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  • 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

  • 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.   

  • You Will NEVER Get What You Want

    What do you want most in the world? Close your eyes and picture it. Is it love? The caress of a person you long for to be eternally devoted to you? Is it success? The accomplishment of settling into your ideal career, or getting the job of your wet dreams? Is it money? Being so wealthy that you can use dollar bills as toilet paper? Which, btw, I do not recommend because that’s one hell of a place to get a paper cut. Is it the perfect body? Being so chiseled you could cut steak with your abdomen? What is it? Let your greatest desire, your deepest want wash over you. Do you have it in your mind’s eye? Are you holding that yearning in the palm of your hand? Stroking it like a flaccid soldier you want to harden for action?   

    Now guess what?

    You will never get it. 

    You will never get what you want. 

    Ever.

    I’m not saying what you want won’t happen. It’s absolutely possible that it will happen. But once you get what you want, you will not want it anymore. Not in the same way. The wanting will evaporate. The initial bliss will be replaced by being accustomed to having what you wanted. You will get used to it, and it will be impossible to remember the yearning of before. What you wanted will no longer be a desire, but a familiar part of your life that is taken advantage of, unappreciated, and expected.

    I used to want to be a published writer. Salon published my first article 7-years ago. I then wanted that article to be read more than it was. After that, I wanted to write for other publications. I did. But then I wanted my articles to go viral… frowny face. I got sick of writing for other people so I started writing movie and TV scripts. I made short films. I wanted my scripts and films to get into festivals. They did. Then I wanted my scripts and films to win awards at festivals. They did. Then I wanted some Hollywood big wig call me on the phone to tell me, “You’ve got the goods sweetheart. I’m buying you a ticket to tinsel town.” Still waiting.  

    I once wanted a boy. I got that boy. He annoyed me. I wanted to be free. We broke up. I was lonely. I wanted long hair. I grew long hair. It got tangled. I wanted change, I got bangs, too much change. I wanted to start a business. I started a business. It was stressful. I wanted chocolate crepes with strawberries. I made chocolate crepes with strawberries. I ate too much.

    You will always have something to complain about when you are in the mindset of complaining. You can always find problems. You will always want the next thing. What you have will never be enough. Nothing will ever satiate the deep need for more that lives within us. 

    Unless you are an enlightened being, of course, which in that case, groovy. 

    I am currently not enlightened, so this paradigm is something I struggle with from time to time (every day). Yet I am aware of it, and that awareness makes it less painful (not really). Contentment is a very hard emotion to cultivate, and even harder to maintain. Yet contentment is what we all need more of. Not perfection. Contentment. 

    Maybe that’s not the sexiest concept? How are you today? I’m content. You don’t hear that very often. But we should. That is what she should be seeking. Not happiness. Happiness is an ethereal fairy that drifts around indiscriminately like a floating dandelion seed. A more reasonable expectation of life is having total acceptance for what is and an apperception for what’s in front of you.

    Gratitude. 

    Feeling genuinely grateful. 

    Yet you have to remind yourself to feel grateful. Daily. I don’t think gratitude is our default operating system. I think we have to upload it every morning. Have rituals to connect to it. My personal strategy to access gratitude is listening to 90’s hip hop or smoking weed in nature. We all have our methods. What’s yours?   

    Look how tangled that long hair is!

    March 7, 2019 • Ambitions, Change, Consciousness, Emotions, Musings, Problems, Relationships • Views: 631

  • #HimToo

    Oh dear. The counter crusade of the #metoo movement has been birthed. #HimToo has passed through the psychic canal and squeezed its collective consciousness into the time space continuum. Mind you, #HimToo is not referring to men who have also experienced sexual assault, but rather men who are in threat of being accused of sexual assault. This effort is… SURPRISE… currently building its base at Trump rallies where people believe that men need to be protected from women and their rampant “false accusations” of sexual assault. Much like the concept of #alllivesmatter there seems to be a panic in the air, polluting the pristine noses of those white faces shaded by red hats.

    My initial reaction to this was to be expected. A quite rage that filled my being with a toxic energetic putridness that could only be contained through deep breaths, focused meditation, and of course screaming “WHAT THE FUCK?” to an empty room. Yet after I did a few sun salutations I wanted to better understand the logic behind this thinking. Am I in fact a different species than other Americans? How can we think so differently? I needed to mentally grasp this discrepancy.

