Tend to the Mundane

(a glimpse of peace on my tiny mountain foothill which does not have a floating poem on it irl)
(or listen here)

If you peeked around my spot of Earth you would see signs of Christmas decorations here and there. Please do not be a judgy mcjudgerson. I feel the need to open the season a bit more gently. If you are passing by, please visit the Little Free Library at the end of my driveway 🙂

No big gifts planned for this year. Moving a bit gently there as well. Exceptionish will be SonHerisme hopped up on getting a PS5 or new drum kit. The drum kit seems more reasonable to me. Still, it is all SO MUCH. We’ll be making the shed into a music studio over the next two years. Year one will be bringing the shed back to life (new floors/windows, insulation, run electricity, replace roof). Year two will be outfitting the insides as resources permit. He is in it for the long haul. Good luck us.

For the past few decades I have assumed the role of making the merry for all of the people by going big with stuffed stockings/pillowcases/bags and whatnot. Themed and coordinated for each family with splashes of individual nods. I have been cooking all of the things for all of the meals. Carefully choreographing the movements from freezers, to outside coolers, to refrigerators, to sometimes outdoor grill, to oven and stovetops, to serving dishes, to curated tables, to leftover containers, and the inevitable, “dang, I forgot that was in there ewww,” dump to the trash. Since COVID I keep saying that I want to pull back. People of the internets, this habit is HARD to break. The guilt over not making the merry for the humans (and puppies!) is heavy. I’m not budgetless obvs, but I have an (at times) unfortunately creative mind, and a sewing machine, and an oven, and a glue gun, and am intimately familiar with the art of repurposing the things. Which all points to that inevitable push for merry making… *resist the urge, sweet momma, RESIST* We can do the hard things of saying, “no thank you.” Right? Can we? I mean, I can, right? doubt it

Update on evaluating my cell service carrier AT&T: they are often sketch. They oppose net neutrality, which means they advocate for the removal of a free and open internet. They funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Drump attorney, Cohen, which appeared to be payment for in kind Drump regime favors to fix their antitrust issues. On the other hand their service range is exceptional for me and this year Ethisphere rates AT&T as one of the world’s most ethical companies for the third consecutive year (I call bullshit). From Ethisphere:

Methodology & Scoring
Grounded in Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethics Quotient®, the World’s Most Ethical Companies assessment process includes more than 200 questions on culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity, and initiatives to support a strong value chain. The process serves as an operating framework to capture and codify the leading practices of organizations across industries and around the globe.
Honorees
The full list of the 2022 World's Most Ethical Companies can be found at:  https://worldsmostethicalcompanies.com/honorees.

(laughing internally bc that list has to be some kind of fuckery) Gird yourself, AT&T – letter writing forthcoming. If you are attached to billionaires, I suggest you are not ethical.

This November, I am attempting to tend to the mundane. Writing the letters which need writing. Ironing and sorting the things which need sorting. Reading the stories which need heard – including the hard ones, especially the harder ones. Deep yard cleanup (leaves intact, protecting the future bugs, birds, bees and general wildlifing). Processes begun and contracts signed for MotherHerisme’s apartment on the ground floor. SonHerisme’s room is undergoing transformation into high school teen aesthetic. I am boxing up what remains of my children’s book collection for storage – I think. I don’t know. It is mostly just fairy tales, pop ups and poetry at this point. The cycle in my brain is that of letting go of a life which doesn’t exist in order to make room for the one that does exist. I suppose if I box them all up and need them back, I can reverso that processo. It is hard to let of go of wishes and dreams, for sure. Although sometimes joy is hard to witness as well because there is always the worry of what comes after the joy. At least for the people who have brains swishy walking the spiraled tendrils like mine.

This past week we received the news that a party claiming to be political, but is in truth authoritarian with christo-fascist agendas marketed as populism, has been voted into being the majority in the House of Congress. Yes, I understand that many of us are so afraid that someone from the unworthy undesirables might receive appropriate health treatment or children might receive nourishment at school through tax money, that we would rather have women, immigrants, children, non-white skinned, and LGTBQ humans denied basic rights to be considered as fully human. Spooooooky basic humane care is so unpalatable that you’d rather see everyone (including yourselves) suffer under arcane inhumane rules which essentially eliminate our democracy. One group fomented deadly insurrection of democracy, the other one wants to provide universal health care. I truly *sigh* do not see this as political process in democracy. Politics are discourse over how much and where allocations land, not IF there should be any societal responsibilities beyond policing through a lens, filtered under the guise of divinity, of abject inhumane authority. I am angry/disappointed/grieved that enough of us feel voting against humanity is appropriate at all. I am sorry for all of us.

Upcoming generations will correct this course out of necessity. Brutality cannot enjoy its gleeful covert blanket of hubris as it has since the beginning of time. Facts move too quickly now. GenX through GenZ have ready access to (and ability to identify) accurate information as well as the advantage of being connected in broader communities. Millenials through GenZ have the population numbers to outweigh any outlier nonsense. It is only a matter of time for the collective leadership to be more centrist by design as well as more humane. *fingers crossed* For the least amount of increasing the legacy of damage requiring following generations to clean up.

Iran, all Persians, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ukraine, Poland, Brittney Griner, Florida, Texas, Indigenous peoples, all of the peoples everywhere, are worthy of humane treatment, dignity in grief and suffering, as well as hope for freedom from suffering. We love the world as it presents itself in all forms, as it is, but maybe we are also tasked with working on nudging the world in a humane direction to be what it ought to be – reciprocally beneficial overall as it can, when it can, where it can be.

Tending to the mundane seems critical as grounding. Voting. Amplifying and participating in messages of truth and humane actions. Community and self care in whatever form that takes. Community care this week involves baking cookies for a neighbor who missed out on holiday treats because of multiple food allergies. I’ll make extras to drop off for the High School staff next week in case any of them cannot enjoy wheat/dairy/eggs etc.

As far as self care, I have concluded this exercise: a few months ago I wondered why I am shaving my underarms. Is it self care? Do I care? I am sure no one else cares because a. they never see my underarms, even in the pool because my swimsuit consists of swimshorts, sturdy bra, swimshirt and 2. I have reached an invisible age where I understand that no one is looking at anyone else unless they are a striking or known human. I am not striking, and people who know me absolutely do not care about any of my hair. Unless you are MotherHerisme or FatherHerisme who feel uniquely obliged to comment on appearances of each of their family members at all times especially when it is, “I’m only trying to help,” negative comment. As a full grown adult, this is a blip on my interactions these days, but devastating when I was younger. I do correct them when they comment on any of the grandchildren. “A bit less of the meal portions and a bit more exercise would help with the way those pants fit,” for example. I am sure that you know from your various family members how this trope-as-reality goes. Zero comments on children’s bodies PLEASE and thank you.

Anywho, I let the underarm hair grow for a while – a wispy blonde tuft. I will say that I think it helped with my *ahem* natural fragrance poking out from beneath deodorant. Once it became a texturey feel nuisance, I began to question if I should keep it and get used to it, or let it go. Letting it go in favor of not thinking about hair just being there has won. Ingrained shame as habit, I suppose.

