Doing of the Things

(or listen here)

How are we doing all of the things? Are we doing all of the things?

I am not. I wish I could be cool, awesome, and put together in a lovely tidy riband package and be a part of the ones getting the things done.

On Pinterest board “Coveted Clothing Items,” I find I have pinned ribbon ruffle pleated smocked things everywhere. I seem to have the packaging eye for myself (which rarely translates outside of the pin), but the getting things done part is a struggle.

The banker man person for FatherHerisme and MotherHerisme would like to visit FatherHerisme in his skilled nursing long-term facility. FatherHerisme is there after snowball medical debacles earlier this year because he needs dialysis 3x week now. He is unable to be reliably transported in a vehicle because his body is so weak, and must be in a facility with onsite dialysis. Do not EVEN ask what the cost for this is because it is INSANELY expensive here. Yet the facility presents as an outdated 1980’s era building… great people but the facility condition is sus. For example, only 1 item may be plugged in at a time in FatherHerisme’s room. He can either use his CPAP or have his iPad plugged in to Facetime us. 1st world problems, but for the amount of $$$$$, it seems like a basic expectation to use multiple outlets in a long term care facility. Maybe I’m Karening (?). Maybe it’s Maybelline. Did any of you use that bright pink/green packaged mascara back in the day? woot woot I haven’t worn mascara for years and years and years. I look like I do not have any eyelashes without it because mine are blondish whiteish. Meh – whatevs – letting it go

The banker man call regarding visiting FatherHerisme reminded me that not only have I not followed up with the tasks he set me, I have not followed up with the attorney about updated POA’s/wills/trusts etc. I have not followed up with MotherHerisme’s appointments or SonHerisme’s orthodontist (He is braces-free but needs a retainer check). I have not cleaned out the Princess Room (home office moniker left over from the days of my little nieces using this room as their own magical sleepover/play area). I have not cleaned out the basement/garage to prepare for remodeling for MotherHerisme. I did not get the play structure removed from the backyard. I have not put a hitch on the back of my car to accommodate a bike rack so that SonHerisme and I could go bike riding. The three things he wanted to do this summer: take a bike ride, go to the beach, paint his room. We never did any of that. Parenting/Daughtering/Humaning fails everywhere I turn. *sigh*

Trudging along then.

Doing the things.

I am determined to accomplish things before I add more to my plate. Is it a recognition of how I am searching for the something, dreaming of the something, imagining the something instead of doing the things? I mean, I’m not a blob doing the nothings of course, because I am a single mom caretaking for an ill parent and trying to manage both ill parents’ affairs… But the inattention to some of the things is truly weighing down on being able to do the things which are important to myself (such as a bike ride with SonHerisme which time is running out on him being interested in it at all).

Dear Doing of the Things,  
   I wish you oodles of luck with my brain attempting to prioritize in ways which better serve all of us in the ends, middles and beginnings of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years.
Love, me

How do you do the doing of the things beyond what you are doing? Discipline and consistency? Tiny bites? Celebrations? Maybe I need to make a ruffled shirt for inspiration. Fabric and threads are at the ready…

GAH! But the things which need doing are staring at me from my lists. And the weather is so lovely today which makes me think another walk around the park to finish my current listenread (Map of Salt and Stars) might pull rank over all. There are ducks, people! Adorable ducks AND a bell tower AND a fountain! How am I supposed to resist all of that delicious atmosphere just to sit and fill out paperwork, or clean, or ….

Compromise then?

I’ll make three appointment calls, shower/feed MotherHerisme and set her up for the day, send paperwork followup to one waiting agency, iron four napkins (don’t judge me), defrost dinner prep, take some donations to the car to drop off, and then walk in the park. Knee socks and all.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps There was a bomb threat at one of our local high schools about an hour ago – seems to be fine now, and not SonHerisme’s school. Anywho, good luck brain stuck on hoping none of our kids die at school in the USA today. FFFFFfffff U C K y’all Homeschool is looking really good right now. I do not know how staff are showing up for this bullshit or our kids, frankly. G-d freaking damn. I swear to whatever – we have GOT to get our SHIT together with accountability for violence. JayZeus frickin hells

Transient

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

Etymology is fascinating. Clarification: Etymology is fascinating to me. Way back in the university attending days, I would spend hours reading from a volume of the Oxford English Dictionary. Pulling volumes off of the low thick dark solid wood shelves, I’d carry them over to the giant reading tables to browse. The history of how our language, any language, came to be, is amazing. We pinched the prefix, “trans,” from Latin (Roman Conquerors left more than rape and pillage DNA!) and added onto words (sometimes also from Latin, sometimes not) to indicate “the other side of,” “across,” or “beyond.” Transatlantic. Transgender. Transmute. Transfer. Transsexual. Translate. Transition. Transcendental. You know, words words words.

This summer has been quickslow (etymology none, neologism hopeful). Transitioning things expected having now left our Montessori school home for grades 1 through 8, moving towards a large high school experience. With the additions of continuing COVID, legislative discrimination of all potentially pregnant human people, plus a substantial dose of lack of accountability for openly criminal acts against non-white humans as well as our entire governing structure.

SonHerisme: Momma, you have been very very angry for weeks now. Are you going to be okay?
Me: Really? I am so sorry buddy. I'll try to be more mindful of my moods.

Then I begin to wonder
    am I starting menopause?
    am I in menopause?
    do I have a disease running rampant through my body?
   am I losing my mind?
   
OR
   am I really truly feeling the angers about something?

Turns out – I AM ANGRY I am fucking pissed with all of the angers. And also sad. And ashamed that I have not been feeling this angry before it was blatantly directed at me.

It happens as predicted. Until they come for you, you feel all of the self congratulatory feelings of being a part-time activist ally who can take off that hat at any time, and rest your head so gently until you feel called again. When they come for you, there is no one left to help you because you stood by as others were persecuted.

This has been a summer of transition.

SonHerisme is now 14 and has so much more control over contact with MrexH. Words cannot express the deep transcendental soul relief I felt on his birthday this year. SonHerisme is 6’2″ and full of all of the teenagernesses which make him appear to be 17/18 years old. Inside, he is my sweet little hawkie-bat superhero wild turkey puffin bear. Outside, he is relishing the powerful body he has been given by sportsing it up all over the place. He still feels supported by the helpers around him (thank goodness). He held his “Bans off our Bodies,” “Abortion is Health Care,” signs as high as he could, chanting as loudly as he could, outside of our courthouse. He has his “Black Lives Matter,” “LGBTQ,” and, “People of Quality Do Not Fear Equality,” posters, shirts, and he displays them, wears them etc. He is very aware that his buddies are treated differently – and sometimes he is as well. He identifies with his Hispanic heritage from MrexH (which I found out this summer through one of our deep conversations). He has been able to maintain friendships with girls, boys – a few non-binary, and one transitioning.

