2142, 306, 70, 5 (hut, hut, HIKE)

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My teeny tiny sweet little puffin bear turned 12 y’all.

Stats:  5’8″ and 1/2 (growing every single day), 145 lbs, braces on the upper teeth (green), shaggy light brown COVID19 hair, sparkly light brown golden eyes, and super adorbs handsome

He is healthy.  He is safe.  He is a good person.  We are both blessed (and freaking lucky!).

This upcoming week is going to be another tough one in building resilience for my little man-boy.

We are expected at SonHerisme’s therapist’s office on Thursday afternoon for him to accept a phone call from MrexH.  (backstory link)

This has been looming for some time.  At this point, SonHerisme just wants it over.  I am in agreement.

5 years, 10 months, 1 week, 5 days

or

70 months, 1 week, 5 days

or

306 weeks

or

2142 days

… have passed since SonHerisme and MrexH have had direct contact, other than a few birthday cards.

I try to absolve myself of any responsibility for the lack of contact.  While it is true that I advocated for what I thought was best for SonHerisme’s safety and well-being, ultimately I have followed every advice and guidance from lawyers, the court and therapists, regardless of my own instincts (self preservation, y’all).  It is difficult for me to parse out truth sometimes (thanks abuse and ptsd), so I do heavily rely upon trusted experts to figure out what I should be doing.  I am slow even with clear instructions, but I get there eventually (insert anxiety, insomnia, crying, vomiting, paralyzing disassociation) (also, don’t be jealous).

Then guilt sets in.

Maybe I didn’t do enough.

Maybe I did too much.

Maybe I should have more forgiveness and grace in my heart.

Maybe I am the ill one.  Maybe I am a narcissist.

Maybe I misread situations.

Maybe, maybe, maybe

Then I have to cycle myself through the copious paperwork outlining the actual events which lead to the separation and my fierce protection of SonHerisme.

This process is a painful redundant meticulous fact recall to fill my conscious brain with reality instead of my perfected projection spin.  (note:  I also anthropomorphize everything, so this is alas, a known super ingrained powerful pattern of mine. Imagination and creativity = YAY! Except when it isn’t).  This is in addition to current facts which include that MrexH’s entire family shut SonHerisme out of their lives as well when he was 6 years old.  They have the same amount of hours in their day to reach out, and they all choose not to.

Thus runs my cycle (again, don’t be jealous).

Maybe this cycling stops at some point and I will be free.  There is not any evidence of that just yet.  Although I suspect the cycle runs through a bit quicker now that I have been doing this as a practice for years plus months plus days plus hours plus minutes plus seconds, now.

This will be a hard week.  SonHerimse has been asking when he can say, “no,” for himself about contact with MrexH because it is all a painful wound reopening every time we visit the topic.

Please send some peace to SonHerisme.  Please send bubbles of protection and courage for his sweet sensitive heart.

Thanks y’all

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

ps.  I’ve sent MrexH 235 court ordered weekly progress reports on SonHerisme to date

 

 

F’ing Wineberries

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7 years ago today, Facebook (who cares so very much about me natch), allowed me to post this picture of wineberries growing wild (albeit invasive, apt) on the rocky hillside of the land which I currently occupy.

7 years ago today, the day after celebrating sweet puffin bear SonHerisme’s 5th birthday, I struggled to make sense of and piece together my quickly unraveling life having no idea how truly awful, terrifying and excruciating things were about to become.  None of the puzzle pieces would fit – it was as if I was desperately carefully jamming together paper, wood, plastic, cardboard and invisible cut pieces from multiple puzzle kits with zero instructions, support or guidance.

I planned SonHerisme’s party to be at a large local park with fields and play equipment aplenty.  Potluck so that everyone could be invited and gather together on a hot summer afternoon to socialize while children could happily run free and wild, full of birthday party sugar.  MrexH (then still MrH) was alarmingly overtly not interested in the birthday party (he left about halfway through) and actively aggressively angry about  discussion or preparation of the birthday party, taking his anger out in frightening tantrum outbursts primarily directed at SonHerisme.  It was heartbreaking madness.