Another mundane annoyance has been my battle with poison ivy this month. I am allergic because OF COURSE I am. Tiny rash to huge rash to spreading rash to blisters to hives to residual scaly itches all over the everywheres. Super reminder of being a human. I made the mistake of wearing a sweater I knew had been through poison ivy. Classic mushy brained me. Should I visit my GP? Possibly. Although at the moment, I’m sure she is overwhelmed by our societal determination to perpetuate serious viral infections. I do not want to add more to her workload when I know how to use fels naptha, add more antihistamines (oral and topical) along with topical steroids and patience. Meh – it is what it is.

Personal trials of the mundane=accomplished. Achievement unlocked. I can level up to whatever mundane thing is next. It’s probably something to do with laundry or meals or shaving away the subversive shame of the ladies. All hail the mundane because it sure as hell beats the gory days of terror and chaos!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps more of the mundane: I iron cloth napkins every week as a meditation. It is my mundane tending of the things of the indoor garden.

pps Sending this out to the universe, since it is highly unlikely it applies to you: If you are someone who votes with and/or voices anti-humane rhetoric, please consider the black pit depths of hypocrisy you represent as you offer performative sympathies when the very things you stand for/with and amplify are directly correlated to the harm you claim to feel sad about. Look inward, I implore you. It will be shocking and painful, but so worth it for yourself and all of humanity. Thank you. As a former lovely coworker used to say, “Ain’t none of us getting out of this alive.” Please do try to find your flawed soul (just as all of ours are) and use your position and legacy to amplify making a positive difference in this world. Step outside with the intention of causing less harm. Thank you.

Also… and… in addition… thank you for reading/listening and being on this journey and holding space for all of this with me. I appreciate you.

More about Victoria Erickson‘s work

Acorn Twinning

(lunchtime pic by Herisme)
They quaff libations to the moon, 
From acorn goblets, amply fill'd
~ excerpt from "Ode to the Muse" by Mary Darby Robinson
(or listen here)

Have you heard someone describe going on a silent meditation retreat and they hated all of the not talking? It sounds divine to me. Soon enough. In the meantime, FatherHerisme is pleased to not have restrictions on his Long John Silvers feasts with cans of Coke or Root Beer and dessert of Red Hots/Tootsie Rolls/Pringles/M&M’s and all that. MotherHerisme has ordered makeup for herself after about a decade of not wearing anything. Prior to then she was an every day full face plus multiple lipstick reapplications. SonHerisme is adjusting to leaving Marching Band season plus anticipation of new activities and regular YMCA visits. I am. I am… I continue to be spinning about trying to find some bearings.

Spinach in a classic white porcelain pasta dish (no pasta), and tea from a rustic looking mug stamped with LOVE typewriter letters, plus finding acorn twins all over the place to add fullnesses where sadnesses lurk!

Anywho, letter to my outgoing Governor:

Dear Governor Blah Blah,

Thank you for serving our communities and state of Blahberg as our Governor for the past two terms. While the Republican party lost me years before you took office here, I have been proud to have you lead our state with integrity through some very trying times. You haven stood by your moral compass, ethics, and beliefs in your responsibilities to all of your constituents, even in painful moments. For this, I thank you.

The attention to restoring the Blahberg Bay, funding education (including provisions for school boards to work with communities on carefully monitored charter school options), and grants supporting the Violence Against Women Act, are just three of the issues you have addressed that I personally appreciate.

None of these show your leadership ability more than how you carefully and earnestly addressed our COVID-19 experience, and the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Your refusal to bow to the dangerous inflammatory nonsense, and maintain a level head in guiding your team and Blahbergers through these tumultuous situations has been admirable.

I believe that under your leadership, Blahberg has built itself stronger as representation to the country of what can be accomplished within a working democratic body operating through honest dialogue, compromise, and transparency. I do not claim that we, or you, are perfect – but neither is democracy. By its very nature, it is meant to be imperfect to allow for conflict in approach, discussions, and compromise. Democracy does not want any one ideal philosophy, it wants many humane voices for civil discourse and civil resolution. I have many opinions which differ from yours (women’s access to abortion, for example) yet I still admire your teambuilding leadership.

Along with my heartfelt, “thank you!” I also write to encourage your decision to run for president. Admittedly, my conscious will not allow me to vote for anyone associated with the Republican party without seeing some radical national accountability, which is a ridiculous expectation given the current path our nation is on in that regard. However, I do admire you and believe you to be one of the best representations of leading civil discourse, humane leadership, and personal integrity, without expectations of perfection. Should you choose to leave the Republican party, you would have my vote.

Thank you again for all of your hard work on leading Blahberg with what I believe to be an overall earnest humane civil approach with integrity. Best of luck to you on your next adventure!

Kind Regards, Ms. Herisme

(she/her/indoors masker)

Feel free to copy/modify/cringe at this missive. It is how I feel today. For those of you living in Blahberg, I acknowledge that we may not be on the same page and that is a-okay and appropriate. I have been writing regularly to our Governor and want to close it out with thanks for the things they worked on doing right. I mean, I am not ever going to carry the weight of their office – very few of us would or do. Someone has to do it, and they did alright. Much like “agree to disagree” on things which can find balance and compromise, I agree to disagree with them on things and still appreciate they took the helm and ran with it despite the allure many have fallen into with the glittery false trappings of authoritarians and fascists.

GAH

I don’t know.

I’m really glad that the current Governor isn’t a complete magafascist asshat.

I am even more glad that we have voted in a Democrat.

Stay strong Blahbergers and *fingers crossed* for democracy to work in general with or without that Gov’ner

Acorn twinning wishes to your house 😉

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

No, I do not know what the acorn twinning euphemism means. I suspect it has something to do with sunshine on jewel colored crunchy fallen leaves, chilly breath revealing air, and a mug of something special to you, as I do the same. Acorn Twinning

Influence of the Earth

(Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Thank you Veterans in our country, around the world, throughout time past and future, for showing us the humanity of service. Some of you did this by choice, some by force, some as defenders of humanity, some as aggressors against humanity, some as a way of orienting and belonging to something with purpose. I honor your contributions to all of our lives.

Live in each season as it passes;
breathe the air,
drink the drink,
taste the fruit,
and resign yourself
to the influence of the Earth.

~Henry David Thoreau, Walden 1854

Today it is raining the chilly grey drip drops foreshadowing winter. The Earth is influencing me to cozy up, teacup! On tap today: Constant Comment (a black tea which ooozes rainy day goodnesses), an aniseed/fennel/cardamom herbal fusion, green tea chai, all wrapped up with a final cup or two of lavendar/oatflower/limeflower herbal blend for sweet dreams. Never sugar. Rare addition of plant based milk – not for bougie points, but to prevent searing serrated knife jabs from the inside since my stomach and dairy truly loathe one another with the sanctimonious deep hatred of a thousand years, plus one. stooopid feckin dairy hating guts

I’m fine

I have two tomes to read before I’m allowing myself to put Sarah Kendzior’s book on my nightstand. Here is a quote from her book, They Knew:

"Material acquisition is not the goal of the criminal elite, and debt is not a problem. A lifestyle of total impunity, powered by fraud and threat, is the goal. Raw power is not measured in money but by how little you need it. Money is beneath you when you live above the law."

