Fortress of Solitude

latestIf you know the source of this image, please let me know so that I may credit them

There has always been an urge in me to find my fortress of solitude wherever I have landed.

 

As a child, it was on top of a rock down a gully towards the creek in our backyard.  The trees surrounding the rock permitted just enough space for a stream of sunlight to break through and spotlight directly on the rock.  I believed that when I sat on the rock I was invisible to everything except for G-d.  It was my direct contact with G-d and protection from the world.  I would sit there for hours, daydreaming, reading, drawing, playing barbies etc.  Occasionally I fell asleep there until the sunlight stretched itself out of range and I could hear my mother calling me back to the house.

 

When we moved to Germany, my bedroom balcony became my fortress.  It was a shared balcony with my sister’s room.  She never came outside to use the balcony, so I claimed it as my own and remained unchallenged for the duration.  The balcony looked out onto our small sloped garden and a wild hill.  At the top of the hill was a nursing home with balconies for residents.  Sometimes one of these older people would wave if I looked their way.  It always seemed to me that they were angels looking down to see what was happening in the world. They appeared other-worldly and therefore did not feel like an interruption to my solitude, but rather an integral part of it like the sky or a ceiling of protection.

 

Returning to the USA, we moved back into the house we left.  I had a room to myself by then because my sister left for college.  The rock I left behind was now covered with overgrown woodland plants.  The trees were much larger and unable to allow space for the sunlight to pass through onto the same spot as before.  My fortress relocated to the now massively overgrown willow tree at the top of the gully’s entrance.  I kissed a boyfriend there once and felt sad that I had breached my fortress’s solitude.  Of course, I enjoyed the activity.  What I did not enjoy was having opened the space to someone who clearly did not have the same reverence.

 

Moving on to college, I lost my ability to establish a space for myself.  Everything was geared towards this forced temporary instantly intimate community at all times in all places and all spaces.  It was too much for me and I believe was a pivotal point in my health, due in part to the lack of solitude.

 

I developed my own portable fortresses.  Headphones, disc player, books, weight, etc  to now phone, earbuds, laptop, books, foldable sport chair with cover!  Anything to help me disappear.

 

Events in my childhood, and adulthood propelled me to have this drive.  I’m sure that a few of you can guess those kinds of events: sensory sensitivities, molestation, rape, emotional abuse, blah blah blah, hotel stalker tried to purchase me as a bride when I was 12 (the stories of so many of us).

 

Exploring how to carve out healthy spaces for myself is another area that matches with my boundary works.

 

My foldable chair with lid is blue – like the frozen tundra of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.  I like it and register your surprise at that, if you know me and know that I detest blue furniture for myself.  But this isn’t real furniture.  Plus, FORTRESS of SOLITUDE.  Well, it’s more of a safety blanket, really.  So, I should call it “Linus’s Friend” instead. Nope, that does not have the same impact, even though I love Linus.  Superman for the win!

 

When you see me with my chair at the pool, park, games, concerts, etc it does not mean that I do not want to engage with you.  I like you (except Green Lantern)! It gives me a defined space to be, that’s all.  I am a work in progress using the tools I have available to me and I like having something in common with a superhero, even if he is the enemy of Mr. Batman.

 

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

Virtutem Forma Decorat aka Audrey Hepburn: Rise of the No

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Hey y’all

Howsit goin’?

Whatcha doin’?

 

Our sweet summertime is in full swing.  We are on the other side of the slope, plowing towards school resuming in September.  Summer is busy around here: tennis, swimming, karate, math tutoring, outdoor adventure play, day camps (fishing, hiking, singing, more swimming etc), local day-trip fun times, video games, museums, trampolining, cooking, cleaning, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (nod to Mr. King-of-Siam).

 

We also had FatherHerisme and Niece2Herisme join us for about 6 weeks. Niece1Herisme lives locally, so is in and out as often as her family + teenagerness allows.

