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Musings
Category

  • Pulsing Ego Walks Through Fire and Falls into Darkness and Depression

    I don’t know about you, but I spend a pretty good portion of my life doubting myself. My pulsing ego beating against the soft membranes that barely contain it, writhing in agony as I try to understand my place in the world. Intellectually I know filling my days abusing myself is probably not the best choice of my energy, so I do my best to talk myself out of my negative feelings about me. I say things like, “come on Toni, you may be financial failure and unable to commodify yourself or your art thus indicating that perhaps what you’re creating has zero value to society, buuuuuut you are a good listener and make delicious quinoa!”

    It only sort of works.

    Yet sometimes I find myself tumbling into a darkness of my own making, drowning in a cavernous abyss of insecurity where I question every decision I’ve made in the last 20 years and wonder if I’ll ever accomplish my dreams or if I’m destined for a bleak future where my ambitious aspirations will forever haunt my ego in an enteral feedback loop of failure.

    It just depends on the day!

    Recently my kid had school vacation, and she went away for 7 days to Washington DC to spend time with her two grandmothers. My mom had planned this trip months ago, yet despite my knowledge that I would be kid-free for a week, I didn’t create any grand plans for myself during this time. Usually when The Munch goes away without me, I go away as well. Almost all of our family vacations are spent apart.

    Once The Munch left, I suddenly started thinking that I should do something more exciting than spending the week at home working like I do every other week. Yet none of my attempts of finding fun or making meaning out of my life were panning out. There were no performance opportunities, no creative projects, no people dying to see me, no one wanting to work with me… nothing.

    By not having my kid at home to distract me, this extra time to myself opened up the door to the dungeon of my psyche. It’s not like I don’t get depressed about my life when The Munch is home, because I do – yet it’s hard to go really deep with it when this bright ball of light keeps bouncing around asking me to feel how smooth hot wax is that had dried to her fingers. YEAH I GET IT! I’VE LIVED ON EARTH BEFORE! The diversion of caring for another human that’s so outwardly boisterous and content keeps my disdain about my superficial existence, superficial. I more skate on the surface of my self-loathing, gliding above the ice of my anxieties, and avoid falling into the fishing holes of flagellation when The Munch is with me. Her innocence and wonder at life is contagious, and makes it harder to take my pain as seriously.

    But with the Munch not around for me to deal with her needs, my needs became like a putrid rotting open wound I couldn’t stop picking at. Once the scab of my sense of self started bleeding, I decided it was probably best to peel off all my skin and turn inside out in the process.

    Needless to say I was a lot of fun to be around!

    On Wednesday I went on a walk with my friend and told her about my spiral of self –questioning, yet rather than allowing me to stew in self pity, she reminded me that I am making a choice to pursue an artistic career. I am not a victim and my goals are lofty. There are millions of talented people who work just as hard, and there is no guarantee for any of them. I knew she was right. I know she is right. Logically yes! YES TO ALL. Yet emotionally my struggle of accepting what I know to be true was torturous. That’s the crazy thing about self-inflected pain – it’s just as painful as the pain you didn’t cause yourself.

    I then talked to another friend who reminded me of how many hundreds of auditions she does – the amount of effort she labors out into the ether, putting herself out there time and time again. Reminding me that there is a futility in trying, but it’s also only in trying that anything ever happens – so even in perceived pointlessness there is a point!

    I then had to ask myself why? Why do I try? What drives me? What pushes me forward? Why do I spend my days writing gentalia infused social commentary? What is the point?

    I kept coming back to the same answer. It’s my pain about society. I want to be a part of changing the way people think. I have a deep desire to make an impact on culture and challenge the status quo. I want to shake shit up. Maybe I’m going about it in a weird way by making videos with penis costumes and having friends seduce life-sized dolls to comment about the patriarchy – but it’s not my fault my muse is obsessed with dick jokes and comedy! I’m inspired to make art because I’m inspired to inspire others to question. For the love of Gaia I was a philosophy major at Sarah Lawrence… what do you want from me?

    So that night I spend about 8 hours on my computer trying to find every writing contest, comedy festival, short film contest I could find and started submitting my work. I use to do this all the time, but the problem with applying to things is that every time I open my email, I’d get another rejection. I’d get rejected from things I didn’t every remember applying to. It got a bit demoralizing, so I stopped trying. Yet even if there is a .00001% chance of getting accepted to things that I apply to, that’s still better than the 0% chance I have when not even applying. So to deal with the pain of rejection, I had to open my heart up to more rejection. I have to just keep working and get better at what I do until I don’t get rejected.

    Isn’t that the hilarity of life?

    I tried to re-commit to myself and my process – which is something I think we all have to do. We have to re-commit to relationships, dreams, visions, goals, because they all will disappoint you. Yet even though my brain said “re-commit to your art Toni,” my heart said, “no matter what you’ll never be satisfied so you might as well take all that eternal angst and commit your organs to science.” The days went on, and I tried to talk myself out my sadness, but couldn’t.

    The Munch returned, yet my emptiness remained. We had our friends over to make chocolate chip banana bread, and my friend told me I was putting in too many chocolate chips which I didn’t even think was possible. We sat down to do a tarot reading and I picked a card on my career and suddenly my stomach hurt more than it ever had in my life. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I went to the bathroom and tried to evacuate the demon clawing its way out my colon, but nothing came out of me. I couldn’t puke, I couldn’t poop, nothing.

    I told my friend I was really hurting and felt like a creature was gnawing its way through my intestines – she suggested maybe I had ecoli. I went back to the bathroom and the pain was so intense it was blinding. Now I am NEVER one to go the hospital, yet I started to think maybe that’s where I needed to go. I felt like I was dying. I didn’t have the energy to go to the hospital, so I decided I just had to relax. I had to relax into dying because fighting it seemed like the wrong vibe. I tried to breathe into my dying and I went and laid in bed under 3 blankets, shivering to the point of frenzy.

    The pain wouldn’t release me from its clutch, so again I slinked to the bathroom, barely able to hold up my body. I exhaled and felt a cramping so severe I honestly almost passed out. And then I took the most excruciating but also shamanic shit of my life. As soon is it was over, the pain was gone. Just as fast as it came.

    I laid on the couch for the rest of the night and had some chocolate chip banana bread – and yes there were too many chocolate chips.

    The next day I saw my healer, hoping for answers about my stomach pain, my back pain, and my emotional pain.

    Toni: I had taken some expired Advil. Do you think that could have been the reason my stomach hurt so much?
    Healer: No, I don’t think so. Get on the table and let’s check you out.
    Toni: Okay.
    Healer: Well, your first chakra is split, your 5th chakra is split, and your 3rd chakra is not only split, but it has an entity attached to it.
    Toni: Oh dear!
    Healer: Let me just remove the entity… AHHH it jumped on me!
    Toni: Goodness! Did you catch it?
    Healer: Give me a moment.

    (Pause for dramatic exorcism of entity)

    Healer: Okay. It’s gone.
    Toni: Wow. Do you think that’s why my stomach hurt so much yesterday?

    My healer looked at me with an expression of genuine bewilderment.

    Healer: I don’t know? How could I know that?

    Let’s not forget that my healer DID know that I had an inter-dimensional being lodged in my 3rd charka that she had to physically remove – yet what she did NOT know was if that galactic creature was the cause of my stomachache… which is actually totally fair when you think about it rationally.

    I left my healer’s house feeling better. You could attribute it to a thousand things… pending your belief system and how open your mind is. All I can say for sure is that I feel a lot lighter… that could have been the epic shit too? Who knows?

    I mean… this IS how I choose to spend my days after all…

    May 9, 2018 • Emotions, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Musings, Problems, Responsibilities • Views: 1047

  • Emotional Hand Jobs

    I have a lot of social anxiety around people. Wait, let me rephrase that – I have a lot of social anxiety around people that don’t know me and I have to prove my worth through some sort of pithy conversational cue that indicates my humanity and suggests there’s more to me than a woman who has dirt under her fingernails from some unknown source. Considering my personal preference to eliminate all superficial banter that Homo Sapiens are seemingly comforted by, I usually start off with such talking points as, “tell me your primal wound,” when meeting a stranger. My interest is in wanting desperately to know who someone truly is, and not hiding behind the conventions that masquerade us as the happy, perfect, success we all want to be perceived as. I want to know your darkest parts, your deepest shame, your emotional-self, the piece of you that scares you the most – and wouldn’t you know it, not everybody is down for that journey?