A lifestyle of total impunity. This is what we collectively willingly sacrifice ourselves for – a tiny fraction of people who are never held accountable. And yet, we are all held accountable under the influence of Earth. Even those who build vanity phallic escapes from the planet remain under the influence of Earth. Not quite equitably, of course, but still accountable in the end. I find this grounding as we have no other assurances for accountability despite having every tool at our disposal.

Over the weekend I will be writing to my Governor again. That is how I tootsie roll. I can eat a little twisty waxy packaged tootsie roll, but don’t bc of my Scottish/Swedish gene forces against sweets. I’ve tried to battle them. I really have made the efforts. Taffy at the shore level tried. But am now divested and moved on to very dark bitter chocolates, which seem acceptable to the ancients mulling about in there. Cacao enjoyment to you, ancient genes of yore!

Nature, fiber, and plant-based! Winning.

I have researched a bit on my internet company(from my list). They’ve received an 8.5/10 from ethicalconsumers.org . Their main issues are excessive payment to top management, operating with oppressive regimes, ranking on modern slavery reports, and detrimental policies on toxic minerals/chemicals. On the other hand, they score well with carbon management and reporting!

We are very limited with local options, so letter writing and confronting their complicit destructive behaviors it is then. Alrighty.

It is my season of the privilege of presence and attention.

Onto the day of laundry, ironing, paying bills, paperwork galore, cleaning, writing, gathering SonHerisme from school, and preparing the foods. The people want a mushroomy meatloaf. Since I can say, “yes,” I will. Ohmyg-d, I love that for them (Alexis Rose style, natch). And all of those extra mushrooms in the green container will float over into a red pepper and creamy mushroom soup for me.

Moving through the seasons under the influence of this Earth life is what I can do.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Wear your rainsuit/boots and bring an umbrella if you’re meeting me on the deck later. Wear the yellow rainsuit so that I am able to see you coming up the hill please and thank you. Or better yet, a white plastic suit like this guy!

Creatonement Alchemy

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

Confucius said, “A seed grows with no sound, but a tree falls with a huge noise. Destruction has noise but creation is quiet. This is the power of silence. Grow silently.”

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. Rumi

I am not on board with creation being quiet in the traditional ways of quiet. Unless the big bang was the destruction of the nothings into the somethings which then proceeded with the quiet movement of evolution. Even sex I suppose is the destruction of the concentration of blood vessels which then proceeds to release all of things occasionally quietly bonding and replicating into a new human. The birthing is the destruction of the internal growth/housing and the new human quietly (ahem WHAT) evolves into a growing human. The human then goes through many destructions and creations of cells, emotions, bones, and all of the things, until we wear ourselves out through some destructive thing which does not allow for us to recreate ourselves anymore as humans. We become food for the earth or exploration for a scientist.

Is this what quiet creation means? The creation is happening without the impacts that destruction brings? No loud tree felling, but a wispy green nugget of something sprouts up as if by magic? The atonement for having destroyed the tree is the patience required to experience mystical quiet as witness of seeds and soils gently (to our eyes) pushing forth a new generation of life? Some of us pay oddles of noodles to have those new generation plants placed just so into our earth spaces. We cultivate and bask in its growth. We cool. Or we not cool since that movement sometimes requires destruction in movement and burning up dead dinosaur sludge from one place to another. Even if we are seed gatherers…

Babbling as I do since my brainiac is mushing about in attempts at life-ing it up. Destruction leads to creation, and creation eventually meets destruction, by their very natures. But we cannot always predict accurate manifestations of these transformation processes.

Who in the sam hell knew that using populism to elect a melanated president to counter balance the destructive, gaslit, trickle down, fake news, racist programming, misogynisitic ingrained patterns of bullshittery would haunt us with the backfire of magafascism?

It's the, "man, oh golly, I'd really like to see us use our resources humanely for the betterment of our Earth, country, communities and ourselves," 

versus, 

"LISTEN TO ME AS I SCREAM OBSCENITIES AT YOU 
TO SHAME YOU INTO HEARING HOW I AM SAVING YOU, 

S A V I N G  Y O U,  

BY THE DIVINE POWERS IMPARTED TO ME AND MOSTLY ONLY ME 
AND THOSE I BULLY 
INTO BELIEVING MY GLORIOUS INHUMANE FUCKERY DIVINED THUSLY UNTO ME,
 
AS I RAPE YOU, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I FORCE YOU TO CARRY AN UNVIABLE LUMP OF CELLS, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I FORCE YOU TO CARRY A POTENTIALLY VIABLE LUMP OF CELLS, I AM SAVING YOU
AS YOU BLEED OUT INTERNALLY, I AM SAVING YOU
AS YOUR BODY AND BRAIN ARE IRREVOCABLY CHANGED FOR LIFE, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I DENY YOU VITAL CANCER TREATMENT, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I DENY YOU ACCESS TO ALL HEALTHCARE, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I DETERMINE YOUR ACCESS TO INFORMATION BASED ON MY BELIEFS, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I WEIGH AND DEFINE YOUR UTTER UNWORTHINESS AS A HUMAN, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I SHOOT YOU OR YOUR FAMILY/NEIGHBORS FOR INVOKING MY RAGE, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I BEAT YOU FOR EXISTING AND WANTING A VOICE IN COMMUNITY, I AM SAVING YOU
AS I BEHEAD YOU, I AM SAVING YOU

YOU SHOULD BE TAKING A KNEE AND THANKING ME
NO, NO, NO, NOT A KNEE BECAUSE YOU ARE DISRESPECTING ME
YOU SHOULD BE BOWING YOUR HEAD AND THANKING ME
NO, NO, NO, NOT BOWING YOUR HEAD BECAUSE YOU ARE DISRESPECTING ME
YOU SHOULD LOOK ME IN THE EYES AND THANK ME
YOUR EYES LOOK DISRESPECTFUL
YOU'RE DEATH THANKS ME. 
MY MAGNIFICENT SELF MAGNANIMOUSLY OFFERS A " FUCK YOU, YOU'RE WELCOME, I HAVE SAVED YOU. NEXT"

Sometimes I feel the angers.

For the most part my local community voted against being perversely saved by nefarious right-wing nutso zealots. But we’re still waiting for final results from our truly horrifying unstable zealot-led wackos infiltrating our Board of Education. I am so grateful to not have a young child in our schools. It takes all kinds of people to organize and run a community – even wacky people. We are overrun with decades of systematically brainwashed people who truly believe they are in a holy fight to save all of us from ourselves at whatever the cost – lives, truth, integrity, knowledge, and general basic humanity. Their only goal is to win power and control OVER others as they FORCIBLY oppress, silence and eliminate those who are not in alignment with them. Sanctimonious malicious bullshittery.

