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March, 2017
Archive

  • Donald Trump Self-Esteem

    I think the one thing we can all learn from Donald Trump, is how to maintain unwavering positive self-esteem, even in the face of total failure. His confidence is remarkable! He doesn’t care about the approval of others! If people aren’t into him, he just thinks it’s a lie constructed by the fake news made up of a bunch of dummies. Trump’s sassier then the sassy friend in a movie who knows how to sass it up!

    I don’t know about you guys, but I could use some of that Trump-esteem. My life is filled with rejection. I am constantly dealing with people telling me, “thanks, but no thanks.” It’s hard to keep going in the face of that. When you work in a creative field, you have to be somewhat, if not completely delusional. Even when people tell me that the films I make, or the things I write aren’t good enough, I have to tell myself “keep trying Toni… Not everyone is going to understand your style of genital humor.”

    But if I were in any other profession, say a surgeon, and hospitals kept rejecting me – I would probably stop. I would never be like, “they just don’t get my type of surgery.”

    If I were a lawyer and lost every case, chances are I would quit, rather then yell at the judge, “my law is post-modern, avant-garde, reductionist… and you have no taste because you’re provincial philistine!

    The other day I went for a walk, got pretty stoned, and thought to myself “wow, I am the hardest working unsuccessful person I know.” It would be one thing if I didn’t work that hard, then I would have an excuse. I could be like, “well Toni, you never really tried.” But I really try!! Then I started to think that I must just not be that amazing at anything, and my current life is the consequence of my being un-amazing. Then I got soooo hungry. But then, I got a new video idea!

    I think we all have to deal with disappointment and rejection – whether in love, work, school, or public approval. Yet even though we are a social species, we also can’t allow other’s to define our sense of self. In matters of the heart, we often take breakups so personally. “Oh dear, that person doesn’t love me, therefor I can’t love myself.” Well, maybe you were an asshole every so often and could have done more to clean up your dirty dishes. But you can learn from your mistakes and still think you are worthy of love. Rejection, although damaging for the ego, is also an opportunity to grow, improve, and better define what it is you actually want.

    So in these dark political times where the face of Donald Trump causes my mouth to water at the precipice of constant retching, and my vagina to dry up, ready to turn itself inside out – there is something positive I can learn from him. I can channel his unrelenting pride. And you can too, the next time an entire world thinks you’re a piece of shit.

    Looks like I need a dose of Trump-Esteem!!!

    March 30, 2017 • Current Events, emotions, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 1715

  • Waiting For Your Turn To Talk

    Sometimes I find myself in conversations wondering, “when are we going to get back to my favorite topic? Me.” I love talking about Toni. Talking about Toni is the most interesting thing I do. I can’t get enough of it. If you want to talk about me, I will never tire of it. If you’re interested in what Toni thinks about this or that, then I will pull up a chair. But you know what gets exhausting? Talking about you.

    As humans we are obsessed with ourselves. We find ourselves infinitely fascinating, and tend to favor our own opinions over others. Most of the time when we are relating to others, we are just waiting for our turn to talk.

    But guess what? NOBODY LIKES THAT!

    Even though we all want to compulsively talk about ourselves, our thoughts, our visions, and our complaints – it is seriously irritating when you notice other people being that way. You can feel the energy of them not listening. Their eyes are distracted, and its painfully obvious how they’re desperately trying to remember what it is they want to say. Their impatience is palpable. So you just trail off, knowing they will jump in to perform a 15-minute monologue. It is one of the most off-putting behaviors when someone talks at you endlessly, giving you the feeling that you substitute yourself with a cardboard cutout, and take off for an hour to go through Instagram filters.

    It doesn’t matter how interesting, compelling, or charismatic they are. It’s draining to have a conversation with someone that’s actually performing a one-way soliloquy. It leaves me feeling like an insignificant audience member drowned by the shadows, merely the facilitator for the proper reaction. Insert laugh here, tears there, and an “awwwwwww” at the end to wrap it up.

