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  • 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)

  • Men That Are Part of The Solution

    Throughout these past few weeks of Weinstein and #metoo, I keep craving for men to participate more in the conversation. I know I am not alone in this. I think we all know that we cannot change rape culture with women solidarity alone. We need alliances with men. In order for the deeply engrained patriarchal messaging to change, it is crucial that men are willing to look at themselves, their own behavior, and ask themselves hard questions. I’ve had many private conversations with men that have started to contemplate their part in this zeitgeist, and wonder about their past in a new light.

    It’s hard for me to say that men are born rapey. I know too many little boys for me to chalk rape culture up to testosterone. Last night I was with my friend and her small son, and he peed his pants. She asked if I could watch him while she ran to the car to get clean clothes, and there I was, staring at this 4-year old little boy with no pants. He was holding his shirt up with his one hand to avoid getting pee on it, and then holding his dick with the other. We looked at each other, and he tugged on his dick a bit while maintaining direct eye contact. I asked him what he was going to be for Halloween. He told me a ninja. I went into some stories of my past Halloweens to continue the conversation. I told him of trick-or-treating in the city, scarfing candy to the point of vomiting, and of course how my mom would eat my favorite chocolates while I was at school. When this kid’s mom came back with clean pants, he then relayed to her EVERYTHING I had told him. He recounted my stories in exact detail, sharing my joys and pains with his mom with the empathy of Mother Theresa. This little boy listened to me intently – despite his dick in his hand. THAT IS THE POTENTIAL OF MEN YOU GUYS!

    Men are not born monsters. I mean fine, some are. Some people are born with the desire to eat other people. There are some fucked up brains out there, and it doesn’t matter who their parents are, or what school they went to – they are going to do absolutely insane shit like keep a freezer full of heads. Some atrocities can’t be explained through conditioning, society, or the patriarchy… but those cases are the extreme.

    Since rape culture and sexual assault is SO PERVASIVE THAT EVERY SINGLE WOMAN I KNOW HAS EXPERIENCED IT MULTIPLE TIMES… there is something beyond brain chemistry fueling this. Too many men have been perpetrators. This is not purely a phenomenon of some bad eggs… but rather a ubiquitous energy that affects us all.

    Culture at large, the patriarchy, and our rapey economic system entwined with the corporate and political agenda that backs it up are CRUCIAL ASPECTS OF RAPE CULTURE. (I wrote about this in detail last week). We live in a society propped up by a system of exploitation. The patriarchy of course oppresses women, but also men – even though few of them are the obvious beneficiaries of it. If you are not part of the 1% of men that the patriarchy is designed for, then you’re just as negatively impacted, but in a different way.

    Men internalize the patriarchy different than women. They are brought down by feelings of insecurity and failure. For me as a woman to not succeed in the patriarchy, fine whatever, it’s not intended for me. I know that. If I were to succeed in life it would be despite the patriarchy, not because of it. But for men to not succeed, you’re an extra loser. The powerlessness I feel in being an economic failure is easily explained by a rampant sexist culture that has been at play for thousands of years. For men to feel powerless, when they are technically the ones with the power, it is a distinct feeling of weakness.

    Many men act out this deep seeded insecurity and self-flagellation onto women. They take out their rage of feeling pathetic onto those they can easily exploit. They seek the power they lack by overpowering others. Yet even though I’m not going to feel bad for a raper, I would rather be raped then live with raping someone. I would rather be the victim of violence than the perpetrator. I can live with myself after being raped, sexually assaulted, and violated. I don’t have the guilt of doing that to someone else. These aren’t fun memories for anyone of course. They’re horrible and they eat away at you. But when I’m lying on my deathbed I’m not going to be filled with regret for being a horrible person. I don’t care who you are. But when you’ve denigrated and hurt others, you will have to face that when you’re dying. You can run from it your whole life, but you can’t run forever. It will catch up to you. I don’t know if you’ve ever been around a dying rapist, but I have – and let me tell you, there is a fear in their eyes I will never have.

    The patriarchy is the guiding force at play, yet we women also prop it up. As painful as that is, and as much I can say that we are brainwashed so of course that happens – it’s still a fact we have to face. Its already circumcised women that circumcise girls – women that have personally gone through that pain and suffering then perpetuate it in the name of tradition. The women carry on the practice. It’s white women that voted Trump into office. (Sorry I just gagged). There are women that are part of the “Men’s Rights Movement.” Women are married to Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein. Women may be programmed by the patriarchy yes – but not all of us are. Many of us are fighting.

    Men too are encoded by the patriarchy, but some of them are trying to break free from the matrix as well. We need to come together, but in order for us to do that, we have to work with the men that are opening their eyes trying to change things.

    As I woman I want men to be my ally. In order for men to understand their destructive behavior towards women they have to 1) look out how culture at large has shaped them, and 2) understand their own personal context.

    Which leads me to a post I recently read on Facebook by Daniel Pinchbeck. In the post he attempts to understand himself, and why he acted in ways towards women that was sexually inappropriate. He didn’t break any laws, or act in a way that would get in him jail, but we all know there is a major gray area when it comes to sexually violating someone. Not everything you do that would abuse a woman is illegal.

    Pinchbeck goes deep into his life experience, trying to understand the primal wounds of his childhood that were at play in his adult decisions. He talks about his relationship with his mother, some memories of his grandmother that involved forced enemas, and how he was in a full body cast from ages 10-11. His effort seemed to me to dig into the personal framework that shaped him. He talks of the impact of other men and how they treated women, as well as his experience of how fame gave him access to women he never had before. To me this was an attempt for a man to publically own up to his part of rape culture, apologize for it, and try to understand how he came to be part of it in the first place. The most important sentence he wrote was, “I want to clear this thoroughly and thoughtfully. I would like to ask any woman who has felt wronged by me to contact me directly or through an intermediary, if she would like. We can discuss in private or we can use mediators if that seems best. I appreciate those who have written to me already.”