MrexH justified his behavior because I was not a good mother, I was not a good wife, I was a bad friend, I served rice and potatoes at the same meal which was not hot enough to justify being a proper meal (throwing the full plate tantrum on more than one occasion), I wasn’t controlling SonHerisme well enough, I was overly controlling of SonHerisme, I bought too much fruit, I didn’t buy enough fruit, I didn’t empty the trash often enough, I emptied the trash too often and was wasting trash bags, SonHerisme didn’t eat quickly enough at meals, SonHerisme ate too quickly at meals, SonHerisme cried too often, SonHerisme needed too much of my attention, I woke up too late, I got up too early and awakened MrexH up, I read to SonHerisme too much, I needed to do more academic work with SonHerisme, I didn’t exercise enough, my taking time to exercise was selfish (while he hired a personal trainer and went for weekly massages), I didn’t make my hair attractive, I spent too much money on haircuts, I didn’t buy attractive enough clothes, my clothes were too revealing and on and on and on, day after day after day.

This pattern increased in frequency.  It did not matter what I did to change myself or help SonHerisme, MrexH found something multiple times each day to justify his anger towards us.  He threatened to leave us, to take away my access to finances, to move us to another state where we wouldn’t constantly be trying to leave the house to spend time with friends and family.  These are usual abusive patterns which I did not recognize, even though I knew that something did not feel right (then the murder threats – well, you know the story).

Also for sure in our physical relationship, things were not right at all – but, that’s for another discussion.  Or not.  It’s a difficult and uncomfortable topic for sure.  I understand what marital rape is now, and I did not know before.  Enough said.

 

You think you are clever and on top of things, until the universe pops in with a great big HUGE – FU, YOU KNOW NOTHING – then the universe might show you how much you are not paying attention, until you do.

 

So, thank you Facebook algorithm, for reminding me how the universe can work.

 

It occurs to me that we are all getting a HUGE – FU, YOU KNOW NOTHING from the universe at the moment.  Not dissimilar from my own personal experience (this is true, the opposite is true, the other thing is really true, but that is really really true, you’re the one with the problem, no you are, I know you are but what am I, I’m in charge, it’s their/your fault, etc).

This is why those of us who have experienced and survived abusive relationships are super sensitive at the moment, recognizing once again the familiar patterns of bullshittery shitstorm shit being flung about.

We are desperate to communicate to you how much we all need to be paying attention.  Even in isolation while thousands are dying, many of us are still not listening.  Instead we passively disassociate trying to mentally jam mismatched mixed media puzzle pieces until we can cobble together some skewed version of how all of this will make sense as reflected by the memory of our comfort alleged safety zone of January 2020.  All the while, in real life, being fucked over, again but worse.

 

We need help.  Vetted professional help.  STAT ASAP and all of that.

 

Why aren’t we listening to the helpers?

 

The teachers, principals, school staff who know what needs to happen, if they are given a hot minute to collaborate and really, honestly, safely propose true developmentally appropriate, safe and healthy education for our children.

 

The nurses, doctors, mental health, healthcare workers who know what needs to happen, if they are given a hot minute to collaborate and really, honestly, safely propose true developmentally appropriate, safe and healthy people.

 

The scientists, virologists, public health experts, epidemiologists who know what needs to happen, if they are given a hot minute to collaborate and really, honestly, safely propose true developmentally appropriate, safe and healthy community behaviors.

 

THEN, after we hear from these learned experienced folks, who already have massive amounts of experiential real life and professionally validated data from years of collecting it – THEN turn to the economists, big business, multibajillionaires to fund what the experts tell us need to be done to keep us healthy and functional as family, neighborhood, community, county, state, country, global citizens.

 

In the meantime, we are playing a dangerous game of roulette with human lives which cannot ever be replaced. Through the virus, through racism, through bigotry, through discrimination, through misogyny, through accessibility, through general basic inhumane behaviors we are emboldening the dangerous mindset pushing roulette to egregious heights of engagement.

 

We can no longer afford to pretend otherwise.

 

We could never afford it.

