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  • 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: 488

  • Is Your Vagina A Dictator of Love?

    Well it’s official. I think every one of my friends believes that I live inside a giant gaping vulva. The impression seems to be that my house is in fact the folds and billows of a massive pink vagina that I deliver myself out of every morning – covered in birth cheese. In truth, at this exact moment half my body is still inside my uterine abode, because it is just so warm and gooey in there!

    Otherwise how can it be explained that not one, not two, but four people sent me this article entitled “The Pussy Test: How to Tell If You Are With The Right Partner.”

    The author suggests that in order to tell if your relationship is truly working, you should be able to ask your partner to “sit comfortably between your legs and explore your pussy. I mean really look and touch you sweetly and slowly and take her or his time. Ask her or him to take a look around, spread your pussy open, slip her or his finger up and down and around. Not in just yet. Have her or him massage your outer lips and pull back the hood of your clit and admire you.”

    The author’s rational is that a woman’s lotus flower is an often under appreciated organ, and it should be revered as the magical blossom it is. She also suggests that if you do not feel able to ask your sexual partner to bask in the glory of your yoni, then you are probably with the wrong person.

    “If you don’t feel comfortable asking the person you’re with to do that, you have to question your relationship with your body and your sexuality. If that relationship is in question, if you’re not whole in that way, how can you be expecting to find a relationship with another human that’s whole?”

    Now here is my question. How can I intellectually agree with something so wholeheartedly, yet have ZERO interest in doing this in my life EVER…. with anyone.

    I feel my disinterest in this ritual has nothing to do with my feelings about my body, or the kind soul trying to penetrate it, but rather there are so many other things I would rather do with my time. Maybe my problem is that I know my body too well? I am pretty much a two pump chump… meaning it doesn’t’ take that much to get me off. So why not do something else with my afternoon like say, read about the prison industrial complex.

    Although I support this effort philosophically, I also am not convinced that it is the only barometer of love for the other, or the self. Feeling comfortable doesn’t mean you yearn to be probed like an alien abductee. Although the quest to glorify all things pussy related is a righteous one – I don’t think the kitty between your thighs is the exclusive decider of your ideal committed relationship. Maybe your perfect partner unloads the dishwasher and does their own laundry?

    Sexuality is complicated, fleeting, hypocritical, finicky, and temperamental – especially for women! We have our monthly moon cycles to contend with. There are a lot of things I would be down for when ovulating – but then a few days later all I want is to watch Netflix and eat brownie batter. That is just the way it is. There are ebbs and flows to desire, and a variety of factors that influence it. Not every person that you would want to gaze inside your love gorge is someone you want to hang out with at Home Depot.

    So by all means – engage in this ceremony if it speaks to you, but I would also suggest the Bed Bath and Beyond test.

    (Maybe this is all you want? Some modern romance!)


    February 23, 2015 • Current Events, Health, Musings, Relationships, Vagina Stuff, Women's Business • Views: 1264

  • My Beauty Routine

    Wait… did you guys hear? Cindy Crawford actually got older over the past 20 years.  HOW DARE SHE, THAT WENCH! Her un-retouched non-photoshopped pictures have surfaced, and no one knows what to think or do about Cindy actually allowing age to happen.  Lord save us from this confusion – can Cindy still be attractive and allow the laws of nature?!!

    What makes someone beautiful? Is it the symmetry of their face? Contours and angles aligning in flawless sacred geometry that would make Fibonacci weep from the mathematical precision? Or is it a really good beauty routine where you clip, inject, buffer, vacuum, shine, wax, sheen, and preen your various lady parts?

    As a woman, I’m supposed to be up on being attractive rituals, because you know… looking good is my value to society and all. I only have a few years left of meaning in my life before I wither away into total insignificance by allowing myself to admit mortality. GROSS! YUCK! NEVER!

    Here’s my problem: my ceremonial, getting myself looking the best I can sacraments are pretty subpar -almost to the point of pathetic. My mom is always trying to inspire me to participate in self-care observances and will say things like, “Toni, don’t squander your looks. Here is a Clarisonic for you to exfoliate with.” She’ll then hand me an electric broom for my face. I am sure this apparatus is great and I would see positive results if I pressed its bristles against my skin to sweep away pesky skill cells, but I can barely motivate myself to brush my teeth let alone my cheeks.