 

Anywho, it’s been a bit chaotic and busy around these parts.  Which feels like a lovely blessing and overwhelming at the same time.  Of course, I continue to care for MotherHerisme.  She will remain with SonHerisme and myself, along with her two sweet fluffy mini-doggies, for the time being in order to maintain her treatment plan through the coven at Georgetown Hospital.  Pyoderma – do NOT Google this.  You have been warned, and on your own if you ignore this warning.  To sum up:  it is extremely painful, extremely visually dramatic, and requires a ton of painkillers plus steroids plus exact bandage change protocol (enter me).  These past two years have been a lot for MotherHerisme to deal with.  Please send healing wishes, good juju and prayers, as you are able. Thank you.

 

Niece2Herisme decided to throw a surprise birthday party for me this summer.  It was a milestone birthday (sort of) and she loves me so much that she wanted to mark it in a special way.  She is a very sweet young lady and has a big generous heart!  I am so lucky to know her!  Alas, she was missing adult guidance, so much of it did not work out as she imagined (ex: The cake pictured above was ordered by me once I learned that my allergies prevented me from eating all of the food being ordered, including the cake). My heart broke for her.  It was a learning experience, and I hope that I conveyed how much I appreciate and love her through all of this hard growing up and learning stuff.

 

All of the everything, plus having time passed since we had our lives ripped apart, plus hitting a hard birthday, plus my life in general equals the Rise of the No.

 

No to breaking my appropriate boundaries

No to sugar coating or plain lying about what is happening in my life

No to denying the gravity of what has occurred in our lives

No to treating SonHerisme or me as if we are an inconvenience

No to being disrespectful to our space without acknowledgement

No to passively accepting bad or inappropriate behavior

 

No

 

I love Audrey Hepburn.  I am a huge fan of her work, both as a celebrity actor and as a humanitarian.  I love her so very much, that a very special and dear life-long friend of mine, whom I also love, love, love, once sent me a beautiful print of an Audrey Hepburn quote:

 “I believe in pink.  I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.

I believe in kissing. Kissing a lot.

I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.

I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.

I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”

I had this print framed and hanging on my bedroom wall for years.  I loved seeing it.  I loved reading it.  I loved it when my son could read it for the first time on his own.  This past week, I took it down and I doubt that I will ever re-hang it.

 

As I looked at the print when I went to bed, it began to depress me.

Pink is still a-okay by me, as is laughing.

Kissing is seriously depressingly lacking and unlikely to return to my life.

Being strong is an illusion.  Those of us battling whatever battles, battle them to survive or to give our children survival skills – it’s not strength, it’s instinctual self-preservation that drives us.

Happy girls are whatevs.  Great if you are one, also a-okay if you’re not.  Being human and giving your soul space to spread love and goodness is much more important and vital than being happy.

Also, tomorrow IS another day (duh).

Miracles happen everywhere every day.  The very essence of life is a miracle.  I’m not sure how profound miracles are by their existence.  It is in the recognition of the miracle that the profoundness is released.

Obvs I am now old.

Grieving dreams, hopes and aspirations that can no longer be.

One of SonHerisme and my favorite things to do is to hop down to the city and visit some of our favorite artwork.  The only displayed Da Vinci in the USA is in our city: Ginevra de’Benci.  On the reverse of her portrait is another painting by Da Vinci with a secret message “Virtutem Forma Decorat,” “Virtue Adorns Beauty.”  Beauty is found in the things we do, rather than in our face or how our bodies look/behave.  Beauty is as beauty does, so to speak (if you’re from Georgia, South Carolina or Alabama, I’m sure that this is a familiar mantra).  I am not a pillar of virtue, but I do try to be a good role model for SonHerisme and his cousins as well as our broader community.  Not typically in bold overt ways, but in my own quiet patterns and whispers.  I’m an okay-ish-with-my-own-virtue kind of person.  And as for my outside beauty – the virtue does not adorn it. I’ll acknowledge that I am not hideous, mostly (Cartman!).  However I am not a person for whom people feel the need to take more than a glance, much less a second look.  Being an introvert, this is sort of a relief.  At my age I have most definitely stepped into the invisible phase. I don’t have the energy to explore being more virtuous – unless honoring instinctive self-preservation is a virtue (?).  Ack!  Too much pressure and fack beauty anyway.  If you’re not genetically blessed, recognized by someone as such, or overt about your beauty, you end up invisible no matter how virtuous you proclaim or demonstrate yourself to be. I chalk this Da Vinci verso addition up to platituding for profit.

