quantum touch if I can stay awake for it. On the allopathic end, I'm taking him for his first California-funded evaluation next Monday, and I have to be vigilant about having a "body of glass"...letting all energy, all judgments and labels flow through me...breathing out anything triggered...as the tendency will be to label any speech delay with some scary diagnosis, as that's what allows them to fund and provide services.
One intuitive told me that my son is a "crystal child," one of a group of souls incarnating en masse at this time in order to help humanity evolve to a crystalline etheric form. He does actually fit the description of one of these--born large, with a bigger head than average, a sweet child who's calm, loving, and affectionate, with an intense gaze, who speaks late because he uses telepathy instead, and who is very bonded to his mother. I realized that I liked this idea because it assuaged the wound in my ego delivered by the diagnosis that my child isn't normal...and it's just a label like ASD is a label, and the truth is that he is neither worse nor better, special or different or wrong or right--he's just him, whole and perfect like any other child.
I also got my first rejection for my novel, which I know is something that must be multiply borne as a writer, but it still made me feel kind of bad. Anyhow...between the curt form rejection and unresponsiveness on the part of several beta readers, I decided that it's not at all ready and I'm back to another huge rewrite.
So that's all kind of discouraging, but the good thing about all of it is that having my ego as a writer take a beating is allowing me to see the reason why I'm doing all of it--the fact that I love it utterly, the writing process, the creating of stories, and the joy is still there despite the invalidation.
My conclusion is the only thing that's causing me anxiety is my own ego. Because I notice that as it suffers more bruises, it's draining out the unease that has been sitting inside me for months.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
One of my friends told me once that everybody has just one story to tell, and if you're a novelist, you'll write that same story over and over, just with different characters and plot and setting. I suppose that as you change and grow, your story will shift, but if, for instance, you write two novels one after the other, they'll probably tell the same story. And that it's okay, because people become a fan of your novels because they like the story you're telling, and they want to hear it again, with different trappings.
The problem I'm encountering now is that the novel I'm revising...I'm feeling compelled to make certain changes to the plot...and all of those changes are making it far too similar to the novel I just finished revising two weeks ago!
It was enough to make me throw my notebook in disgust after a session of brainstorming, getting excited about the ideas, and realizing exactly where it was leading me--to the same rhythm, the same resolution, even an annoyingly similar-looking love interest. Argh! And why the heck am I fixated on having to have a battle scene shortly before the climax, just like in the other novel? It's far too Lord of the Rings. But I can't think of a more appropriate way to convey the message. Which is a variation on the message I'm conveying in the other. Guldangit!
It's encouraging, though, to see this pattern at least; I'm hoping after I sleep on it I'll be able to see a way to take some risks with the plot even as I continue to tell my same story.
I posted a few days ago about my worry about my son's delayed speech and language development. I emailed back and forth with a friend who's a speech pathologist...and she told me that all the books say that at his age he should be speaking in 3 or 4-word utterances...and that if she were me, she'd be knocking on all the doors at this point.
It got me scared. I went to the school district office and tried to sign him up for a special-needs assessment, but they aren't doing those until the fall, and we'll probably be back in Brazil by then. I was so upset that I cried on the drive there and back and all day Theo was crabby and didn't want to cuddle with me, because he's sensitive enough that he could sense me projecting all my anxiety onto his small self. I began to wonder if he'd fallen off the bed too many times as a baby and gotten brain-damaged...or if I made mistakes in not taking him to a doctor when I first noticed his developmental delay...I wondered if I'd be like one of those stories of the Christian Scientist parents who didn't take their kids to a doctor when they needed to, with disastrous results.
Anyhow, I've made an appointment for him to see a doctor this Wednesday, and I'm starting the steps to get an Early Start evaluation for him. I was still really stressed out all evening...but then, after he fell asleep, I did a bit of energy work on him, and reconnected with my basic intuition that there is nothing wrong with him, and the message that I got was this: I remembered how he was when he learned to crawl and to walk. In both cases, he started early, but hesitated for a long time going back and forth in the learning process, sometimes appearing to regress, before he finally went forward with the step when it was fully grounded and solid in his psyche.
It's much different from my other son, who didn't want to try things for a long time, but then the instant he got the sense that he could do something, he was off and trying, weaving and falling and giggling like a maniac.