    Yet I have to say, my mom does look amazing. To be honest, she is a great example of what is possible if you were to say… DRINK THE BLOOD OF VIRGINS TO KEEP YOUNG?!! (Seriously, my mom looks crazy good and is obviously a murderous vampire who will probably someday eat my child). To keep up with appearances, my mom pretends her girlish glow is because of a commitment to her procedures, hence gentle suggestions like “don’t use dish soap as shampoo.” (Ummm pretty sure they all have suds Mom so what-ev-er).

    When I think about all the “chick” things I am supposed to do to be hot, I want to impale myself with ironic bang-cutting scissors. Half of the things that are expected of me are actual torture. I cannot do manicures. The sound of someone filing my nails is like CIA style cruelty. I mean, the government would probably make me get a “mani-pedi” naked while shoving assorted tahini flavored products up my ass, but the nail filing is what would push me over the edge. Even the thought of that sound makes my brain itch.

    Then I’m supposed to rip hair out my body at an alarming speed with steaming hot bee diarrhea? Shaving my legs once a season isn’t enough? I can’t let my armpit hair fluctuate between blowing in the wind and an army buzz cut? And stop wondering what is going on with my vagina, you pervert!

    Women who have the money then cut off body parts, suck some out, and then stuff the others with various toxic materials. The plastic surgery options one can get to improve imperfections range from a tucking your twatt into the shape of an om, to puffing up your mouth with collagen. Call me old fashioned, but maybe all four of your lips would be just fine if you left them alone.

    I also find the uniform of sexiness exceedingly uncomfortable. First, it is suggested I separate my butt cheeks with a lacy fabric. Maybe it is just me, but flossing my ass is even more irritating than my teeth (and my gums bleed every time I do that). Then I am supposed to press, lift, and smash my tits into an underwire bra. No no no, that cozy sports bra won’t do, because then I have a “uni-boob” which is even worse then a uni-brow. I circumvent this whole where-do-I-place-my-funbags situation by wearing a nursing bra. It may be conventionally unattractive, but at least it’s easy access.

    Don’t even get me started on skinny jeans and buttons. It’s like a corset for my abdomen to make sure I don’t eat anything on the rare occasion I need to sit down. Don’t worry about me everyone. I will just wear these tight pants, stand, and maybe have a sip of water. If you throw some heels into the mix then forget it – I am not going anywhere. I will literally be where you last left me because I cannot walk. Come to think of it, in the right outfit I am the perfect woman. I will keep my silly thoughts and opinions all to myself because I wont be able to talk simply because of the level of concentration it requires for me to cope with excessive hunger, stay balanced on stilts, and make sure my mascara doesn’t run from tears of pain.

    So I decided to record my beauty routine for one week, to see where I am at. In all honestly – is there any hope for me?

    Saturday: Take shower because seeing friends that evening. Wash face with random bar of soap stuck to the floor from my child molding it into a snowman. There is no hair conditioner; sooo whoops I have to buy that. Put Vitamin E oil on my forehead because I keep making faces and expressing emotion – further deepening wrinkles. Note to self, no more getting surprised. Also, smile less. Put on leggings, t-shirt, no bra, and sweatshirt… now I am ready to be around people.

    Sunday: Wake up wearing leggings, t-shirt, no bra and sweatshirt. I am already dressed because I slept in yesterday’s clothes. Morning routine accomplished. That night I brush teeth, and floss back right molar because a piece of kale is stuck there. Sleep in clothes.

    Monday: It’s a workday, so I change t-shirt. Gotta keep it classy. Keep leggings and sweatshirt going, but its cold so put pair of loose leggings over the other leggings. Morning completed. That night I forget to brush teeth.

    Tuesday: Swap leggings for another pair of leggings. The rest can stay. That night I brush my teeth because I am an adult and it’s been 24 hours.

    Wed: Wake up dressed and ready to go! Add nursing bra because it’s that kinda day. Night: brush teeth.

    Thursday: Change clothes to a NEW pair of leggings, a NEW T-shirt, but the same bra and sweatshirt. Put on hat because it’s cold – and my hair is dirty. Night: brush teeth.

