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Adventures
Category

  • Boobs: body shaming myself doing stand up comedy


    If you have boobs, how do you feel about them? What is your relationship to the fat sacks that protrude from the front of your chest? Are they a source of satisfaction? Do they lift your spirits, or cause humiliation? Do they weigh your soul down? 

    As a dance teacher, I can tell a lot about what you think about your boobs by looking at your posture. If your shoulders protrude inwards and your upper back slopes to hide them, that’s usually because you are emotionally conflicted by the presence of your breasts. Yet if you stand in such a manner where you stick them out, arching your lumbar spine thus compromising proper alignment of the sacrum, I can assume you feel confidence in your tits. There are some women (present company included) that have a hybrid of these two extremes. My shoulders slightly turn in to conceal them, and my lower back slightly arches to reveal them. 

    Our unconscious bias about our sex flaps have major physical and psychological repercussions. From a physiological perspective regarding proper posture, what we should aim for is neutrality. Neither pride nor shame – but acceptance. Our boobs don’t define us as women, they are merely accessories to our frame that should be viewed as impartially as elbows.   

    Easier said than done right!!?? 

    I realized a lot about what I actually feel about my body this weekend when I went to NYC to do a marathon of stand-up comedy shows. There is nothing that will put you in touch with your neurosis like standing in front of 70 people and trying to get them to not only laugh at your jokes, but also like you. 

    For my first few nights performing I wore a baggie t-shirt on stage. In my New Hampshire life, I wear a uniform of sweatpants and baggie t-shirts. Since I dance every day, there is no point in wearing anything but dance clothes, and my dance clothes look surprisingly like my pajamas. I have my night time sweats, my day time sweats, and they are indistinguishable. Even though I put on some eye liner for these comedy shows, my outfit felt very New Hampshire to me. Baggie shirt. Baggie harem pants. My body was hidden.  

    Yet my last night of performing I *gasp* put on a tank top. It wasn’t a super revealing tank top mind you – yet it was form fitting and revealed the shape of my figure. Now why did I wear said tank top? Because it was hot outside yes… but also because it was a hot looking tank top. It was my last night in the City and I thought maybe after my final comedy show I would go “out” with one of my NYC friends to have some party time.

    When I lived in NYC for 10 years, NY Toni loved party time! NY Toni loved to go out dancing. The thing with NY Toni was that NY Toni was always kind of hungry, always seeking something, always looking for who was looking at her. New Hampshire Toni doesn’t do that stuff because there is no one for NH Toni to see seeing her but the trees in her back yard.

    Since leaving NYC ten years ago I have been trying to find a balance between these two selves, but its painful to let go of who you were to become who you are. So, off I went to perform in my tank top that was also my going “out shirt.” Don’t worry though, I was still wearing the same baggie harem pants from the night before because I can’t bother to shower when in the city because rats. Plus I had recently discovered the glory of dry shampoo and was pouring that powder on my head like I was a founding father.

    When I got to the comedy venue, I was feeling pretty damn good about myself. The other shows had gone really well and I was excited about the material. Everything was going my way so you can see where this is going… right? 

    I got on stage in my tank top, took one look at the audience, and immediately I started to unravel. Before I even opened my mouth, I knew it was going to go badly. My problem was that right in front of me was a disapproving older woman. The way she looked at me made me crumble. All my confidence melted like the Wicked Witch of the West and I was left with a pile of my own shame.

    I felt my body and could sense her looking at me, looking through me. I became convinced that this disproving woman knew my motivation in wearing that tank top was superficial. She was aware that I wore that tank top to be old NY Toni even though she is a person in my past – a nostalgic version of myself I can no longer access sincerely. I tried to do my set, but I fumbled, flailed, and spun around in circles like a drunk spider weaving a web of humiliation.

    The thing about stand-up comedy is that it’s very rare for an entire room to like me. But if I can get 2/3 of the room on my side, it can be a really good show. There were many other people besides this disapproving older woman that could have enjoyed me, but she was the trigger I pulled in my own mental suicide on stage. I was ashamed of my tank top, of my body, and of my intentions. It was threw her eyes that I saw myself, even though I was really seeing myself through my own eyes looking through her eyes into my own eyes.

    Every other comic that show did well but me. They were also all men. I watched dude after dude make jokes that were just as crude as mine. The dudes were getting away with things I wasn’t because they were confident and I was so obviously unsure of myself. Just my luck, I had two more shows to do and there was no way I could do them in that fucking tank top. I snuck outside, went to a tourist shop, and bought a huge I Heart NY T-shirt. Of course, once I was properly covered, I killed the rest of my shows. 

    What the fuck happened? Was it me or was it the tank top?

    It was how I FELT about the tank top.

    In the external world, I think I did experience sexism from that older woman. She was genuinely judging me in a way that she wasn’t judging the men. I believe she did resent my body. But you know what? Men are sexist against me when I’m on stage all the time and it doesn’t affect me. If the sexist men don’t trigger me then why does the sexist woman? I was more impacted by the woman being sexist because I expect if from the men, but I don’t expect it from the women.

    But do you see what just happened there? I allow men to get away with sexism but not women!!? Now I’ve turned myself into a misogynist for hating women who hate me and allowing men rights I don’t allow women! 

    AHHHHHHHHHHH! 

    In the internal world, I was impacted by the disapproving older woman because I have been socialized and conditioned to pander to the feelings of the older woman. Both my parents had contentious relationships to their mothers, so for me as a child, my relationship to my grandmothers was through the lens of my parent’s fear. Rather than feeling like I could be myself around my grandmothers, I felt I had to acquiesce to how they wanted me to be. I felt that love was conditional, and people only loved you if you pleased them.

    The reason I was so impacted by the disapproving older woman in the audience was because she was the physical manifestation of one of my primal wounds! As such, I bled all over her, and myself.

    Of course, I could have had the opposite reaction than to cover up like I was visiting a mosque. I could have been like, “fuck that – I like my tank top and this is who I am in my tank top so deal with it!” That is an approach that can really work for women too! Women shouldn’t have to conceal their bodies to feel like themselves. Finding confidence has nothing to do with what you are actually wearing, but how you feel about yourself in what you are wearing. The clothes are the casing. But your attitude is what makes the difference.

    If I felt like myself in a lace camisole I could perform in one, and still be my authentic self. But in truth, Toni, especially New Hampshire Toni, feels best about Toni in loose clothes. When I am most myself, I am wearing New Hampshire Toni clothes. New Hampshire Toni does not seek the approval of the male gaze. New Hampshire Toni likes to be comfortable. New Hampshire Toni things buttons on pants are Guantanamo bay style torture.

    If what I seek for on stage is authenticity, its New Hampshire Toni that I have to dress like.                       

    Here I am… contemplating my boobs

  • Ants in my Pants

    Because I love and care about you so severely, I understand how crucial it is for your personal serenity to keep you fully informed on the voyage of my bodily woes. For me to experience the tribulations of my physique without sharing it with you is in fact, a deep injustice. As someone who cares about the betterment of humanity it is my civic duty to continue with the saga of Toni’s biological quandaries. 

