LYBL

(Photo by Brady Knight on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

That most certainly is not me in the pic fyi. Not that I wouldn’t be in a canoe doing the things, but still … anyway

Living Your Best Life kind of thing, I suppose. Which is what we are all doing regardless of intention or attention. Is anyone else constantly feeling as if they are LYBL all wrong? I do 100% I do. With the exception of SonHerisme, I have always felt as if I am life-ing in a place without understanding how to get traction. The job, the family, the overcoming challenges stuff… I truly do not know how everyone is doing it.

I feel as if I am constantly both falling into the waters and rowing about rescuing myself, and others, and I am exhausted.

Just after the incidents which led ultimately to my divorce, I remember FatherHerisme telling me to just hang in there because my life was going to change for the better over the next year, so much so that I wouldn’t even recognize how I had been so worried and low (thought I was about to be murdered, Daddy…).

Just after my relationship with HighSchoolBoyfriend/CollegeBoyfriend/AdultConnection ended, I was told multiple times how time heals every thing and that I would find my special someone one day.

Just after I left one racist toxic workplace environment, I was told I would find something even better that filled my passion to the point of overflow and would not even feel like work.

Give it time, they said. Focus on gratitude, they said. In the meantime, concentrate on living your best life, they said. It’s all fucking bullshit, I say. Calls it how I sees it- time of death: varies (mood/sieve brain dependent).

Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they do not. Life is mostly luck with some positioning, which you may or may not have control over, but are required to be able to take advantage of the luck. Mostly luck.

LYBL is just living. The added drama of trying to force something based on a pr scheme of what “best life” means, is self defeating and crazy making. We have set ourselves up to be swayed that anything less than the picture we have been sold of LYBL is high drama fueled moral failing. For many of us it is someone else’s moral failing we attach our inability to achieve LYBL drama tether onto. Shame and blame, baby!

Culturally we are damaging ourselves and our kids by clinging onto self-created perpetuated drama as the destroyer of morality and the destroyer of our ability to live our best lives. Culturally we do not accept that life IS our best life – the shit days and the great moments.

None of the toxic positivity crap I was fed ever came true. Maybe it is because I am a complete loser and horrible person – maybe. I find that a hard pill to swallow though because there are plenty of folks who are complete shit people who sit in those pictures of what we worship as living your best life. I think it is luck with positioning (ie privilege) tilting the scales a whole fucking lot. Or maybe I am stuck in complete life dysmorphia too…

This is the truth of what I am doing.

I am recycling. I am careful with my detergents. I only mow the lawn to keep down snakes etc from cozying into human/puppy spaces. I rescue the wayward snakes, turtles, bats, baby rabbits, birds etc when they breach our space anyway. I am hyper-vigilant 90% of the time with the food we consume. I cook and clean the things. I write the letters. I try to be present as I can with SonHerisme(which I am shit at – but somehow he is an amazing human despite me). And all of the things I am trying to do to be a good human mommy person, but I make zero headway on anything even closely resembling our cultural version of LYBL.

Honestly, I think LYBL kind of sucks. Which admittedly may only indicate I am not good at it. I am glad that some of you are, though. Or at least some of you have found your peace overall so that you can move through the day-to-day struggles. Or have you? I don’t know. You appear as if you have/are/do. So perhaps that is something. Maybe?

I’ll try and shine more light on my truth to possibly help with my own truth doing. This is my life and I suppose the best one because it is all I’ve got.

By request, I used school funds to purchase Chick-fil-A last week for a teacher appreciation dinner. I carry that heavily because I vehemently oppose how those franchise monies get used – but still I did it in order to not rock the boat. LMBL

I’ve allowed SonHerisme to binge-watch Schitt’s Creek over the past few months. He is 13. Is this okay? I don’t know how to know. LMBL

I accidentally took a selfie yesterday evening and it rocked my world in an entirely unpleasant way. My own body dysmorphia has me seeing things disproportionately, I know this but I do not know how to unsee what I see or how to process it appropriately. I used to stand up against my bedroom wall throughout my tween/teen/young adult life and trace my body with a pencil trying to get a grip on how or where I fit in comparison to the rest of the world. LMBL

Which is all to say that today I will be out and about my town doing the things which need doing – typical Saturday. If you notice a knotted witch haired lady person in a blue sport dress, sneakers, and black hoodie floating down the river, please be careful if you stop to pull her up – she is heavy with the things today. If you are in the river, I hope that someone ever so gently and carefully pulls you out. I suppose the one to row upriver to see why I keep falling in … is me. And I am too exhausted today.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps MotherHerisme is back on 2xday morphine

pps I cannot think of my own future without crying bc I suppose LYBL is ingrained, but I am full of hope for SonHerisme

ppss golly – I am gloooomy today. More clean out will help – maybe? Or head back to the celery juice (I stopped about a week ago bc I forgot to buy celery). Inflammation is a mighty fucking bitch y’all

One Plus One = Window

(Photo by Couleur on Pexels.com poem by Mehrnaz Sokhansanj
(or listen here)
SonHerisme circa First Grade:
He - Momma, do you know what one plus one equals?
Me - I think so baby bear. But just in case I've forgotten, will you please remind me?
He - Momma, one plus one equals window
Me - Tell me more about how you solved that one
He - Look at my picture, Momma 1+1 and then put the equals on the top and bottom to make a window 
Me - And what do you see through that magic window, baby puffin bear?
He - I see us having fun, Momma and I love you
Me - One plus one does equal window and I love you too

300 +1… 301

I have sent MrexH 301 weekly progress reports about SonHerisme (per court order).

The first weekly progress report was sent on January 28, 2016. This was the same week as our first meeting with our attorneys and a mediator.

At that point I had been working with my attorney since April 2014. SonHerisme’s court appointed attorney had been working on our case since July 2014. MrexH had been working with the attorney present since December 2015 after having burned through 4 or 5 previous attorneys.

We were not at all in a good place then.