These kids know that all humans deserve humane consideration. When a black boy is murdered by police, these kids know it is one of them, and they might be next. When a mass shooting happens, these kids know it has affected someone like them, and they might be next. When a kid is targeted or mocked by an adult for being gay, black, Hispanic, a girl in shorts, they know it is one of them being targeted or mocked, and they group together to protect their peers.

Many times I have sat down to complete my thoughts over this summer and failed. I feel myself transitioning. No – transitioning is too much pressure. I am much more able to feel realities of transience through time.

Today is SonHerisme’s first day of High School. It will be interesting to see his take on how transformative this experience will be for his curiosity, life goal planning, and adventures. He’s already been thrown a loop by not making it onto the soccer team. He worked so hard for it, but the coach painfully cut him in the final 2 spots. He is considering playing for a club outside of school that he played for before. He is considering continuing with tennis outside of school. He is considering filling a vacant position with the High School Marching Band. He is considering trying rugby with a club outside of school. Maybe we should become transient-scholars. Traveling the world, online school… on whose dime though? *sigh* Be still little imaginations and let the checklists rule for just a bit longer please and thank you.

The world is open to SonHerisme’s transformation pivots while he practices more and more on becoming the adult he wishes to be. I am the groupie guide teenagering/adulting translation support navigation system he will require less on some days and more on others. I have failed him in many areas, and come through for him in many areas. This is a heavy transition for both if us – gently gently with our bittersweet bruised-into-determination souls.

It is time to embrace the quickslow. The quickslow will happen embraced or not, natch.

I need to move forward into the habits/person/parent/momma that my teenagering High School newborn baby giant puffin muffin baby bear needs. As well as the habits and attention I need for my own self once he truly launches out into the world.

I am… always myself, which rarely translates into anything that I predict. So there’s that. Here’s hoping for the best then! For all of us to allow the space for transformation in this transitiony time of year 🙂

Be kind to school staff, walkers, bikers, school bussers, and fellow car-line peoples (as well as the oddly knee-socked lady wandering the downtown park… she is me and I am fully aware of how ridiculous I look but needs must).

AAAAAAaaaaaand, we’re off! Transients through existence if nothing else.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps I also observe that while we have culturally decided that COVID is not a thing anymore, people continue to be infected, re-infected, become very ill, and suffer long-term issues. It looks like we are a-okay with that overall. Science and statistics say, “WARNING DANGER!” CDC and we say, “meh, whatevs.” Good luck with that as well. Transridiculousious…

High School side note: I went to the open house evening at the High School. It was free-form glee for these kiddos. The doors opened and everyone moved into the cafeteria, located their counselor (by last name) to receive their schedules and disperse on the adventure of walking their schedule or visiting club stations in the cafeteria. Staff were in the hallways to help kids find their classrooms, answer questions, and give navigation advice. Teachers were waiting at their classroom doors or inside their rooms to greet students/parents, answer questions, and provide supply expectations. I wanted to hug and thank every staff member there. It was all very sweet, vulnerable, and open. My goodness how times have changed from my long ago days of being a High School student. Good luck, staff! Good luck, students! Good luck, sweet tiny giant SonHerisme! Happy back-to-schooling y’all! Bittersweet brokenhealing quickslow transient times.

Take-Backs

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

As predicted by the path of past experiences, it is the ol’ familiar take-backs time for my brain in a no take-backs reality.

After 9-11 I remember sitting on the commuter bus going to work downtown and looking at the bright blue sky dotted with puffy fluffs of white clouds. In a big city there are always airplanes making their way here and there across the big sky. On this day, there weren’t any airplanes. The sky was so empty of airplanes that is was starkly noticeable by everyone that something on this day was dramatically different. It was in that moment that the shock ripped through my body of how everyone on that commuter bus knew the tragedy and death of 9-11. Everyone knew it. That knowledge of pain and horror was just sitting there like a solid lead apron on all of us. All of us knowing people burned, people were crushed, people knew they were going to die, some had to hold little children while they died, some had to fall hundreds of feet in terror, some people had to choke to death, some people did not know they were going to die. All of us on this bus had this knowing of horror. I wanted to grab all of the knowledge and take the pain away from everyone. I wanted to scream with that knowledge and run it far away from anyone so that they would not feel this unbearable pain. There weren’t any take-backs.

In April 2014 I sat hunched over, clutching my sweater as close to my body as I could just in case it could swallow me up out of the freezing nightmare, in an oversized winged-backed chair, in a fancy office, across a large desk from a seriously hard-core put together not a hair out of place attorney. I could see her looking at me very intensely. I could hear she was talking to me, but I could not unscramble the words she was saying so that I could understand them. Then I heard something. She said, “You are here to hire me to get you divorced. Correct? You want a divorce. Correct?” My response, “Is that what I am supposed to do now?” In that moment I knew that she knew what was going on. Which meant that other people I had spoken to knew as well. The police knew. My family knew. A few friends knew. This knowing of others knowing cut through me like the hottest coldest quickest jaggedy edge blade. There weren’t any take-backs.

Similar experiences with my first malignant cancer diagnosis (I’m a-okay!), Frump as a ballot candidate, onset of COVID, and every single freaking damned school shooting. And each time the worst part is that there are NO TAKE-BACKS.

Those kids, those children, those teachers, those lives are gone. The lives of their families, friends, communities are forever marked by these events. There are no take-backs. There are no amends to be made. No mea culpa. As a nation we have venerated and voted for radicalized fascism under the guise of pseudo-christianesqueness for at least the past 40 years.

COVID has forced us to somewhat face what and who we are as a nation. I am so relieved, honestly, to see many of us rising to speak openly and take actions from a place of love for humanity rather than sinking into the fear and zero-sum-game tropes. The information is out about us and cannot be pushed back into irrelevancy because there are also no take-backs for verified accurate information dissemination. There are also no take-backs for the march of time. Rising generations of activists and voters are now outnumbering the groups of culturally indoctrinated zero-summers. Those interested in promoting inhumane policies, laws, and governance, will always exist, of course. But they will become more and more outnumbered by the rest of us who know that unregulated civilian access to rapid fire automatic or whatever weapons of those ilk, are not humane. They will become more outnumbered by the rest of us who know that equitable access to healthcare (including mental, dental too!), education/training, food sources, affordable housing, and community are critical for a productive functioning healthy nation.

Those children that we are all okay with exposing to COVID will be voting in 13-18 years. 

In 13-18 years, almost 22% of our population will be between 71-95 years old. 

I wonder how those full of teen angsty- idealism voters are going to feel about a large portion of those 71-95 year olds, plus pockets of following generations, having decided their health and lives were worth risking over their abject refusal to wear a small covering over their noses and mouths while inside, and take free vaccines. 