    Genuinely listening to others is a very attractive quality. Asking questions about their lives, remembering things they say, keeping their cast of characters fresh in your mind… this will endear you to people. If you can make someone feel heard, you will also make them feel seen, which in turn will make them feel important to you.

    So why is this so hard?

    There is an art to dialogue that is simply no longer taught or prioritized. Back in the times of ancient Greece, dialogue was the ultimate conveyer of knowledge. Socrates feared the influence of the written word because he believed that medium would destroy dialogue. He felt books are too easily misinterpreted because you can’t openly discuss your reactions with the author of the ideas you just plowed into your head. Socrates rejected writing because his worldview was predicated on the idea that best way into a genuine inquiry of philosophy was through live conversation.

    Yet how ironic is it that the only reason we know the dialogues of Socrates is because Plato wrote them down!

    Oral traditions were more exclusive with knowledge because you had to have heard the information from someone’s mouth. Where the written word can be massed produced and mass marketed. Yet does distributing information on a wide scale dilute it? On the one hand it’s fantastic anyone can have access to the vast library of human knowledge, but the criteria for who is talking has been democratized to the point where there are no longer any standards. You don’t need a PHD to create a website, you just need an IP address.

    If you think about the current manifestation of this, the Internet is so flush with information and words that you can prove anything you want. You can look up sites that say GMO’s are bad, and you can look up sites that tell you GMO’s are great. You can prove anything you want to yourself, because everyone’s goddamn opinion is posted on line to justify your thinking.

    On a personal level, this loss of dialogue has affected us even deeper. Although I enjoy reading and writing, it can be said that the modern manifestation of texting our feelings through emoji hints to the prophetic nature of Socrates’ thoughts. We would rather email someone to tell them off, then have the actual human interaction of working through conflict. How many of you have received an email from a friend/family member/lover that is just a diatribe of all they things they don’t like about you? And how have you received that? Have you ever been like, “wow, this scathing email attacking my personality really makes me think?”

    No! You usually write a contemptuous message back, and a strange cycle begins where your egos battle through this platform of screens. It is really hard to come back from these things, and usually the only way to find peace is through initiating personal contact. It is easy to hide behind screens and words rather then the complexity of face-to-face contact. That is why trolling has become such a social phenomenon. Yet we don’t only troll strangers in the dark web, we also often troll each other with the refusal of committing to direct communication.

    I think it’s crucial in these times where we are constantly being seduced by our slutty phones to work on the craft of conversation. To not text while talking, or hurry someone along so we can make our point. The best thing we can do for each other and our own psyches is learn how to be totally engaged. You know that feeling when you are talking to someone, and they are really interested in what you are saying? They are giving you their energy of paying attention. Then you pass the baton and are just as excited to hear the words that come out of their mouth. Isn’t that such a life affirming experience?

    Let’s do more of that!

    So next time you are talking to someone, a friend, someone serving you at a store, where ever you are… act like you sincerely give a shit. And I bet once you start genuinely listening, you may actually start genuinely giving a shit, which will inspire them to give a shit, and then maybe the robots won’t take over after all.

    March 23, 2017 • emotions, Musings, Relationships, Talking and Not Talking • Views: 1308

  • A Plea For Economic Social Terrorism

    Now that it’s no longer “International Women’s Day,” I notice that no one is thanking me for having a vagina. Where are all my Facebook shout outs for housing a womb to house a child? What kind of shit is this?

    The problem with the current state of activism is that social issues have become trendy. You’ll go on your Facebook newsfeed, and a gaggle of friends who think the same as you will post the same array of information. Once that trend get’s boring, it’s then no longer “cool” to post about. But social issues don’t go away just because they do on Facebook. There is still conflict in Palestine even when Banksy isn’t tagging walls.

    When causes become commodities for social capital, they may get a momentary bump in ratings, but they lose their audience once the next cause premiers on the red carpet. I went to an event the other day where these monks were talking about persecution in Tibet and their need for support and I was like, “Ummm no you’re wrong… Tibet is free, remember? I went to that concert in 1996.”

