Not that we are building actual 6-pack 20-inch python muscles (no judgement if that is your actual jam), but rather more of overall mental/emotional/maybe a little physical strength. Time to flex and shape our post-COVID or COVID-normative muscles in general. Setting intention to do so by:
S Setting smile goals
T Tell ourselves we can do this
R Rest and relax
E Eat/Exercise well
N Notice Priorities
T Track progress
H Hold accountability
Summer of Strength
SonHerisme’s school year officially ended on Thursday, June 17th. I gave us the weekend to flex and stretch our commitment muscle before diving full in on Monday.
Is this an overly optimistic set-up so that I can get sucked into the muddy squish muck mire of depression when we inevitably fail to meet our goals? Possibly. But for today, I am all about it. Both SonHerisme and I have used the phrase, “Summer of Strength,” for the past few days to encourage each other to accomplish some little things like: getting onto the treadmill, finishing laundry, driving to the park for a bit of soccering, putting away the last few Christmas and Easter things (judgementors, I patronous thee), and putting more donation boxes into the car.
Summer of STRENGTH!
I am determined to continue to lower my inflammation, and to read more. SonHerisme wants to fine tune some soccering things (SV2 style!), and up his maths game. I would like to make a lovely something out of some sheets we will never be using as bed sheets. SonHerisme wants to build raised garden boxes with tops to add for winter for year-round greens. SonHerisme also wants to clear out his room and paint it black and white (he’s turning teenagery this summer as well!).
Summer of Strength
SonHerisme wants to grill steak all on his own, and make fried chicken all on his own(blech – do you boo). I would like to finish cleaning out the garage and paint it (on the inside).
Summer of Strength
Both of us want to go to a few minor league baseball games, spend some time up at the local State Park lake, NGADC it up, and drive out to the beach for at least a day.
We are very fortunate people to be able to even think about doing these things. *fingers crossed* We are able to do some of the things.
Of course, COVID times have sucked many patterned discipline limits away… but, I’ll take that over any horrific alternative any day. SonHerisme also has a phone call with MrexH in a few hours *sigh* which he does not want to do so the anxiety energy is high up in these here parts of the universe world.
Ready? Set? Go!
Send us strength to make it through the Summer of Strength… and to be strong enough to let the sadnesses and unworthinesses and griefs and all of that to just be. Sort of strong enough to be soft enough to be enough.
ps also, I have been… difficult to define this past week or so which is why I haven’t been here. koyc and ciao and I hope that you are well and near something beautiful like the ocean, a lake, river, canal, swimming pool, filled up tub, or maybe a clear glass of water. I hope it so very much for you!
Currently at 284 sent Weekly Progress Reports to MrexH regarding SonHerisme
We are safe, we are healthy, basic Maslow’s have been met (repeat on a drum beat until bedtime with extra cozy duvets for both of us please and thank you)
A friend of mine recently entered into a committed relationship with a farmer.
A widowed Hungarian mother of 4 sons, a friend of mine for about 8 years or so, recently entered into a committed relationship with a local hero, community feeding, farmer.
I knew her husband. His sudden death rocked our community, and of course devastated his family. I had a related pre-death experience for him, which is for another day(or not- it’s very hard). SonHerisme was given a pair of his shoes to wear to help work through his own grief, which had burbled up many other griefs. We know how to carry that grief better now.
We’ve been included in a group planting/caring/harvesting plot on one of the Hungarian’s Farmer Friend’s fields, which begins this week. In the organizing-of-us thread, someone asked what we should wear to our first gathering. Paraphrased thread:
The Hungarian: clothes for gardening and dirt
The Farmer cheekily: oh, I was thinking I'd wear my black silk sarong
The Hungarian: save that for the luau
Me: efficiency - let's all wear black sarongs
The Farmer: yes!
The Hungarian: who's bringing rabbit manure?
Person I don't know: that's me - I'm bringing it
The Farmer: in a black sarong
The Hungarian: just rabbit manure please
And so goes life. A day where black silk sarongs and rabbit manure get to be in the same brief text thread about planting veg and flowers. Wacky makes the world go ’round.
I have had a very emotionally rough few days or possibly week or so. My sweet friend asked me to explain what was happening with my grief cycle and I run-on spewed it at her about a day later when I felt I could get it out without completely succumbing to it. It was not pretty or enlightening. I did this via text and ending with something like, “I’ll be okay. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I can rally for another 15 or 20 years.” To be clear, I don’t wish to be dead but I also don’t wish to live without whatever it is that might fill up, or at least drip drop, satisfaction in my cup of life. Feeling stuck without any hope of not being stuck, and mired in grief and shame, is an awful dark place to be.
It was my choice to just let those feelings be whatever they were going to be. I didn’t try to add anything to take them away. I chose to keep moving through my day and do the Instagram scroll, ironing, reading, listening to SonHerisme, prep for a board meeting(although my agenda notes were woefully late), coordinate and schedule the summer camps, doctor appts, bandage changes, laundry, cry here and there, and make the things like chicken salad/quesadillas/hummus sammies/white chili/hamburgers and such for the people to eat.
The food is for the people, not for me. I can eat some hummus and white chili – but no meat for this lady’s digestions. For the past 5 months I have been taking celery juice in the morning and diligent about no meat in anything, along with serious dairy limits. The biggest change has been in improved movement by about a zillion. Also, I no longer want to fight that battle anymore either. If my body can’t handle it, f it, I’m not eating it or doing it. It may be boring and uncomfortable for others, but I am done.
Yesterday afternoon I started wondering what is it that I would find satisfying about myself. What feels good, right, or whatever and does not hurt? I really have no idea, honestly. I have theories, but nothing very concrete – except some movements and some limited foods. It’s okay to celebrate bouncing up the stairs, isn’t it? Actually, I don’t care really because for me it is a celebration! I could not do this even 3 months ago. It is a scary but necessary step, I think, to admit these things to myself and then to follow up with all of it.
If someone handed me notes with a briefing, I would be completely fine with standing in front of any group of people and saying whatever (an appropriate “whatever,” of course) and answering any questions I could. If you and I sat down together at a friend’s house, I doubt I would even speak other than maybe asking you questions so that you would talk the entire time. I am the opposite of my live-out-loud friends – by circumstance or nature, who knows?