From the time I was very young, being invisible was imperative and worked towards my own self-preservation.  Examples to follow in future post.  My point is that, for now, I am focused on using my emotional boundaries as self-preservation rather than physical boundaries.  This is a difficult shift for me.  It is near impossible for me to even recognize my emotions, much less respond to my emotions by setting appropriate boundaries.

Rethinking how I physically present myself into the world is a piece of this as well.  Don’t look for me to suddenly adorn myself with glitter, eyeshadow or gregarious clothes…  Think more about how I carry myself, wearing sneakers and COSTCO skirts everyday (I know, I KNOW), the language I use, voicing what needs voiced, making eye contact (ugh), etc.

Please do not refer to this as, “baby steps.” This is superdy NOT helpful to someone like me. Condescending and patronizing. When babies learn to take steps, they have someone, and oftentimes multiple someones, enthusiastically cheering them on.  Clapping and, “ohh, ahh” ing over every movement.  When they stumble tumble, large comforting gentle loving hands are there to pick them up, warmly cuddle them, kiss their boo-boos away and reassure them that they are going to be okay.  As a single parent working from home, the adult equivalent of this level of security and support is just not available to me.  I do have lovely friends, who step in and out when able (THANK YOU) – ps they have their own struggles and lives.  The bulk of the comfort I am able to receive has to be self-generated.  Honestly, most days I am unable to muster it for myself.  Then, you know, instinctual self-preservation kicks in: SonHerisme needs support, MotherHerisme needs support, tiny doggies need support, and so goes my day.  I am taking steps – that’s all.  Sometimes tiny, sometimes (hopefully in a healthy manner) bigger, or medium-ish, or just slightly over tiny.  No “baby steps.”

To sum up:

I am saying, “no, thank you,” much more often.

Audrey Hepburn was still an amazing humanitarian and expressed her immersion into a healthy loving supportive environment through her words and works (I am in a different place).

Da Vinci remains an intriguing talented enigma.

No baby steps.

I love that you read all of this, even if you believe that I am wacky.

 

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuance of Curious Choice Words

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There are words and phrases which are so delectably delicious that I want to say them over and over and over again, like the best wine (no headache after), or not-too-rich lighter than air smother than silk spoonful of chocolate mousse, or that steaming bowl of savory mushroom soup on a frigid day…  you know, taaaaaaaysteee tasty.

 

I want to be in a situation, in a conversation somewhere, maybe in a train station, or better yet on the bench in Gallery 56 West Building NGA-DC, and say to my bench neighbor, “That is just the nuance of curious choice words, isn’t it?”

Nuance of curious choice words

Wow

Now, THAT is a phrase worth repeating.

 

There are other words that leave a disgusting film of rotten bumpy gut taste in my mouth too.  Like, “Donald,” (apologies to Mr. -the-Duck), and, “Trump.”

There is nothing nuanced about him or people who support or are otherwise silent about him.

DT says what he means.  What he means is that he is entitled to grab women and kiss them or fondle their vaginal areas without their permission.  What he means is that he sees a 10-year-old girl as a future masturbatory object to penetrate.  What he means is that countries other than his racial ideal are shitholes.  What he means is that if he could get away with it, he would act on his sexual attraction to his own daughter (without her permission obvs).  What he means is that he wants to build a wall so that no one who isn’t up to his standards of existence has the opportunities he has had.  What he means is that anyone who is not a fat old white bigot racist misogynist hateful fear-filled man with substantial financial resources is not worthy of any consideration of humanity.

 

DT is not nuanced.

Disliking him has nothing to do with politics.

 

In democracy, politics are nuanced, disputable, debatable. 

 

Nothing about DT represents democracy.

He is not a nuanced debatable entity.  He is an inhumane disgusting oaf with too much connection.

He is not the first with power in this country to be this way (McCarthy much? Hello, $20 Jackson).  He is the first with so much instant connection and global influence.

 

We are in a disgusting and shameful moment in our history, again.

We will rise and overcome this, again.

 

An adult in my home began shaming 9-year-old SonHerisme for reciting all of the presidents (momma brag!) and ending with his comment that he wished Mr Obama was still president because he is afraid of DT.