 

We were pretending we could because the largest block of voting and economic power in this country has remained stagnantly in charge for at least 55 years, and told us that pretending we could afford it was the only way to gain and maintain a position of privilege and power, which is the ultimate measure of our morality and justification for our behaviors (no matter how inhumane).

 

I suggest they were and are wrong.

I suggest we can do better.

We must pay attention and act in decisive, humane, trickle-up ways, or we will continue to be unwillingly painfully fucked.

 

The good news is that every single community in our country, in the world, has helpers!  Look for the helpers.  Once you find them, listen to and support them so that they can listen to and support us as well.

It took me some time to recognize I needed help – I almost got us killed – and then to listen to the help (feeling the actual present threat of death helps to open your listening ears, but I do not recommend it).  Somehow I listened to the helpers.  I believe that you can do it too.

 

Go Humans!

Courage Humans!

I believe in you!!!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

#carryonhealthwarriors #carryonpeacewarriors #ilikeyou

Fortress of Solitude

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

Bang Bang (Chicken)

Uh-oh.  Now she’s going to preach about: gun control, teachers need guns, mental health, universal health care, libtards, evil conservatives, sexual assault, feminism, sexism, patriotism, nationalism, racism…

 

TRIGGER WARNING

 

trigger, trigger, trigger!

 

BANG!

 

Honestyism

 

Those of us living in the United States of America, are living in a fear reactive based culture in general.  On top of that, we maintain this bizarre “code of silence” about truths and realities of our culture/town/neighbors/school/family/self which permits us to disengage and disconnect from responsibility to ourselves and to each other.  These things prevent us from having productive dialogue, discourse, and disagreements, which could lead to healthy compromise and solutions.

 

For example:  I am confident that there are next to zero parents who want to their child to feel unsafe at school, or to be shot at school.  This is the beginning of a dialogue.

Some of us might feel that schools need security/police/armed teachers or staff for our child to feel safe and not be shot at school.

Some of us might feel that we need better gun control/mental health support over all for our child to feel safe and not be shot at school.

(psst… these are not mutually exclusive ideas, just different ideas)

 

When the dialogue becomes about the extremes, which we are brilliant at, the discourse breaks down and stagnates until the side with the most power and control gets their way.  This leaves the rest of us scratching our heads, “what just happened?!!” Or loosing complete interest and tuning into some reality television show/youtuber/drink/exercise/food/work/sex/whatever to tune out our reality.

BANG!

The power and control duo do not equal good leadership.

BANG!

Having power and control is not a good indicator of good decision making.  (hello, world history and anyone who has been in an abusive relationship)

 

One of the things that makes our country so great, is that we emerged from a group of people who were unified in their belief that there was a better system for collective living. Rather than relying on those who wielded only power and control, they developed a system of collective input and feedback (not equitable, and with other issues, yes, yes, yes I am simplifying.  I said “ONE of the things,” anywho…).

BANG!

We have the laws we have because we voted for them.

BANG!

We have the people in office that we have because we voted for them.

 

Gun laws or lack of?  We vote for those.  BANG! BANG!

Education system?  We vote for that.  BANG! BANG!

 

I am not under any Pollyannaish spell where the magical world of magical peace will be attained through everyone believing in my truth.

 

I am suggesting that, as a collective, we do not accept our own culpability or responsibility in our collective missteps, disappointments, inactivity/activities. Shame and blame game, baby.  Power and control for the win!

 

WORTHINESS is critical.  Believing that one is worthy and others are worthy.

 

All it takes is for me to look inside my own home, inside of my own family, inside of my own community, to see this playing out.

 

My Home/Family:

There are so many scenarios to demonstrate in this dynamic.  The two men in my son’s life who are the closest to him struggle to maintain civility, courtesy and respect with SonHerisme.  It is awful.  I draw my boundaries as I am able to do so, and I am getting stronger and more able everyday.  In the meantime, I wonder what these men are doing to help SonHerisme feel worthy as a person.  Worthy enough that he can see worthiness in others.  Worthy enough that he does not get to the end of his rope as an at-risk teen and go into a high school or workplace or concert, and decide that not only is he unworthy, but so is everyone else.  What are they doing to show him how to be a functioning healthy adult man?