Awkwardly doing the things and trying to be okay with it – that’s all of us, yes? Or? Doesn’t matter because it turns out, I cannot be anyone other than me anyway. I have tried and done it well (?at least outwardly – high functioning inward failure?) for a long time, but it hurts too much- even more than being myself, if that’s possible. I could wear a black sarong. I could also facilitate the spread of rabbit manure. And I would do it for SonHerisme if it was necessary or asked of in-the-past me on a triple dog dare with cherry on top. But, it isn’t me. It was just a joke – a pretend joke belonging just where it is – in a thread. I cannot do all of things and I most certainly cannot do very many of the things very well.
Thank you for being patient with me irl and for reading/listening/following here.
I hope you find something helpful and satisfying of and for you today.
PS. Wondering about the brood x cicada emergence in the Eastern US? (Peter?)
Here is what they look like:
Here is what they sound like as I enjoy my spinach lunch, drowning out every single bird and squirrel by a zillion:
Also, I KNOW everyone possibly listen/reading this in the UK is not named, “Peter.” I do an “oh, there you are, Peter!” (my favorite line from Hook after the boy smooshes around on Peter’s face trying to find the Pan inside), whenever I am brave enough to peek and there is a UK ping on the stats. Be the Pan.
Do you ever hear something that enters the depths of your ears like the smoothest yellowist not-too-sweet gently warmed custard? Murmur of poems. yummmmy
I would like to be pentagoning or decahedroning back, but I can only ever figure out the circle back to poets.
"To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals." -David Whyte (poet writer human)
I got sucked into the massive mind muck again last night. I climbed out enough to play with SonHerisme a bit and then drowned myself in list making. It’s the opposite of rest, but it is distracting enough to at least get my breath and carry on with the things that need doing before collapsing into bed. Missed my shower though. I hate this grief process. I know its necessary and I am meant to feel it and embrace it to move forward to the blessings that are just around the corner waiting for me (blah blah platitudes blah). For today, I cannot stand myself and I am letting that be.
Our tiny town had a unity march again yesterday. Before anyone gets their panties in a wad, unity is a good thing. Promoting unity in a culture built on and institutionally conditioned to be racist, is a good thing. Acknowledging that a marginalized disproportionately targeted group of people are worthy of humane consideration and treatment is a GOOD THING. It’s a good thing for all of us. Despite my understanding of herd mentality, I truly struggle to accept the reality of inhumane frenzy thoughts, words, and actions with the increase in access to information and community that we have had for many decades. This struggle of mine is an indication of my whiteness. I recognize that I am privileged to be able to step back to even ask the, “why,” rather than fighting against being trampled on.
We all know that the welfare momma is a false trope - yes?
We all know that the storming of the US borders by criminal Central/South Americans is a false trope - yes?
We all know that humans, regardless of any biases, deserve to be treated humanely - yes?
We all know that access to food, water, shelter, healthcare (including basic necessities health care), education, and purpose for all humans benefits all of our survival - yes?
We all know that marginalizing people is destructive for all of us - yes?
We all know that we live on an over abundant planet with an over abundance of creative humans - yes?
We all know that by sharing our resources increases all of our wealth - yes?
It isn't a pie. It isn't a zero sum game.
Unless we make it a pie and zero sum game, and then we ALL LOSE no matter where you stand.
During a conversation about the unity march and SonHerisme’s latest read and school discussions on being anti-racist, MotherHerisme insisted she has never been a racist. She doesn’t see people’s color (ummmmm….). As long as people are nice and work hard, that’s what matters to her (ummmmm…). She even ate dinner with a black family when she was in school (ummmmm…). She just doesn’t want to have to give her money away to people who don’t deserve it because she and my father worked hard for their money (ummbrainglitchmmmm…).
My mouth popped opened and this is what came out: MotherHerisme, we all want to see ourselves as good, kind people, and as individuals, most of the time, all of us are.
The reality is that you were raised in an openly racist home and that you are a racist by your words, actions, participation in and endorsement of racist institutions (examples like STILL BEING associated with the Republican Party and others).
You absolutely can see that my skin is lighter and that XXXX's skin is darker - you can see the color of people's skin and it influences your opinion of people (examples like assuming the darker skinned people taking up a parking spot you want are just going to be clogging up the aisles in COSTCO because they bring in all of their extended family so maybe COSTCO should have a time for people without extended family, while you are getting ready to bring two carloads of family in to shop with you).
EVERYONE WORKS HARD - EVERYONE. Who is not working hard?!!? Who has met someone who is not working hard? I bet if you have it is a white privileged teen - everyone else is working hard. Actually, even that privileged teen is working hard, even if it's internally, they are working hard. WTfreakingH does "working hard," even mean? You and daddy worked harder than the single mom with three crappy minimum-wage jobs who has no retirement or savings because she has been constantly struggling to raise her child and survive? Who isn't working hard? Who doesn't deserve to eat, have clean water, go to the Dr? Who exactly are you talking about?
The mid 1950's in Montgomery, Alabama - what do you think would happen to that black family if they refused to be kind to you, to bring you into their home or to feed you?
Again with the divide between worthy and unworthy humans - who isn't working hard? Is it me that you're talking about? Because we do have family members who describe me this way. Is it me, and then SonHerisme, that do not deserve humane treatment? Who is it exactly that is deserving of being treated inhumanely?
Context – my parents have always worked hard and are also products of the cultural normative thoughts and behaviors of their time in history.
FatherHerisme was raised in extreme poverty, losing both parents at a very young age. He was raised by his older sister who quit school and got married so that she could take care of my father and he wouldn’t be sent away. She tried to also keep their three sisters, but the two youngest were taken by their father (different father than the older children) and the sister closest in age to her, ran off and got married when she was in 8th grade. Welcome to Kentucky in the 1950’s. A local librarian gave my father a job as a shelver when he was in High School because that’s where he was always hanging out. This librarian also paid for my father to apply for college and to take his entrance exams. My father attended a prestigious private engineering school with scholarships and Army funding (he served for some years after college), and spent his entire successful career as a chemical engineer with the same company.