    Friday: Wake up dressed. Nice. Night: Realize it has been 6 days since water has touched any part of my body besides my hands. Debate washing face. Write a note to myself to remind myself to wash my face more. Have a friend over, and tell her about my not washing my face. I wonder out loud if this strategy will hurt my goal to eliminate wrinkles, or aid it. Maybe it is all the face products that give you wrinkles in the first place? My friend informs me that none of her research has ever suggested to not wash face. After she leaves I spend too much time on Facebook looking at videos about aliens. Forget to wash face and brush teeth.

    Saturday: Take shower and wash face with same soap – but now it’s shaped like a deformed penis. Fuck… still no conditioner.

    (Check out my mom… tell me she is not killing it at 63! PS, that is my dad with her.)


    February 16, 2015 • Health, Musings, Women's Business • Views: 790

  • 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: 867

  • Nothing My Kid Does Impresses Me

    I have a serious complex I am going to admit. When I was a kid, my parents never took me to extra curricular classes, and I still feel slighted. My mom claims she brought me to ballet once, but I wasn’t into it so she was like “screw it.” Ummm mom, you were supposed to pressure me to excel regardless and become my “momager!” DIDN’T YOU LOVE ME ENOUGH TO DESTROY ME??

    I guess my mom did sign me up for tennis in the summers, but she didn’t bring me to the clinics to watch me. She just pointed to my bike and said, “The court is 2 miles that way.” When I played sports throughout school my parents NEVER came to my games, and I was always that kid with no one in the stands to cheer them on. Are you crying for me yet!!? Although I am obviously still working out some PTSD and deep-rooted resentment issues – I also totally get it.

    That shit is as boring as a dry fuck hole.

    However, in reaction to my upbringing I have enlisted The Munch in a variety of classes. She takes both dance and gymnastics twice a week, and now wants to play hockey as well. Theoretically I am very supportive of this. I want to expose Munch to a variety of artistic and physical outlets to learn skills. But… I also have been doing everything I can to avoid being the one responsible for bringing her to such events. If I can get someone else to do it, you bet your sweet ass that is what is happening.

    The obvious problem is I am selfish about my extra curricular time and want to work on my creative projects as much as possible. You guys, stop judging me. I am almost done with my movie about queefs, and it’s going to be amazing! My other issue is that I am excessively critical and hardly impressed by anything.

    BEFORE YOU THINK I AM AN ASSHOLE – IT IS NOT MY FAULT!! Have you seen the Internet lately?? Kids are amazing out there!! There are babies who breakdance, a 4-year old who is a top fashion designer at J-Crew, and a fetus that kicks ass at basketball. I have seen so much talent out there in the interwebs that my kid’s cartwheel seems just kinda meh.

    DON’T WORRY OKAY! I keep this all to myself and tell Munch her handstands are outstanding even though her alignment is off. She will get there I know… because I will MAKE her practice until she does, but that is beside the point. For what it’s worth, Munch’s gymnastics teacher sees potential in her, but all I see is a kid who hasn’t mastered the front walkover.

    January 21, 2015 • 4 years old, Education, Health, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Parenting, Playing • Views: 710

  • 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.



  • Peer Pressure Boston Adventure

    I used to be strong. I had never been susceptible to peer pressure. I was committed to my convictions, and believed in the validity of my perspective. And then something happened. Something that confused me, wore me down, and pushed every button of my being like I was a Nintendo 64. That something I am referring to was the meshing of my DNA to create another human.

    Since squirting out The Munch, I doubt myself more. Not because I don’t think I know what I am doing, but because there is someone talking in my ear every second of my life, and I have no peaceful moments to think. I am easily flustered because from the second The Munch opens her eyes, she is spouting the utterings of her consciousness like silence is something that must be destroyed by the sound of her high-pitched voice. When she is not talking, The Munch is doing something that I for sure don’t want her to be doing – but because she is being quiet I take my sweet time investigating the shit show she is creating in the other room.

    The other morning I was rushing to get ready to take Munch to the doctor’s in Boston to get her lazy eye checked. Unlike my hippy doctor where we make appointments days in advance, the “White Man’s Western Medicine Doctor” means I made this appointment 6-months ago… and of course I was running late. Why you may ask… because a certain someone had to change her clothes 7 times that morning. (I have a lot of sweatpants to choose from).

    While I was getting everything ready, and packing snacks for the car, The Munch was in the bathroom “playing.” When I finally went in to grab her, I discovered that she was actually painting the bathtub, and her face, with red glitter.