I wonder how they're going to feel knowing that those 71-95 year olds consistently voted against taking care of our planet while voting for more destruction of our planet. 

I wonder how they're going to feel about those 71-95 year olds denying their country equitable access to health care, despite having proven data through their entire adult lives that it was cheaper and more beneficial for everyone to have equitable access to health care. 

I wonder how they are going to feel about how it was more important to us that they may be murdered at school than we demand better gun safety regulations and school staff/community support. AND that we specifically voted for elected officials who would accept monies from those profiting off of children being murdered in schools and develop legislation in favor of more guns being more available to more people without any oversight or acknowledgement of responsibility to the communities (much less humanity) they were elected to represent and serve (communities include ALL humans - even birth-five year olds). 

I wonder how they are going to feel about continued veneration of systemic racism and inhumane discriminatory policies. 

There are no take-backs for many of these things. Only moving forward by addressing them head-on with humane, thoughtful, truth-centered, meaningful conversations followed by humane, thoughtful, truth-centered, meaningful actions. I mean in the best ways we can as individuals. I am not the door-to-door knocking, yelling demonstrator, or logo-ed t-shirt person. I am quite bad at all of those things. Writing a letter, speaking to groups, putting things in bags to send out – those things I can do.

I wish there were take-backs. I want to take all of the most horrific of the horrors away and wipe the deepest awful pains clean. We are flawed. Lives are hard. We can only control our reactions.

In my house last night SonHerisme shared with MotherHerisme that one of his favorite teachers was leaving for a long vacation with his family. They are going to stay near where SonHerisme’s father, MrexH, lives. MotherHerisme responded to SonHerisme, “Is he going to see your father while he’s there?” SonHerisme responded, “Why would he do that? You don’t make any sense, Granny.” Afterward, SonHerisme’s demeanor changed rapidly, as it does when his trauma surrounding his father is triggered. It is almost as if mentally and physically his insides are on fire. We left the house for evening tennis and SonHerisme was very quiet for the entire car ride. On the return home, I opened up the conversation to help SonHerisme work through his anger and to have a plan of how to further move with and understand his emotions. At one point SonHerisme looked over at me, saying, “You know what momma? Next time Granny goes to the hospital, I’m going to tell her that I really hope she sees her dad there!” Because he is dead – but you already have guessed that, I imagine.

Entering the angers. Acknowledging the angers. Sitting with the angers. Moving with the angers. Holding space for the angers.

I spoke to MotherHerisme today while SonHerisme was at school. Her response, predictably, was to break down into a puddle of toddler-worthy dramatic tears. “I didn’t mean anything. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings!” She does not know what she does not want to know. She only knows what has been drilled into her which is that if you are doing well as judged by the judging people, and a white lady, then you are morality personified and should always demonstrate that by being happy, insisting those around you must be happy, and it is your duty to shame and punish those who are not happy or doing well, as those are indicators that they are morally inept or unworthy. When flaws are pointed out = epic meltdowns. She thrives on the idea of her divine right to take-backs no matter what. This is her cornerstone of her trauma-response sanity.

I will continue to walk this path in different supportive ways with SonHerisme as he changes and grows through his life path. He is my most and best and favorite. No take backs ever.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Guns Out

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

Grief – Anger – Activism

This is the way.

The following letter is long, I know. It is what it is with my angers/emotions. I have sent it to my representatives. Feel free to copy, paste, modify and send your letters as well. MomsDemandAction.org and any government representatives who are fiercely advocating for equitable humane federal responses to gun violence, are great places to start to donate your time or a few dollars of support. And please, for the preservation of humanity and democracy, VOTE. Always use your privilege to vote.

Ms. Herisme
Average Humane Citizen
Everytown, USA
May 25, 2022

Dear (Public Representative),

This is my appeal to you as my elected representative to put yourself at the forefront of publicly condemning gun violence and spearheading basic federal legislation to protect us from gun violence.

I am angry and frustrated with how hard we have all worked to vote in representatives to turn the tide of our fall from democracy into autocratic fascism, only to end up with inadequate action based on the pretense of trying to bring two viewpoints into some compromise. While I agree that we can have opposing viewpoints working towards compromise, that is clearly NOT the case we are facing when one entire political party has clearly aligned itself with gaslighting abusive misogynistic authoritarian fascism. I implore you and your colleagues to cease behaving as if there is any way to compromise with abusive inhumane legislators and behaviors. 

The issue I am concerned with today which we need immediate humane action on to maintain our democracy, is gun control.

We need YOUR IMMEDIATE LEADERSHIP ON:
•	Banning high-capacity ammunitions magazines and automatic rapid fire assault weapons for any non-military environment.
•	Requiring criminal background checks, including domestic violence, for every gun publicly or privately sold, traded, or transported in/out of the country.
•	Requiring all firearms and ammunitions sold, bought, traded, etc to have a unique registered tracing stamp, like a car VIN.
•	Banning any ability for gun ownership, ability to trade/sell/transport guns or ammunition for violators of these regulations.
•	Funding the ATF to oversee and enforce these laws.
•	Funding mental health and social services with equitable access for all, and acknowledgement of racial/socioeconomic disparity, at the community level to prevent and respond to crisis.

The very well-funded gun lobby has spent years gaslighting us by insisting that the only way to prevent gun assaults in schools, churches, supermarkets, etc is for more of us to have more guns. This is a disgusting lie we have been sold in order for the NRA to boost dangerous military-style cosplay by frightened, entitled, disenfranchised, abuse-prone, sometimes mentally unstable men. The NRA backed businesses make more money to rally more and sell more military style equipment, and the cycle continues.

Men are going into spaces and killing people because they all have one thing in common – access to guns, especially those which will do the most damage, along with perpetuated cultural delusion of military style guns=power and control grandeur. These men have been sold to want that more than anything else, including any respect or reverence for their own lives, much less anyone else’s, including our children in schools.

The very well-funded gun lobby has spent years gaslighting us by insisting that any gun control laws violate our “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” which is blatantly false. We can continue to own guns with some regulations on protection and prevention of further public crisis. I am a responsible gun owner. My son, 13, is currently taking gun safety classes with the intention of becoming a responsible gun owner when he is an adult. I agree and support our right to bear arms. I do NOT agree with the NRA bastardizing our rights as unfettered access and entitlement to military grade automatic, rapid fire weapons. 

As a nation we hold not just accountability for our ability to maintain our rights as we collectively define and redefine them while we develop, change and grow, but also an obligation to ourselves, our nation, our global neighbors, and our future, to be held accountable for how we are maintaining these rights. It is impossible to argue for unfettered access to any fire arms without adequate equitable support or regulations with this access, and maintain that as a nation we feel any obligation to public health, keeping children alive in schools, or humanity at all.