    Living in the woods for the past 9 years has insulated me from the societal pressures of impressing humanoids. In my community of cuntree living I’m mostly accepted as my authentic self. The chipmunks understand my crude nature, the trees don’t judge my incessant yammering about capitalism fueling the psychological raping of the patriarchy, and the grass is accustomed to my endless well of genitalia infused humor. Yet when I leave my population of moss-covered rocks and venture into the big world of urban existence where I’m exposed to a plethora of people to connect with, I tend to constantly question who the hell I’m supposed to be in order to be liked.

    Of course there the simple answer is, “yourself”- be yourself Toni!

    Or another answer is, “who cares what people think?”

    Both of these I agree with and try and implement, yet who is “myself” around those I don’t know? How can I not be aware of how others perceive me when I can’t help but notice as their brow furrows at my comment about “butt-fucking corporate greed” and how soon we will be a population of genetically modified humans where only the wealthy will be able to afford designer, Nietzschean, Uber-babies while the poor will lack the resources of genetic perfection thus igniting a cultural war between the immortal demi-god elite and the deformed, polluted, regular humans? I see how their eyes glaze over as they slowly excuse themselves from talking to me, and move stealthily away to have more comfortable conversations with someone else – avoiding eye contact should I return with more polemic antidotes.

    I’m a lot like cilantro in that way. To some, I taste very soapy.

    I struggle with accepting the fact that I turn a lot of people off because I realize I’m making a choice to approach people in the way that I do. I know I could be more likable if I was socially lubricated enough to give out emotional hand jobs. Deep down I know I am capable of deep throating their desire to stay on the surface and discuss things that aren’t as emotionally loaded as, “does your dad actually love you?” Yet instead I feel this need to avoid jerking someone off even if I know they’d enjoy my company more and instead end up furiously metaphorically masturbating while staring them in the face hoping they eventually drop their trousers and do the same.

    I feel torn about wanting to be liked and wanting to be real because those things don’t always go together.

    When I was a young kid I didn’t have any friends. SURPRISE! I had my older brother and he was the only playmate I needed. When I started the 1st grade I made one friend named Trudy who didn’t wear underwear, so I knew she understood a lot more about life than I did. She was also great at cartwheels despite the provocative consequences of the afore mentioned fashion choice. Trudy moved away for the 2nd grade, so I made one more friend to replace her. She was a very shy girl with ringlets named Ashley and we spent most of our time not talking and jumping rope. In the 3rd grade I was separated from Ashley so I became friends with a girl Lizzie, who had an exceptionally impressive blond ponytail that swung when she walked. Lizzie was popular because she was the new pretty girl with the hot hair and the popular boy had a crush on her – and as we all know – a women’s value is often defined by the caliber of boy that likes her because… the patriarchy. Yet sadly Lizzie and her luscious mane moved away after one year, leaving a black hole of the “popular girl” vacuum to be filled. I figured I would go back to my life of obscurity and singing songs about frogs and pigs with Ashley, yet because I had been Lizzie’s best friend, I inadvertently inherited her crown.

    I found being popular to be very stressful. Having many friends is theoretically nice, but when you’re a co-dependent, people-pleasing, 9- year old that feels responsible for the emotional happiness of others and has been socialized by Catholic guilt to prioritize everyone but yourself because love is conditional and only given when behaving in the manner adults want – it can be a bit overwhelming. I always wanted my friends to be happy and this created a dynamic where I was more concerned about being who THEY wanted me to be rather than who I actually was. I was intuitive enough to understand the parts of me each friend preferred, but then my personality became a performance art of negotiating the traits each audience member was most likely to enjoy.

    I lived like this for ummmm… 30 years? There was this hyper concern about the needs of others that made it impossible to prioritize the needs of myself or truly settle into the relationships that made the most sense for me. I was so desperate for love that I’d take it from anyone, even if it meant folding myself into an origami shape of their liking – “oh you’re not into me, well how about you try Toni as crane.” It wasn’t until I birthed a human that I started to address shedding this strategy of manipulating others by manipulating myself into the manipulated figure they most fancied. Not only because of my child’s all-consuming unconditional love that accepted all, didn’t judge, and whose only expectation was my utter devotion – but also because taking care of a kid is very time sucking and forced me to prioritize what was actually important.

    I think we all change, mold, and develop as we grow, but for me personally becoming someone’s mother shook me out of a coma of my own making. I started to genuinely feel like, “who gives a shit what anyone thinks but her?” My kid’s opinion of me is truly the only one that matters and she thinks I’m the fucking shit. The Munch loves my videos, she thinks I have a beautiful voice (I don’t), and she’s convinced I’m an accomplished artist purely because my hearts aren’t crooked and I can draw a descent star shape. Not that I’m basing my sense of self purely on my daughter’s perception of me because I’m aware there will come a time when she’s resentful, rebellious, or questions why she can’t smoke pot in the house when mommy does – but what I have learned from raising The Munch is that I will never be able to be who someone wants me to be because they will ALWAYS want more. They will endlessly suck from my teat, ingesting the milk of my efforts to please them and then digest my excretions while expecting me to change the diarrhea in their diapers.

    So I’ve gone the other direction. I’ve come to terms with the fact that not everyone is going to like me, and maybe I even speed that process along by being so unapologetically myself right out the gate. If you’re not interested in discussing the future of A.I. and how maybe hating yourself is what you love about yourself most, then we probably aren’t going to have a lot in common anyway. I’m not perfect at this practice of course. I can get intimated by strong personalities that think they’re better than me because hey – you probably are better than me. I can allow myself to feel bullied in conversations if the person I’m engaging with resists my efforts because they are stuck in their own ideology and too closed-minded to be willing to explore. I can find myself back in old patterns of wanting to please and allowing comments I think are dumb, offensive, annoyingly sexual towards me, or purely shallow. When I’m at my strongest I challenge, and when I’m at my weakest I acquiesce and let things slide I later wish I didn’t. Yet life is a work in progress and I guess the best I can do is keep forcing myself on people and hoping I run into those that are interested in investigating their darkness with me.

    April 18, 2018 • Change, Children, Emotions, Mommyhood, Musings, Parenting, Political Banter • Views: 1214

  • The Real-Estate Agent In Your Brain (Renting Out Your Depression and Anxiety Apartments)

    When I am my happiest, I am thinking the least. Not a lot is going through my head when I’m having a good time. I’m not thinking about my own personal failures, the fact that humans are currently causing our 3rd massive extinction of animals, or about the inevitability of implicit bias and how our collective unconscious mentalities only further subjugate the already oppressed and vulnerable. I’m not thinking of any of that, or feeling the inevitable depression that coats those thoughts, but instead I strip down, allowing my brain cavity to empty out the pesky thoughts of the overwhelming inequality in the world, leaving space to forget all that momentarily to instead notice the beauty, hope, and potential all around me… and then of course I take another hit of weed.

    When I’m at my most depressed, I’m thinking a lot. My mind is filled with the futility of my artistic pursuits – how I’m just spinning wheels, existing in a vortex of my own mediocrity and meaningless efforts. I question why I spend my time yearning for something I’ll never achieve because my poor life choices mixed with average abilities have rendered me forever insignificant. My head will then fill with the living nightmare of my political and social impotence to be part of a real revolution that annihilates the economic system that has corrupted every facet of human culture and serves as the driving force of ecological terrorism we’ve enacted on the planet. I’ll lose myself in these thoughts that everything is so insurmountable and regardless of my emotional boner to penetrate society with my positive influence, I’m instead a flaccid inactive member that hangs pathetically, ashamed of my own inadequacy.

    Everyone feels this way right??

    Most people I know battle with depressive thinking. We all choose to handle it in our own ways. We self-medicate, masturbate, and believe that smoking a vape is safe. Yet the truth is, there are countless things to be legitimately depressed about, yet we all crave reprieve from that all consuming feeling of no feeling. No one wants to be depressed. There is a massive industry promising you relief from this encompassing emotion, and people will deal with the side effects of dry mouth(s) and soft dick for liberation. Depression is a pervasive feeling that has swept across this country with millions of people aching to sweep it off the platter of their emotional plate for good.