    We lose our stamina for social causes because we get protest fatigue, and then need Viagra for our activism. In the midst of our busy lives, it’s hard to schedule in “fight against tyranny.” Do I do that before or after I watch the OA? There is a sense of irony at play because the reason we agree to the concept of a goverenment in the first place is because most of us don’t WANT to think about the nuances of how a collective society functions. We prefer to defer to the Mommy and Daddy of our political system to take care of us, (or in our case in the U.S.A., mostly Daddy). Yet because we have given our power over to those that we assume “know better,” we then have to be even more diligent politically to make sure they don’t abuse their power. So in wanting freedom from the responsibility associated with having no government, we consequently lose our freedoms because of the corruption of government.

    As Trump tweets about which gender can fart in which bathroom, he’s simultaneously de-regulating business and allowing for a future of MAJOR environmental assault. Trump’s crusade against “fake news” has strangely inspired news outlets to report on their own fakeness rather than the fact that Trump’s making deals and longterm contracts for his businesses. The way this presidency is going to effect the future is terrifying when you think of how Trump prioritizes profit over the planet at every turn. Beyond Trump’s gross nature of giving chicks the “shocka,” this current regime has ZERO respect for the very real impact of business our ecosystem – which incidentally is the ONLY PLANET we have to live on. We are NOT Elon Musk and can’t afford Mars!

    Half the country is freaking out right now. We see the problematic nature of this Post-Apocalyptic Trump world, and want to do something. I like the spirit behind the call for strikes, but I think we can do more. One problem with the strategy of strikes is that if you are not of a certain social class, and believe you can’t make that kind of financial risk, you feel alienated. Also, there seems to be relatively wishy-washy outcomes. Why wasn’t there a specific demand for the strike on International Lady Day? How about women strike until the Supreme Court is ruled by a majority of women – much like it has been ruled by a majority of men since the birth of this cuntree? But the suggestion to “not go to work so guys realize how important we are” doesn’t exactly change the world. Simply wanting to be honored is too vague. We need be making clear demands, with clear outcomes, and clear deliverables. It’s not like the terrorists in Bruce Willis movies just want to be seen. No! They want x amount of cash, a private plane to get away, and to die just after hearing some pithy comeback like “yippee ka yay mother fucker.”

    So this is my plea: let’s engage in acts of economic social terrorism. I don’t think black people should pay taxes until reparations have been given, and the prison industrial complex has been abolished. I don’t think students should pay student loans until that exploitive system has been re-established and the cost of education brought down. I don’t think any of us should pay health insurance companies or our medical bills until we have universal health care. And if you are anti war, and believe that our military is one the LARGEST contributors to global warming, and terrorism, and is the greatest threat to the future of humanity, then do not pay the 21% of your taxes that go to supporting that system.

    If we all organize and refuse to participate in the economic structure that tyrannizes us, we will be heard. And guess what? There isn’t the infrastructure to come after us individually. It would be a bureaucratic nightmare. We could shut down the White House and Wall Street, and we don’t need guns to do it. We just need to be aligned.

    If we want change it’s not going to be through sporadic involvement. Change comes by kicking the system in the balls… where it hurts… with MONEY!

  • Scratching That Itch Doesn’t Make it Go Away – it Just Moves it

    We’ve all had those moments where you ask someone to scratch your back, and some willing, but slightly irritated victim obeys. No one wants to scratch someone else’s back because as a rational person you know what you’re in for – a journey into the impossibility of satiating an itch. Seconds after the skin scraping ritual begins, the itch moves. “A little to the left,” you say. Once again, it moves. “Now back to the right,” you instruct as their nails skid across your human casing. “Now up… down… over… to the left… no to the right I said… back down again… up… more up… up some more… and…”

