Virtutem Forma Decorat aka Audrey Hepburn: Rise of the No

IMG_0857

Hey y’all

Howsit goin’?

Whatcha doin’?

 

Our sweet summertime is in full swing.  We are on the other side of the slope, plowing towards school resuming in September.  Summer is busy around here: tennis, swimming, karate, math tutoring, outdoor adventure play, day camps (fishing, hiking, singing, more swimming etc), local day-trip fun times, video games, museums, trampolining, cooking, cleaning, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (nod to Mr. King-of-Siam).

 

We also had FatherHerisme and Niece2Herisme join us for about 6 weeks. Niece1Herisme lives locally, so is in and out as often as her family + teenagerness allows.

 

Anywho, it’s been a bit chaotic and busy around these parts.  Which feels like a lovely blessing and overwhelming at the same time.  Of course, I continue to care for MotherHerisme.  She will remain with SonHerisme and myself, along with her two sweet fluffy mini-doggies, for the time being in order to maintain her treatment plan through the coven at Georgetown Hospital.  Pyoderma – do NOT Google this.  You have been warned, and on your own if you ignore this warning.  To sum up:  it is extremely painful, extremely visually dramatic, and requires a ton of painkillers plus steroids plus exact bandage change protocol (enter me).  These past two years have been a lot for MotherHerisme to deal with.  Please send healing wishes, good juju and prayers, as you are able. Thank you.

 

Niece2Herisme decided to throw a surprise birthday party for me this summer.  It was a milestone birthday (sort of) and she loves me so much that she wanted to mark it in a special way.  She is a very sweet young lady and has a big generous heart!  I am so lucky to know her!  Alas, she was missing adult guidance, so much of it did not work out as she imagined (ex: The cake pictured above was ordered by me once I learned that my allergies prevented me from eating all of the food being ordered, including the cake). My heart broke for her.  It was a learning experience, and I hope that I conveyed how much I appreciate and love her through all of this hard growing up and learning stuff.

 

All of the everything, plus having time passed since we had our lives ripped apart, plus hitting a hard birthday, plus my life in general equals the Rise of the No.

 

No to breaking my appropriate boundaries

No to sugar coating or plain lying about what is happening in my life

No to denying the gravity of what has occurred in our lives

No to treating SonHerisme or me as if we are an inconvenience

No to being disrespectful to our space without acknowledgement

No to passively accepting bad or inappropriate behavior

 

No

 

I love Audrey Hepburn.  I am a huge fan of her work, both as a celebrity actor and as a humanitarian.  I love her so very much, that a very special and dear life-long friend of mine, whom I also love, love, love, once sent me a beautiful print of an Audrey Hepburn quote:

 “I believe in pink.  I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.

I believe in kissing. Kissing a lot.

I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.

I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.

I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”

I had this print framed and hanging on my bedroom wall for years.  I loved seeing it.  I loved reading it.  I loved it when my son could read it for the first time on his own.  This past week, I took it down and I doubt that I will ever re-hang it.

 

As I looked at the print when I went to bed, it began to depress me.

Pink is still a-okay by me, as is laughing.

Kissing is seriously depressingly lacking and unlikely to return to my life.

Being strong is an illusion.  Those of us battling whatever battles, battle them to survive or to give our children survival skills – it’s not strength, it’s instinctual self-preservation that drives us.

Happy girls are whatevs.  Great if you are one, also a-okay if you’re not.  Being human and giving your soul space to spread love and goodness is much more important and vital than being happy.

Also, tomorrow IS another day (duh).

Miracles happen everywhere every day.  The very essence of life is a miracle.  I’m not sure how profound miracles are by their existence.  It is in the recognition of the miracle that the profoundness is released.

Obvs I am now old.

Grieving dreams, hopes and aspirations that can no longer be.

One of SonHerisme and my favorite things to do is to hop down to the city and visit some of our favorite artwork.  The only displayed Da Vinci in the USA is in our city: Ginevra de’Benci.  On the reverse of her portrait is another painting by Da Vinci with a secret message “Virtutem Forma Decorat,” “Virtue Adorns Beauty.”  Beauty is found in the things we do, rather than in our face or how our bodies look/behave.  Beauty is as beauty does, so to speak (if you’re from Georgia, South Carolina or Alabama, I’m sure that this is a familiar mantra).  I am not a pillar of virtue, but I do try to be a good role model for SonHerisme and his cousins as well as our broader community.  Not typically in bold overt ways, but in my own quiet patterns and whispers.  I’m an okay-ish-with-my-own-virtue kind of person.  And as for my outside beauty – the virtue does not adorn it. I’ll acknowledge that I am not hideous, mostly (Cartman!).  However I am not a person for whom people feel the need to take more than a glance, much less a second look.  Being an introvert, this is sort of a relief.  At my age I have most definitely stepped into the invisible phase. I don’t have the energy to explore being more virtuous – unless honoring instinctive self-preservation is a virtue (?).  Ack!  Too much pressure and fack beauty anyway.  If you’re not genetically blessed, recognized by someone as such, or overt about your beauty, you end up invisible no matter how virtuous you proclaim or demonstrate yourself to be. I chalk this Da Vinci verso addition up to platituding for profit.

