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

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Virtutem Forma Decorat aka Audrey Hepburn: Rise of the No

  1. I never thought about the phrase “baby steps” like that, but I get what you are saying. Makes so much sense. I don’t think I will ever hear that phrase the same way again.

    Liked by 1 person

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