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1st time for everything


    When I go hiking, my objective is to get to the end of the trail. I am NOT the type of person who can trek half way up a mountain, and then turn around. No fucking way. If I start walking up a goddamn hill, you bet your sweet ass I am going to get to the top!

    I am definitely not one to dilly dally, dawdle, or meander. I wouldn’t dream of straying from the trail. I look straight ahead and propel my body forward. I don’t take breaks. EVER! I barely stop for water, and certainly wouldn’t dream of eating – that would slow me down! I’ve got places to go!!

    So can you imagine my horror when I realized that I have given birth to the type of hiker who wants to linger and explore!?

    This was my experience hiking with The Munch.

    .1 miles in: “Mom! Lets go check out these rocks over there!” (She jumps over rocks for 10 minutes).

    We get back on the path and walk 25 feet. “Hey, look at this right here. These rocks! Let’s go check them out!” (She plays on rocks for another 5 minutes.)

    “Mom, I am hungry! Let’s have snack!” (She eats a bar).

    We walk 100 feet farther down the path: “MOM!! Check out these rocks! Let’s go over here! Aren’t these so cool!?” (More rock playing).

    We get back on the path. “Mom. I’m hungry again. Can I have my seaweed chips?”

    She walks WITH her seaweed chips for .2 miles.

    “Mom, let’s take a little rest. Can I have some of my sammich?”

    She eats half, of a half, of her sammich.

    Back on the path for 20 feet.

    “Mom, can I have the other half, of that half, of my sammich.”

    She stops, finishes that half, and we walk 80 feet.

    “Mom, can I have some water?”

    She drinks water, we walk .2 miles.

    “Mom!! Check out this hill! Can I go up it?”

    I remind her that the hill is NOT on the path, and we should continue on the path.

    “Ummm I think I’m going to go up and down this hill a few times. Will you come with me? PLEASE!?”

    I again remind her that said hill is NOT the path.


    We go up and down the hill a few times.

    “Can I have the other half of my sammich?”

    She eats her sammich.

    This was my experience for the ENTIRE 3 MILE HIKE!! And get this. SHE DIDN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT GETTING TO THE END OF THE TRAIL! She just wanted to enjoy nature, look around, take breaks, eat snacks, and investigate the terrain. I guess where I am more “goal oriented,” The Munch is more “process oriented.”



  • You Don’t Have To Be A Creative Genius to Be Artistic

    Being a parent has really helped with my acting chops because I have to act “impressed” a lot. You know, so I am encouraging and don’t scar my kid for life by looking at a drawing she made of me and saying, “well, I don’t really have a line for a body, and there is no 3D perception when you make my nose a dot.” I have to pretend like her efforts are good so she will inspired to keep trying – even though you and I both know the sun is more complicated than a yellow circle with some streaks sticking out of it.

    The only way to get excellent at anything is through practice, so I have to help foster this process of trial and error. I want The Munch to explore her potential talents because the more confidence you have about skills you excel at, the less drugs you do as a teenager. This is a fact. Much like girls who ride horses are less interested in boys – so you better believe that I am getting a goddamn pony.

    Finding passions and hobbies is a really important aspect of personal growth. And, when your kid has school vacation; you need a place to send them so you don’t commit murder suicide. Which is why last week, The Munch went to art camp.

    Did I know what art camp was? No, not really? Did I do a lot of research? Not so much. But I did know that her cousin was going, and she would be gone from 9-3 everyday – so that was enough information for me!

    At the end of art camp, the students put on a performance – which was maybe 45 minutes longer than it needed to be – but also the sweetest thing ever!!!! Watching these kids was both painfully boring and incredibly endearing. Their effort to remember the song, or the incredibly repetitive dance movies of turning around then jumping up and down, was priceless.

    I loved the kids that just HATED being on stage, and would stare out into the audience with their hands on their hips, refusing to participate. Then there was the over enthusiastic ones who were wayyyyyy into it, even though they had no rhythm and continuously bounced their knees off beat.

    There is a certain joy of watching your kid on perform because even if they aren’t the best, the fact that they are out there ignites immense pride. You don’t have to be an artistic genius to take creativity seriously, and to observe your kid genuinely trying is insanely cute. We all have an artist inside of us, and the more we get to know them, the happier we will be in the long run.

    Not to brag or anything, but The Munch kind of killed it as her very important role of “mouse.” Sure, she did pick her nose at one point and eat it – but she also knew all the moves and has genuine swagger.


  • Shamanic Journeys

    I wouldn’t be an organic eating, yoga practicing, Birkenstock and sock wearing new age hippy if I hadn’t partaken in a Shamanic Journey. Even though the ideal circumstance for such an occasion would have been the South American rainforest, my voyages took place in the exotic locales of Connecticut, Long Island, and Brooklyn. So yeah, there is a post-modern contextual conflict happening with my ceremonial experiences – yet they were still profound and healing.