    We can be depressed about a romance gone sour, a love that has curdled in the cup of your heart that you don’t know how to reverse the rotting process. So you think about this person obsessively, not because it feels good, but because it feels bad. It’s almost as if you’re not the one doing the thinking. That someone else is controlling your mind as if with a remote. Every time you try and change the channel to something else, they change the channel right back to your heartbreak. You try desperately to watch something benign like animal planet, but this demon keeps forcing you “Clockwork Orange” eversion therapy style to instead stay tuned to the reality show of your bitter rejection.

    Maybe you’re depressed because you can’t have the career you want, the baby you want, or the life that you want. When your needs aren’t being met, or you feel at the mercy of a culture that’s designed to keep you down because you’re not the status quo, it’s natural to feel hopeless, helpless, and despondent. Yet those feelings are often not in the backdrop of your brain, quietly murmuring in a corner of your mind, but instead they are the loudest voices in your head – reminding you constantly of their existence by screaming their discontent.

    Why is it that when you WANT to think about something else, you CAN’T? Aren’t you the only person in your mind? So then why can’t you choose what you do and don’t think about!? If YOU don’t want to be thinking about something, yet can’t stop thinking about it, then WHO is the one making you think about it? Is there a real-estate agent in your mind renting out the rooms of your psyche?

    Imagine your brain as an apartment building, and each feeling is an apartment in your head. Let’s say you’re in a relationship, and you give that person the keys to your penthouse. The penthouse is of course the pinnacle of your mental energy, so by living in the penthouse your lover becomes the thing you think about the most, care about the most, and are most consumed with. If the relationship is good, or you’re in that initial phase of love/lust where everything seems perfect and full of possibility, then allowing yourself to daydream about that person all day feels okay. But what happens when the relationship starts deteriorating? Then thinking about that person is going to make you feel like shit, yet you can’t not think about them because they live in the fucking penthouse of your brain! In order to stop thinking about them, you need to get the keys back!

    You tell the real-estate agent in your mind that you’re breaking up, so your lover can’t live in the penthouse anymore. The real-estate agent then says “Okay, so we’re evicting Chad from the penthouse – who wants to rent the space now? Oh ‘Crippling Self-Doubt’ your application looks good and I see you have the full down payment. Wow, ‘Self-Loathing,’ your credit score checks out – y’all wanna be roommates? Now, who wants to rent the anxiety apartment because we just remodeled it and added a few extra rooms in including a master bath for depression! Oh Chad you’d like to live in anxiety now? Sure that works out, and you’re new girlfriend can even have her office in there, so perfect. Ummm let’s see, looks like suicidal thoughts has a room to fill, any takers? Looks like Chad wants a few more keys to some other apartments. How about right before bed thoughts, and first thing in the morning thoughts? Great. Oh, and of course Chad, here is the key to listening to music and watching people kiss on the street.”

    Who lives in the penthouse of your mind? If it’s another person, career goal, how fucked up the world is, or a specific vision of how your life should be – chances are that you’re going to think about things that make you miserable. We have no control over other people, we have no control over our success, we have no control over the Illuminati, and we have no control when it comes to constructing the perfect life. If your penthouse is rented to something or someone you have no control over, then you will always feel powerless in your own mind. Instead, why not rent out the penthouse of your brain to the process of self-growth? Not a specific vision of what that looks like, but rather the simple journey of self-reflection and actualization. If you decide that your one goal in life is to evolve at whatever pace makes the most sense at the time, then you are no longer a victim of circumstance. You are the architect of your own personal progress, and you can design your penthouse for you. Maybe your kitchen is messy and the master bedroom is still under construction, but you still sleep well in the guest room and the walk-in closet is finally finished. As long as you’re working towards progress, you will always feel some sort of mental peace. Yeah the world is a fucking trashcan filled with racism, sexism, hate and fear – but the greatest form of activism starts with empowering yourself to have the mental energy and emotional bandwidth to put yourself out there in the face of all the adversity and try. Why rent your penthouse to anyone else besides your self-awareness? It’s YOUR penthouse after all. Would you own an apartment building and live in the basement? So why would you do that in your own head?

    Of course for some many of us that are in debt, the targets of bigotry, or suffering from severe trauma – your penthouse is going to have some squatters. When you are struggling financially and worry if you can feed your family, those thoughts are going to plague you. If you’re a person of color constantly reminded that your life doesn’t matter, these thoughts will haunt you. If you’re the victim of some awful crime it’s going to be incredibly to hard push those thoughts out of the penthouse. You maybe have to have some unwanted tenants in your penthouse, but you STILL have to insist that it’s YOUR name on the lease, and your RIGHT to kick them out as you gain strength and need more rooms.

    Then don’t forget how do you want to design the rest of the building? You are going to have an anxiety apartment, a self-doubt apartment, a self-loathing apartment… But how big are they? Who are you renting them out to? Who are you allowing in these spaces? What about your love apartment? Your feeling optimistic apartment? How big are they? And what is your screening process like? Don’t let rats and vermin take over your building and make sure you’re only giving out keys to those with impeccable references!

    Look at this lovely bath in the penthouse in your brain!!!

    April 12, 2018 • Ambitions, Emotions, Musings, Problems, Relationships, Responsibilities • Views: 2532

  • Being in a Dick Hijab: Getting To Know My Audience

    I’ve been putting myself out there into the cosmos of the Interwebs for over a decade now – weaving my way into the collective consciousness one “like” at a time. It’s been a slow process of gaining an audience of people curious about what will come out of my mouth hole, especially considering the plethora of gaping holes to gaze into on your screen. Of all the dark abysses that are available on the Internet, I thank you for choosing mine over the myriad of anal cavities currently begging for your attention. Namaste.

    I’m grateful for all the various mediums to actively prostitute my art on. I can pimp myself through a variety of social media platforms, and trick people into consuming the contents of my psyche. It’s a gift to be born in this time where I can broadcast my thoughts out into the hive mind, to desperately buzz around trying to make my quasi-feminist, pseudo-intellectual, semi-philosophical, and comedic-dramatic mark on society. Yet within this quest to create content for the Internet warning people of the dangerous distraction of consuming too much content on the Internet there is one element- perhaps one of the most important- that I have no real control over. Who the hell engages with my work?

    When I think about whom I’m creating my art for, the consumer in my mind is a woman wearing hemp flowing robes that’s free-bleeding onto the dirt floor of her yurt to fertilize her organic chia seeds while hosting a scared ceremony of the high priestess to end world suffering through mass meditation and yoni inspired dance. Not that I’m trying to be super specific or anything – and in truth, I’m happy anyone takes the time to read me or watch my videos. Yet I do have to say, when I go through my Google analytics I’m noticing that my audience isn’t exactly what I expected.

    For one there’s my blog. I’ve made many friends through my writing – glorious individuals I’ve never met, but who’ve resonated with my words, and supported me throughout the years. Yet when I look at the top searches that bring people to my blog, I have to say, it’s the most disturbing shit I’ve ever read in my life. Here’s a sweet example of what’s on there today.

    Wow right??? And that’s actually a tame one! “Kid’s eating cum” isn’t as bad as the one last week of “little girls choking on dick.”

    This is HIGHLY disturbing, but maybe also a victory? I picture the man who’s typing these pedophilic, misogynist, and perverted searches into his Google bar – he get’s out his lotion and Kleenex, all ready to beat his meat to the sight of whatever horrid “virgin sister fucking brother” visuals he can find. As he’s going through his many options, lubing up his hand and practicing his intro strokes, he then lands on my blog to read about ending the patriarchy!!!??? Assuming he makes it even half way through before realizing there is in fact no description of “pussy Viagra,” I think by that point I’d have made a real impression on that guy!

    Yeah, maybe he’s not my ideal reader, but at least I’m not preaching to the converted??

    Then there is my video work. Again, I’d think I’d be making videos for ladies that fashion their hair in fallopian tubes while adorning themselves in uterine lined scarves weaved from their pubic hair and singing the ancient chants of Mother Gaia into pink seashells. Yet I recently put out one of my stand up comedy sets on Instagram and when I looked at the engagement statistics, 83% men clicked on the video!? Keep in mind, the subject of the video was “why men fear the matriarchy,” yet majority men clicked on it! I’m assuming neither women nor men were reading the title of the video, and simply decided whether or not to investigate further pending on my looks. So men thought I was hot enough to see what I was doing, and women decided I was hot enough to NOT be curious about what I was up to?