MotherHerisme was raised in a military family (Army then Airforce) where her ambitious father became a Colonel and head of the ROTC program at a large southern university. Growing up she lived in California, Virginia, Japan, Alabama, France, and very briefly in Ohio. She met, got pregnant and married my father when she was working as a secretary in the Pentagon. FatherHerisme was temporarily at Fort Belvoir for specialized training while stationed in Germany. She was 19, he was 24. A rushed January wedding in Germany followed by the April arrival of my sister. ParentsHerisme raised three children, lived in Ohio (USA), Germany, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They are both always themselves and insanely photogenic. I am lucky to still have them and to know them.
Also, I am not woke. I am just me and am a product of the cultural normative thoughts and behaviors of my time in history. Free to be you and me, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers – all of the people showing us the ways of unity, consideration, healthy boundaries and acceptance. In my smaller than a grain of teensy crushed glorious stardust glass particle sand moment of this particular lifetime, I am trying to guide the humans in my wee circle towards recognizing the infinite circle as they can. Anti-racist, pro-unity, pro-acceptance and healthy boundaries. Many days I am failing. I’ll just keep going until I cannot.
It’s not the pale you that incites me, that scares and so frights me. Oh no, it’s just the whiteness of you. (sing to the tune of the soulful Norah Jones, Nearness of You – jippity jolly good funnesses).
I left the house yesterday evening, sat in my car on the front passenger seat with my door open in the back driveway, and listened to the heavy post-rainstorm drops clap down through the trees to make their final splash on the rocky ground. Those giant three-pronged sassafras leaves happily sproinged up and down with each plop-plop-plop of exhausted expended cloud remnants. Drip, drip drop little April (June-y) showers…
My usual evening grief was trying very hard to become a full blown panic attack. I did not intend to sit in the car and listen to the results of the storm. I didn’t intend to sit in the car at all. I left the house to leave the house before I screamed. I did not want to frighten SonHerisme or make any attempt to engage in explanatory conversation with MotherHerisme. I just wanted out of the house quickly. I could feel the squirming firey swirls of panic burbling around in my stomach and radiating down through to my knees. It’s like my nerves are on itchy fire and screaming at me to just do something, anything, just go, go, go… total flight response. I’m not the only one, right?
I thought about walking and phoning someone. I walked up and down the steepest bit of the driveway hill a few times before I decided to sit in the dry car for a bit while I contemplated who to phone. As I listened to the water falling and birds settling into post-storm nighttime routines, I decided not to phone anyone. I decided to just be and see how long I could be there without screaming, running away, driving away, or phoning anyone. I did send one text at some point, reading, “I need an entirely different life.” I deliberately sent it to someone I knew wouldn’t receive the text until the following morning as they would be well into children’s bedtime routines. Just in case something happened, I wanted to reach out. I don’t know what I thought would happen.
Since early 2014 I have been expecting a complete breakdown. It hasn’t happened, not even close (I don’t believe), but the expectation has been there. And not just from me – family, friends, therapists, my primary care doctor were all on high alert for some time, watching, assessing and speculating about when I would finally break. At some point I suppose I passed an invisible threshold where this became unlikely. I suspect due in part that I have also passed some other threshold in my brain where I am absolutely broken without hope of mending, but have accepted that to be whatever it will be.
No breakdown. No walk. No phone call. No screaming. Just sitting in the front passenger seat of my car as if I’ve arrived home (having been driven by someone else I suppose) or am about to head out somewhere, listening to the late evening post storm noises of the woods.
It occurred to me that I have been driving to and from this house for 15 years. This is by far the longest I have ever lived anywhere. I have been getting in and out of this car in this driveway for almost 13 years. WHAT the WHAT WHAT I know the rocks I am looking at because we have been looking at each other for a very long time now. I know where invasive plants are finally giving up and over to the native plants. I know where trees were that aren’t anymore and where there were none now there are some. I have witnessed how the hill changes throughout the seasons and where the chipmunks go to nest. I know that turtles, snakes, skunks, and groundhogs swap out residence underneath the shed by the back fence. The other night, I spotted a new small Mr. Jeremy Fisher who will soon be big and fat, over behind the rose bushes.
I thought about what changes might happen over this next year with the woods. I thought about how I will be completely different in another year on some cellular levels. My liver will have completely turned over all of its cells by this time next year. And on a total body cellular level, I am in all ways not the same person from 7 years ago. There is nothing physically about me that is the same – every single cell in my body is different. Only ideas, thoughts, memories have carried over – nothing tangible about my cellular physical me-ness.
I am different, regardless of my will to be different or to stay the same. I am not the same.
“I understand that nobody understands me, but I can’t be someone I’m not.” – Audrey Tautou
Maybe this is my heartbreak. I cannot be someone I am not, but I keep thinking I should try to be. “I need an entirely different life,” is what I wrote to my friend, not remembering I already am an entirely different life. Why am I trying so hard to be or to do something different when I am going to be different no matter what? Instead of spending my energies trying so hard to be different than, why not stop fighting, shaming and blaming myself, and just be and see what happens? Time is going to pass anyway. I am going to be someone completely different again in another 7 years no matter what.
Have you read The Midnight Library yet? I read this from the book today, “To be part of nature is to be part of the will to live.” Oftentimes, just about everyday at some point, I do seek solace outside. I try to eat outside at least once a day (unless the weather is too awful), even in 90F heat, rain, snow, etc unless extreme. I love walking outside. The trampoline is ridiculously bougie but fun. My healing body is so happy to be able to move around outside and walk to the creek or lake. I go outside because I need to not hear inside noises and I need to breathe. For 5 months in 2014 I couldn’t open any of my windows in the house or sit outside because of fear. I remember when I knew we finally had some safety secured, I went around the house to open all of the windows, and just breathed. I wonder if I need to be doing the outside things more. Outside in nature or water play were always my go-to’s when troubled emotions became too much for SonHerisme or NiecesHerisme, and they worked every time. hmmmmm
I don’t know what is going to happen next, except that I am very glad to know that I am cellularly not the same person from 7 years ago. I am also glad to know that my liver will be entirely different on this day next year. And I am most grateful that none of this change requires any effort on my part – it just gets to be.
ps MotherHerisme tears brought to you today by no one (myself or SonHerisme) bringing milk to the table for her on her timeline (SonHerisme was in virtual school meets in the back of the house, and I was not at home). The refrigerator is maybe 20 feet from her dining room table seat… She texted me while I was driving to ask if I could bring her some milk as soon as possible. She is struggling y’all and refuses any outside or water time. Although she was later convinced to shower before the home health nurse arrived for her final visit. Bandage changes and health monitoring for MotherHerisme falls back to me again. It will be fine – just another regroup/reset for my own expectations, which I am skilled at. She is currently loudly cursing (damnit, shit, g-d damnit etc) at her iPad. Yup – just fine here.