MrexH was confined to a state facility. SonHerisme was still seriously struggling with adjusting to school. I planned everyday as if we were going to be murdered.

Today MrexH is living with his parents in a place not accessible by car. SonHerisme is thriving in school. I continue to feel that given an opportunity, if MrexH returns to this area, I will most likely be murdered. However, since he is not here, cannot easily get here, and is unlikely to be able to travel at all, I no longer live in complete fear every single day. I open my windows. I go places and tell people where I am going. I drive the same routes day after day. I grocery shop for more than 1-2 days at a time. You know, like people do.

GAH – enough about that

2016 was a long time ago. Now I am facing a different transition as sweet SonHerisme begins preparations for going into High School next fall. He has been my plus-one on life adventuring, life surviving, going to this place and that place, for all of his memory times. I have been mommy-ing it up fiercely, full of protection, comfort, and love for all of his memory time, and all on my own.

I’m not a complete helicopter lunatic – he has his own experiences and continues to stretch his now teenagering wings.

This next year will be something on a different scale as he eases further into becoming a man. He will be working at proper paid jobs. He will get a driver’s license. He will shift into places where my only presence and knowledge of them will be in his heart. He will find his own plus-one(s). I love him with the everything of the infinities. I want him to feel the fullness of being himself in all of this life, and to find satisfaction with that. I wish I could peek through some kind of magic window to see that he is okay.

For now, I will get into my car – the same car he came home from the hospital in – drive to his school, wait in carline for him to come bounding out, and hand him a lunchbox full of teenager boy fuel snacks as he animatedly tells me all about whatever has happened in his little Montessori world where he feels heard and seen. His final year as one of the top-banana Montessori Mafia kings.

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

I continue to find it entirely jarring when someone pointedly looks through my window and sees me, other than SonHerisme and two friends. A friend’s spouse honked at me and waved through their car window at the stoplight. MotherHerisme’s cardiologist asked me if everything was okay because he hadn’t heard me speak during MotherHerisme’s appointment. Which, now that I am saying these things out loud, sounds like I am crazy for these things to be jarring me – but they do. I am used to being invisible. Despite the deep aching desire to be truly seen along with possibly how unhealthy it is to not be seen, when someone unexpectedly peeks through the window and see sees me, I am… I am perplexed and, I suppose, well, jarred. I wish I had a funny trauma tune to dance off with… stage right, fading single spotlight, acoustic tapping exit, aaaaaaaaand scene

The Dinosaurs are Fine

(or listen here)
Do not fret or worry, the dinosaurs are fine.
Fuck that meteor, the dinosaurs are fine.
Lumbering around the flat earth, the dinosaurs are fine.
Living rightfully subservient to humans, the dinosaurs are fine.
Cyclical climate adjustments, the dinosaurs are fine.
Nevermind billions of years (it's thousands), the dinosaurs are fine.
I know what I know and I know that the dinosaurs are fine.
So put on a happy face because, the dinosaurs are just fine.

A former colleague of mine frequently said, “That doesn’t sound like it’s worth burning more dead dinosaurs. They’re not coming back so that’s a finite resource we need to be more careful with.” She used this reasoning when announcing that she would not be attending this, picking up that, or in general would be declining driving (or asking anyone else to drive) for something not worth burning up dead dinosaurs. When I would be weighing the same kinds of decisions, she offered that barometer to me as well with a, “do you feel that’s really worth burning up dead dinosaurs?” I haven’t worked with her in over 13 years, and I still frequently use this check-in with myself.

I uttered this to myself the other day (yup, that’s the level I’m currently skating across – muttering to myself, achievement unlocked without passing “GO” or collecting $200 and I am afraid a bigger Bowser is waiting at the top of the ladder… also currently having my lady times read:period read:menstruating as the ladies do, YES even at my age bc that’s how awful funny joke ha ha the universe is).

Conclusion came two fold – one route was indeed worth burning some dead dinosaurs because it was a visit with friends (outside, mostly vaxxed *sigh* for another day). The other journey was not as compelling. Did I really need NEED to get the whatever from the wherever? Nopesies. Not worth it.

The other thing about dinosaurs that began spinning in my head was how pervasive the toxic positivity thought patterns are ingrained into our culture. We pretend that things are sustainable, because that worked for our parents, grandparents, and some of our great-grandparents. Rather, at the very least, the cultural thought pattern was ingrained as a moral compass of what one should be striving for and live “as if.” If you want the part, dress for the part. And all of your harassment and rapey talk (I mean, you dressed like you were asking for it) is too much of a downer, so be gone little truth teller. This is dripping with the sarcasms – I do not condone harassment, bullying, and rape, except for the most worthy circumstances (uh-oh, the sarcasms). We tell ourselves lies so much that we begin to believe they are truth.

We just do not like the truth. No matter how much it harms us or kills us to deny the truth. We do not like it because then we have to admit that not only are the dinosaurs not fine, but they’re horribly violently dead and we’re still trying to suck them dry.

I like wordy truth tellers. I think I do. However, I like truth doers more. Not infallible unrealistic saints (which are never what they appear to be), but rather a humane earnestness in truth doing.

Who has a re-fill store where we can bring our containers and refill them full of soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, beans, rice, diced fire-roasted tomatoes, tea, coffee, spinach and such, and pay for them by weight?

Who has the ability to transfer human energy into usable energy to charge our phones, heat our water, run our laundry machines, and such? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had energy capture receivers in our shoes, bicycles, trampolines, or even tippity typing keyboards?!!?

As I attempt to sort out my next life phase, all of these things are going through my brainiac. As the nationalisitc nutjobs all over the world spew their garbage zero-sum, lethal, dinosaur, rancid word salad lies, I want to do more humane truth.

Our entire economic structures and borders are make believe mythical stories we tell ourselves and collectively agree are truth. Some of us wield those stories like abusively brandished swords. If someone is hungry, we should give them some food. If someone is frightened, we should offer safe harbor. All with appropriate personal boundaries, of course because that too is part of being humane.

