top of page
  • Writer's pictureElla Mellman

Beyond Linear: A Journey of Love, Art, and Non-Linear Growth

I like math. So much so I intend on pursuing it as a career. I've always been a fan of patterns and linear functions. They are very simple, plain, and self-explanatory. Easy. But I have found that there is much more to math than that. There is much more to life and relationships than lines and patterns. Progression cannot be summed up in a linear graph.

My dog, Beatrix, is a little moody. She has her moments where she will nuzzle at my feet and rest her head against my legs. Those are the moments that bring tears to my eyes. I treasure them when they happen as it is not a regular occurrence.

Then there is my norm. Apathy, leaning towards outright avoidance. I suppose the only person at fault is myself, but it still hurts.

Our relationship is hardly one that is linear. More similar to a power function (an odd powered and positive constant function). An ‘s' flipped over the vertical axis and then turned 90o clockwise.

During our positive rate of growth periods, she scuttles over to me with wide eyes and tail wagging, begging for attention and a belly rub– yapping when my focus strays from her for even a moment. These positive interactions act as a glitch in the system– long and far between.

When Beatrix is in what I refer to as a ‘teenager mindset', she demands alone time and personal space. This change comes without warning and is only communicated through popping her personal bubble.

I curl up in her dog bed in search of physical affection. Hold her down and wrap her in a large hug. It appears like she's in a choke hold, or so I've been told. Cue the squirming and flopping around in desperate attempts to get to freedom.

“You're suffocating her.”

“I'm not suffocating her. We're cuddling.”

“Oh yeah, loving the dubious consent on her face as she proceeds to try and run away from you!”

“I just wanted to give her a hug–”

“–to squeeze her to death?” My whine is interrupted by my exasperated looking sister. She has born witness to the ‘atrocities' I put our dog through and is so done with the unrequited affection I give her.

“Ella,” my sister states pointedly, “let the poor thing go. You've effectively done this to yourself – every time she plots an escape you hold her tighter. She won't want your company if you wrestle to control her at each opportunity!”

I have since seen my sister's perspective. I will deny it if ever brought up, but she is right. I spun myself into a vicious whirlpool-like cycle of scorn and contempt. Progressing towards rebuilding a more positive relationship with her is proving to be more challenging than I had hoped. Admittedly, I am not great at restraining myself. One day at a time and I'll eventually get there.

Success today doesn't necessarily mean success tomorrow.

I often need to remind myself of this when caught up in other things too, particularly when drawing. It is so easy to get wrapped into a piece of artwork and pour all one's waking time and energy into it. Then by staring at it too long I end up hating it. I notice all the ways it doesn't meet the standards I hold myself to. Forces me to hide the artwork in the furthest corner of my closet at what could've been but isn't.

And then there are spurs of motivation. Where I get so entranced in art creation I lose track of time. In my experience, as with the positive growth in my relationship with Beatrix, these periods of inspiration and hyper fixation are few and far between.

To be entirely honest, it's frustrating. But I'm learning to ride the highs and prepare for the lows. Trying to force new behaviors is fruitless. Embracing the nature of growth and evolution is the key to progress.

Building new habits is hard. Taking it one day at a time while knowing progress is not linear, but rather like a power function, is critical to harboring positive change.

Linear lines and tessellating patterns are still easier to comprehend though.

6 views0 comments


bottom of page