    That feels sincere to me. I read that as not as, “hey I fucked up, but I have mommy issues so it’s not my fault,” but rather, “I know this Facebook post is only the tip of the iceberg and I want the actual woman that have ever felt violated by me to know that I am fully wanting to work together, admit my faults, and at least plant the seeds for healing.” None of this is perfect, but there is no guidebook for how to deconstruct yourself. Pinchbeck’s effort is what I felt was the most important. This is not a man that is running from his past, but towards it.

    To me, this is an example of what I want men to be doing. It’s not flawless. It’s messy. But yeah, so is all of life. If any of the men that sexually violated me reached out to say, “Hey, I know I really fucked up and I would love to talk about how to heal,” I would be ready to listen. Not for them, but for me. It’s better than dealing with it all alone, as these events I try not to think about too much because the memories make my body cringe.

    I started looking through the comments of his post, and some people were supportive, and others were so shitty! Just tearing him down for saying anything. Page 6 even wrote an article saying that Pinchbeck was trying to blame women for his sexual misconduct. Page 6! The same mother fuckers that defended Weinstein for years is now calling out a dude trying to be part of the solution under the guise of feminism, or sticking up for women.

    Feminism is about finding genuine equality between the genders. Part of that process is making space for men to look at their own home lives, how they were parented, how they were mothered, and question how it effected their sexuality. If I said publically that the way my parents treated me impacted my sexual identity, no one would question that. Isn’t feminism allowing men to do the same? Isn’t that equality? For Pinchbeck to wonder how his personal story impacted his actions I think is something we all have to do. We must understand our primal wounds as children in order to comprehend our adult selves.

    As parents, we are going to make an impact on our kid’s sexuality. Of course we are. Parents influence every aspect of our children, and even though no one likes to think of their child as a sexual creature, they are. I didn’t see Pinchbeck as blaming his mom, or women, but asking questions around how he was raised. He was trying to understand his past and how internalized behaviors he didn’t understand when he was a kid.

    People abuse PC-ness and become vicious when ripping other’s apart in the name of victimness. Yes it’s important that we have a culture shift that is more sensitive, but that does not give people a blank card to violently bash others in the name of justice. How is that progress?

    If we attack men opening up about their regrets for not doing it EXACTLY right, how does that inspire other men to do the same? We need men to be doing more of this, not less!! If the response is to demonize them rather than asking questions to FURTHER the conversation, then we’re just making men more indignant. We need men to open up and be vulnerable, and if we shit on them when they’re trying, we’re only discouraging others.

    We need a foundation to start from – a platform for healing to begin. That starts with men feeling that there is room for them to be vulnerable, and open up. Their first try may not be watertight, but it’s a start. From there we keep talking, keep unwinding, and keep unraveling the thread of the patriarchy that has tied us all up in a web of misery.

  • Men are Not The Enemy

    Ugh!! These #meetoo stories of sexual assault are fucking me up! Every single woman I know has experienced some sort of sexual violation in her life – EVERY SINGLE ONE!

    With how many stories are being shared you’d think that all men are committing these acts of violence. Yet I feel like I know plenty of dudes that not perpetrators? Right guys? Maybe there are just some really prolific creepy dudes out there dispersing their rapey ways to a lot of victims? Perhaps for every ten stories women tell of some heinous behavior they all stem back to one inexhaustible dude. I want to believe the ratio isn’t as bad as it seems, and it’s more that shitty dudes are shitty to many women rather than most dudes are shitty.

    I wonder what it feels like to be a man right now? How a man that has sexually assaulted a woman- but is regretful- feels when he sees these posts. Do they ignite his empathy? Or inspire him to reach out to the woman he’s hurt and acknowledge his actions? How does a man react that has abused women, but lives in denial about it? Is he becoming more indignant and hateful? Do these women revealing their stories of pain open his eyes to the hurt he’s caused, or just make them seem like whiney bitches? Or what about the man that has never been creepy but is dealing with the burden of gender responsibility? Is he feeling defensive of his male counterparts, or horrified by their actions? I guess I understand that last guy the most because I do live with the guilt of being a white devil. But still, it can’t be easy to have a dick right now.

    I keep hearing arguments of people wanting to excuse the behavior of sexually deviant men through the lens of biology. This pervasive sentiment of, “Yeah it sucks, but that’s the way men are so what can we do about it?” attitude. This type of thinking is predicated on the assumption that because men have exterior genitals, bouncing around on their thighs all day begging to be burrowed in some hole, that they are going to act out sexually as a consequence. Because of this anatomical condition of “dick needing to be satisfied,” these men can’t control their sexual urges. So of course when your face looks like a shoe and you finally have some power to exploit, you’re going to try and fuck Gwyneth Paltrow. These things happen.

    I feel like there are a lot of holes in this logic. Now, I’m not a historian or anything, but I think men have a much greater predisposition to kill not rape. We didn’t evolve from a “raping and gathering” society… but a “HUNTING and gathering” one. Hunting is much more engrained in the male DNA then raping. For thousands of years men killed the shit out not only giant animals like Wooly Mammoths, but also that dude Zog from the neighboring tribe that looked at you funny from behind that rock and because you can’t speak to each other besides grunting – fuck that guy. You don’t know him. You’d spear the shit out of Zog and then continue with you day. There were no lawyers or murder trials in the early days of human history. Accountability for homicide didn’t happen until the ancient Greeks 2,500 years ago. Before that, you could kill anyone you wanted or deemed a threat, and then go home to your cave and eat supper.

    Yet I don’t here people saying in murder cases, “Well, men did evolve to kill, so they just got that blood thirst. Let him have a few sips.”

