Pumpkin Patch Pathos

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You are beautiful.

It is not you, it is me.

Not tritely, just truly.

 

I had an anxiety attack at the pumpkin patch the other day. 

 

Not the fake pumpkin patch.  This one is a real, honest-to-goodness working farm turned pumpkin patch for 6 weeks.  Once they harvest in September, they go out and install swings, apple cannons, jumping pillows, hay bale climbing structures etc. on the harvested fields, and leave the pumpkin fields for guests to ride out to and pick a pumpkin.

 

It is a stunning piece of rolling farm land.

 

We buy season passes and head over to play quite a few times over their short open season.

 

When we headed over there the other day, about an hour into our visit, I had an overwhelming feeling of dread.

I couldn’t breathe.

Tears were draining uncontrollably constantly from my eyes.

I felt people were skinny jean/sweater poncho/man-bun/jaunty hat or beanie/riding boot/pumpkin-spice latte-ing at me from all directions.

I could feel my skin crawling with dread.

I attempted to collect myself by sitting on a bench and allowing SonHerisme to fend for himself in the throngs. I shamefully pulled my left sleeve down over my hand.

This did not work.

So we left.

 

Please forgive me for not fitting in.

 

Please forgive me for not being matched up.

 

Please forgive me my ability to only single pro-creation.

 

Please let me forgive myself.

 

Anxiety is hard.

 

Beauty and expectations can be overwhelming.

 

I’ll plan better next time.

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

Weekly Penance

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In the Game of Courts, your attorney versus his attorney, you must be willing to suspend disbelief and all sense of what you know as truth and logic, in order to survive.

 

Much like you do when watching a popular HBO series.

 

You must also retain the ability to blithely travel back and forth in your history, even to other lands, as others will rewrite and redefine everything you have known, even about yourself and your child(ren) as truth.

 

Much like a character in a popular Showtime (or is it Starz?) series.

 

Anywho – fun!  Right?  WRONG

 

At the end of it all, going through a divorce with an abusive spouse is as ridiculous and insane as believing any of those television shows is true.

 

Yet, throughout the entirety of the process, you will be surrounded by people trying to convince you, no, actually, DEMANDING that you accept time travel, zombies, dragon-riding queens, and magically clean/fully-toothed Scottish warriors from the 18th Century, are real and accessible.

 

They will insist that you are anxiety-ridden, overprotective, and therefore incompetent parent (all the while your future ex sits there smugly and accuses you of these things)

 

They will insist that you are sexually promiscuous, potentially introducing your child(ren) to a pornographic lifestyle, and therefore an unfit parent (all the while your future ex sits there smugly and accuses you of these things)

 

They will insist that you are the one who has abused your child and your spouse, and therefore an unfit parent (all the while your future ex sits there smugly and accuses you of these things)

 

They will insist that you are a lazy incompetent willfully unemployed person who is reckless with money, and therefore an unfit parent (all the while your future ex sits there smugly and accuses you of these things)

 

They will insist that you are unstable and unreliable in all areas of your life, and therefore an unfit parent (all the while your future ex sits there smugly and accuses you of these things)

 

Divorce from an abusive person is a disgusting disorienting process.

Because abusive people are disgusting and disorienting.

 

This is how it came to be that every week, I am court ordered to pay penance for my compliance in allowing an abusive and ill man to father my child.

 

Every week, I have to send an email to MrexH, MrexH’s caregiver, SonHerisme’s attorney, and my attorney.  The email has to include facts and positive comments about SonHerisme.  Including a picture is optional.

 

Every week, I sit down and compose the same email, with a sequentially numbered attachment containing 2 facts and 2 positive comments about SonHerisme.  Each school report card period, I attach a photo of the report card (at the request of SonHerisme’s attorney).  I have also, on occasion, included a photo of SonHerisme’s school work.

 

SonHerisme has been asked many times over the past few years, by Social Workers, a variety of Therapists, Attorneys, Counselors, Friends, and Family members, if he wants to say something to his father, send something to his father, or hear something from his father.  SonHerisme has always been consistent that he does not want to do any of those things.

 

Because of this, I have never felt comfortable telling SonHerisme that I am obligated to do this weekly penance.