The following are a few of your coworkers who cannot be considered or reasoned with because they have received money from the NRA and are fighting to develop and maintain anti-humane legislation regarding weapons in this country:

Senator Romney $13,647,676 received from the NRA 
Senator Burr $6,987,380 received from the NRA
Senator Blunt $4,555,722 received from the NRA
Senator Tillis $4,421,333 received from the NRA
Senator Gardner $3,939,199 received from the NRA
Senator Rubio $3,303,355 received from the NRA

For comparison, the average Social Worker earns $58K a year. Senator Romney could fund 235 full time Social Workers to support public health crisis with his NRA money - he does not.

Before any of them address anything to do with discussions on adequate and appropriate gun control, or any public official (Cruz, Abbott and their disgusting sycophants) who is not vocally, publicly, well-intentioned, actively disengaged from the NRA in all ways, they should be made to listen to the following list of schools as they are, through their NRA and lack of gun/healthcare support, actively advocating for students, my child, your child, to die by gunshots in schools, courtesy of their inability to see beyond their own greed. The following schools have been targeted with gun violence just since Columbine. I challenge you to READ THESE ALOUD to the person closest to you right now. I promise it will make a painful truth come alive to honor them this way by refusing to look away from this horrific public health crisis we are allowing in our schools (and communities) by having elected officials who are not addressing gun control. These schools, students, teachers, staff, children have been sacrificed by us in the name of our warped interpretation of our right to bear arms. We are abysmally shamefully inhumane.

Columbine High School
Heritage High School
Deming Middle School
Fort Gibson Middle School
Buell Elementary School
Lake Worth Middle School
University of Arkansas
Junipero Serra High School
Santana High School
Bishop Neumann High School
Pacific Lutheran University
Granite Hills High School
Lew Wallace High School
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School
Appalachian School of Law
Washington High School
Conception Abbey
Benjamin Tasker Middle School
University of Arizona
Lincoln High School
John McDonogh High School
Red Lion Area Junior High School
Case Western Reserve University
Rocori High School. 
Ballou High School. 
Randallstown High School. 
Bowen High School. 
Red Lake Senior High School. 
Harlan Community Academy High School. 
Campbell County High School. 
Milwee Middle School. 
Roseburg High School. 
Pine Middle School. 
Essex Elementary School. 
Duquesne University. 
Platte Canyon High School. 
Weston High School. 
West Nickel Mines School. 
Joplin Memorial Middle School. 
Henry Foss High School. 
Compton Centennial High School. 
Virginia Tech. 
Success Tech Academy. 
Miami Carol City Senior High School. 
Hamilton High School. 
Louisiana Technical College. 
Mitchell High School. 
E.O. Green Junior High School. 
Northern Illinois University. 
Lakota Middle School. 
Knoxville Central High School. 
Willoughby South High School. 
Henry Ford High School. 
University of Central Arkansas. 
Dillard High School. 
Dunbar High School. 
Hampton University. 
Harvard College. 
Larose-Cut Off Middle School. 
International Studies Academy. 
Skyline College. 
Discovery Middle School. 
University of Alabama. 
DeKalb School. 
Deer Creek Middle School. 
Ohio State University. 
Mumford High School. 
University of Texas. 
Kelly Elementary School. 
Marinette High School. 
Aurora Central High School. 
Millard South High School. 
Martinsville West Middle School. 
Worthing High School. 
Millard South High School.
Highlands Intermediate School. 
Cape Fear High School. 
Chardon High School. 
Episcopal School of Jacksonville. 
Oikos University. 
Hamilton High School. 
Perry Hall School. 
Normal Community High School. 
University of South Alabama. 
Banner Academy South. 
University of Southern California. 
Sandy Hook Elementary School. 
Apostolic Revival Center Christian School. 
Taft Union High School. 
Osborn High School. 
Stevens Institute of Business and Arts. 
Hazard Community and Technical College. 
Chicago State University. 
Lone Star College-North. 
Cesar Chavez High School. 
Price Middle School. 
University of Central Florida. 
New River Community College. 
Grambling State University. 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School. 
Ronald E. McNair Discovery Academy. 
North Panola High School. 
Carver High School. 
Agape Christian Academy. 
Sparks Middle School. 
North Carolina A&T State University. 
Stephenson High School. 
Brashear High School. 
West Orange High School. 
Arapahoe High School. 
Edison High School. 
Liberty Technology Magnet High School. 
Hillhouse High School. 
Berrendo Middle School. 
Purdue University. 
South Carolina State University. 
Los Angeles Valley College. 
Charles F. Brush High School. 
University of Southern California. 
Georgia Regents University. 
Academy of Knowledge Preschool. 
Benjamin Banneker High School. 
D. H. Conley High School. 
East English Village Preparatory Academy. 
Paine College. 
Georgia Gwinnett College. 
John F. Kennedy High School. 
Seattle Pacific University. 
Reynolds High School. 
Indiana State University. 
Albemarle High School. 
Fern Creek Traditional High School. 
Langston Hughes High School. 
Marysville Pilchuck High School. 
Florida State University. 
Miami Carol City High School. 
Rogers State University. 
Rosemary Anderson High School. 
Wisconsin Lutheran High School. 
Frederick High School. 
Tenaya Middle School. 
Bethune-Cookman University. 
Pershing Elementary School. 
Wayne Community College. 
J.B. Martin Middle School. 
Southwestern Classical Academy. 
Savannah State University. 
Harrisburg High School. 
Umpqua Community College. 
Northern Arizona University. 
Texas Southern University. 
Tennessee State University. 
Winston-Salem State University. 
Mojave High School. 
Lawrence Central High School. 
Franklin High School. 
Muskegon Heights High School. 
Independence High School. 
Madison High School. 
Antigo High School. 
University of California-Los Angeles. 
Jeremiah Burke High School. 
Alpine High School. 
Townville Elementary School. 
Vigor High School. 
Linden McKinley STEM Academy. 
June Jordan High School for Equity. 
Union Middle School. 
Mueller Park Junior High School. 
West Liberty-Salem High School. 
University of Washington. 
King City High School. 
North Park Elementary School. 
North Lake College. 
Freeman High School. 
Mattoon High School. 
Rancho Tehama Elementary School. 
Aztec High School. 
Wake Forest University. 
Italy High School. 
NET Charter High School. 
Marshall County High School. 
Sal Castro Middle School. 
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Great Mills High School
Central Michigan University
Huffman High School
Frederick Douglass High School
Forest High School
Highland High School
Dixon High School
Santa Fe High School
Noblesville West Middle School
University of North Carolina Charlotte
STEM School Highlands Ranch
Edgewood High School
Palm Beach Central High School
Providence Career & Technical Academy
Fairley High School (school bus)
Canyon Springs High School
Dennis Intermediate School
Florida International University 
Central Elementary School
Cascade Middle School
Davidson High School
Prairie View A & M University 
Altascocita High School
Central Academy of Excellence
Cleveland High School
Robert E. Lee High School
Cheyenne South High School
Grambling State University
Blountsville Elementary School
Holmes County, Mississippi (school bus)
Prescott High School
College of the Mainland
Wynbrooke Elementary School
UNC Charlotte
Riverview Florida (school bus)
Second Chance High School
Carman-Ainsworth High School
Williwaw Elementary School
Monroe Clark Middle School
Central Catholic High School
Jeanette High School
Eastern Hills High School
DeAnza High School
Ridgway High School
Reginald F. Lewis High School
Saugus High School
Pleasantville High School
Waukesha South High School
Oshkosh High School
Catholic Academy of New Haven
Bellaire High School
North Crowley High School
McAuliffe Elementary School 
South Oak Cliff High School
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Sonora High School
Western Illinois University
Oxford High School
Robb Elementary School

These are just the schools. 