    NO!

    We have a pretty clear expectation that men should not kill people (unless of course you’re fighting some government provoked war to expand our Empire, or if you’re a police officer killing an unarmed black man. But let’s not get lost in semantics). There is a pretty obvious expectation to not kill each other; even though biologically killing is how we advanced into the species we are today.

    The other problem with justifying rape culture with the rational, “this is the way men are,” is the very wrong assumption that men like sex more than women. Nope. Not true at all. Just because my genitals are tucked in like a suitcase and not flopping around in front of me, doesn’t mean I enjoy or want sex any less than a man. In fact there were plenty of nights that I went out of my house with the sole purpose to find sex. Yet not one of those evenings consisted of me trying to cup a dude’s balls without his consent, or batting his dick around while he was trying to order a drink.

    Men aren’t rapey because they have testes, or because they like sex more. Men are rapey towards women because they view women as objects. They see women as pussies, not people. The patriarchy has insisted women are property to be taken care of by men for thousands of years. Just because we started working and voting a few decades ago unfortunately doesn’t take away that branding. When men treat women like sexual playthings invented purely for their own pleasure, (and care nothing of the pleasure or interest of the woman), it stems from a dehumanizing process that has been in place for millennia. But we can’t confuse social systems with biological imperatives. Just because it’s been this way, doesn’t mean it has to be. This conditioning is a consequence of learned behaviors, not inevitable ways of being. Just like men learned not to enslave people, they can also learn not to rape them. It’s a matter of shifting the consciousness.

    But men are also rapey towards other men and kids. Now what’s that all about?

    Now since I’ve never sexually assaulted a person, so I admit, there is a lot I don’t know about the impetus. But is seems to me that the other person NOT wanting your advances is part of the turn on. The fact that you’re doing something they don’t want, but you do want and you’re getting away with it, is part of the rush. That power you have over them fuels the desire, and is only enflamed by knowing you’re taking advantage of someone weaker.

    Again I think this has to do with socialization. Men have been in power for all of written human history. Power is a part of the masculine identity. Wanting power over another person is the foundation of most of the systems that rule us. Governments and capitalism are built on power over others. This is the social structure we’ve developed, so of course it’s going to get played out sexually. Sexuality is a reflection of culture, and in case you haven’t watched the news in your life, the world is a pretty ferocious place full of people seeking power over other people.

    The concept of wanting power over others is rooted in the structures that we’ve come to accept of how society functions. Until we develop a more cooperative system that is not top down, but rather a collective community of equal and shared responsibility, chances are there are going to be plenty of individuals mimicking the energy at play. If we live in a patriarchy run by a few wealthy men who suck up the majority of the earth’s resources for the benefit of the elite, we’re going have some rapers out there raping people. Yet when we open our minds to a new social structure that isn’t run by the tyrannically forces of the oligarchy and instead honors the need for global collaboration, then we’ll most likely have a hell of a lot less rapers.

    One of the most functional societies in the animal kingdom are ants – and they don’t have a boss bossing them around all day. There is no king, just a queen farting out babies. Ants don’t have a top down colony; they work together as equals and are the most efficient creatures on the planet because of it. When you have a “leader” as an organizational structure, that leader has to constantly re-enforce his power. The “alpha male” of the monkey species doesn’t just chill all day eating bananas. Nope. He has to remind everyone he is the fucking king all day by beating up scrawnier monkeys and trying to fuck all the ladies. That sounds exhausting. Most of the time spent being a leader is reminding everyone that you’re the fucking leader because the second anyone has a moment to think about it, they’re like, “hey this sucks, what the fuck?” Then the leader tries to kill or fuck someone and they’re like “fine whatever.” But the last time I checked, we’ve evolved quite a bit from the monkeys we came from, so maybe we could re-think this way of organizing ourselves. Just like we can change our minds and decide that we actually do like goat cheese, we have the power to change the way we think. So even the rapey dudes out there could become less rapey, if even not rapey at all.

    All men are not the enemy. There are lots of men that want the same changes in society that women do, because they too feel the insanity. There are even men that have fallen into the traps but are beginning to see the error of their ways, and are trying to get out. We got to pull those dudes up! If their arms are extended, grab one! We have to be flexible to the possibility that a lot of this horrible behavior they wish they hadn’t done too. If we are open to forgiving them, maybe they will be more open to apologizing and changing?

    But of course there are going to be some guys that burrow deeper into the cave of darkness trying desperately to hold onto a past paradigm. They will dig their heels in and believe that women deserved whatever tragedy had befallen them. They will continue to commit acts of misogyny and violence again and feel totally justified. They will champion men, and further denounce the rights of women – hence the every growing men’s right’s movement. And to those guys… ummm… hmmm… wow…. Lemme think… Jeeze… Good luck to you, and may the best man win.

  • It’s Too Stressful To Care

    For those of you that don’t live in the North East, New England has been having a glorious global warming fall. It’s been so unseasonably warm that I swam across the lake last week. That’s an hour-long swim that I took in late September – sponsored by Big Oil!

    Because I live in the soon to be Tundra of New Hampshire, I’ve been trying to appreciate all these uncharacteristic warm fall days. I push it out of my mind that this is all a consequence of greenhouse emissions being trapped in the atmosphere, because greenhouse gases sound kind of environmental no? How can they be bad if the word GREEN is used to describe them?

    On Sunday The Munch went to a birthday party, and I figured she would be so pumped full of sugar/GMO candy/cake that spending the afternoon at the playground wouldn’t be a bad idea. Munch climbed into the car with her bag full of candy, and I was emotionally prepared for her to eat the majority of it.

    Munch: Mom, we got all this chemical candy from the Piñata at the birthday party!
    Toni: I see that love.
    Munch: I tried one piece and I didn’t like it. It was too chemically. I’m not going to eat this chemical candy. It’s gross.