    It began with my being told that my liver wasn’t functioning properly, and there is nothing like a dysfunctional liver to motivate me to do psychedelic medicine in the forest with Shamans. I then woke up after that experience having a tick hanging off my heck, like a diminutive Dracula slurping my plasma yet dissatisfied by my lack of virginity. The tick and I engaged in an exchange of fluids, without my consent mind you, which made this minuscule monstrous organism a blood rapist. I of course feared contracting a tick STD, and as such got it tested at the lab. Living in New England we all fear Tick AIDS, otherwise known as Lyme Disease. When I got the results, I was relieved to find that the tick tested negative for Lyme, but positive for Bartonella. So, I guess I potentially now have tick chlamydia. 

    A few days later I woke up itching. Now I am sure there are some people who can itch and have a mature relationship with this discomfort. They may notice the itchy sensation, but still maintain the emotional maturity and foresight to know that scratching is not the answer. I, however, am not that kind of person. When something itches on my body my solution is to claw myself until I no longer have skin.

    A few days went by with me using my talons to tear at my own flesh before I started to ask the question, “Hey Toni, why are you so itchy?” My first assumption was fleas. I figured my dog gave me fleas. 

    Toni: I think my dog has fleas.

    Receptionist at the Vet: Is she scratching a lot?  

    Toni: No. 

    Receptionist at the Vet: Then why do you think she has fleas?   

    Toni: Because I’m scratching a lot.

    Receptionist at the Vet: Oh. Okay. Well let’s use this flea comb to see.   

    Toni: You’re going to comb my skin?

    Receptionist at the Vet: No – the dog’s fur.    

    Toni: Right. 

    We comb the dog. 

    Receptionist at the Vet: Hmmmmm I really don’t see any fleas on her. 

    Toni: Do you think you could look at my bites and tell me if you think they are flea bites?

    Receptionist at the Vet: Sure.    

    Toni: Here is a picture I took because I didn’t think it was appropriate to pull down my pants at the Vet, and its mostly on the back of my legs. 

    Receptionist at the Vet: Thanks for picking up on that social cue. 

    I show her the picture. 

    Toni: What do you think?

    Receptionist at the Vet: It’s hard to tell? They look like spider bites to me.

    Toni: Can I just show you?

    I pull down my pants in the FRONT of the vet office. 

    Receptionist at the Vet: Yeah those don’t look like fleas to me. I think you’re sleeping with an angry spider.  

    Toni: SLEEPING WITH AN ANGRY SPIDER!

    Receptionist at the Vet: I think so? Either that or do you have ants in your house?

    Toni: Of course I have ants in my house. They’re everywhere. 

    Receptionist at the Vet: They could be carnivorous ants? 

    Toni: CARNIVOROUS ANTS!    

    After fulling cleaning and vacuuming my room of any potential enraged arachnids I noticed that the itching was spreading. It was not only on my legs, but also my arms, and lucky for me, my ass. I then became convinced that I did in fact have ants in my pants. 

    As the days passed, and the itching continued, I looked at the enflamed stigmatas covering my human casing and figured that perhaps ants weren’t’ the culprit. I knew it was time to do the adult thing. No – not go to the doctor silly – self-diagnose my rash by using google images. After beholding a variety of gruesome ailments, I decided I had scabies. 

    At the moment of my verdict I was visiting NYC to be on a Podcast, and suddenly realized I was potentially spreading scabies all over the city. I finally called my doctor in New Hampshire.

    Toni: I think I have scabies. Can I please get some medicine prescribed to me? 

    Receptionist at Doctor’s Office: Why do you think you have scabies?

    Toni: The internet.  

    Receptionist at Doctor’s Office: Okay. Well the doctor can’t prescribe you medicine over the phone without seeing you.         

    Toni: Can I send you a picture of my open flesh wounds? 

    Receptionist at Doctor’s Office: Okay.          

    Toni: I just don’t want to be spreading scabies like the outbreak monkey.

    Receptionist at Doctor’s Office: Can you go to a clinic down there? Or the emergency room?

    Toni: Gross! I’m not going to a city emergency room! Who knows what people have!

    Receptionist at Doctor’s Office: Right. They could have scabies.          

    As I was about to get on the subway, on the streets of NY, I pulled down my pants so my aunt could take a fresh picture of the back of my legs. I did however have the intelligence not to make her photograph my ass crack, which was also equally afflicted. 

    The receptionist called me back. 

    Receptionist at Doctor’s Office: The doctor can’t tell by the pictures and without seeing you.          

    Toni: For the love of Gaia. 

    Receptionist at Doctor’s Office: We can’t see you until Tuesday. 

    I decided I couldn’t wait that long and went to a “walk in” clinic. Call me old fashioned, but something about scabies in my anus made me want to take action.

    For the record, I highly suggest whenever you go to the doctor from now on, that you believe you have scabies in your rectum – then anything they tell you will be a relief 

    Doctor at Walk in Clinic: That’s poison ivy. 

    Toni: WELL THANK THE GODDESS IT ISN’T SCABIES!   

    Here is the Mama ant commanding her babies to attack… at least that’s how it feels in my pants!



    May 16, 2019 • Adventures, Health • Views: 916

  • A San Pedro Ceremony and my Rebirth into the Cosmos

    You ever go to the doctor and they tell you something you don’t want to hear? I recently went to a medical professional and the doctor kept insisting that there is something wrong with my liver and blood, which I found really irritating. I got so angry at her. I kept thinking to myself, “why are you telling me this? I don’t like hearing this at all!” That wasn’t on my agenda for the day! I was merely in her office to refill my lady cream prescription and there she was telling me I potentially had some disease. A disease!? Doesn’t that seem so dramatic? She was thinking either tick borne, genetic, or maybe I had slept with someone who shot heroine? That’s a pretty wide range of potentials! I tried to narrow it down in my head, but anything is possible. Ticks are all over the place, my genetics are a bit wacky, and who knows if I have some heroine sex disease from my past? I mean who hasn’t slept with someone who did heroine? Someone who hasn’t lived that’s who! 

    I left her office a bit perplexed and with a slip of paper telling me to get more bloodwork done. I then decided to consult my acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist to see what she had to say.

    My Acupuncturist: Hmmmm. Your liver chi is very weak. Blood deficiency too. 

    Toni: Oh dear. Do you know why my liver chi is weak?

    My Acupuncturist: Because your liver is cold. 

    Toni: Do you know why my liver is cold?

    My Acupuncturist: Because your stomach is cold.  

    Toni: Do you know why my stomach is cold?  

    My Acupuncturist: Because your liver is cold. 

    I much preferred that line of thinking, don’t you? The dialogue with western medicine is too narrow – something is wrong with you thus you have a disease. Such a linear way of thinking, like a boner of rationality pointing me in one direction. The Chinese approach is much more palatable because is circular. The ovarian shaped logic that my liver is cold because my stomach is cold because my liver is cold – an eternal spherical insight into my health. I left my acupuncturist with herbs to warm up my organs and then thought about what to do next as I waited for the results of my blood work. So, I did what any responsible adult would do faced with unknown health ailments. I signed up to do San Pedro with some shamans in the woods. 

    I am a firm believer that the reason one has physical ailments is because our “higher self” is trying to communicate to our ego through the language of the body. I felt that higher self Toni was trying to tell ego Toni a message that just regular Toni wasn’t listening to. Supposedly the liver has to do with anger, but I wasn’t sure what I was angry at. I try to be a compassionate person that understands where people are coming from. I often visualize the Buddhist practice of picturing those that hurt me as a defenseless baby to remind myself that we are all victims of our programming. Yet according to my liver, I was angry so I had to let that out! Whatever anger that was inside me had to go! My anger at my family, myself, humanity, people from my past… The San Pedro was going to open my heart to it all… right?