The dinosaurs are not fine and neither are we at the moment. How to stand in this knowledge, not get sucked into the tar pit, and humanely thrive, is a lot to think about. I should probably go outside and do the earthing.

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

Occasionally. Strike that. Oftentimes when I say the things I feel awful and horrible and my brain drains. Today this pic caught my eye and cracked me the hell up. Unapologetic and pink! We’re all Captain America, Bitches! I *think* I can see we have the ability with some structure to recognize and do humane things, recognizing that we have fundamental culturally ingrained inhumane issues we must accept and address at the same time as truth doing. Like Captain America. He’s friends with your Gym Teacher. So you’re having a problem with societal and climate breakdown? Believe me, I’ve been there too… (see SpiderMan – Tom Holland, never ever ever ever ever or ever never never the other ones bc sheesh, except SpiderMan into the Spiderverse which is AMAZE).

(Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com)

Goodnight Irene

(Photo by Kris Mu00f8klebust on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

A 40-45 foot giant oak in my front side yard is in its final stages of being dismantled by professionals at this very moment. I have been crying on and off throughout the morning, peeking out on the so-called progress when I could. Goodnight Irene. You’ve served this bit of earth well and I salute you.

Gentle Irene. Irene was most likely 250-300 years old. Between 1721 and 1771 Irene sprouted up from the ground with hopes and dreams of housing a variety of animals, shading for creatures requiring it, soaking up glorious sunshine and delicious rain, spreading her roots deep into the rocky hillside in order to communicate efficiently with her neighbors, and growing into a source of comforting useful respite. Irene has done all of this very well, until the one day a sickness arrived.

Personality-Plus Irene. Irene identified as male, but enjoyed the play of the name, “Irene,” when introducing himself to others with a full face of bold colors and a mix of non-gender conforming adornments. It was a terrible time when Irene began losing his life’s glow. He has spent the last few years becoming more uncomfortable and despondent.

Poor Irene. It’s only taken about three years for Irene to deteriorate to the point of needing merciful intervention. Professionals were called, appointments were scheduled, and a decision was made. Instead of neglecting Irene to fall into a painfully destructive death path, clear and concise professional support arrived to allow Irene a kinder exit into a transformed place.

Goodnight Irene. I watched from a very safe distance high up on the hill as they began relieving you of your sick, painful, weary limbs. With every ground shaking reverberating thud to the ground of what had been a part of the dying you, I felt your immense relief of all of the burdens you no longer had to try to maintain a brave stance and hold onto. I stayed as witness to your transformation into wood chips, forest dust debris, and saw-ended chunks for more animal burrows and child’s play, until I no longer felt your presence. You have moved on from the form you held here. There’s just a bit of cleanup remaining for the much appreciated transition experts.

Thank you for being a part of our lives. Thank you for showing us how to grow to be the most we can be and to graciously let go when it is our time. Those walkers, flyers, climbers, slitherers, etc through these hills in all of the generations before our time have been honored to be in your presence. You were pretty damn cool. Goodnight Irene.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

that’s right – his name was Irene and I will be grieving for a hawt minute. So many feelings. Irene was also GrandmotherHerisme’s name, and I was privileged to be present for her transition too. It was something truly moving. When she moved on, she had moved on – there was no question about it. Goodnight to both Irenes.

Leadbelly is awesome...
Stephen Fry rules and that Harry Styles kid is great too!

Loving Mantis Wild and Free

(my pic of Loving Mantis)
(or listen here)

A Praying Mantis sat on my shoulder while I ate my lunch outside and walked around the house doing chores for at least 20 minutes. This little guy had a temporary out-of-species crush despite every instinct to stick to the rivers and lakes that he’s used to. I broke it off when I began to worry he might get hurt or gobbled up by one of my mother’s doggies. SonHerisme got a seashell from his nature collection and gently lured Mantis onto the shell for a ride back into the great unknown. SonHerisme has assumed head ghillie responsibilities now, frequently taking note of the wildlife progressions and habitations in our tiny spot of earth. Mantis nature repatriation is all a part of the job, and he does it well.

Silly Mantis returned to the back door about an hour later, waving and scratching to get my attention to come back inside. I opened the door and politely declined his offer of friendship for his own health and safety and protecting my boundaries of bug aversion. Mantis returned once again in the evening, waving through the glass door. Unfortunately, he was a little more stealthy this time, and jumped to the opening as soon as I opened the door the tiniest bit. What poor Mantis did not anticipate, were two enthusiastic little doggies who gregariously welcome bugs into their gently smiling jaws and happy doggy bellies. Poor Mantis. He managed to wrangle away because doggy #1 does not have enough teeth to efficiently wrangle with a Mantis. But in the entanglement of deciding if Mantis should or should not be a Scooby snack, Mantis left a leg behind – a little morsel of buggy deliciousness heartily enjoyed by one smug dentally challenged pup.

No Mantis encore.

Praying mantis are “ambush predators with lightening fast moves,” according to treehugger. Similar to technology. It’s definitely lightening fast in how quickly it’s evolved to being essential in our daily lives for critical connection, information, daily conduct, and communication sharing. We all got a glimpse of how important certain online platforms are to us when they became unavailable for hours yesterday. Some of us rely on them for our businesses, family connections during uncertain crisis, and even just the instant push of dopamine gratification through the scroll.

side note: I love the Instagram algorithm that decides what to pop into my search feed. I think it's based on the accounts I follow as well as what my connections follow. It's mostly nature, travel, design, babies, and recipes for me with the occasional celebrity snippet - which I enjoy but am too uncomfortable to actually follow, except for authors. I have issues. It's okay - I'm fine.

Ambush predator is also appropriate as technology has hit us so quickly, deeply and so hard, it is absolutely stalking our movements and made itself critical in our day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute daily conduct at home, work, and school. We are reliant on technology to function. My great grandparents still had a normal which included no personal electricity and no indoor plumbing, while living in this country without a label of being unusual in their lives and for most of my grandparent’s childhoods. They knew animal husbandry, kitchen gardens, digging toileting pits, hunting, foraging, community bartering, basic carpentry, basic medical necessities etc. In the short time from them to me, I absolutely do not know how to survive without a stocked grocery store (and internet ordering back-up), electricity, and people to call/text if things do not work beyond basic repairs I can YouTube and do on my own (dismantling and cleaning the dishwasher – woot woot!).