    I became so disheartened when trying to understand what was going on. Yes there is a real hilarity of men clicking on my video thinking I had a face they’d want to fuck and then having to hear about the matriarchy, yet I was equally despondent my fellow sisters were not inspired to see what I was about. What was I doing wrong?

    I then posted a video where I was dressed as a giant penis, and my male friend was costumed as a vulva, and wouldn’t guess it… the engagement for that video was 50/50. It was an equal opportunity genital video! I was delighted I had accrued more female interest, yet could not help but wonder if that was because I was in a dick hijab?

    Honestly I’m in no position to be overly picky about who’s absorbing the work I share. Every “meeting” with people with power that I’ve ever had trying to take myself to the next level in my career has stressed the need to develop my audience and accrue hundreds of thousands of “likes,” “shares” and “followers.” So who am I to reject lonely men seeking to furiously masturbate??

    March 7, 2018 • Ambitions, Emotions, Musings • Views: 1673

  • Toni Bologna’s Valentine’s Day Guide To a Loving, Lasting, Lusty, Relationship

    Well it’s that special time of year again where you look at the love of your life, gaze into their adoring eyes, and say, “Fuck, is CVS still open because I forgot to get you something?” Or maybe you’re single and feeling society’s absurd pressure that being alone means your lonely because no one likes to admit the deepest loneliness you will ever feel is in bed next to a person you’re sick of fucking. No matter what your predicament, Valentine’s Day is ready to make you feel inadequate! Yet even though I think Valentine’s has become a commercial nightmare of modern materialism that infiltrates expectations and manipulates minds into feeling eternally unsatisfied regardless of relationship status, it’s still cool to celebrate love I guess?

    I love you, because you love me, and I need you to love me so I can love myself… so thanks for that! As such, here is my gift to you. My Valentine’s guide of relationship advice that I think will make you less of an asshole. You’re welcome!

    1. Treat Others How They Wanted to Be Treated: There is the common cliché to treat others how you want to be treated, which is all fine and dandy with strangers, yet I think you can do better with your partner. You can’t just treat your partner how you want them to treat you because you are different people with different needs. I for one, find unloading the dishwasher an aphrodisiac. Nothing gets me wetter than a clean kitchen! Yet I can’t expect the same of my partner! The key to showing love to the one you love is knowing them well enough to understand THEIR love language. The more you observe what makes THEM happy and what makes THEM feel loved, the more you can speak to them your adoration with your words and actions. It’s not enough to know what you like and what you want, you have to take the next step and learn what THEY like and want. Just because you like a finger in your ass doesn’t mean your partner does! You can’t just go around blasting asses without knowing the crucial information of this being an appreciated act! The key to being a loving partner is having curiosity about how your partner wants to be loved and appreciated. If this feels mysterious to you, then ask your partner how and when they feel most loved by you and I’m 100% sure they will have some suggestions.

    2. Just Because You Feel Mad Doesn’t Mean You Have To Act That Way: People fight in relationships. This is normal. Sometimes you get mad at your partner. Sometimes your rage is reasonable, and sometimes it’s your own fucking problem. Yet when you’re angry it can be hard to differentiate if your reasoning is rational, or merely a product of your own unresolved issues. But guess what you guys? Just because you’re mad, doesn’t mean you have to act that way. You can easily express with words, “I’m upset by your actions and need to take time to process my feelings,” yet still act cordial. There is literally no reason to ACT like a dick just because you’re hurt. You can be hurt, yet simultaneous treat your partner with respect. They aren’t going to hear or understand your pain more just because you’re huffing and puffing, slamming doors, yelling, or breaking computers. You don’t have to put your partner down with insults, or have that aggressive guarded energy where your face is all contorted and your body language resembles Mike Pence. You can be mad and act kind at the same time!

    3. Only Argue When Your Heart is Open for a Solution: You know that feeling when you’re really upset about something, and you’re just not ready to not be upset? Well that’s the worse time to talk to your partner. When your heart is closed and your holding onto your anger, bad day, frustration, nothing your partner says is going to change that. It’s fine to have your heart closed and wallow in self-pity, but that doesn’t mean you have to inflict that energy on the person you love – that’s what Fiona Apple is for. When you don’t feel like feeling better, then fine! Stay in that mode and listen to music, or punch a punching bag. Yet there is no need to argue in that state of mind. It won’t go anywhere! You’ll just go round and round in circles in a merry-go-round of past resentments. Only talk to your partner about problems when your heart is open to finding a solution.

    4. You Don’t Have To Join Every Fight You’re Invited to: Sometimes your partner is in a pissy mood and ready to pick a fight, yet that doesn’t mean you have to accept their invitation. Nine times out of ten we inflict pain because we feel pain. So rather than getting seduced into a blame game about not filling up the car with gas, instead try and show compassion that the person in front of you that is being really argumentative, and annoying, and making you want to pinch in the genitals is probably hurting from profound unsettled past traumas. This is a great opportunity to take a step back, breathe, and see if you can help them uncover what is actually causing them suffering.

    5. Get Ready for A Life Time of Forgiveness: You’re going to have to forgive your partner for their bullshit behavior… a lot. Just as you’re going to have to forgive yourself for your own bullshit behavior. Getting close to someone and fostering intimacy means that people will let their guard’s downs, and sometimes get emotionally lazy. When you’re around someone a lot, it’s hard to always be your best self, and that’s understandable. When you feel truly comfortable around someone, you tend to have moments where you try less hard, which leads to lame behavior. So when your partner acts wack, the best way to forgive them is coming together to understand WHY they acted that way. Dissecting the motivation of destructive behavior will help change the pattern. The more you focus on the “why,” and not the “what,” the easer it will be to understand each other and ourselves. So the next time you do something that you later realize was pretty unnecessary, figure out why you acted in that manner, do your best to understand how to improve that part of yourself, and forgive yourself for not always being your best self because you can learn a lot from your worst self too.

    6. You Don’t Have to Change to Be Loved, Just Suck Less: A lot of people feel the pressure to change in a relationship. You have to change to be a better partner. You have to change to be a better person. But guess what? You don’t have to change. Change in an insane expectation. We aren’t grasshoppers that can morph into locusts to create ecological mayhem across the grasslands! We’re humans, and no matter what, we can’t change that fact. I’m telling you to stop expecting yourself to change because change feels very daunting and basically impossible. Thinking you have to change is exhausting, and will probably make you not even try. How about you see things this way? You’re already a perfect being of light with infinite potential. All the things you want to be, you already are, or have the latent talent to be. You want to work harder… well; there is a part of you that already knows how to do that. Just be that part of you more often. You want to eat better? There is also a part of you that knows how to do that, so be that part of you a greater percentage of the day. You want to be kinder, more patient, more loving?? You already are those things somewhere inside you, just be that way more often. You don’t have to change; you just have to be your best self for a greater part of the day. You don’t have to change because you have so much beauty inside you already because you are perfectly capable of being your best self more often.

    7. You Have to Share Reality With Your Partner: This one is key, and has a lot do with self-reflection. You have to be open with your partner and yourself about the wounds of your past. You have to understand your inner child, how they were traumatized, and how they act out in your adult life. You have to take the time to unpack your conditioning, and deprogram yourself from society’s socialization. This is no easy task and most people avoid asking these hard questions because it’s emotionally taxing to truly take the time to know yourself. But the more you know yourself, the more you can be vulnerable and honest with you partner about your inadequacies. This is crucial because the worst thing you can do to your partner is hurt them deeply, and then not understand the pain you caused. But you can’t understand the pain you cause, unless you understand the pain you were caused. It’s like a bio feedback loop of suffering that Elon Musk should make a car from and then blast into space. When you know yourself, you can better understand your impact on your partner, and share their reality about how you’re perceived. Maybe you’re really jealous because a past love has cheated on you? Maybe you take out that jealousy on your partner because you’re scared of losing them? Maybe your jealousy manifests in a destructive way that pushes your partner away? You have to own that you’re like that, share why you’re like that, and work together to heal from past pain. Maybe you feel love is conditional because your parents didn’t emotionally invest in you and you felt abandoned? Maybe that makes you hyper needy and subsequently smothering? You have to embrace the truth of your fears around love because you are unconsciously punishing your partner because of past pain. You have to share in the reality you create with your partner, and both equally understand the parts you play. You can’t be playing Othello while your partner is playing King Lear. Those roles don’t share a common reality. You have to be in the same Shakespearean saga with your partner and develop a mutual understanding of both the love and pain you share.