    Here are the stories of the Shamanic expeditions I took into my mind, heart, and spirit.

    The First Shamanic Journey

    It was 2008, and I was in a really bad place. I was dealing with my brain tumor, the transitioning of a 12-year relationship, and the failing of my business. Needless to say I was depressed, lost, and hating myself. I was invited to drink ayahuasca with a Colombian shaman who was holding a ceremony in a yoga studio… in Connecticut… so obviously I went.

    I had my period during this time, so when I got there, I was told I had to adorn myself with a moon menses belt. This consisted of my taking pinches of tobacco to place into small squares of red fabric, and then making 108 miniature pouches. I then had to tie each tiny tobacco-filled sack to a red string, and wear it around my waist like a badge of menstrual honor. This was not only time-consuming but also super fucking embarrassing. Usually one hides their lunar flow by plugging up the poon, or sitting on a cotton cushion to soak up blood – yet in this instance I had to put my leaking lotus on full display for all to know about.

    When the ceremony was ready to begin, we all took our places on our yoga mats. There were buckets next to us in case we had to purge – a.k.a. barf. We were asked to come up one by one to drink the sacred vine. After it was my turn, I had one of those moments of “holy shit – no turning back now,” and wondering what the hell was going to happen.

    Even though it was suggested we sit up in a meditative pose, pretty sure I was lying down in a fetal position the entire time. It was a very solitary experience. We weren’t supposed to talk or communicate with anyone, and instead explore the inside of our own consciousness – what a creepy place! I felt like the ayahuasca had a distinct feminine energy. Part of what was happening inside my brain was like a downloading of information about how the systems of nature work. Suddenly I would be like, “oh, that’s why birds migrate.” It was beautiful, peaceful, and poetic.

    Then there was this mining of my mind that was really uncomfortable. It was as if I were staring into the void of my shadow self. Everything that sucked about me was on full display to examine. At the time I didn’t know how to unpack everything, and I remember wanting to peel myself out of my own membranes.

    The shaman was chanting as his protégés played instruments to guide our excursion. At one point, we were asked to come to the center of the room, one at a time, to stand stoically while the shaman and his apprentices did their therapeutic work. It was suggested to take off your shirt to receive the offerings fully, but I am way too much of a New Englander for that. I remember thinking to myself that maybe “taking off your shirt” was just a suggestion for the shaman to see some tits. Then I felt bad for considering that, but I also laughed because that would be hilarious.

    The whole event lasted through the night, and then around 5 a.m. we all went to sleep. The next day I felt very agitated and inaccessible. The group was all connecting over a common bond, but I couldn’t relate to anyone. I was feeling judgey and annoyed. One of the assistants came to talk to me, and told me that healing can’t just be an occasional activity, but that I had to make ceremony and ritual be a part of my everyday life. She reminded me that in order to make time for my recovery, I had to truly commit to the process. Even though I wanted to punch this girl, I knew she was right.

    A few days later, I had one of the most insightful realizations about myself. Having a competitive nature was the root of my dis-ease. Every time I compared myself to another person, I was participating in a disservice to us both. From that point forward, when I found myself thinking I was better than someone, or that someone was better than am, I would stop, and send that person love. I then trained my brain to no longer participate in that kind of destructive dialogue, and instead focus on my own evolution rather than the distraction of others.

    The Second Shamanic Journey:

    One of my dearest friends was spending her summer in Long Island doing multiple ceremonies with a shaman from Peru. She invited me to participate in one. I was on the fence.

    At this point, I had been sober for four years and was committed to my meditation practice. Meditation had provided me with a critical towards healing and I wasn’t drawn toward the influence of outside substances. I decided to go anyway to support my friend.

    When I got there, I felt a mixed vibe from the shaman. The energy of the whole event felt very male-dominated and imbalanced to me. I decided I wouldn’t partake in the medicine, but would sit and “hold the space.” Let me tell you something, the only thing weirder than doing Ayahuasca in Long Island with a bunch of strangers, is NOT doing Ayahuasca while everyone else does. I was WAY too aware of what was going on.

    After everyone consumed the black, molasses like substance, there was an hour of calm before the storm hit. It was like a cacophony of puking – people vomiting in a round of… “row, row, row your boat” style. There was also a lot of writhing and moaning going on. I was trying to be chill and meditate, which was hard while I looked around at everyone thrashing and occasionally screaming.

    My friend was  right next to me and obviously very uncomfortable. She was quiet and enduring, but also kept wiggling and shifting positions. Even though talking was frowned upon, I whispered to her anyway.

    Toni: Are you okay?
    My Friend: Not really.

    We both sat with this knowledge for a minute.

    My friend: Come downstairs with me.

    We stepped over expunging people, and walked down the candle-lit stairs. There was an open room with doors leading to bathrooms, and a massive rug on the floor. My friend went over to sit on the bench, and looked at me with a disturbed expression.