    My plan was to see this as an anthropological inquiry and channel Jane Goodall – observe “the other’s” behavior while taking scrupulous notes with my hair tied back in a low ponytail. Sadly, I didn’t have access to a Trump rally to question these thinkers myself, so I went to my next best source. Youtube videos.

    After watching a few interviews about their perspective regarding the need for #HimToo – I have identified the main points of their rational.

    1) A left-wing conspiracy: Ohhh you got me there MAGA devotees! I also am a BIG believer in conspiracies and often question the “official story” provided by the mainstream news outlets which are beholden to the whims of big business and corporate interests. On any given day I can find myself questioning if Hillary Clinton is in fact a lizard person from the Palladian system, if the Federal Reserve is run by corrupt aliens, or how all of mankind is an experimentation of some other conscious creature. I’m open! Perhaps the earth is flat? Who knows… I’ve never been to space and the only people that have are people indoctrinated by NASA, otherwise known as THE GOVERNMENT! Granted I also think to seduce people with conspiracy theories is the ultimate conspiracy. The internet has been flooded with conspiracies to oversaturate the market – making everything obsolete. I believe in questioning, but I’m not sure we’ll ever know the truth about anything because there is too much information to sift through. You can have the internet prove whatever you want. You can “prove” vaccines are good just as you can “prove” they are a ploy headed by Bill Gates to poison the poor for population control and emptying out Africa so the rich can take over its resources once the apocalypse comes. Everything is absurd because so many absurd theories are out there. I too live in a post-truth paradigm so I understand the mistrust these people feel when it comes to “tearing down our leaders.”
    2) “We have to protect our Sons” This was mostly women claiming this rhetoric. I have sons, I have brothers, I have a father – I have to protect them from these slut women who want to trap them with their whorish ways and then blame my boys. Sigh. For one, I think the main issue is these women identify more with men’s needs than their own. They have internalized the patriarchal viewpoint that a man’s life is of greater value, therefor they are the cultural priority. I think for these women the fear of one man being falsely accused is more crucial than the millions of women are actually sexually assaulted. The justice system is highly flawed but I think for all of human history the scales have been tipped in favor of the man, not the woman, when it comes to rape. The research around “false accusations” of rape shows that its very uncommon – especially considering the stigma attached to coming forward. Of course, a false claim has happened, yet I think it has impacted black men more than white. In the times of pre-Civil Rights white women did accuse many black men of rape when they were having a consensual sexual relationship to avoid the social consequences of their actions. This was a phenomenon in our dark history, yet I don’t think the Trump supporters are talking about this. I think the women coming forward for Brett or Donny are motivated not by lies, but rather not wanting a rapist to be president of part of the Supreme court.
    3) Why didn’t they come forward before?: This was a big one for the men – not understanding why these women waited so long to say something. They just can’t seem to wrap their heads around how experiencing trauma would keep you quiet, or how the fear of not being believed is an exponential trauma. I find this perspective problematic because it lacks any sense of empathy that perhaps different people have different reactions to violence. I feel like these guys don’t understand the humiliation/ /shame/vulnerability of rape and think of it like getting punched in the face. They assume it’s a simple assault that should be simply dealt with simply. Just go get a rape kit, like that’s exactly what you want to do right after getting violated – have a police woman re-violate you to prove it happened. It’s a shallow analysis of what these women actually go through. I wish these men would witness some sexual assault victim support groups and get a better understanding of the psychological impact of rape before allowing their assumptions to prevail regarding how women “should” respond.

    October 17, 2018 • Change, Consciousness, Current Events, Government, News, Political Banter, US government • Views: 1013

  • The Pointlessness of Arguing

    For the past 15 years I’ve been slapping my opinion onto the collective table of the internet. I’ve dealt a variety of different cards during this time – sketch comedy, music videos, stand up, written blogs, memes – shuffling through my consciousness in a desperate attempt to be heard. Why I have this compulsion to broadcast my thoughts is not exactly clear. The short answer is obviously because I feel like I have something to say and the long answer dates back to my childhood insomnia fueled by a quantum entanglement with my father so we’ll just leave it at that.

