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 deposed 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.

Breakxit

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The exit from the break – Breakxit.

Well, it was a break.  I should count us grateful for that at least.  So, what was it this time?  A month?  Maybe less, as I did receive a bill from my attorney during that time.  YES, I continue to pay for current services, not catching up from past legal fees.

 

Current attorney services include the bi-weekly review of the weekly updates that I continue to provide to MrexH (week #122).  Occasionally her reviews include some contact with the court-ordered Parenting Coordinator.  While my attorney always records her time spent on my (closed but precarious) case, in almost every invoice, she marks up to half of that time as “NO CHARGE.”  She has an amazing amount of quiet compassion.  It was truly a life-saving blessing that I made it into her office in April 2014.

 

I was sitting in the secret parking lot of our local domestic violence shelter, shaking uncontrollably, completely at a loss for what my next step should be.  SonHerisme was safely in another location unknown to MrexH, and I phoned a friend who had previously worked at the shelter.  I needed to know where to go next, what to do, who was safe to speak to etc.  This friend patiently listened to me for a brief moment, then interrupted to instruct me to get out a piece of paper and pen.  She gave me the name of an attorney and her phone number.  She told me to hang up with her and before I did anything else or drove anywhere, to immediately phone this attorney and make an appointment.  Thankfully, I did.  Because this friend is typically an uber empathetic compassionate listener, I think that her abrupt interruption of my massive anxiety dump, shocked me into action and I made the call.

 

I am forever grateful to her.

 

I am forever grateful to all of my friends and bystanders who offered a listening ear, patience, and support as they were able to do so.

 

I am forever grateful to my attorney.  If I could pay her twice the amount I have, I would.  She deserves it and so much more.

 

I am forever grateful to our local Sheriff’s Department Victims Services Coordinator.

 

I am forever grateful to our court-ordered Parenting Coordinator.

 

I am forever grateful to Master, now Judge, S.

 

I am forever grateful to all of those people who work to support and guide victims of domestic violence.

 

This week, I received a letter MrexH sent to SonHerisme through the court-ordered Parenting Coordinator. This was a months ago discussed plan of action come to fruition.

 

SonHerisme and MrexH have not had contact since 2014.

 

Ironically at the beginning of all of our legal entanglements, letter writing was what I suggested.  The idea was dismissed as ridiculous and I was labled “overprotective and full of misplaced anxiety.” Yet here we are four years later…

 

MrexH’s letter is borderline illegible due to his illnesses.  The words seem appropriate enough to share with SonHerisme.  And I will do so, with the guidance and support of multiple therapists for both of us.

 

And so the spiral begins again.

 

The guilt over MrexH being so ill, the consequences of his illnesses that I did not extricate from earlier, and the part I played in bringing that into SonHerisme’s life.

 

Assuming the role of Destroyer of Fun, Destroyer of Sense of Security to SonHerisme.

 

Numbing, falling into the overall guilt hell-hole, followed by the trenches of depression, climbing up with resignation to the reality, slipping into guilt hell-hole a few more times until making it out for a while, and onward.

 

It is exhausting.

I am exhausted.

 

The break was an illusion, I realize that.  I feel SO much guilt and pain over any pain MrexH may be feeling, but recognize that I cannot afford to compromise our health/safety/lives over that, what must therefore be, misplaced guilt.

 

And so, I eat a small bowl of peppery vege-broth rice.

I take a moment to look at the Met Gala costumes and wonder about the details of construction, the feel of the fabrics and embellishments, the artistic minds of those creators and wearers.

I sit or walk outside for a few minutes and listen to things growing and being alive.

I take SonHerisme to and from school, to and from activities, to and from friends, to and from appointments.

I take my mother to and from appointments, change her bandages, help her with daily tasks.

I cook breakfast, lunch, dinner.

I clean the house (poorly), I launder the things needing laundered, I pay the bills needing payed.

I prepare food for my mother’s two little dogs and feed them twice a day, take them to and from appointments, give them outdoor time etc.

 

I continue to do all of the things that need doing.

 

I breathe.  I move.  I exist.

 

I try to keep going and I call it life.

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

psst…  I’m outside trying to let the magic replace the guilt.  I hope it works!