She wanted the worm to live. She=Me. I wanted the worm to live. The poor thick long brownish pinkish squirmy thing was accidentally caught up in the edge of one of the metal fence pieces I was sending to recycling. The young man helping me haul it all was holding the fence piece as I said, “Save the worm! I want the worm to live!” Followed by appropriate wide-eyed-that-lady-be-krazee look from him. I pointed to the worm and explained that I couldn’t get the worm out myself because I was afraid that the regular salt and roughness from my hands would hurt the worm more. The helper guy had on gloves so could he please save the worm. His partner called over the truck to find out what was happening. Helper guy yelled back, “she wants the worm to live!” I did want the worm to live! I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me because then I had tears over this beautifully reddish brown thick earthworm being precariously caught between the edges of metal fencing. I believe that I scared the guys with my saddnesses. Helper guy then very delicately pulled the metal apart, gathered the worm into his gloved hands, and gently placed the worm back onto the cool damp forest floor so it could live out its wormy days until a bird comes along, or a motivated fisherman, and then it’s bye-bye-wormy (have you heard about Hugo and Kim?!!!?) Also, phoned for more help from those helper guys and they haven’t returned my inquiry. hmmmm
My limited brain has decided that this worm is a Lumbricus friendi earthworm who has no common name (per scientific journal linked through the DNR). A common earthworm with no common name. Friendi no name. Sweet little worm friend. If it is so common, why no common name? Why are some words so weird when you repeat them multiple times in a row? Try it. Common, common, common, common common. Weirdo wordo righto? Fair warning, do NOT do this exercise in the middle of the night to your reflection in your bathroom mirror, or you might summon reflection Common and that will be extremely awkward because of reasons dating back to some 1990’s sleepover voo-doo juju.
Once in the long ago days when I did work stuff outside of my home, I saw Common speak on a panel with Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC. It was a very small, maybe 200 people, study release on screens/multimedia content impacts on different developmental stages of children. I KNOW – Why the heck was I there? Luck of the draw I suppose. I was sent by my work and trained into the city on the silent car. Everything about that day was amazing because I was also able to sneak in a visit to the USPS Postal Museum (woot woot nerd alert!). Pre-baby days of wearing the clothes with important shoes and the doing of the things. It was the day I completely flipped in my regard for Hillary Clinton. A dear bestie sweetness friend had worked with Mrs. Clinton earlier that year at an event in Chicago and had a similar experience. Both of us were flummoxed at Mrs. Clinton’s poise, presence and in-person charisma versus the translation of that onto a wider audience – which polarized and distanced people. She was/is an uncommon earnest articulate soul. Common was pretty awesome too – extremely articulate and intelligent(read: handsome and smooth). But the impact of Hillary Clinton on me that day was profound in how I saw all public figures moving forward.
These current transition times for me, for all of us I am guessing, are so filled with the somethings which have no common names. I feel in a place like my perceptions of Hillary. My deep soul self sees the things which are impactful, meaningful, understandable and all of the things which just make sense until they reach into the outer world where the contrast is so cacophonous, nothing seems to translate well and ends up making no sense. There is no touchstone or prescriptive healthy path. Other than coming from a place of love and returning to that as much as possible as I can when I can.
There is no way that we do not know: *murdering people and bombing is not the answer to any disagreement *we have no human rights or moral high ground as a nation to lord over others *reproductive bodies, like all non-reproductive bodies, have a right to proper health care *people are being raped in our communities *people are going unhoused and without food in our communities *we have enough global resources for everyone to have healthy water, food, shelter, health care, education - without denying anyone resources *placing thousands of kids into an inadequate building has NOTHING to do with education *wearing a good mask indoors or in large crowds, helps prevent the spread of airborne viruses which is helpful to everyone's health *we do not take care of ourselves *worms are important
Here in my little hamlet, recently unexpectedly thrust into a world of dedicated High School Marching Band parents, I found myself sitting in this parental group at a football game on a portable stadium seat – which has now earned it’s own spot in my trunk organizer, natch. Most of these parents are new to each other. The high school hasn’t had a home game on their field for 4 years due to field conditions and COVID. In our getting to know each other moments over the past few weeks, one common thread has been recognized between 5 out of 7 of us. Domestic violence and divorce. One woman is currently in the thick of walking the path through dv divorce. It is… normal. It is common. We are the mommies showing up, looking the parts, doing the things of, “yay, teams!” We are the everywheres – which is shocking and not so shocking. Slapped, punched, kicked, raped, threatened with murder of ourselves/our children/our spouse as revenge, financially abused, emotionally abused – and also pulling the wagon buggy with extra water/supplies/emergency snacks for the kids and staff along with the stadium bleacher mats we roll out for the kids to sit on. I will be extra clear about how I see this – domestic violence is not an anomaly. It is very common with what we pretend is uncommon by using an uncommon name. Who hasn’t been involved in a domestic violence or abusive situation? I do not think this belittles the significance or trauma of it by calling it out as a societal norm in our culture. It is very gaslighty pretending it isn’t when we know it is – we KNOW it.
What is up with us pretending like we give a flipping flapdoodle about women in Iran being murdered by their country’s religious police because women are being oppressed – and THEN shaming/creating laws to control humans who choose to wear a hijab, not use their bodies for birthing children, want to extricate themselves and their children from abusive situations, or present in a non/other gendered manner?