    I didn’t know much about San Pedro, but I have done ayahuasca before because of course I have. I decided not to look too much into it and instead just open my heart to receive whatever the medicine had to teach me. The ceremony took place outside and during the day, which was very appealing to me. I’d much prefer being in nature than stuck inside in some decontextualized setting where I would feel the absurdity of trying to recreate a traditional ceremony inside. When I had done ayahuasca years before I could not quite get over the reality that I was in fact notin the Amazon jungle, but instead in some yoga studio in Connecticut. At least with this situation I’d be in the forest which I found great solace in. 

    After drinking the San Pedro, we all got into a line and walked in a silent procession towards the river. It was about a mile and half journey and the whole time I was trying to keep myself from puking. I attempted to appreciate the beauty around me, but anytime I looked up from the soil, the nausea took over. I kept my head down and kept walking, trying to focus on my breath. It then dawned on me that I had NO idea what San Pedro was going to feel like. It had been years since I had done a new “drug,” and didn’t know what to anticipate. I did my best to exhale my fears and release the panic of the unknown. 

    Eventually we got to the river and made our offerings of tobacco, crystals, and sea shells. We then gathered around a tree to pray and connect to the spirit. The shamans were a husband and wife team which I really appreciated. It felt balanced – both the father and mother energy. They chanted, drummed, talked about our ancestors, and we prayed. I no longer felt sick, but instead lost myself in the quantum entanglement of those who came before me. I connected to my grandfather who I had never met. I did some healing with him and my grandmother around their very contentious divorce. I danced between worlds and held the hands of those that I shared lineage with. The female Shaman started talking about the importance of family, both through blood and humanity. Her voice cracked as she begged us to find our gratitude. My heart broke. I wept at their generosity. I cried tears for their sharing of their ancient wisdom and healing medicine with us white devils. I felt my whiteness profoundly. I sobbed at what white people have done to indigenous people, to nature, to themselves. I felt so much gratitude to bring my ancestors in communion with the ancestors of these shamans. I came to terms with life and death. “We come from our ancestors, and then we return to our ancestors. That’s where we go when we die – back into the arms of our ancestors that bore us. My life’s purpose is to do as much healing as I can of my past ancestors and myself. I then have to bring that energy back to them. The only purpose of my life is to be the best version of myself possible so as to help heal the past, and then to parent my child to be the best person she can be to help heal the future. Death is no big deal. It’s just going back from where I came.” It made so much sense.

    After hours of praying it was time to silently walk back. I hugged the tree and started to follow the rest, and realized, “Holy shit Toni, you are tripping HARD!” 

    I could see the trees breathing. I could see the ground moving. I could have stayed and looked at the bark morph for hours, but I had to follow the rest of the group. I surrendered to my lack of control. I had no personal agency because the experience wasn’t about me. It was about the group. The collective. The family. The shamans were guiding us and I allowed that to be. I kept walking and noticed a leaf. I realized something. “Some people are just born men! They can’t help being born men any more than this leaf can help being born a leaf. They are just men! And men are okay! Men are doing the best they can with being men! And come to think of it, a lot of men don’t rape women. A lot of men don’t beat women. A lot of men don’t destroy nature. A lot of men are really trying.” And just like that, years of resentment, animosity, rage, and disappointment in men just melted away. “Men have something to offer!” I appreciated men in a way I hadn’t maybe ever. Because I have been so disgusted by the actions of SOME men it poisoned me to men. But it wasn’t men that I was angry at exclusively. I was also angry at myself for how I allowed men to treat me. I was mad at myself for what I had done for men. I was furious at myself for not asking more for from men. But men have value. Men are bringing something to this earth that is needed, even if some are corrupted.  

    We eventually made it back to where the camp site was.  A sweat lodge had been built and it was time to enter. It was a cold rainy day, and it was hard to take my clothes off. The mud was up to my ankles and cold. So cold. The air was damp. I shivered. I walked towards the sweat lodge and entered. It was so low to the ground it was hard to sit up. There were so many people packed in, shoulder to shoulder, and in two layers knees to back. I squeezed in and as the next person came in to sit next to me I panicked. 

    “I can’t do this.” 

    I couldn’t handle the idea of being boxed in. Trapped. I quickly crawled out. Afraid. 

    Helper: What’s wrong?

    Toni: I can’t do it. Too many people. 

    I stood outside of the sweat lodge flooded with emotion. I felt terrible. I felt like failure. I was a chicken. I thought I was such a strong person who could do anything, but I was weak. And not to mention, covered in freezing mud. I scrambled to find my clothes. I had never been more ashamed to put clothes on. I could hear everyone in the sweat lodge chanting, praying, and together. I hated myself. I tried to forgive myself. I tried to tell myself maybe I just had to listen to my body. I tried to tell myself it was okay. I tried to fight the fear of missing out. I kneeled by the sweat lodge. I prayed for the people in there. I wanted to support them. I felt like I had let them down. I had let myself down. I was spiraling. 

    Then, they opened the sweat lodge because they needed to put in more hot rocks! I didn’t know they were going to do that! Someone came out. They had had enough. That meant there was room for me! 

    Toni: Can I go in?

    The helper nodded “yes.” I threw my clothes off and crawled into the collective womb. Maybe I was afraid to enter the womb. Maybe I never felt safe in there? When I sat down the shaman smiled at me. It was so warm. So full of love. His face free of judgement. They closed the door and the darkness overtook me. I felt safe. I closed my eyes and it was as if I was in the bottom of the ocean. Phosphorescent lights pranced before me. The sweat started to pour. The heat was overpowering but I was so grateful. I was so overjoyed that they let me in that the discomfort was meaningless. I was enveloped with appreciation for the experience. I was also lucky because no one was sitting in front of me because I was the last one in. Every time the helpers had to add in more rocks, I had to leave the tent to let that process happen. I got to have a break between each of the 7 or so rounds. Because I had this privilege I wanted to be there for everyone else. They were all trapped. They couldn’t leave. But I could. With each time that I returned and we went in for another round, I tried to hold the space for those that were suffering. I tried to hold them with my energy. I owed them that. The man next to me was a big tall man, and to be folded up like that was hard for him. His toe would touch me, or his elbow. For a moment I was annoyed. When I felt his flesh against mine it took me out of my out of body experience. I didn’t want to be grounded by his skin. I wanted to fly away into another dimension without my body. I felt irritated that he was interfering with my desires. Then I said to myself, “No Toni. Don’t be annoyed. He can’t help it. He’s just an uncomfortable man! He’s doing his best. He’s not trying to annoy you, he’s trying to get more comfortable!” He no longer bothered me. I sent him love and comfort. He deserved it.

    In the end, I really enjoyed the sweat lodge. I felt so blessed they let me in, that there was nothing I could complain about – especially considering my position of freedom. Maybe it was okay I didn’t torture myself and found pleasure because then I could be a better support for others? At least that’s what I told myself. As I exited the sweat and smoke filled dome, I was rebirthed, covered in earth, and ready for whatever life had to offer me.