Toxic people will not be changed by the alchemy of your kindness. Yes, be kind, but move on swiftly and let life be their educator. Brendan Burchard

We cannot, rather, I cannot fix this by welcoming the magafascists and politely tolerating the disgusting inhumanity they promote. I will not even try. What will I do? I will keep talking and showing up in spaces as I can and where I can. I’ll be letting go the toxicity of extending kindness where it is harmful. No more waving and smiling at the racists down the street, for example. I will wholeheartedly wish them wellness with a sprinkle of enlightenment to at the very least, cease glorifying a regime dedicated to the enslavement of other humans (remove your confederacy flag, people – it is a symbol of blazing racism and disgusting shame).

ParentsHerisme continue with their 1980’s world view of believing those in power will behave moderately due to power balance structure and the rest of it is all rhetoric. I strongly disagree (Roe v Wade much?). They cannot see what I see – they truly cannot. Their time in history, privilege, and ingrained learned fear, do not allow their lenses to open any wider. FatherHerisme is so rattled by it all, he was in tears over facetime trying to relay how he did his best to vote in a way that I could be proud of – but he couldn’t quite figure out what that might be all of the time. Sweet daddy *sigh* this is the heartbreaking part of aging parents being far away.

My international friends are somewhat hopeful, but mostly horrified at what they are witnessing us doing to ourselves(when they have time to wax poetic about our issues since there is bullshittery everywhere- authoritarianism rise plus COVID denier MUCH?). The older ones worry about a far correction into what their parents lived through with stark socialism (which wasn’t socialism of course – it was authoritarianism, which is the ironic slippery slope magafascists would LOVE to implement).

Anywho

Divest from and disempower systems of oppression. paraphrased from Nikki Blak

I want to do more of this and am thinking about how, where, why as I do the things of everyday life. I no longer feel doom and gloom most of the time. I feel the need for acknowledging destruction as well as acknowledging quiet and creation – or at least the humane support of them. Women’s rights and basic human needs, globally, in my country, community, and home.

There was a turning point for me last year where I realized I no longer needed to be invested in people, things, places which do not resonate with my own wellbeing and health. And this divestment is not a referendum on me or the people, things, places as being unworthy. This is my divestment from feeling obligated to connect with or understand those things not in alignment with my own health. Simple example of meat – it hurts me when I consume it, yet I went back to consuming it for years after having been a vegetarian for a decade. I attempted different kinds of meat and medications etc. Forget it – I have let it go. I am not invested in trying to explore that relationship anymore. I am more aware of no longer feeling obligated to be invested. This may come natural to you all, but having been raised to maximize co-dependency, this has been a huge learning curve for me. Saying, “no thank you,” to myself for myself with no negative feelings attached has been a huge shift for me, and a much easier way for my soul to move through each day.

As a result of this shift, and time, and my sweet tiny giant turning into a man person, I feel the cleaning out and preparing SonHerisme for his adulting launch. I am working on cultivating a practice of being more mindful in my immediate environment.

My first step is to do the hard ask of where I am putting my resources. Beginning with my list of everyday tasks I do and everyday items I use. I will be asking myself how (not if bc they ALL are in some ways) they are parts of systems of oppression and how may I either facilitate limiting (destruction of habit/service) the oppression further or divesting (creating something new) from them.

A teensy start:
-internet service
-laptop
-phone
-grocery store(s)
-Amazon
-laundry
-career
-creativity
-food prep

I hope this creatonement alchemy works for something good and is helpful. My purpose at this point in my life it to cause the least amount of harm in my areas of this existence. I want to be present for and aware of how I am doing that just in case the knowing is helpful to SonHerisme or anyone else. Or, I suppose, the knowing will be helpful and satisfying to me as I transition at some point.

MotherHerisme turned 78 this week. SonHerisme’s band won their division at state competitions. I took a catnap outside on this final warmish sunny-side up day. It was so quiet that I could hear gleeful leaf scamperings of tiny creatures in full on wintering prep. Also, the persistent bee popped around for a pre-slumber check-in. More celebrations with pom poms. More nature. More mindful acknowledgement and divesting from the harmfuls.

Silence, you are the best thing I have ever heard. Boris Pasternak

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

*fingers crossed that some of this magic works to alleviate some suffering and anxiety somewhere*

Thank you for sticking with me through all of my silences

No Common Name

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

She wanted the worm to live. She=Me. I wanted the worm to live. The poor thick long brownish pinkish squirmy thing was accidentally caught up in the edge of one of the metal fence pieces I was sending to recycling. The young man helping me haul it all was holding the fence piece as I said, “Save the worm! I want the worm to live!” Followed by appropriate wide-eyed-that-lady-be-krazee look from him. I pointed to the worm and explained that I couldn’t get the worm out myself because I was afraid that the regular salt and roughness from my hands would hurt the worm more. The helper guy had on gloves so could he please save the worm. His partner called over the truck to find out what was happening. Helper guy yelled back, “she wants the worm to live!” I did want the worm to live! I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me because then I had tears over this beautifully reddish brown thick earthworm being precariously caught between the edges of metal fencing. I believe that I scared the guys with my saddnesses. Helper guy then very delicately pulled the metal apart, gathered the worm into his gloved hands, and gently placed the worm back onto the cool damp forest floor so it could live out its wormy days until a bird comes along, or a motivated fisherman, and then it’s bye-bye-wormy (have you heard about Hugo and Kim?!!!?) Also, phoned for more help from those helper guys and they haven’t returned my inquiry. hmmmm

My limited brain has decided that this worm is a Lumbricus friendi earthworm who has no common name (per scientific journal linked through the DNR). A common earthworm with no common name. Friendi no name. Sweet little worm friend. If it is so common, why no common name? Why are some words so weird when you repeat them multiple times in a row? Try it. Common, common, common, common common. Weirdo wordo righto? Fair warning, do NOT do this exercise in the middle of the night to your reflection in your bathroom mirror, or you might summon reflection Common and that will be extremely awkward because of reasons dating back to some 1990’s sleepover voo-doo juju.

Once in the long ago days when I did work stuff outside of my home, I saw Common speak on a panel with Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC. It was a very small, maybe 200 people, study release on screens/multimedia content impacts on different developmental stages of children. I KNOW – Why the heck was I there? Luck of the draw I suppose. I was sent by my work and trained into the city on the silent car. Everything about that day was amazing because I was also able to sneak in a visit to the USPS Postal Museum (woot woot nerd alert!). Pre-baby days of wearing the clothes with important shoes and the doing of the things. It was the day I completely flipped in my regard for Hillary Clinton. A dear bestie sweetness friend had worked with Mrs. Clinton earlier that year at an event in Chicago and had a similar experience. Both of us were flummoxed at Mrs. Clinton’s poise, presence and in-person charisma versus the translation of that onto a wider audience – which polarized and distanced people. She was/is an uncommon earnest articulate soul. Common was pretty awesome too – extremely articulate and intelligent(read: handsome and smooth). But the impact of Hillary Clinton on me that day was profound in how I saw all public figures moving forward.