SHAME on all of us for allowing this to happen. SHAME on all of us for electing officials who fail us time and time again by pushing either personal interests in grabbing money from the NRA and affiliates, or pushing authoritarian fascism, believing their piece of greedy power and control will leave them in a protected sweet spot where laws and rules won’t apply to them at all.

I am angry. My community is angry. This country is fed up with the lack of boldly humane leadership, specifically in regards to gun control, mental health, racial/socioeconomic disparity, and safety for all. 

Please step up and do the job we the people want and need you to do. 

This is my appeal to you as my elected representative to put yourself at the forefront of publicly condemning gun violence and spearheading federal legislation to protect all of us from gun violence. 

If this is something you are unable to do, rest assured I will do everything I can to see someone else elected to represent us and get this done. These past few years have made me a single issue voter – either you are working to support equitable humane policies, or you are not.

If this is something you will do, I will write letters and contact anyone you need me to in order to support your efforts for necessary humane gun safety on our behalf.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Ms. Herisme 

What more can we do? After activism, maybe more thoughts and prayers… G-D Damn y’all g-d freaking damn. Keep safe and check on your neighbors.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Post Phalone

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

Run Away, but we’re running in circles. Run Away, Run Away

Last Thursday I was alone in my house all morning and spoke OUT LOUD on the phone for an hour… what the weirdnesses. Alone. On speakerphone while sorting puzzle pieces (it is a problem, much like the spinach, but I’m on it, bluebonnet) and tidying around my house on my very completely own. Saying whatever I wanted to say whenever I wanted to say it! MotherHerisme was having a bit of surgery and SonHerisme was at school… and I, I left doors open, walking around and around in complete silence cirlces (post phalone). It was odd.

Do any of us not know someone who has COVID right now? Do any of us not know someone who has lost a loved one, or lost a loved one ourselves to COVID? Anyone? Anywhere?

The messaging being what it is here, in the myopic selfish-to-the-point-of-self-destruction USA, hardly anyone is wearing a mask anywhere at anytime for any reason whatsoever. This is INSANE. SonHerisme’e tiny 350 student preK3-8th grade school, has multiple teachers and students out with COVID. Most staff and kids are not wearing masks and are unable to distance. PreK3-Kindergarten, almost 20% of the students, are not eligible for vaccines at all. Nevermind all of the tiniest siblings, pregnant mommies, grandparents and other compromised people at their homes. We went to a High School musical production last weekend where maybe 1-2% of attendees had a mask on in the packed and crowded standing-room-only auditorium with lots of deep air passing around singing and dancing.

This morning SonHerisme was afraid to go to school because his classroom is next to the primary classrooms of PreK3-Kindergarten who cannot be vaccinated, and he has been directly exposed to COVID through classmates and teachers. He desperately wanted to stay home. Unfortunately he has missed over 20 days of school this year, due to illness (not COVID, but with COVID symptoms and therefore unable to go to school), and is at risk of not being able to move up to the next grade if he misses more school. I showed him the school system’s COVID protocols where even if he has been exposed directly to someone with COVID, because he is vaccinated, he is still required to be in school as long as he is symptom free.

SonHerisme, 13, knows this is bullshit and he could possibly be spreading COVID to vulnerable unvaccinated children. SonHerisme knows that choosing to not wear a mask indoors is bullshit superspreading nonsense. Yet, he is required to go if he wants to complete these last weeks of school and complete this school year to move up to the next class. In 5 years SonHerisme will be eligible to vote with retrospective views on how we have treated each other, treated children, treated the most vulnerable, treated the most essential workers, in this culture. At 13 years old he knows how to wear a mask in order to minimize the spread of airborne diseases. He plays sports, plays instruments, hangs out with buddies and wears a damn mask inside because he knows it is a small inconvenience to prevent spread of viruses whose long term effects we do not know about, small children are not protected against, and has killed millions of people in two short years. *sigh*

I know that our hospitalizations are not as alarming as they were in January. However, the burn-out and repercussions from COVID in our health care professionals and our health care systems, continues to be alarming. Folks are tired. Folks have quit. Folks are not able to receive the health care they need because health care employees, health care equipment support employees, manufacturing employees have dwindled away. In this country, it is too financially expensive for people to go to school and be trained to take their place. Maybe it is too mentally expensive to be treated as poorly as we have treated our health care professionals over these past two years (and continue to do so). As a former public librarian, I can attest that over the years, our treatment of people in public service has generally declined pre-COVID anyway. We stopped feeling anything other than righteously emanating our silos of entitlement with these workers, as our nationalism and distrust grew. There is some reasonable distrust of course (remember when we thought smoking wasn’t a problem even though it clearly was/is or that filling our basic food sources with known carcinogens was okay because authorities told us so? Seatbelts were optional until sometime in the 70’s!), but lawdy loo, we are entitled little bitches and mean as snakes to people in public service.

Despite that, if I could, I would go to medical school and work for the next 20 years as a physician. I would get a converted medical RV and drive around neighborhoods to give annual physicals and check-ups. Like the bookmobile, but on-the-spot basic healthcare. I’d check on the ill visits in the morning, and well visits in the afternoon/evening. After SonHerisme graduates from High School in five years, what the heck else am I going to do? Plus everyday I’d wear an awesome lab coat with my name stitched into it!

*dreams a magical unreality*

Anywho, to recenter please listen to my friend’s original composition written for her father on her new beautiful harp with carved dragonflies! This will temporarily unburden and soothe your soul. She is as beautiful and enchanting in real life as her music and presence are shown on YouTube 🙂

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

#carryonhealthwarrior #carryonpeacewarrior

ps I tried phone (FaceTime) therapy and it was not…it was just not for me. When the conversation ended with, “I encourage you to *** because you deserve it,” my mind post phaloned away.

De-Nihilism

(Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

I have been thinking about something different than nothing matters nihilism.