 

I could have this conversation with them.  It would not be received.

 

After the latest High School shooting, my father wondered what the differences could be between that shooter and himself.  My father tragically lost his father when he was very young.  His mother became ill and died when he was a teenager.  He was poor.  He was bullied.  My father is completely at a loss in understanding why this young man in Florida, and other white men, are shooting kids at schools, when he did not do that.

Unlike these kids, my father had a support system of people who believed he was worthy, and showed him that others had worth too.  He had a consistent sense of reciprocal responsibility in his community from the time he was born.

He did not have access to the kinds of firearms people do today.

 

Bang

 

My School/Community:

In our school community, parents are not included in the school-day community at all.  It is considered a sacred place for children only (and the staff).  Our after-school community consists of primarily female-centric activities run by parents (girl scouts, brownies, garden club, writing club, mother-daughter book club… yes, gardening and writing are not just for girls, but they are female centric and female run).  There is a co-ed robot club too, limited and selective, and an athletic club that meets seasonally at a local park (also run by women).

 

I have reached out multiple times to try and establish interest and leadership in more male-centric activities (scouts, maker-space, running club etc) with little to no response, and ultimately no action.  Inevitably someone comments, “where are the dads?,” “c’mon dads, grandfathers, uncles, step up!,” on my social media posts on the school page.  As if publicly shaming the men, we will make them want to be involved.

 

I offered my intention to walk near the school on the planned walk-out days, specifically noting that I would not disrupt the school day.  I was told, through an intermediary, that I was going to frighten kindergartners (oddly no mention of the preschoolers, so I guess they are a-okay with my goings on). After much circular dialogue, I finally received confirmation that the principal specifically wanted this person to tell me not to walk near the school.  We are so ridiculous in our silence and assumptions.  No one thought to have the courtesy to ask me what my vision and intentions were beyond my post. No one thought of how to promote supportive community (as in the entire school community, not just the carved out piece of children and staff) in this charged time.  By the way, I was going to walk and talk about peace and safety with my son, on the public sidewalk near the school.  Which, it being a public sidewalk and all, no one can prevent me from walking on.  Ironically, no one else indicated they were joining us.  It was most likely going to be the two of us on a bonding stroll, reinforcing to my son that I was, in some small way, a member of his school community and supportive of the community.

 

Where in our community are we offering support for our boys to feel that sense of worthiness?  That sense that others are worthy?  That sense of reciprocal responsibility?  We can’t even do it in our own school.  How can we expect it to happen in our broader community?

 

bang

 

I am struggling in my own home with this.

 

bang bang bang Bang BANG

 

I am so proud to be a citizen of this country, despite our gross flaws, because each of us can potentially make a difference by using our voice and vote to steer our collective community and nation.  I am finding it amazing that more and more people seem to be engaged and interested in our country’s direction.

 

I agree that there isn’t a single answer for this recurring gun violence in schools issue, and also that we need to start somewhere.

Changing gun laws seems to be a no-brainer beginning, but it does not address our serious endemic issues (which are often institutionally endorsed).

I believe that we have been teetering on a tipping point for some time in our country. I hope I’m contributing to us tipping in the direction of peace and humanity.  I am trying in my little corner, to support my SonHerisme to feel his own worthiness and the worthiness of others.

 

Maybe I should do more.  Maybe I should do differently.  For now:

 

Please let me stay healthy and alive until SonHerisme reaches well into adulthood, to give him the best footing to not become a tragic statistic.

Please let us pause and collect ourselves nationally to support school safety.

Please check on your neighbor.

Please help our fatherless boys (and those with harmful fathers).

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

 

Bang Bang (Chicken)

Mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and hot sauce – mix ‘em up = bang bang sauce

Fry up some stuff, dip fried stuff into sauce

I hate mayonnaise.  Oh, wait.  I mean, I like to eat it occasionally when it is called for, but I hate it.  I hate the way it looks.  I hate reading the word.  I hate saying the word.  Blech

Do you know what I hate more than mayonnaise?  Hypocrisy, “code of silence,” lying, compromised health and safety, kids getting shot at school.  You know, the everyday.

b aaa nnnnn ggggggg

Ciao, Chanderdeep

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It has been a while.