I have never sent pictures of SonHerisme.

After our divorce was final (FINALLY), I stopped including pictures of SonHerisme’s work.  It just doesn’t feel right.

If SonHerisme doesn’t want to send copies of his personal works, I do not feel it is my place to override his wishes.  Since MrexH has a legal right, as SonHerisme’s parent, to have access to school records, if he chooses, so I do include SonHerisme’s report cards.

 

My weekly penance typically looks something like this:

 

Facts about SonHerisme:

  1. SonHerisme attended school every day this week
  2. SonHerisme was healthy all week.

 

Positive comments about SonHerisme:

  1. SonHerisme made progress with his math works
  2. SonHerisme is proud of his forms

 

 

This is court ordered under the guise of me maintaining my cooperation in keeping MrexH informed and a part of SonHerisme’s life.

See how cooperative and encouraging I am?

I have sent 39 of these reports to date.

So consistent.

So compliant.

So still up to me to maintain, negotiate and navigate this relationship *sigh*

(Here is where an attorney would threaten me with having to pay a professional to do weekly evaluations and reports, or lose my sole legal and physical custody, if I cannot comply or if I speak about how ridiculous this process is)

 

I am sending information about my young child to someone who is basically a complete stranger to us.  Someone who is so ill and unstable that he is unable to care for himself.  Someone abusive, with a legal trail of court recognized abuse.

 

These are things that might never occur to you to consider before your life is ripped apart.

 

Sometimes I feel like an asshole sending this report.

Most of the time, it feels like my punishment.

A weekly grim reminder of the truly unfortunate and sad circumstances of our situations.

 

My weekly penance.

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

 

 

It Is My Story

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I know that you are trying to help…  it is the memes, man, the memes…

 

Dear Memes,

 

Please let me own my story

 

It is my story

 

Please do not ask me to let it go

 

Please do not expect me to be strong

 

Please do not suggest that I embrace the magical beauty of everyday

as if this is not the ONLY piece of my existence which is keeping me moving through my trauma

as if this will be what sustains me due to your suggestion

as if I am doing another thing wrong in addition to being in this trauma, which I must correct in order to be right with my world

 

Please let me own my story

 

It is my story

 

Please hold space for my story

 

Please truly listen to the reality of my story

 

Please help me find the nuggets of wisdom and strength from my story so that

I may truly own my story,

instead of my story owning me

 

Please

and

Thank You

 

Maybe, in time, this is how the trauma-ed we can move beyond the tragic defining moments of our lives.

 

Thank you for your help.  Y’all are awesome and SO needed!

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

ps this post seems to have an ungrateful twinge to it.  I do not feel ungrateful for all of the love, prayers, and support. I am eternally and supremely grateful!

I am doing a terrible job of trying to express that something feels so wrong to me.

All of us experiencing or having experienced trauma, want desperately to be out of it. We never wanted to be in it.  We want to be healed.  We want to feel healed and safe and healthy.  Being pushed to “drop it” “let it go” etc feels like “pretend it didn’t happen and stop speaking about it because it is making everyone uncomfortable now because can’t you go to yoga and release it to the winds of time because we want to be surrounded with positive light people full of happy inspiration fulfilling lives and you are totes bringing us down with your story…”

Why can’t we just know and acknowledge that shitty crappy things and people and circumstances are afoot, beyond the discomfort of too much laundry waiting to be folded, or dishes to be cleaned, or cars needing repaired (although, I acknowledge that these can be supremely stress inducing too)?

Why can’t we stop “healing” from some awfulness with an anticipated date of completion, as if once the stitches are gone and the skin is healed, the vibrant scars should never be explained or noted or spoken about, except in whispers?

Why can’t awful things, people, circumstances, be recognized as such and as a normal part of being human?

Why can’t we decide and own our stories instead of shoving them aside as if they are trash to be left on the curbside?

Our stories define us, no matter how we fancy them up or how we choose to address/discard them.

Why can’t we just own them and shape the hopefully eventual wisdom of living them in combination with all of our stories, and still be okay to have all of our stories?

I want to own my story so that it cannot own me.

Or, maybe I’m just a big meanie who needs a drink and a yoga break and let it go…

Preposterous Misogynist

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I just cannot EVEN STEPHEN with this election cycle.