    February 14, 2018 • Emotions, Musings, Relationships, Sex Stuff • Views: 2129

  • The REAL Reason Women Get Their Periods

    Guess what everybody!? It’s that glorious time of the lunar cycle where I shed my menses out into the ethereal material of the multiverse, painting the cosmos with cherry colored uterine debris. Aren’t you so excited to hear this!? That right now, at this very moment, I am leaking as if there were womb wine makers stomping their bare feet into my ovaries!

    If you’re anything like me (and for you’re sake I will say prayers under Tibetan flags that you’re not), you might find yourself contemplating the nature of bloody vaginal secretions while sipping you’re morning tea. Why is it that ladies experience this delightful monthly ceremony where we have to curtsy to the gods of cotton, bowing to the soft snowy material in reverence for our dependence? It can’t just be because God’s punishing half of humanity for Eve’s original sin of tasting the forbidden fruit, especially because we can’t really blame her for the snake’s seduction. After all, apples are low calorie and you know how society likes to keep its women thin!

    Is there some greater message to be received by these persistent periods beyond the body’s continual reminder of potential procreation?

    You bet your sweet ass there is.

    Your period is mother’s nature secret gift to us ladies. Don’t be jealous men – you have your phallic elements too, your towers that pierce the sky, missiles that blast through the air, and carrots that penetrate the earth. But Gaia has bestowed upon women this lovely bodily experience of bleeding through your pajamas, past your sheets, and deep into your mattress as a means to whisper into your ear canal a crucial lesson that must be remembered time and time again. A tap on the shoulder to activate awareness beyond the kerfuffle of dealing the accouterment of all the various devices we must use to catch, capture, and collect the shedding of our walls. Yes my friends, we must honor and praise the period because it does one thing to all of us that is actually vastly important to our psychological selves.

    It makes us bitchy.

    Why is this important you may wonder? Well, having to sleuth the arrival of my fallopian’s farewell to my unfertilized child has made me a detective of sorts, sorting out the emotional puzzle of the hormonal flooding inspired by the deluge of ruby fluid. Being a normally kind, tolerant, peaceful person, the gift of the bitchy rage that accompanies my yoni’s yawing is actually the KEY ingredient to unlocking a crucial side in my personality.

    My period doesn’t feel the pressure to be conformist and come every 28 days like the rest of the periods. NO! My period is a rebel that challenges the confines of society and arrives whenever it pleases. This is not a status quo kind of period, but a revolutionary menstruation that wants to defy all laws of logic, physics, and convenience. As such, I never really know when this allusive period will arrive. It’s always lurking in the shadows of possibility, stealthily stalking my every move. I don’t have warning cramps to alert my body’s eco-system that it will momentarily be bombarded with bombs of red tissue. There is no alarm that goes off cautioning me of soon to be stained panties. But what does happen to me is that I start to feel a primordial fury about the horrors of humanity.

    Now, if you know me, you know that I’m always talking about the patriarchy this, the patriarchy that, and blah blah blah the patriarchy. Yet I don’t always FEEL the abhorrent reality of how the world functions. I can simultaneously know that there is massive unnecessary suffering, yet still have a conversation about benign topics like putting butter in one’s coffee to still get high off caffeine, but not as high. Of course in the back of my mind there is always this persistent nagging that we are at 2 minutes on the doomsday clock, punching in for our ultimate peril – but I can still function like a relatively “normal” person and not scream “we’re all gonna die!” in the face of my green grocer.

    Yet when I get my period, it’s as if all the social convention and historical expectation to be a “good girl” melts into the magma of my fiery blood. I no longer want to play nice or say nothing when a man looks me in my face and questions if gender even matters for women anymore. That side of me that is accommodating, overly cautious, and afraid to make others uncomfortable suddenly flies out the window like a pad with wings. My period awakens the kraken inside that yearns to speak my truth and say things like, “Hey dude, why don’t you shut the fuck up before I plug up your mouth hole with my tampon.” But, don’t worry; I would never actually do that because I don’t wear tampons… but come to think of it, I could just free bleed onto his face, which would have the same effect.

    I’m just spit-balling here!

    Men may wonder why women get so “emotional” during their periods, and not to be gendered or anything, but it is a biological difference that is significant to the female experience. Not that men don’t get their “Manses” because they do, but the influence of my period on my behavior is significant enough to reshape my days, and define my time.

    The reason why I get an attitude is because my period is an unveiling of reality. The hormonal spikes are my body’s way of taking off the blinders of thousands of years of the conditioning women. The rose tinted glasses become flooded with a crimson tide, and I’m reminded how women’s bodies have been used and abused. I recall that women are raped, killed, and tortured because of wars waged by men. I remember how the violence inflicted on the environment is caused by a patriarchal system of economics devised by the fathers of the state, and controlled by the titans of industry.

    I’m not shitting on all men. Of course not! So many men have honorary periods where they too feel the horror of the elevator in The Shining reenacted in their underpants… metaphorically of course. For those men I lovingly extend my panty liner, and fill their hearts with the contents of my diva cup. Those glorious males, or gender fluid people who like me, feel the oppression and confines of society and desperately seek another way. When I talk of the patriarchy it’s not about men vs woman but rather an acknowledgement that a system that’s benefited few men has a vast influence on all of humanity’s organizing principals from religion, to capitalism, to war, to the insatiable thirst for power. This masculine way of ruling is not about all men, but the definition of masculinity that glorifies violence towards women, and the planet.

    So that’s why we are bitchy. We see the truth for one week of every month. We feel the pain of our “president” saying he’s not a feminist, meaning he doesn’t believe in equal rights for women. The period is that special time that chips away at the pressures the patriarchy has put on us women to just shut up and take it. That’s why as women get older, and have had more and more periods to scrape away the mind control, we start to rebel more and shave our armpits less. As a young woman I tolerated things I never would today because my menses has rewired my brain over the years to say, “Hey Toni, you actually don’t have do things you don’t want to.” Our periods are a secret sacrament that engages our souls and remind us that we should be fighting against the crimes against us. Then, after 5-7 days the veil comes back up and we smile, make you a sammich, and suck your dick again.

    February 8, 2018 • Emotions, Health, Musings, Sex Stuff, Vagina Stuff, Women's Business • Views: 1160

  • Maybe We Should Get to Know Each other BEFORE Getting Naked?

    Toni: I totally forgot about that attempted rape!!!!

    That was an actual sentence that came out of my mouth last weekend. I wasn’t trying to be flippant – it was just an authentic reaction to a memory I hadn’t thought about since it happened. Not because I was repressing trauma (I don’t think) but more because it was just one of so many times where a man tried to sexually violate me that I swept it under the Persian rug of my consciousness. I got away, and nothing happened, so why file it in the memory banks? That’s how many #metoo moments a lady can have. So many, you forget about the ones you escape.

    Sadly, not every time I was in a creepy situation with a guy did I feel tough enough to scream in his face, “I’m going to cut off your dick and eat it” – too many times I felt the opposite. I have plenty of memories where I felt unsure and unsafe. I acquiesced. I resigned. I did things I didn’t want to do because I didn’t have it in me to yell about chomping off penises. This is the problem with the gray area around sexual assault. The story that Aziz Ansari is currently the unwilling ambassador of. The encounters that leave a woman feeling sexually violated even though she wasn’t held down with a gun to her head, and the man is left confused, not believing he did anything wrong. I think in Western American culture we have come to a common understanding of what violent rape is, but we have no idea about the massive spectrum of harm against women that is now dominating the conversation.

    WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE GRAY AREA!!

    Not just us ladies. If men want to stop getting accused of being rapey they’ve got to be open to understanding why shit feels rapey. Probably a lot of men are thinking right now, “Shut the fuck up… just shut the fuck up about all this. Your feelings make me uncomfortable so stop sharing them. Shut the fuck up and take it.” Well, we have. We’ve shut the fuck up for thousands of years and now we’re done being quiet.