“May,” you say?

Well, yes, and thank you for noticing.

 

Like you, I am scrunched, sandwiched, overwhelmed, isolated, lonely, frightened, alive and all of the things.

 

MrexH’s whereabouts are currently unknown, in case you were wondering.

 

I tell SonHerisme all of the things that would indicate that we are safe and everything will be okay.

  1. The last we were made aware of, MrexH was in Puerto Rico and riding out Maria (the storm, get your head outta the gutta), with his parents.
  2. Puerto Rico is far away from us.
  3. MrexH’s parents live at the top of a huge hill in a concrete house.
  4. Hurricanes do not blow down concrete (roofs yes, concrete no).
  5. They live across the street from a monastery full of nuns and their church.
  6. The monastery is concrete and built into the side of the hill.
  7. Nuns are helpers and community support.
  8. MrexH and his parents have been through hurricanes before (nothing like this, of course, but let’s keep that between you and me).
  9. As soon as someone has any news of MrexH’s whereabouts/condition and his parents’, they will phone us (it’s what I’m telling myself too).
  10. We have an alarm system on our house.
  11. We have our own community of support.
  12. Mommy is brave and strong (this might be a bald faced lie, but I say it anyway).

 

This, plus my mother’s continued health issues, plus her doggies had to have surgery (yes, I am caring for them as well), plus regular life crap, equals one stressed out lady (that’s me).

 

This leads me to how I end up on a screen chat with Chanderdeep from Xfinity Comcast, regarding my current subscription and how I am suddenly blocked from channels that I had a week ago.

 

Screen time at my house only comes on weekends and accompanied by SonHerisme, who is 9 and mostly wants to play video games with me.  Otherwise, I have perhaps 10 minutes on select weekday mornings, to watch a television show that is just for me.

I watch my rare 10 minutes on my first release vintage iPad whilst slowly inhaling the aroma from my coffee and taking lazy sips.

For 10 minutes.

10 minutes.

That’s all I need to start off my day.

10 freaking fracking flooming blooming minutes.

(cue doggies wanting out/walked/fed, HerismeMother awakening needing coffee/bandage change/pills, SonHerisme needing cuddles/stories/breakfast…)

 

Chanderdeep tried his/her best to help me, eventually implementing a temporary fix.  I told Chanderdeep how much I knew that the world was suffering, people are suffering, deep painful suffering, and my first world problems were selfish and stupid.  What I didn’t tell Chanderdeep, was about my sacred 10 minutes.  I didn’t tell Chanderdeep that SonHerisme and I have been at risk for murder and my brain needs a break.  I didn’t tell Chanderdeep how my mother screams and cries when I have to change her bandage twice each day and my brain needs a break.  I didn’t ask Chanderdeep how he/she was doing.  I didn’t ask Chanderdeep how I could alleviate some of his/her suffering or daily life pain that we all experience.

I thanked Chanderdeep.

I wished Chanderdeep a successful remainder of his/her work shift.

I wished Chanderdeep a lovely peaceful life.

 

Chanderdeep wrapped up the conversation asap, as you can imagine you might if some strange lady wanting cable access suddenly dived into a place of wierdo-schmierdo-I-want-validation-for-my-sellfish-needs place.

 

So, yes, I am struggling with more than cable access (which I haven’t even dignified with finding time to watch for those 10 freaking minutes as SonHerisme’s nightmares have returned post-hurricane convo), Chanderdeep.  I am sorry that you have to listen to looney tunes such as myself.

I might be spiraling a bit.

Truly, from my heart, I send you tons of peaceful successful vibes and my hopes that someday I will redeem myself to you.  For now, I say, “Ciao, Chanderdeep,” until another day, my screen chat Xfinifty guide.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

PEOPLES

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Dear Human Peoples of Earth,

Please, please, please, please – I IMPLORE you to stop pretending as if abuse is an anomaly.