    When you feed yourself to the wolves you can’t complain about getting eaten alive. I’ve learned to grow a dense hide in order to protect my ass from the hate. There are times I create something and receive nothing but praise (thanks mom!) but there are plenty of other times my work tickles the taint of those that don’t share my view point, humor, or politics, and I am then flooded with a deluge of zealous condemnation.

    I recently made a video entitled “Is that Rape?” inspired by the adorable Brett Kavanaugh and his charming “who cares if I assault women” attitude. I knew when I made this video that not everyone was going to clap their chubby little hands in approval, and boy was I not mistaken. I got plenty of comments calling me a “libtard” to remark on how dumb and how unfunny I am, with even some really sweet annotations wishing violence upon my being. The internet is so cute!

    To me the problem isn’t that people disagree, it’s how they disagree.

    If you think about our educational system, there isn’t a lot of emphasis on learning the art of dialogue. In the times when the Greeks were developing the concept of democracy, the process of dialogue was HIGHLY regarded as one of the most crucial and pivotal personal aptitudes. Socrates’ entire philosophy was based on the importance of dialogue. He didn’t concern himself exclusively on what the topic of the discussion was, but rather how the topic was discussed. He encouraged a deep knowledge of how to have a conversation because the contents of that conversation were of lesser importance.

    So, what happened? America boasts that we’re the “greatest democracy in the world” (we’re not) and yet there is zero attention paid to the most basic and fundamental principal of democracy. How can the people rule when the people can’t talk to each other? I find myself getting into arguments with humans I mostly agree with simply because they don’t know how to have a productive session of listening and exchanging. Don’t you feel like it’s time we make the art of dialogue a priority again?

    No one knows how to argue because very few people are open minded enough to allow their consciousness to expand. When you have a political view, or some moral commitment, you tend to build a narrative that supports your thinking. We construct our reality in order not to challenge our construction of reality. Once you have committed to seeing the world in a certain way, you are often too afraid to re-think your thinking because then what does that mean about the reality you’ve created around it?

    But here is the issue. You can create any reality you want. I could just as easily create a reality where Brett is a victim of nasty liberal feminists trying to take him down because of their venomous ways, as I could the reality that he is in fact quite rapey and has no place on the Supreme Court (much like Clarence Thomas). There are plenty of “facts” out there to support either position.

    Where we are failing each other is not acknowledging that everyone’s reality is valid to them. Even those that we vehemently disagree with, they still have a sense of reality that’s based on logic. Their logic may seem crazy pants to you, but it’s logical to them. When we act like the other side is just a bunch of dumb dumbs without rational for their viewpoints we are ignoring an unavoidable truth. 99% of people have REASONS they think they way they do, and if you’re not curious about their reasons and instead just toss insults and disdain we will never have constructive dialogue.

    Everyone’s relationship to reality is born from the data and processing power in front of them. There is a reasoning system that humans apply which means that all points are valid, regardless of how much they might enrage you. That’s not the point. The point of dialogue isn’t to think someone’s an idiot for seeing the world differently than you, but rather to have a dialogue deconstructing why. We are ALL the consequences of our programming. We have all been conditioned by our parents, society, and our life experiences. The question then becomes how do you take that reality internally and implement it externally? There has got to be a better way than calling people “cunts” on the internet.

    What if we argued less and talked more? What if we understood that we’re all victims of structures of power, and that even those supporting these high-rises of oppression are still slaves to it? What if we stopped wasting all this energy screaming about who’s right and instead worked towards a greater understanding of what’s to be done?

  • I’m Sorry I Tried to Rape You

    The sexual assault accusation of Brett Kavanaugh is one of nuance, and if there is one thing our American political system avoids, it’s complex thought. The media is struggling to box this story up into a black and white package, which is hard to do when a woman feels she experienced an attempted rape and the man feels like, “what?” Men like Fox news columnist Stephen Miller chalking the whole scene up to “drunk teenagers playing 7 minutes in heaven,” makes me wonder if Miller understands that HEAVEN usually doesn’t entail someone holding you down and trying to force themselves inside of you. If that’s your idea of heaven sweetie, I know a place for you to experience that… Prison!