    Okay, first of all, I can’t believe my indoctrination has worked this well. My kid is so conditioned to believe that chemicals in your food are bad, that she wouldn’t even eat her Gummy Bears. I felt a deep pride that The Munch respects me enough to not only listen to my opinions, but also adopt my values as her own. Yet another part of me wanted her to eat all that chemical candy because fuck authority Munch!!!

    Once at the park, I saw some friends collected together at picnic blanket. I went and joined them, happy to experiencing this lovely day in this quaint community. The whole scene was really sweet. Children playing in the sun, mom’s watching their kids frolic while talking about G-spot orgasms. You know, the usual.

    We were having a good time is the point. Then somehow we started talking about the news and what was going on in Puerto Rico.

    Friend 1: I think that I need to be more informed about stuff.
    Friend 2: Ugh. I can’t. It’s too stressful. I only have so much empathy. It’s hard to have empathy. Things are always happening somewhere. It’s too much. That’s why I live here – in this bubble. I live in this bubble so I don’t have to care.

    Okay so here is where shit starts to get allllllll fucked up.

    Now I had a LOT of opinions about the above statement. A LOT! But I also didn’t know this person very well. It felt super awkward to disagree with someone so violently that I wasn’t even sure I’d met before – especially because we weren’t alone. It’s one thing to have a debate one on one, it’s another thing to school someone in public. And because I am such a people pleaser, it’s hard for me to knowingly make others uncomfortable. Yet at the same time, isn’t my being a people pleaser also about me pleasing myself because I don’t want to make myself uncomfortable because someone else is uncomfortable?

    The second more humiliating problem was just like this person felt it was too stressful to know about the world, I felt it was too stressful to provoke an argument about the 2,000,000,000 ways I disagreed with her. Just like she wanted to live in the bubble of not caring about the rest of the world’s suffering, I wanted to live in the bubble of not having to care about a middle class white woman that thinks it’s okay to not care about the world because you live in a fucking bubble.

    DO YOU SEE THE IRONY!!!!!

    As much as she didn’t want to have to care about the world, was as much as I didn’t want to have to care about her not caring about the world. Just like she wanted to enjoy her day not giving a shit about Puerto Rico, I wanted to enjoy my day not giving a shit about her not giving a shit!

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    There was also this feeling I had of total impotence. I had no idea how to tell her that she should care about people. I felt the same impotence for that situation that I feel about the trauma that is going on in the world. The same impotence she probably feels about the trauma of the world. There is so much violence, destruction, and gratuitous misery. It’s not like I don’t understand that feeling of not wanting to feel. Yet even though I don’t want to feel, I still feel I have to put myself in the face of feeling.

    Another one of my friends who shares my political beliefs was sitting next to me during this fateful moment. We both just got really quiet and looked down at the grass. My high functioning autism kicked in, and I refused to make eye contact. My social anxiety and fear of confrontation took over my physical form. As much as I wanted to scream, I also wanted to cry. The silence permeated the group. It was obvious that we didn’t agree, and my friend made the suggestion that you really don’t have to do that much to be a quasi-active person or be helpful to others. There were some vague agreements on that, and then the conversation shifted to food politics. If there is anything that white middle class people that live in a bubble can get behind, it’s organic farming.

    I left the park feeling both traumatized caught off guard by this chick’s ignorance. I didn’t have the energy to say anything. I didn’t know how to change her mind, or express my thoughts in a way that wasn’t aggressive. So I helplessly said nothing.

    This is the problem with humanity. We are sheep. Sheep that passively mill around, waiting to be devoured by the corporate and political systems we willingly allow to control us. Flocking about, unconcerned that the wolves lurking in the shadows are ones we’ve actively surrendered to. Yet expecting us to not be sheep may be unrealistic. Adaptation and sheepness have been a major part of our evolution. The fact that we are easily led around by the sheep dog we elect is why we were able to become the successful parasites on the earth that we see today. If humans weren’t sheep, there would be such constant dissent, bickering, questioning, and pontificating that we wouldn’t get much done. Because most of us are sheep, we can be easily organized and controlled. Being sheep is how we’ve been able have the so-called progress of the industrial revolution. There were plenty of sheep to work mindless jobs in factories. Our sheep ways have made it possible to for the few to control the many for thousands of years. We sheep have built pyramids, gone to war, and paved the way for John D. Rockefeller and Mark Zucerberg to have taken over our bodies and minds. It is our sheep ways that have been crucial for the invention of all modern technology and artificial intelligence so the robots will soon rule the planet.

    Yet if we accept our sheep ways, that doesn’t mean we have to be ignorant sheep. We can be knowing sheep- sheep that are interested in evolving. The ability to adapt to our environment was a crucial part of our evolution at one point. The ability to adapt our environment to us was the next crucial aspect of our evolution. Now we have the need to re-imagine our environment because at this is exact moment the earth is trying to shake us off the planet like a wet dog with fleas.

    All animals evolve. We are evolved animals. Now we have to become evolved humans.

    If you are an American, you are one of the privileged people on the planet. If you are white and middle class, you are even more privileged. You can’t have the rational that you were born into a bubble and therefor entitled to stay in that bubble. That bubble was built off the blood of others. That bubble is not clean. No one deserve’s to live in a bubble.

    I benefit off the imperialist and colonialist actions of the United States. Whether I want the government to be secretly destroying Yemen in a covert war or not, I still benefit off of those actions. Even if I don’t want poor black Americans to be incarcerated for absurd drug laws designed to imprison them and force generations into slave labor for the prison industrial complex, I still benefit from those actions. Even if I don’t want Puerto Rico to be drowning, I still benefit from our President refusing adequate financial aid.