    My Friend: I am not okay.
    Toni: What is going on?
    My Friend: I think he gave me too much. I feel like I can’t be inside my own body right now.
    Toni: Oh no! Are you in pain?
    My Friend: It’s just… being confined-by-my-own-skin torture. I don’t know? Do you think maybe it is because last night I drank too much alcohol, had sex, and then we ate all that pizza in the car??

    *Note to reader: I had picked up my friend in NYC that morning, who was very hung over from drinking and having hot sex with a guy all night. I then bought us a pizza, which we split during the drive up. It is suggested that for a week before drinking ayahuasca you DON’T DRINK ALCHOL, HAVE SEX, OR EAT DAIRY!!!

    Toni: You think?
    My Friend: Fuck… I shouldn’t have done that.
    Toni: Do you want me to do some reiki on you?
    My friend: Please…
    Toni: Okay, I’ll pee and meet you back upstairs.

    My friend went upstairs, and I went to the bathroom. When I came out, there was a girl crumpled on the floor ,weeping.

    Toni: Ummm are you okay?

    The girl looked at me with wild eyes full of fear. I remembered her because she was a beautiful Russian model, and I had been staring at her all night.

    Russian Model: What’s happening to me? I am so afraid. I am not okay. I need help.
    Toni: Uhhhh, do you want me to do some reiki on you?

    I sat across from this stunning woman, and put my hands on her lap to do reiki. She was terrified, and weeping so violently, that I felt I had to calm her mind by saying something.

    Toni: There’s nothing to be afraid of. All that is happening is that you are in your own mind. You don’t have to fear yourself. It’s just you in there – and you are getting to know you. You are totally safe inside you.

    Russian Model: I am cheating on my husband, and I think I have to go upstairs and tell him.

    Now thank mother Gaia this exquisite creature was talking to me – a person with incredibly flexible morals. Call me crazy, but I really don’t think tripping balls on Ayahuasca is the right time to admit your indiscretions.

    Toni: Of course you are cheating on your husband. You are a magnificent goddess from another dimension. Every man that looks at you, would want to enter your sweet canyon of mystery. The deterioration of your relationship is not your burden alone to bear. You are both  responsible for whatever is going on, and the mere fact that you care means that you are a good person! You are not an asshole who doesn’t give a shit, but a righteous soul who is deeply concerned about your actions. But now is not the time to be plagued with guilt. First forgive yourself in this moment, and then tell him tomorrow.

    The Russian Model collapsed in my arms with relief. I held her, and stroked her hair – both for her benefit and mine. I mean, she was insanely hot. As I cradled her, I felt the daemons leave her. She was no longer heavy with panic, but her whole body became very light and buoyant.

    Russian Model: Thank you so much. You are my angel.
    Toni: No, you are.

    We hugged while she thanked me profusely. My friend then came back downstairs to see me embracing this divine being and was like “WHAT THE FUCK! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!” I mean… I know I momentarily ditched my friend for a Russian model, but she was a Russian model in need, so… come on.

    When I went back upstairs with my friend she was pissed! But she was also suffering, so that was her main priority. I put my hands on her to do some reiki, but her energy was resisting it.

    Toni: Ummm, I feel like you’re fighting it.

    My friend finally forgave me, and started to relax – but she was still struggling. At one point, one of the shaman’s assistants came over to give my friend a tobacco bath to help calm her nerves. Now, I believe in the grounding and healing properties of the tobacco plant – but I am not so sure my friend was that keen on someone blowing second hand smoke in her face repeatedly. Then, I got an idea of what could help her.

    Toni: Do you want me to tickle your back?
    My Friend: Sure.

    I tickled my friend’s back just like I would my kid when she was sick. It really does make you feel better because that type of light touch on the skin actually releases endorphins. So I tickled her back/arm/head/calf until the daemons left her, and she settled back into herself.

    I realized that what was missing from this particular ceremony was the mother energy. All I was doing for these women was listening, telling them everything was going to be okay, and tenderly stroking their tenseness away. They needed to be momentarily nurtured to let go of whatever was plaguing them.

    For me, the mother role is one I am always taking on in relationships. There are times where I have resented this – always having to be responsible and take care of others. Yet this night, I discovered that this was a great gift to give people. Instead of focusing on my own bitterness that people don’t play this part in my life, I was filled with joy that I could be this for others in their times of need. I realized that this wasn’t something I needed or craved, so there is no reason to be aggrieved that I don’t have it. I can mother myself just like I mother others, and there is true beauty to that.

    I was pretty blown away that just by me being around the sacred plant, there was still so much knowledge to learn!!! I didn’t have to actually take the ayahuasca to benefit from it!