    If I look at this story from a meta perspective, it’s obvious to me why many men don’t want to classify this it as a crime. For Kavanaugh to pay the price of what he did as a 17-year old (as if that’s the ONLY time he acted this way which I highly doubt) then what kind of snowball effect would that have on other men? What are the standards of which we should hold men accountable to for assaulting women? Men don’t want to set that precedent because of the fear that too many of them will go down in flames.

    Women speaking out about this situation are begging for retribution. They want to expand the definition of punishable assault because, go figure, most people don’t like to be attacked and forced to do things they don’t want to do. They want Kavanaugh to be held accountable in order for our society to have higher standards. They want a more intricate understanding of assault, because for many, even if the penis never makes it inside of you, the trauma is just as significant.

    I have read countless stories of women voicing the need for us to redefine our understanding of how rape violence impacts victims, and men saying “hey honey, it’s not that big of a deal.”

    Who I haven’t really heard from is the MILLIONS OF MEN THAT ARE ALSO AFFECTED BY RAPE CULTURE AND COULD PERHAPS SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE THAT RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T JUST IMPACT WOMEN WHO ARE RAPED BY ACTUALLY THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD!

    There are MANY men that I know who would NEVER be handsy, rapey, or inappropriate. I even know men who can’t watch porn because it feels too degrading towards the actress and they empathize with her and the life experience that brought her to have two dicks stuffed in one ass. There are so many men who don’t rape or assault others. Call me old fashioned, but I have a lot more trust in the morality of a man who doesn’t rape than a man who does.

    Who is the kind of guy that rapes or attempts to rape? Men who want what they want, when they want it. They want power over others. They want to show their strength. They have no concern of the consequence of their actions on other people’s lives. They prioritize their own needs over the feelings of the person they are with. These men use psychological and physical violence to get their way.

    This begs the question who are these guys when they are not busy raping? I’ll tell you who they’re not – Mr. Rogers that’s for damn sure. The type of guy that is open to raping is also the type of guy that is spreading that same forceful energy in every aspect of his life. Everyone is impacted by the energy of rapey men. We need to examine how rape culture is directly destroying the planet – how rape culture is effecting the environment, business, media, politics, war, weapons, the world economy, men, women, and children. Rape culture is so insidiously ingrained in the patriarchy that it’s often hard to identify.

    The micro is the macro. That’s why this current media cyclone is not just about Brett being a little too aggressive one night. It’s also about do we want this kind of man, this kind of thinker, IN CONTROL OF OUR NATIONAL LAWS? I don’t! That’s why this is important. Rape culture can’t be the prevailing foundation of which we build our lives upon, and rapists cannot continue be the ones in control of the future.

    There are men out there who have raped, who have assaulted, who have pressured, and they have owned their actions. They have admitted what they did and apologized to the people involved. Beyond prison, I think what we also want is for rapists to understand the hurt they caused. For the event to change the assaulter as much as it changed the victim. If one is emotionally mature enough to acknowledge and take responsibility for the hurt they caused, then mostly likely that awareness would seep into all aspects of their life. These men are our allies too. It takes way more balls to be able to say “I’m sorry I raped you,” than it does to rape. I believe in personal evolution. I believe that people can realize the trauma they caused and have genuine remorse. I believe there is a place for them to be forgiven. Yet if you are going around raping people and then defending or denying your actions, then what else are you capable of? How else will you psychically rape the people you are around, or emotionally rape the system you have power in? I don’t want a rapist ruling this country. I don’t want rapists ruling business. I don’t want rapists in control because they don’t just rape people, they rape period.

    Rather than arguing about “is this attempted rape really that bad” why don’t we instead focus on not giving power to men why try to rape. In the priesthood, in Hollywood, in politics, in business, in all these circumstances where men exploit their power over others. If we take down the rapists we take down the patriarchy. If we take down the patriarchy we will have the revolution we’ve been looking for. The change we have been craving. The desire to live life as we know is possible. If we want a paradigm shift it starts with this. If we want to reform Wall Street it starts with this. Rape is not a woman’s problem, it’s the world’s problem.

  • How to Stay in Love and Be Happy in a Relationship ForEVER!