 

We’re all not even stephening (or stevening – whatevs, peeps)

 

Ugh

 

As heated accusations from an older male person were recently hurled at me about how women need to “grow up” and “man up” and “get over yourself” and my “need for perfection” being the “real problem,” regarding the outrage at Mr. Trump’s leaked banter with Mr. Bush (of NBC), I ultimately fell into painful silence and emotionally twisted myself into the deepest pit of my soul.

Not that I did not attempt to make my point clear, I did.

I have learned over years of working with children, that once you meet screaming out-of-control anger with the like, you have lost any chance at healing, or the ability to mutually empathize and work through emotions together, in that moment.

I apply that lesson as needed, with adults too.  Not always, I am not perfect (obvs).

However, in this situation, I just stopped responding and waited for the directed screaming to end.

 

Painful to experience.  I was in complete shock, disbelief and in tears (not in front of him).

 

This is someone who knows my story.

This is someone who knows that I have been sexually assaulted,

both as a child and as an adult (different men).

 

But, even without my personal history, I am flabbergasted and rendered speechless when barraged with this defense of Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush’s banter.

 

HOW is it okay to dehumanize half of the population of this earth?

For entertainment?

 

Power and Control.

 

It is not funny. 

It is not just “talk.” 

It is not okay. 

 

Beyond Mr. Bush being on company time, with company equipment (and with company responsibility), behaving in this egregious manner, it is precisely the attitude that this behavior is “just men being men,” which promotes misogynistic rape culture.

 

If you are able to reduce another human being to an object

meant for your sadistic pleasure,

or some other dehumanizing activity,

you are enabling rape culture.

 

Power and Control.

 

I’m not suggesting that that there aren’t any humans who do not want to be grabbed and kissed or grabbed on their body and forced into physical interaction, but then I am speaking about those situations which are absolutely consensual between adults.

The CONSENT and ADULT bits being the very most important parts of that equation.  Without consent and being adults, the situation has nothing to do with pleasure and has everything to do with power and control.

Power and control do bring pleasure for people, but when it is not done in a consensual manner, there is NO pleasure, only dehumanizing dominance (which might get someone off, but it is NOT pleasure) (also, sorry for being crass).

Pleasure is healthy,

dehumanizing people to feel a sensation is NOT healthy.

Suggesting people be dehumanized is NOT healthy.

 

I also do not buy into the, “well, at least he is being honest about it and apologizing.”

 

No Sir.

No Ma’am.

An apology made years and years after the incident, only because of public relations pressure, and couched inside of ANY defense to justify those words, is not an apology.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to come and spend all of your working time at our local Domestic Violence Shelter, in our out-of-the-spotlight town, for 3 months, and then talk about your words and actions and their meaning and influence in our world in an honest way.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to sit with our local group of victims of Domestic Violence, for as long as they need you to, so that you hear their stories until they are ingrained in your souls with such power that they radiate out of you into every thought, word, decision you make in every aspect of your life for the remainder of your days on this earth.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to donate half of your yearly earnings to our local Domestic Violence Shelter so that women and their children can be sufficiently represented in our courts in their defenses against men on whom you have perpetuated the myth that these women and children are possessions for your sadistic pleasure.

 

Regardless of your ability to recognize it,

your words and actions have a direct effect

on the children these women are trying to raise and educate

and keep safe from men like you.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to pray with me for my son, and all of the children like him.

Pray that he has guidance, support and love to be able to recognize that he has a responsibility to himself and to all other humans, to be treated with respect, kindness, consideration, and empathy.

Pray that he is able to provide for his livelihood in a way that reflects his talents, values, and commitment to himself.

Pray that no human decides that he is not human enough for consideration.

Pray that he may be kept safe from those unable to not de-humanize others, and if he is not safe from them, that he can protect himself from them.

Pray that, if he chooses to do so, he brings children into this world and is able to provide the same prayers.

Pray that he has ZERO influence from people like you on his ability to make decisions for himself.

Pray that you become better humans who are able to earnestly and truthfully pray and respectively live your lives in this manner, for him and all of our children.

 

I will walk with you though these prayers and actions.