 

The adult responded angrily that Mr. Obama and his wife walked and held hands with the devil because Mr. Obama had tugged on his pants inappropriately during the National Anthem once and bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia.  And also because Bill Clinton couldn’t keep his pants zipped (bc completely relevant – NOT).  This adult eventually dissolved into tears as I repeatedly told them to stop shaming SonHerisme (who is 9), and to stop trying to place inhumane behavior in the same category as the nuances of politics.

For example:

Political Parties in a Democracy – politics

Apartheid – inhumane

There is no discussion to be had.  Inhumane views, bigoted views, racist views, misogynist views plainly spoken are NOT EVER nuanced politics.

Even a 9-year-old understands the nonsensical inhumanity of it.  Some of his friends are immigrant families.  Some of his friends have been directly affected by the emboldened racism promoted by DT.  Some of his friends have relatives who, until last year, have been able to visit their U.S. families each year, and are now no longer permitted.

A 9-year-old cannot comprehend why international deals fall through, why our education system is a blundering tumble of a mess, why our infrastructure is breaking, etc.  because these are all fallouts of nuanced politics.

A 9-year-old understands meanness to others just for being others.

 

This is real.  No embellishment.

If it is happening in my house, I know that it is happening in other people’s homes.  I’m calling it out here in a truthful and honest way.  We need to keep talking about this.  We need to keep ourselves from falling into the lull of the everyday so that we can rise and overcome this shameful moment.

 

Grasp onto a future of mutually respectful humanity cooperating and working within the messiness of us.

 

 

Should I have seen
Should I have heard
Maybe a nuance of curious choice words
There were no signs
At least none I could see
No warning from you
Then out of the blue a fait accompli ~ Benny Andersson

 

No one can resist a good Swedish Folk Song from this century.  NO ONE

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

Breakxit

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The exit from the break – Breakxit.

Well, it was a break.  I should count us grateful for that at least.  So, what was it this time?  A month?  Maybe less, as I did receive a bill from my attorney during that time.  YES, I continue to pay for current services, not catching up from past legal fees.

 

Current attorney services include the bi-weekly review of the weekly updates that I continue to provide to MrexH (week #122).  Occasionally her reviews include some contact with the court-ordered Parenting Coordinator.  While my attorney always records her time spent on my (closed but precarious) case, in almost every invoice, she marks up to half of that time as “NO CHARGE.”  She has an amazing amount of quiet compassion.  It was truly a life-saving blessing that I made it into her office in April 2014.

 

I was sitting in the secret parking lot of our local domestic violence shelter, shaking uncontrollably, completely at a loss for what my next step should be.  SonHerisme was safely in another location unknown to MrexH, and I phoned a friend who had previously worked at the shelter.  I needed to know where to go next, what to do, who was safe to speak to etc.  This friend patiently listened to me for a brief moment, then interrupted to instruct me to get out a piece of paper and pen.  She gave me the name of an attorney and her phone number.  She told me to hang up with her and before I did anything else or drove anywhere, to immediately phone this attorney and make an appointment.  Thankfully, I did.  Because this friend is typically an uber empathetic compassionate listener, I think that her abrupt interruption of my massive anxiety dump, shocked me into action and I made the call.

 

I am forever grateful to her.

 

I am forever grateful to all of my friends and bystanders who offered a listening ear, patience, and support as they were able to do so.

 

I am forever grateful to my attorney.  If I could pay her twice the amount I have, I would.  She deserves it and so much more.

 

I am forever grateful to our local Sheriff’s Department Victims Services Coordinator.

 

I am forever grateful to our court-ordered Parenting Coordinator.

 

I am forever grateful to Master, now Judge, S.

 

I am forever grateful to all of those people who work to support and guide victims of domestic violence.

 

This week, I received a letter MrexH sent to SonHerisme through the court-ordered Parenting Coordinator. This was a months ago discussed plan of action come to fruition.

 

SonHerisme and MrexH have not had contact since 2014.

 

Ironically at the beginning of all of our legal entanglements, letter writing was what I suggested.  The idea was dismissed as ridiculous and I was labled “overprotective and full of misplaced anxiety.” Yet here we are four years later…

 

MrexH’s letter is borderline illegible due to his illnesses.  The words seem appropriate enough to share with SonHerisme.  And I will do so, with the guidance and support of multiple therapists for both of us.