    Of course, the next morning I woke up with a deer tick having bit me. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. Did I just to go a healing San Pedro ceremony to heal from my potential tick disease only to contract another tick disease? Hahah. I hope not. But if I did, there’s always next time.   

  • A Tale of White Privilege

    Gather round little ones, snuggle by my side, and tuck yourself into a cozy blanket while I tell you a tale of white privilege. Lend me your ears to hear this glorious legend of how I, a white woman, was able to prevail despite a harrowing encounter. The suspense of my journey will leave you grasping at your own breast, hoping that me, your hero, triumphs despite my hardships. As the protagonist of this epic story I invite you to perhaps take a sip of tea, to calm your nerves, for what you are about to read is sure to shake you to your core.      

    It all began on a Sunday afternoon. I was strolling through the woods with my dog. Excuse me. My RESCUE dog because I’m better than you. How do it? My moral righteousness knows no bounds. I’ll take my Noble Prize later though, for right now, I have a saga to convey. One of my dear friends had come over to promenade my RESCUED dog with me, and we were partaking in some herbal remedy. (We smoked some weed). I had yet to eat lunch, and subsequently got very high. You’d think considering how often I partake in pot, and for how long I’ve been puffing pot for, I’d have a better understanding of how to best dose myself. Yet my shamanic attempts have always been such where I take a little too much of everything. Yes, I’ll have that last tequila shot at 4 am! Whoops, who knew projectile vomit could traverse such a distance? Even though I can see the trees breathing, why not eat a few more mushrooms? My heart’s beating so fast I think I’m having an anxiety attack – but let’s do more anxiety! (coke). I do drugs to the point where I feel like I’m almost dying just to remind myself that I do in fact want to live.      

    I digress. 

    My friend, RESUCE dog, and I eventually made it out of the woods, and onto the country road. As we were walking – discussing how time is an illusion because in theoretical physics there is no difference between the past and future because they are treated exactly the same and how the present doesn’t even exist because everything that happens in the “present moment” is actually in the past because it takes time for your brain to process the data and information in front of it – we ran into another woman with her dog. (Probably just a regular dog, and not a RESCUED dog like mine). Even though this woman wasn’t a national hero like yours truly, she still seemed deserving of a polite “hello.” Yet upon our greeting, I realized that she was in fact, quite distraught. 

    Woman with NON-rescued dog: “There are some dogs down the road that are running free without anyone monitoring them, and they are very aggressive.”

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “OH DEAR! Loose dogs! I actually know those dogs. One of them bit me once! I was just walking by, and it came up and chomped on my hand!”  

    Woman with NON-rescued dog: I’m actually afraid of dogs, so I’m turning around.

    I’m not sure if you know this, but my dog is actually a RESCUE dog, so she has some emotional baggage. As of right now, she does not get along with other dogs well, nor can I let her off the leash to figure it out doggie style. I am too conservative for that. Also, because I was pretty high, dealing with unsupervised antagonistic dogs was not on the top of my list of preferred priorities. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “Maybe we should turn around too? I’m not sure I’m prepared to handle dog drama.” 

    My friend: “Fuck that. We’re going for a walk! I’m going to go tell those dogs to go home.” 

    My friend went ahead and yelled at the dogs to go home – which they actually seemed to do! Emboldened, we started walking again. We passed the place where the hostile dogs lived, and I thought we were going to escape their wrath. Yet we were not so lucky. They must have sensed our presence. The two dogs came barreling down their driveway and started chasing us. Had I not had my RESCUE dog, I could have stood my ground, but I was attached to their object of prey. So, I started running. Did I make clear that I was pretty stoned as well? I rationally knew running from animals chasing you is probably not the best solution. I was only making us more appealing by becoming a moving target. But I was just not emotionally equipped to face Cujo 1 and Cujo 2.

    As we ran from the dogs I realized “Holy shit, I have not run my fastest in a while, and this is intense on my lungs!” Eventually my friend had the brilliant idea of turning around and yelling at the dogs to go home. Her standing still and matching their hostility allowed for me and my RESCUE dog to gain greater distance. We rounded the corner out of their sight, and the dogs lost interest. 

    This dramatic event had us all a bit dazed, so we of course stopped to smoke more weed. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “That was fucked up. I don’t want to live in fear of these dogs! I do this walk all the time!” 

    My Friend: “I know. They were going to eat your dog.” 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “My RESCUE dog.” 

    My Friend: “Right.”

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “I kind of want to call the police. Something should be done!” 

    Now, was I really going to call the police? Of course I wasn’t. That would be crazy. But threatening to was how indignant I felt about the whole affair. We kept walking and smoking more weed. What? I needed to ease my system! Then, as if positioned by the Goddess herself, I saw a cop car pulled over! He was tucked into a driveway trying to trap speeding drivers, but to me, it was like a sign from mother Gaia. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “LOOK! The cops!” 

    My Friend: “Toni, no…”

    There was no stopping me. Was I thinking about how America is a police state full of corruption and abuse of power? No. Was I pondering the prison industrial complex and its impact on society? No. Was I musing on the justice system and how its flawed morality is indicative of a broken system that targets the poor and minorities? NO. Was I convinced that my class and race privilege would protect me from all this? I SURE WAS! The spirt had gifted me with an opportunity to live my truth, and I went right up to the cop.

    NOW KEEP IN MIND I HAD JUST BEEN SMOKING WEED. NOT ONLY DID I HAVE WEED ON MY BREATH, BUT ALSO A SMOKING HOT BOWL IN MY POCKET! I must have smelled like a Grateful Dead show gave birth to a Phish tour. But I went right up to cop’s window, despite my friend’s objection. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “Excuse me officer? I was just walking my RESCUE dog, and my friend and I got chased by two loose dogs. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but is there anything you can do to communicate that this was a problem? I am an upstanding honorable member of this community and all.”

    The Police Officer: “Sure Ma’am. Can I just get ALL your information including your address and phone number?” 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen:  “You sure can!” 

    All the while my friend is losing her shit. For from her perspective I was literally blowing weed into this cop’s face, but from mine, I was letting the law know my rights had been infringed upon!  I know. I’m so brave.

    Here is Luna… the RESCUE dog I so selflessly adopted.

  • The Perfect Metaphor For Life


    How do you feel about the day of your birth? Do you enjoy being celebrated? Do you relish in being the hot dog for a day and nestle betwixt the buns of your personhood? Or does the concept of aging cause anxiety? Do you fear your imminent death and want to shove your head into the sands of time in order to avoid thinking about the unforgiving truth that soon you will be consumed by soil as worms slowly engulf your rotting flesh?

    My particular birthday falls in a strange vortex of time – December 29th– this piercing eye amidst a cyclone of holidays, vacations, celebration, and darkness. There is a collective expectation for fun during this season, anticipation hangs in the air, and a mutual yearning coats those winter weeks. This particular year – as the day commemorating the glorious moment where I blasted out of my mom’s sacred internal oven approached – I began to feel an intense pressure. I was stalked by an unrelenting need to do something out of the ordinary. Something spiritual, something mind blowing, something that would shake up my consciousness and dip me into the quantum soup of our so-called reality which is actually just a hologram projected onto a screen of mutual mass illusion.