These current transition times for me, for all of us I am guessing, are so filled with the somethings which have no common names. I feel in a place like my perceptions of Hillary. My deep soul self sees the things which are impactful, meaningful, understandable and all of the things which just make sense until they reach into the outer world where the contrast is so cacophonous, nothing seems to translate well and ends up making no sense. There is no touchstone or prescriptive healthy path. Other than coming from a place of love and returning to that as much as possible as I can when I can.

There is no way that we do not know: 
*murdering people and bombing is not the answer to any disagreement
*we have no human rights or moral high ground as a nation to lord over others
*reproductive bodies, like all non-reproductive bodies, have a right to proper health care
*people are being raped in our communities
*people are going unhoused and without food in our communities
*we have enough global resources for everyone to have healthy water, food, shelter, health care, education - without denying anyone resources
*placing thousands of kids into an inadequate building has NOTHING to do with education
*wearing a good mask indoors or in large crowds, helps prevent the spread of airborne viruses which is helpful to everyone's health 
*we do not take care of ourselves
*worms are important

Here in my little hamlet, recently unexpectedly thrust into a world of dedicated High School Marching Band parents, I found myself sitting in this parental group at a football game on a portable stadium seat – which has now earned it’s own spot in my trunk organizer, natch. Most of these parents are new to each other. The high school hasn’t had a home game on their field for 4 years due to field conditions and COVID. In our getting to know each other moments over the past few weeks, one common thread has been recognized between 5 out of 7 of us. Domestic violence and divorce. One woman is currently in the thick of walking the path through dv divorce. It is… normal. It is common. We are the mommies showing up, looking the parts, doing the things of, “yay, teams!” We are the everywheres – which is shocking and not so shocking. Slapped, punched, kicked, raped, threatened with murder of ourselves/our children/our spouse as revenge, financially abused, emotionally abused – and also pulling the wagon buggy with extra water/supplies/emergency snacks for the kids and staff along with the stadium bleacher mats we roll out for the kids to sit on. I will be extra clear about how I see this – domestic violence is not an anomaly. It is very common with what we pretend is uncommon by using an uncommon name. Who hasn’t been involved in a domestic violence or abusive situation? I do not think this belittles the significance or trauma of it by calling it out as a societal norm in our culture. It is very gaslighty pretending it isn’t when we know it is – we KNOW it.

What is up with us pretending like we give a flipping flapdoodle about women in Iran being murdered by their country’s religious police because women are being oppressed – and THEN shaming/creating laws to control humans who choose to wear a hijab, not use their bodies for birthing children, want to extricate themselves and their children from abusive situations, or present in a non/other gendered manner?

Also in my tiny community, a 14-year-old male teen/child posted multiple videos to socials while smoking various things, threatening to commit targeted racist violence, and TAGGED some of the people he would initially target, including the school principal’s daughter. One parent response I heard was, “well that kid has just ruined his life and is banned from any school.” What is happening? At 14? Consequences, for sure. Community service, mental health programs, specialized schooling environment, parental support … I mean – how is more isolation and shame going to help anyone in this situation? Consequences and preparedness actions. Violence and especially targeted racist violence cannot be tolerated. That kid is going to grow and be alive for another 80 years. All of it is heartbreaking and I hope for all of our sakes that his consequences are more than being banned from attending public high school, and include some plan for optimizing his ability to atone for his actions as well as prepare him for the next 80 or so years on how to conduct himself as a positive contributing member of society with healthy regard for humanity. If we keep pretending things like this are uncommon, or the feelings/actions leading up to situations like this, are uncommon, then we will continue with societal structures gaslighting ourselves that it is okay to write off a 14-year-old as othered for their next 80 years, without consequences which might serve them and in turn our community.

What am I doing? I do not know. Trying to help facilitate SonHerisme’s transition into a young adult who can transition into a helpful, satisfied, connected, participating member of society who recognizes the humane value of all humans regardless of gender/race/lgtbq-ness etc. I am doing the things of managing two elderly and ill parents and all of the works around those situations. I am trying to figure out how to position myself for my olden times. I have lost about 14 inches of hair (on purpose). I kept knotting the hair onto itself on top of my head like a deranged witch. Over it. Although I continue with the deranged bit by nature. I send money and deliver food locally as I can. I am not enjoying watching my parents’ declines – for different reasons. FatherHerisme is so far away and not in an ideal facility (people are generally kind, but… dudes, have you been in a long term care facility?!!?). MotherHerisme has mentally vanished into a noise-cancelling headphoned world of Asian soap operas, in the middle of my living room. And I… I continue to be juggling all of the things while lost. Lost isn’t quite right – I continue to be something which is an uncommon name, yet entirely common.

Common as in normal. When does something become so common that is it normal? Is there a normal? Should we accept that common as normal? G A H We seem to have with many things. Domestic violence is very common. Is it normal? And if we accept that it is common or normal, would that change how we handle those supremely dangerous and damaging situations? Would it save time, energy, and emotions currently being spent on “OMG can you EVEN” in order to move into actually supporting health? idk peoples

I am thinking that the entire idea of “normal” might be the problem. Is it normal to be molested or emotionally abused as a child in this country? Yes. Is it normal to have bright shiny stretch marks after having a baby or growing quickly? Yes. But we pretend that neither of those things (and many others) are common or normal by shaming, blaming, hiding hush hushing. Because our normal trope is the happy organically fed lovely mannered child dancing in the sunshiney manicured perfectly outfitted public park with beautiful healthy mom, dad, granny, grandad, auntie, uncle etc. Also, no one has stretch marks. If they do, they are lotioned potioned shamed until they are faded or covered up. It is supremely uncomfortable to accept things as they are. Acceptance goes against our very bootstrappynesses. Which we need some of, of course, to challenge ourselves and each other in healthy ways – but have naturally bastardized into the gaslighting denial of shame and blame.

Geezus – debbie downer much? SHAME shame shame shame shame.

Back to the uncommon name. I do not know if that worm moved on to doing the wormy things of a worm life. I do not know how we would be experiencing this country/world with Hillary as president. I do not know if I am a help or hindrance to SonHerisme’s development. I do not know if I am doing the right things for ParentsHerisme. I do not know if, or how to tell if, I am doing the right things for myself. I have turned some corner, however, where most of the time I just accept how the thing is. If I am doing something right by some standard, then okay, I am. If I am doing something wrong by another standard, then I am. If that makes me a terrible bitch person, then I am. If it makes me seem like an awesome person, then, okay too. What I tend to know most of the time is that whatever centers on, and ultimately comes from, a place of love with healthy boundaries is what I attempt to keep focused on. Even in moments of heavy emotions.