    I think we all know the narrative of the classic love story. Human meets human. They fall in love. They have sex 3-5 times a day. They think this will never change. They know they are the real deal, the ones who have found the hidden elixir of eternal love and lust. They are convinced they are different. They move into together. They are happy. But who’s turn is it to unload the dishwasher? Why are your dirty socks always on the sofa? Don’t use the sponge to wipe up the floor! THAT’S FOR THE SINK! No, you take out the trash! I did it last time. Who’s turn is it to make dinner? But I cleaned up yesterday! Why are you in such a bad mood all the time. No, YOU’RE THE ONE WITH TOO MANY EMOTIONS! Why are you always interrupting me? That’s my story… I want to tell it! I don’t want to watch that show, I want to watch THIS show. I guess we can have sex. Did you brush your teeth? Does that mean I have to brush my teeth? No it’s fine, I’ll do it. Wanna put some music on? Not that track, I hate that track. Have you always had this mole?

    The intimate relationship of living with a person and committing yourself to them is not an easy dynamic. Cohabitating means you’re exposed to MANY different sides of a person. No one is in a good mood all the time or has the energy to consistently be on their best behavior, so as a consequence you’re going to see the worst of your partner. (Except for me, I’m always a delight) It’s the moments of witnessing the shadow side of your lover that you may even feel some hate for them, but here is the question – how long do you hold onto that hate? How easy is it for you to access forgiveness?

    Genuine forgiveness is the KEY INGREDIENT to keeping the cherry pie of your relationship stay fresh. When you start to resent your partner, and are unable to forgive them for their behavior, that’s when you know you’re in trouble. Forgiveness is best accessed when the other person owns their shit and can say to you, “Whoops, I know I just took a huge metaphoric dump on the rug of our love and it’s smelly and moist, but hey, I’ll clean it up. Maybe the scent will linger for a bit, but I won’t deny my shit stank up the room. I also have this Nag Champa incense we could burn.”

    Of course, not everything a person does is forgivable. People can be abusive and if you’re living in that paradigm and keep forgiving then you’re putting yourself in danger (emotionally and physically). Yet for many of us our problems with our partners aren’t major red flags but more insidious scratches all over the body, and if you have too many, you will slowly bleed to death. You have to have time to heal each abrasion before the next one forms because even if they scar, they at least are no longer open decaying wounds.

    Having unconditional love for a person doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries. I used to think that to show unconditional love I had to always say “yes” and do what a person wanted. But that’s not sustainable. Saying “no” is sometimes the most loving act you can do if saying “no” means you won’t resent them in the future. Unconditional love is what we are looking for, yet that means we also have to give it. So how is this achieved?

    We have to separate the person we love from the behavior we want to choke them for. People don’t change, but behavior does. It’s hard to fathom changing who you are, but it is totally possible to change how you act. When you’re with a partner you love and respect you have to take their feedback of your behavior and modify accordingly. Chances are the stuff you do that drives your partner crazy also drives everyone else fucking crazy. Your partner just nags you about it more because they have to goddamn live with it!

    We have to train the person we want to be with to be the best versions of themselves. Just as if you got a puppy, you wouldn’t just expect that puppy not to piss in your shoes. You’d train them how to act so they’d know what behavior was acceptable. Some people lack the skills of being a good roommate and they have to be taught how to be so they aren’t insanely annoying. The more your partner is willing to be influenced by you, and learn from your wisdom, the more you will be able to work together in being the best versions of yourselves more often.

    A lot of my friends who date men often accept their ways because they assume that’s just how men are – especially around the house. NO! People have so much potential for growth, you just have to figure out the best strategy to motivate them to work with you not against you. Many men haven’t been taught to access their nurturing, caregiving, or homemaking sides. But a life partner than can cook, do the laundry, care about your emotional needs, express their emotional needs, clean up after themselves, take care of children, is a person that’s more fun to live with. When the woman takes up all the slack of running the house, holding the emotional space, and has to also work a job – she’s going to feel bitter. When a person refuses to evolve you’re going to resent the shit out of them. But you sometimes have to train your lover to learn that evolution is best for all parties. The better person you are to your partner, the better person you are to the world at large.

  • The Meditation of The Mundane Moving Me Through My Mania

    I don’t help people move. I do a lot of things in this world, but moving you is not one. When even my best friends tell me they’re moving, I just smile without teeth, nod, and then change the topic to myself. We all have our limitations. I will share my underwear with you, I will hold your hair back while you vomit, I will pick your toenails, clean your open wounds, and listen to you endlessly complain about your lover – but I will not help move that lamp.