    The Third Shamanic Journey

    After 6 years of sobriety I was ready to shake things up a bit. Another friend invited me to work with someone who she felt a deep connection to. This friend has a very delicate nervous system, and is not the kind of person who does any mind-altering substances. If my super sensitive friend was into this shaman’s work, I felt like I could handle it because even she described it as mellow.

    I was expecting a similar set-up as the other two. Where we all would take the medicine, and then go back to our seats and have a solitary trip. Yet this shaman’s approach was very different. He was all about community, connecting, and being with each other.

    He also didn’t work exclusively with ayahusaca, but plant medicines from around the world. I ended up taking something called Kava, which is from western Africa, and felt a lot like pure MDMA.

    When I was living in NYC and was always surrounded by people, I could see why the universe would provoke me to go through things alone. Yet now that I live a very remote country lifestyle, I can see why the cosmos would suggest I have a more of a collective experience.

    I spent the entire night attached to 3 people. We connected, and then I was immediately co-dependent with them. I wanted them close to me at all times, because I felt like our heartstrings had entwined. One of them looked so much like my friend Bitty who had died, and it was such a sweet melancholy to look at her face. It reminded me of all the times I haven’t had with Bitty, and how much I missed the memories we never got to make together.

    Rather than having a shaman going around to heal us, we were all there for each other in this unique way. We talked about our childhoods, our present pains, our fears, and existential questions. We all knew how to be there for each other, and listened to our intuition on how to best support one another. It was like the healer in our own selves was awoken, and all we had to do was trust it.

    The night was so sweet, kind, and full of understanding. I never wanted it to end. Even the thought of the outside world felt unfathomable. I was so in the moment that I couldn’t’ help but wish the moment would last forever.


    February 26, 2015 • 1st time for everything, Adventures, Health, Musings • Views: 487

  • Getting Caught Stealing

    Stealing isn’t just about taking something you can’t afford, or otherwise couldn’t have because it happens to belong to someone else and those flare pants by Anthropologie were 3 seasons ago so you can’t find them anywhere on the internet. Sometimes people pinch things for the rush of it, and the adrenaline of knowingly being bad, but not getting caught.

    There is something infinitely exciting about breaking the rules. When I was in the 9th grade, a group of girl friends and I decided that we would skip school to spend our time getting into trouble. It was a beautiful spring day, and we all left our houses waving goodbye to our parents with innocence in our eyes. We then met at Copley Plaza in Boston, ready to inflict chaos on the city. But it was only 8:15 and there really wasn’t that much to do, so we went to McDonald’s to get hash browns. Come to think of it, that is probably the most embarrassing part of this story.

    Later that afternoon we ended up at Quincy Market, and my friend (lets call her Flopsy) came out of the store with a sneaky smile on her face.

    Flopsy: You guys… check this out! I stole a candle.

    We all looked at the candle with shock and awe – GW Bush style. This candle was more than just a vanilla scented stick of wax – it was lifted goods. Suddenly, we were all transported into a scene that felt like we were as powerful as drug cartels. There was no going back now. We decide that each one of us would take something that day – Mopsy and Cottontail went next. Giddy, they both exited the store with more pilfered property. Then it was my turn. Not to be a square, but I wasn’t that into the scene at first, but then I did it – AND IF FELT AMAZING!

    Just knowing we had gotten away with something was the real excitement. We now lived above and beyond the law. Nothing could touch us. A spark had been ignited into a flame, and our summer of stealing began.

    Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and I would go on sticky-fingered excursions. It wasn’t even things we liked, or needed that much. We would shoplift nail polish, shower curtains, plumbing equipment… whatever. Anything we could get our grubby little hands on. Especially clothes. Sooooooooooooo many halter-tops.

    Our success made us too cocky. We were getting bored and wanted a greater challenge. We decided on the department store Filene’s to stock up some important items, like belly shirts. I was wearing overalls that day, and had gone into the dressing room to layer about 7 shirts and 3 pairs of pants underneath them. As we exited the store we were stopped by security.

    Security: Girls… you are going to have to come with us.

    We were taken into a back room where there was another security guard. We were all terrified and Cottontail started to cry.

    Security Guard 2: Look, we know you girls were stealing.
    Toni: No….
    Security Guard 2: We caught you on camera.
    Toni: It wasn’t me?

    * note to reader, please notice my cleverly placed Shaggy reference.

    The security guards were painfully annoyed with us, and made us take everything off our bodies, and out of our bags that we had stolen. A huge pile garments lay in the middle of the floor, mocking and shaming us.

    Security Guard 2: This is a disgrace. What do your parents do girls?
    Flopsy: Professor…
    Mopsy: Lawyer…
    Cottontail: Doctor
    Toni: Professors….
    Security Guard 2: (Rolls eyes audibly). Listen, none of you girls are leaving unless your parents come pick you up. So get on the phone and start calling.