    Toni: Whoa dude… that is an insane amount of glitter.
    Munch: I was just making the bathtub pretty and my eyes beautiful for the eye doctor.
    Toni: Okay cool… but that is really quite a lot. Let me wipe some off so your doctor doesn’t think I am breeding you to become a stripper in Tampa.
    Munch: Where is Tampa?
    Toni: Uhhhhhh Munch… why isn’t the glitter coming off?
    Munch: Oh. Because I glued it on.
    Toni: What?
    Munch: Yeah… I just used this glue right here…
    Toni: Wow… you sure as shit did.

    I then shoved my harlot daughter into the car and started frantically driving to Boston. Even if we didn’t stop once, we would maybe have 3 minutes to spare. When we were about 20 minutes away, I called my mom and asked if she would figure out the exact building we had to go to in Mass General…. She called back to say my appointment was at 9:45 not 11:15.

    Toni: That is a fucking lie!! WHAT THE DICK!!!!!!!!!! They told me 11:15!!!!!!!!!! I even called the other day and they never corrected me? WHAT THE FUCK!!
    My Mom: I don’t know what do say. You can still spend the day in Boston and enjoy yourself while I hang with Munch?
    Toni: AHHHHHHHHH I CAN’T ENJOY MYSELF! It is going to take 7-months to make another appointment. FUCK FUCK FUCK!
    Munch: Mamma, what is wrong?
    Toni: We missed your appointment…
    Munch: That is okay. We can just go another day.
    Toni: Munch you don’t get it… that means I just drove 2-hours for nothing when I could of spent the day hating myself in front of the computer!

    When we got to Boston, my mom suggested I go to the hospital and beg them to see me. My whole walk there I prepared my speech. My approach had to be flawless or else they would turn me away from the hospital, and I would have gotten Ebola for nothing. Luckily I convinced the receptionist to see us because I am just that convincing. The doctor did a bunch of tests and told me exactly what I knew she was going to tell me. All the hippy stuff I did is great and all, and it is cool that she wore the eye patch, but she still suggests surgery. Come to think of it, she probably knew she was going to suggest this from day one, and the eye patch was just a formality. Something tells me eye surgery is kind of like the c-section for ophthalmology. Not always necessary, but a well-rehearsed process.

    After we left, my mom offered to take Munch for ice cream so I could walk around and think about what to do. I said that was a good idea, but I really didn’t want to think about this at all so I decided to walk down Newbury Street and look for some birthday presents for the Scorpios in my life. Okay, now here is where everything went to shit for me. I was already in a fragile state from the chaos of the day, and I have not gone “shopping” in maybe 5 years. I live it the sticks, and the only place I go to buy stuff is the farm stand to get some squash cookies sweetened with intentions. Being in a store with sales people overwhelms the shit out of me. I start to panic just thinking about them asking if they can help me, and the potential disappointment they will feel if I say “no thank you” – or even worse… leave the store without buying anything! The responsibility for their wellbeing is just too much to bear!

    I walked into a store that seemed big enough were I could just peruse on my own, but this girl could smell my vulnerability. She came up, and stuck to me like a barnacle. She wouldn’t stop talking. It was almost worse than Munch because she actually expected me to talk back. At least Munch has the decency to talk AT me. My social anxiety disorder started kicking in, and I desperately wanted her to go away – but she kept smiling at me!! It is not that she was mean or anything. In fact she was super cute and friendly. Yet she wouldn’t stop showing me stuff in the store that she liked. I started to get so flustered I didn’t even know what was cool anymore because this 19-year old chick was chirping in my ear about music school and growing up in San Francisco.

    For some reason, my reaction was to lie about every question she asked me. I don’t know why I did this, but according to this girl I live in Boston, work in graphic design, and have a phobia of balloons. I also have a guinea pig named Coco who I knit sweaters for, and I only wear wool socks. Things got so out of hand. I didn’t want to buy anything, but I couldn’t leave unless I did. I felt too guilty because we had been talking all this time, even though I didn’t want to be talking to her in first place. She showed me some hats, and even tried them on for me. I picked two thinking it would be the cheapest option, and left paying $145!!! FOR TWO FUCKING HATS!! I can’t believe I got peer pressured by a child to buy an $80 leopard print hat!?

    By this point I was about ready to have an aneurism. I decided grab some dinner for my mom and Munch, and go home. Yet the restaurant I ordered from had a wait of 20 minutes to get our food. Wait… did I mention that my phone was dead by this point?? Well it was!! I couldn’t just sit somewhere no phone to stare at and entertain me. THAT WOULD BE FUCKING INSANE!!