 

And so the spiral begins again.

 

The guilt over MrexH being so ill, the consequences of his illnesses that I did not extricate from earlier, and the part I played in bringing that into SonHerisme’s life.

 

Assuming the role of Destroyer of Fun, Destroyer of Sense of Security to SonHerisme.

 

Numbing, falling into the overall guilt hell-hole, followed by the trenches of depression, climbing up with resignation to the reality, slipping into guilt hell-hole a few more times until making it out for a while, and onward.

 

It is exhausting.

I am exhausted.

 

The break was an illusion, I realize that.  I feel SO much guilt and pain over any pain MrexH may be feeling, but recognize that I cannot afford to compromise our health/safety/lives over that, what must therefore be, misplaced guilt.

 

And so, I eat a small bowl of peppery vege-broth rice.

I take a moment to look at the Met Gala costumes and wonder about the details of construction, the feel of the fabrics and embellishments, the artistic minds of those creators and wearers.

I sit or walk outside for a few minutes and listen to things growing and being alive.

I take SonHerisme to and from school, to and from activities, to and from friends, to and from appointments.

I take my mother to and from appointments, change her bandages, help her with daily tasks.

I cook breakfast, lunch, dinner.

I clean the house (poorly), I launder the things needing laundered, I pay the bills needing payed.

I prepare food for my mother’s two little dogs and feed them twice a day, take them to and from appointments, give them outdoor time etc.

 

I continue to do all of the things that need doing.

 

I breathe.  I move.  I exist.

 

I try to keep going and I call it life.

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

psst…  I’m outside trying to let the magic replace the guilt.  I hope it works!

Crowdsource Edit

A piece of unedited opening paragraph for what is shaping up to become

The Firefly Ballet

 

The obtrusively loud white noise-ish monotonous drone of the air conditioner comes close to drowning out all the glorious summertime evening sounds of this tiny plot hosted by the Eastern-most foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  The beloved cooling yet audibly despised garish air conditioner.  The house had to be kept cool for her ailing mother therefore the air conditioner was running much of the time, especially on these hot days.

Today had been a rare day of extraordinary high heat but low humidity making the evening outside comfortably cooler (82F) and breezy. Earlier in the evening, she made a quick run to the co-op for magnesium cream to help her mother’s cramping toes.  When she stepped out of the store, the air had such a magical quality of an exacting balance of heavy heat and low humidity with a slight breeze, a convection oven hug feeling, that she was struck with the instant memory of what was considered a cool winter night on the West coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Her parents lived there at one point in their active lives.  She visited them frequently during that expat phase.

Feeling the air earlier that evening with the split-second memory of Saudi Arabia was pleasant.  Right now, the air conditioner droned on unpleasantly.

When the house had reached its set temperature, the ac noise suddenly broke, revealing sweet bird “good night” songs, rustling lush greenery, scampering squirrels and the beginning tiny hoots of the most recent wildlife resident – an owl.  She hadn’t heard an owl from her backyard for at least five years now, and she welcomed the chance to absorb the hoot hoot hooting song. Soaking in all of the wild goodness’s until the air conditioner once again blocks out most of the surrounding nature noises.

One thing the air conditioner, or sweet memories of expat days, cannot block out is her spiraling mind.  The fear that what has happened should not have happened, or somehow, she should not have allowed it to happen, or perhaps she made missteps to make it happen, how could she have prevented it from happening.

The worst spiral of all of course, is what if it happens again with irreversible and worse consequences.  When that worst spiral happens, she begins her ritual of touching base again with reality.

The reality is that right now, she is safe.

Right now, her son is safe.

Right now, her mother is safe.

Right now, the house is secure and safe.

Right now, the threat is far away with no reasonable access to her home, her son, her mother or herself.

In this moment, in this time, in this house, in this space, with this breath, they are safe.

 

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

 

750 Days Ago

Hey Reader Person(s)

750 days ago, after two extremely tumultuous frightening years of legal entanglement, my divorce was finalized at the courthouse with then Master, now Judge, S.  Outside of the courtroom, Judge S wears bespoke suits from New Orleans with matching fedoras.  Inside of the courtroom, he flairs with exaggerated arm movements so that his robes take some flight when he approaches his bench.