Perhaps its more accurate to say that technology can be an ambush tool for predators. A friend of mine is wondering if technology is more of a colonization. It is in a sense – but a leveling of the playing field sense imo. Everywhere in the world I think there is someone who can figure out a relatively quick work-around if something goes awry. This is different than other colonization which relied on brutality and lack of information and communication in order to maintain power and control. Technology thrives on information sharing and dissemination(positive, negative, neutral are equal in their availability and access to anyone at anytime with a connection and connections are only broadening).

I do not buy into a conspiracy theory about the socials going down yesterday. However, I do believe, like much of the sabre wielding right wing nuttery increasingly overt exposure and tolerance/acceptance/veneration over the past few years, yesterday shines a light on the potential for technology failing us in a massive global way after training us to be fully reliant on it. A relatively quick work-around for this on a massive scale will still have horrific consequences for many of us (pandemic example much?). This is an extreme vulnerability needing addressed. It’s right up there with climate change. No, I will not be seeing the upcoming doomsday Keira Knightly movie (although I am sure she is lovely, perfect, wonderful, amazing, and a spectacular person irl too, deserving of all of the most positive energies and such).

I believe that yesterday’s socials failure blip was a result of humans humaning under extreme pressure of being almost two years into a pandemic, trying desperately to harness an unsustainable sense of normalcy, plus years of national gaslighting, and everyone knowing someone who has succumbed to COVID with difficulties or death. The instability-of-our-culture toothpaste was squeezed out willy nilly and we are having a helluva time getting that toothpaste back into the tube (all full of plastics and chemicals to half heartedly brush our fake or bleached teeth while we leave the faucet running for good measure).

Oh no. I’ve gone from anthropomorphic wild Mantis love to toothpasting it up. I might need more rest and a brain cleanse.

It may be my anxiety showing (pardon me whilst I floss that bit out) as SonHerisme has another phone call with MrexH after school today, MotherHerisme needs support with showering and bandage changes (along with other regular support), and I am having a lot of, “this is what I am doing with my life instead of a million other things,” moments. I am grieving the hope of being me.

To sum up – the Praying Mantis was temporarily charming, the socials pause is giving me pause, I am not a fan of the gaslighting, and I am cycling through grief still/again.

The balm – rainy day walk before lunch, tidying SonHerisme’s room (at his request for support, no boundary breach), and using this space to let some things run wild and free. Thank you for sitting through this with me. I appreciate your tolerance and patience. I hope that you and your loved ones are well and that the socials being down wasn’t too disruptive for you.

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

ps. Mantis and Groot are my favorite Marvel characters – I mean, in addition to the usual characters, but mostly I just love them because Mantis is free and open to experiencing emotions and has glowing attenae which help other people with emotional regulation, and Groot has few words full of meaning and saves people with a branchy sparkle light cocoon. I hope that Mantis and Drax become something healing together, and that baby Groot grows to be as lovely as original Groot. I love sparkle fairy lights.

PowerSoft

(Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

It is that kind of gentle but firm softness in the power of comfort, compromise, caregiving, with a determined focus on nourishing, sustainability, developmental appropriateness, holding space and grace to meet people where they are and provide humane supports.

It is difficult to bear witness to the reality of not valuing, of not cherishing PowerSoftnesses.

imhyauo
(in my humble yet arrogant unsolicited opinion)

We have tapped out our educators at all levels having been dismissive at best pre-COVID, now devolved to vitriol.

We have tapped out our healthcare workers at all levels.

We have tapped out our grocery, gas station, restaurant etc workers.

We have tapped out our librarians, first responders, and other public servants.

We have tapped out parents, grandparents, caregivers.

Our cultural values don’t allow for appreciating these critical roles in our society, other than occasional lip service or *clap, clap, clap* or perhaps a pizza luncheon. All of which, frankly, resonate like praising a dad for “babysitting” his own children or “helping” to clean the dishes *insert generous eye roll,* whilst internally judging the mom who came up so lacking that she needed “babysitting” or “help.”

*sigh* that’s how we do

as a culture – not as individuals, of course (natch)

As individuals we:
Advocate for our educators and staff through letter writing, encouragement, and voting power
Listen to healthcare experts, science, are respectful, get ourselves vaccinated, and vote.
Make humane eye contact with all interactions to the helpers/servers/healers/teachers/encouragers etc, tip generously (as we are able), volunteer for the organization, clean-up after ourselves, recognize innate humanity and right to dignity, use grace and courtesy, and vote.
Recognize and publicly acknowledge that in order to keep our current economy working we are relying on unpaid or severely underpaid caregivers by counting on their compassion to override our responsibility to them, and vote. 
Use grace and courtesy with these recognitions, and then we vote.

We are the lucky ones who get a choice, not only by our thoughts and actions, but also by engaging with our opportunity and choice to vote.

On the Rashida Jones “Ask Big Questions” podcast (the episodes are about a year old), one of their science expert guests commented that the number one way we all impact climate change is by voting. This kind of power awestruck me in a pivotal thinking way. I am a voter. I have voted in every election I could since I turned 18. I love voting and celebrate every time I get to vote from which fundraisers to approve on our local school council to national presidential elections. But have I payed attention and voted what truly has matched my conscience? Or, have I voted by public relations rhetoric? I suspect a mixture until midterm elections during President Obama’s first term when I recognized my essential need for my own deep pivot. I do not worship any leader or politician. They are human people doing human things on varying levels of the human scale of emotion, action, and thought. While I do not worship any ideology, I do make every effort to use my votes in support of those things where humane choices are at the forefront and Powersoft things are acknowledged and valued.

