I have, for as long as I can remember, had an obsession with patterns. The never ending, perfectly spaced ties on a railroad track, the fractals, repeating endlessly, that pop out of the earth in the form of Romanesque cauliflower, and the alternating black and white floor tiles that seem to say “Welcome to life, it’s a game of chess” all consume my mind. Even my doodles are measured, geometric, and repeating. I’ll urge myself to draw something whimsical and freeform and yet, as if my hand knows no other way, a pattern is sure to emerge.
These patterns leak into my life. The undulating edges of an edible flower bud alluding to my own habit of repeating, circling through only to start again.
Breaking cycles is easy in theory, but there is a gravitational pull imbedded in unhealthy, one-sided relationships that I seem incapable of tearing myself free of. Even when I am sure that I’ve figured it out, that I have learned the pattern and thus become a master of it, it is only a matter of time until Déjà vu hits.
“I feel like I’ve been here before.”
Perhaps it’s a side effect of youth. This inability or, more likely, unwillingness to change a product of limited experiences on which to base any foray outside of my norm. But maybe it’s about openness. Patterns are, by definition, locked in an order. You could follow them forever but there is no need to as they are predictable and calculable. There is no rush to look around the corner with a pattern; you know what will be there already.
In a chaotic world the sense that patterns create can be grounding and reassuring.
However, it is not until one takes their feet off of the ground that they can move in a different direction, pivoting and effectively breaking the pattern.
My patterns, my ‘chessboard of life’, have been built on top of a set of beliefs and expectations that dictate their potential growth and movement. As long as my expectations stay the same, the patterns will also stay set in place. If I shift what I expect, those patterns, much like blocks of ice on artic seas, will shift. They will bang into each other, reshaping themselves and carving out new and novel patterns, patterns of growth and development.