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

 

The BLIP

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(including me)

Listen Here: 

Things that go awry, misbehaviors, quick tempers (what? me? NEVER *weirdo sugar sweet smile*), wild long hair snagged on bra clasps, mud stomped into carpets, puppy and giant boy prints on the glass door every.single.g-damned.day (breathe, breathe, breathe), my mother’s perpetually multiplying piles of mess, cleaning up dishes a zillion times each day, somehow miscalculating the entry to my mouth and ending up hot tea burn staining my comfy long shirt & thighs (pantsless of course bc blip reasons)…  these are a few of our blip-orite things.

Anything not meeting our standard of “liking it,” is summarily dismissed as being a “blip” thing during this COVID19 situation.  Like Happy’s blip beard.  You know, Iron Man’s bestie and number 2 work wife?  Yeah, we Marveled up all over the place these past months. Don’t judge me.  Blip you.  Blip off.

(no clean segue)

Part of my serpentine path keeps pulling me towards things I do not like about myself.  Much of which I wish I could blip away or blame on a blip instead of facing it and letting it go.  At the onset of our physical distancing here, another woman was brutally murdered by her husband. Thankfully her son was spared. She was not someone I knew well other than seeing her through the community of mommies and she lived nearby.

This hit me hard, as it did many of you, especially those of you, my sweet supportive irl friends, who knew this family personally. I am trying not to succumb to the bizarre seductive comfort of depression or addiction to suffering.  I hope that isn’t what this is.  I hope it’s recognition and processing.  I have no idea honestly.  It is next to impossible for me to distinguish between my imagination/disassociation and leaning in to move forward. And so I write…

Domestic Violence is terrifying.  Truly.  For many of us, we do not even know we are in a bad situation until it is too late.  We see ourselves as strong loving women (or men) who are resilient and up to the task of loving a man (or woman) who is troubled and merely needing proper support or care.  We are pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps to rise to the challenge of this work to help them, because we are unparalleled problem solvers and are convinced that we are motivated by our deep love for them.  Our identity and worthiness is completely tied into this narrative because we are smart/clever and we would know if we were in over our heads – right?  We typically do not know.  We cannot  begin to comprehend the danger we are in even when it is pointed out to us directly from a place of healthy love or plain solid facts.

I spent the first few weeks of COVID19 physical distancing with my throat so tight I could only force my voice out in whispers.  My sweet SonHerisme was left to ferally rewild for the most part as I could only handle the very bare basics of interaction and chores (thank you woods surrounding us for keeping him occupied, curious and safe).  There were many blip behaviors during this time.  I had to work my way back out of the muck the only way provided to me – through my child’s crisis and need for me.  He is a miracle.  I am on better footing today. #carryonsingleparentwarriors

Since the initial writing of “When you run my 5K,” I have wanted to speak it out loud.  I gifted myself a microphone in either 2017 or 2018 to do this (my memory is spotty about many things, including microphone purchases – see ptsd brain).  I finally opened the microphone this past week and recorded my story.  I was also prompted by Glennon Doyle’s call for sharing stories through her new book Untamed.  Full disclosure: I have not finished her book.  While I am able to read nonfiction (NOT fiction, for reasons), her words are so raw and powerful regarding her journey, I can only digest her stories in small increments.  She, like some of you, is a very live-out-loud person. My sensitive brain only allows that in small doses (live-out-louders who know me irl, you know who you are and you know that I love you).  I am not a g-damned cheetah (see Untamed).  I am something else wild, but not that. Also, my heart broke for that cheetah, the cheetah’s they brought to the outdoor symphony concert by the river one year, and all caged/performance animals not in their natural habitat.

Note:  please do not ask me to go to the zoo with you or to take your sweet small people to the zoo.  I will do it because your kid(s) is (are) adorable, you asked me to (you too have an adorable face), and I do not want sad faces on any babies. But, I will be miserable and will subsequently physically and mentally grieve for those animals for days.  I blame this partly on my anthropomorphic projection tendencies combined with brain sensitivity and vivid imagination plus developing boundaries.  Fair warning: paybacks will manifest in the form of limitless ice cream plus your sweet small person’s choice of tacky souvenir. You’re welcome.  Yes, I have taken my child to the zoo because he too is super adorable and asks to go.  Yes, it is ALWAYS painful.  Also, yes, he has a future therapy fund.  Again, you’re welcome.

Now comes the prompt (if you are so inclined) for you to revisit, or visit, my initial post for this blog through this link.  Please be patient with my voice.  My throat tightened up the more I read.  It continues to be difficult for me to confront that reality.  Necessary to face the truth of course, but nonetheless difficult.

I missed so much during this heightened terrifying time, it feels like I blipped to another universe outside of general living while surrounding life kept going.  I have finally caught up on Marvel movies, yet I have missed so many other important things and I am sorry if you are a part of what I missed.  I am trying to reconnect personally and with general life.

There was another domestic violence murder on the other side of town about a week after physical distancing began.  A smattering of other local domestic violence incidents have also been steadily reported.  A dear friend of mine is gearing up for a nasty court battle, once the courts are reopened, due to domestic violence with child protective services involved.  There are many, too many, more that we will not hear about until it is too late or at all while the violence continues.  Domestic violence is rarely a blip.  It usually comes in waves and cycles through repeatedly until the victims are able to accept and receive intense help and support, or death.