(insert rant on how we approach parenting, educating, healing, nourishing – too much for my squishy brainiac at the moment)

The essence of my soul knows that without the soft powers, we do not exist (whether acknowledged or not). I would Iike to be part of the nudge to humanity that the soft powers are worth culturally recognized value.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about as well as how to not abandon my post. Not my blog post – I mean my post as in carrying on with whatever I am responsible for doing (from my bolt-hole apparently and YES this noun is funny to me also I seem to be more of the female Mr Fox in that scenario). Although I do abandon blog posts regularly. Blogger fail CHECK. I know, posting posts are not the point – it is an outlet for my being. Thank you for bearing witness and space for that. I am restless with grief and I suppose this is how it blooms.

I appreciate you. How are you?

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps I stopped at Chipotle as a crutch last night to grab dinner for SonHerisme and myself (MotherHerisme was Panera-ed up, don’t worry!), having app ordered for pickup. The place was packed. I could not move through the store to the pickup shelves without bumping through people. Less than half of us were masked in this packed place. Only 1 table had anyone eating inside – the rest of us were waiting to order food or picking up app orders. The orders seemed to be running about 30 minutes behind the app time. The staff were nonstop efficient superfast motion, and looked very exhausted and stressed as people began complaining about their wait time. It hurt my heart for everyone. I sent an extra $$$ tip along with prayers for peace, comfort, empathy, patience and compassion. WHAT are we doing? I’m so sorry Chipotle people. I’m so sorry frustrated customers. I’m so sorry children watching. What are we? The collapse still hasn’t hit, I suppose. *sigh* Everyone is trying so very hard and carrying so much. Too much. Or? Maybe it was an off night and I am annoyingly sensitive. Anyway – I send out more compassion, Chipotle. SonHerisme adores you and I wish you all of the positive things with the resilience and beauty of the flowers to all (grumpy customers as well).

Dia

Photo by Sagui Andrea on Pexels.com
(or listen here)

Dia de los muertos – Day of the dead is coming up next month according to my calendar. For many, their day of the dead is already here, or recently passed or imminent. Our collective grief at knowing much of the death might have been postponed with accessible resources until some other future old-aged kind of thing reached us, is shaking about palpable everywhere.

Oh – do you think I am referring to COVID? I suppose my sentiment applies to COVID as well. However, it’s domestic violence that’s on my mind this dia.

As you may have guessed, I have some thoughts…

The story of Gabby P is horrific. It is awful. As soon as she went “missing,” we knew she was dead. Every victim of domestic violence knew she was dead. All of us. We need to talk about domestic violence. Our willingness to push shame, passively or outright, on the victims, is killing us. We are sending mixed messages while ignoring the heart of the matter. Perhaps the police should have been better trained – but my goodness, they do not have the superpowers of reading the future and peeling back layers of narcissistic deceit. Perhaps Gabby should have phoned a hotline for help – but holy cow people, I doubt she was able to fully perceive her situation or predict these consequences (much less communicate her needs to a second or third party). Perhaps her online community should have seen through the cracks and offer support – but sweet beegeezus people, we were not able to save the person in our real life community from being a victim of domestic violence, much less recognize what is happening over the plastic programmed filters of perfection on the socials.

But, Herisme, I want to do something. So I will post a meme.

Memes are great at pounding home an image or message. I must admit, it is difficult for me to see your memes about how we should reach out, tell someone, know how many women are raped at what frequency in this country or around the world. It is hard.

It is hard because while you might be able to feel that something is not right with your relationship, you might not know you’re being abused. It sounds silly because to you it is obvious. He coerces and forces himself inside you – you are being abused. He controls all aspects of the finances and hides things from you – you are being abused. He belittles you, gaslights you, threatens you, threatens your child etc – you are being abused. What you see is that you: haven’t tried hard enough to do the right things, forgot to be compassionate towards his challenges, made your choices and must pull up your bootstraps and make the best of it, help him by role modeling love, etc. You are groomed to pull everything back into a space where it makes sense to gain some semblance of control. If it is somehow your fault, then you have a chance of correcting whatever it is in order to make things better. This takes away any recognition of what you know of as abuse because you are smart, intelligent, a problem solver, a doer, a thinker, a feeler, and in control of the solutions.

I know this does not only happen to cis women – but that is what I am and what I can speak to.

Maybe we can change the meme or conversations into speaking the truth about what it is to have been in a domestic violence situation. It is not all Hollywood sunglasses and smokey make-up to cover up a bruise. Sometimes it is forced penetration, sometimes it is you in the hospital after he’s slammed your head into the corner of the countertop, sometimes it is finding out he has cut off your access to the bank accounts, sometimes it is email/phone/socials tracking and using the information against you, sometimes it is accusing you of being crazy and threatening to have you lose your children and be locked up.

Instead of the, “why didn’t you reach out sooner so I could help?” or, “why didn’t you leave?” Maybe we could flip that to, “who is doing these things and how can we prevent them from doing them?” I think we need places to go and support resources for sure. I also think that those things are far too often not accessible, either due to our own feeling of disconnect from the idea that we are being abused, or fear of the fallout if you do reach out (loss of home/income/family/children etc).

I think we need honest, often and early conversation about how to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships.

I think we need to use our voices of hindsight to lift up the next generations.

Will this eliminate abuse?

No.

I’m not that naive.

But, will it ground and save some people (in addition to support resources)? Yes, I believe it will.

Professional support to stop generational cultural normative abusive patterns, is critical. Dialogue and hearing about what people have learned and experienced, is critical. The situations I mention are either my own or someone I have an irl connection with. That is just me, one teeny tiny little glittering piece of sand on an endless beach, and I know so many more. I am sure that you do as well. If you say you do not, you have not opened a safe dialogue with enough of the people that you love and care about. Open it. I implore you to OPEN that box and talk about what we are doing to each other in our communities and how we can best support each other, and our sweet children for a healthier tomorrow.

To be silent does not work – it only enables more abuse.

To meme it up gets the word out there (important) but it is not enough.