    When it came to be my turn to move, I knew I had to go this journey alone. I can’t ask people to help me do things I would never do for them. Even when friends offered, I had to deny their generous gesture because I didn’t want to be beholden to a future moment of retribution. Fuck you friend. I’ll lift this bookshelf without you because your bookshelves are your problem!

    When I used to move apartments in my 20’s, I would get through the experience by doing bounteous amount of cocaine. I would fully pack and unpack a house in a 36-hour period and not stop once to sleep, eat, or even rest. The only thing I would pause for was of course, more cocaine. Yet now that I’m in my 30’s I had to approach this move like the mature adult that I am. Plus, I don’t have a dealer out here in the woods so…

    I guess I could have smoked weed, but who wants to puff on a joint and then pick up a couch? That wasn’t going to work, because then I would just eat chips and think about space. I had to move sober and totally aware of every moment.

    There are a lot of things I had to face during this 8-day process of moving, cleaning, and organizing from 8 am until 12:30 am. The first most glaring reality is that I am an ecological terrorist. The number of meaningless things I have accumulated over the years were frightening. The amount of trash that was produced as a consequence was utterly horrific. The frequency of dump runs was downright depressing. I am never buying anything again – except for white cut off shorts for the summer because cute right?

    I also could not help but notice my own naivety and entitlement. Because I’ve never owned a house, there is a detachment I have in the places I’ve lived. In my parent’s house I’d do the obvious things to keep it clean, like put away my dishes and pick up my room, but if I spilled crumbs of the floor I’d figure someone else would deal with that. I wasn’t going to wash their floors or windows. When I lived in apartments with boyfriends, we’d just accept crumbs on our floor. I never cleaned my toilet, or my shower. I didn’t vacuum, or scrub. I didn’t care. I’d just look at massive dust bunnies as pets and brown stains as decorative. When I’d see mouse shit on my counters I’d just flick it behind the oven and move on with my day.

    Throughout my 30’s I’ve had a cleaning person that has helped out with these nitty gritty details. I’d pick up for her and make things presentable, but I’d still assume that someone else would deal with things I didn’t feel like doing. This privileged perspective of “Oh, that will get done eventually, just not by me.”

    My own ignorance became glaringly apparent to me when I realized there was a major moth infestation that had to be dealt with. Now, I’m not a total idiot. I kind of knew that you didn’t want moths in your house and something about putting cedar in closets. But I also simultaneously thought moths weren’t that bad, and just night butterflies. I didn’t realize that moths would eat the shit out of fabric and plague your belongings with their maggots! I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up a cushion and then realized that you’re covered in moth larva, but holy shit is that a humbling moment. I spent 6 hours of my life vacuuming, scrubbing, cleaning, vacuuming, and then cleaning moth larva – breathing in these miniscule fetuses.

    So much of my stuff was covered in mouse piss from storing it that I had to clean every single thing I owned, including my cleaning products. I realized that I had to accrue a different awareness about my impact on not only the planet, but also how I approach my own relationship to responsibility. I can’t have the entitled attitude of the past, nor can I pass that on to my kid. As such I got her a dust buster so she can vacuum up her crumbs every time she sits down to eat.

    Yet despite my spoiled complaining of how much it sucks to move, it was actually a truly profound meditation. White people pay for meditation retreats to find enlightenment (present company included) but the mundane process of going through everything you own, cleaning it, and then putting it in a specific place was akin to a mediation retreat on crack. This mundane work took me to a mindful place where nothing else mattered but wiping off a counter. Dealing with how in the beginning it felt so overwhelming to stare at everything you own covered in animal feces to slowly chiseling down the effort where not only is all clean again, but also put away in its newly proper place was truly transcendent. I didn’t listen to music, or podcasts. I didn’t talk to anyone or distract myself with drugs. I just focused purely on the act in front of me, even if it was finding an onion that had somehow been packed in the kitchen “box” and said onion had molded to a point of creating a new ecosystem of fungus.

