Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

Tall and Small Tales

(originally published on Medium at @hisern)

Please do this one thing for me

Please tell me you see me. Please notice my breaths and efforts. Currently I feel invisible and alone. We all do. How can you see me, you ask? What exactly should you notice? Anything, as long as it’s specific. 1. Praise me for keeping the kids alive another day. One begged me to drink Windex and the other one asked to jump off the deck. I held strong. 2. Tell me

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5 Ways I am Finding Hope after Ruth Bader Ginsburg Died

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, it did. Ruth Bader Ginsberg died. We lost a feminist, civil rights leader and icon of badass perseverance. And gained a glaring open seat on the Supreme Court. My hope for a better tomorrow vanished. I was sliding faster down a depressing slide into the pits of despair. I explained my feeling of loss over a salmon dinner I made for

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Releasing Unforgivable Hurts

the pain of unforgivable hurts and how we release them

How the 2020-End of Days is Slowly Killing This Working Mother

It was the end of days. Pantone Orange 9-2020. Images of the orange sky in California went viral. Looking at the sun confused my daughter. She thought the orb in the sky was a bleeding moon. She wanted to give it a band-aid. I didn’t know if the earth could be healed. Then Oregon caught fire and I knew we were closer to the apocalypse than ever before. I’ve been

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Thesaurus vs. PowerPoint. Choosing between writing and a corporate career. Don’t make me….

I moved to San Francisco in 2004 to be a writer. Within two months of trying to pay rent, I became a management consultant. It was known as the great Heidi sell out. To counterbalance corporate Heidi, Writer Heidi wrote short stories and blogged 16 years later I am still trying to negotiate my passion for the written word with my desire to advance a corporate career with a climbing

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Am I a Masochist Mama?

“Maybe I’m just a masochist,” I sighed. “Isn’t this mama masochism a front?” my friend asked. She leaned her head into her screen and whispered in a low tone, “Don’t you secretly miss it? You know….your old life? Where you didn’t have to be anything for anyone?” “No. Yes. Sometimes.” I whispered back through the Zoom screen. I had been there and done that….but had I done it quite enough?

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Metamorphosis to Suburban Mom from Second Tier Socialite

Some people might scoff that I was really a socialite. I mean, was I really photographed at the San Francisco Opera opening night along with Gavin Newsom? Um no. But I did weave in and out of parties at the top of the Fairmont’s penthouse and across white painted mansions in Sea Cliff, rubbing my mediocre elbows against ones belonging to tech founders, media savants, and musicians. If I rubbed against them hard

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Is this City Destroying our Community?

“That’s it. I’m moving to Nicaragua. With all the tech douchebags in San Francisco, there’s no community anymore,” said my friend Robert. He plopped himself down into an armchair, sighing loudly to cushion the weight of his despair. Robert had enough IPO cash to retire making others consider him a tech douchebag. Yet, rich or not, his frustration was real. Robert hailed from a close knit community in Iowa and

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How Being Less Productive Made Me More Productive

Everyone told me that once I had a baby, my brain would turn into jello pudding and I’d be as productive as a sloth on mushrooms. “Don’t try to get anything done,” they urged me. “Because you’ll fail.” I was determined to prove them wrong. The new me was going to multitask better than Martha Stewart on amphetamines. The result? I put socks in the fridge and plastic bags in

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Three Signs You’re Too Lazy For Love

During my years of singledom I blamed San Francisco’ urbanity, technology, and Peter Pan inhabitants for my interminable alone state. Then it dawned on me…perhaps the the dating problem wasn’t external…perhaps the problem was ME. Lazy, egotistical, impetuous me. If the city was full of Peter Pans, then I was Captain Hook, out to sea with drunken pirates. I asked them to walk the plank anytime things got too tough.

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How to Give ‘Real Time Feedback’ Without Being a Jerk

“Oh, do I have some feedback for YOU,” Donna said. Donna had just been promoted to manager at a beverage firm and felt it was time to wield her managerial power. She was ready to tell her direct report, Jon, how he was messing up in ‘real time’. Jon, you see, had accidentally copied the wrong people on an email chain and also misspelled the word “extemporaneous”. Donna couldn’t wait

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Unplanned pregnancies to poor performance reviews…what we reveal at work

To tell or not to tell….. 3 days before I was slated to sign my new job offer letter I had a positive pregnancy test. Would revealing this early be a wise or just weird? After all, this wasn’t exactly an anticipated pregnancy in a stable marriage (or um, any marriage). And my new job offer wasn’t with a large corporation with pillows of maternity leave, but with a nimble

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‘Knocked Up’?! How I embraced a non-linear life…

“I’m hoping this is a false alarm.” I texted the positive test results to my cousin. “Holy Shit!” was her immediate response. But it wasn’t a false alarm. I was pregnant. I was pregnant, not married, in an uncertain relationship, and just started a demanding new job that regularly took me out of my comfort zone. Now, my whole life had catapulted out of my comfort zone. It’s no coincidence

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Two Words to Increase Your Happiness

My life resembles a Jerry Springer show. In the past few months there have been love triangles, confusing betrayals, and severe illness. I’m not sure how to make sense of it all. Yet, as tantalizing as the details may seem, what happened to me is actually irrelevant. All that matters is how I choose to dealwith what happened. I wake up this morning and say a brief ode to my

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How Writing Weekly on Medium Changed My Life

One year ago I gave myself a challenge to post one blog post each week on Medium. Why? I wanted to see if this writing hobby of mine had any merit. Nothing better than a self imposed rule with the hashtag #humpdayheidi. With friend and family encouragement, I published a new piece every Wednesday. My weekends, previously spent having far flung adventures with a glass of whisky, were now devoted

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Why You Should Give Your Lover an Onion

While Shelly was single she was always jealous of the coupled-ups that posted their romantic evenings on Instagram every February 14th. Love, the ‘head-over-heels, roll-down-the-hill kinda love’, was all she wanted out of life. Every night before she went to bed she fantasized of the perfect Valentine’s Day when she would finally have a boyfriend to be ‘head-over-heels’ with. Perhaps there would be an intimate dinner at a five star

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Women Need to Date Carpenters Like Men Date Yoga Instructors

Every woman I know in San Francisco says the same thing. “He has to be this much taller and make this much more money. I mean, I’m tall and successful, so he should be MORE tall and successful. I’m WORTH IT, right?” Worth what? Someone ‘better’ than you? Men never say things like that. They don’t want “more” and in many cases they prefer “less.” (less success = less complications…)

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Why You Can’t Find the One: Part 2

Nine months ago I wrote a post that went more viral than a Trump Tweet. It was covered by four publications and seen by over a million readers, all interested in understanding one thing — “Why You Can’t Find the One.” Since then I’ve received hundreds of letters, messages and tweets from people begging for help with searches for the “One.” Young, old, married, single, straight, gay, male, female, Christian, Muslim, Jewish,

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How a Powder Day Threatened my Friendship

It was a powder day in Tahoe. For ski aficionados a dusting of fresh powder means you drop the rest of your life to get on the mountain. That day we had more than dust. It was four feet of white smoke. I left my Truckee house without making coffee, greedy for frosty adrenaline. This girl didn’t need caffeine. If I were alone I would have skied all day, not

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Do We Do it For Love or Money?

I always wondered if the size of a woman’s diamond ring was inversely proportional to her marital happiness. Perhaps I’m jealous. Or perhaps I’ve finally decided a simple left hand leads to greater life satisfaction. But I wasn’t always this way… Manhattan 2004 A group of handsome men walked into the crowded bar, their eyes scouring young ladies’ necklines along with the scotch brands on the top shelf. I eagerly preened

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