To talk about it openly, honestly, and sit with the reality that we all know someone who has been abused, and hold space for that grief, recognition with a focus on health and safety, is vital.

My truth is that I know for sure both maternal and paternal grandmothers were abused, my maternal grandfather was abused, MotherHerisme and FatherHerisme were abused, SisterHerisme and BrotherHerisme were abused… as was I. I hope that the buck stops with me. Sadly SonHerisme has early abuse, one NieceHerisme was molested as a young tween, and other NieceHerisme had suspected physical abuse. My G-d. I never processed that truth until this moment. It is so ingrained into our culture … wth

*sigh* Carry on Cycle Breakers Carry on Peace Warriors

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

this was h e a v y so I will use the goings out into the natures as a balm this afternoon my teeth are numb

Poxic Tossitivity

(Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Are we all feeling as if toxic positivity has taken yet another unhealthy turn where not only are you meant to zen love smile radiate embrace remain present in order to achieve all of the lovely things, but also condemn those who do not/cannot?

You must not yoga enough with the right people at the right time in the correct vegan yoga things, so you’ve built your own quagmire of shit as a result.

You did not radiate the holiest beauty of rainbow sunshine, so you must not be doing your job correctly which is probably why you will fail at it.

You are requiring something of me and no one ever requires anything of me in ways I do not want. I am the one who should be requiring things of you. You are oppressing me because I feel very unhappy about what you are saying.

Maybe it’s just me.

It’s bizarro world again, still – or whatever

It is understandable that most people want the same things: love, health, belonging, meaning, recognition.

What I struggle with is embracing the culture of toxic positivity to work towards those things. You must love yourself before anyone can love you! Fake it until you make it! Everything happens for a reason! You deserve a break!

This all sounds pretty freaking toxic to me.

No one loves you if you don’t love you. If you cannot pretend to be happy, then you will never be happy. There are reasons why these awful things happen, so your feelings about them are not appropriate. There are times when you do not deserve a break.

I toss some pox on that. Culturally we toss pox on that.

You don’t look like you love yourself enough, so I have decided you are unworthy of love and consideration. You do not look happy to me so I have decided your happiness is unworthy of consideration. You are not worthy of consideration for a break because I have decided you do not deserve one.

Our culture has full on embraced toxic positivity with a constant stream of shaming/blaming/fear-based living, and lately have one-upped that with the poxic tossitivity.

We have been deliberately systematically brainwashed and gaslighted to accept this as our culture, and I am exhausted by it all.

Stop telling me that I am building resilience in myself and in SonHerisme while you strip away mine, my sister’s, my nieces’, my friends’, my neighbors’, my menstruating community and future menstruating communities’ access to medical care.

Stop telling me that we are building resilience by shoving kids and teachers into COVID superspreader overcrowded schools by pretending that we are doing this to save our economy when we could have all been vaccinated and masked (except for young kids) or made entirely out-of-the-box different plans.

Stop telling me that universal healthcare will make us a communist country, and that socialism programs are bad for our country. Roads, fire departments, police departments, the schools you were desperate to prematurely reopen, roads, libraries, bridges, military, parks, museums, your freaking sportsing stadiums, public transportation are ALL socialist structures…

Stop telling me that we are building resilience by sending 6-week-old babies into institutionalized crap-waged/crap-benefited care facilities for 50+ hours each week so that the mothers can “work,” as if birthing, feeding, and raising babies is “not real work.” But, some people have to work, Ms. Herisme… NEWSFLASH… if they are caretaking (babies, elderly etc) they are FUCKING WORKING, they just aren’t getting paid in a pretty pretty direct-deposit paycheck. What the hell are we doing multiple-layer-middle-managing this shit when people have been birthing the babies and raising the families, and caring for infirm, for thousands of years and the BEST we can come up with is to force more people into more institutionalized care facilities? I do not get it.

We throw answers at problems without even asking the root questions, then blame the people we claim to want to help when the inevitable shitstorm lands.

We subsidize the institutions, because their operational costs are too expensive to exist on tuition/rent. Then we subsidize the staff because they do not earn a livable wage or have health care. They we subsidize the family who cannot earn enough money to pay for the institutions. Then we punish the worker by terminating them when they have to stay home too often with their usually institutionalized family member, due to illness or a freaking pandemic.

gah – enough on this topic

I am tired of being asked to build resilience

I am tired of toxic positivity

I am tired of it turning into poxic tossitivity

TOSS the POX

Maybe there’s a vaccine for that… it might be more tea, a meditation, and a list of to-do’s with brief dancey-dances as each is checked-off as complete

Or maybe it is to embrace the grace to recognize that there are fairly shitty things happening due to no one’s inability to love themselves enough, vegan up enough, recognize the beauty of a blade of grass well enough, shiny happy people face enough, work hard enough/long enough – the shitty things are just life and shit. Perhaps we can find a moment of joy, or witness someone else’s moment of joy, or see that the ‘O’ in joy is a reminder of the cyclical nature of the everythings and feel that heaviness as hope or despair or recognize the feeling of anything real, genuine, pretend for even half a second (even predictable boredom in slogging through this shitty writing/listening, or just a breath in and out) – that is enough, you are enough. If you cannot do any of that, I will at least breathe once in and once out just for you. (7 counts all around and into my lower diaphragm natch, if you must know)

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

side note: MotherHerisme presented a bottle of artichoke oil in pill form to take with my dinner just in case I have any interest in losing weight, but no pressure. She read about it on her computer and is only trying to help. She just wants me to find a husband and be happy. *eye roll to tomorrow-ville and internal screaming pleas to NOT ENGAGE* I have discreetly disposed the pills. Weirdo times. TOSS this POX

if you’re vaccinated and asymptomatic, join me for some tea on the back deck later – much later, time-to-light-a-fire later. Screw the tea, actually. Bring something deeply colored, very strong, and sublimely lovely. later gator

Rainy Day

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(or listen here)

Welcome to my rainy day.