If you were hoping to hear something about the movie Seven Year Itch, released in June 1955, then I will say something about that now. The guy is a creepy creeper. Marilyn Monroe is beautiful, funny, and underrated as a complex interesting person. I used to have a Marilyn Monroe CD. I have enjoyed martini’s and also have put clothes in the freezer.
I hope that you go outside today, if you’re able. If it isn’t safe for you to be outside today, know I am looking at everything twice in order to send outside vibes (with productive cicada sounds) to you too!
I suppose this could be the introduction for any number of things at the moment… but it isn’t unless you want to metaphor up, which you are most welcome to do.
This is an introduction to an actual pig coup. As in the excommunicated pigs appear to be rallying and setting the stage to embark on a coup for penultimate reign over the farmette down the hillside. Yes, the farmette currently being governed by the very Goat King I’ve spoken about before. The pigs’ sudden boldness comes in part due to a complete upset in rank expectations as it turns out that the Goat King is the Goat Queen (now nursing two tiny hippity hoppity blonde prince and princess goats).
Don’t worry. This is not about to be a “back-in-the-day” share because 1. it is taking place right now and 2. I am my own self, not a former caterpillar, infamous Central American wrestler, or wandering meteor pretending to be a star.
Almost at the bottom of our mountain (which is truly just a very large hill but people insist on calling it a mountain), before the two creeks merge (working together making the journey quicker and more fun to the mighty river, out to the bay and eventually the vast endless ocean), there is a fork in the road. I always know what direction I am going to take at that fork in the road. More importantly, at this fork is a lane which leads back up a smaller hill upon which sits a white two-story farmhouse complete with wrap-around porch and green shutters in the middle of rolling fields making a farmette. A large white barn sits offset from the front of the house and close to the lane, tucked into the side of the hill. If you’re at the top of lane near the house, you can walk into the top of the barn where farming work things are stored. If you’re near the middle of the lane, you can walk into the lower part of the barn housing the seat and court of the Goat King (now Queen). At night there are twinkle sparkle lights all through the barn, just in case there is a spontaneous celebration or other entertainment at court.
The farmette has a few paddocks over the hills, food and water storage distribution huts, and shade areas scattered about. The farmette owner drives a tractor with an American Flag hoisted up on a flag pole behind his seat. It waves this way and that way as he drives around doing the things farmette owners do. Each time we pass the farmette, which is to say everytime we leave our house to go anywhere else other than the woods surrounding us, we have tipped our head in deference to and greeted the Goat King(now Queen), his court, and flock(s). Let’s move forward acknowledging officially the Goat King as Queen. Or maybe she can still be King as a lady goat? Yes, let’s do that then. We greet the Goat King first – respect – then the goat court, and finally the flock(s). The flock are mostly egg laying these days, but the meat flocks (chickens and turkeys) rotate in and out, so to speak.
Almost a month ago now, a new group entered the goat court area, keeping to their own quarters, natch. An entirely new pig court. Sweet little spotty squirmy pokey nosed piggies. We were worried a bit one of the hot days because all of the pink pigs took over their pig court shaded area, leaving the little black pigs out in the sun. It seemed to have been quickly sorted out, as the next time we passed, all of the pigs were snuggled together to fit the entire group into the shade.
I’m not privy to exactly what happened to cause the rift, but it happened just after the Goat King revealed her ladyness by birthing kids so I believe it had something to do with that. One day the pig court was fully integrated and supportive of the Goat King and goat court. The next day the pig court was removed to an entirely new spot on the farmette, two fenced paddocks away. The pig court was excommunicated from the Goat King’s presence.
When we pass by now we see signs of insurrection and an impending pig coup by the manner in which the pigs line up and stare back over the hill at the Goat King’s exclusive domain. Trouble is brewing at the farmette. I hope that the owner is prepared to foster a delicate diplomacy or accept a Pig King in the very near future.
This is my story and I’m sticking to it (as told to little sister friend who, once again, graciously receives it full of interesting questions and an appeal for me to ask the owner for an audience with the Goat King to see if I can help smooth things over).
Maybe this is unpostable because I am uncomfortable. Very. I began this as a vent with the title “unpostable” so I would remember that I wrote it to not post it. Here it is anyway…
I should be dead. I should’ve been dead in my 20’s, but I wasn’t. Now I have SonHerisme to raise so I need to make it through until he is settled into adulthood. Some days I don’t know if I can make it. But time passes and I always do. Then I feel immensely guilty for feeling the way I do because: what am I teaching my son if I value myself so little? I’m not sure that I value myself so little, its more that I do not see my value in this life other than to raise SonHerisme. Most everything else involving me is just pain. Of course, even parenting has its usual pains but it does bring so many more joys for me. I know that I am very fortunate in this regard. SonHerisme just came into the world this joyful way. I literally have nothing else bringing in or reflecting any personal value. I do see value in other things/people, though. Maybe I’m jealous of the dandelions painting the ground and the cicada music? My digestion prevents me from enjoying consuming food – nevermind the food/fat shame in my family. My digestion also prevents any blissful alcohol numbing. I’m too poor for drugs. I’m too stuck to travel or enjoy much beauty beyond my local reaches – which are beautiful of course, but limited.
It’s almost like a Socratic paradox where the more you know, the less you realize you actually know. But instead of knowing, its living. The more I know about living or have lived, the less I’ve actually lived.
Hey now – I am grateful for things. I’ve had journals and journals and journals recording my gratitude attitude. Also pointing out that no matter how dire the circumstances or how deeply I feel the loneliness, grief and pain of being, I always find something to push me through the day. Always. Courage, I suppose, because I clearly see it in some of you, so perhaps I have some as well.