    I went back to the street, but everywhere I looked there were shops! I went into one jewelry store hoping I wouldn’t be noticed. Everything was insanely expensive and I was spotted within seconds. “How can I help you?” The expectations of the sales clerks were too much! I felt like I was disappointing them just by being there. It was as if I was the tap dancing son of a football coach in the South. I had to run out of there and hyperventilate against a wall. Why did they keep saying “hi” to me!! What do you want from me?!! Can’t you just leave me alone to look at stuff I will never buy?

    I still had 18 minutes to kill, so I decided to stand outside of restaurants and read their menus. This may have been slightly strange for the diners in the windows, but at least I didn’t have to converse with them, or pay for their rigatoni.

    (Here is sparkle eyes Munch… and the top picture is me and that stupid fucking hat)

    boston-blog-(i) boston-blog-(i2)

  • Why Do People Smoke Weed?

    I used to smoke a lot of pot. When I think about how much money I spent on 1/8ths of weed, I could have easily bought a car. Not like a lotus or anything, but definitely a 2003 Toyota Camry. When I lived in New York City I would call a delivery service that would come to my house – always 2 hours late. The coke guy was there in 15 minutes and sweating profusely, but the marijuana guy would most likely get around to coming between 2-7. This could have been considered annoying if I wasn’t already on the couch playing video games, or watching documentaries about animals communicating telepathically.

    I would then pick out a type of weed from a variety of strands. They had absurd names like “sticky laughy taffy,” “total chronic meltdown” or “paranoid punk rock absolute ganja package.” As far as I knew they were all the same shit, but having the choice made me feel a connoisseur. Ahhh yes sir, I will take the “fuck my mind and erase my face,” today. I would then smell it like a fine wine, and give the nod that I was pleased with my informed decision. “I think this will go great with the cheese sandwich I will be eating in 40 minutes.”

    My boyfriend and I would always befriend our weed delivery guys, not out of obligation, but more because we never left our apartment. We were pretty much starving for human contact. We would often offer the guy a bong hit, which he rarely refused. We would get high, laugh for a bit, but then feel increasingly uncomfortable as we thought too much about how everything is actually nothing. There would be a silence that lasted either 3 minutes or 2 hours (it was hard to tell) – yet would eventually get interrupted by the sound of the weed guy’s pager. He would slowly gather his things while mumbling about how he has to hurry to get to the next client, but we all know his real agenda was to get a slice of pizza and stare at a wall.

    Our next plan of action was to deal with the relentless munchies that were upon us. Of course there was the option to go outside and get food, but the thought of interacting with the reality we just smoked away was way too much pressure. I would call the bodega that was ½ a block away, and the lady who owned “Sunny and Annie’s” would always recognize my voice. Every time she answered my “hello” with “yes 190 East 7th street apartment 701 – what kind of cereal you want?”

    I smoked consistently for a decade of my life and never really questioned “why?” Part of my rational was that it helped me sleep at night. I had been an insomniac since childhood, and the weed did assist me in passing the fuck out in front of the TV. Yet that wasn’t the sole reason. Of course weed can be fun, provide an interesting perspective, and provoke insight… but it can also make you lethargic, suspicious, and introverted. There was something profound that I was holding onto beyond “self-medicating” but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. The classic analysis was that I was running from something, or trying to avoid dealing with existence, but it felt deeper than that. It was giving me something that I needed, even though it was also taking away things I required.

    I stopped smoking pot 6 years ago. I had been trying to quit for 2 years prior (because of my brain tumor), but couldn’t fully commit to abstaining. Then there was one fateful day when I was forced to realize that I had indeed smoked enough. I was at my friend’s house, and she offered me a bong hit. It had been quite some time since I had one of those, yet I went for it anyway because that is how I role. About five minutes later, I was lying on her floor having a full-fledged anxiety attack. I had no idea who I was, or what being “Toni” even meant. I couldn’t remember how to think, what thinking even was, or how on earth I had ever been comfortable thinking at all. I was losing it and started to shake uncontrollably because I was so cold.

    My friend brought me to her bedroom and had my lie down in there. Partly because she was concerned, and partly because she wanted to watch a movie and my moaning was too distracting. I kept shaking and complaining about being freezing. She put two more blankets on me including a heated electric one. I finally relaxed and fell asleep.

