Fortress of Solitude

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There has always been an urge in me to find my fortress of solitude wherever I have landed.

 

As a child, it was on top of a rock down a gully towards the creek in our backyard.  The trees surrounding the rock permitted just enough space for a stream of sunlight to break through and spotlight directly on the rock.  I believed that when I sat on the rock I was invisible to everything except for G-d.  It was my direct contact with G-d and protection from the world.  I would sit there for hours, daydreaming, reading, drawing, playing barbies etc.  Occasionally I fell asleep there until the sunlight stretched itself out of range and I could hear my mother calling me back to the house.

 

When we moved to Germany, my bedroom balcony became my fortress.  It was a shared balcony with my sister’s room.  She never came outside to use the balcony, so I claimed it as my own and remained unchallenged for the duration.  The balcony looked out onto our small sloped garden and a wild hill.  At the top of the hill was a nursing home with balconies for residents.  Sometimes one of these older people would wave if I looked their way.  It always seemed to me that they were angels looking down to see what was happening in the world. They appeared other-worldly and therefore did not feel like an interruption to my solitude, but rather an integral part of it like the sky or a ceiling of protection.

 

Returning to the USA, we moved back into the house we left.  I had a room to myself by then because my sister left for college.  The rock I left behind was now covered with overgrown woodland plants.  The trees were much larger and unable to allow space for the sunlight to pass through onto the same spot as before.  My fortress relocated to the now massively overgrown willow tree at the top of the gully’s entrance.  I kissed a boyfriend there once and felt sad that I had breached my fortress’s solitude.  Of course, I enjoyed the activity.  What I did not enjoy was having opened the space to someone who clearly did not have the same reverence.

 

Moving on to college, I lost my ability to establish a space for myself.  Everything was geared towards this forced temporary instantly intimate community at all times in all places and all spaces.  It was too much for me and I believe was a pivotal point in my health, due in part to the lack of solitude.

 

I developed my own portable fortresses.  Headphones, disc player, books, weight, etc  to now phone, earbuds, laptop, books, foldable sport chair with cover!  Anything to help me disappear.

 

Events in my childhood, and adulthood propelled me to have this drive.  I’m sure that a few of you can guess those kinds of events: sensory sensitivities, molestation, rape, emotional abuse, blah blah blah, hotel stalker tried to purchase me as a bride when I was 12 (the stories of so many of us).

 

Exploring how to carve out healthy spaces for myself is another area that matches with my boundary works.

 

My foldable chair with lid is blue – like the frozen tundra of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.  I like it and register your surprise at that, if you know me and know that I detest blue furniture for myself.  But this isn’t real furniture.  Plus, FORTRESS of SOLITUDE.  Well, it’s more of a safety blanket, really.  So, I should call it “Linus’s Friend” instead. Nope, that does not have the same impact, even though I love Linus.  Superman for the win!

 

When you see me with my chair at the pool, park, games, concerts, etc it does not mean that I do not want to engage with you.  I like you (except Green Lantern)! It gives me a defined space to be, that’s all.  I am a work in progress using the tools I have available to me and I like having something in common with a superhero, even if he is the enemy of Mr. Batman.

 

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

Preposterous Misogynist

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I just cannot EVEN STEPHEN with this election cycle.

 

We’re all not even stephening (or stevening – whatevs, peeps)

 

Ugh

 

As heated accusations from an older male person were recently hurled at me about how women need to “grow up” and “man up” and “get over yourself” and my “need for perfection” being the “real problem,” regarding the outrage at Mr. Trump’s leaked banter with Mr. Bush (of NBC), I ultimately fell into painful silence and emotionally twisted myself into the deepest pit of my soul.

Not that I did not attempt to make my point clear, I did.

I have learned over years of working with children, that once you meet screaming out-of-control anger with the like, you have lost any chance at healing, or the ability to mutually empathize and work through emotions together, in that moment.

I apply that lesson as needed, with adults too.  Not always, I am not perfect (obvs).

However, in this situation, I just stopped responding and waited for the directed screaming to end.

 

Painful to experience.  I was in complete shock, disbelief and in tears (not in front of him).

 

This is someone who knows my story.

This is someone who knows that I have been sexually assaulted,

both as a child and as an adult (different men).

 

But, even without my personal history, I am flabbergasted and rendered speechless when barraged with this defense of Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush’s banter.

 

HOW is it okay to dehumanize half of the population of this earth?

For entertainment?

 

Power and Control.

 

It is not funny. 

It is not just “talk.” 

It is not okay. 

 

Beyond Mr. Bush being on company time, with company equipment (and with company responsibility), behaving in this egregious manner, it is precisely the attitude that this behavior is “just men being men,” which promotes misogynistic rape culture.

 

If you are able to reduce another human being to an object

meant for your sadistic pleasure,

or some other dehumanizing activity,

you are enabling rape culture.

 

Power and Control.

 

I’m not suggesting that that there aren’t any humans who do not want to be grabbed and kissed or grabbed on their body and forced into physical interaction, but then I am speaking about those situations which are absolutely consensual between adults.

The CONSENT and ADULT bits being the very most important parts of that equation.  Without consent and being adults, the situation has nothing to do with pleasure and has everything to do with power and control.