As my brain was sinking into unworthiness the other day (damn you instagram, lovehate you forevah koyc!) on my self scheduled “break” outside on the trampoline (yes, instagram voyeurism whilst trampolining is a thing provided it’s a gentle tramp), MotherHerisme was crying because her ice had melted in her tumbler, SonHerisme was beginning his own meltdown over maths grades and works, plus he was pre-teen belly starving, one of the puppies vomited on the floor, front doorbell rang with another large Amazon package full of potato chips and coffee flavored peanut m&ms for MotherHerisme, breakfast and lunch dishes were sitting in the sink while a clean dishwasher was waiting to be emptied, the nurse was on her way to change MotherHerisme’s bandage(which now falls to me because the home nurse visits have expired again), I tripped over two bags full of soiled adult diapers left in front of the door by MotherHerisme so that I would take them to the trash while dodging her dirty clothes she tried to throw close to the staircase for the laundry room (MotherHerisme moves around as little as humanly possible) and I just needed to go to the bathroom… and on and on and on in case you wanted a snapshot of a typical post-lunch moment in my house of wack-a-doodely doodah.
Anywho – you get it. Minus a screaming baby and the electricity going out… chaos.
I turned around from the bags of soiled diapers and saw mud all over the floor. Scattered in clumps and smears all the way around the kitchen entryway, stopping just where SonHerisme had deposited his riding boots next to his hanging cocoon chair (which must be where he’d finally removed the boots). In that moment, that one tiny moment, I saw him in my mind’s eye, with his determined focused face grabbing onto Dusty’s mane with his left reign hand, pulling his body up to cantor and smiling with all of his everything as they galumphed up the hill together for their first intentional cantor moment (there have been unintentional cantors as well as jumps with other horses). All of the unworthy focus washed out of my body immediately. Thank you, stinky mud (at least, I hope you’re mud). Then my body forcefully reminded me that I truly had to go to the bathroom myself – probably a combo of soiled diapers and mud triggering the everythings. There’s a song I internally sing to my pelvic floor in these moments, in order to coax it into cooperation as I make for the back of the house to the bathroom. Natural birthing – amiright? Pelvic floor, pelvic floor, don’t fail me now, don’t fail me now. Pelvic floor, pelvic floor, you know I love you…. la la la la la It worked. No worries.
Then back to the doing of the things until something else swoops in and knocks my breath away pushing on my reverse heart bruises with the griefs and sadnesses.
And so go my days. Evenings are usually the most difficult for me. I just want to get dinner made, served, cleaned up, dessert the people up, grab tea for myself, shower (ending with freezing cold water natch), go to bed, read and pass out until the next day. Currently reading: A New Earth (again), Seasons of the Soul (again), Midnight Library, Amber Spyglass (again), and When the Apricots Bloom. That’s right – fiction is back!
Most nights I awaken at some point and struggle to return to sleep. Often I’m awakened by my body having some reaction to whatever. My face and pillow will be completely wet, the muscles in my face will be tired from crying in my sleep or something like that. So I know that stress is exiting me at points regardless of my conscious participation.
These days SonHerisme is soccering or tennising in the evenings, so I do get a little moment to walk around the park or watch him having fun with buddies and coaches. He is definitely a team kind of person, thankfully unlike me. I was a swimmer because there is very little noise under water and I love(d) that.
This is a hard share for me because of the things. My entire being pushes for a gentle, calm, peaceful, cozy, giggly, love existence. The physically painful unworthiness and grief moments throughout the day are gut punching paralyzingly difficult. The resets are unpredictably random and welcome reliefs. I have been thinking that at least I am feeling something other than constant shock numbing, which might be a good thing despite the pain. It does feel like my heart is continuously breaking and I will try not to fight it anymore because that truly seems to have been pointless.
btw I am not so buried in my own wacky miasma where I’m rendered unaware of the world grief and its impact on all of us. COVID, racism, Palestine, guns, mental illness, fascist movements, day-to-day life hardships etc. I know I am lucky to have occasional space for my griefs. I think about all of these things outside of myself everyday too and send love out into the universe to soothe and comfort.
today’s MotherHerisme tears are brought to you by having to take a shower and also remembering that her meals work better with her medications when she is on a somewhat regular schedule
(now, as needs must, laughter by watching clips from belly-laugh inducing comedians)
We can do hard things – we are doing them already, so we might as well own that we can – go you, go!
Newer humans are extraordinary for many reasons. They are empirically undeniably beautiful. They grow and experience everything at light speed. Their very essence and existence personifies hope.
I am one of the luckiest people in the world because I still get to spend some time around newer humans. While I don’t currently have teeny tiny newest humans in my circle, there are still some smaller ones around spreading their hope here and there. I miss the toothless to toothy sweet smelling kissy cheeked babies and squishy squashy runny drooly toddlers, for realsies. If you know, you know.
One of the newer humans I get to occasionally hang out with while her brother plays with SonHerisme (in very determined and competitive ways now as they jump into the teenager times), has taken her time to acclimate to the imaginations I bring to the table of life. She has always had very specific ways of entering into play and pretend, and I am more random with a bit of fantasy. Of course, neither way is the right way or the wrong way, they are just how we are. Over the past few years, though, she has increasingly graciously afforded me some space for my whimsies, which also means that she too is growing up. *sigh* Bittersweet as this also means that she is somehow even lovelier every day. You’d think with all of the children I have known in my years that I would be used to the growing upness of things. I am not. It is heavily hard and amazingly beautiful in every single instance.
This newer human little sister friend spends some time with me at each of the almost teenager boys’ soccer games. This soccer season has been difficult for those beloved boy-man giants, so we have a new game ritual involving harnessing magic hope.
A while ago a dear kind friend gifted me a small roll-on of an essential oil blend called, “Hope,” which I carry in my purse for stress emergencies. Occasionally I take it out and roll it onto the insides of my wrists for a calming reset of my senses as I go through the: what can you see? what do you hear? what can you touch? what do you taste? what can you smell? deep breaths in between, exercise. As one does (ptsd raise the roof – what what! put my hands up, they’re playin’ my song, the butterflies fly away, noddin’ my head like yeah… well, they don’t always fly away of course, but the sensory pause helps and now I have to listen).