Judge S doesn’t pull any punches and seems committed to squelching any potential tomfoolery nonsense from anyone in his courtroom (including attorneys).

In case you have not been to family court in your area,

let me assure you that there is a LOT of attempted tomfoolery happening.

It’s how many attorneys make an* s-ton of money.

 Judge S should have his own show or be my bestie.  I like that guy.  I liked the other guy too (retired Judge D), but he did not wear bespoke suits, or flair in the courtroom, and his face is too pleasant.  Also, he is my friend’s FIL and I am prone to thinking he is a kindly grandfather rather than a serious law interpreter. See you at the Pop Shop, Pops!

Y’all

746 days ago, I began this blog.  I wrote the opening piece a year or two earlier but did not have the wherewithal to begin a blog or continue any writing.  Since then the opening piece here has been published in a book!

 

Fingers Crossed that I will be selected to have a new piece, not yet posted anywhere, in a new book. Updates will be available soon.

 

In the meantime, I am once again revisiting my fiction works.

 

S L O W L Y   

S L O W L Y  

Little Callapitter**

 

And so the world keeps moving.  I am getting older, farther away from things I need distance from, closer to things I need drawn closer to.

 

Time is ticking – eventually that ol’ bell will toll for me.  In the meantime, I carry on each day with SonHerisme and myself doing the best I can do in these sweet/painful/joyous/difficult moments of life.  It is lonely over here.  Sometimes thankfully so.

 

How are you?

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

*Grammar police:  “an” is acceptable here in my opinion because saying ‘s’ sounds as if there is a vowel at the beginning.  So ha ha ha on you – no correction needed snarky pants!

 

**SonHerisme coined this one at 2!

Vacaville, Baby!

Sacramento, CA, West Coast-ish USA, called out to me, at one point in my life.  I interviewed for a position there and drove in to Sacramento from San Francisco (because, that’s how I do), passing Vacaville on the way.

Cow Town.

I TMBG’d all the way there and all the way back!

I did not get offered the position (boo on you, Sacramento!).  However, as the butterfly effect goes, recently I DID go into my local butcher shop at the crack of dawn one morning to pick up 4 cow eyes, 2 cow ears, and one sweet giant cow heart, for SonHerisme’s science time at his Montessori school.

Things I learned (re-learned, as lessons are prone to be):

I appreciate the local farm/butcher traditions and role in the community

I do not like to eat meat

I do not deserve to eat meat, because I could never ever ever ever do what these hardy humans do.

Yes, I moved a giant pile of very clean precision eviscerated innards from my yard (cougar much?), but it was with as much reverence as I could muster as they were FULL and required me to use 2 shovels.  I cried for the unidentified guts, placed them into the woods and gently covered them over with dead leaves.  I said a prayer that the animal had died swiftly, fed something well, and lived a lovely wild life prior to their drawn and quartering.

Guts

I believe that I am in a different place than I was when my gut hated me so much.  I am trying to s-l-o-w-l-y embrace my yuck (not other’s gut yuck). With so many struggles, I think that I can let the meat go again.  Or not.  Just not to guilt myself into a frenzy if I eat it or not.  Coffee was recently made redundant as well.  I am eyeballing sugar with some serious side-eye, but don’t want to get too carried away (s’mores season).

As my veils and shields that I have spent years wrapping myself in, fall away, my body continues to break down from the relief of unburdening and recognizing my own truths.  Melanoma, degenerative discs (current severe nerve pain), arthritis, over-fullness-of-body, tendonitis, etc

Sounds like my guts got lonely and invited other areas of my body to their protestations.

That’s right – I am a barrel of laughs!

Introduce me to all of your single man friends – what a catch!

 

SO:

I’m going down to Cowtown, ‘cause cow’s a friend of me

He lives beneath the ocean, that’s where I will be

Beneath the waves, the waves, oh that’s where I will be

‘cause I’m going to see the cow beneath the sea.

(not exact lyrics from the Brooklyn Ambassadors of Love, but this is how I singidty sing it)

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

 

Also, my melanoma margins were clear!  No further action at this point, other than vitamins and stay on my recheck schedule.  phew

Also, I am not heading your way anytime soon, Sacramento (sorrys).  However, I will possibly take a plastic cow to the pool, throw it to the bottom, and visit it there.  Singing!

