Wednesday, April 9, 2014

seeking one personal delusional system

I used to live in Pacific Beach. Daily runs on the boardwalk were a highlight of the location and the perks often came in the form of orange-robed Hari Krishna beating drums and clapping chimes together along the beach, musclebound men running about tossing footballs, and one SloMo.

Yes, I ran with, near, about the man in the movie circulating the internet right now. He was kind, interesting, sporting legs ripped like Carrie Underwood's. Always smiling, waving, enjoying the beach breeze and ballet-like movements. He fascinated me. And now, he fascinates many for good reason. His movie is interesting. Beautiful really. Challenging and inspiring. And, he says, he's got what a psychiatrist would call a "personal delusional system". It sounds bad, he says, but it's life-giving. And I believe him.

Because delusion is simply a conviction held that is contrary to popular belief (pathologically it's something more laden with meaning, but I'm keeping it Webster Dictionary simple here). By that definition it turns out we've all got them whether we'll admit it or not.

I heard his talk about his delusion and I thought, yes, Slo Mo, you know what you're doing. And, I know what I've got to do too. I've got to dive head first into feeding my personal delusional system. My personal system that is fighting the numbers, that begs for quality not quantity, that says you are more than any combination of digits can say. My system that says, yes, numbers are important for others in that they help define success, indicate growth, illustrate community. But, for me, they're monstrous, damaging, and ugly-breeding. 

It's hard and frustrating and near impossible to ignore stats -both online and in real life. I want to come here and see growth and understand how I'm doing it right. I want to make good food choices and run five miles and see the scale ticker move down. But that confused focus on nothing but the figure says I've forgotten why I come here, why I run there, why I this is art and not work.

This space is for the community. If my mom and brother are the only readers, so be it, we're interacting, communicating, pushing the ideas around in clunky, awkward ways. Should I be interesting to more than those two, it's a miracle. A miracle I'm glad to participate in and cherish. That's the attitude I want: one of thanksgiving for the ears that listen and the voices that speak back to me.

Like Erika, I want to make each little stat into a face, a person, a voice that has intrinsic value in the adventure that is my writing. Because there's nothing that bothers me more than a blogger too busy writing to hear what's being said back to their ideas. My sweet emails say there's more of you here than I can imagine. You're mostly quiet, but enjoying this place. And those emails are what make the difference for me in times when I wonder if this place is where my heart really wants to be, if I'm making a ripple in the waters of others' lives, if I've got things worth saying. You are making faces for me, assigning personalities and friendships, and I want to appreciate you by cherishing it.  

Instead of hitting the scale every day, I'm going to point out two things I love to myself morning and evening. A practice of cherishing, drying up the idea that numbers define me and feeding the delusion of being more than simple digits. I'm going to delete that spreadsheet with all those stats that say how Mr. T & Me is doing and going to create a folder in my email for you and your words. They are honey to my soul. 

No more wishing for more, better, grander. Call me crazy, mad, downright insane, but these delusions might just give birth to a more real life founded in the deep enjoyment of the color and taste and feel and sentiment of living well.


  1. Katie @ A Beautiful Little AdvApril 9, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    Oh yes. yes. YES! You know that I agree wholeheartedly. Life isn't meant to be measured. Any of it. I take that back - it should be measured in family and friends and dogs and in love.

  2. THIS is why I continue coming back here when I've long ago given up on other blogs I used to enjoy. Quality over quantity. Absolutely.

  3. I adore this and I agree so wholeheartedly. When my day is made or broken by that damn graph in bloglovin rising or falling, when I see a blogger has eleventy billion bloglovin followers displayed in a badge in her sidebar, and mostly when I read a post riddled with grammatical errors and regurgitated ideas - I want to quit, fade into the background, and just halfway keep up with blogs I especially admire. No more trial lists, second chances, or back and forth commenting games. But I try to remember that the heart of my blog is me and my memories. I have used it as a resource so many times to remember what I ordered at a restaurant, when I last saw so and so, things like that. The real, true friends I have made from blogging are the ultimate reward and the relationships I continue to work on make it even better - though I have noticed that the quality of those are declining, which I blame on so many of us being caught up in the numbers game. So I keep doing it, at the end of the day, for me. And If I haven't blogged since last week - it's okay. There's no blog police who's coming to evict me from my domain...