    I became so absorbed in this process that I forgot who I was. I forgot my ambitions, my anxieties about work, my depression about my unrealized dreams. I even forgot one of my best friend’s birthdays! I didn’t check email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. I didn’t hear about the news or the fact that WE ARE PUTTING BABIES IN DETENTION CENTERS AND OUR GOVERNMENT IS RUN BY IMMORAL MONSTERS WHICH ONLY HIGHLIGHTS OUR AMERICAN LEGACY OF SEPERATING FAMILIES THROUGH THE GUISE OF POLITICAL POLICY WHEN IN FACT ITS PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE AGAINST THE OPPRESSED!

    Fully immersing myself in the mundane was a vacation from the mania of myself. I dove into my psyche at its core and scraped off the superficial concerns that usually plague me. Yet now I don’t know who I am. I sit in front of my computer and I question everything. I became Toni who vacuumed and scrubbed, and that Toni had a mental freedom that the Toni that writes, makes videos, talks comedy into microphones, and tries desperately to be noticed doesn’t have. Cleaning Toni can have a goal and accomplish it. Cleaning Toni can eradicate crumbs and handle moth abortions. Trying to get into Sundance Toni I’m not so sure about.

    My stuff… still covered in pee pee of rodents

    ecological terrorism 🙁

    I also found such gems as the below old diary… where I not only practiced by alphabet cursive, but graded myself and A+ and decided I was “great.”

    June 21, 2018 • Ambitions, Change, Emotions, Musings, Responsibilities • Views: 727

  • What’s Up With White Women?

    What’s Up With White Women?

    Ummmm, yeah, so as a white woman I’d like to put all call out there to other white women to maybe stop being so wack? I feel like you’re really diluting the brand and kind of ruining it for the rest of us. First, white women vote Donny Trumpy into office. Then, white women vote for molesty Roy, almost electing that handsy pervert who targeted underage girls. And NOW they keep calling the cops on black people that have the audacity to do things like: take a nap at Yale, walk with their baby in a stroller while peacefully appreciating the day, or (…gasp…) have a BBQ at the park!

    Ugh.

    Barf.

    Not only are women voting monsters into office, but they’re openly acting out racist paranoia and infringing on the lives of citizens by TRAUMATIZING THEM with unnecessary police visits. These fearful calls are indicative of a pandemic in this culture that is in no way new and has been festering beneath the surface of the media for a long time. Much like with police brutality none of its news to the black community that’s been living these nightmares. Yet right now because of social media there is a highlighter on these incidents of whites feeling emboldened to exploit their lack of fear of the police (because of white privilege) and inflict the police on the population that legitimately is least trusting of the cops. Does this mean that white women are more racist than ever because they’re engaging in this behavior? Nope. Just as racist as always, we’re just hearing about it more because it’s a news trend.

    I want to understand why this is happening and better deconstruct the double helix of women who support the patriarchy as well as racist ideology. I try to avoid pointing fingers because there’s so much else we ladies can do with our fingers, am I right? Yet as much as I want to be an empathetic human, I’m struggling with my own judgements of these white women. The archetypal woman that is diving into the depths of her racism is also often deeply connected to a more conservative, patriarchal, and right-wing political background. Not that there isn’t plenty of a racist under-current with left-wing yuppy burners that have already planned the perfect outfit for “the playa.” Racism exists on the left as well as the right, but it’s a different flavor than the “calling cops on daddies pushing strollers” variety.

    Left wing racism has its own insidious impact and shows up in white feminism, socially responsible investing, and all sorts of activist endeavors. It’s the kind of racism that seeps slowly from underneath the floor boards, like a Colonial Ghost in a haunted house. Right wing racism is a little more out in the open and feels deeply entwined with women that have internalized misogyny, and direct it at themselves and other women.

    So, what’s up with these women calling cops on black people and voting monsters into office?? What are they thinking and why? I’ve come up with a few theories to try and deconstruct the motivations of these women of the alt-right. The women who vote for men that openly oppress and sexually assault their gender, and who’s racism fuels their alliance.