If there is such a thing as optimistic nihilism or relief nihilism or some other wording which represents that everything that is happening everywhere is made up bullshit which only momentarily means something when there is a collective who agrees it has some meaning. It could be a positive, negative, neutral, humane, inhumane, destructive, constructive meaning, but it is relative to whatever narrative we are telling ourselves about it. What the nihilistic path, where nothing really means anything, can show us is that clearly the only thing left is the warmth, the love, the soul, the light is what is left from the stripping away.

Love

With all of the happenings of all of things over these past few months, love is all I have left. Which I think is most likely all I have ever had. The struggle comes when the distractions drag us into other beliefs. Inevitably whatever we have been dragged into or to, leaves us wanting because ultimately none of it matters.

All that matters is love.

I am not saying it is easy. I struggle every single day either accepting or refusing to accept what is swirling around inside and outside of me. I find my center when I can strip everything down to love.

Nihilism helps as a reminder of how to get back to that core.

It is all a crapshoot. Lucky, unlucky, beautiful, unable to recognize self beauty, recognized worthiness, the “right” school, the “right” grades, the “right” whatever – is just whatever. You may be privileged or lucky to stumble into one of the “right,” things. Or you may work your ass off and never achieve any of the “right,” things. If you can drop into whatever love you have stored inside and move from that place (with almost constant redirection, at least in my case), I think that is all we can do. Nothing matters except for love.

Anyway… I have an 11 page summary of FatherHerisme’s high medical drama since January 2022 which, out of love, I will spare you from being subjected. As of today he has been moved into a long term rehabilitation skilled nursing care facility and, at last report, is eating a grilled cheese sandwich ON HIS OWN (a HUGE FREAKING DEAL).

Last night I had a toasted gf bagel thin with dill pickles, swiss cheese, and spicey wine mustard (exactly zero spinach involved!).

If you decide to eat a grilled/toasted cheese sandwich today, I hope you can embrace that act of love for yourself. So very many craptasticacity happening globally and personally, I hope we can keep our focus on love and on the doing of the things which reinforce healthy love.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

This all sounds corny, I am aware. I am older – reaching that point where nothing else matters but love, recognition of love, acts of love and struggling to maintain in that arena. Otherwise, I am fairly certain that my soul will implode. Currently I am writing to my Governor from a place of love, imploring him to do the humane thing… again. That’s how I do. Hoppy Easter/Passover/Ramadan bock bock.

Hatch and Release

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

Think back to when you were pregnant (and chose to carry) – or your partner was pregnant – or anyone you loved was pregnant – or when you saw a pregnant person. What did you imagine about that teensy tinesy growing bit of life inside there? Did you wonder about what they would look like? Did you worry about the birthing process? Did you plan on breastfeeding, bottle feeding, cloth diapering, disposable diapering, elimination training, or some combinations? Did you mentally calculate how old you might be when that baby might begin walking, talking, going to (or graduating from) school? Did you imagine how much love and connection was about to be unleashed into the world, as it has perpetually been since the beginning of humaning? If you were not the pregnant person, did you feel deep slices of pain at not being pregnant and having the moments of questions and wonders for yourself? I have been able to carry one successful pregnancy which took me years of loss, work, money, and dumb luck. My soul feels the raw grief of no pregnancy too. I still find it difficult to be around pregnant people, unless I already know them very well (which is a limited circle).

Truth be told, being pregnant is surreal. You know that a human is forming inside of and being completely sustained and nourished by your body and the unique placenta organ you are growing. You can feel the changes as your body temporarily morphs into more than itself while sustaining the growth of another body. You feel swishy pushy movements – sometimes in fluttery awe, sometimes kick squiggle uncomfortably. Your other organs get squeezed out of the way making breathing and digesting a challenge. It’s an amazing wonder what fully functioning biologically human female reproductive systems accomplish with a little dose of male generated support. This is the entire experience of the entirety of humans since and until the foreverness of humaning humans. Without those successful pregnancies, we lose everything – no economy, no future, no innovation, no humans. It is counterintuitive that the encompassing entire processes aren’t venerated, protected, supported, and valued more as a community, culture, society, species. I’m not talking about wacky pro-lifer style or mega-watt baby-momma industries. I am really talking about developmentally, mental and physical health, appropriately valued.

Little tiny nuggets of DNA mush grow into bigger squishy mush. Then transition into kidney bean shaped lumps where they begin to grow some stuff of future humans, then become a fetus and eventually *fingers crossed* a successful live birthed baby. Of course this all depends on an extreme amount of luck and biology.

There is a squeezy cheeked little baby transitioned earthside! The baby learns how to process basic necessities – breathing outside the womb, more freedom of movement, how to obtain nutrition, what feels safe and comfortable, muscle control, walking, talking, navigating relationships, and other things of the humans.

Then we release our tiny puffin headed muffin babies out into the world. Some at birth, some at 4-6 weeks, some at 4-6 years, some at High School, University, or adult times, or somewhere in between there. At some point, if all goes well, and they are not shot dead at school, dying trying to flee fascist/abusive assholes, or impaired/killed by a rampant virus which could have been prevented by prudent ethical adult actions, they are released for their unique experiences with others.

What are we doing to cultivate healthy contributing humans? The food/health care/housing/safety/education/resource scarce people are on my mind – and I’m sure yours as well.

Why do we hold such cultural disdain for the humans involved in gestation/birth/child rearing but hold them up on a crazy pedestal when we want to push some patriarchal fascist bending agenda? Protect the sweet babies from being separated from their parents, unless they aren’t the white kind of worthy. Protect the women and children from all of the scary things, unless they too aren’t the white kind of worthy, then whatevs.

Nevermind that we enable/wage/witness war with direct mental and physical health effects on displaced families. Nevermind that we deny access to healthcare based on a person’s access to wealth. Nevermind that we deny quality education environments (including food/outdoor time) to developing humans. Nevermind that we fail to recognize domestic violence and child abuse as the cultural-normative things they are, and address them as such with practical, appropriate, and honest approaches. Nevermind that we expect/support/respect little to no parental/newborn bonding and birth recovery when we absolutely KNOW how this affects both the person doing the act of growing and birthing the new human, as well as the new human – both physically and mentally.

Bringing human life into the world and providing developmentally appropriate physical and mental support to grow that human into a functioning member of society is THE most important role for those adults who chose to do this. And it should ALWAYS be a choice an adult person has full agency over making for their life, their body. How else are you going to exist if no functioning humans are birthed and raised up, at the very minimum, satisfactorily? All of us have a stake in supporting healthy and safe human growth and development. Life is a fucking miracle – literally and figuratively.

Somewhere right now a sweet soul is being birthed Earthside through a mother who is healthy and supported by her partner and professionals in the manner she has chosen to bring forth her birthing experience with access to high quality healthcare. Somewhere right now a sweet soul is being birthed Earthside through a mother who is frightened about her own health and safety, without partner support, in a manner she did not choose and no access to healthcare due to circumstances far beyond her control. Why aren’t we more reverent and careful with life?