At one of the soccer games when the boys’ team was struggling, newer human little sister turned her sweet squishy face to me while sitting in my lap making cookies in a cookie app on my phone (I KNOW COVID, but I did have my mask on and what am I supposed to do when miss adorable needs extra attention – I challenge ANY ONE of you to look into her big brown eyes and deny her this. Impossible – you cannot. I am eternally grateful that she continues to enjoy my company and never asks me for a pony. Do not let any of your sweet babies ask me for a pony! gah!). She said that she hoped the boys would win this game. I told her I had some magic hope in my purse, and maybe we should get it out and see if that helps. I took out the oil roller and showed her how to roll it on the inside wrist. I did one of my wrists and she did the other. None for her, though, because she carries the worries of a newer human thrust into the weirdo world of COVID isolation and has feelings of texture/smell anxiety as a result. As soon as we put the oil roller back into my purse, one of the boys made an awesome play which led to a goal! “Magic Hope Works!” she yelled and jumped about in excitement.
For the past two weeks, we’ve continued our ritual of harnessing the magic hope for the boys’ soccer game – and they’ve won both games. The newer human sister friend is now convinced that I carry magic hope in my purse. I do – I absolutely do, little puffin shakin’ bacon, I carry that magic hope for you, for your gentle brother, for the two brilliant girls of the friend who gifted the oil to me, for amazing sweet SonHerisme and all of the newer humans.
Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo (I’ll carry the Magic Hope for you as well!)
ps. those pre-teen boys turn into teens soon. One this weekend and SonHerisme over the summer (watermelon weather – only the Bing Crosby recording). They still play on co-ed teams bc that’s how they roll and their girl peers are also fierce as hell on the pitch!
“hope can take on a life of its own” ~Michelle Obama
While I know this post is about hope, the magic hope, and carrying hope, today is hard in my brain and I am grateful to have this experience in my memory cache for however long it can be there. Thank you for extending your kindness by reading, liking and listening
‘Bouts to get my apple crumble on, yo (the peoples like it with the creams which have been whipped). It’s been a bit cooler and rainy here = enter crumble stage left, no spotlight, just silvery greenie bluish moon light, please and thank you.
Something is feeling off at the moment. Are you feeling it as well? Not a pushy frenetic feeling for transformation or resolution, but rather a s-l-o-w movement of something.
Paraphrased, but I read something like this the other day, “If you cannot understand why someone is grieving so deeply for such a long time, then consider yourself fortunate that you do not understand,” and, “you don’t ever learn to forget your heartbreaks, you just learn how to live with them better.”
I’m not sure if I am the one putting the most pressure on myself about grief and life – I probably am.
I wonder how many of you are as well?
A sweet friend recently asked me what I am seeking. The only thing I could think of was that I’d like to have a pool. I know this isn’t what she meant, but it’s all my heart would allow to come out of my mouth. I am thinking that I cannot seek anymore. This might be why I have not followed up with finding a therapist. I do not want to introduce myself or explain myself. I do not want to talk about anything I am interested in or have ever been interested in. No hopes or dreams, please and thank you – it is just too painful. If there was a therapy where I could go and not be asked to speak but the other person would just know some things to say to me, that’s where I would sign up. Maybe we don’t even have to make eye contact. Maybe I could walk in and they could just hand me a note with some suggestions on it and we wouldn’t, either one of us, have to speak at all. Perhaps I am seeking to not seek. Seeking might seem hopeful or optimistic and my body brain cannot handle that anymore – it is too disappointing and my time is almost up.
I belong to a local single parents group on facebook (blerg, but necessary community connections) where the moderator asked us to re-introduce ourselves and what we are looking for by joining the group. I answered as honestly as my brain would allow in that moment. I joined the group because all of my local friends are either married or partnered up and I thought that joining the single parents group would connect me to people with similar parenting experiences to mine. I am not an active participant, so I have no idea if there are connections in that group for me. From the little I have seen, it seems there are not (reasons).
Pre-COVID someone mentioned to me that a DV or even a grief support group might work better for me to find connection. But, I don’t feel like I am seeking that anymore either. Fundamentally, I am not thrilled with being me, but there I always am, still being myself. Wait a hawt minute – one extraordinary exception – I love being mommy to SonHerisme. Is this too much of a burden to place on a sweet giant bear?
My grief is like groundhog day grief. It cycles through me multiple times a day every day. Some days more painful than others. Like a permanent bruise on the reverse side of my heart that will never heal, is always uncomfortable and then even more so when it gets pushed on. It is what it is and I have always made due.
What are you seeking? Are you seeking anything?
I wonder why you are reading this sometimes and I hope that your heart is not broken or that you are not feeling pain. Then I do worry that you’re reading something here that might make your heart sad and how I can help you. I cannot help, I know that I do not know you. Anyway, I hope that you are okay.
I am humbled by the wave of vaccinations we are all privileged to receive, and are receiving. SonHerisme has jab#1 with a sore arm for a day and mine are complete – jab #1 and jab #2 plus two weeks.
I am humbled that anyone chooses to read anything that I write.
I am humbled by the way the moon smiles halfway through it’s moonie cycle.
I am humbled by the rhythm of a cicada brood emerging every 17 years to do their cicada thing.
I am humbled by having had the ability to birth a life into being.
I am humbled by SonHerisme’s resilience, compassion and curiosity for knowledge and life.
I am humbled by knowing that far away (by distance and time) people are being themselves doing the things of life.
I am humbled by the person who thought to plant an apple tree, wait for the apples to be delicious, pick the apples and then send them to my co-op where I could buy them and bring them home for my crumble. Same for the oats, brown sugar, butter (which involved a mommy cow too, who probably had to sacrifice her nursing newborn), cinnamon, and vanilla people.
I am humbled by @geologistonboard ‘s Instagram post of migmatic rock exposures from an area of exhumed kohistan volcanic arc.
I am humbled by dandelion magic.