Stop the *SHOCK* *DISMAY* and *GASP* ing

This is keeping us from finding appropriate prevention, appropriate support and appropriate resolution.

If we continue to believe that lie that abuse is truly an anomaly, then we are willing to receive the lie that each case is SO super unique and has special circumstances and exceptions to what we humans would accept as being humane.

“THAT would NEVER happen in my house”  “What a disgrace”  “Can you BELIEVE that someone would do that”  “What kind of sick person does those things”  “How could she get involved with someone who would do something like that”  “I would NEVER allow/stand for that behavior”

Abuse is NOT an anomaly.

Look around you right now, or think about when you were at car-line (for school pick-up or drop-off), or at a coffee shop, or a concert, or at the grocery/book/homegoods store…

Count the adults around you.  (I cannot bear to quote the statistics on children)

 

If you reached more than ‘3’ in that count, then

you know someone who has been abused.

 

Sexually, emotionally, physically, financially abused

 

1 in 3 women have been a victim of domestic violence (either as a child or adult).

1 in 6 men have been a victim of domestic violence (either as a child or adult).

That is a helluvalotta us.

Once we stop speaking in hushed voices about this, and stop pretending as if we are unique in our situation, we can rise together to stop this unacceptable inhumane cycle.

Do you know who is winning right now?  The abusers are winning.  The lawyers are winning.  The courts are winning (we are in there a LOT every single day – we are probably their biggest money maker, like in history HUGELY BIGLY).

 

Do you know who is losing right now?

We are losing.

Our children are losing.

 

It is the ingrained shame, secrecy and belief that abuse is an anomaly which perpetuates abuse.

 

Abuse has been going on from the beginning of time, and will always exist in some fashion or another.  Because humans are human and humans have an extraordinary ability to dehumanize each other.

 

It is our challenge at this time in human history to no longer remain in a haze of believing that abuse is anomaly.

It is our challenge to prepare future generations on how to recognize abusive behavior.

It is our challenge to prepare future generations to be held accountable for self-regulation. 

It is our challenge to hold space for those who have been abused and teach them how to take back their personal power. 

It is our challenge to hold abusers accountable for their actions – to call them what they are – to call abuse what it is.

 

Abuse has been normalized by being maintained in secrecy, perpetuating the lie that it is unusual, and then normalized again by semantic manipulation.

“you are remembering that incorrectly because your anxiety is so out of control”

“we aren’t forcing your child to stay at supervised visits, but we strongly encourage them to build a relationship with their absent parent” (then force the child to visit with the parent, despite the parent’s yelling, throwing, threatening or erratic demeanor at the visit which is noted and observed by professionals who then determine the visit as “successful”)

“you must respect that all parents have rights to their children”

“he didn’t hold a knife to your throat, or threaten to kill you, so it really does not fit the definition of rape”

“if we investigated everyone who threatened murder, everyone on facebook would get arrested”

“she is allowed to parent in the style she sees fit” (she bribes your child with candy, toys etc and belittles/insults you to your child)

“he only hit the child one time, so it does not warrant further investigation unless an absolute pattern has been established”

“you have 15 staples in your head because of your relationship with him, he has no violent history with his children, and should be given equitable access to them” SURfrickinPRISE – here is a novelty to consider: children are not equitable property, they are people too.

If you intentionally harm/abuse another person, it is likely that you are going to intentionally harm another person.  Power and control is the bottom line.  Believing that another human is “less than” and somehow deserves “less than” treatment.  The only way to stop an abuser, is to call them out on their behavior, and provide consequences.

Abuse is abuse is abuse is abuse.

Let’s stop silencing our stories.

Let’s stop pretending that abuse is something else or that it does not exist in our realm.

Let’s stop doing that, human peoples.  PLEASE and Thank You

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

A Dime a Dozen

One of the most stark realities of going through the court system

with: divorce, protective orders, contempt of court, po violations, victim’s coordinators, witness coordinators, parent coordinators, parent evaluators, visitation monitors, social workers, Child Protective Services, therapists, Circuit Judges, District Judges, States Attorney’s Office, Best Interest Attorneys, Attorneys, Masters, Mediators, Detectives, Police Officers, Sheriff’s Officers, discovery paperwork, interrogatories, copies of every bit of paperwork that may potentially define you (bank statements, mortgage statements, medical records, bill statements, daily activity logs etc), and reiterating your story a bajillion times to everyone and anyone, as if you have never told it before…

it is F’IN exhausting, uber full-time and you are not one bit unique from thousands of other women and children trying to extricate themselves from an abusive situation.