    No matter what I want to be happening, all the despicable acts of our government still benefit me, and therefor it’s my goddamn responsibility to give a shit. Poverty, starvation, lack of access to clean water – this is not how life has to be. These atrocities are in direct correlation to political corruption and greed, not because it’s inevitable. The world has the resources for every human to live a descent life with access to the basic amenities. The fact that billions are denied this right is a choice. It is because of misdistribution and a deliberate withholding.

    In America, a large percentage of us can afford to learn and care about the well being of others. Most of us are not in survival mode, wondering if we will ever eat again. For those people, the 20% of American’s that live below the poverty line – I get it, you’re busy. You have yourself to worry about. That’s cool. You have the right to not tear your hair out because of global injustice. But for the rest of us, if you have time to be on Facebook, you have time to care and do shit for others.

    Here’s the lake and sunset that day I swam across… it’s a pretty bubble

  • Generation Blame Game

    Over the summer I performed at a dance festival and let me tell you – there is nothing quite like sharing a dressing room with a bunch of teenage girls. Not only because their boobs are barely below their shoulders they’re so perky, but more because the amount of texting, Snapping, Facebooking, Instagramming, and tweeting was so extreme that I wondered if they had wifi signals coming out of their nipples. I barely had service??

    I can’t criticize the children of today because they are victims of our society. Millenials didn’t create iPhones – Baby boomers did. It’s the generations before you that produce the technology that you’re born into. It’s the humans that came before you that decide the moral compass you’re supposed to adhere to. People create ideologies, think of scientific advancements, pontificate on ethics, ponder human health, opine about systems, and then test their inevitably flawed conclusions on their kids.

    We’re all just the experiments of our parents and the generation that raised us.

    Humans are still evolving and it’s happening more rapidly than ever since the industrial revolution. My kid was born knowing how to swipe through pictures and navigate Netflix. This only exaggerates these feelings of disconnect between generations. I am not THAT much older than a millennial, you could even say I am on the cusp, but I feel like an anthropologist around them – like a modern day Jane Goodall in the forest of a tattoo parlor. I observe them with a slight confusion as I scribble into my notepad; “The subject will post on Snap Chat while getting tattooed. Fascinating.”

    Each generation raises a generation that ends up feeling foreign to them, and I think that’s because we tend to forget that we are all products of our conditioning. In order for me to understand millenials, I have to fully grasp the world Baby Boomers have created for them to adapt to. Baby Boomers are the ones in power. They run our politics, industry, and Wall Street. At the top of most pyramids is a Baby Boomer, perched with their golden rattle like good ol’ Donny Trump – our king.

    I’m the child of baby boomers, and in my view, it’s my parent’s fault they handed me a trashcan of a world. We supposedly have 3 years left to save humanity from Climate Change. The world may be too hot for my kid to survive!!!!! Except for the hippies who fought for our rights in the 60’s, most of Boomers turned out to be the most consumerist, money hungry, self-centered people in history. They didn’t stop global warming – they accelerated it with their greed. When they came to power they gave up their acid and disco balls and paved the path for the economic and ecological tragedy of today.

    Yet that’s not fair of me! It’s not like the baby boomers are beings formed from Immaculate Conception. They are the products of their parenting. The common belief is that the boomers were too coddled by their parents. Supposedly The World War 2 generation, or the so-called “greatest generation” spoiled their kids so significantly that they had no perspective. Huh? I’m not so sure about that. I don’t know about you guys, but my Word War 2/ Great Depression grandparents weren’t exactly cuddly loving people. They’re a little rough around the edges. Sure, maybe they spoiled their kids with material goods – but the Baby Boomers were some traumatized infants.

    Because so many women were popping out babies like pop tarts, the medical industrial complex came up with a new way to birth babies. So a lot of the births during the 50’s and 60’s were twilight births. Now that may sound kinda dreamy… but basically it was out of the Twilight Zone. They would drug the mother to the point where she had zero memory of the birth. None. She was just knocked the fuck out. Then when she came to, they just handed her the baby. Now… this may come as a surprise, but a lot of mothers had trouble bonding with their baby after being dosed with disturbing amounts of morphine.

    These women were then encouraged to exclusively bottle feed their babies with formula. Not even try breastfeeding. Now formula is great when you need it. But half the babies in the 1950’s were raised completely on it. So we have these boomer babies with their disturbing births, their formula diets, and then here is the kicker – the conventional wisdom of that time according to behavioral psychologists was to… wait for it… hold your baby as little as possible!!!!! Yeah. Don’t cuddle your baby. Don’t hold it when it doesn’t need to be held. Nope. That will make them a pussy! Not being held builds character.

    Let me just remind you, that not being touched enough as an infant was later proven to do major and irreversible psychological damage. Touch is just as important to our health as food and water!!! So yeah, maybe the Baby Boomers had more material goods than their parents, but they were neglected as fuck as babies. And look what happened! We are on the verge of extinction now!

    Because boomers where emotionally abandoned that explains a lot of their psychology. Where boomers would let their kids crawl around in the back seat of cars, we modern parents will strap up our kids in car seats as if they were Hannibal Lector. Is that because modern parents are inherently anal? Or because we know more? Or because the “big seatbelt” industry has taken over? Or perhaps we are reacting to the trauma of our own childhoods by over compensating?

    I may question some (a lot) of my parent’s parenting decisions, but I can’t blame them without educating myself on their context. They didn’t have the information we have today, nor did they have the bandwidth to go the library and research the apocalyptic times they were creating. My mom didn’t have the Internet to inspire her to wonder what kind of chemicals were in my shampoo, if my Halloween candy was organic, or if there were razor blades in my apples. She would just be like, “I don’t know, take a bite and find out?”

    The more I understand my parent’s parents, the more I can understand my parents. But for my parents to understand me, they have to understand themselves.