    My first plan was to drink ayahuasca. I wasn’t particularly in the mood to do so, but there was an opportunity to. I have done ayahuasca before because of course I have I’m a white hippy, and a friend invited me to a ceremony that happened to be taking place on that exact day that I was spewed from my mother’s womb. Yet I had my reservations because I didn’t feel the personal needto look into the black eyes of my demons and crawl into the ceaseless vacuum of inner darkness that layers my soul, but I would have. Sadly, however, that event was cancelled, and I was left with no plans. Then another friend invited me to a Kambo ritual, which in case you’re not familiar, is the psychedelic frog medicine where a shaman burns the amphibian’s venom into your skin and you spend the next half hour or so vomiting and shitting out toxins – which sounded like a real party. But sadly for me, I had just gotten mercury fillings removed from my mouth and had spent the day taking benzos at the dentist the day before the Kambo was going to take place. I guess sedating yourself on medical grade heroine isn’t the best recipe for spiritual enlightenment produced through anal leakage, and I couldn’t participate in that event either. 

    I was starting to panic. I didn’t know what to do to satiate my yearning and had no idea how to spend the day venerating the instant where I disgorged from my mother’s birth canyon. I knew I had a feeling of wanting to connect to something larger than myself but was unclear how to accomplish that. I couldn’t ignore this feeling of restlessness. I yearned to dive into myself, to uncover a new layer. Tormented by this need I smoked a little weed and went for a night walk around the lake by myself with my dog, Luna, hoping I would figure out what to do with myself. The moon was full, it was the winter solstice, and the season had just turned to Capricorn. It was as cold as a witch’s tit, and the wind was unyielding. I walked around thinking about nothing important (myself) and contemplated this and that (me and more me). 

    Eventually I made my way to the graveyard and tromped through the snow to find the familiar place where my best friend Bitty’s grave is. I kneeled down and pressed my forehead against the bird bath which marks her gravestone, allowing the essence of her energy to enter my 3rdeye. I decided to listen to some music and put on my “Bitty playlist” of songs that all reminded me of her. The vibrations reverberated from my headphones and I entered into a trance as our favorite song from childhood, “Like a Prayer,” played. I started singing to Bitty so she could hear it too. The next song was “Tennesse” by Arrested Development, which in case you haven’t heard that one in a while, is worth the listen. I was moved to get up and dance. The song “Scatman” was next – a stupid club song that Bitty and I danced to at the disco in Hungary when we were 15. I closed my eyes and could see perfectly clearly the way she danced in my mind’s eye. How she’d turn her arms into a snake like a Michael Jackson video we loved. How she smiled at me, a drunken sloppy smile as we threw our bodies around to the beat. I could see it effortlessly – a memory come to life. Then the timeless romantic tune “Gimme that Nutt” by Easy-E was blasted through. I still remembered every lyric (Bitty and I memorized the whole song) and again felt compared to share out loud these tender words as I danced.   

    “That dick you know what so roll over girl while I stick it in ya
    But I’ll turn it wild while I’m ridin’ that ass scream and shout
    My name is the same
    Just another pussy that I had tah tame soooooooo…”

    My ego subsided and I lost myself in my own ceremony – a personalized ritual and ecstatic observance of the holy. In that moment I was unwatched by anyone, even myself. The memory of Bitty blended into what it was actually like to be around Bitty – like we were hanging out again. I danced for hours with her that night. Pounding the ground of her grave with the stomping of my feet. I had assumed the cure to my existential angst was some substance-induced experience to catapult me into the space time continuum, but what I really needed was to spend time my best friend again. To allow the connection to feel alive. Letting myself love Bitty is how I unite with the divine. She is my spiritual practice because she is my god source. She’s part of the mystery of death, the unknown of the eternal. Spending time with Bitty’s spirit is like a cleansing of my cells. It shakes me to my core and wakes me up to life. I deeply I miss my best friend, and that’s not something I always let myself feel because it’s so much to carry. I can’t always find the state of mind where it’s possible to truly open up and connect to her. That’s why I seek the guidance of psychedelics to push me over the edge. Yet that night alone with my dog under the full moon, I allowed all the feelings to flow through me again. These emotions I so often contain and repress because to really feel them is almost unbearable – how much love can hurt when you can no longer make new memories with someone. Yet there I was, on December 22nd2018 dancing with the gravestone of my best friend Bitty, making new memories with her spirit.   

    After that night I no longer cared about my birthday. I no longer felt that internal push. I was calm, almost serene. The holidays floated by in a daze and on the day of my birth, the day I was putting so much pressure on, I barely did anything. I made a video about my new bangs and played one continuous game of “Chutes and Ladders” with my kid for 2 hours. It was the most epic game of “Chutes of Ladders” ever played. Neither of us could win. We’d get so close to the final square, but then down a slide we’d go. We’d go from the top of the board to the bottom of the board again and again and again in an incessant feedback loop. After about the 70thtime I realized that “Chutes and Ladders” is the perfect metaphor for life and is preparing kids for their inevitable future. You go up, you go down, you go up, you go down, you go up, you go down. That board game is the most brilliant physical manifestation of existence ever created. Our inability to get to where we wanted to go was pushing us to the limits of sanity. We started screaming at the board. I began to sweat with frustration as my eyes blurred from fatigue. I was unable to comprehend how many times we’d fall down those damn chutes. I may not have had the drug inspired birthday I was seeking, but that game of “Chutes and Ladders” was truly shamanic.

    PS I won. 


    February 28, 2019 • Adventures, Emotions, Family Drama, Musings, Old School Stories, Playing • Views: 551

  • Mushroom’s Mental Meanderings

    A schedule is a helpful asset to adult survival. It allows structure to existence so as to better enslave my spirit to the constrictions of the matrix. Yet every so often I can feel oppressed by the mundane predictability of life. Go figure! I know I’m not alone in this feeling of psychic enslavement. We all have our methods of mental escape. Right at this very moment there is a guy on the Internet buying a pair of panties from a lady who has worn them for 6 days without showering. For whatever reason smelling these sullied undies will bring this man joy he can’t otherwise access. I must be kind of a square when it comes to rearranging my headspace because even the thought of strange man’s underwear penetrating my nasal cavity makes me dry heave. As such, I instead turn to other sources of inspiration to mix up my mind…

    Mushrooms!

    Mushrooms have become very “in vogue” recently thanks to Microsoft engineers partaking in micro-dosing morning rituals. Many of the human androids belonging to Silicon Valley wake up, have a bit of coffee, and then ingest tiny licks of psychedelics with their Wheaties. The true breakfast of champions!

    Psychotropic drugs are ever so slowly becoming normalized in mainstream culture as a means of healing and self-betterment. “Micro-dosing” is a developing phenomenon and method for partaking in this mind-magnifying ritual of psychedelic ingestion, and I am a big advocate of this happening! I’m pretty sure if the Republican party woke up every morning to a Grateful Dead smoothie instead of their usual breakfast of goat’s blood and virgin flesh, the world would be a much different place! Yet personally I’m not sure I can keep up with the micro-dosing schedule. I barely remember to brush me teeth in the mornings (read as never) so adding slightly tripping to the docket seems like an unreasonable expectation of myself. As such, I prefer my mushrooms the old-fashioned way. Eating a bunch on top of a mountain and hoping I eventually find my way down in the dark.