 

 

Reign of Rain

May this day bring you peace, tranquility and harmony (from my dandelion detox tea to you).

 

Yesterday, among the various chores and caregiving, I sat outside in the rain.

 

I read a little bit of fiction. This is a new challenge for me as non-fiction is infinitely more comforting and solid.

 

I added to our shared drawing journal.  I keep a drawing journal with fancy pencils, that anyone is allowed to start a picture in, or add to another picture that’s already there.  If you are the one who finishes the picture, then you write “finished” at the bottom so that no one else feels compelled to add more, and we can all move on to the next picture or begin a new one.

 

Sitting in the rain, I wished there was such a thing as a Rain Reader who could sit next to me and instruct me on how to read messages from the rain.  I think that I could learn marvelous, comforting and solid things from the rain, if I could hear it properly.

 

Rain Reader might be a character for a new project.  I hope that it works out, or at the very least provides some productive amusement.

 

What are you working on?

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Joe Jackson and such

There’s something going wrong around here

 

Ahhh, 1979.  Many of you weren’t alive then.  I was.  I was living in Germany wild and free on my bicycle, sneaking onto the ferry, eating spaghetti ice and liquor filled chocolates (as one does in childhood).

 

I knew everything.  EVERYTHING.  Being all pre-pre-teeny. And I marveled at it all.  I was the kind of kid who unwaveringly knew that magic was spiritual and real.  I could feel it in my very essence and could see it everywhere. I could tune anything out in an instant in order to experience some magical sense.

 

Fast forward, fuh reahls, to today.

 

All of the wrongs swirling around me, in my brain, on my skin, in my house, with my family, in my town, in my country, in the world etc  are completely overwhelming.  I have had a few tantrums.  Most of mine are internal because they cannot be tolerated in my current personal circumstances, or in writing (not posted bc feeeeeeelings), or on almost daily brief #$%^@&#*$&^%^% phone convos with my endlessly patient life-long soul sister.

 

My life-long practice of flipping the switch and tuning out has a name: disassociation.  It’s so very difficult for me to embrace tuning in for any period of time to purposeful sheer sharp painful unpleasantness.  This is why I cannot tolerate the Zoo.  Also, it recently occurred to me that this is why I excel at creative diplomatic problem solving.  I am compelled to make the difficult things disappear, be worked through, resolved.  I am quick, concise and no nonsense about resolution.  Even if the resolution only happens internally for myself, it happens very quickly.  I do not linger in distress.  Not by will, but by instinctual life-long self-preservation practice which is now ingrained habit.

 

It’s like my “meet-er/great-er” disease that is joked about in various circles I have inhabited throughout my life.  When someone is approaching, or I drive past someone walking on the road etc, I can’t stop myself, I greet them.  I make eye contact.  I say, “hello!.”  I wave.  People receive this as me being super friendly.  I am not.  I am, by practice, anticipating and resolving any potential friction we may experience as two humans, by offering a greeting as a peaceful cleansing wash over our potential interactions.  Again, this is not pre-meditated or meant as a manipulation, it is an ingrained habit I have cultivated over my life as a means for survival.  It’s a tangible example of my switch flipping mechanism at work.

 

The other day in therapy (SURPRISE! I’m in therapy), my therapist was attempting to get me to connect with my own skin as I am currently waiting on results from my latest melanoma biopsy.  She attempts to bring me back to and connect with my physical self.  My brain is supremely resistant. (insert life story here)  It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  She says things like, “when you place your hand onto your arm, does that feel pleasant or unpleasant?”  I feel like an idiot because I do not know.  I can clearly feel that I am touching my arm (I do not have a neurological disorder), and that my hand is warm, my arm is cool.  I do feel things when I am pointedly asked to think about them.  It would not occur to me to wonder how my hand feels on my arm, to even be aware that I have placed my hand onto my arm, or that my hand was warm and my arm was cool, if I wasn’t asked about it.

However, what has me disturbed is that niggling notion that I am supposed to know if my hand on my arm feels pleasant or unpleasant.

I do not know.