    Women are trying to talk about it, and that is actually the MOST important part of this movement. Sure it sucks for these public figures that are now becoming the reluctant figureheads of these dialogues. It may not feel fair to some that Aziz is experiencing a massive public shaming for behaving in a way that millions of men do daily. But you know what else isn’t fair? The millions of women getting raped at this moment across the world. Life isn’t fair. It hasn’t been fair for women since the dawn of the patriarchy, and it hasn’t been fair for most men either. Some men that aren’t technically “bad” men are going to go down, and yeah, it’s a real bummer for them – but it’s also the ONLY way men will listen. I think many of us feel conflicted because who wants a seemingly benign dude like Aziz to be the poster boy for sexual assault? Especially when what he did feels so relatable to so many? Trust me, I’d rather have a white piece of shit like Weinstein continue to be the face of the #metoo stories because I hate the racial undertones. Yet Weinstein was such a monster that most men were like “Shit, I’m not like that mother fucker so I must be okay.” The reality is that these more common stories have to be the ones we’re paying equal attention to even if they lack the obvious violence of the Weinstein style rapes. The more men identify with Aziz and his story the more men will develop a greater curiosity to understand what all these “lady feelings” are about when it comes to sexual assault. The more men that burn in fire of this flaming desire women have to be heard, the more men will wake up and listen.

    This is not a bad thing. This is actually really important for men, women, intimacy and culture. I think we’re actually evolving, or at least the process is in front of us. Yet the question shouldn’t be “why don’t these women just leave if they feel uncomfortable,” but rather “why aren’t men curious about the woman’s sexual and emotional experience?”

    Of course there are instances when husbands rape their wives. There are countless stories of someone you know raping you. This happens too. Knowing each other will not stop all rape, but it will have an impact on these millions of confused moments between strangers. In modern western “hook up culture” having sex with a stranger has become normalized. Yet there are MANY problems with this expectation that you should get naked with someone you barely know. One major issue is that you have NO idea their sexual history or experience with trauma. When you don’t know a person, you have no way of knowing if they are fucking you because they want to, or because they have become psychically paralyzed and are trying to get away from you but don’t know how. Our personal histories contribute to our sexuality and how we react to situations that feel violating. Not every person that feels scared is going to speak out and let you know. Sometimes they are too petrified to say how terrified they really are. If you don’t know them, how would you have the emotional intelligence to pick up on their energy? As a man, isn’t that something you want to know?? Don’t most men want the woman they are with to genuinely want them? So if men like Aziz Ansari don’t want women to blog about them publically and tell their #metoo stories when they think they were just having a good time, they might actually have to get to know women before fucking them.

    Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. Women are actually pretty interesting. We are worth getting to know. Yet we live in a culture that treats people as if they are disposable. Both men and women have become so accustomed to fucking strangers that the expectation to connect to a person intimately is no longer a pre-requisite of sex. We have stripped all the humanity from sex when we continue to refuse to actually know each other, know each other’s pain, and have curiosity for who we actually are. I’m not suggesting we expect each other to live out a Jane Austen novel, but rather, I don’t know… start developing a more patient and curious dynamic with the people we plan to share our bodies with? We’re more willing to expose our genitals to someone than we are our hearts.

    Sure the occasional one-night-stand can be fun – but that still needs to be a respectful encounter where BOTH parties are pretty clear of their intentions. This means that rather than using another person’s body to masturbate with, we actually have to have a real conversation making sure the exchange is mutual. Call me old fashioned but my best sexual experiences are when the guy I am with is interested in my experience with him. He is caring and aware of not only my pleasure, but also checking in if what he’s doing is okay. What makes the scene hot is his genuine interest in me as a human, even if I never see him again. And guys, wouldn’t you rather air on the side of caution??? Let me tell you something, when I want a guy, I fucking make that shit known. If I’m going to have a one-night stand, I’m goddamn ready to do that. I promise you – the type of woman that’s down to fuck for the night is the type of woman that will go after you. There is no need to push yourself on someone feeling timid because that’s a sure fire sign that she’s NOT INTO IT!

    We don’t need a movie “he’s not that into you,” we need the movie “she’s not that into your dick so don’t force it on her okay sweetie?”

    There are too many instances where men are caught off guard by how they make a woman feel during their sexual encounter. The apology of Aziz is maybe the most disturbing part of the story – how these two people were on SUCH drastically different pages regarding the same event. Him thinking she wants it, her feeling assaulted. Him believing that because he texted her a few times and took her out to dinner that he was being a gentleman, her feeling used and abused. The most crucial part of this narrative is how almost every woman and man in this country can relate to it. We’ve all been there, so now we all can talk about it.

    Texting someone a few times is not getting know someone. We pretend it is because so much of our communication is now through that medium, but a text convo is not going to build trust in an authentic way. Having a “text” relationship before a date is NOT building the intimacy necessary to be respectful during sex. For her to be able to say “I am uncomfortable” and for him to actually hear that. I know Aziz doesn’t want to think of himself as rapey, but he also wasn’t interested in this woman’s pleasure. He wasn’t interested in her mind. He wasn’t shoving his fingers down her throat while asking her what her favorite book was, or if she was close with her father. When women are objects of sex for men, there is no reason for men to try and understand who women are. I’m sorry to say this guys, but women are kind of sick of being sex dolls.

    We fear intimacy because we fear love because we fear getting hurt because we fear ourselves because we fear intimacy because we fear love because we fear getting hurt. YOU GET IT? We are driven by fear. Men treat women like androids not because they are brave, but because they are scared. They are afraid of women because women can hurt their hearts. So why not think of a woman as purely a pussy because that’s easier than being vulnerable to the potential pain she may cause? It’s a pre-emptive strike. If I treat you like you mean nothing to me, then you can’t make me feel like nothing.

    Everything about modern culture is actually tearing us away from each other. Most porn is a psychological barrier objectifying women and sex. Social media is a physical barrier fooling us that an online community is as valuable as real life interaction. The patriarchy is the ruling system dividing the genders and creating power dynamics that affect every facet of how we interact. We can’t talk about rape culture and #metoo moments without deconstructing the societal infrastructure that supports this complete lack of genuine connection. The complicated reality is that for men to know women, they also have to know themselves. There is no more avoiding the self. The day of reckoning has come. We are all victims of culture, yet we all have to take responsibility for our actions.

    So I know guys – it’s hard. But think of it this way. If every man had to suffer the social consequences of being sexually inappropriate with women then holy shit we’d have to restructure the entire planet because there is a lot of them. All those high powered 1%-ers, those lizard people politicians and executives would no longer be in power. Men in all industries would fall. It would be kind of amazing. Maybe this is what all people have been waiting for? Our current society is fucked as fuck, on the brink of nuclear war, and in the midst of environmental mayhem. I am willing to bet my left tit that 99% of the top 1% of men that are currently destroying all hope for humanity have sexually assaulted women. So if this #metoo movement means these dudes lose power and a new infrastructure must be formed in it’s wake then actually… everyone wins!

  • Why Do I Let People Draw On Me?

    Hi! I had my birthday last week! Did you remember? Did you send me a loving Facebook message that read HBD? Did I get a text from you with ample emoji? Or were you too wrapped up thinking about yourself and not celebrating that glorious day when my mother ever so delicately pressed me out from her puss?

    My birthday is December 29, which is not the best date for a birthday if you’re hoping for a lot of undivided attention. There is just a lot going on with family, Christmas, New Years, and the whole world coming to an end thing. People are busy.

    This year I had very little vision about how to best commemorate me. I usually prefer to hike a mountain so I can proudly stand at the top and yell, “Hey world, Ummmm what’s up? I kinda hope this year is better than last year or whatever? Thanks!” It’s a moment where I show a lot of personal strength and conviction.

    Sadly for me, New England is currently experiencing the effects of climate change. I now live in the depths of the Tundra where we endure days on end of negative temperatures, warming ourselves in vats of animal fat cuddled next to a burning fire made from random, flammable, household objects in the living room. Wait a minute…. Maybe Trump is right after all? It’s colder than ever, so “global warming” is OBVIOULY a myth! PHEW!! Pass me the fossil fuels to mainline! Mama’s getting high tonight!