  4. Great blog - found it by googling "personal delusional system." Good luck to you on "diving headfirst" and I am going to do the same. I started this morning with a run - and it was not about how far or how fast - but the pleasure being out there.

  5. Thanks for your heartfelt sentiment. I'm glad I dropped in this morning, its what I needed.
    I have no idea who this slo Mo character is, but i'm thinking its time to do some serious googling.

    Here's to sending you bowls of honey this morning.

  6. i give this idea full credit for the fact that i'm back writing again. i'm not obsessing over the stats, i'm just telling my sotry, getting words out of my brain that feel good to me. sharing photos so that everyone can share in a part of my life. getting the numbers out of the way has brought me back. and you are a big reason for that, after the conversations we've had. so i'll keep that honey coming for you lady.

  7. So true. Blog when it feels right. But blog often because I love you. hehe. ;)

  8. I love this Amber! Numbers can often be crippling....and focusing on them too much certainly is discouraging.
    Thanks for writing this and saying what so many of us often feel!

  9. one of my fave quotes from that mini-doc "basically i'm just trying to get to the end of my life without becoming an asshole again".
    thanks for introducing this video to me! I loved it!
    "do what you want."-- I think I just might.

  10. YES. This post makes me so happy. And you'll have these posts forever and always be able to look back and see glimpses of your life over the years. I love that.

  11. This comment shall play on repeat for many, many moons for me. Always quality, or I write for naught. Or so I hope. :)

  12. No measure like family and friends AND DOGS, always dogs. You my dear, always understand and that's a measure of it's own that is TOO BIG for any sort of number.

  13. Cary, I was afraid to use those words for fear of dragging in readers who were disappointed by my laymen's usage! :) Welcome and thank you. Running is such a dive and yet such a pleasure. There's something about being out of breath that's exhilarating even if it's SO OUT OF BREATH, yes?

    Best to you in your diving and running and being out there. :)

  14. Slo Mo is precious and fascinating and sporting the best legs in all the land.

    You are so much honey to my soul. Always.

  15. your honey is organic and still has the combs in it and i love it because it's challenging and sweet and good for my soul. (how's that for a metaphor?)

    telling the story, yes. because if we don't and we're all fussy over numbers then what happens to the words? they shrink and disappear. something you shall never do.

  16. They can be SO crippling. I've realized the more I am looking at the numbers the less capable I am at writing... I guess numbers and letters really weren't meant to go together! :)

    Thank you for coming and joining and being such sweet honey in my day (even though I'm late in responding!).

  17. YES. And I think about that, like I'm just trying really hard not to be an ass. And some days that's a LOT to try for. :)

    Miss your voice dear friend.

  18. There's something about knowing my kids will come back one day and giggle at the madness that's here and then I want to write and write and write. Hopefully I can laugh with them? :)

  19. Oh so often you little piece of honeycomb! :) The words are there, I just can't let the numbers try and filter them so severely or I end up with nothing! :)

  20. I don't even understand how that little graph can feel so definite for me and my thoughts and creativity... BUT IT DOES. And yet that graph doesn't hit on so many of the numbers that are important: like the sweet friends that I've made, the heartfelt conversations over email after a post, the moments where someone else's writing is EXACTLY what I'm feeling... Oh none of those. And it will never reflect the giggles and conversations I'll have with my kids one day when they experience and understand this little space of mine... So, until then I remind myself to press on and I focus on the beauty of it all (which sounds easier than it is FOR SURE).

    If those blog police ever show up on my doorstep I'll email you right away so you know they're coming for you next! :)


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