the patterns that make us
a million tiny things a million times over
If you trace yourself back in time you’ll start to recognize patterns. Patterns in the things you enjoy, become obsessed with; the people you are pulled toward, the environments you seek solace in. I don’t think patterning is uncontrollable, but the wiring is always there. The mind travels down similar grooves.
When I was 10 years old I was writing on Wattpad and Wordpress, scrolling tumblr, reading zines, writing things to boys I liked. I essentially do similar things now lol. Or rather, I have the same underlying desires: writing as discoverability, lyricism, connection. It’s funny how as adults we start to slowly transition back into the ways we operated, the things we loved as children. There’s continuity after all.
We can disguise ourselves with our sparkly moments, but our long term patterns and habits reveal and define us. How we cope, how we interact with love, our deepest inclinations. A person is never built off of doing something once, but doing a million tiny things a million times over. Atoms to atoms.
Paying attention to patterns in the people we care about is a profound act of love. It means a willingness to look at who they really are. In my experience, true appreciation requires granularity: things get more beautiful the closer you get to them. Attention sometimes feels kinetic — momentum toward comprehension.
To know someone is to witness their patterns. What do they devote themselves to consistently? This indicates what they value most. However, observance takes time. You need to see someone over a long period, through different evolutions of self, when they get what they want and lose it too, to see what their patterns are, and how they tend/nurture them or break them/prune them.
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The hope is that our patterns are productive: they make us lovable, disciplined, consistent. But our patterns can also make us neurotic, single-minded, stubborn.
There are certain themes that re-occur in my life. All conflicts are circular after all. I’m very head-heavy: I analyze and overthink constantly. I like to have total, relentless, control of my life, and dislike feeling weakness. At the expense of my heart and soul, I trend toward pursuing stable, conventionally successful endeavors. I’m not proud of all my patterns. But I own them still. I hope over time I can soften rigid patterns to fit my life in more fruitful ways. Or perhaps I wish to shear away the bits I’m not proud of, and plant fresh roots in more fertile soil, let them grow freely.
We come up for air in the center of our lives holding onto so much of the past — our patterns, mannerisms, inherited desires. But I’d like to think people can change, don’t you? There’s so much sky ahead of us still. Holding both awareness and responsibility over our patterns is how we shape the rest of our life as it forms. Continuity and change, eternally reoccurring.
Question for you today: what themes are repeated throughout your life? Which patterns are healthy, what do you wish to alter? I think true closeness is when I know your patterns and you know mine.
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endless gratitude for you all!
You might like default states: “I want everything to change and yet I want nothing to change at all. I feel so different, I feel exactly the same. Continuity and transformation always travel together.”
What I’m Reading this Week
From last week, I loved Jenny Odell’s Saving Time, here’s an excerpt:
I grew up on a false plateau I took for infinity. And until I learned otherwise, all I could perceive was the loss of what was familiar and comforting to me…. now I endeavor to release my grip. As the french feminist poet and philosopher Helene Cixous wrote that “we need to lose the world, to lose a world, and to discover that there is more than one world and that the world isn’t what we think it is” (187)
You can take time and give time, but you can plant time and grow time and there are different varieties of time. it meant that all your time grew out of someone else’s time. If time were not a commodity, then time, our time, would not be as scarce as it seemed a moment ago (225)
Substacks: Dollface (for incredible and honest reading recs - I picked up Amina Cain’s book after her review + I want to read Big Swiss!) and the Pamplet (been a fan of Kristin’s writing for a while now - she writes an insightful series on dreaming and I find her work always strikes a chord within me)