So far there’s been: a 1:30am thunderstorm with a yet-to-be-identified tree fall, a 3am panic attack from weirdo schmeardo nightmare, an overly optimistic 6am alarm, and a more realistic 7am alarm followed by a 10 minute snooze button, hand-holding school drop off, slight leaky-eyed tears driving home from drop-off… big emotions swirling for what turned out to be an adventurous day.

In other news, MotherHerisme wore lipstick! W H A T WHAT the what what?!!? Like fuh reals? YES. She had on a pinkish orangey melon colored lipstick like back in the day. In my growing up times, and until maybe the past decade, MotherHerisme was always lipsticked, usually foundationed, and occasionally mascara-ed with tidy hair, outrageous sparkle shirts, cozy pants and shiny shoes. While she still sucks up the energy in the room, it used to be she sucked it all up to blow back out in enthusiastic boisterous gregarious loudnesses. In the past decade she just broke down into massive seriously full-on narcissistic, fist banging, leg kicking, throwing things, screaming, crying, temper-tantrum mode. It has been difficult times. I think she just broke from years of trying to force the universe to bend to her will through gregarious extrovertednesses. She has trauma, for sure, which I think until recently she truly had no idea she was acting out and passing down. Recently she told me that for the first time in her whole life she has felt like she could just be herself now. She claims to have never considered her own mortality until now either. It has been a very hard road for her to recognize that she is a uniquely privileged piece of the universe, in a never-before-in-human-history and never-again-in-human-history, specialized race/socioeconomic/cultural specific generation. I am not certain that she can fully embrace that knowledge now either, but I do think that very occasionally she has the ability to see outside of herself, which is a step to empathy. Just this morning, she commented that she’s never felt so relaxed in her whole life as she has these past two years specifically.

I cannot remember what I have shared previously about MotherHerisme. To sum up, she has been living in my house since Christmas of 2016. Today her version of how this came to be is that she has had a series of medical issues and has established physician relationships here which prevent her from moving back to her own home (3 states to the west, where my father, her husband, still resides across the street from my sister and her family). This topic is for a different day’s writing.

ANYWHO, the day I began this writing turned into a massive shitstorm – as in Ida held firm in her own resolve to deposit her hurricane remnants hither and thither around my area of the world. We are all okay. My heart aches for places which are not okay. This is a tiny picture of my lucky story.

School dismissal was a bit bumpy. My road was washed out, as were all roads leading to mine. They’re currently being repaired (huzzah to seeing taxes work for the people!). We can enter and exit back up the hill and through another little town which has a raised highway entrance. The water is clearing itself out after cresting yesterday evening. Mother Nature – we see you and raise you a Texridiculas women’s oppression body control shitstorm! TAKE THAT bwahahahahaha (not in Richard E Grant’s voice this time as his wife has sadly passed away and I am sending him oodles of comfort, peace, space and grace for grief).

No school buses are available for our school, so I drive SonHerisme everyday. Pre-COVID, I walked him inside in the morning, and walked inside to pick him up in the afternoons. COVID times make us an exclusive carline school. positives: SonHerisme likes carline now that he is an 8th grader and can sneak hand holding and a sweet momma kiss before he disembarks to school. negatives: we are not a neighborhood school so we miss out on the milling about the front of the school community connections, plus, sitting in the car for an hour is HARD for this sweet momma (crying the tears of the privileged).

As I drove to pick up SonHerisme through aggressive Ida remnants, the thought occurred to me about warnings for driving through washed out roads (mine was, many were between home and school), as well as how the flippity rain deluge did I think I was getting us home if it was still pouring and I’m pretty sure our road was washing away as I skidded over it. Spoiler alert – segments of our road (and many others) did wash away. By the time I had gathered SonHerisme (THANK YOU to the edges of reality and back to ALL school staff – bc you guys ROCK the job-damned living hell out of what you do!!!!), my road and roads leading to my road, were indeed closed.

But, what ho, thought I… the rain had subsided somewhat and I had made it out on my road, surely I could make it back in! Bravado! Entitlement! Calculated risk trust exercise! Alas, there was a police car right behind me escorting county maintenance vehicles assessing and closing off roads. Did I care? No! YES! A weakened maybe perhaps as I pulled my SUV (yup, I’m that momma and SonHerisme plays soccer) into an empty parking lot with a water run-off embankment located just before my road (post multiple re-routes to get this close to home). As soon as the police car was out of sight, I u-turned my car, drove down the middle of the road (as the lanes were completely under water, but the center was slightly raised and not under water), and bypassed the “road closed” sign for my road, as if I lived in the little neighborhood just past the sign. I told SonHerisme that I might have to backup or pull into the church parking lot on a little hill, if our road was fully washed out or if the water was too deep to see the pavement. C’mon I’m not CRAZY crazy.

I was able to navigate our road by staying in the middle. The sides of the road had fallen off in spots, especially by deeper gully areas. Most of my road is going uphill, so after we drove about 3/4 mile without issue, I felt like we were just fine. EXCEPT for the two 40ft uprooted giant oak trees that had fallen across our road just before our driveway. County vehicles were already on the the scene, along with a firetruck (as first responders from the top of our hill). By now SonHerisme had to go to the bathroom since he’d been in the car with after school snack/water for over an hour at this point – we live about 4-5 miles from his school.

SonHerisme had a few choices: get out and pee off the side of the road, stay in the car and wet his pants, or ask road maintenance if he could shimmy over/under the giant fallen trees to run up our driveway to the house. He chose running up the driveway to the house since, as he described his situation, “I have to go to the BATHROOM bathroom, not just pee, MOM!” He’s totally teening.

Since my sweet teeny tiny squishy newborn baby looks 19/20 at 13 years-old, except for his super cute school backpack, the road crew and firemen agreed he could go underneath the fallen giant oaks. Once they supervised him through, they asked him how old he is and one of the crew on my side of the trees jogged back to me. “Don’t worry ma’am, he did just fine and said he will call you as soon as he is inside. You can wait right here for about 15-20 minutes and we will have the road cleared for you to get home.”