I will extend my hand to you through these prayers and actions.

I am willing to take this hard path with you, for our children, because I am not afraid to shine the light on this wrong and turn it towards the path of being educated and enlightened (not by me, as I am on the learning path too).

 

Yes, this is a “shame on you,” post because I totally feel it.

On behalf of your mothers, your grandmothers, your aunties, your great-aunties, your sisters, your daughters, and our sweet vulnerable sons, I proclaim it loudly

SHAME ON YOU

 And

Shame on us for watching Mr. Bush’s shows – this is undoubtedly not his only incident of extremely egregious behavior at work, which should have caused termination.

 

Shame on us for allowing our election cycle to result in trying to make any kind of right out of two massive wrongs.

 

Shame on me for not taking a stand sooner.

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

ps the older male person did apologize and asked to not discuss the matter further

pps I will continue to educate myself so that I may be an informed voter

Couple Out

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After the neighbors across the street moved away, a new couple moved in.  I do not remember anything about the family that moved away, because I was so young.

I do remember the couple that moved in.

They lived across the street, until I was long grown and gone from my parent’s home.

We were forbidden to run across their manicured lawn. They did not have any children.  However, they always kept their eyes on the children on our street, and never hesitated to call our parents if they were worried or disapproved of our behavior.

Yeah, my parents were called a few times (kissing underneath the only streetlight on our street – teenagers have mushy brains).

Many people on our street had the nastiest attitudes and words for that couple.  My mother and our next-door-neighbor lady, were always trying to include and defend that couple with our neighbors.

But, the couple knew they were outcasts from the general neighborhood.

As a child, I found this completely confusing.

To me that couple seemed to have happily and contentedly figured out an answer to what seemed to be, a very difficult issue in our Midwestern white middle-class suburban culture.

 Whenever the mommies gathered, there were a million complaints about their husbands, typically rounding out with a unanimous disgusted, “ugh, MEN!” sigh.

Whenever we were left in the care of our daddies babysitting (showing my age here, GenX all the way!), there were a million complaints about their wives, typically rounding out with a unanimous disgusted, “ugh, WOMEN!” sigh.

 

To me it seemed like the couple across the street had magically figured out how to smooth all of those issues out by finding each other.

This couple were together for over 60 years,

when they unexpectedly died within a month of each other. 

 

I annoyed the hell out of them.

I thought they were great.

I was given some of their furniture they wanted me to have when they died.

I still have it.

 

 Mr. Mike and Mr. Paul 

Trailblazers for normality of consensual humans humaning

 

Coming out day is today.

Humanizing {{{hugs}}} all around

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

Deep Down Digging

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Worker men are outside with big noisy tools.

Digging up giant holes in my yard.

Smashing concrete steps.

Sawing things.

Drilling other things.

 

It’s so sad to let things be destroyed,

even when you know there is beauty on the other side.

 

I’m sorry that I cannot save your home, little frog.

 

I’m sorry that I cannot save you, pretty rocks.

 

I’m sorry that your safe environment is gone, sweet fat worminis.

 

At least in this situation, the beauty is tangible and has a completion date.

 

I wish there were worker peoples to give me an end date and some picture of the beauty that is waiting on the other side of our destruction.  I know that life was not sustainable, but good golly, it is painful and difficult to live the de-construction process.

There is not any contract to guarantee the end product either.

Which makes me question if there is any beauty waiting, and what it might be like.

 

Or maybe the beauty is the simple truth of being alive and safe.

 

Grief is hard, y’all

 

Jackhammers are painfully loud and jarring, but that’s what some jobs need

 

I hope to remember how blessed I am to be able to hear them

 

Love, Ms Herisme xo

ps. I adore Todd Parr

Shame and Blame Game

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I am responsible to and for myself

 

Wow

 

Taking this from a shame and blame perspective into an empowering movement or lifestyle for oneself, is difficult.

 

If you are already feeling like you cannot make good decisions, and cannot define who or what you are, how do you embrace this in a healthy manner?

 

It reminds me a bit of

G-d will only give you what you can handle

These challenges are the universe speaking to you and sending you valuable lessons

When a door is closed, a window opens

Take a break, you deserve it

 

I am not sure that I am swallowing any of it.