Power and control do bring pleasure for people, but when it is not done in a consensual manner, there is NO pleasure, only dehumanizing dominance (which might get someone off, but it is NOT pleasure) (also, sorry for being crass).

Pleasure is healthy,

dehumanizing people to feel a sensation is NOT healthy.

Suggesting people be dehumanized is NOT healthy.

 

I also do not buy into the, “well, at least he is being honest about it and apologizing.”

 

No Sir.

No Ma’am.

An apology made years and years after the incident, only because of public relations pressure, and couched inside of ANY defense to justify those words, is not an apology.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to come and spend all of your working time at our local Domestic Violence Shelter, in our out-of-the-spotlight town, for 3 months, and then talk about your words and actions and their meaning and influence in our world in an honest way.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to sit with our local group of victims of Domestic Violence, for as long as they need you to, so that you hear their stories until they are ingrained in your souls with such power that they radiate out of you into every thought, word, decision you make in every aspect of your life for the remainder of your days on this earth.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to donate half of your yearly earnings to our local Domestic Violence Shelter so that women and their children can be sufficiently represented in our courts in their defenses against men on whom you have perpetuated the myth that these women and children are possessions for your sadistic pleasure.

 

Regardless of your ability to recognize it,

your words and actions have a direct effect

on the children these women are trying to raise and educate

and keep safe from men like you.

 

Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush, I invite you to pray with me for my son, and all of the children like him.

Pray that he has guidance, support and love to be able to recognize that he has a responsibility to himself and to all other humans, to be treated with respect, kindness, consideration, and empathy.

Pray that he is able to provide for his livelihood in a way that reflects his talents, values, and commitment to himself.

Pray that no human decides that he is not human enough for consideration.

Pray that he may be kept safe from those unable to not de-humanize others, and if he is not safe from them, that he can protect himself from them.

Pray that, if he chooses to do so, he brings children into this world and is able to provide the same prayers.

Pray that he has ZERO influence from people like you on his ability to make decisions for himself.

Pray that you become better humans who are able to earnestly and truthfully pray and respectively live your lives in this manner, for him and all of our children.

 

I will walk with you though these prayers and actions.

I will extend my hand to you through these prayers and actions.

I am willing to take this hard path with you, for our children, because I am not afraid to shine the light on this wrong and turn it towards the path of being educated and enlightened (not by me, as I am on the learning path too).

 

Yes, this is a “shame on you,” post because I totally feel it.

On behalf of your mothers, your grandmothers, your aunties, your great-aunties, your sisters, your daughters, and our sweet vulnerable sons, I proclaim it loudly

SHAME ON YOU

 And

Shame on us for watching Mr. Bush’s shows – this is undoubtedly not his only incident of extremely egregious behavior at work, which should have caused termination.

 

Shame on us for allowing our election cycle to result in trying to make any kind of right out of two massive wrongs.

 

Shame on me for not taking a stand sooner.

 

Love, Ms. Herisme xo

ps the older male person did apologize and asked to not discuss the matter further

pps I will continue to educate myself so that I may be an informed voter

That’s what she said…

tea

http://metro.co.uk/video/embed/1255221/5466392

(these are not my words – Another Flaming Elephant, from last week’s news)

“Someone call me when the social media outrage of the week (read: rape this week) is over. I cannot handle this weekly outrage, keyboard warriors, meme posting nonsense.

Our system, in particular when it comes to rape, is very very difficult to manage. A woman goes to a police station with enough courage to finally report a rape and the first words she hears is “do you think he will be able to obtain an attorney?” regardless of the amount of evidence, then told it is likely she will go on trial more than the perpetrator, if it even gets that far. Does she want to pursue this? Is she sure? No. She’s not sure. She wasn’t sure when walked in, broken, scared, and vulnerable.

So let’s pretend now that it makes it past the initial cop’s report, to a detective (who takes another report), and then to a DA.

Does the DA see a lot of work involved to get a conviction?

Is it an election year? This isn’t Law & Order SVU, friends. This is someone who has a job. It’s their job to keep the numbers up.

Does this fit into their box?

How much time is it going to take?

Are they *really* a public threat,

or only a threat to the one person, the victim, and therefore not worth the time?

Now they’ve pressed charges. Ok. Now comes the negotiations. The families are pressured into plea agreements. The prosecutors often explain to the families that it’s better this way for all involved. It’s easier this way. A slap on the wrist is better than nothing, right? Besides, a trial is long and emotional.

Do you really want to have to keep reliving your nightmare over and over for months, maybe up to years? Better this way.

And then, if it even GETS to trial, the sentences are reduced. The poor guy has already sat in jail for quite some time. I think he’s learned his lesson. The little lady didn’t cry enough, or was in some way promiscuous, asking for it…

or even better, by the time of the trial the dude has now gone through treatment for his drugs/alcohol/anger issues/etc and won’t do it again. Promise.

No need to tarnish his reputation and ruin his life for one little mistake.

Guys, if you think this case is unique, you are kidding yourself. Each one of you knows someone who has been the person slapped on the wrist, or you know the victim who didn’t find justice in the justice system. Don’t be naive.

Wake me up when you’re ready to do something about it. Or go post another meme. I hear they do wonders.”

From an anonymous Friend of Ms Herisme xo

ps.  What can you do today?  Go here – go everywhere and keep yourself informed.