From the time I was very young, being invisible was imperative and worked towards my own self-preservation.  Examples to follow in future post.  My point is that, for now, I am focused on using my emotional boundaries as self-preservation rather than physical boundaries.  This is a difficult shift for me.  It is near impossible for me to even recognize my emotions, much less respond to my emotions by setting appropriate boundaries.

Rethinking how I physically present myself into the world is a piece of this as well.  Don’t look for me to suddenly adorn myself with glitter, eyeshadow or gregarious clothes…  Think more about how I carry myself, wearing sneakers and COSTCO skirts everyday (I know, I KNOW), the language I use, voicing what needs voiced, making eye contact (ugh), etc.

Please do not refer to this as, “baby steps.” This is superdy NOT helpful to someone like me. Condescending and patronizing. When babies learn to take steps, they have someone, and oftentimes multiple someones, enthusiastically cheering them on.  Clapping and, “ohh, ahh” ing over every movement.  When they stumble tumble, large comforting gentle loving hands are there to pick them up, warmly cuddle them, kiss their boo-boos away and reassure them that they are going to be okay.  As a single parent working from home, the adult equivalent of this level of security and support is just not available to me.  I do have lovely friends, who step in and out when able (THANK YOU) – ps they have their own struggles and lives.  The bulk of the comfort I am able to receive has to be self-generated.  Honestly, most days I am unable to muster it for myself.  Then, you know, instinctual self-preservation kicks in: SonHerisme needs support, MotherHerisme needs support, tiny doggies need support, and so goes my day.  I am taking steps – that’s all.  Sometimes tiny, sometimes (hopefully in a healthy manner) bigger, or medium-ish, or just slightly over tiny.  No “baby steps.”

To sum up:

I am saying, “no, thank you,” much more often.

Audrey Hepburn was still an amazing humanitarian and expressed her immersion into a healthy loving supportive environment through her words and works (I am in a different place).

Da Vinci remains an intriguing talented enigma.

No baby steps.

I love that you read all of this, even if you believe that I am wacky.

 

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Coven (aka, I am probably a racist)

The Georgetown Coven convened once again to give us some insight into my mother’s lingering life altering health issue. We heeded their summons, received their powerful collective wisdom, and are proceeding thusly, tout suite! It must be so, as we met directly across from the French Embassy.  Être au taquet *fingers crossed*

The procedure in the Georgetown Wound Care Center include a nurse escorting you to an exam room, taking vitals, and preparing you for the Doctor’s consultation.  On this day, a young(ish) man in hospital scrubs escorted my mother to the exam room, introduced himself (L-loyd, shout out Lego Ninjago fans), accompanied by another young(ish) man in business attire.  The businessy man did not immediately introduce himself.

Once the door to my mother’ exam room was closed, I immediately felt a general sense of unease.  Two men.  One silent.  Door shut.  Once Lloyd removed my mother’s bandage and took her vitals, the business man introduced himself as the manager of the wound care unit, explaining that he was conducting employee observations.  He reached to shake my hand, and as I was shaking his hand I heard this bizarre-o giggle burble out of myself, and I said, “yeah, you weren’t creepy at all,” before I could stop myself.  Except he was creepy until that moment. We both smiled.  Then both men left while we waited for our trusted Dr Ladies to arrive.

In those quiet moments (my mother was engaged with solitaire on her phone, attempting to control her own anxiety about her medical experiences), I was having an internal discussion about what was it that was making me so uneasy with those two men.

Was is because one of them was super silent?

Georgetown is a teaching hospital, so we have many silent residents and medical students coming in and out of various appointments and treatments.  I do not recall being uneasy with their presence.

Oh, did I forget to mention that both men have darker skin than mine?  No?  Why does that matter anyway?  Am I some kind of racist or something?  The underbelly of racism is fear.  I felt an unwarranted fear in the closed presence of these men that I was not feeling in the closed presence of others (including men).  I am pretty sure that I had a moment of ingrained racism there.

I deeply apologize, gentlemen.

On the recommendation of a friend, I began following a hilFREAKINarious mommy poster @HonestToddler on Twitter (and @LozFelizDaycare!).  As our societal/political leadership climate changed in the good ol’ USofA, @HonestToddler changed her tweeting focus up to include societal issues broader than wacky child/family/mommy dynamics (still locally sourced, sustainably harvested and organic, though, like, seriously).  @HonestToddler introduced me to @rgay, who in turn introduced me to @IjemaOluo (and others in this 7 degrees of fascinating).

Don’t get too excited about my tweet game, I still follow @carrieffisher…  *sigh* and saddnesses. May the Force be with you and also with you. Lift up your hearts, we lift them up to the … anywho, you see what I mean.