We repeat our stories...I believe he's just exhibiting one more example of the same mode of learning. And I'm also seeing this other lesson for me--about recognizing my constant fear of living according to my beliefs. Because I'm afraid I'm wrong. But that fear is also evidence of the consistency of my belief system, as my north node is in Sagittarius--meaning that my purpose in this lifetime is to keep letting go into my intuition, rather than staying solely within the safety of details and facts.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
I decided that I've been going to bed far too late every day, and that I wasn't allowing myself to enter a state of rest because I always feel like I'm behind on my projects and I've been going to bed with the feeling that I didn't accomplish everything I meant to. So I decided that I'm going to try waking up earlier and the first things I'll do are exercise, meditation, and breathing exercise. That'll knock three things off my to-do list right away, and suddenly there's a lot less pressure to do the rest. I also want to stop working on writing at midnight--no matter what, I have to save what I'm doing and finish for the day. Then, before sleeping, I can do some reading if I'm not tired yet. I think this is a good plan. I'm supplementing it with some flower essences: Aloe Vera for workaholic tendencies, Water Violet for isolation/heart opening, and Aspen for the vague anxiety I suffer about world destruction.
So yesterday I got a lot of reading done--both after midnight, and while I was waiting for my son to get out of his drawing class. I read two e-books off my Kindle:
The first was Write Good or Die, a selection of essays on various aspects of writing, both craft and business. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but it reinforces a nice message: write what you love, not what others tell you to write. I've never found any book on writing helpful for actually teaching me to write better--nothing really does that except plunging in and actually going through the process of crafting a piece, and then another...but this one is sometimes inspirational, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny...and it's a free download.
The second was Angela S. Choi's Hello Kitty Must Die. (I don't know how I ended up reading two e-books both with titles of four words that end in "die") This is Choi's debut novel. The prose is tight and focused, and the story is such that it compelled me to read it in one sitting. I can't say I LIKED the story, because dark comedy turns me off (I could never appreciate Monty Python) and some of the Chinese cultural satire struck me a little too close to the bone. But there is an honesty to what often feels like autobiographical writing in her novel--there is no hiding behind story; the story is a sublimation of who she is.
Anyhow, I confess a fascination with people who have similarities of path to mine--in this case, we're both Chinese-American Ivy League-educated ex-lawyers from the Bay Area with a compulsion to write fiction, who entered healing professions to pay the bills. The differences between us after that initial swath of similarity are enormous to those who know the distinctions--I'm of Hakkanese-Taiwanese descent, and she's Hong Kong Cantonese. My six-month stint as a lawyer was so minimal and weird that I don't identify with that title any more than I do as a Kaplan SAT math teacher (which I also did), whereas she actually worked corporate.
I actually believe that most people are stuck creatives--that our educational system conditions us to suppress creative expression--and that most people who go to law school would be creative writers if they were freed of the conditioning. Asians are particularly prone to creative suppression, as individual expression isn't encouraged in the various Asian cultures. I noticed in Choi's writing--and in my own--a tendency to write for shock value, and that I think is reactionary in nature to the archetypes of the Asian female.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Do I look like I want to say something?
I really hate those milestones that label your kid as being not normal if they're not matching up to the average kid. At the same time, I can't help but worry, at the same time as I try not to worry because I don't want my concern to transmit to him in some way that I think that anything is wrong with him. I saw a friend of mine a couple weeks ago whose daughter was born a week before Theo, and she's way ahead of her milestones--speaking in clear and complete sentences, with a vocabulary probably in the high hundreds, and already able to read.
But then yesterday, Theo got his legs caught in a chair and he started crying and saying, "Help! Help!" I don't recall him ever even hearing the word "help" before. So it made me think: maybe he doesn't speak because he doesn't need to. This little boy has his needs met. We're together most of the time, we've coslept 98% of his life, and maybe he doesn't see any reason to speak, to identify objects with a name just because other people are doing it.
I'm thinking about the reasons why we speak at all, why we use words. It's different from the production of mere sound, as Theo is doing, which is an authentic expression of him just as much as movement or tears or smiles. The basic reason for using words is to communicate in order to get a need met, even though it's sort of a middleman like money is--putting one's need into a common representational image in order to have someone else understand what you want.
Some people use speech as a means to transmit or refine energy--to shape it into a thought-form and push it out into the noosphere, that dream-cloud of knowledge and ideas that permeates the world and is accessible to our subconscious. Some people use talking to "blow off steam"--needing a stream of words to release emotion. Some people have logorrhea and no longer distinguish between thinking out loud and talking. Perhaps the way we use speech is one thing children will imitate...and maybe he sees that I really use it only to communicate to get a need met, as honestly I don't really like talking that much. I prefer writing.
(I don't dislike talking and I do plenty of it on a daily basis. I'm just saying a lot of it is mechanical and not truly expressive of me as writing is--the "small talk." When I have the rarer deep connection with someone, that thought-form shaping and transmission becomes a conscious mutual act of creation and can be truly pleasurable.)
Anyhow. A friend of mine who does craniosacral and energy work is going to come over and do a session on Theo, just because I don't want to do nothing, but I won't do anything with people who might say he has a problem because, looking at how happy and healthy he is, he obviously doesn't. Stay tuned for updates on the mystery of Theo's disappearing vocabulary.