    Considering not everyone can get their hands on some cow shit foraged mushrooms or a fresh sheet of acid, I figured I would share my top 3 most recent mental meanderings while on mushrooms with you. Who knows, maybe reading this will save you the trip?

    1) Nature is excessively beautiful. It’s painful how gorgeous a sunset can be. Even when inside the moment of experiencing natural glory, there is always a part of me that can’t appreciate it fully. That can’t suppress this underlying sense of nostalgic mourning for what I’m observing. I look at how amazing it all is and simultaneously feel the loss that the moment is fleeting. This tragic knowledge makes me miss the moment even when it’s right in front of me. Everything ends and will be lost in a memory I can only vaguely access. That tragedy makes me never want to leave the beauty of nature and instead focus purely on how gorgeous it all is. Yet with nature, the beauty is endless. As day turns to night, which turn to day again, there is nothing but beauty to witness if your eyes are open enough to see it. How perfect a blade of grass is, or a butterfly wing. How remarkable it is the way ants move, or when clouds morph. Human beings had to develop an indifference to this beauty. It was crucial to not always see it in order to prioritize other things like eating, mating, and staying alert for the dangers of predators. It was an evolutionary necessity to build up an indifference in order to function, yet this muscle has been over-developed. It’s become grossly exaggerated, pulsing, throbbing, and taking up too much space with its excessive force. Now in order to relax that muscle we often turn to drugs to bring us back to that state of being. Drugs are how we access the ability to acknowledge fully just how magical it all is. We crave reprieve from this feeling of indifference yet it’s this same feeling of indifference that also paved the path for “progress.”

    2) In a capitalist society class is so deeply ingrained in your psyche that it will forever stain your understanding of self regardless of what’s in your bank account. If you were born rich, you will always see yourself as a rich person. Even if you lose all your money, you will just feel like a rich person who happens to not have money. Yet if you’re born poor, that mindset will stalk you as well. Even if you make a billion dollars, you will still feel like a poor person who just happens to have money.

    3) After I made it down from the mountain (SURPRISE) I of course sat under the stars. Looking up at the sky, I could see the energetic connections between the stars – this hazy blaze of luminescence that tied the stars together in a cosmic web of connection. It looked like the synapses that attach neurons in our brains. This made me realize that not only are the stars communicating with each other, but the structure vastly resembles the neural network of the human mind. So… check it. What if planet earth is just one neuron inside the head of giant conscious being, and every star in our universe (or multiverse) are actually neurons inside this giant conscious skull? And what if that giant being is part of a community of other giant beings and whatever planet they are on is just one neuron inside the scull of ANOTHER giant conscious being? Which means subsequently that every neuron in each of our brains are actually the stars of a smaller universes and in one of our neurons is a little planet like earth?

    RIGHT????

    Aren’t feathers and clouds UNBELIEVABLE!! Isn’t it crazy not to spend your days staring at them and never doing anything else ever again?

  • Attracting the Law of Attraction

    What do you guys feel about the “law of attraction?” Do you feel you attracted to it? Have you been able to attract the law of attraction? Does that word sound silly to you now? Attraction. Attraction. Attraction. AHHHHH LIFE HAS NO MEANING!

    In simple terms, the “law of attraction” means the ability to attract into our lives what we focus on. If you direct your attention towards negative thoughts, then, that’s what you will attract. But if you focus on positive things, then suddenly you will be transported to a land of clouds made of cotton candy where fairies fart plum flavored pixie dust into your mouth and all your life’s dreams will be accomplished as hard-bodied lovers massage your inner thighs and kiss you tenderly with their eyes open to better gaze upon your magnificence. I don’t know about you guys, but I guess I must be a negative thinker because my life seems to be more of a series of mouth farts made by a burly guy that has heart burn and a penchant for sloppy-joes.

    I have a law of attraction story (I think), but you guys have to help me better understand it.

    The other day I went for a hike in the backwoods of my house with my friend, and we did what any two responsible mothers having a break from parenting would do – smoked a joint and started obsessing about how moss is spiritual. We were having a grand time pontificating about the splendor of nature and its endless capacity to incorporate the needs of all living organisms when the unthinkable happened – we ran into another human being!

    These woods are technically private property, but, also are they? Can anyone really own the land, man? But what I do know for sure, is that this lady took one look at me dressed in my uniform of sweatpants, a buffalo plaid hunting shirt, a jacket 4 sizes too big, and my hair resembling a nest for baby possums, and questioned if I was an undeserving vagabond who didn’t belong in these private woods, relishing the forest floor, deliberating if mushrooms are actually God’s freckles. I live in a pretty snobby area where people are VERY concerned about the goings on of others and always trying to make sure if you truly BELONG. It’s the New England way to belittle anyone who you think might be poorer than you.

    Lady in the Woods: Did you come from the highway down the road?
    Toni: I did not. We came from the estate over yonder! Betwixt the lord’s land and the serf’s manor. And you my lady? From where did you emerge?
    Lady in the Woods: Oh. My parents live up the road.
    Toni: Cool.

    Awkward silence.

    Toni: I’ve never seen another person in these woods before.
    Lady in the Woods: Neither have I.

    More awkward silence.

    Lady in the Woods: So, what do you do about ticks?
    Toni: Oh, ummm, nothing really.
    Lady in the Woods: Well, I had Lyme disease so I’m extra concerned.
    Toni: That makes sense.
    My Friend: I make a yarrow tincture.
    Lady in the Woods: I never heard that. I’ll try it.

    As my friend and I walked off, I was kind of irritated. For one – I didn’t like this lady’s attitude. Even if we had come from the road does that mean we should be denied the opportunity to stroll amongst the trees?! It’s not like my friend and I had chainsaws and were hacking plants recklessly. We weren’t smashing beer bottles, or hunting wildlife. We were chilling! This lady’s energy felt so elitist, exemplifying the very selfish attitude of the wealthy that only THEY are eligible to experience pristine natural beauty while us peasants should instead congregate at “public beaches” and “public parks” to roll around in the trash of their corporate greed. Barf.

    My second problem was that this lady made me think about ticks!

    Toni: Who does that lady think she is? Being so damn proprietary! PRETTY SURE THIS IS MY FAMILY’S LAND!!! MINE MINE MINE!! Also… I wasn’t thinking about ticks at ALL before she said that, and now I can’t stop thinking about them!
    My Friend: That’s a little nutty. You didn’t think about ticks once? This whole time?
    Toni: NO! Didn’t even occur to me.
    My Friend: Well, maybe you should think about them?
    Toni: How is that going to make my life any better? I was having such a good time in my head not thinking about fucking ticks… and now that I’m thinking about ticks, I’m having a less good time!
    My Friend: Still, it’s a little hubris not to think of ticks.
    Toni: Aren’t ticks the physical manifestation of capitalism? These creatures that suck blood until they are so full they just fall off their victim and are forced to then lay on the floor, unable to walk away because their bodies become too bloated and their legs too short to touch the ground?
    My Friend: This lady Susun Weed who has a podcast I listen to says that she just asks the part of her body and consciousness that feels things on her skin to communicate with her. She connects with that internal knowledge that has the awareness to let her know if there is a tick walking around.
    Toni: Huh. That’s pretty smart.
    My Friend: Right?

    So, I did just that. I asked my body to let me know if there were any ticks on me.