Consequently, I have been immersed into a whole new lot of things that otherwise would not have hit my reading radar.

Which brings me right back ‘round, baby, right ‘round like a record, baby, right ‘round ‘round ‘round to our incident with the Georgetown Coven.  Obvs I’m a middle class light-skinned lady person of a certain age.

 

I am reading this:  So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

 

I want to know more and different things so that I can do more and different things.  One take-away so far is that I am not in a position of defining what is and what is not racist for someone experiencing racism.

 

How about you?

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. Liam Neeson left *sigh* and *heartbreak*

Where Liam Neeson Guides Me to a Medical Coven in Georgetown

I spent two consecutive days in the car with Liam Neeson driving from central Maryland into the Georgetown area of D.C.

I mean to say, I went to Georgetown on a Tuesday and again on a Wednesday, with Liam Neeson as my spirit guide.

Okay!  He was my Waze guide.  Liam Neeson’s voice was my Waze voice choice.  And I would (will) do it again, dagnabit.

 

On the second day of going into Georgetown with Liam Neeson (Wazed Liam Neeson), I had been scheduled to sit for a friend of mine.  The kind of sit where one poses and stays still while she paints.  I’m not much to look at, but she wants to practice with her new fancy colors and such.  Before you ask or even think it, no, this is not for a nude study.

 

Our (embellished) text conversation of me cancelling on her:

Me:  I have to be in Georgetown again tomorrow – just found today.  Sorry :,(  I’ll be gone from 8:45am-2pm ish

She:  Tis Alright I have to go grocery shopping anyway L.  What is happening in Annapolis?

Me:  People are greedy and hungry for power in Annapolis, plus pretty boats.  I suspect there are altruistic people in Annapolis too.  In Georgetown, I am desperately seeking medical help to heal my mother’s wound.  Also, I found out today that Georgetown has a valet parking guy named, “DJ,” and he would appreciate it if I asked for him by name next time.

She:  Oh.

 

*prolonged silence*

 

She:  I don’t know why I said Annapolis.  It is near the water and East of me, I guess.

Me:  Also (note to self, I use “also,” toooooooo much), there is a GIANT school in Georgetown named St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, which appears to be very snooty exclusive and such.  Waze Liam Neeson was taunting me by forcing me to drive past it.  It seems that Mr. Neeson is an economic snob, but I can’t stop listening to his voice!  He is as baffled as I am at the amount of commuters in this city.  He also encourages me to go into stealth mode, which I have decided will be my new speciality.  I never knew how much I like Liam Neeson.  I like him very much.  We seem to have a lot in common.  He cracks me the heck up, like Cracker Barrel.

She:  WTH are you talking about?  Are you drunk or high?  DJ?  Does he park cars and heal wounds?

Me:  Lol  No.  However, DJ does have an awesome neon yellow stocking cap.  I believe I shall use his name the next time I see him!

She:  You had me so perplexed and I had shots from this weird movie I was imagining…  you lead, of course, solving some mysterious ailment that your mother contracted by being a spy or an alien.

Me:  Sorrys!  My mind is fluid, yet highly viscous, muck.

She:  Through complicated research, hoop jumping, and dangerous investigations, you are led to DJ and his Georgetown parking garage, which doubles as a secret hat workshop.  The hats are made from unidentifiable fibers.  You are not sure if DJ is a double agent (played by Liam Neeson).

Me:  YES!  You get me!  Also, Liam Neeson.

 

Aaaaand scene

 

Anywho, Waze Liam Neeson has now successfully guided us into, and back out of, Georgetown, twice.  I forgive him for the twists and turns in Glen Echo/Palisades, and also the Clara Barton Parkway.  The middle lane on Clara Barton switches direction depending on the time of day and it freaks me out that I am going to end up in a head-on collision.  I much prefer the GW Parkway on the other side of the Potomac, and then cross over the bridge when needed.  Alas, then I’d miss passing the German and French embassies (güten tag, bonjour!).  Waze Liam Neeson used his soothing voice and encouraged me to be in stealth mode for much of the Clara Barton, and in the passing of the embassies, which was immensely gallant and helpful.

 

Once in Georgetown, we met with a team of Doctors over a 2-day period.  They each brought a fresh perspective and interest in my mother’s ailment.  New tests have been ordered.  Thusly, we have started my mother on a new path for healing (huzzah!).  My mother felt validated in her concerns, heard and attended.  Upon leaving on the second day, we both realized that every Doctor we met with was a woman.  We now have a Medical Coven in Georgetown!  MCG – Medical Coven in Georgetown.  Get down with MCG, yeah you know me!

 

This concludes how Liam Neeson lead me to a medical coven in Georgetown.  Thank you for being my spirit guide, Liam Neeson.  Until next time… stealth mode activated 😉

 

apologies – I am mostly quite overwhelmed and a bit sad. writing is difficult for me.  Except for today, because, Liam Neeson!