    So what kind of kids are the current generation of parents going to create? Ones that will be so afraid of their own shadow that they willingly submit themselves to a virtual reality Matrix where they never see the light of day? Maybe? I don’t know! I for sure see that modern parents are uptight, but they also started a movement of Attachment parenting – which admittedly may not be very Buddhist of them – but they hold the fuck out of their babies. So we can judge them for being overbearing, but at the same time let’s leave the breastfeeding Time magazine mom alone. Who cares if her 6-year old kid barely had to get on his tippy toes for a sip? That kid may have had to experience some questionable boners, but I’m pretty fucking sure he’s going grow into a sensitive man who believes in universal healthcare.

    Snapping while getting tattooed!!

  • Maybe The Mayan Prophecy is Happening Right Mother Fucking Now?

    Question: Do white supremacists worship albinos? And if not, what the dick?

    If you’re going to be a white supremacist, then you better be building shrines and temples to albinos. You can’t revere white skin and not honor the ultimate whiteness manifesting in a total lack of pigment! Let’s have some consistency people.

    If you’re like me, you’re currently in a politically induced depression. Not only is the earth trying to drown us, but also Donny Trump’s racist policies have been the highlight of the week with the repeal of DACA. Forget the fact that we’ve yet to recover from the KKK sponsored “alt right” rallies of the summer. Btw… Do you think that Neo Nazis have a summer jam that everyone get’s down to? What are their summer parties and BBQ’s like without “Despicito??” I personally can’t imagine a life worth living that doesn’t include Drake. Whose music do these people party to when they’re celebrating all their successful hate rallies?

    Does it not feel absurd that in the face of massive hurricanes and environmental destruction there is still so much energy spent towards hating people’s skin? Who has the mental space for that? How are there people on Facebook right now thinking, “Oh wow… the largest hurricane in recorded history is just getting bigger, but also, aren’t Hispanic and black people the worst?” Are we even the same species?

    Remember back in those innocent times when we talked about the Mayan Apocalypse and the end of days as some off the wall obscure potential? How 2012 came and went, but the world kept turning so we figured, “Hey, what did those Mayans know anyway? They sacrificed virgins so whatever. Silly prophecy.” Of course I know shits been fucked up since the dawn of human history, but I have to say, since the election of Donny everything seems magnified to a terrifying degree. Yes, Donny does not exist in a vacuum of his own making – he’s the product of a long existing patriarchal hierarchy that has been in power for thousands of years. But at the same time, doesn’t it feel like the dark side is descending upon us?

    Are we living the 2012 Mayan prophecy right the fuck now? Is this what this is? All those hippies kept talking about a paradigm shift like it was going to be a good thing, but what’s really been revealed is the dark underbelly of a society that cares more about deporting people than importing basic decency? This coupled by cities going underwater while others burn in a hellacious inferno seems like a Hollywood sponsored punctuation mark to alert us of the harsh reality that we have no idea how to prepare for the future where millions of people have displacement to look forward to.

    I cry uncle! I will give up all my earthly possessions for just one earth to keep living on!

    For years I’ve been thinking about the corruption of the financial system and how the ruling lizard elite have built our global economy off debt and corruption. I used to believe that the only way to break free from this state run oligarchy was some type of citizen driven revolution. That we would come together and take back our power by dismantling the system that has psychologically poisoned us while brutally raping the planet of all its resources for profit for the few. But right now, I don’t know! On the one hand there is a group of people galvanizing and protesting against Donny’s efforts, yet how much are we really willing to sacrifice? We still are really into our creature comforts, spare time, and Game of Thrones. I’m no better. I really like having the Internet and organic tomatoes. Isn’t there a way we can keep living our self-obsessed narcissistic lives, but without all the horror?

    So whoever the alien species from the Palladian system that rule us are – the heads of business and industry that are holding on to their power so tightly that they are willing to sacrifice the future of humanity for their private jets. If you want to keep all your money and world domineering power, fine. Do it. But rather than oil and war for your investments, can you just make all your money with wind energy or some eco shit that isn’t creating DARPA induced mega storms? I don’t care if you have more money than god. Won’t make a difference in my life. You can be as greedy as you like, but can’t you just make all your money in a non-evil way so, I don’t know, the rest of us can keep living?

    Here is a picture of a stuffed bear holding stuffed bears because FEELINGS!

    September 7, 2017 • Current Events, Environmental Impact, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 706

  • Ruining Childhood With The Truth

    Childhood is a blissful time of naïve innocence. That is unless you are living in abject poverty, or a war torn country, or a town where racism is the social norm, or a place where they sell girls off as child brides – so basically for everyone except those billion kids.

    But for my Aryan looking privileged child, things could be pretty idealistic for her – that is of course if she didn’t have me as a mom.

    See how there’s balance in this cold dark universe after all?

    I try to keep it real with The Munch because I think she’s emotionally capable of understanding complex ideas, and also because I have no interest in raising an entitled asshole. Yet I can see how my parenting can infringe on The Munch’s potential to believe the world is a benign, benevolent place. “Yes Munch, bumble bees are fuzzy, and they’re being systematically destroyed by Monsanto’s pesticides, threatening a global pandemic of potential mass extinction.” Trust me. She get’s it. “That is a police siren sweetie, and yes they are here to protect us.. but we also can’t forget that the legal system is inherently corrupt, the prison industrial complex exploits millions of Americans as slave labor for private companies, and inherent bias has resulted in the murders of thousands of innocent black men.

    Although I want The Munch to maintain her youthful idealism, I also think it’s important she knows that Santa Clause is a physical manifestation of excessive materialism. It’s a delicate balance right?