 

We are a dime a dozen to all of those professionals.

They see us multiple times a day.

 

We are overwhelmed and out of balance because our situations are so real and unique to us.  This belief that we are unique, is a great lie that we tell ourselves.

We are not unique.

 

Do you know how many women you personally know who have been sexually abused, emotionally abused, physically abused, financially abused? I challenge you to ask in your family, or your closest friends, if you cannot think of anyone off the top of your head.  I guarantee that you know someone who has been abused.

 

We follow in the tragic footsteps of countless women who have gone before us.  Some in situations where they found justice and survived.  More in situations that bent towards whichever way the current power and control swing was going.  Others ending up dead as a result of abuse.

 

As we continue on this great human shift away from a patriarchal society, which I believe we are on (another post, another day), I hope that we all continue to speak our truths and share our stories loudly – even when we have no hope for justice, even when we have no hope for safety.

 

This is our war and I am betting that, despite losing battles here and there, we win the long race.

 

We are a dime a dozen, but each of our dozen wield mighty and powerful voices, deceptively couched in that lowly dime.  We are slowly building, stack by stack, until we outnumber those lone one-in-a-million voices who attempt to stop us.

 

I am cheering your truth on!  Good job, YOU – go, YOU, GO!

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

pssst… Donate to your local domestic violence shelter today and reach out to a friend today

Disposable Emotions

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Parent/Teacher conferences happened last week at SonHerisme’s school.

This is one of the very, very extremely, limited times parents are permitted to see inside their children’s classroom, or the inside of the school environment at all.

Our school has very exacting leadership.  A militant Montessori, some might say.

The school is the domain of children and teachers, where families and parents are not permitted or included.

The conferences are strictly scheduled in 15 minute increments, twice per school year.  During two scheduled weeks during the school year, 20 minute opportunities to observe your child’s classroom are offered, but only to one parent at a time, and only if you secure the time slot before the other 100 or so parents.  There is also a 15 minute opportunity to join in your child’s classroom for their Walk-Around-the-Sun (Montessori birthday celebration).

Why are we still there? 

The teachers and parent community are unusually wonderful at this school.  I helped to build the school, as a founder.  While I am not on the same page with the leadership of the school, I am not currently in a position to help facilitate change, and the broader community of the school has been indispensable to us.

Also, despite having a horrific introduction into formal schooling (we were homeschooling prior to attending school), I was not in a position to even move SonHerisme into a different classroom.  My every move and breath was being questioned and picked apart by my attorney, SonHerisme’s attorney, and MrexH’s seemingly never-ending series of attorneys (each of whom firmly believed they were going to catch me doing or being something awful, so that they could vie for MrexH’s position with the court system – because that makes TOTAL SENSE when you are looking at a mentally ill person threatening to kill his family, with a history of abuse…yup, totally).

Anywho, the school leadership blatantly told me that, if asked by an attorney, therapist or social worker, they would not support my request to remove my child from the destructive abusive classroom situation he was in, or to change his school environment.  The school leadership’s position was that I would be harming SonHerisme’s education if I chose to school him differently. The school leadership is considered an expert on the subject of my child’s education, not me.  This felt like a threat to our safety.

The school leadership described me to SonHerisme’s attorney as an “over-protective” “hypervigilant” mother…  UM, YES because MrexH wants to KILL us, perhaps…?

This communication between SonHerisme’s attorney and the school leadership cost me countless sleepless nights, loss of trust in the leadership, and probably close to $1000 in attorney’s fees to explain myself – never mind the hours of my time in communications with those attorneys, our therapists etc, that most assuredly took my time AWAY from a confused and hurting SonHerisme who just desperately needed my presence and assurances.