    Everyone then had to use the security guard’s rotary phone to call their parents to tell them to come to the Filene’s located in the wealthy neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, and then ask for the back closet where the delinquents were kept. When it was my turn I was so nervous and sweaty I kept fucking up the number. I would have to hang up and start at the beginning, which on a rotary phone actually took an insane amount of time. The only sounds in the room were Cottontail’s tears and my swearing.

    When my dad finally arrived his face was red with rage, his hair wild from wrath, and his voice shaking with fury. He was such a terrifying sight that even the security guard took pity on me.

    Security Guard 2: Are you sure this is your dad?

    That was the only time I got grounded in my entire life. Forget the fact that I smoked weed, went to raves to take ecstasy, ate acid, once or twice took the car without asking, had sex in my parents house…. They could deal with all that. But stealing!!!?? Having to come to Filene’s to retrieve me!? That was just too much for them. I still remember the deep feeling of humiliation I felt when I got in the car with my dad and he looked at me with severe disappointment then quoted Pee Wee’s Big Adventure:

    My Dad: The Buxton’s are not thieves….

    February 18, 2015 • 1st time for everything, Adventures, Family Drama, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 502

  • Have You Ever Tried That…. ON WEED?

    I officially began my quest for sobriety in 2006. I was dealing with some health issues at the time, and my neurosurgeon suggested that maybe smoking pot every day, drinking 5 times a week, and dabbling in cocaine perhaps wasn’t the best idea when trying to heal a brain tumor. What a square, am I right?!

    It took about 3 years to get to a point where I fully abstained from everything, and completely committed to a pure life of prioritizing my health. In truth, I am infinitely grateful for this forced period of self-reflection and sobriety. My restrained adult life has had many positive effects. I am more focused and productive. I make better decisions. I know myself in a profound way. I actually face problems rather than avoiding them through substances, and I am way skinnier. I guess getting high and eating cereal with ice cream instead of milk at 12am isn’t the best diet after all. Go figure.

    In my personal experience, one of the best parts about sobriety is that you are less lonely when you are alone because you are more content in your own skin. The worst part, however, is that you are more lonely around other people when everyone else is partaking in some mind-altering material. Yet even though I couldn’t enjoy all the same activities of my past, say staring at a microwave for 3 hours debating pulling a Sylvia Plath because I was coming down off drugs, I had many new ways that I enjoyed spending my time.

    I never want to go back to the way I was – and in truth, that isn’t even possible. I am not the same person I was in my 20’s. I am stronger, wiser, and did I mention skinnier? I am not looking for the same escape that I was in my past. Even though my life is not perfect, I feel more in control because I have slowed down. When I lived in NYC, I was always on hyper drive… moving forward regardless of logic, not taking the time to question my choices, and always looking for the bigger better deal. Now that I live in the woods with a young child, life is inherently calmer and scheduled – so as a result I am more intentional.

    But you guys………… it has been sooooooooooooooooo long. So crazy long. Like holy crap it has been a long time of not doing anything.

    So I smoked pot. A few times. Not a lot mind you!!!! Just one hit. A micro dose if you will. And let me tell you. It is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now remember, it has been YEARS since I have done this, and a lot has changed. For one: eye-phones!! Those things are outrageous!! The last time I smoked, I didn’t’ have the Internet in my hand all the time. Do you get how nutty that is? I felt like the “unfrozen cave man lawyer” – your world frightens and confuses me!!! Being stoned around an iPhone made me realize just how ridiculous it is to climb into a virtual world, and totally disconnect from the actual world around me. I couldn’t even look at that thing without shuddering.

    You know what else has changed? I created a HUMAN BEING!!! Now technically I have known that for 4 1/2 years – but the first time I got stoned, I went up to The Munch’s room and just watched her sleep for an hour. I was like “Who are you?? Where did you come from? And how are you so awesome!!?” It blew my away that I have not only kept Munch alive for this long, but I was actually doing an okay job too! It was like this holy fuck moment were I realized that I am in fact an adult who can take care of another person! WHO KNEW?

    I also did some high yoga – which was maybe the best time of my life. Now I practice yoga a lot, and to be honest, it has become almost unconscious for me. There are these habitual poses that I have done hundreds, if not thousands of times. But doing yoga on weed was like “OMG… down ward dog is the SHIT!!! This feels sooooooooooooo good!! I can’t believe I don’t sleep like this!!!”

    You know what else I did? I ATE!! Do you realize how delicious food is? Have you ever actually tasted rice pudding? I mean really let that sweet vanilla cinnamon goodness penetrate your tongue. FOOD IS SOOOOO GOOD YOU GUYS!! Corn chips?? Those things are unbelievable!! Have you ever had fresh popcorn? I could cry at the thought.