    The Munch is a sensitive creature, and some of the information I tell her does impact her ability to enjoy things. For example, when in our small town they explode the fake missiles that mock the horror of the other countries we routinely bomb… wait, I’m sorry. That was my auto correct. I mean fireworks. When they light the fireworks, they set up a raft on the lake to light them from. Yet as a result, all the trash from the fireworks ends up falling into the lake, polluting it. I just happened to mention that to Munch, and then the whole time she was watching the fireworks, on her birthday mind you, every time she saw the debris dwindling into the lake, she would cover her eyes in dismay. “I can’t watch Mama. It’s so terrible for the environment. Those poor fishies. All that trash and chemicals poisoning them.”

    You may be asking yourself, “Are you a monster Toni? Ruining fireworks for your 7-year old… on her birthday?” Well… it’s not my fault. My mom raised me! This is a woman who gave me an NWA tape when I was 7-years old so I could “learn about politics.” The same woman that insisted we listen to the assassination of the Romanian dictator Ceausescu on Christmas… AS A FAMILY… WHEN I WAS 9 YEARS OLD!

    I’m not the only one doing this to her! When my mom plays dolls with The Munch they have a character who’s a Syrian refugee named Toni who lost her eye in the war, and now wears an eye patch. Another doll, Violet, is confined to a wheel chair because she stepped on a landmine… and she’s also an orphan that must be taken care of by the other children who’s parent’s died as casualties of war. I can hear my mom “playing” with The Munch and going through the narrative about their ships being turned around by the evil right wing, leaving these dolls to drown in the ocean.

    So yeah… maybe the Munch isn’t exactly having a “normal” childhood, but at least she’s being informed of geo-politics!

    The refugee baby dolls Toni and Violet (PS that top picture is perhaps my favorite picture of all time of The Munch when she was 2… learning about police brutality)

  • My Life Pretty Much Sucks, How About You?

    Some of the happiest I’ve ever been is when I was on drugs. There was one time where I took liquid acid in nature, at 11 in the morning, and even though I was with two other people we spent the entire day alone – exploring the wilderness and laughing to ourselves at the absurdity of existence. I’ve done cocaine on the beaches of Costa Rica, ecstasy in clubs in New York, mushrooms on a mountain. I’ve giggled to the point of near insanity on weed, and truly felt the oneness of all things… also on weed. The common link of those experiences that brought so much bliss was this sense of freedom of forgetting myself. Allowing my identity to slither away into the background, leaving behind my worries about the future and anxieties about the past. Of course some of my worst memories are on drugs too – puking off a balcony for 3 hours, waking up on to the sound of my own puking on a grimy bathroom floor, and desperately shoving my fist down my throat attempting to puke because I ligit poisoned myself. So… everything has a price.

    Of course the happiness experienced with drugs is synthetic and manufactured. It’s not the same as the deep cultivated happiness that comes from a genuinely good time. There are many cases when I’ve experienced that authentic type of joy as well, but it’s hard to come by, and only visits in the most unexpected moments. You have to wait and around and see if it will come, and sometimes like that Dad that went out for cigarettes, it can take a minute before it comes back.

    What is happiness really? It’s such an illusive feeling, yet something we all seek. According to the American constitution it is even our RIGHT to be happy! Can you believe that? It’s my god give right to be happy!!! Yet despite our forefathers insisting on it’s availability I find myself chasing happiness, trying to capture it in a cage it can always escape from.

    Maybe the quest for happiness, that assumption that happiness is something I deserve, is part of the problem. Contentment seems like a more reasonable goal to strive for. I don’t need a happy life; I would just like to feel content. Perhaps I would feel more content if I wasn’t so focused on wanting happiness? I should see happiness for what she is… a flighty sprite who dips in and out of life at a whim – a gift not to hold onto, but to set free for others to find.

    CAN YOU GUYS TELL I’VE BEEN HAVING A HARD TIME!?

    This is what’s going on with me. For one… my back went into spasm. AGAIN!! This JUST happened to me last month so I’m kind of wanting to shoot myself in the face. The problem with my back going into spasm is not only am I in state of constant agony, but also my limited ability to move takes away my main sources of joy. I can’t dance when my back is in spasm, and dancing is my antidepressant. The minute I enter into the dance studio I feel like nothing else matters. I love teaching, I love my students, and I love the journey we go on together. I always leave with a renewed sense of purpose. Who cares if I just got rejected from that film festival, I taught a woman to twerk today!

    With my back debilitating me, I also can’t make my videos, or write because sitting is so excruciating; I can’t do anything that feeds my soul and spirit. I just have to exist. WHICH I AM NOT GOOD AT!

    Doing nothing but allowing myself to rest and heal is my PERSONAL HELL! Relaxing has become super stressful for me. So instead I try to be really proactive about my getting better, and work really hard at it. Yeah yeah, I get the irony too. But I have shit to do, places to go, and adventure to be had. I did not schedule in debilitating discomfort!

    So far on this back pain journey I’ve seen my acupuncture lady and had her jab her needles in me – 3 times. I’ve been drinking the Chinese herbs she gave me that taste like licking the taint of Satan. I’ve done meditations, picked tarot cards, sat with my suffering, did ceremonies of gratitude, and drank more demon brew.

    It’s been my thinking that I have to dive into the esoteric when I’m experiencing discomfort because there is this part of me that believes I deserve these moments of pain. I see my misery as a lesson – a teacher to tell me how I’m not living life right. So I self-reflect; convinced my back pain is an emotional necessity of my development.

    In the midst of dealing with this back drama, I wake up Sunday morning and go downstairs to choke down some Chinese herbs/devil drink. As I’m retching, I absentmindedly feel my neck. There’s something there. I knew right away it was an embedded tick. I hobbled to bathroom praying… but when I look in the mirror my stomach drops. There was a deer tick sucking away at my blood like a mini Dracula, yet with less sexual swagger.