    I got home and suddenly my body told me: take off your socks and pants. Wouldn’t you know it… THERE WERE TWO TICKS ON MY LEGS! I got them off, and then asked my body again to let me know if there were any more. About ten minutes later I picked one off my head, and then ANOTHER off my neck!

    Now here is my question!!

    Did this lady save me by mentioning the ticks? After all, if she hadn’t said anything I wouldn’t have thought to take off my pants and socks to look for ticks at all. It’s because of that conversation that I became concerned about ticks and tried to connect to my body to give me insight on whether or not they were on me. Also, the fact that she initially offended my sense of morality made the conversation that much more heightened. So, in reality, her being a judgmental profiler made me listen even more.

    Or

    Did this lady CAUSE the ticks? If she hadn’t said anything I never would have thought of the ticks at all! Did her mentioning the ticks made me think of them and there for ATTRACT THEM TO ME!? Had I never thought of the ticks, would I never have attracted them, and there for never HAD to look for them.

    WHICH ONE IS IT??

    (PS my friend had NO ticks on her…)

    (PPS my friend was also using the yarrow tincture)

    Here are the two first ticks…

    May 24, 2018 • Adventures, Emotions, Musings, Responsibilities • Views: 1201

  • No Seriously My Child, You have NO CHOICE but to be Strong

    When I was a kid snow days were a gift from the heavens – an unexpected present from the Goddess herself, gloriously saving me from yet another mundane day of pretending to understand fractions. I’d wake up and see the world draped with that distinct frosty substance, and my heart would fill with relief as I wriggled back into the womb of my bed ready to spend my day playing “Super Mario Brothers.” Yet now that I’m a parent, a snow day instead fills me with that feeling of, “Awww fuck.”

    When you’re an obsessive workaholic that finds your sense of personal value exclusively through what you produce each day and your self-esteem is predicated on what you’re able to accomplish to the point where you fall into a deep state of anxiety if you’re not able to achieve all you expected from your waking hours – a day off can actually be kind of stressful.

    As such, I had to make a plan with The Munch about our day so we could both get what we wanted – my needing to fulfill my self-imposed compulsive demands of productivity, and her wanting to quite reasonably play with me outside. Now of course The Munch’s request for me to join her frolicking in the open tundra was appealing, yet only after I was able to feel some output out of my day. Our compromise was that she would entertain herself for 2 ½ hours, and then we’d play.

    Part of me wanted to just let The Munch do what she wanted to do (in order to extend my work time) and let her watch some bullshit show on her screen. But fuck that! No memories are made when watching some slutty monsters go to high school (this is a REAL show called “Monster High” – and I’m not slut shaming them, because I believe monsters should be as sexually adventurous as they please, just commenting on the unnecessary attire and body types they are drawn with). I didn’t want to let my kid’s imagination rot by letting her passively fill the hours with media, as tempting as that can be because are imaginations really that important?

    Since The Munch is an only child, expecting her to play by herself for a few hours is reasonable. The Munch set a timer for exactly 3 hours (the extra half hour was her gift to me) and off we went to our perspective rooms – her to play make-believe, and me to write make-believe, but in a very serious way.

    When my time was up, it was time for us to go outside. The Munch and I decided that sledding was a good plan, yet there aren’t really any good hills near my house. The closest one is about a 2 mile walk away. Of course I could have drove through the blizzard to get us there, but like most moms, I needed my car to get covered in snow so I could dig it out on film the next day pretending to be a sexy snow bunny for a video idea I had about New England girls being just as hot as California girls. Every kid has to deal with that right??

    Since we couldn’t drive, we decided that we’d hike through the snowy terrain to the sledding hill. The Munch and I packed some snacks and water, tied the sled to a string so she could pull it behind her, and off we went out into the nor’easter.

    We first had to hike up a hill about a ¼ mile long that’s as steep as a mountain. We were still optimistic at this point, despite the snow propelling with alarming speed into our faces causing an inability to see. Once we almost traversed to the top of the crest, The Munch accidently let go of the string pulling the sled, and had to run full speed and dive to catch it, otherwise the sled would have slid the entire way back down the hill. I have to say I was pretty impressed by The Munch’s instincts, because she plunged headfirst and slid about 8 feet to grab the string just in time.

    Watching my daughter throw her body down a hill and glide on her stomach like a seal version of Neo from the Matrix to retrieve this sled got me thinking. I know it’s common rhetoric to talk about the need of raising your daughter to be a strong woman. You hear that a lot right? Yet I started to think about the harsh reality that I may have to raise my daughter to be strong in a different way than what I’ve been assuming. Not just strong in the sense that she’s strong enough to say “no” to a man whose advances she doesn’t consent to, or strong enough to become a leader in whatever occupation she chooses. There is the emotional strength I’m familiar with of being a woman within the patriarchy and trying to find my place of significance despite the insidious sexism that still permeates most of modern culture. Yet with my quest of challenging social paradigms I’m still physically comfortable and live in a western world that provides me with the illusion of personal safety. Despite my being sexually harassed and Weinsteined every so often, I do take for granted my access to the basic luxuries of life – like having electricity and easy access to food.

    Yet suddenly it dawned on me that I may have to empower my daughter in an entirely other way as well. The Munch may have to be strong in ways I never had to be considering the future I’m handing her. There is a pretty good chance that my daughter has to be strong enough to survive THE MOTHER FUCKING APOCALYPSE!!!!!!!!

    Was I being alarmist? Maybe? Was I perhaps a little stoned/paranoid, thus envisioning the potential future we are racing towards that’s laden with biblical style horrors led by the insanity of our current administration? Possibly? Yet it’s also naïve to assume that The Munch is going to experience the same lifestyle I am currently enjoying considering there is major probability of MASSIVE GLOBAL CATASTROHPE.

    I started to get so despondent realizing the very REAL potential that shit could seriously hit the fan, and how my daughter’s main concerns in life won’t be comparable to mine – like how many “likes” her videos get – but rather her troubles will be whether or not she’ll endure the pending ice age caused by all the cataclysmic erratic weather patterns. Or if she’ll be able to live through the violence that will ensue as resources diminish and water is the most valuable commodity.

    As we continued to hike through this mammoth tempest towards our sledding hill, my mind was filled with prophecies of this tragic future and how my child might one day be desperately searching for animal carcasses to feast on the raw carrion, as fire would be a luxury only the 1% could enjoy. I started to realize that maybe I haven’t been doing my daughter any justice by keeping her warm, and cozy, and fed, and instead I needed to teach her to survive in the wild!

    The Munch: Mama, I’m hungry. Let’s take a break.
    Toni: We have to keep going! You have to be strong!
    The Munch: But I’m tired! It’s harder for me to walk than you! The snow is deeper for me! It’s only up to your knees, but it’s up higher on me! It’s past my thighs!
    Toni: Munch, what if there’s a war? Like world war 3? And we have to hike out of here to survive? How would we hide from the enemy if you had to rest because your legs were tired?
    The Munch: Easy. I’d just do this.

    The Munch proceeds to curl up in a ball to “hide.”

    Toni: Dude, I can still see you even though you can’t see me!
    The Munch: I’d just bury deeper in the snow and camouflage.

    The Munch snuggles in, and brushes some snow on her back to “camouflage.”