    Can I tell you more thing that I did? I sat! I just sat, gazed at nothing, and thought. I didn’t want to look at my phone, or my computer. I didn’t feel the pressure to be industrious, or work. I just wanted to be, and enjoy my own mind. Do you know how long it has been since I actually just let myself chill? In my youth, I would smoke and do things like paint, create collages, make jewelry, knit… undertakings that had no purpose beyond the enjoyment of crafting. Now almost everything I do is related to my career, business, work or ambition. The mental freedom to just sit without an agenda was so freeing.

    I have to say, my dabbling in weed has been crazy fun – but that is because it is a dabble. The impact is mind-blowing because it is so out of the ordinary. I have to keep it that way. The magic of marijuana is special, and I don’t want to corrupt it ever again. I like that one small toke will catapult me into the time space continuum.

    (There I am at 20… awwwwww so sweet)


    February 11, 2015 • 1st time for everything, Health, Mommyhood, Musings, Old School Stories, Parenting • Views: 861

  • The Heartbreak of a Broken Heart

    Do you remember your first broken heart? Did it feel like someone peeled back the layers of your skin only to pry their fingers deep into your aorta, and scrape the inner walls of your ventricles with their nails? Were you writhing in agony as the seething suffering traversed your veins and settled into a cantankerous cavity hidden inside the bowels of your being? ME TOO!!!

    My heart was broken for the first time when I was 15. He told me we lived too far apart, and he couldn’t be my boyfriend anymore because he wanted to finger-bang other girls. I wasn’t just devastated… I was destroyed. Forget the fact that I had another boyfriend who went to my school. The loss was too profound to bear. I would think of him every night when I went to sleep, and he was the first thing on my mind when I woke up. I sometimes wouldn’t leave my house in hopes that he would call. (The tragedy of being a teenager in the 90’s, pre cellphones *tear). I thought of him obsessively, and would look for him in any crowd I was in. It took me an entire year to move on emotionally, and of course as soon as I got over him, he was like “let’s date again,” – so we did.

    Being broken hearted is a helpless and vulnerable feeling because it is rooted in rejection. No matter how the other person tries to rationalize their reasoning, the piercing truth is that they don’t want you. That sinking reality is so painful because it also digs at the core of your self-esteem. The ego becomes enmeshed with the heart. Not only is the object of your love leaving, but they are also scarring your sense of worth with their disinterest to stay.

    The Munch is going through her first experience with heartbreak, and it has been breaking my heart to witness her sorrow. Her baby sitter since she was one year old has decided to move on. We had a conversation about it last week, and I think at first Munch was in a state of shock or denial. She didn’t really mention it, so I was hoping maybe it would be a smooth transition. Then the other morning, Munch came in my room while I was meditating wondering what I had done with a picture her babysitter Liliana had drawn her. It had been hanging on the fridge, and I had taken it down. At first I didn’t want to admit that, and tried to claim I didn’t remember – but Munch kept asking me where it was.

    Toni: I took it down.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: It made me sad to look at it.

    That was when everything hit her. Suddenly Munch had to face reality. She started weeping in my arms telling me how much she missed Liliana. I held her, and began crying right along with her. Her pain was so relatable. Of course wanting to discontinue employment as a babysitter is drastically different than ending a relationship – yet in Munch’s world, the sentiment is the same.

    Munch: I still want her to be my babysitter. I don’t like those things she said. They really hurt my feelings. I don’t want her to leave. I miss her. I can’t stop thinking about Liliana!
    Toni: I know baby. It is really hard. But people can’t always be who you want them to be. Sometimes they have to be who they want to be. And when you love them, you have to give them that space.
    Munch: But I miss her so much and I want to see her. I am so angry that she doesn’t want to see me any more. I want to be with her. My heart is broken. She broke my heart.
    Toni: It hurts, I know. But Liliana wants to go back to school. And we want her to be happy. She needs to find her happiness. Don’t you want her to do that?
    Munch: Yes, but I also want her to stay with me.
    Toni: It doesn’t always work that way baby. Sometimes happiness means you have to leave.

    We sat, talked, and cried. I didn’t want to talk her out of her feelings, because that seemed like a fruitless effort. We can’t rationalize our way out of loss. We have to go through it. The only thing I could do was to listen, and suggest different ways of seeing the situation. After a while, we got up, got dressed, and got in the car to go on an adventure. We decided that we would listen to music as loud as we could, and sing as loud as our voices would go.

    As I was driving I realized the universal truth of heartbreak. The other person is happier with out you. That is why they have to go. Suddenly I felt elated by this knowing.  Even though there is a sweet sadness, there is also hope. Your aching has meaning because the person you love is happier. Even though that bruises the ego, the true self wants the people you adore to find their bliss, even if it means they take a different path.

    I know Munch is still hurting from this separation. She will go through her iPod, find videos of her with Liliana, and then cry as she watches them. Although the tragic rawness is brutal to witness, I also respect that this is a process she has to go through in order to let go. All I know is that I considering Munch is only 4 and feels this deeply, I am seriously in for it when she is a teenager.