ANYWHO – my point is that SonHerisme is registered for High School, which is a huge step towards release. He is outgrowing his little Montessorian nest, on his way to outgrowing the cozy sweet momma nest I’ve made for him. Friends’ sons are registering for Selective Service (get your shit together, humans). I am most likely going to pack away the remaining children’s books on my shelves and remove the “Princess Room” sign from my office door (former bedroom for back-in-the-day visiting NiecesHerime who placed the sign but are much too cool for that now). My other observation is that I will be masking forever since not only is SonHerisme ill aFREAKINgain, but the woman at the pharmacy checked my ID and had me remove my mask to verify that I am old enough to purchase cold and flu medicine. WHAT WHAT (ignores the reality of my tiny newborn boy-teen-man hawkey bat superhero wild turkey puffin muffin head bear is approaching the final trial flight years before adulting times).

I am pained for humans in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Russia, Syria, Palestine, Eritrea, and all of the places where our collective humanity is failing basic humane consideration (including the U.S.). Which I suppose is the human experience but sweatergot y’all it is A LOT and I believe we can tone it the fuck down. Today this pain translates into these…

...notes to my own self:
See and humanely speak truths for what they are
Donate to a local school (time, money, supplies)
Write a "thank you" note to a school staff person - they are the backbone of your entire community and they are wiped out from vitriol, overextension, and misplaced expectations
Pay more attention to your BOE vote (in this country) as well as your Representatives
Do more to encourage cold turkey-ing our dependence on burning dead dinosaurs

If I could intertwine our beautiful mismatched fingers, hold your soft hand and gently walk with you, I would do it forever and always. As a compromise to this, my most and best and specialist favoritist person from the beginning of time to the end of time, I have made sure that you always get to carry a comforting centering piece of me in your sweet, gentle, kind, hilarious, creative, intelligent, and loving heart. This is a wish carried by parents from forever until forever. When I look at the humans from all over, I wonder how their hatch and release people are being loved by them as well. We surely do not intend for these miracles of life to do irrevocable harm unto others.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

I’m all over the place with the everythings of the happenings. We all are.

Is there a time coming when we can stop pretending there should be public sphere room for, or pretend that they aren’t who they present as, and openly honestly acknowledge that there will always be, groups of extreme people who are incapable of sustaining humanity (abusers, murderers, fascists, misogynists, racists etc), and attempt to cease allowing them to dominate the direction of humanity, or maybe at least our communities? That would be great. koyc (kiss on your cheek, COVID neg natch) thanks

I’ll be on the back deck, with my cup of tea, watching the cardinals and mourning doves chitter chatter in their Winter goodbyes and Spring Preparations. You’re welcome to join me as I ground myself into reality as much as possible. Fair warning – it is muddy out there, so boots are recommended. So is popcorn. Very very extremely dark chocolate plus amusing anecdotes are also most welcome. And sparklers. Well, now it sounds like a little party. An intimate deck party to bring a moment of joy into the swirl of humaning chaos. Okay – sys

The Wars We Weave

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

When first we practice to deceive and misbelieve and dominance achieve

Never give in. Never give in. 
Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - 
never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. 
Never yield to force. 
Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

-Sir Winston Churchill October 29, 1941

In my tiny protected isolated privileged hillside corner speck of the world, this is how I respond to today:

  • I examine the things I am using everyday looking for how I am contributing to inhumane actions
  • I am writing to the companies which I have invested in as a consumer to make them aware of my knowledge of their investments into profiting off of groups/countries who are contributing to inhumane actions
  • I am asking myself to take action to no longer participate with those companies (beyond the “grab-your-wallet” crew)

Starbucks heard from me first, since I popped in there earlier today as a treat for SonHerisme.

Dear Starbucks, 
As a frequent Starbucks patron for years (including two trips to see your original Seattle store!), 
I will no longer be using any Starbucks products due to your connection with China 
who supports the brutal Russian invasion of the Ukraine. I have stood by this company 
for years, but will no longer do so until you publicly break any ties you have with 
business or products from or with China or Russia.

Other than pray, meditate, pour love into SonHerisme, take care of myself, ParentsHerisme and their puppies, the rest of the family and friends… I do not know what else to do. My soul hurts. Afghanistan. Yemen. Palestine. Ukraine. All of the places with all of the unnecessary malevolent carnival of contemptible heinous devastating hurts.

What are we doing to each other?

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Masks will no longer be required in our schools as of tomorrow. We have 3 & 4 year-olds in most of our schools, who are not eligible for vaccines. Our High Schools have preschools. Our Elementary Schools have preschools. I do not understand what in the actual fuck we are doing.

Harari’s article is how I see the things.

Tonight I will write more letters, make the dinner, do the laundry, hug my tiny newborn giant boy-teen-man-bear, cover my head with my extra fuzzy cozy pile of blankets, and pray for all of us. Please dear humans, let us make better choices. We can be a different kind of carnival of animals. Please and Thank You. Sincerely, everyone who cares about anyone and all of the sweet children and non-whitemale parents in Texas

Pickme Girl

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

Howdy do. Sprinkles of nuttiness swirling about here, per usual.

Toss the nuts because…

Something absolutely splendid and wonderful and AMAZING happened at 1:54pm on January 13th and I have waited entirely and very much too long to tell you!

No, not that.

THIS: Sweet Nellie wrote a note to me! She WROTE TO ME y’all. I am still DYING with excitement about this. Such a wonderful unexpected shiny bright spot amidst the absolute shitstorm of serious cRaZy in the world.

YOU GUYS, can you EVEN? omgawd

This is what she said:

Hello Ms. Herisme,

I received your incredible gift of the Sonnets From the Portuguese 
with my father’s handwritten Meditations enclosed in the book. 
I was completely overcome with chills down my spine to see this 
and hold it in my hands. Thank you so much for sending it to me. 
I must say that I am shocked at how much research you were able 
to do on my parent’s history, along with your beautiful ruminations 
of what their history was in those days, and your touching 
description of what their romance may have been.

I would love to be able to talk with you, if possible about some of the things. 
I must say I never heard of a Nellie Hunter. I was told that my namesake 
was a Mrs. Nellie M. Powell, who was a school teacher in Winston-Salem, 
whom my father had met at the Baptist in Winston-Salem, whom 
he had met when he helped her going up (or down) the front steps 
of the church, since she had difficulty with walking. Ironically, I was also 
a teacher for many years.

Another curiosity: you mentioned a Ms. Edmondson who is at the 
Edgecombe Public Library. I wonder if that could be a relative of my 
maternal aunt’s husband, George Edmondson, who lived in Scotland Neck, NC, 
near Tarboro.