    I woke up about an hour later and had some harsh realizations. I had to say to myself “Okay Toni… it is 3:00 in the afternoon and 75 degrees out – but you are under 7 comforters and had to be put to bed like a baby because you got too high.” My friend gave me some apple crisp (which was the best thing I ever tasted) and I decided that maybe it was time to finally call it quits.

    I can’t say I haven’t missed it. I have. But I have been too afraid to smoke because I really didn’t want to bug the fuck out. Yet when I was dealing with all my back pain, a kind friend gave me a weed tincture to deal with the suffering. I was super nervous about giving it a try, but also desperate for some relief. None of my hippy doctors had prescription capabilities to give me the high-grade narcotics I was begging for. I took a tiny sip of the tincture and waited. Was I going to see Jesus? Was I going to lose my mind? I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

    Because I took such a micro dose, I didn’t get high… but I did have an epiphany about why people (me) smoke pot. Weed is a plant. It has a personality. An essence. Maybe even a soul. Wait… stay with me now. When you smoke her, it is like inviting someone into your brain to keep you company. She is someone to have a conversation with inside your consciousness. Weed becomes a friend within your own mind who averts you from being alone with your thoughts. She is the antidote for the feeling of solitude that we are born alone and we die alone. She is there with you.

    Maybe you are thinking, “it sounds like you actually did get high as fuck Toni” but whatever. Anyway, I have to run and eat some ice cream on toast.

    (Here is a montage of pictures where I am as high as fuck…)


    October 28, 2014 • Health, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 1496

  • A Distraction From Life

    You know what blows? When you are really excited for something to happen, and it doesn’t go down the way you had planned. It is like experiencing emotional blue balls. You just want to release your joy all over the back of existence, but then some metaphoric knock pounds down the door to cock-block your bliss.

    Disappointment is probably the most dissatisfying emotion. At least if you are angry or sad there is some spice too it. You can punch walls, or weep until your eyes look like Bill Clinton’s. Yet when you are disappointed all you do is turn yourself inside out like dyslexic calzone – oozing cheesy self-pity all over the place, but too despondent to spread the sauce of your agony. There is a pathetic flavor to disappointment. You are inherently admitting anticipation that was squelched like a weed in a soybean farm sprayed with pesticides. There is nothing cool about being let down, because it shows you cared in the first place.

    Over the weekend I was going to host a dance retreat so some friends and I could spend our days dancing our asses off. Not in a twerking kind of way where we bounced our asses until they created so much friction they combusted, but in a sweet way. I like having women’s weekends where we eat copious amounts of kale, drink an absurd amount of tea, and talk incessantly about how we don’t need men – because if we discuss them constantly that means we totally aren’t thinking about them am I right?

    The first night I led a yoga class where we explored our 2nd Chakra. You know how bitches are all about opening up their hips and shit. That evening, while washing homemade hummus off the dishes, I told my friend I was going to bail on the morning Kundalini yoga adventure.

    My friend Sarah: NO! You have to go. That is part of the whole plan.
    Toni: I don’t know… it is just so early. I will just meet you guys back here when yo are done.
    My friend Sarah: Dude… it is one morning. We are all giving and we are all sharing our talents. Don’t be a wimp.

    So I womanned up and went to the class. The thing about Kundalini yoga, is that it is all about moving energy and going into the crevices of the body to address core issues. It is more intense than other kinds of Yoga, which is why it is both amazing and terrifying. Not everyday you are psychically prepared to look your inner demons in the face and have a conversation about your damaged childhood.

    I am pretty sure that on this Saturday morning, I just wasn’t in the mental state to get to the bottom of my self-loathing and inner rage. We did all these positons and exercises that felt equally freeing and constricting. As soon as we left the class and I got into my car, I knew my back was totally screwed up. I was like “FUCK! Who am I kidding? I am white! I am not supposed to face my emotions, but repress them deep inside my body until I eventually die of a heart attack. That is the American way!”

    We got back to my house and I tried to do the ballet class – but I could hardly move. I forced myself to continue through the crippling pain for 30-minutes because that is what New England people do, but then I had to lay down and admit defeat. I had fucked my shit up hard core. I could feel it in my back and my hips – if I was a rapper this could have been a pretty sweet Hip Hop song.