I will continue to try to be ground and crumbled, to surrender to what is and to let it be. I don’t have the strength to fight anymore and anyway I like wildflowers.
ps. I got new glasses for my eyeballs and I like them better than the ones I’ve been wearing since MrH times. Larger, black, hint of tortise-shell frames going around my invisible eyelashed greenie eyeballs. Anywho, I can see much better now – you’re welcome, local fellow drivers!
Today I learned another new thing from The MERL. Tu ne sais pas The MERL? How? What? The Museum of English Rural Life with hella good insta game.
I learned that today is World Bee Day! buzzzzzzzzzzzz I like bees. Thank you, The MERL! Thank you for showing me a peek into the Cowan Bee Collection as well – a happy Thursday surprise for this bee loving librarian 🙂
Late yesterday I looked back through some of my recent posts. I don’t really know what I was searching for. It’s so weird to look back at posts. I have maybe gone back only once or twice in the whole time of writing this blog. I generally don’t do this because it is so very disorienting as nothing is recognizable to me. I mean that the situations are, obviously, but the writing is not. Many of the pictures and quotes don’t seem familiar either. This is not a good feeling and I begin to get worried about my own brainiacs of anxiety cueing the spirals….
I understand that there is a discussion over “cuing” v “cueing.” I like the “e” and I’ll allow it here. You’re welcome to do you with no judgement here. It just looks like have an “e” thing today xo
In re-reading some of my posts I saw a lot of repetition. Maybe I have to say, “the time we almost got killed,” or some iteration of that, a zillion times before I can accept it or process it as a part of my reality? It is not all of my life experiences, but for sure has been an impactful one. I’m thinking that if you have stuck around as a reader/listener, you know enough of my story to know that we have been through some terrorizing situations over here.
Do I need to mention it anymore to bring context to anything I am writing here? I don’t know. Have I honored my feelings around the situation enough? Have I taken a step back to see what being in this situation might have taught me or changed in me? Have I honored that transformation in myself? Have I grieved? Have I reflected enough?
It would be great if there was some external barometer, 12-steps, or honey-pot to fill with doable knowable increments achieving the enough that’s needed. Oh to be a bee and know the defining things a bee gets to know. But then I suppose I’d only have a teensy bee life, and I’ve got this one and a SonHerisme to raise up to manhood. I don’t know how to know intangibles beyond imagination (which is clearly imagination for purely imaginative purposes), other than those related to SonHerisme.
This is the work of a worker human, I suppose.
Laundry, caring for MotherHerisme, ironing, jab#1 for SonHerisme today, early dinner and tennis are on my horizon.
JAB #1 SonHerisme!!! HUZZAH
World Bee Day plus reflection on my mind-numbing repetitive posts about our trauma PLUS my bugaboo baby puffin bear’s vaccine jab!!!! (I’m excited for SonHerisme just a titch tatch natch)
Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s a tree, or a wood,
a garden, or a magic city.
Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
Maybe you’ll see a face, or an eye, or the picture of a picture.
Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog it will clear.
Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only the hollow wind,
even if nothing is there,
go and open the door.
By Miroslav Holub
There is a door to the outside from my basement. It’s level with the ground on that side of the house because I live on the east side of a large hill at the southern end of a mountain range. Foothills for the Appalachian mountains. Like many areas of the world, it is quite lovely here. I very rarely use that door in the basement – maybe once a year. It needs replaced. The kick plate area on the door is very damaged. I know that I should fix it – it looks awful. I am starting to wonder if I keep broken things around as some sort of penance flagellation or something. Is this a thing that people do?
Perhaps you are wondering why I think it is my punishment to look at that hideous kickplate area of the door every time I drive up and down the back driveway, take a walk around the property, search for wild turkeys and baby dear, or study flights of the bumblebees? Sharing is caring and so I will do it. It is painful and hard, but… I keep hearing about doing hard things, getting out of the comfort zone, and the eternal “fuck it.”
(insert tea break to work up the courages)
My friend, who is not really my friend, from high school, used to hate it HATE IT when I would dive into a joke, make a funny face, or find a silly spot in a tough situation or conversation. He did not like it. “Not everything is a joke or funny,” he would say, very seriously with reproach overtones. I just could not understand how that could be true. I get it now, of course (the maturitys). However, for the most part, it is me being me and I cannot not be me no matter how hard I try. And, believe me, I have tried so very hard that if there was a “tried hardest to make things be something else” award, I might be asked to stand before the final judgement table with a few of you other contestants. SOLIDARITY floating in that boating. Admittedly, though, my unwavering commitment to pull-up-your-big-girl-panties look-on-the-bright-side and move on crap, did almost get us killed. *sigh*
The kickplate on the door happened during the almost got killed times. I have told no one about this before right now. Not my attorney. None of the therapists. Not the police. None of my friends or family. It happened between the time MrexH had been removed from our home, placed into a twelve day psychiatric hold at our local hospital, and the 5 terrifying months later when he was remanded into custody of the State. I believe that he damaged that kickplate.
When SonHerisme was 5/6 years old we were still sleeping in the same bed in the main bedroom of the house just above the side of the basement where the door to the outside is located. I hardly slept during those times because I was terrified about what was going to happen to us. I didn’t know if MrexH was coming to kill us that day, that night, or maybe the next day. BrotherHerisme put an alarm system on every door and window, a motion camera at the end of the driveway, and security bars on all of the doors. I would awaken at any little sound in the house, and still do most nights. Although at points in just the last few years, my brain and body eventually give out and I fall so deeply asleep for an hour or so, that I truly hear or feel nothing.
When MrexH was MrH and lived in the house with us, he had a collection of sports memorabilia he kept in the basement. A hoard rather. When he was no longer in the house, the thing he wanted the most, other than to control us, was the sports stuff in the basement. Our attorneys made arrangements for him to pick up the sports stuff, but I didn’t want him back in the house at all. By this time he had destroyed things in the house and threatened all of my family and a few friends. The agreement was for me to take all of the sports stuff outside.
It was raining on the day this was to take place and I got worried about the stuff getting damaged (ha!) and about SonHerisme being outside with me in a thunderstorm to move all of the stuff. SonHerisme was so full of trauma at this time that he could not bring himself to leave my side. Unless it was absolutely necessary for us to be separated (court appearances, attorney phone calls, police interviews etc) I let it be okay for him to be with me at all times he needed me. I’m sure I messed everything up on occasion, but my go-to was to do whatever kept SonHerisme safe and healthy (including mentally). With the rain, I decided not to take anything outside and I phoned my attorney to let her know.