    1) Theory number 1: Daddy Dearest – Perhaps their fathers are pretty right-wing, conservative, racist, sexist, and patriarchal within the family structure. They grew up being conditioned to think that “Daddy knows best” for he was the default king of morality within the house. Daddy’s ideology was the prevailing culture, and everyone else had to follow his lead. Mommy was perhaps Daddy’s servant and catered to his every need, never prioritizing her own, only polishing the pedestal he perched on. Mommy deferred to Daddy as the head of the house, therefor he must be the wise sage Mommy thinks he is! These little girls grow up with a programmed hero complex of Daddy and haven’t yet separated their psychology from his. They instead adapt Daddy’s beliefs as their own and are unware of the violence they are directing at other women and subsequently themselves because they cannot fathom the idea that Daddy might have been wrong, or a flawed man. If Daddy was racist, that’s because Daddy knows whites are superior. If Daddy thinks a woman can’t be president, that’s because women must be inferior – not that Daddy doesn’t understand how menopause works so his fears of menstruating heads of state are pretty unfounded. These women don’t want to see that Daddy could be wrong about anything, because then Daddy could have been wrong about everything.
    2) Theory number 2: The Man I’m Fucking Can’t be an Idiot Because What Does That Make Me? – Let’s say you’re dating, or married, or love-making to an alt-right, racist, sexist. You’re letting him penetrate your body, and subsequently your mind. The last thing you want to think is that this guy is an idiot, because that makes you a dumb dumb for sleeping with him. To avoid self-reflecting, these ladies absorb the opinions of the man they are fornicating with, because to question him is to question why you’re letting his penis inside you in the first place. For these ladies it’s easier to fall into his line of thinking than it is to wonder “why do I let the dick of this dick poke me?”
    3) Theory Number 3: Like Trauma, Racism and Sexism Are Passed Through DNA – Science has proven that trauma impacts our DNA and is passed to our offspring. Survivors of slavery, the holocaust, abuse, all have their genetic codes altered because of their experiences. Considering this, I have to wonder if it’s possible that hate can impact our DNA as well. I recently saw an experiment where a plant was bullied, and another plant was praised with loving kindness. The results were remarkable. The bullied plant wilted and was in a state of physical suffering close to death, where the celebrated plant flourished. It makes me think that it’s possible that strong feelings of hate can alter your DNA, and therefore be passed through genetics. Of course, if your socialized in a hateful house it will impact your psychology regardless, but I do question if there is a biological connection worth studying.
    4) Theory Number 3: Brainwashed by the Patriarchy – The patriarchy is a social system where power is held by adult men, not only at home within the family, but also in the world at large. The word “patriarchy” is an ancient greek term that translates “the rule of the father,” and, for the past 6,000 years, has been the foundation upon which we’ve built our society. Skyscrapers of male dominance dominate the domineering skyline, supported by the scaffolding of the belief system that women are morally, intellectually, and physically inferior to men. Yes, in the past 100 years there has been major progress of addressing this reality, but the patriarchy is so entwined with “the state” that it’s impossible to “smash the patriarchy” and not “smash the state.” Women gaining power within the patriarchy (the state) is still supporting the system. Violence and the threat of violence is what props up the patriarchy and it’s manifested both in the macro and micro. The threat of nuclear war and the threat of men abusing/raping women loom over our psyches and beat us into submission. Both genders fall victim to the state and the patriarchy and sadly both genders reinforce its existence by participating in it. Women voting against their interests and electing a pussy-grabber into the white house is the same as the men voting against their interests and voting for an elitist economic tyrant. Racism is a tool of the patriarchy (the state) because if poor women and poor men of ALL RACES united into a 3rd party we would annihilate this illusionary two-party regime that has been ruling with little regard for the planet or the health of humanity. White women who operate with racist ideology supporting the very patriarchal rule that deems them inferior are mind-controlled victims of the reckless greed of the 1%.
    5) Theory Number 4: Self-Hate – There has to be an element of self-hate with white women propping up the men that are proven to violate other women. There has to be a deep self-hate when you hate other races. Hate breeds hate. A super well-adjusted loving person who feels one with the universe and has dissolved their ego into the quantum field does not go around calling the cops on black people enjoying their lunch.
    6) Theory Number 5: Capitalism – Whiteness is inherently more valuable within the capitalist structure. When black people move into a neighborhood, white people complain it brings down the “value” of the neighborhood. Seeing black people in perceived “white spaces” threatens the value, and thus their sense of self. This thinking of “I have to protect myself from you, black person, from impacting the value of my experience in this space. I as a white woman have value, and your being near me is impacting my stock. Your existence is degrading my space and the police will protect me from your impact on my economic value.” Racism preserves the white hierarchy because women are the prizes to be won by wealthy white men. As the objects of wealth they want to maintain their market price tag.