I do know that I love the idea of worms making wormy ways through my garden. I love the idea of reality truths being recognized. I am honored and love being SonHerisme’s guide to launching his own life. I am honored to be tasked with helping my parents, whom I love. I love very dark coffee in my old timey pewter colored Starbucks travel mug with black “leather” attached koozie-ish grasp belt. That mug has seen some things people – many many things, and moves, and vehicles, and airplanes, and places, and whatnots…

Current reads: The First Astronomers, Lady Justice, Caste, and A Thousand Ships

Current podcasts: Films to be Buried With, The School of Greatness, Telling Everybody Everything, We Can Do Hard Things, Feel Better Live More, Poetry Plain and Simple

I listen to podcasts while working, walking or driving and waiting on SonHerisme. I have books stashed in different places to read – nightstand, cozy chair side table, in the car, and next to the hanging pod chair in the kitchen/mudroom. That’s how I do – how about you? Is this common?

I don’t have a grasp on anything anymore – if I ever did. *concentrates on love and sends some to you* Thank you for sticking with my ramblings. I hope that it brings you comfort in knowing that if you are feeling any of this, you are not alone. Or if you are not feeling any of this, then you can feel some relief in knowing there is someone out here a bit madder than you are so you’re probably okay.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps do any of you remember the writing I was doing a zillion hawt minute years ago on normal? I wonder if I can find it all again. Was it Being Normal? Becoming Normal? Oh wait – Observing Normal? Adding this to my running task list

pps – for shits and giggles, I have no connection with them so this is just for common bougie fun! UnCommon Goods

Tightrope Waffle

(Photo by Ku00fcbra Dou011fu on Pexels.com)
(or listen here)

Hello out there.

There is the picture of life, and then there is the life of life. It seems increasingly difficult to distinguish the two.

SonHerisme wants me to sit with him while he is youtubing it up with all of these 20-somethings having “made it” with their muti-million dollar homes/cars/lifestyle etc on the shirttails of Kardashian kookiness. My child sees attainable goals – play games/do kooky dangerous stuff/make science/host crazy games and give away money, record yourself, and violá multimillionaire home on Rich Bitch Avenue! Humans hitting a micro-minutia chance at an unpredictable jackpot where they can maximize their day-to-day humaning commodity into cash(unless it is sex work, then all bets are off, but he cannot access that…yet). Cash is the goal. Strike that, the MOST cash is the goal. SonHerisme talks about how big of a home he is going to purchase one day, what artist he will commission pieces from, how he will balance his work and home life, etc based on these clips, snippets, pics, tik-toking their way into his brainiac. He is at that pivotal age of 14: newly minted freshman in high school, possibilities are endless, mommy is suddenly becoming less everything yet somehow more annoying… oiy

And there I sit, putting cottage cheese and cinnamon or fruit preserves or salmon/capers on my toasted waffles, while drinking very strong deep black espresso in an adorably small white cup. The espresso aroma is inhaled slowly and exhaled along with gratitude for this elixir of the G-ds. The French provincial style faded green cotton tablecloth with its delicate tiny yellow/white/light grey paisly pattern, tops an inherited burled maple octagonal table with a thick oversized scrolled wrought iron base. The tablecloth is faded to the point where it suggests having once been new but now loved and worn instead of trash tattered. My place at the table has a heftier weighted quilted cotton round scalloped-edged placemat on top of the tablecloth. The placemat is a more quiet yellow/green/red floral pattern. The oversized crisply ironed cotton napkin is off-white (from many uses/washings) with an equally off-green hexagonal lattice pattern. Waffle holding plate is restaurant level heaviness, restaurant level white. No utensils required because these waffles are sturdy, toppings are proportioned for waffle-in-handing, and I am awake early at home, eating on my own. All the while pretending that I am eating fancy food in a quaint other place not full of the smell of dead carcasses and urine. Maybe I exaggerate… alas my house reeks of unpleasant odors due to MotherHerisme (open wounds, lack of self care), two dogs, and teen-boy shoes (and sweats and stuffs of teen boys). Grace and space. Grace and space. Grace and space, lovely and not-so-lovely people of the world.

When I mentioned my cottage cheese and cherry preserves on waffles as make-believe fancy pastries to ShewhoisEight, she looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. We were enjoying a cold beverage and treat moment, waiting for a parade to come through the main street of town. The cafe’s air conditioner was also a lure on this sweaty glow humid hawt day. This new cafe had full picture windows to the street for maximum comfort viewing of the parade. SonHerisme was marching, as was ShewhoisEight’s older brother, and other community members we know. ShewhoisEight was sharing two tasty treats with her mother and I enjoyed my glorious cold brew espresso with a dash of oatmilk (bougie bougie time). One of the treats they ordered came with two dollops of whipped cream topped with little pinky sprinkles across the white peaks. ShewhoisEight’s mother asked if SonHerisme ever ate fancy oatmeal anymore. Fancy oatmeal has raisins, whipped cream, a selection of sprinkles to choose and self serve, occasionally chocolate chips, all in a large bottomed crisp white bowl. Does he eat it anymore? Yes, if, “anymore,” refers to 9pm last night because he is a teenager with the massive teenager hungerings all over the place… This is where I shared my version of fancy pastry substitute by waffle/cottage cheese/preserves which received the, “you must have lost your mind because why don’t you just eat the real treat like I am?!!?” look from ShewhoisEight. Yes, it seems that might be easier IF I wasn’t celiac with soy, certain fats, egg, and dairy issues. But that’s too much for a before the parade treat convo. I replied to the look with, “it is really very tasty and I’ll let you try mine sometime if you’d like,” cheeriness – most likely overboard cheery. YES, I KNOW cottage cheese is dairy. I get the high protein lactose free one which seems to work for my system-of-dynamic-mysteries. For now.

Once we stepped out of the cool cafe, into the drippy humid heat, the parade parts with SonHerisme and ShewhoisEight’s brother, marched passed as we cheered, jumped, and waved to them. Then I left ShewhoisEight with her parents (her father arrived just in time to see both boys!), and followed the parade to the end at a park at the edge of town. The parade participants had a picnic with lots and lots of cool water as they cooled down, goofed around like teenagers do, and gathered up their parade accessories to return to their schools. They ended at the little park behind the little city pool. The pool is hidden in an ally across the creek from the back of the courthouse. There is a larger, more prominent city pool in the middle of the multi-blocked large park on the edge of the city center. This smaller hidden away pool where the parade ended, is a remnant of segregation times. This was the colored pool. While I wait for SonHerisme to wrap up his teenagering at the park, I walked across the creek bridge towards the courthouse thinking about how culturally tilted things can turn on a dime, feeling like precarious balancing on a tightrope – or falling off for so many of us. Why is the pool still so very small here? Rhetorical since we all know why while pretending we don’t know why and go about using the pool without regard for what it stands for because we love swimming and shade, and this pool has both.

Behind where I sit on the bench, is the courthouse. I have been inside there too many times and for too sad and frightening reasons. We are okay. It is the memories that are difficult to sit with and digest as reality. Turning around to look at the back of the courthouse, I can see the lower level back doors I would enter through in order to avoid MrexH and go through less of a crowd at the security check. I did not know what would happen if I ran into MrexH, but I was sure it should be avoided (advised by my attorney and the sheriff’s dept). I do not know know if I did the right things through those processes. But we are all alive, so there’s that.

On that note, SonHerisme received a card from MrexH this week, along with a card from MrexH’s parents. MrexH’s handwriting is scratchy and very heartbreaking to see (he is not well). The cards were vetted by our court appointed parenting coordinator and included cash for SonHerisme. SonHerisme is planning on using the cash towards building materials for a music room in the back of the garage. This is the tightrope of keeping connection open while not sugar coating the past to make things smooth and okay. I think that is what it is.

I feel word salady.

While I have been alone for a very long time, and deeply lonely, this transition into High School mode has me suddenly recognizing how alone I really am. I knew I was alone before, but I feel it so much more now. The lonely feeling is about the same, but the knowing of being alone has blossomed exponentially these past few weeks. SonHerisme attended a little Montessori school for his entire school career prior to high school. Almost every day after school, we were at a community park close to the school, or some other activity with different circles of friends from either the school or around the community. While I was alone the entire time, I never realized I was alone because there was always some activity or school thing needing attention. High school is another formative transition to adulthood, which requires more autonomy and much less parent involvement. Yes, yes, yes, Montessori is all about personal responsibility, sacred learning time and space for the child (which in our school meant parents stayed out of child spaces/experiences unless absolutely no other option available – like field trips where parents had to drive themselves, no riding with children on buses…etc otherwise known as militant montessorian, aka a topic for another day). It is appropriate and right that this high school transition happen. I am not questioning that. I am mourning, or grieving the loss of childhood times with SonHerisme and constantly questioning my parenting as he pushes and stretches his boundaries (as he should) to learn about eventual complete autonomy from me. And this grief brings home the reality, my reality, of being entirely alone.

I am keenly aware of the aloneness of me in all aspects of how that translates into this life. Even though I continue to care for my parents’ two little miniature schnauzers (Sugar and Spice, litter sisters), I am looking for a larger dog for SonHerisme and myself. A dog companion for walks and car drives to and from wherever SonHerisme needs to be. The doggy will probably help with feeling safe on my own, and maybe the lonlinesses as well. Sugar and Spice do not travel into other environments very well. They attempted to corner and harrass a giant german shepherd recently at the vet. I also recognized this past week that they have been living with me since Christmas 2016. I am their human at this point and have ordered them travel seats for the car to see how well that goes until we find our big dog. I have been their human for 6 years and I have failed them as well buy not socializing them more or including them more in my routines. They are gifts thrown at me that I have, once again, not taken advantage of.

BTW – being alone is weird. I am going to help with some parent support at the high school to find a new groove as I prepare for what’s coming in 2 years when SonHerisme begins driving, and then in 4 years when takes flight to find the footing for his own life.

I want to see things as they are and not how I imagine or want them to be. Often my brain fails at this task. I am alone. Sometimes I eat waffles with cottage cheese and preserves. It is okay. I am okay. I am starting to think the attentive pursuit of acknowledging and ruminating on inner feelings is mostly unhealthy for me and I would not like to do it as much anymore. Actioning instead may help (?). How does this work? Life-ing life instead of picture-ing life? Cleaning out the things and walking the tightrope of life (wearing pink knee socks natch)? I hope that you are okay.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps waffles with swiss cheese, capers, and smoked salmon = delish, I kid you not. Try it and report back. If you’re vegan, try egg free waffles topped with spinach and tofu paneer. Waffles are amazing conduits of the yum.

Also, in response to my, “thank you for coming with me to pick up SonHerisme’s dinner, otherwise I’d have to do this alone and it’s more fun with a buddy,” ShewhoisEight tells me not to worry because I should never feel alone or lonely since she (and her lovely family) are always here too. 😉

This unaccompanied cello piece is what I want to feellook like on my prelude-to-the-next-thing tightrope

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

Metal Rings

(Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com)

This was written and recorded prior to hearing the news about Robb Elementary school. My heart is in deep pain and I am choosing actions of activism in regards to gun safety. I’m not sure that I have the right to feel this pain. The following is sent out into the world with the deep soul knowing of my own privilege at having my sweet SonHerisme with me, as well as both of my parents, siblings, and friends as I tumble through this messy messy life.

(prologue added post recording)
(or listen here)

SonHerisme recently joined a rock band as their drummer. He is very enthusiastic about the entire experience. After playing violin for six years, he took a break and tinkered on the piano for a bit, bought himself an acoustic guitar, and finally got his mother to sign him up for drum lessons. He has been playing some kind of rhythm instrument since he could crawl and bang. It has been his calling but I have tempered it (mean mommy) with pushing him learning to read music and unlocking the most difficult instrument family to understand – the strings – first. He asked his father, MrexH, for a drum set last Christmas. SonHerisme now has his eyes set on enclosing a part of the garage to accommodate a sound proof area for his drumming and other instrumental explorations. Later this week he has an interview to be accepted into our local Fine Arts Academy for High School *fingers crossed.* So, yes, he is hooked.

This well intentioned momma is handing over the reigns to follow the bold screaming adolescent calls of the soul interests of the boy-teen-man. I can do this. Right? I mean, we can do these hard things, right? Is Glennon right? Can we?

He wants to try High School football too. All I see are brain damage and permanent paralysis looming along with peer pressure for sex, hazing, alcohol and drugs. I hope that the summer tennis coach can charm him into focusing on tennis. Maybe I can do the soccering consent? His cousin (boy crazed Rugby fan) is pressuring him to do rugby – hard pass on that too, please and thank you. SonHerisme says/yells in a giant man voice, “Momma, look at my body! Look at it! I am MADE for contact sports! *flexes* No one can hurt me! Look at how big and strong I am!” Ohmyholywildturkeynesses How have mommas been doing this?!!? Why won’t he do swimming? Golf? Horse Riding? I mean, c’mon universe. Can we, can I, really do this final sprint to my tiny newborn giant tiny baby bear’s adulthood? You guys. I have my doubts, but also cannot comprehend an alternative. More tea STAT STAT STAT

SonHerisme’s band is practicing to participate in a Rock v Grunge outdoor weekend lineup. SonHerisme says he and the band are working on mental health. How cool is that? His band is practicing mental health exercises to prepare for performing in front of a large audience! Blogisphere friends – it took me a few days to figure out he meant that his band is playing a cover of Quiet Riot’s METAL HEALTH. When I pointed this out to SonHerisme, he said the song is by Quiet Riot but it is mental health. Oh my sweet baby tiny puffin boy, yes, yes, yes, alliteration, yes. He did not believe me until I showed him a YouTube. Then I felt super sad and old that as a part of popular culture, I am old enough to know of Metal Health despite my calling leaning towards Hootie and the Blowfish, The Sundays and such. Then I felt super love and protection for my precious baby bear who is not quite grown, but so full of all of the teen hubris earnestnesses. Squeezy delicious babes working on their Me(n)tal Health indeed.

Side Note: Charlotte (shar-LOT, a former co-worker insisted I read boy centric interest books and not just 398’s and 811’s, to become a great children’s librarian – she was *sigh* correct) is, “I told you so,” -ing from the great beyond.

I suspect FatherHerisme’s parents are doing the same from the great beyond. I never met FatherHerisme’s parents. They passed when FatherHerisme was 4 (his father died) and 12 (his mother died). When FatherHerisme’s dad passed away, his mother remarried an extremely abusive criminal, and had two more girls. She had a total of five children: 2 girls and a boy (FatherHerisme) with her first husband, and 2 girls with her second husband. ZoeLorriane and Bertie – what a pair they must have been. Perhaps they crossed paths at some point with David Lee and Emily B.

When FatherHerisme’s mother died, the two older girls married their boyfriends right away so they would not have to live with their abusive stepfather. FatherHerisme was sent to live with a childless, very religious, aunt and uncle. Within a year, the abusive stepfather, known as, “Whitey,” *charming* was in federal prison, and FatherHersime returned to Indiana to live with his oldest sister while he finished High School and went to college. The two younger sisters split their time between family members’ homes, including with FatherHerisme at the oldest sister’s home. Her husband was also abusive. He passed away many years ago, but she is alive and well, in her 90’s and thriving in the same house where she raised her son. The second oldest sister married an abusive man who moved her to the hills of Kentucky. She rapidly mentally deteriorated in severe poverty and isolation from everything, and eventually died. The two younger sisters married challenging people, had children, and are alive and well surrounded by grandchildren and great grandchildren. Some are doing well. Most have struggled with mental health, addiction and abuse. Generational trauma for reals y’all.

FatherHerisme continues to struggle making very slow progress at a skilled nursing home rehabilitation facility. 2 steps forward, 1 step back, 2 steps forward, 3 steps back, 2 steps forward, 2 steps back etc. He receives dialysis three times each week and physical therapy five times each week. When his blood pressure drops too low(frequently), they stop physical therapy, or dialysis, and he rests for the remainder of the day. SisterHerisme sees FatherHerisme everyday and brings him something tasty to keep his calories up and continue to help his kidneys work. I never know if I am making the best decisions for his health care – but I am trying my best to do what he has expressed to me in the past that he expects or wants.

At our most recent conversation, where he was very lucid, he clearly communicated that staying where he is in order to seamlessly get his next surgeries, is what he would like to do. His other option is to be transported via interstate ambulatory stretcher service to a hospital local to me (about 450 miles or 725 km from where he currently is) and begin the process of diagnosis/procedures with new physicians. While he would be closer for my brother, my mother, and me to be more supportive of his recovery and progress, he does not want to delay any procedures further than they have already been delayed at this time. BrotherHerisme is very frustrated that I am not forcing FatherHerisme to relocate (I’m POA). I am trying to be respectful. This is another exercise in letting go.

FatherHerisme has cycled in and out of lucidity these past few months. He was at a point where he “forgot” how to swallow, he could not feed himself because he could not control his arm well enough to find his head or his mouth, and he could not control or reliably track anyone with his eyes. Today he can hold a conversation, transfer from chair to chair (with assistance), and, with special utensils, feed himself and drink from a straw or cup. Miracles!

FatherHerisme FaceTimed me yesterday while BILHerisme was visiting with him. FatherHerisme was concerned he had mixed up his Dr appointments (he had not), and wanted to tell me that something was wrong with his fingers and his eye. He was feeling small metal rings getting caught underneath his skin in his fingers. The metal rings were like small washers or the backs to snaps on clothing.

FatherHerisme was worried that the metal rings were coming off of his hospital gown and getting stuck underneath his skin in his fingers. 
He was able to push on some and get them worked out to the tops of his fingers, carefully push them through his skin and flick them onto the floor.
He was worried that he was making a mess on the floor and that someone would get hurt on the metal rings he was leaving there.
He was worried that if I didn't tell the janitors, they would not be able to see the metal rings and get them all swept up, or they would be upset with him that he flicked them onto the floor.
He was worried that one metal ring accidentally got caught in his eye and he hadn't been able to get it out on his own.
He was worried about how many more metal rings would get caught underneath his skin and how he could get them out more efficiently.
He already phoned SisterHerisme asking her to bring precision tweezers and a magnifying glass for him to use to pull out the metal rings.
I listened to all of his words as he stumbled through trying to say everything he needed to say about the metal rings so that I would understand how concerned he was. 
I listened with what I hope was respect and honorable space holding for his worries and problem solving processes. 
I asked him if he shared his concerns with one of the health aids or nurses. He had not.
I asked him to hold his fingers up to the camera so that I could take a look.
I asked him to put the camera close to the eye he is worried about so that I could take a look.

Bloggees, I had to then gently walk my father through how all evidence points to his brain playing tricks on him. His fingers and eye do not show signs of trauma, which would be expected if metal rings were being poked through them. I had to walk my father through possible explanations for these sensations – nerve pinch, nerve damage, neuropathy, medication side effects, or growing toxicity in his body from kidney failure/blockage or another developing UTI. FatherHerisme then asked for tweezers just in case. I had to walk my father through on why tweezers are not the best first intervention for these metal rings. My suggestion was that BILHerisme go find a small bag for FatherHerisme so that he could catch the metal rings in there and not on the floor, alleviating his worries about safety and cleanliness. Secondly, I sent a large magnifying glass to FatherHerisme so that he could get a better look at his fingers as he is feeling the metal rings push through them. Lastly, I told FatherHerisme I would let the nurse know what was going on so that they can help him determine what is happening with his fingers too, since he might need support in retraining his brain signals if there are not metal rings getting caught beneath his skin and needing extraction. I explained to FatherHerisme that if tweezers are needed, the nurse will bring them for him, or we can discuss that after he has some rings in his bag to confirm what his brain is telling him.

FatherHerisme asked me how he will know if there are other incidents where his brain might be playing tricks on him but he truly believes what is happening is real. I requested that he pick two people he trusts who are physically with him, ask them for confirmation, and then no matter what he sees or feels, he will need to trust them until he cannot. Once he cannot trust his two trusted people physically with him, he needs to call me and I will fly there to help him.

My brilliant, funny, difficult father is struggling and it is painful to witness. My heart hurts and it is so painful that my already giant eyes feel like they are going to pop out of my head from the pressure of not being able to cry. I can hear my heartbeat all of the time now.

When I was a little girl, FatherHerisme wanted me to write a book when I got older and title it, “My Pop was Carbonated.” He was trying to connect with me in his own ways, but I too was hiding in my protective bubble from the time I was born. We have the same eyes, but his are more blue than green now. While I have the odd old lady hairs popping up hither and thither, he can still grow one impressive Santa competitive beard!

FatherHerisme told me this year that his mother died on March 24th 1952. He has never spoken of her, other than she died when he was young. ZoeLorraine and her sweet baby puffin bear boy (and girls). I hope I am doing the right things. Or at least in these instances, leaning right things.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps. apologies for all of the things I am not measuring up on atm irl people and friends and family. I am pushing love out to you in absence of my follow-up on whatever I have missed. Or maybe I am too distracted by showing SonHerisme Between Two Ferns clips lol