    Because of this pesky weather we’re having where my friend got frost-bite sledding down a hill too fast, I decided that maybe I should get a tattoo on my birthday instead of braving the potential of gangrene. This tattoo idea was extra seductive because much like I have a family healer, tarot reader, and acupuncturist – I also have a family tattoo artist that will ink me up in my kitchen. Truly, the only way to get a tattoo is in your own home where you can relax, put your feet up, and smoke weed. Whoops I’m sorry. I meant, eat weed. Then smoke some later. Tattoos hurt.

    This whole event got me thinking about why I get tattoos in the first place. Not everybody wants drawings drawn on their body. My mom tries to make me promise with each one that it will be my last, but her and I both know that’s ridiculous – especially when my next tattoo is going to be her face on my chest. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW MOM?!!!!

    For me tattoos aren’t just about the image I’m printing on my skin, but more the emotional imprint made while marking that period in my life. Each tattoo is a stamp of a memory, a version of the Toni I was when I got it. When I stare at the pictures that have been pierced into me over the years, I am then transported back to that time. Who I was in that moment, what was going on with me, what I cared about, what I was working towards – the actual sensation of being Toni back then compared to the Toni I am now. These designs are a portal to my past. They provide significant access to those memories because I can tap into the feelings I felt as another human etched into my membranes with a needle. The right of passage the pain provided is a unique opportunity to time travel through my skin’s excursions.

    So let’s go on the voyage of my personality through the stories of my tattoos!

    1) Age 13: Toni’s best friend Bitty came over with a needle, thread, and some “Indian Ink.” Is that okay to say? It was just the brand of the ink at the time… I know it should’ve actually been called, “Native Americans who we mercilessly murdered through genocide” Ink. Bitty had given herself a tattoo of a sun, so Toni decided to get the moon to complement her friend’s. They went into the bathroom of Toni’s house and Bitty free-hand poked a crooked crescent moon into Toni’s ankle. This 13-year old Toni had not yet tried pot, and did not like boys. She ate a lot of steak and cheese subs after school, had yet to get her period, but was known to drink a glass of wine in the bubble bath with her friend’s from time to time. She wore Adidas sneakers and GAP jeans. This Toni’s greatest fear was that somehow her head would get detached from her body in a freak accident, and then she would only be a severed head people would be forced to carry around. Her favorite movie was “The Little Mermaid.”
    2) Age 16: This Toni was living in Washington DC. She was going to summer school to please her parents and hopefully get her into a better collage. Toni was also working as a hostess at her grandfather’s restaurant, and ate a brownie sundae everyday after work. 16-year old Toni just got her heart broken, and was VERY depressed and HYPER emotional about it. She had two other boyfriends at school mind you – her official boyfriend and her secret boyfriend – but this 3rd boyfriend that didn’t go to Toni’s school was the one she was most in love with – mainly because he had a grey tooth that intrigued her. This boy broke up with Toni because he “didn’t see her enough” since he was in boarding school, and he also “wanted to hook up with other girls and not feel bad.” Retrospectively this makes sense, but also confused Toni because he could have been a cheating liar like 16-year old Toni, which for whatever reason, made more sense to Toni. Toni had never been dumped before and felt out of control. Toni cried a lot, but there was also this hot kid named Brad she would stare at during some class. Brad had invited Toni to go with him and some friends to get a tattoo in some guys’ kitchen that gave underage kids tattoos. He was sweet. That tattoo man, not Brad. Brad was a dick, which was why Toni liked him. When Toni was in the kitchen, she had no idea what to get so she called her dad. Toni’s dad was working on his computer, distracted, and told Toni to get Tinkerbelle. Toni complied, but when she came home to show her best friend Bitty her accomplishment, Bitty then informed Toni that Tinkerbelle’s dress was green not blue. Toni contorted her spine to look at the blue dress that was now permanently on her lower back and said, “Shit. I think you’re right.”
    3) Age 18: Toni had just graduated high school and was moving in with that 3rd boyfriend that broke her heart! HA! GOTCHA PUNK! They got an apartment in Newport, Rhode Island and decided to get tattoos together. It’s humiliating to admit, but Toni and her boyfriend chose tribal band themes. (Note to reader: Please have compassion for this deep embarrassment. You must remember this was 1998 and when you’d get a tattoo back then, you’d have to either pick something from the wall, or peruse through a binder filled with images of Yosemeti Sam holding a hockey stick. There weren’t a lot of options for creativity). This Toni was excited for her future, independence, and trying to procure a fake ID. She had run a marathon, was an experienced weed smoker, had tried acid MORE THAN ONCE, and already outgrown rave culture. She was very mature and her favorite film was “Dumb and Dumber.”
    4) Age 18: Toni was moving to Seattle to commit a year of her life to social service. She was going to do a program called City Year, and was ready to have meaning in her life through giving back to society. Toni felt an immense sadness for the state of the world and deeply craved personal purpose, yet she also wanted to do whatever her boyfriend wanted to do. This Toni decided to get a tattoo of a toe ring with her friend because she liked toe rings, but thought they were uncomfortable inside her sneakers.
    5) Age 20: Toni was mourning the death of her best friend Bitty. She had died in car accident after Toni’s first year of college, and Toni was needless to say, devastated. Toni went with Bitty’s sister to get tattoos for Bitty. They each got the same sun that Bitty had tattooed on her ankle when they were kids. This Toni was entering into a state of grief and depression that would last for years to come.
    6) Age 27: This Toni was really struggling. She had spent her 20’s fruitlessly trying to save the world from George W. Bush, and failing at starting a business. Toni had wanted to start an organic fast food restaurant that rivaled McDonald’s, but a variety of circumstances (mostly self inflicted) inhibited Toni’s dream. This Toni felt that her Tinkerbelle tattoo had become a self-fulfilling prophecy – that she’d spent her life and time sprinkling her fairy dust around, saving nothing for herself, and perpetually in love with man-boys that didn’t appreciate her. Toni decided to cover her Tinkerbelle tattoo to commemorate Bitty, who in the Chinese zodiac was the year of the monkey. Toni didn’t think of the irony of having a monkey on her back and still doesn’t thank you very much.
    7) Age 28: Toni had just returned from living on bus for a year that ran on veggie-oil. She had traveled the country with that same 3rd boyfriend that had broken her heart, then put it back together, and then broke it a few more times. On that bus they did things like went to Burning Man because of course they did, and traveled up and down the California / Oregon coast. This Toni had come to reconcile the history of her being a failed female entrepreneur, and felt the soul searching done while living on a bus had changed her fundamentally. Toni was on a spiritual path of holistic healing because she had a brain tumor in her pituitary gland and was convinced she could heal herself holistically. Toni didn’t really know what the word holistic meant though, but holistically liked the sound of it. Toni decided she wanted to get the “tree of life” tattooed on her inner arm. The tattoo man drew a tree and Toni didn’t like it. He drew another tree and Toni didn’t like it. The tattoo man then looked Toni in the eyes and said, “Draw your own fucking tattoo.” Toni did. She liked it.
    8) Age 29: Toni had just completed a 10-day silent meditation retreat. She was in a state of rewiring her brain, and shedding the skin of who she thought she was. Toni decided to get a tattoo at the same parlor that gave Bitty her underage tattoo when they were 16. (Bitty was very jealous of Toni’s Tinkerbelle, and the only way to rectify this trauma was to find a man at “Mom’s Tattoos” that would pretend it was reasonable that Toni and Bitty “forgot our ID’s at home”). Toni went to Mom’s and got a lotus flower on the front of her heart, and on the back. It was the only tattoo Toni ever got that didn’t hurt.
    9) Age 35: Toni was in a bad place. There was drama with her family, she felt like her life was meaningless, and nothing she ever tried to do professionally had ever materialized the way she wanted. But she had her kid!! So that was cool, especially because Toni was told she could never have kids due to her brain tumor. Also, said kid was pretty cool and Toni liked her. Toni decided it was time to cover up her tribal band because holy shit how did she live with that for so long? THE SHAME! The family tattoo man came to Toni’s kitchen the evening of Thanksgiving to do the cover up. Toni wasn’t sure what she wanted to get, and suggested it has something to do with trees as she herself was smoking trees. The tattoo man decided it might be easier to do the cover up if he just drew on Toni’s leg with the tattoo gun. Toni agreed that this was the best idea and two hours later Toni had an epic motif of trees around her ankle. Then Toni took another hit of weed and realized, “Oh wait, I totally forgot. I already have a tattoo of a tree” and lifted the sleeve of her shirt to reveal her arm. Toni and the tattoo man had a good laugh.
    10) Age 37: Toni realized that her daughter drew the exact same spiral-heart shape design that Toni used to draw as a kid. Toni had her daughter’s spiral-heart tattooed precisely as her daughter drew it on her arm because Toni loved the shit out of that kid that reminded her so much of herself.