Not in an obtuse or try-to-guess-what-I-am-feeling way. I truly do not know.  Then my hand and arm feel like nothing because I am trying to figure out what is pleasant or unpleasant, and worried that I cannot tell the difference that seems like it should be easy to describe.  Then – WHOOSH – I am gone off into thinking about trees and how do they feel?  My son, how does he feel?  How is his arm?  Does he still have the tick scar? How strong my son looks when he does chin-ups with his gangly boy arms. etc. I bet the universe has arms it is desperately trying to hug us with to quiet all of our earthly crazy fear-based interactions.  Why can’t I feel anything yet?  Is my hand even warm? Gah!  I can’t feel it!

 

So, anywho.

PTSD

Melanoma.  It’s on the skin that I am in.

I hope that therapy is not a pass/fail thing.

 

Which brings us back to Joe:

 

Tonight’s the night when I go to all the parties down my street

I wash my hair and kid myself I look all smooth

Look over there! (Where?!?)…

 

 

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

 

Hopefully not on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Hopefully still on my NewPath

The Art of the Coven (aka, I am probably a racist)

The Georgetown Coven convened once again to give us some insight into my mother’s lingering life altering health issue. We heeded their summons, received their powerful collective wisdom, and are proceeding thusly, tout suite! It must be so, as we met directly across from the French Embassy.  Être au taquet *fingers crossed*

The procedure in the Georgetown Wound Care Center include a nurse escorting you to an exam room, taking vitals, and preparing you for the Doctor’s consultation.  On this day, a young(ish) man in hospital scrubs escorted my mother to the exam room, introduced himself (L-loyd, shout out Lego Ninjago fans), accompanied by another young(ish) man in business attire.  The businessy man did not immediately introduce himself.

Once the door to my mother’ exam room was closed, I immediately felt a general sense of unease.  Two men.  One silent.  Door shut.  Once Lloyd removed my mother’s bandage and took her vitals, the business man introduced himself as the manager of the wound care unit, explaining that he was conducting employee observations.  He reached to shake my hand, and as I was shaking his hand I heard this bizarre-o giggle burble out of myself, and I said, “yeah, you weren’t creepy at all,” before I could stop myself.  Except he was creepy until that moment. We both smiled.  Then both men left while we waited for our trusted Dr Ladies to arrive.

In those quiet moments (my mother was engaged with solitaire on her phone, attempting to control her own anxiety about her medical experiences), I was having an internal discussion about what was it that was making me so uneasy with those two men.

Was is because one of them was super silent?

Georgetown is a teaching hospital, so we have many silent residents and medical students coming in and out of various appointments and treatments.  I do not recall being uneasy with their presence.

Oh, did I forget to mention that both men have darker skin than mine?  No?  Why does that matter anyway?  Am I some kind of racist or something?  The underbelly of racism is fear.  I felt an unwarranted fear in the closed presence of these men that I was not feeling in the closed presence of others (including men).  I am pretty sure that I had a moment of ingrained racism there.

I deeply apologize, gentlemen.

On the recommendation of a friend, I began following a hilFREAKINarious mommy poster @HonestToddler on Twitter (and @LozFelizDaycare!).  As our societal/political leadership climate changed in the good ol’ USofA, @HonestToddler changed her tweeting focus up to include societal issues broader than wacky child/family/mommy dynamics (still locally sourced, sustainably harvested and organic, though, like, seriously).  @HonestToddler introduced me to @rgay, who in turn introduced me to @IjemaOluo (and others in this 7 degrees of fascinating).

Don’t get too excited about my tweet game, I still follow @carrieffisher…  *sigh* and saddnesses. May the Force be with you and also with you. Lift up your hearts, we lift them up to the … anywho, you see what I mean.

Consequently, I have been immersed into a whole new lot of things that otherwise would not have hit my reading radar.

Which brings me right back ‘round, baby, right ‘round like a record, baby, right ‘round ‘round ‘round to our incident with the Georgetown Coven.  Obvs I’m a middle class light-skinned lady person of a certain age.

 

I am reading this:  So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

 

I want to know more and different things so that I can do more and different things.  One take-away so far is that I am not in a position of defining what is and what is not racist for someone experiencing racism.

 

How about you?

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. Liam Neeson left *sigh* and *heartbreak*