So I waited.

Meanwhile, at least one school bus with 10 students had to be water rescued having been pushed off the road by fast moving water, so all school buses had been ordered back to their schools. Parents all over the county had to pick up their children whenever they could, however they could. It was a proper emergency. School staff organized and kept kids secure and safe until they could be picked up.

We have two little elementary girls down the hill and across the road who got stuck in their school bus for about 2 hours because their bus couldn’t get back to their school or to their house due to closed and impassable roads. About ten minutes after the giant oaks were cleared from our road, the girl’s bus came down the road from the top of the hill and dropped them off safely at home. That is a hero school bus driver for sure.

What a day. Not one local person lost their life. We are lucky.

The next day school was canceled due to too many impassable roads. Water levels peaked in the early evening, and began to recede in time for enough road work to allow schools to reopen on Friday. Of course, the city rec tennis coach got her assistants and brooms out about 30 minutes before SonHerisme’s Thursday evening tennis, and they cleared all but one of the courts which had been submerged in water and were full of debris and silt. Life 🙂

On a sad note, I’m sure we’ll see an uptick in COVID because of the necessary last minute carpools/crowding together for immediate safety. I’m sure we’ll see this present even worse in much harder hit areas.

Note to self: we are freakishly lucky and I am committed to sharing the luck as I can where I can. Meal delivery is one thing I can do to share. Donate $5 to local flood support groups and for women’s support local to Afghanistan.

Please take good care of yourself and your communities. So much hurt is bubbling to the extremely visible surface. I wish moments of peace and joy to you!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. I know better than to drive through water covered roads. The hubris of me is occasionally unbearable and difficult to acknowledge in an emergency moment where hyper vigilant assessment and instinct kicks in. In those moments it feels like everything I see, think, feel, is positioned on the very tip of a pin in tiny droplet of water I can quickly scan from all different panoramic angles, noting multiple outcomes of various decisions, like in chess but perhaps 3D live chess. Based on that tiny pinprick moment, I make a pathway decision and go. One day it won’t work out for me, just like it doesn’t for lots of other people. For now, I experience the weather changes and my extremely good luck. It’s all about positioning (by choice or circumstance) to be better advantaged to possibly hit on mysterious luck. NOT mysterious lick, which is what I accidentally tippity typed before correction and leaning into gross. No mysterious lick. No sir. No ma’am.

and also, I am cycling through struggles. I send solidarity via {{{hugs}}} to all of us struggling with the things, and will seek some comfort in tea. Today finds me tea-ing up with black tea chai, no milk, no sugar. woot woot!

Chicken Soup with Rice

(or listen here)

How are you today?

Over here, today is a chicken soup day. Well, the making of the chicken soup day. I’m on the cusp of not-quite-vegan. However, the other people in my house feel connected to consuming animal products so I do the best I can with local, organic, sustainable things. I recognize my privilege in being able to even make that statement.

I do not judge anyone for eating animal products, or using them in other ways. It is a matter of my digestion which sketchy at best, does better without the meat. For a long time I was very vegetarian. At some point in my 20’s I kept thinking about how old cultures use every part of an animal, or as much as they can, showing respect for their sustenance. In contrast, I couldn’t eat, prepare or cook most of an animal, much less harvest one. If I had to kill an animal for food, which one would I be able to kill, clean, prepare and eat? The only thing I could come up with was fish and I’m not even sure I could do that on my own. If I couldn’t hold myself accountable to the animal kingdom by being willing to harvest and prepare them, then I was pretty sure that I did not deserve to eat them. So I gave up eating meat. I was/am privileged enough to not eat meat.

When I became pregnant, and was able to carry to pregnancy beyond 4 months, MrexH, my family, and my obstetrician told me that I had to eat meat in order for my pregnancy to continue and for my baby to be healthy. BrotherHerisme told me I was being selfish if I did not do everything I could by eating meat to help my growing baby. It had been such a long and trying road to get to that point in my life-long dream of having a baby, that I gave in and ate meat. It tasted like gritty hot bloody fat, chewy dry fat, and pork reeked of sewage (still does) to me, but I did it. Then it became a default through my terrifying separation and divorce since so many family members were in and out – I just ate whatever was there, and the people love the meat.

Then BrotherHerisme Ben Franklined up by having gout flare-ups (which is painful and not funny, yet funny bc gout and Ben Franklin), and became a vegetarian teetotaler meat-shaming ass. *sigh* Such is the life with an adult sibling of narcissistic abusive parents from the 70’s/80’s… He’s still funny sometimes, though. Space and grace, space and grace y’all.

Off and on I have thought about letting go of my meat habit because it was not serving me – it was hurting my body. I finally let my meat consumption go again late last year. Which explains my rice/spinach/pickled beet/roasted corn/falafel/baba ghanoush/housed in a cereal bowl lunch and currently being consumed. I have a spinach problem (Which I believe I have mentioned before), so it is in everything … almost everything. Spinach and cauliflower are life! Cauliflower crust pizza with spinach, basil, diced tomatoes and pesto popped onto a pizza stone on the grill, is life… plus some of that hard core chocolate oatly! Woot woot! Pizza Friday is just a few days away! I am not vegan, obvs bc pizza IS life fuh reals. I am careful with my diary consumption to be kind to my gut which hates diary no matter what hard sale my brain tries to cajole it with. My brain is the top tier sales person of the forevers to my entire being, except for my gut. The gut is strong and unwavering in it’s dedication to reality. Uncooperative guts.

On that note, I am off for the making of the chicken soups for the people(for neighbors too! Imma red pepper mushroom soup it up for myself). Leftover Hurricane Ida storm bands are on their way – not devastating when they reach us – we are safe. {{{hugs}}} Gulf Coasters

Tummy bugs, flu bugs plus COVID are afoot as well. Safe and healthy wishes to you!

Soup up y’all.

Happy Once
Happy Twice
Happy Chicken Soup with Rice!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo