2142, 306, 70, 5 (hut, hut, HIKE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 years, 10 months, 1 week, 5 days

or

70 months, 1 week, 5 days

or

306 weeks

or

2142 days

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

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

Then guilt sets in.

Maybe I didn’t do enough.

Maybe I did too much.

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

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

Maybe I misread situations.

Maybe, maybe, maybe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks y’all

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

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

 

 

F’ing Wineberries

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Why aren’t we listening to the helpers?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

We can no longer afford to pretend otherwise.

 

We could never afford it.

 

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

 

I suggest they were and are wrong.

I suggest we can do better.

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

 

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

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

 

Go Humans!

Courage Humans!

I believe in you!!!

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

#carryonhealthwarriors #carryonpeacewarriors #ilikeyou

HASHTAGing it (BOITT)

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I have everything and nothing to say at the moment.

Please check on your family and neighbors.

Please be kind.

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

ps.  If you need a break from the heaviness, since you cannot snuggle and hang out with my sweet little SonHerisme, google “Greg Davies.” I know I’m woefully over-late to that party (BIOTT), but holy heck he is full-on funny! Sweet baby BeeGeeZus, I hope he isn’t a misogynist/racist/bigoted douche.  If so, apologies!!!  If not, you’re welcome! And if by some totally bizarre COVID induced Thanos-esque universe twist, you ARE Greg Davies: apologies and thank you for making me laugh and take good care of yourself – healthy wishes to you and yours!

pps.  Be kind and spread your love – we are all hurting and our family, neighbors and friends of color, extra systemically so. {{{Hugs}}} and courage humans #listentothem #startwithIjeomaOluo #thenreadStamped #thenreadandlistenmore

ppss.  BIOTT = Blame It On The Trauma  Admittedly a victimy copout, but there it is nonetheless.  I can take your judgement, don’t worry.  I happen to be an expert on that bc BIOTT!

I like you xoxo

Levity (w/a side of soaking, please)

You may listen here:

TOO. MANY. EMOTIONS.

It is too much y’all.

COVID19, Dam Breaks, Hurricanes, Cyclones…  Also, FatherHerisme’s kidney function is a stitch away from dialysis, SisterHerisme is going in for non-cancerous (as far as we know today) colon surgery, MotherHerisme’s wounds are not healing and she will need surgery and hospitalization in the next month, SonHerisme has a jump-out-of-his-second-story-window-and-onto-a-tree-branch and other daredevil plans brewing.  Past traumas resurfacing.

Dudes

I wish I could wash it all away for all of us in a lovely outdoor shower space (with spa bench, natch) in my woods.  Alas, it is only 55F today.  Even if my outdoor shower dream were real, it wouldn’t be happening today anyway.  A friend has been encouraging me to get a home sauna – which I would very much like to do. The potential financial fallout from COVID19 has me quite hesitant, however.  So, a shower in my own plain builder grade shower might help (?).  Please don’t suggest a bath.  I know my ridiculously gargantuan tub appears lovely and inviting, and it was tons of fun to sit in and splash about with my tiny baby boy and my tiny baby nieces – but, germinating in a tepid pool of my own filth to relax?  I don’t understand that at all. Hard pass, and also, no.

Note:  I am grateful to even have a shower and hot water considering what many of us are experiencing atm around our tender world.

Thinking about washing, soaking things off for healing, reminded me of a sort-of recent experience I had at my local co-op.  My community, my tribe, is comprised of many bougie crunchy adjacent (some full on crunchy) mommas.  Not GOOP bougie, more like advanced degree educated, world traveling, new wave community collective supportive bougie.  We sew our own masks, but also already had N95’s in our garages…  we shop at the co-op, but also order recurring grocery items from Amazon.

Anywho…  for a while some of us were gathering about once each month at a coffee shop (locally owned and roasts their own bean blends – see what I mean?  Bougie but still grounded) to talk out and support each other with work/home/kids/relationships.

At one of our gatherings, our facilitator mommy shared her affinity for drinking celery juice in the mornings (again bougie, I KNOW IT).  I too drink celery juice in the morning, but I have not been able to convince myself to use any special, or especially expensive, appliance (this might be a pattern – see internal struggle over sauna purchase).  At the time, I was blending my celery stalks with about 4 ounces of water in a regular old blender.  Then I would strain it through an old tight mesh utensil someone gifted to me years ago, which I believe is originally intended to remove items from a wok when frying.

As we were swapping stories of best celery juice practice, facilitator mommy suggested I try using a nut milk bag.  In case you are unfamiliar, a nut milk bag is a reusable cotton bag used to filter out almond/hazelnut/soy bits from soaked/cooked nuts in order to extract a milky substance to use as a cow milk substitute for consumption. Crunchy – right? Some of us wear full on make-up, hairspray, and actual tucked-in belted knee boot outfits, so-crunchy adjacent.  But we drink celery juice that we are blending at home.  Gah!  Whatevs – we are the mommy people doing the things.

That mommy person sent this mommy person to our co-op to get a nut milk bag to alleviate my messy celery juice burden.

Because I am highly suggestible to personal indulgences falling under the $10 mark, I did indeed go to the co-op to purchase a nut milk bag for straining my celery juice.

You guys…  I went and asked the co-op worker man where he keeps the nut sacks.

Because my brain does not work, and my mouth does not either, I guess.

He did not respond, as you can imagine.  It did not immediately click-in to my brain that I had misplaced my words, so I REPEATED MYSELF.

It was then that I had the terrible awful watching-the-train-wreck moment of realization as the final “nut sack” escaped my mouth, and I scrambled like a babbling idiot for correction as if I am a non-native English speaker making an innocent mistake because clearly English is not my first language or I would have never ever ever said “nut sack” even though you know me because I am in this store multiple times (pre-COVID19) every week for at least a decade interacting with you all and WTF is wrong with me – Could you please show me where you keep your reusable bags for making nut milk.

That happened.

Apparently I am an 11-year-old-boy because I still giggle about this.

The first one to suggest that I now use the famous disguise of jean pants and a toothpick in my mouth when I shop, will indeed be my bestie for the day. (WWDITS is the best worst show ever and perfect escapism, better than any soak – most any soak – so go there now. Season2 Episode6 Jackie Daytona rules)

Of course we are all wearing masks so for the time being I am granted a temporary reprieve from crippling embarrassment at the co-op.

For now.

Funny things still happen in grave times.  I hope you find a giggle or two in your day.

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

Once Upon A Time

Listen Here:

(to the boy/man I never knew/will never know)

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Once upon a time you were the magical silent whisper of a universal dream.

Once upon a time you were found in a moment of intense released wishes.

Once upon a time you embodied a story of blissful optimism and hope for the future.

Once upon a time you blamelessly symbolized a fear for which you were entirely unequivocally innocent.

Once upon a time those fears swirled into a nasty germinating unforgiving bitter cocktail of deceit.

Once upon a time you were forced into a tight web of rejection woven beyond your control and without your participation or agreement.

Once upon a time you remained strong, pure and good despite these intolerable unacceptable trials.

Once upon a time you courageously reached out from that thick painful heavy web which bound you, to lightly recognize and touch my soul.

Once upon a time I was ignorant and guarded in my reception of your bravery.

Once upon a time I was subsequently remorseful and repentant.

Once upon a time I was very much too late in recognizing my unintended painful strike.

Once upon a time you disappeared, regaining your strength, courage and control, into the secret woven web of your beautiful life to heal your heart and soul with your own happily ever after’s.

Once upon a time you never ever again felt any need to reach through the original unbearably painful web built of someone else’s shockingly misplaced unpalatable fear.

 

Far too little and much much too late, I deeply apologize for the part I played in your pain.  I wish you a million zillion happily every afters from my soul to yours.

Life unfolds in strange and mysterious ways.  Please keep yourselves safe and healthy – remind those you love that you do love them them.

 

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

 

Fiction Confession

WildHeartofMine

Hey y’all

COVID19 check-in and fiction confession.

How are you holding yourself up?

What are you currently reading?

I have been having the worst time reading fiction. Anyone else?

Around the time when it was a real and present threat that MrexH might murder/suicide us(he didn’t obvs), reading fiction became unbearable for me.  I continue to struggle with fiction on occasion.  Children and Teen fiction do not seem to be a problem.  Not all adult fiction is either.  I am trying to figure out the triggers. In the meantime, I am finding it difficult to choose to read fiction at all because I dread the consequences.

When I hit that point in reading where some switch goes haywire in me, the story truly overwhelms and feels as if it is taking control of me.  I have a difficult time putting the book aside.  I read and re-read the entire book successive multiple times.  This is possibly to desensitize whatever I have reacted to (a habit I have honed over the years for other overwhelms -I do not absolutely know this to be true). I suspect this because at some point, after a few days or weeks (ugh, those are the worst!), as I am re-reading the book for the bazillionth time, I will physically feel an intense wash of relief come over me.  Not orgasmic or anything like that.  It truly feels like a washed relief from the top of my head to my toes.  I can feel the story normalize itself and leave me free.  Until then, I will read the book at the cost of sleeping, eating, drinking.  Regular chores and things surrounding me suffer from lack of attention (minimal required functioning – single parent also caretaking for elderly parent – non-functioning is not an option).  I am irritable when distracted away from the book.  However, reading the book leaves me with heavy feelings of self-loathing and despair.  The book becomes a compulsion.  It feels awful.  It is awful. I deeply wish that I could make this stop.

Sometimes I can force myself to let the book go when I recognize the familiar pattern of falling into the overwhelming-ness rabbit hole.  When I worked in the library world, I could take the book to work, drop it into the bookdrop and walk away.  Neat, tidy, convenient and accountability because I was at work.  At home, with downloadable books, this isn’t so easy to walk away from.

I wish I could identify that I have a problem with mysteries, historical fiction, realistic fiction, dystopian fiction, sci-fi, fantasy etc.  Then I could just avoid that genre. Or if I could identify protagonist/antagonist or situational triggers, that might help as well. Unfortunately it does not seem to be that obvious, at least to me.  I could probably use some fiction therapy.  Or regular therapy. Oiy, my broken brainiac.

Anywho…  I have a problem.  Which is why I have tended towards non-fiction reading for the past 5-7 years.  Currently appropriately enjoying Harari’s works, re-reading some Shakespeare with SonHerisme, mixed poetry, a Washington biography, and constellation myths.  I really want to read Circe by Madeline Miller, but I am, as you may have guessed, concerned and a little gun-shy, so to speak.

I am just coming out of a book spiral.  No title to share with you because I am not prepared for feedback.  I am trying to gently embrace my me-ness and let it be.

Does anyone else have this experience with books, art, movies?

It has also been on my mind that this might be a good time for me to re-open the book I began writing in 2013, just before the imminent dangerous situation in my own life reared its ugly head.

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime.  How are you?  The entire world is shifting as we all struggle with our center and balance to stay upright.  I hope that you are safe and well.

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

 

I Had to Do It

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I had to take a break from my brain.

I started Pilates instead.

It has been immensely helpful in terms of waking up my body and recognizing how very disconnected I have been or I am.  The instructors and fellow pilates-ers at the studio I go to have been very patient and helpful and I am grateful to have stumbled into this regimen.

My weight has not reflected this hard work, yet.  But, my patterns have shifted and I am much more steady with all activities.  I even accidentally, successfully, hiked up a very rocky mountain!  (future story)  My muscles are muscling up and my posture has changed for the better.

This weekend also marks the sending of the 191st weekly progress report, regarding SonHerisme, I have sent to MrexH as required by court order in January 2016.

Big number.

I do not mind it so much anymore as it is a component of keeping MrexH at a distance which in turn keeps us safer and healthier.

Life is strange.

I continue to be in therapy.

Currently contemplating joining a weekly group at our local domestic violence shelter.

And how are you?

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

Womenomics 101

Welcome to the basics, class

Humans, humans, humans, listen up!  Until we cease and desist from glorifying willful ignorance over acceptance of facts surrounding human existence, we will continue to reap what we sow.

 

The following are basic human facts (female associated with she/her, and male associated with he/him for these examples, however I do recognize and appreciate there are many gender/non-gendered combinations of humans):

 

We exist because some male parts and female parts connected, reproduced, and were carried by a female for an acceptable gestational period whereupon we were birthed.  ALL OF US.

 

Before a female human carries a potential new human around in her body, she must have begun menstruating.  Female human bodies release an egg every month throughout a large portion of their lives, which then sits and waits for some male to potentially release sperm to be introduced.  Basic reproduction, right?

The reality is that the meeting of the egg and the sperm rarely happens (given the amount of times both are available and released).  So instead, the female human’s body cleans itself out every single freaking fracking month by bleeding.  We bleed out what doesn’t grow into a new human.  Bleed bleed bleed bloody blood.  Sometimes its painful as frick (ovarian cysts for the win!), sometimes we stop it with drugs, sometimes we mother nature it up all over the place and bleed into silicone cups which we then dump out and use the blood as fertilizer in our gardens.  The point is that female humans BLEED every month.  What the devil is so flipping difficult to comprehend and accept this?

STOP taxing menstrual supplies.  They are not items we “decide to buy.” We need to function in society and we, female humans, BLEED EVERY MONTH.  (screaming it just in case you did not understand before this)

STOP punishing 12-year-old girls that need to be excused from class because they are in mind numbing pain from menstrual cramps/ovarian cysts etc.  They are female humans that BLEED EVERY MONTH and the alternative is that they become pregnant asap (hello beginning of time and pedophiles hiding under the patriarchal flag and females dying during childbirth).

STOP punishing any age female human for tending to their basic needs as females, who bleed every single damned month, unless they are pregnant or on prevention drugs (which you don’t want to pay for either).

STOP pretending like menstruation is an anomaly – EVERY female human from the beginning of time has bled every month once she hit puberty until menopause, unless pregnant or dead.

START incorporating your newfound knowledge of females monthly menstruation and behave in a humane way when considering your positions on menstrual supplies, gynecological care, birth control, and shaming policies associated with every human female’s monthly experiences.

 

Speaking of birth.  We have ALL been there – all of us.  You may have had the privileges of not only being birthed, but also of giving birth.  Since the beginning of time, females have been impregnated (by choice or by force), grown an entire new organ dedicated to nourishing the developing human while gestating, and given birth (through a temporarily insanely stretched vaginal canal or through surgery).

All of these things take immense effort and time and have lasting effects on a female’s body and brain.  Why do we continue to pretend that it does not?  Female humans are meant to strongly bond with their baby in order to provide for them. As it turns out, human babies cannot instinctually care for themselves.

Female bodies go through all of this change, growth, traumatic birthing, loss of new organ, bodily nourishing a new human through breastfeeding and strong bonding to protect the human race – and then walk away from the infant at 6 weeks to return to work as if nothing happened?!!?  As if we are still not feeling the effects of our bones stretching to massive capacity in a 24 hour period and then shrinking?  As if we are still not feeling the pull of tender tears or stitches?  As if the future of the human race carried in this tiny package we just expelled from our bodies, no longer needs nourishment?

6 weeks is so arbitrary and has only to do with ill-informed misogynistic men deciding that was when a female could resume her sexual intercourse duties – fyi.  THIS is what we are basing our care for newborn infants on.  Super seriously.

 

STOP being against females birthing and caring for human babies.

STOP forcing females and entirely-dependent-on-adults-for-survival-ideally-in-a-secure-developmentally-appropriate-single-bonding-nourishing-relationship babies to separate prematurely.

STOP pretending as if birth, lack of birth, adoption, fostering, loss of child, miscarriage etc do not affect adult humans.

 

All of you shamers and blamers, LOOKIT HERE:

Humans are having sex, are always going to have sex, and occasionally procreate.  Some humans cannot afford birth control.  Some humans do not have access to birth control for other reasons.  Some humans are forced into sex and pregnancy.  Some humans defy birth control and still become pregnant despite their best efforts.  The access to birth control or abortion is difficult or non-existent for most.  Female humans will continue to become pregnant, by will, inattentiveness, or by force. This is LIFE at its life-iest.  Stop punishing females for being pregnant and giving birth to our future.

When you punish them, you punish our future. 

Nourish the female and baby.  Give them as much time as they need to recover from coming into this world and providing the vehicle for coming into this world.  They need food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene facilities (toilet, shower, washer etc).

STOP making them come to the pediatrician 2 days after giving birth and waiting with their precious new life in a room full of germs.

STOP making them bring the future of the human race into Social Services to obtain food stamps or other assistance.

STOP forcing dissociation and detachment by institutionalizing infants at 6 weeks old.

STOP pretending like our childcare system is even close to adequate or affordable in order to shame females into “real work”

 

Dudes, if we can afford to subsidize multibillion dollar sports franchises, we can afford to take much better care of our females and the babies they birth.

Humans, sometimes we are idiots and treat each other inhumanely.  STOP doing this.  STOP pretending that just because you are not having the experience, you are on some moral high ground that others should aspire. STOP and check your racism, classism and bigotry if you are tempted in the slightest to be all, “well, they get pregnant to stay on welfare and I’m not giving up my hard-earned money for laziness.” STOP punishing your own future!

START checking on your neighbors, supporting your local domestic violence shelter, finding who needs support at your school and bringing supplies in to your school counselor for them.

Oh yes, and VOTE

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

Marry Me (2/2)

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the ending:

BrotherHerisme and I saw our pool buddy in the hotel dining room one evening and pointed him out to ParentsHerisme.  Both ParentsHerisme approached the man and introduced themselves.  He invited us to join him for dinner, and we did.  I recall FatherHerisme getting upset when the man not only encouraged us children to order dessert (absolutely unheard of in my family), he paid for our meals.  As our pool pattern continued, MotherHerisme showed up at the pool one time with a very reluctant SisterHerisme, to watch our play.  The man engaged MotherHerisme in happy conversation, and MotherHerisme became comfortable with him.  The man asked if BrotherHerisme and I could come to his room to pick up a gift he wanted to give to ParentsHerisme from his country.  MotherHerisme agreed.  This incident is when I recall becoming uncomfortable with the man.

 

The two of us went to the man’s room and I remember insisting on standing at the door.  I kept the door pried open with my body, while he brought the gifts to us, rather than BrotherHerisme and I going into his room.  The man kept trying to entice us with candy, the promise of gifts.  BrotherHerisme was upset with me as I adamantly refused on behalf of both of us.  When FatherHerisme arrived to the hotel that evening from work and received the gifts we picked up from the man, there was a note attached inviting ParentsHerisme, no children, to dinner with him.

 

The next day, FatherHerisme insisted on accompanying us to the pool.  We all went down as a family, everyone (except for MotherHerisme who has an allergy to pool chemicals) in swimming suits.  This was highly unusual because FatherHerisme never played with us – ever.  I knew that something was up and somebody was most likely in trouble.  There wasn’t any obvious reason why one of us would be in trouble, but I fervently prayed that it wasn’t me anyway.  FatherHerisme had a terrible temper back in the day.  We all jumped into the pool. BrotherHerisme and I commenced with our usual shenanigans.  FatherHerisme and SisterHerisme started swimming their very grown-upy exercisey coordinated laps (BORing).  At some point FatherHerisme paused his perfect pattern to watch our hooliganisms.  When I came out of the pool, FatherHerisme yelled across the pool, “Jesus Christ! Get over here!”  Well, now I knew.  It was me that was in trouble.

Now was my moment of reckoning for whatever transgression(s) I had committed.  I wasn’t quick enough for FatherHerisme.  He grabbed my towel and yelled, “Get over here!  Move it, young lady!”  My smartass mouth wanted to respond, “but, there’s no running at the pool.”  However, an ancient piece of my self-preservative brain kicked in and I walked as quickly as I could to FatherHerisme.  It’s a catch-22.  I am about to get into big huge trouble,  that in my day usually involved some form of corporal punishment, which begged me to walk very slowly.  On the other hand, if I didn’t move quickly enough to appease FatherHerisme, I would get into big huge trouble, which also, by the tone of his voice, involved corporal punishment.  Dang it, this was big.

When I got close enough to FatherHerisme, he grabbed me with full force, wrapping the towel so tightly around me that I couldn’t move.  As his fingers dug into my arms through the towel and he held me there, his angry voice demanded where my swimsuit had come from.  I told him it was borrowed from a friend.  FatherHerisme gruffly yelled for BrotherandSisterHerisme to get out of the pool, we were going upstairs to our hotel rooms and nobody was allowed to come swimming anymore at this pool.

 

My borrowed beautiful fancy glorious spectacular one-piece perfectly pink swimsuit was completely see-through when wet.  It was as if I was naked.  A precociously developed 12-year-old naïve girl, often mistaken for a 17/18-year-old due to my developed appearance, had been swimming in a hotel pool with a strange adult man while wearing a tissue thin Caucasian colored bathing costume.  FatherHerisme was enraged with me, with MotherHerisme, with BrotherandSisterHerisme, with the kind family who loaned us the swimsuit.  ENRAGED.  I was heartbroken.  After a 3-month stay at the hotel, we checked out two days later and moved into our unfinished home.  Our family dynamic was that none of us asked any questions of FatherHerisme or MotherHerisme. We were quiet and we obeyed.

 

A few years later, MotherHerisme revisited the incident when she was cleaning off the bookcases, replacing an oversized book that had been gifted to her by the man from the hotel pool.  She spoke as if I already knew the surrounding circumstances that occurred.  I had no idea until that moment.  The man from the hotel pool had been grooming me, had been wooing ParentsHerisme as his intention was to marry me.  He promised ParentsHerisme that he would send me to the best schools, the best university, all of my wants and needs would be met and more.  He promised ParentsHerisme that even though we would be married immediately, he would wait until I graduated from High School before the marriage was consummated.  He was in love with my beauty and how clever I was.  He wanted to marry me.  Cultural differences, creepo pedophile, you decide.

 

I can only imagine FatherHerisme’s response in a 5 star hotel dining room with a strict dinner dress code.  The man was immediately removed from the dining room and banned from the hotel.  FatherHerisme made arrangements for us to leave the hotel and move into our unfinished home, no matter what state it was in, as soon as he arrived to work the next morning.  MotherHerisme occasionally still speaks of this incident today, “you know you could have been married and extremely wealthy, but you were only 12 and your dad got very angry.”  Family dynamics *sigh *

 

Thank the sweet G-ds of every land and universe that this is NOT the experience that either NieceHerisme are having!  I have never punched someone out of anger, but if either of my nieces were subject to this, I would absolutely punch.  Back off, man.  BACK the F OFF.  Let them grow into themselves and peer relationship stabilize before you attempt to knock on their door.  Go ahead and ask their permission to take them out for a tasty cuppa when they are 25 or so.  Eyes up here man, eyes up here.

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

note:  the kind family who loaned us the swimsuit had no idea about the transparency, as it had not been worn yet by anyone before me.  They disposed of it.

also note:  thank you for reading this to the end

Marry Me

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Niece1Herisme and Niece2Herisme are turning into beautiful sweet puffin muffin teenagers.  Even an objective observer would note their individual beauty and powerful brilliance.  I am totes not just saying that because I am their AuntHerisme.  I am SO serious, y’all.  Seriously. Watch out, world!

 

There was a realization for me about a year ago to compare NiecesHerisme to when I was making the big transition from being just double digits to a true teenagers – you know that BIG 12-13 year.  The year I had a pivotal experience of being pursued as a bride.  Not in a sweet puppy love from another 6th grader way, but by an actual full-on adult man.

 

When I was in 6th grade, my family was relocated to Germany for my father’s work.  We moved to just outside of the capital of Bonn at the time.  Yes, this was before reunification.  Yes, I am old.  Yes, I love Beethoven too.  To give you an idea of where I was developmentally: While I had “blossomed” so to speak (precocious menstruation commenced at 10 ½), my brain was still operating in the Santa-IS-SO-REAL-because-I-have-seen-his-sleigh-fly-over-my-house-with-my-own-amazing-eyeballs zone.  It has been reported that I engaged in a full out tear inducing screaming match on the playground over this.  Allegedly.

 

I still have the bag I decorated for that Christmas to use as my stocking, as ours were packed away on a ship headed for Europe.  My glitter adorned handwriting resembles what you might see a cherubic first or second grader produce today – both in content and style.  When we had to pack our own suitcases for the journey, I dutifully placed everything into my suitcase according to MotherHerisme’s list of instructions.  There was a ton of room remaining in my suitcase, so I unpacked the dolls and stuffies from the moving boxes.  I chose the ones I felt would be most vulnerable to overwhelming heartbreak and worry being stuffed into a box on a ship, and put them all into my suitcase.

We were scheduled to stop at GrandparentsHerisme’s home in Athens, Georgia for a few weeks while packers finished up at our house. MotherHerisme came to inspect our suitcases and she was not impressed with my clever fix to helping alleviate the mental stress of my stuffies and dolls.  Turns out, the extra space was meant for the Christmas presents we would be receiving at GrandparentsHerisme’s.  MotherHerisme is far from heartless and did permit me to keep one doll and one stuffy in my suitcase.  It was a tough emotional experience – but everything worked out well.  I survived.  The shipped dolls and stuffies survived.  Christmas was celebrated and we boarded an airplane for Germany.

 

So very developmentally different than a 6th grade girl today –

very very much different.

 

Our housing had not yet been secured when we arrived to Germany.  FatherHerisme’s company had us stay in a hotel in the city while we waited.  Not just any hotel – a super duper 5 star beauty.  We had three rooms because BrotherHerisme was not legally permitted to share a room with either ParentsHerisme, SisterHerisme or myself.  Parents in one room, girls in one room, sweet baby boy in the 3rd room.  We kept our room connection door open between the kids’ rooms, running back and forth, making our own fun, like hooligan kids do.

 

Living in a big fancy hotel in a big fancy city was an entirely new experience for all of us.  The only travel we had done up to this point in my life consisted of camping or staying with relatives.  FatherHerisme dictated a very frugal conservative lifestyle.

 

Fancy 5 star hotels and their guests are not living frugal lifestyles.  We had breakfast delivered to the room in the morning before school.  We had a driver who picked us up in the morning, drove us to school, picked us up in the afternoon and deposited us back at the hotel.  We dressed for dinner in the hotel dining room or we wandered the streets of the city to find a restaurant that would permit children in the dining room.  At that time in Germany, dogs were regular restaurant guests, but children were not welcome.

A Balkan restaurant around the corner from the hotel, took pity on my mother one evening when she was trying, solo parenting with 3 children, to find a place which allowed children.  They sat us in a booth by the kitchen door to be less conspicuous.  We ended up eating there a lot over our 4 year stay in Germany, and almost every night while we were in the hotel.  When I was older, my mother shared with me that the restaurant owners gave her free before and after dinner sweet liquors to keep up her good health and stamina with 3 children.  Occasionally she would permit us to have a tiny sip.  I’m fairly certain this factored in to our frequent dining choice of the Balkan Restaurant.  My memory order is champignon schnitzel mit pommes frits und eine kleine lemonade, bitte (I beg your pardon of my awful memory of German).

 

The thing I loved the most about living in the hotel, other than the extra chocolates the cleaning staff would leave for us, depending on how tidy we left our room, was the pool.  They had a pool in the basement!  Prior to this, I had never seen an indoor pool except at the YMCA.  I loved swimming.  I still love swimming.  The best thing about the pool in the hotel was that as long as BrotherHerisme or SisterHerisme went with me, I could go as often as I wanted to!  SisterHerisme could not be bothered by the silliness and fun that exuded from every pore of mine and BrotherHerisme’s body (she was totally, like, a High School teen and stuff).  BrotherHerisme and I would put on swimming suits, sneakers, grab a towel, race to the elevator and swim, swim, swim!

When we first arrived at the hotel, though, neither one of us had a swimming suit with us.  It never crossed my mother’s mind that a pool would be available to us.  MotherHerisme tried shopping for swimming suits (pre-internet, we had to scour retail spaces called department stores for things.  Google this ancient ritual for more information), but other than ridiculously expensive resort wear, no swimming suits were available, due to it being in the middle of winter (again, Google ancient shopping seasons in the 80’s).  Luck found us when MotherHerisme was befriended by another American Lady who also had 3 children, the same ages as we were.  We borrowed their extra swimming suits and were off on our fancy hotel pool adventures.

I was super excited because the swimming suit I borrowed was pink.  All pink.  I was a super pink girl and this completely fit in my super pink world.  BrotherHerisme and I were unstoppable in our swimming goals!  We held our breath the length of the pool.  We jumped in and sat on the bottom for tea parties.  We raced back and forth.  We splashed and squealed.  Happy hooligans at the poolagains.

 

One fun pool afternoon with BrotherHerisme, there was another person there.  Usually we had the place to ourselves.  I suppose fancy hotel guests are not into pools, I don’t know.  It was a man who greeted us in perfect English and played with us.  Having come from insulated MidWestern Suburbia, it never occurred to BrotherHerisme or myself that we shouldn’t trust a polite adult.  There was no “stranger danger” curriculum back in the day.  We readily included him in our play.  After this, he became a regular at the pool when we were there.  He even started bringing us treats to the pool: candy, French fries, milkshakes, cookies etc.  We were having a grand old time at the pool.  ParentsHerisme were completely unaware of our shenanigans, other than knowing we were safely together, safely in the hotel, safely in the pool area.

…(to be continued)…

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

The photo of the artwork, Aztec Josephine Baker by Alexander Calder, was taken by me at the NGA-DC in the East Building, Tower 2 Calder room, just before exiting to see the giant blue rooster.

This is not a secret code to challenge your brain.