Again, thank you so much for sending this to me. 
I look forward to talking and/or corresponding with you.

Sincerely,
Nellie (Nell) S.

I am so thrilled that she was able to receive the book and sonnets. I am so relieved that they brought happy memories (one never knows). I am humbly overjoyed that she appreciated my make believe about who David and Emily may have been in their worlds. I am insanely over-the-moon that she reached out to tell me these things.

I love all of the love that happens out there. It is a deep leaden grief reinforcement for me, of course, but also a comfort knowing that it does, and did, exist out there somewhere and is being passed on through generations.

Having that book choose to interact with my world has been quite the magic of this wintering. Thank you, Nellie xoxo

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

ps YOU GUYS… I am… I am… this has been lovely. Thank you

pps I pitched in to do a morning pick-up for two siblings the other day. Their mother is an early morning postal worker, their regular ride fell through, and our school does not have transportation. They are sweet kids – boy, 13, 7th grade and girl, 10, 5th grade. They sat in the backseat while SonHerisme sat in the front seat with me. The 10-year-old girl has a full personality and talked nonstop on the way to school while eating SonHerisme’s leftover after-school potato chips from the prior day. She emphatically explained that unlike another girl at the playground in her neighborhood, she was most certainly not a pickme girl, and never would become one. I asked, “What’s a pickme girl?” Her explanation: “A pickme girl is the girl who says she isn’t like other girls, but she totally is. She is the girl who thinks she’s cooler and better than everyone else when she wears her boots, but her boots are like all the other girls who can afford them. She is the girl that pretends that she likes a sport the boys are talking about but she doesn’t know very much about it really and never ever wants to play it with anyone. She also has her hair the way everyone else wears it but says she’s the only one with it like that. She is rude and only pretend friendly just trying to get the boys to notice her and pick her to talk to. She is the pickme girl playing games and I do not like her.” And now you know too. Don’t be a pickme girl because little Miss 10 is not standing for any of that nonsense. I did not tell her I felt like a different kind of pickme girl because a book of sonnets picked me. I did not want to ruin her fantastically epic sassy rant (she might be a covert pickme girl too and I love it!).

ppss In cleaning up, I stumbled upon a love note SonHerisme has written to a crush. I did not tell him because it is none of my business and I do not want to break his trust. I tucked it into the nearest book it had fallen out from and let it rest there. His love-emotion muscles are flexing! Teenagering it up all over the place lol

Un Petit Exposé

(Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Nous avons peut-être été exposés au covid.

Posiblemente hemos estado expuestos a covid.

Wir waren möglicherweise covid ausgesetzt.

meh – it doesn’t matter how you say it. Last week we spent a day in tentative quarantine to wait for test results when we had been exposed to an active positive COVID friend through a mutual buddy. What a weird day to wait and see if we had to cancel our hosting Thanksgiving for 10 – some of which were traveling over 8 hours to visit. Spoiler – everyone who interacted with the positive COVID person has fully tested negative, so we were in the clear and proceeded with the things of the Thanksgiving with our group of 10. LUCKY for sure.

This was a wake-up call to reign in the slack. We’d been at a few primarily unmasked outdoor social events recently and hugging friends. Unless they are medically unable to receive a vaccination, or an under-5, most of our social circle are vaccinated with at least one jab/shot/inoculation. The day our visiting Thanksgiving people left, I received my booster. My body tends to react to any vaccine, and the booster remained on point with this trend. About 48 hours of fever, headache, swollen/red/tender arm and neck, red cheeks, nausea, debilitating joint pain, and extreme exhaustion. You know what I didn’t have? COVID requiring hospitalization or death leaving my 13-year-old parentless. You’re welcome, community/world – I am not deliberately leaving a vulnerable child subject to further trauma and he still has a chance to be a productive empathetic contributing member of our human society. So there’s that. At least for today, we are okay.

Over this past week, I thought a lot about how many people are struggling this time of year. The people who cannot be with loved ones for whatever reason. The people who came before us who we pretend to venerate on Thanksgiving but who we stole lands from and committed genocide on. The people who did not receive good news about being infected with COVID or some other scary diagnosis. I don’t bring this up it’s because I feel the need to tamp down any positive experience with tragedy. I do think it is more difficult to appreciate the wonder of what is when we fail to recognize the reality of how we got here or what is happening around us.

The Piscataway, Iroquois, Susquehannock, and other woodland native tribes once moved through the area where I live. The Iroquois nation developed and negotiated agreements between tribes through a vast council where all tribes could be represented (but not necessarily have a say in decisions), including European settler representatives. Of course, when decisions were made that did not suite us (my settler ancestors), we used force and viral warfare. That’s right, we deliberately sent infected people, blankets and other trade items into native tribes so that the tribe members would become ill and die.

There isn’t any chance that we did not understand this was morally reprehensible and wrong. Deliberately sending infections into places where we knew people did not have any immunity build-up or access to any cures. *sigh* Now we pretend our motives for infection spread are about our personal freedom and liberties to conduct our bodies as we see fit even when we know there are those in our communities who cannot receive immune support. Despite having access to better, faster, and more information about diseases and human behaviors, along with technology support, it turns out we aren’t that evolved from our European colonizers in the 17th/18th centuries. Freedom, personal agency, liberty does not extend to putting someone else’s life on the line when you exercise your rights. Hello seatbelts, speed limits, drunk-driving rules, no-smoking zones, vaccine requirements, food labels and regulations, water contaminate disclosures, hazardous waste disposal rules, OSHA…

In this country, ages 5+ have easy ready access to a COVID vaccine and ages 18+ have easy ready access to boosters 6 months out from vaccines. We all have easy access to masks. Our government has treated non-white people like crap. We must do better to earn respect, gain trust through accountability, and recruit everyone who is able to receive the vaccine. We also need to wear masks inside and outside in crowds at all times for the next year at least. Our vulnerable populations depend on those of us who can to do what we can. Exercise our freedom, personal agency, and liberty by doing our part to take care of our community, if for no other reason than that when we are in need (and all of us are at some point) our community can be there for us too.

That’s my two cents on the COVID shiz.

The chestnut oak I had cut down almost two months ago probably saw a Piscataway family heading down to one of the Chesapeake tributaries to gather water or follow deer and turkey for a tasty feast, as they prepared for wintering. I thought about them as I sat with my sweet SonHerisme and family as I ate my little plate of green beans, mashed potatoes, and vege dressing and gave thanks for all of the things.

I am very thankful for you. Thank you for sharing this space with me and for “liking” and commenting as you can when you can. I hope that you are more often surrounded by health and comfort than not. And fairy lights.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. In other news, I am once again re-reading A New Earth. It turns out, I can’t not do the things of the efforts and trying for something, anything, no matter the pain it brings from the inevitable disappointments. So there it is.