  • The Chubby Mermaid

    Not to brag or anything, but my kid is kind of a genius. No, she isn’t a 4-year old fashion designer for J-Crew, and no she doesn’t paint pictures that get sold for thousands of dollars… but she does know how to work my iPhone like a fucking pro. I feel like this is only the beginning of The Munch’s mastery of technology… even if her main motivation is to watch the new Taylor Swift video. But who knows, maybe she is going be the next Steve Jobs – but whose goal is to make 3D digital holograms of Katy Perry that project directly from your eyeballs thanks to an implanted nano-tech microchip.

    I know there are parents who never let their kids watch any modern media, and if they do, it is a supervised experience where they enjoy the wholesome story of Heidi (the 1937 version staring Shirley Temple). Together, they sit around a crackling fire eating fresh popcorn harvested from their farm while the children blissfully fall asleep from their full day of frolicking freely in the forest.

    Then there is my approach of handing my kid my phone/computer/iPad/soul and saying… “Here… watch whatever you want, just let mommy be alone.”

    Now the problem with this strategy is that The Munch then has access to peruse through Youtube, and find other things she may want to watch. She will scan the “related videos,” which may or may not actually be “related” to the initial media I approved of. I would set her up with something innocent to watch like “Curious George,” but then come back 20 minutes later to find her watching a BBC expo about a baby in Indonesia who smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

    There was also a time where Munch found these videos that some charming person had created with the PBS character Caillou. Let me just say, I actually hope Caillou dies a horrible death where he is mutilated by rabid wolves. The show is terrible, and Caillou is a whiney little prick that deserves to suffer. So I can get how it would be funny to take this shit-head character, and re-edit the videos so all the audio is a raunchy dialogue filled with a myriad of swears. Yet despite my present attempt at humor, it was a sad and rude awakening to overhear The Munch listening to Caillou calling his baby sister a “fuck-face.”

    In order to preserve my child’s innocence and shield her from the vulgarities of the world, I had to to say to her, “Hey Munch, you have to check with me before you watch something – because there is some seriously fucked up shit on the Internet.”

    The Munch, who is an honest person, has kept to her word and now comes to me for my approval.

    Munch: Mom… is it okay if I watch “The Chubby Mermaid?
    Toni: WHAT????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay… so lets get real. One thing we can all admit about society is that media FUCKS UP YOUNG GIRLS when it comes to their body image. The last thing you want for your daughter is for her to have an unhealthy relationship to her body, and feel she has to conform to a photo-shopped standard of beauty where her thighs are thinner than her forearms.

    I couldn’t understand WHO ON PLANET EARTH would make a cartoon called “The Chubby Mermaid!?” (Answer: Someone on the Internet – that is who.) My main concern was the term “chubby,” and how The Munch internalized the Meta meaning of that word. I started to panic, wondering if lifelong damage had already happened.

    Toni: Why is it called “The Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: Well, the mermaid is chubby because she ate too many gummy bears.
    Toni: Well “chubby” is not a very nice word.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: Do you know what “chubby” means?
    Munch: It means you have a round tummy – like the “chubby” mermaid who ate too many gummy bears.

    HOLY FUCK YOU GUYS!!! I was like “shit, shit, shit, shit in the ass shit!” Of course “eating too many gummy bears” is not a good idea for anyone. Especially since they are made of gelatin composed of horse hooves – I mean basically they are molded balls primed to give you diabetes… But still! I don’t want The Munch thinking that fat shaming a mermaid is okay just because she happens to have a penchant for gummy bears!!

    Toni: Well, what do you think of the “Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: I like her… that is why I want to watch her???
    Toni: I mean, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: Huh? What do you mean?
    Toni: Do you think she is bad for being “chubby?”
    Munch: No???
    Toni: So, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: I don’t know mom??? I haven’t seen the rest of it yet? I only saw the beginning?? I don’t know her yet?
    Toni: Well do you think it is nice to call the mermaid “chubby?”
    Munch: She ate too many gummy bears, so she has a chubby tummy? Like it pokes out a little bit.
    Toni: Do you think she still has value to society even though she ate too many gummy bears?
    Munch: Huh? I don’t know??? I haven’t seen the whole video? Wait Mom… do we have any gummy bears??

    From the Munch’s perspective, being “chubby” wasn’t an insult. It was just a descriptive. Like having blond hair or green eyes. She couldn’t tell me if the mermaid was a good person until she actually saw what she was like as a person. Nor did she think there was anything wrong with the mermaid because she was chubby. She just ate too many gummy bears. In Munch’s mind being chubby was simply a consequence to an action.

    Placing moral judgment because of someone’s weight is a learned behavior. The idea that being “fat = bad” is a notion society has constructed. The Munch didn’t see the “Chubby Mermaid” as less than, but simply a mermaid whose mom didn’t micromanage her diet to make sure everything she ate was organic, biodynamic, and macrobiotic.

