(“While greasy Joan doth keel the pot” Love’s Labour’s Lost, ActV/ Scene2, Winter)
The night before I was notified about MrexH’s impending move, I was sitting by the fire outside listening to the great horned owl hooting up a storm, and wake-dreaming about fires, smoke, fuel, and oxygen. I was wondering if it might be possible for me to stoke my own life spark into a flame. I still do not know and am afraid to have any hope of that since I am not sure I can survive another heartbreak chisel when my wishes billow into smoke as the flame dies again.
There comes a point in the leaves turning time, where I can stand outside of my back door in the evening, whistle across the side of the rocky woodsy hill I live on, and get an echo back. I love it so much – I think everyone loves a good echo moment like that – no? The silly whistle echo fills my heart with joy for a brief moment. That night I was able to whistle to my echo a little bit too.
If you ever have a chance to go on a mid-late October woodsy night hike in the Mid-Atlantic American States, I encourage you to do it! Owls are so magnificently super stealthy, you won’t even know they are flying overhead until you feel the top-down breeze from their gloriously expansive wings as they swoop past post inspection because while you smell tasty, you are too big for them.
It is the tiniest moments like sitting by a good fire with my little vegan marshmallows and unsweetened chocolately dipped gf cookies (s’mores shout-out y’all), hot lavender chamomile tea, listening to the last of the cricket season chirping and the hooting owl, whistling to my echo, seeing the waning moon plus sparkle stars, hearing SonHerisme giggling inside at some television nonsense, that I feel closest to okay. I begin to think that in this moment perhaps the universe is helping me hold the burdens. Just for a few stolen breaths.
I recently read the following in a Time article written by Abby Vesoulis, titled, “Why Literally Millions of Americans are Quitting Their Jobs.” Economists describing the situation of American workers as having a, “grab bag of diffused burdens,” to explain why they are quitting their jobs. As opposed to a compact bag…? What the actual f. Generationally speaking, I can say with certainty that it is not a grab bag – it is an overfilled bag of burdens forced upon us by a previous generation who refused to acknowledge their own personal responsibility to basic humanity plus their own mortality. And now we have to sit in the middle and watch our children have to resolve the burdens we have been too few and are too weary to deal with anymore because we’ve never been able to catch our footing from carrying all of what has been piled upon us. Unlike the meme of the burdens people born in 1900-1920 faced throughout their lifetimes, with information dissemination and consumption, it seems that we are globally hell-bent on self destruction.
I suppose a compact bag might be more convenient for everyone. We have tried our best to compact it all for the rest of humanity, pull up our big girl panties and bootstraps, carry on and all of that. Especially women. Especially minority women. We cannot be convenient anymore.
In return for carrying the burdens, we have a rapidly deteriorating climate, no paid family leave, ridiculous maternal mortality rates, diminishing rights to women’s healthcare/control of our bodies, highest medical bankruptcy rates in the world, fascism/nationalism/authoritarianism on the rise, fucked up arbitrary bureaucratic educational system, and basic infrastructure decline with rising global debt. Most of this stuff is just made up crap to keep lining pockets of people who are already so wealthy that none of these rules or consequences affect them or their families. Except for climate change, which of course affects every aspect of any life. In the zero sum game, the players cannot see their own complicit behaviors or certain mortality(accelerated by hubris).
A recent conversation with a woman I have known and worked with for over seven years revolved around her unwillingness to vaccinate herself or anyone in her family because in her view, the unproven vaccines are killing more people than they are saving. She asserts that if people were healthy and took better care of themselves, COVID would not be an issue. W T actualF. I just cannot engage with that other than to say to her, “it sounds like you are right to explore other options for connection for your family if COVID precaution requirements aren’t going to work for you.” Her family have had COVID twice and are, in her words, “just fine.”
If you are serving her family, playing sports with her family, going to worship with her family, unmasked at school during lunchtime or recess with her family… and, G-d forbid, you or someone in your family have cancer/heart issues/Lyme/Lupus/organ transplant recipient/MS or any other illness which either prevents you from being able to receive the vaccine or your body to build up enough COVID immunity, or you have a young child who has yet to be vaccinated – or a young child with any illness which prevents them from being vaccinated or able to build up enough COVID immunity even with the vaccine, then this family of four (among SO many others) are out there spreading this until it kills themselves or someone else. Perhaps they already have. Our current local infection rate is at 5% and rising again. Our little county hospital is bursting at the seams, last I looked, with 36 COVID patients, 12 in ICU. BTW, both this women (regardless of her ability to absorb and acknowledge information or to let go of her privileged attachment to drama) and myself know people and children with these conditions in our mutual community.
So, yes, we carry an overflowing bag of burdens in our working-aged generations in this country. We cannot carry them anymore. A diffusion is necessary to lay them all out on the table, acknowledge them, put accountability in place, THEN we can carry on. #carryonpeacewarriors
In the meantime, I will concentrate on giving myself permission for stolen moments. Where are you going for your moments? If you, like me, are without a support partner, I send you oodles of burden-easing wishes.
Love, Ms Herisme xoxo
ps please stop equating troubles and tragedy with measures of morality. thank you.
pps also, boundary setting with accountability is critical for recovery
CRITICAL (for the peeps in the back)
ppss I recognize and acknowledge my privilege in being able to carry and articulate burdens plus dream of solutions
pppss Laughing is helpful so I look forward to when I can watch more than clips of The Cleaner bc, y’all, that guy is hilAIRious. In the meantime, it’s a brief binge of What We Do in the Shadows (if I can force myself to watch something when I cannot sleep at night which is… another topic for another day)