    Toni: I can still see you! We have to keep going!
    The Munch: My legs hurt, and my feet are cold. I should have worn wool socks.
    Toni: Dude, you have to push through the pain! Your body is capable of so much if you’re determined. You have to persevere, and train yourself to face suffering – not run from it. And who knows, you may not even have access to wool socks in the future? You have to get used to freezing toes. We have to keep going… Now what are you doing?
    The Munch: I’m drawing a picture of summer in the snow. See, here’s the sun – and the sun’s smiling because it’s warm out – and here are some flowers, and that’s me swimming.
    Toni: Munch, there is no time for drawing pictures in the snow! If we were running from the enemy we’d have to be efficient. Do you know if you can eat this kind of bark? What about this moss? Have you ever tried moss? Wait… now what are you drawing?
    Munch: It’s us sledding. See, that’s you, that’s me, that’s the sled, and that’s the sun smiling.
    Toni: No more drawing smiling suns! You have to get up and walk!
    The Munch: But I’m hungry.
    Toni: Fine, if you make it up this next hill, then you can stop and eat.
    The Munch: That hill is like a mile long!
    Toni: It’s the only way! You have to be strong!!!! We can play “I spy” while we hike.
    The Munch: We can’t play “I spy,” because everything is white and brown?
    Toni: MUNCH, YOU HAVE TO JUST KEEP GOING! YOU HAVE TO BE STRONG!

    We finally made it up the next hill, having negotiated through the snow for over a mile. I then let The Munch stop to eat, but there was no shelter for us, so we just had to sit in the snow as the wind blew more snow in our faces while even more snow fell from the sky. I took off my backpack that was… you guessed it… covered in snow, and then took off my gloves to fish out her snacks that were also… covered in snow because the snow had snowed inside my bag somehow? Those two minutes with my gloves off were excruciatingly cold, and I wasn’t sure how The Munch was going to eat her cut up apples and cheese with her gloves on? Yet The Munch took off her mittens and proceeded to enjoy her snack for the next ten minutes – not a care in the world, not complaining about her blue fingers, not saying much really. She just hummed to herself as snow collected on her eyelashes while she ate her food.

    We then slid down the hill we had just climbed and eventually hiked home. Once we were finally inside after 3 hours of outdoor training, as we peeled off our sopping wet gear The Munch turned to me, ice crusted in her hair, and said:

    Munch: That was really fun Mama! I like playing I the snow with you!

    It was then I realized that maybe The Munch will make it after all – especially because I then made her stand outside barefoot for a bit to toughen up her feet.

  • Mushrooms On A Mountain

    It’s been a long time since I’ve done mushrooms. Partly because no one has been offering them to me, and partly because I’m a goddamn grown up… if you forget the fact that I’m currently growing out my armpit hairs with the sole goal to dye them blue. I could claim my motivation is a video I want to shoot, but I also think it’s crucial to my personal development that look like I’ve permanently got Gonzo in a headlock.

    It was my friend’s 40th birthday and she had a vision to hike the mountain on mushrooms. Now who am I to deny anyone of their dreams? That would be like someone telling me, “You know Toni, I don’t really have to taste my own feet for your sketch comedy skit do I?” Yeah, you goddamn right you do!

    That isn’t to say I wasn’t nervous. I was!! I didn’t know what mushies even felt like anymore. Plus I’ve been watching NOTHING but Twin Peaks for the past month so my brain is ligit scarred. I can’t see a log anymore and not think it’s talking to me about owls.

    But I was in great company, and that made me feel safe. Plus there was also plenty of weed, weed tincture, edible weed, and weed lube in case it became that kind of party.

    At the base of the mountain we each ate one, and then starting hiking.

    Now in the past if I were to eat mushies I’d probably mow down about ten of them and see what happened. But those were the days where I had fewer responsibilities, and could do stuff like that. It’s not like today where I have the very important task of making a realistic looking Donald Trump Sex doll hanging over my head.

    Yet I think if adulthood has taught me anything, its moderation. When I was young I would do drugs until I felt that feeling of, “whoops, I’ve done too much.” But now I know to pace myself, take it slow, and see how it plays out before taking any more. AREN’T YOU SO PROUD OF ME MOM?

    I have to say, this was an epic experience. When we got to the top of the mountain to our surprise no one else was there! It was such a gift to be the only humans at the top. You know how random people have a way of tainting a quasi-spiritual drug induced experience. Mostly because they can’t understand why you’re telling jokes to a pinecone.

    The wind was unbelievable at the summit. I was overwhelmed by the power of this invisible force; a breeze that I couldn’t touch, or hold, but that still cradled me with its intensity. The element of wind seems so ethereal because you can only see its consequences on the world, but not the wind itself. We stood at the highest peak with our arms outstretched, and leaned into it so much that we were at a 60-degree angle from the ground. It was so loud it was as if we were in a giant subwoofer, the base of the mountain penetrating our ears.

    I stood there for almost a half an hour, until my ears may or may not have started to bleed. I can’t be sure because that also could have been a Fairy’s menstrual flow she accidently left behind when whispering to me. Sometimes Fairy’s tampon leak too you know! We then watched the sunset as a cloud enveloped us. We were straight up inside of a goddamn cloud Carebears style!

    At that moment I felt sooo much love and appreciation for my friends. This overwhelming gratitude for their existence took over my mood. Yet at the same time, I also felt this intense sense of melancholy. The pain that comes with love, and the inevitable suffering that goes hand in hand with loving hurled this shadow I couldn’t escape. As much as my heart opened to the exaltation of love, it still couldn’t hide from the tragedy. So I did what any normal person would do. I hugged a rock until the darkness came.

    We then hiked down in haze. At one point we sat on the forest floor and turned off our headlamps to experience the blackness of the woods. It was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, but you could see the giant’s hand over the moon of course. Because we had had our headlamps on, we hadn’t seen the fireflies that had been following us. Yet once we shut off our manmade halogens, we could see the hundreds of glowing bugs serenading us under the eerie canopy of the trees.

    The whole experience was like a vacation from myself. It was a holiday from the thought patterns of my mind. Rather than thinking about the usual things – the details of life and anxieties about the past/future – I instead meditated on the nature of reality. How reality is like an infinite layered cake, with infinite possibilities all stacked on top of each other. We shape our reality based on the decisions we make at any one moment. Our decisions shape the realties of others, and we are all tied together in this netting of the decisions we decide to act on. If you’re sitting in a field, one potential decision is to smell a flower, another is to dig everything up and build a Wal-Mart. We are the architects of reality because of the decisions we make, so we should really take more time to think before we act.

    Of course I can’t rely on magic mushrooms to bring magic into my life, but that doesn’t mean that making space for magic isn’t crucial. Maybe I don’t always have the luxury to carve out the time and space to allow my consciousness to wander into the wacky world of psychotropic substances, but that doesn’t mean the substance of my thoughts have to be so mundane. I don’t need drugs to open my mind, but I do need to make sure I don’t get shut in by the needless worries my mind creates. Mushies are just are a gentle reminder that reality is more complex then it seems when I’m purely focused on the minutia of everyday life. If I spent my days doing mushrooms on mountains I would look at my phone way less, but I also could just look at my phone less. The point of mind-expanding materials is not to do more materials, but instead use them as a guide to remember to make sure I expand my mind in the material world.

    June 22, 2017 • Adventures, Emotions, Musings • Views: 1433