    Weight has become a barometer of self-worth that is deeply psychologically engrained in adults. Being thin means you feel better about yourself, regardless of actually being healthy. A super skinny model that subsists on champagne, lettuce, and cocaine is not in prime physical condition – even if she is slender. You can be “overweight” but also strong, dexterous, and able to climb stairs without passing out from fatigue.

    The body is a handy mechanism that moves us around planet earth – it is not the gauge with which we should measure our importance. I think it is completely possible to shape a child’s understanding of the body on function rather than form. There is no reason to condition our kids to think that their body weight has anything to do with their status as a human. You want to watch what you eat because a lot of processed food products are essentially poisoned. Pesticides, GMO-s, hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, preservatives… are not nutritious and may cause long-term damage. We should be cautious about what we consume not because culture will demoralize you for enjoying butter, but rather because we don’t want to ingest toxins.



  • Vanity and Beauty In The One Eyed Beholder

    We are living in an age of vanity. There are too many technological gadgets to document ourselves, and too many outlets to broadcast our glory. I mean, is there any point in looking cute if someone doesn’t capture your image for a new profile pic?

    I don’t think that technology is making us vain as much as it allows this pre-existing condition we often fall victim too. The difference is the ease to which we can connect to our vanity, and the instant gratification of people encouraging it with likes, thumbs up, and comments. It is almost impossible not to be somewhat seduced by it all.  When you are looking your best you kind of want the world to notice – or at least acknowledge a perfect hair day.

    Not that there is anything wrong with wanting to look good. Physicality does play a role in attracting people to you. If you are super smelly, look disheveled, and have plaque on your teeth coated in rotting meat residue – no one is going to want to spark up a conversation. We of course want to be somewhat presentable to instigate relationships. The problem is that if you are going to excessively care when people think you are hot, you are also going to care when they think your not. I am not just talking about having an off day wearing cargo shorts and Tevas.

    I sometimes worry about The Munch and the challenges of raising a daughter in a culture obsessed with female beauty.  Of course, The Munch isn’t exactly helping the situation with her mania towards fashion, and penchant towards all things ultra fancy and princess like. I really can’t tell where the Disney seduction ends and the awareness of prettiness begins…

    Soooooo… The Munch has a wandering eye – which although is exciting to have that kind of spirit in an organ, it is still something I have to address. I have been taking her to get cranial sacral work for about a year to try to avoid surgery. It has helped, but her eye is still like a deadbeat dad who keeps trying to take off when things get difficult. The next option is to have her wear a patch on the strong eye so she is forced to use the weaker one. To be honest I have been not only been dreading, but also avoiding this option. The Munch is SOOOOO particular about what she wears, I didn’t know if it was going to become this major battle of the wills. I can’t even get her to wear socks she doesn’t like – let alone a fucking eye patch on her face.

    I found the coolest, sparkliest, shiniest eye patches on the market – The Munch would for sure scoff at a flesh colored Band-Aid with zero pizzazz. Luckily there were some options that had a little swagger to them. I was nervous about how it would be received so I brought Munch to the chiropractor who has been helping her, and we put it on her ceremoniously.

    She actually took it pretty well. The only thing she complains about so far is his her eye getting hot and sweaty.  She doesn’t seem evenly slightly concerned about looking like a princess pirate.

    The Munch really reminded me that you don’t have to let physical “imperfections” limit your confidence, especially when you have style.


    July 14, 2014 • 1st time for everything, Musings • Views: 10550

  • The Internal Battle Of Borrowing

    If you have a vagina, you have probably at one point in your life experienced the joy and drama of borrowing clothes from your friends. The amazing part of the lending process is when you are on the receiving end. The more challenging portion of the exchange is when you are on the giving end, because the second your friend puts on your clothes you immediately want them back.

    It is such a classic case of you don’t know what you got until it’s gone. Just the fact that someone is interested in something on the bottom of your closet floor makes it more appealing. Yet if you have already borrowed stuff from your friend, you can’t be a dick and say “Ummm actually no you can’t have that – because now I want it just because you wanted it so… sorry.” You have to suck it up and let them wear what you are now totally seduced by.

    Despite the internal chaos of the borrowing practice, it is part of the intimacy of female relationships. Now that The Munch is 4 and has a best friend, she has been initiated into this ritual. Munch and her best friend both really like princess dresses and princess gear. Hazel has very kindly let Munch borrow quite a few princess dresses, so in exchange Munch let Hazel borrow her coveted Cinderella glass slipper high heel shoes.

    Yet once Munch got home, the reality of not having her favorite shoes dawned on her. Suddenly the sorrow of loss overtook her tiny body, and she began to weep the tears of a broken doll. As much as I felt the anguish of her loss, she also had to learn that it is all part of the borrowing ceremony.

    Here we are talking about the tragedy of wanting to borrow stuff, but regretting lending the things you love.

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