Also in my tiny community, a 14-year-old male teen/child posted multiple videos to socials while smoking various things, threatening to commit targeted racist violence, and TAGGED some of the people he would initially target, including the school principal’s daughter. One parent response I heard was, “well that kid has just ruined his life and is banned from any school.” What is happening? At 14? Consequences, for sure. Community service, mental health programs, specialized schooling environment, parental support … I mean – how is more isolation and shame going to help anyone in this situation? Consequences and preparedness actions. Violence and especially targeted racist violence cannot be tolerated. That kid is going to grow and be alive for another 80 years. All of it is heartbreaking and I hope for all of our sakes that his consequences are more than being banned from attending public high school, and include some plan for optimizing his ability to atone for his actions as well as prepare him for the next 80 or so years on how to conduct himself as a positive contributing member of society with healthy regard for humanity. If we keep pretending things like this are uncommon, or the feelings/actions leading up to situations like this, are uncommon, then we will continue with societal structures gaslighting ourselves that it is okay to write off a 14-year-old as othered for their next 80 years, without consequences which might serve them and in turn our community.
What am I doing? I do not know. Trying to help facilitate SonHerisme’s transition into a young adult who can transition into a helpful, satisfied, connected, participating member of society who recognizes the humane value of all humans regardless of gender/race/lgtbq-ness etc. I am doing the things of managing two elderly and ill parents and all of the works around those situations. I am trying to figure out how to position myself for my olden times. I have lost about 14 inches of hair (on purpose). I kept knotting the hair onto itself on top of my head like a deranged witch. Over it. Although I continue with the deranged bit by nature. I send money and deliver food locally as I can. I am not enjoying watching my parents’ declines – for different reasons. FatherHerisme is so far away and not in an ideal facility (people are generally kind, but… dudes, have you been in a long term care facility?!!?). MotherHerisme has mentally vanished into a noise-cancelling headphoned world of Asian soap operas, in the middle of my living room. And I… I continue to be juggling all of the things while lost. Lost isn’t quite right – I continue to be something which is an uncommon name, yet entirely common.
Common as in normal. When does something become so common that is it normal? Is there a normal? Should we accept that common as normal? G A H We seem to have with many things. Domestic violence is very common. Is it normal? And if we accept that it is common or normal, would that change how we handle those supremely dangerous and damaging situations? Would it save time, energy, and emotions currently being spent on “OMG can you EVEN” in order to move into actually supporting health? idk peoples
I am thinking that the entire idea of “normal” might be the problem. Is it normal to be molested or emotionally abused as a child in this country? Yes. Is it normal to have bright shiny stretch marks after having a baby or growing quickly? Yes. But we pretend that neither of those things (and many others) are common or normal by shaming, blaming, hiding hush hushing. Because our normal trope is the happy organically fed lovely mannered child dancing in the sunshiney manicured perfectly outfitted public park with beautiful healthy mom, dad, granny, grandad, auntie, uncle etc. Also, no one has stretch marks. If they do, they are lotioned potioned shamed until they are faded or covered up. It is supremely uncomfortable to accept things as they are. Acceptance goes against our very bootstrappynesses. Which we need some of, of course, to challenge ourselves and each other in healthy ways – but have naturally bastardized into the gaslighting denial of shame and blame.
Geezus – debbie downer much? SHAME shame shame shame shame.
Back to the uncommon name. I do not know if that worm moved on to doing the wormy things of a worm life. I do not know how we would be experiencing this country/world with Hillary as president. I do not know if I am a help or hindrance to SonHerisme’s development. I do not know if I am doing the right things for ParentsHerisme. I do not know if, or how to tell if, I am doing the right things for myself. I have turned some corner, however, where most of the time I just accept how the thing is. If I am doing something right by some standard, then okay, I am. If I am doing something wrong by another standard, then I am. If that makes me a terrible bitch person, then I am. If it makes me seem like an awesome person, then, okay too. What I tend to know most of the time is that whatever centers on, and ultimately comes from, a place of love with healthy boundaries is what I attempt to keep focused on. Even in moments of heavy emotions.
I do know that I love the idea of worms making wormy ways through my garden. I love the idea of reality truths being recognized. I am honored and love being SonHerisme’s guide to launching his own life. I am honored to be tasked with helping my parents, whom I love. I love very dark coffee in my old timey pewter colored Starbucks travel mug with black “leather” attached koozie-ish grasp belt. That mug has seen some things people – many many things, and moves, and vehicles, and airplanes, and places, and whatnots…
Current reads: The First Astronomers, Lady Justice, Caste, and A Thousand Ships
Current podcasts: Films to be Buried With, The School of Greatness, Telling Everybody Everything, We Can Do Hard Things, Feel Better Live More, Poetry Plain and Simple
I listen to podcasts while working, walking or driving and waiting on SonHerisme. I have books stashed in different places to read – nightstand, cozy chair side table, in the car, and next to the hanging pod chair in the kitchen/mudroom. That’s how I do – how about you? Is this common?
I don’t have a grasp on anything anymore – if I ever did. *concentrates on love and sends some to you* Thank you for sticking with my ramblings. I hope that it brings you comfort in knowing that if you are feeling any of this, you are not alone. Or if you are not feeling any of this, then you can feel some relief in knowing there is someone out here a bit madder than you are so you’re probably okay.
Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo
ps do any of you remember the writing I was doing a zillion hawt minute years ago on normal? I wonder if I can find it all again. Was it Being Normal? Becoming Normal? Oh wait – Observing Normal? Adding this to my running task list
pps – for shits and giggles, I have no connection with them so this is just for common bougie fun! UnCommon Goods