The school environment we entered had an entirely unprepared incompetent teacher and was rampant with extremely poor  aggressive violent behaviors and bullying.  Most of the 30 children that were in that classroom 2014-2015, are still trying to normalize and catch up to their peers – even the half of the class that removed their children due to this horrific school situation.

While that particular teacher was not permitted to return to the school the following school year, the damage was done.  And I remained confined by the threats of attorneys and the attitude of the school leadership, to keep my child in that environment.

Those of you reading this and thinking, “This would never happen to my child!  Unacceptable!  I would pull my child out of there in a heartbeat and give them a piece of my mind!”

Be my guest. 

Walk my path.

(but holy bejeezus, I hope NOT) 

Have multiple attorneys threaten you with the safety and well-being of your child.

One threat: to send some stranger, in a van, to your home to physically remove your ptsd anxiety ridden child, and force your child to spend time with his abusive clinically psychotic father (who wants to murder SonHerisme and Herisme), if you make any questionable decisions or moves.  You know, because it turns out that, according to attorneys and potentially the court, it’s probably ME that had the problem – you know because of my anxiety about MrexH, and I am too overprotective and hypervigilant.  Yeah, that was the REAL problem here…

Anyone want to revisit the misogynistic bullying culture of outrage discussion?

Good times.

And so, you move those feelings to somewhere else (dissociation much?), and wake up in the morning to take your screaming crying frightened child into, what you KNOW, is an abusive school situation, and you leave him there because you’re fairly certain no one is going to murder him in a public Montessori school with a tough-as-nails, protective school secretary, watching the front door.

The unknown social worker in the van transporting your child to his psychotic abusive father is what you are avoiding.

Once that teacher was not invited back to the school for the 2015-2016 school year, new teachers arrived, and a new school secretary (the previous secretary made an extra effort to introduce SonHerisme to the new secretary and let him know that the new secretary knew how to keep him safe too.  I truly appreciated that!).  The school leadership divided that classroom of children into smaller groups, so that they could have a chance to normalize into the environment.

So far, so good, in terms of the classroom dynamics shifting and allowing education and positive learning to take place.  Of course, this is only as far as I can tell from observing my child outside of school, as no parent is permitted inside, except on the occasions listed above.

However, the recovery is taking extra time for us because not only did we have to move through the tragedies of our home environment, but also the severe tragedy of an abusive school environment 2014-2015, as well.

Which brings me back to the school conference, now that there is context for what comes next.

The consistent and patient teacher SonHerisme is in his second year with (multiage Montessori classrooms, he has not been held back), shared with me that SonHerisme confided he was worried sometimes at night because his dad wants to kill him.

Holy Fduck (D-)

At a follow-up meeting about extra educational support for SonHerisme, his teacher shared that SonHerisme told his peers in a classroom discussion about sad things in everyone’s lives, that his dad wants to, and tried to, kill him.

Holy Fduck (D-)

When the class discussion moved on to how to deal with the saddnesses, SonHerisme’s response was, “you just forget about it.”

Disposable emotions

Dissociation

Or, SonHerisme is growing, changing, and starting to forget somethings and remember other things in a different, maturing way.

I hope that my lessons to SonHerisme are not that the primary processing of emotions includes dismissing them, disposing them.

I want him to be able to acknowledge emotions,

process them,

move successfully and healthily through the strongest of them,

to live his long, healthy, full, fulfilling and safe life.

Maybe I am too good at dissociation and disposing of my own emotions to know how to guide him through this.

Thank G-d, and the generosity of SonHerisme’s therapist,

his therapy continues weekly.

Obvs I need to be in therapy – which takes private insurance – which takes money – which takes an income – which requires employment.

In time.  I feel that I will get there.

In the meantime, thank you all for your patience.

If you know me irl and know our school, please be kind in your judgements of them and of me.  Challenging extremely unpleasant circumstances tend to bring out the worst in everybody.

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

ps. yes, it continues to be difficult for me as an adult to process what has occurred.  I cannot imagine how these situations have formulated SonHerisme’s young little being. *spirals into worry*

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

 

 

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