    An itch isn’t meant to be relieved; it is designed to torture you with craving. We fool ourselves into thinking that digging your claws into the right spot will make it go away. We forget the unavoidable truth that the very nature of yearning is rooted in the harsh reality that even when you get what you want, it isn’t what you want any more. Our collective story is fraught with examples of this. I want that man, but now that I have him, he bores me. I think that those drugs would feel divine, yet now I am puking into my shirt. I need that job – huh, boy this job is stressful. I need a vacation, and now I need a vacation from my vacation. I’ll go on this dating app to have meaningless sexual encounters, yet at the same time look for a relationship. Even though we can often see the hamster wheel of another person’s life, we put ourselves through the same cycle over and over and over again, running into the oblivion of our ravenousness.

    I think it’s that exactly feeling that our smarty pants phones tap into. This need for an instant hit of something outside of ourselves to distract our minds from the pain of our thoughts. For most of us, our brains have a mind of their own, and we are thinking about things we don’t want to think about, yet can’t stop thinking about. So we want, and want, and want some more. We want more love, more sex, more drugs, more success, more entertainment, more food, more sugar, more adoration, more acknowledgement, more appreciation, more money, more security, more freedom, more stuff… and then we want it all over again, just a better version.

    This constant striving may be the catalyst of the vast majority of our emotional suffering, yet it’s also the drive that pushes towards progress – and maybe even our own survival. The curiosity of humans, this ceaseless thirst that we cannot quench, is unique to our kind. Back in pre-history when Neanderthals reached the shores of an ocean do you know they did? They turned the fuck around because there was a goddamn giant scary body of water in front of them, and they couldn’t see the other side. Do you know what Homo sapiens did? They built a raft to float out into the unknown and see what was beyond the horizon. When the Neanderthals reached a mountain range they would camp at the bottom, but Homo sapiens, even the straight ones, would climb to the other side. Neanderthals lacked the seemingly crucial social construction of craving for more, where we Homo sapiens succumbed to it. And who the are the ones that are extinct now!?

    Even though our wanting is part of our demise, it’s also part of our successes as a species. So how do we as individuals have a more reasonable relationship to the seduction of desire? Is there a way to find balance amidst the chaos of greed?

    If there is anything that being a parent has taught me it’s that looking for someone else’s socks can make you suicidal. The other thing I learned is that children have a much greater capacity than adults to deal with disappointment. It may not seem that way at first. If I tell my kid “No you can’t watch Monster High while eating your leftover chemically ridden Valentine’s candy before bed,” she might scream for a moment in protest. This is where depending on my emotional capacity; I may give in just so she shuts the fuck up. But if I stay strong and deal with her momentary rebellion, she will forget about it, and move on. She doesn’t hold it against me. It’s not like The Munch will even bring it up again like, “remember that time you didn’t let me have that 3rd cookie?” No. She never says that shit. She just keeps living her life, not holding onto the past of her unfulfilled desires.

    Wanting shit is not the problem. It’s how we deal with not getting what we want is.

    The reason why kids move through their feelings with greater ease and grace is because they fundamentally think differently than adults. There is more space between their thoughts, because their egos aren’t as developed. The adult mind is dealing with CONSTANT chatter from the ego. Even right now as you read this very post your ego is still talking to you, judging what I say. Yet with kids, their egos aren’t as loquacious, leaving more room in their minds for observation and imagination.

    The more the mind is engaged with observing the world around us, the less energy is spent judging it. The more the brain is bouncing around creative concepts, the less it’s criticizing. So the solution to our all our problems is right in front of us. Think less by training your mind to observe, and through that you will find the wisdom of contentment in where you are in the moment – knowing it’s all a process and you’ll never truly be satisfied anyway.

    I think The Munch has tapped into this angst of mankind, and as such told me this glorious nighttime story.

    Munch: “Once upon a time there was a toilet, and this toilet was very sad. It was a sad toilet because no one was peeing in it, so it couldn’t drink pee, and no one was pooping in it, so it couldn’t eat poop. And that is the story of the sad toilet.”

    Am I raising a genius or what?