This last minute change did not go over well with my attorney(she had some words for me on the phone and in her office, Mercenary Athena fuh reals y’all). It also did not please MrexH. There were nights after this that I thought someone was pulling into the back driveway and walking around the house. I was too paralyzed with fear to do anything about it. I was too afraid to leave SonHerisme and check anything out. I was too afraid to look out any windows and I was too afraid to even phone the police.
There were nights when it felt like someone was stomping around the house. There were nights when I thought someone was banging on the doors, including the garage doors, to get inside the house. Like a scene out of a spooky movie, I would pull SonHerisme as close to me as I could and pull the blanket up over our heads and hold my breath for as long as possible, silently counting the seconds to see how long two minutes felt. It would take two-five minutes between when police were notified the alarm went off and an emergency responder would arrive to the driveway on a typical night. I would calculate how much damage MrexH could possibly do in two-five minutes. Would he stop to grab his sports stuff before he came upstairs to get us? Would he stop in the kitchen and grab a knife or would he just bring a baseball bat from the collection? Could I say something to distract him from hurting us until the police could get here? Once here, could the police get inside in time to save at least SonHerisme? If I squished SonHerisme and myself underneath the bed, could he reach us before the police arrived, or would that be a big enough delay? Should I use a blanket when I did that to keep SonHerisme in a softer cocoon? Is this the day that we die? Did I lock all of the everythings? Should I pick up SonHerisme and run for the car? Except the car is downstairs in the garage… Am I fast enough? Is this how we die?
Yes, we are still in the same house.
Yes, I have thought about leaving.
Yes, I know he can find us here or wherever we go because I do not live in a made for cable movie/series.
MrexH is far away at the moment. So far that he cannot drive here. For now, we are safe and SonHerisme is a 6ft athletic 12 year-old. A bit different than a few years back.
After MrexH was placed into State custody a few months later, and the seasons left Summertime for Autumn, I noticed that there was a dent in the garage door which was new, and that the kickplate area on the basement door had been damaged to the point of paint kicked off and rust settling in spots (which are now very evident). This aknowledgment is chilling and making my teeth numb.
This is how I know I am in a place of deep anxiety or fear: my heart rate slows to a loud thumping in my left ear, I do not feel any temperature (I see you in your parka and I am in short sleeves, or I see you in short sleeves but I have somehow worn my parka), if I can think about them at all – my legs and arms feel detached from my body, I hear my eyelids softly click click when they blink, my throat closes to a voice whisper, and my teeth go numb. I should add that my biggest and first clue is always numb teeth. When My teeth go numb, I know the other things are coming. This has taken me years to figure out beyond the numb teeth. But I’m sure if you are in my real life community, you have wondered to yourself, “it’s 90 degrees out, why is she wearing a big coat?” or, “It’s freezing out here, where is her jacket and why is she in a short dress?” Of course, I am awkward without the anxiety so that probably explained it for you 😉
I used to try to harness control by taking some naproxen as soon as I could feel the wave coming over me.
It didn't take away the effects of the anxiety, but it did help keep me functioning to get into the car.
Drive to the courthouse parking lot.
Remind myself of how Oprah got out of her car to face white cattle people in court (I know - not the same at all, but it helped me at the time, somehow).
Get out of my car.
Get into the elevator.
Push the button.
Get out of the elevator.
Walk across the alley.
Enter the courthouse basement area.
Walk through security.
Get into the courthouse elevator.
Push the correct floor button.
Exit the elevator.
Veer to the right to find a safe spot on the far wall until I spotted my attorney or stepped inside the State's Attorney's office area.
You know, the usual.
I do not use naproxen for anxiety anymore. Although, I can’t say if push came to shove with some new lethal scenario, I wouldn’t use it again. Maybe (?). It is unlikely at this point that this would occur, but …? Who knows.
It is the door better left unopened.
I do not even want to be the person that ever had that door at all, but here we are. *tap dances with jazz hands for effect*
On a much lighter note, another door I occasionally peek through leads me into the other side of the world to the Asian Continent via Twitter where I am often mistaken for one country’s prominent life-long politician and current foreign minister. Sometimes I’ll open up the twitters with hundreds of retweets and mentions woven through threads of whatever is happening over there of which I have barely a novice understanding of. This has been going on since shortly after I joined the Twitterverse. Honestly, I like being misTweeted. There have been many days, much like some of you, where I have felt completely disconnected and unseen. There’s no relief from that except for putting it out of mind as best as I am able since it is much too painful to sit with. On those days I especially enjoy being misTweeted and when I am up to it, I do respond to some of them. Through the years I have only had one person respond to my comments, and it was with an, “alhamdulillah,” and a laughing emoji. The twitttering usually goes something like this:
Them: Such-and-such political party is causing me to have the angers for the reasons which I will now express to you @(me)
Me: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to #somistweeted #checkyourselfbeforeyouwreckyourself #carryonpeacewarrior
Me: You have reached @(me). I am unavailable at the moment due to staying alive stuff. If you have inquiries as to my availability for champagne on the deck, please leave a msg. If you have inquiries of a more serious nature, kindly redirect yourself to @(the politician's tag) #carryonbeveragewarrior #pleasebringachampagnesword #imtheoneinglasseswglasses
Links between the two? Nothing. Just very different doors of experiences. Although I am fairly certain that DV experiences are sadly universal…
DON’T go through the DV door, it has too much darkness ticking. I do not recommend it at all. There are a zillion other doors – choose those. Choose all of those and open them all. When you open mine, I’ll wave back 🙂
ps my door is oversized, deep red brown wood surrounded by a concrete/brick frame with a rounded top, and pop-open peek-a-boo shutters. There’s a bit of black wrought iron somewhere and lots and lots and lots of greenery and flowers with a cozy swinging bench or two.
(my real door is on-purpose yellow on a regular American-style brick-front black-shuttered house but you’ll find me around back on the deck or the trampoline)
also, I share my hard stories in the hopes that your hard stories will perhaps not feel as lonely, and that mine will not feel as lonely too.