    Here I am getting my 38th year tattoo… and obvi being a role model for The Munch. If you’re wondering what I got, it’s the constellation “cancer” and a moon for my moon child – the light of my life, and the person who makes me make her sandwiches.

    January 3, 2018 • 7 years old, Emotions, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 1466

  • Do You Want To Share Reality With Me?

    The other day the Munch was having a play date with a friend, and they started arguing over which game to play – bakery vs. chipmunks making poop pie. Now call me out of touch with the youths, but I personally didn’t see a difference between the two ideas. I suggested they merge the games by one pretending to play bakery, and the other pretending to play chipmunks making poop pie. Sounds reasonable right? Well, it’s fucking not according to these girls.

    The girls condescendingly explained to me that my vision of separate realities would not work for them, and then rolled their eyes at my ignorance. They instead had to agree on a shared reality of what they were playing, even though what they were playing was pretend. I had assumed that since the game existed purely in their imaginations, it didn’t really matter what the other person was imagining – but I was goddamn wrong. It mattered a fuck of a lot to these girls, and was worth spending the next 20 minutes negotiating with the complex nuance of a Palestinian freedom fighter and Israeli soldier. These kids refused to continue playing their fantasy game until they had agreed on a common understanding of their imaginary experience.

    The sharing of reality was crucial, even inside a make-believe world.

    I think we can all learn something from this bakery vs. chipmunks making poop pie saga, mainly that my kid is weird as fuck for insisting chipmunks make poop pie when everyone knows they actually make diarrhea flan – but that’s just semantics. But the other lesson we can glean is just how vital it is for people to have a mutual understanding of their perceived reality both on the micro and macro levels.

    If you’re in a relationship with someone, living with them day in and day out, waking up with them every morning to see their face, going to bed with them every night with their breath on you – you know, the romance of being in a long-term committed relationship – then you also know how important it is that you both analyze your dynamic in a similar way. Sharing reality with someone is the only way to keep things functional. If you and I were together and we got into a fight because I was an asshole and you were an asshole, our common understanding of our individual asshole behavior would be imperative to coming back together. I would HAVE to see how thought I was an asshole, just like you would HAVE to see how I thought you were an asshole. If we both agreed on our asshole behavior, then peace could be made. (PS that agreement would consist of you admitting that you were the asshole and how the whole fight was actually your damn fault okay? GET IT!?)
    Yet if you don’t own your part of the equation when shit goes down, you don’t share a common reality of what happened, and then things then fall apart. When you refuse to look at yourself or be honest about how your actions impact others, then it’s easy to justify whatever behavior you want. You can become indignant and stuck in a paradigm of feeling superior. Yet part of being in a relationship with someone is learning how to understand the effect of your behavior on the other person. You have to be able to admit fault and come to a collective agreement of what happened. That is how we get closure. We have to mostly agree on our understanding of what happened. Of course we will always hold onto our subjective twists, yet the majority of the story needs to be consistent in order to feel emotionally connected.

    The best relationships are the ones where the couple is on the same page when it comes to dissecting their lives together. If you were to separate them and ask them to deconstruct their relationship, their fights, their faults, their main issues, what works and what doesn’t – they would mostly say the same things. When you share the story of your relationship then real communication is happening. When relationships have authentic communication, then it’s more possible to develop deeper intimacy. A major aspect of trusting each other is trusting that you both see things in a similar way. In order for that to be truly achieved, both parties have to be open to candid self-reflection. The more honest we are with ourselves about our motivations, insecurities, and shadow sides, the more honest we can be with our partners.

    We all can behave in ways that suck, or allow the worst of ourselves to sometimes take over – that’s to be expected. Yet when you own up to those parts of you, and those patterns, then it’s more possible to work through them in a real way. In order for that to be accomplished, you and your partner have to set aside your egos and replace the need to be right with the desire to understand each other.

    In the macro sense our shared reality is dwindling by the second, which is why Trump, partisan politics, and the idea of “fake news” is so fundamental. It kind of enrages me that Trump has taken over the concept of “fake news” because that used to be a hyper-progressive lefty thing. When I was in my 20’s I was always talking about fake news too – but what I meant by it was the corporate controlled media that had a vested interest in censoring information to protect their economic agenda. I would go on and on about Diebold and the voting machines being rigged in Florida so Jeb Bush could hand the presidency over to his brother. At that point the Internet was just starting to question official stories like 9/11, and I was ripe to eat up all the information about the lizard elite and their secret societies. Yeah fine, maybe I was off the deep end a bit and a little too open to aliens being the answer to all I didn’t understand, but I also think there was validity to questioning the “official stories” the government was telling me.

    Then the Internet became flooded with information, and as a result there now is an oversaturation of conspiracy. The real conspiracy is that there are now too many conspiracies to keep track of. Maybe that was an intentional move by the “New World Order” to keep us confused? Rather than denying “alternative information” that wasn’t controlled by the corporate media, they decided to allow all of it in order to dilute the brand.

    There are now so many versions of alternative truths that it is impossible to decipher what was what. No matter what you think, you can prove your hypothesis on the Internet. You want to think vaccines are harmless? Well, there is plenty of information that will support that thinking. You want to think vaccines will cause your child to become a mutant and grow scales? You can find that too. No matter what you want to believe, you can reinforce your beliefs with the “facts” on the Internet.

    Then we have Donny Trump yelling about “fake news” which only furthers us from having a collective reality as a society. Yeah maybe it was just as dangerous when everyone thought the New York Times was the Bible, but at least there was a communal story we were all buying into. There was unity in that, even if it was also delusional. The fantasy world we as adults buy into isn’t that much different than the imaginary world Munch and her friend were creating – they both rely on story to keep everything together. But now that there are so many potential narratives to believe, we’re all psychically being ripped at the seams.

    For thousands of years humans have used stories to organize themselves – the two most effective being the stories of religion and the story of money having actual value. Money isn’t real, but a collective fantasy we all agree to, just like religion. These are the fairy tails that have kept humans structured for millennia. It may be scary to think how much make believe stories are the scaffolding we’ve built our entire society around, but it’s true.

    Yet currently in modern America we no longer have a collective story that we’re all connecting to. Maybe that why the “Make America Great Again” slogan was so appealing to so many? Perhaps part of the nostalgia we cling to is how everyone was way more conformist in the past and bought into the story of the American identity? Yeah they were fucked up racist, sexist, homophobic stories designed to make us consumerist drones, but most people told them to themselves and their children. It was the American sexist, racist, homophobic story, until then those damn hippies started unraveling everything, encouraging people to think for themselves and question the narrative that women belonged in the kitchen, people of color belonged in segregated ghettos, and homosexuals belonged in hell.

    I embrace the rewriting of these stories because the past wrote a fucked up plot that I don’t want to be part of, but what are the new stories we’re writing? Some of the stories people are telling themselves today make me question if we’re even the same species. I don’t share reality with the white women in Alabama that voted for Roy Moore! That’s not a bedtime story I’m telling my kid at night. I don’t even know where to begin to find a common reality with those chicks that voted into office a molester? Yet I guess that’s what we have to start figuring out. What is the most base, common reality we share with people and then start slowly building a common understanding. Maybe we both enjoy marshmallows, and we can use that to keep finding common ground, and write a collective story together where maybe, just maybe, a fucking child molester shouldn’t be considered a candidate for senator.

    (Ps if you’re wondering where these delightful/disturbing images are coming from, follow my on Instagram to see my interpretive dance where Trump uses the language of my body to express his heartache after the Roy Moore loss. Toni Nagy)