    I tried to stretch to release the spasms, but it wasn’t working. I fell down the staircase of frustration because I knew that my dance retreat was ruined. There was no way I was going to have spontaneous recovery and pirouette my way out of this. All my excitement about the weekend was transformed into feeling very very very sorry for myself.

    One of my friends is OF COURSE a hippy healer girl, so she came over to do some voodoo on me.

    Hippy Healer Friend: I am getting a message that part of your pain has to do with your daughter. Not sure exactly what, but that is the information I am receiving. Maybe some issues of violence?

    Ummmm…. WHAT THE DICK!? The last thing I wanted was some peaceful yoga hippy girl to think I was beating my child or something!!?

    Toni: Ummmm violence?
    Hippy Healer Friend: Well it doesn’t have to be literal violence. It could be emotional. Or spiritual. Anyway… don’t get attached to any of this. Just something to think about.
    Toni: Uhhhh yeah okay…

    Not sure if you have ever tried to peacefully receive a healing while at the same time stressing out about what your healer thought of you. But let me tell you… it is NOT as relaxing as it sounds.

    I tried to think about why those were the messages this serene chick was getting about me. It just seemed so extreme?! I mean, I guess I had admitted to her the night before how I let The Munch eat ice cream for breakfast. I some how rationalized this because she also had green beans. The Hippy Healer girl also witnessed The Munch watching Snow White. Maybe in her pristine child-raising world where her daughter thinks raisins are candy and screen time refers to some mediation practice, exposing my child to Disney and vanilla flavored sugar was a type of violence?? Maybe Munch also casually mentioned how we eat meat too! BUT IT IS ORGANIC FLESH FROM A LOCAL FARM OKAY!!???

    I wasn’t exactly sure that my pain had to do with The Munch, and was more convinced it was my philosophic quandary regarding the futility of existence. This relentless knowing that no matter what life path I choose, it will be fraught with bullshit and the same patterns of consciousness that oppress me today. How regardless of my efforts, I will continually make the same mistakes while I swirl in a spiral of mediocrity. Come to think of it, I would much rather contemplate my relationship to The Munch than that shit!

    So I thought about my child, and how so often she can feel like a distraction from life. Yet in truth, she is not distracting me from my life. The Munch is my life. Maybe The Munch thinks I am not showing her that enough?? Perhaps she feels that our time spent together, I am too distracted from all my blaming her for being the distraction.

    I felt sad. Even though I can’t live my life where every second of everyday is devoted to my child, I still want her to feel valued. I decided we had to have a discussion about this so I could get to the bottom of my back pain … ummm I mean, be a good mother to my kid and figure out how she was feeling.

    Toni: Munch, you know how Mamma’s back hurts?
    The Munch: Yeah….
    Toni: Well, my friend says it is not physical. She says my spine feels aligned. She thinks it is an energetic block from something emotional.
    The Munch: What is emotional?
    Toni: Like my feelings? She thinks my back hurts because of my feelings. She told me it has something to do with our relationship. What do you think about that?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe your back hurts because you dance too much. Maybe you should stop dancing because it is so boring for me.
    Toni: Ummm well I love dancing so that is not going to happen. But what do you think about our relationship. Do you think I am a good Mamma to you?
    The Munch: Well sometimes. You always say “no” to me when I want more chocolate.
    Toni: Okay “more” chocolate… fine. But I have to do that. Seriously. Are there things you want me to do different? Is there ways I could be a better Mamma to you?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe we just have to take care of each other more.
    Toni: Okay. That sounds like a plan.

    The next day, because I was hurt, I couldn’t do anything but relax. As a result, The Munch and I ended up spending 7-hours playing together with ZERO interruptions. We didn’t even leave the room we were in. I didn’t touch my phone. We just hung out – and rationed out a banana with peanut butter to survive. It was like we were in a vortex. Usually some thing breaks up your day, like going on an errand, or having some sort of obligation to do. Yet we were in this black hole of togetherness that nothing could penetrate.

    Things got kind of weird at times, we laughed, we fought, and she pretended to be a baby as I swaddled her in a yoga blanket. But it was amazing to just be present with her. I am not sure we have been like that since she was first born and I was high on all the new mom hormones. So even though it sucked my back hurt and I couldn’t dance for my retreat, it created the space for this memorable moment with the most important person in my life.