I do feel that we have a certain responsibility to ourselves and each other.

I think that the ‘each other’ part might be more important.

Especially if you are depressed, or have ptsd, or facing some horrid situation in life.

 

I know the analogy of putting on your oxygen mask first on the airplane, so that you can help others, because if you do not, there’s a good chance both of you will asphyxiate.  I see this as taking care of ‘each other’ too – it’s the motivation for putting on your mask, so that you can help others.

 

When you are moving through a tragedy (death of a loved one, abuse, severe illness, loss of lifestyle etc), you can find yourself in a place where you truly cannot see your value beyond taking the next breath or the next step or changing the next diaper, preparing the next meal.

You just go on, because life goes on.

You go on because other people are depending on you to go on, or clean the bathroom, or cook the food, or show up to the soccer game.

You are doing those things because of a responsibility to others. 

 

I believe in a loving G-d, universal spirit of connectedness.  G-d doesn’t give you anything to handle, nor does he take away based on what you can handle.

Suffering is an earthly condition, made so by the very experience of being alive.

If I accepted that tragedies were handed out based on G-d’s will or decision to put us to the test, I would likewise have to accept that all positive things were handed out at G-d’s will.

How can it be that G-d wills a child to be repeatedly raped and live in poverty, just to see what they can handle…  How can it be that G-d wills a violent powerful person to live a life of extreme luxury…

 

I do believe that we can take our lives experiences and learn from them, no matter how tragic.

I do not believe that the universe is sending those awful experiences to force us to learn, and will keep sending them until we learn our lesson (Whatever the f those lessons are).

This implies that one is deserving of whatever tragedy has befallen on them.  Cancer, abuse, hurricane, death of a loved one, famine, abandonment, etc.  Perhaps you can learn how to take your pain and educate others.

This gives you coping skills for your pain, not a learned lesson which then eliminates your pain or prevents other tragedies from happening in your life.

 

If life were simple enough that we could have the ability to close a door and open a window in order to move beyond trauma, we would all readily step in and open windows all over the place for our family, friends, community in crisis.

Sometimes there is no window, and the door won’t shut, and that is just that.

Every divorce with an abusive spouse and children involved, is a perfect example of no window and the door never shuts.  I

t doesn’t matter how positive a spin you put on the situation, you and your children are forced to be connected with that abuser.

There is no happy rainbow unicorn softly-clouded window opening.

Supportive community is what holds you up in this tragic room.

 

It is lovely to be able to have time and where-with-all to afford therapy, yoga classes, tai-chi group, massages, manicures, pedicures, and I do not begrudge anyone’s ability to engage in those pleasures.  If you have the opportunity, I fully support you doing all of these things and more!

They are good for your body, mind, and soul.

In return, they can be a re-charge for you to be better able to support others in your life.

However, I do not believe that anyone ‘deserves’ these things. 

You get to enjoy them because you choose to use resources that way, and it works for you.  Looking at the other side of deserving these things, it seems that then people who do not engage, are undeserving.  Or, that sometimes people deserve the opposite treatment – like being abused.

I do not believe that.

I also do not believe that the reason someone is able to afford weeks at luxury hotels and spas is because they deserve it more than someone else.  They allocate the resources available to them.  Nobody deserves to be abused, nobody deserves to be pampered. We are born where we are, in the time we are, completely by circumstance.

The ability to decide how we support each other through whatever we are faced with in our lives, if we are blessed with that ability, is what we deserve.

 

Why do we insist on explaining trauma away, rather than focusing on supporting each other and facing it together?

That is the only way to move through the experience and be healthy and able to support the next person.  You need support to be able to move through your trauma.  Your support might be family, friends, therapist, social worker, priest, AA sponsor, etc

Whomever it is, you need it.

When someone we know is experiencing a trauma, we become that support for them. 

It’s the only way. 

 

Trauma and tragedy happen every day in our lives.  Grace and miracles happen every day in our lives.  They cannot exist without each other.  Let’s not try to explain it as a part of some grand learning plan, let’s help each other live it.

 

Ugh – this whole post smacks of the shame and blame game too. {{{hugs}}}

Love, Ms. Herisme xo