If you are called to do so, please consider donating your time to your local domestic violence shelter.  They usually have a list of needed donation items or finances for legal services etc.

Please check on your neighbors.

Please keep yourself safe and healthy – you are needed here.

As always, thank you for giving a piece of your time to my musings. You are beyond bliptastic 🙂

Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo

 

The Tree Outside my Window

Listen Instead: 

I do not know who planted that tree just outside my window.

It is not a native tree, so some human person had to specifically decide to plant that particular tree in that particular place.  Bred in captivity and forced into the rocky hillside soil of my front yard.  Sweet tree with a sadness she cannot ever quite place, I suppose.

I have been told that this tree species is not hardy, yet here she remains standing after the 13 ½ years I have been in this house looking outside of this window, while plenty of other trees have not withstood the trials of those same years.  Ice, snow, wind, tornadoes, hurricane winds, little girls, little boys, bears, deer etc.  She is still trying to be herself and continues to grow.

There have been two occasions when I thought she was lost to us.  After hurricane winds came through one year, she lost a few branches, one of which was an offshoot twin trunk at her base.  When neighbors came to help with yard clean up (many other trees were completely felled and needed chainsaws for removal), they offered to remove her as well.

She was in bad shape, they said.  She was going to rot from the inside out and fall over anyway, they said.  She was not even a native tree and was misplaced in the yard, they said.

Without hesitation I declined their offer feeling sure that she would be okay and should be given the chance to prove them wrong.  Or maybe it was my own vanity at wanting to prove their chainsaw wielding asses wrong. Some might say I occasionally present with unpredictable stubbornness – allegedly.

I liked her and I did not appreciate the way they were so cavalier about cutting her down when she obviously still had life left in her.  If she rotted and fell, then so be it, but I wanted her to have a chance.

Fast forward a few years later, add a significantly terrible ice storm followed by hurricane force winds, and my lady tree was truly devastated.  All of her thick sturdy long limbs below about 20 feet of her height, had been forcibly ripped from her trunk, leaving nasty splintered painful gashes all around her.  Other trees in my yard were completely felled by the storm and lost.

There was too much damage to rely on the generosity of neighbors this time, driveways were blocked, the public road was blocked.  Thankfully the county came and removed the giant 30 foot pines that fell onto the road (I am on an essential emergency route – phew).  Professionals had to come in and handle the other significant tree damage in my yard on my little hill in the woods. When I recovered from the heart attack inducing cost estimate, resigning myself to that expensive reality, I saw my damaged sorrowful non-native lady was included.

I agreed to all of the work the professionals proposed – including complete removal of my lady.  She had retained a smattering of her original beautiful old limbs at the tippiest top of her.  The rest of her looked like a slightly oddly bent-curved bare telephone pole.  After signing the contract, I went back inside the house to take one final look out of the window at my lady.  The top of her held so much promise – she really was reaching and stretching for her bit of sky and sunshine.  I lost my resolve and immediately went back outside to tell the contractors to please not remove her.  Please leave her there.  Just clean up her broken limbs and leave her bare trunk with the shaggy top.  I felt that there was some life remaining in her.

If she truly was not hardy, as they were telling me, then her top heavy trunk would fall in its own anyway and I could have her naturally felled remains cut to manageable pieces and pulled into the woods then.  But, not today when she still had some life.  For a few years she looked very odd with no lower branches plus a shock of green on top.  But this year, as I look out my window, I see so many swirling baby twiglet branches finally coming out of her trunk.  She is more than alive, she is resilient and thriving!

Even through this unusual mild winter, my old grand lady willow was unable to stay alive due to another wicked ice storm, yet this non native broken stripped bare tree is still standing and providing a home for birds, flowers for bees, and a bit of shade for the moss and worms.  I like her and I am glad that she is a lovely brilliant fighter.

Love, Ms Herisme xoxo

Entitledementia

NEW… Listen Here :

(ɛntaɪtʊldi:mɛnsiʌ) (en-tahyt-l-dih-men-shuh, -shee-uh)

noun

  1. Severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration, causing a person to lay title, right or claim to something or someone, purely due to their own willful ignorance, heightened sense of righteousness, bigotry, racism, misogyny or other inhumane approaches to life.

 

Origin of Entitledementia:

2018 when historically noted in a sweet blog

“Her entitledementia was evidenced by her 10am temper tantrum over autofill not placing the proper passwords into a newly re-passworded  20th shopping app.”

“Her entitledementia allowed her to seamlessly move from ‘I believe her’ to ‘It matters more to me to have this misogynistic rapey screaming judge enjoy lifetime salary and benefits meanwhile destroying women’s and children’s healthcare and well-being, because I’m afraid someone might take my non-existent guns away and force me to be responsible for myself being humane because liberals are super scary and babies making big deals out of nothing.  Drain the swamp! People on welfare should take drug tests’ ….”

Synonyms

Willfully ignorant to the point of insanity

Antonyms

Humane

Warning:  If you know anyone afflicted with entitledementia, please consult your therapist immediately for professional assistance regarding the establishment of strong boundaries. 

 

I’m exhausted

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.