    Now if you don’t live in New England and don’t have your prerequisite PHD on tick breeds, deer ticks are the bad kind – the kind that carries Lyme. Lyme is the most feared disease of the North East. There is no real cure. It affects everyone differently. It can fuck you up for life. Lyme is like the AIDS of New England. I checked the tick’s dick to see if it was wearing a condom.

    I knew it had been on me for while. Because of my back I hadn’t exactly been showring, so I was not doing daily tick checks. I also didn’t even think of it because I hadn’t been outside either, and was too busy watching old Twin Peaks episodes. But my cat sleeps in my bed so I guess it had crawled off her and on to me? I got tweezers and pulled the tick off, wishing David Lynch was directing my life because this was a great moment for red curtains and a little person to speak backwards yet forwards.

    I stared at the tick that was still holding onto a huge chunk of my neck with his little mouth-claws. I then looked at the bite. Holy fuck he was really in there.

    I put him in jar and sat there watching at him. He crawled along the sides of the glass, still carrying a piece of my throat with him. We were bonded for life now.

    I staggered to my car with my tick, threw some pillows on the seat so I could attempt to drive, and headed to the hospital to get him tested. Yeah… so it turns out hospitals don’t really appreciate you’re bringing ticks to them.

    Nurse: You need to have your physician call first.
    Toni: It’s Sunday… and Memorial Day weekend? How is that going to happen?
    Nurse: Sorry. You’re gonna have to take your tick and leave.

    So I did just that. I gathered up my tick and left. At this point I’ve fully developed Stockholm syndrome, carrying my tick around from place to place, feeling the need to take care of it. I put a piece of grass in the jar in case it got hungry, buckled him up in my kid’s car seat so he would stay safe, and then named him Noam – hoping that like his name sake Chomsky, this tick would fill my blood with knowledge about the political system in the Middle East and not Lyme.

    Noam and I headed to my acupuncture lady – for the 4th time in 4 days. She did her best to suck the poison out by stabbing the bite a few times with a needle. She then light some shit on fire and “cupped” the bite. With a giant hicky on my neck, she sent me on my way. Noam and I got back in the car, because of course I brought him in the house with me so he didn’t get lonely. Before driving off, I stuck my head out the window.

    Toni: Wait? What should I do about my back? It’s still really bad?
    Acupuncture lady: Keep drinking herbal.
    Toni: Right.

    While driving home my physician finally called back and said I have to send the tick away to get it tested, but I can’t until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. She suggested I put a small piece of wet paper towel in the jar to keep some moisture in.

    I bring Noam home, and set up his new apartment in the jar with some Ikea furniture. He’s officially my pet now. I feel love for him. It’s not his fault that global warming means more ticks to destroy humanity. He’s doing his best.

    The next day I see my healer. My back is a mess. My bite is festering. My emotional state is borderline Jack in The Shining because I haven’t been able to sleep. I’ve been having nightmares every night about ticks and bugs crawling all over me, and keep waking up in a panic to check my body. And my stomach is a mess from all the herbs, aka the secretions of Lucifer’s loins.

    The healer and I talk about my back and the reality that I’ve been getting about five back spasms a year for the last five years and how to solve the problem of this chronic pain. I can’t take it any more. I don’t know what else I have to learn about myself. How much more self-reflecting I can do? I’m done thinking about me. I’m boring myself.

    Healer: I don’t think this pain is emotional. I think it’s skeletal. Your hips are so torqued and twisted.
    Toni: Do you think it’s from my pregnancy?
    Healer: No.
    Toni: Car accident?
    Healer: No?
    Toni: Well, I guess this all started when I was in the 5th grade. That’s the first time I remember getting this kind of back pain. At the time I was jumping on the trampoline about 6 hours a day so…
    Healer: It’s the trampoline.

    Right.

    Where everything stands now is not only is my back still all fucked, but also my hips, AND my right foot from walking so weird because of my fucked up back and hips. So now I have this shooting pain in my foot and can’t walk on it. Turns out it’s nerve damage. Cool. I look so hot in crutches – the perfect tool to impale myself with.

    Even though I can see how this is a physical misalignment of my bones, I still did learn a lot emotional soul searching from this current bought of suffering. Might as well since I have the time right and can’t work?

    First. I keep hearing about horrible things happening in other peoples’ lives – stories of friends that had a fire at their home, friends that lost a child. These real devastations that force me to realize how lucky I am. How lucky most of us are most of the time. There is so much potential for tragedy in this world, and it’s a blessing when you are not experiencing it. Perspective is crucial when feeling sorry for yourself because most of my pain is of my own making.

    I also realized that I’m motivated by the wrong sources. Much like a car that is powered with dirty fossil fuels, I need to shift what drives me. I need to become electric.

    When I was in my 20’s I wanted to change the world. I was politically motivated, and compelled by social consciousness. I had so many ideas of how I would make a difference, and even though my visions had merit, my executions never panned out. I got discouraged by life, and started to see the whole system as rigged. I felt useless in this paradigm of the New World Order and lizard elite with their alien DNA pulling the strings of the hallucinatory global economy. What could I possibly do considering all the massive corruption and greed that is the guiding principal of everything? I’m just some 25 year old that no one takes seriously.

    In the midst of this despondency and desperate feeling I was meaningless, I got pregnant. There is this assumption that a baby ties you down, but in a certain way it frees you. After the birth of my child, the world became so small. This infant was my world and nothing else mattered but her eating and sleeping. It was so simple. Just love this baby and keep her alive. It was this profound break from not only my own troubles, but also the troubles of the planet. This time in my life was like an altered state, the ultimate drug experience. I escaped into this sweet bubble of caring for my baby.

    As the Munch grew and I had more time for myself, I had to redefine who I was. I had to get to know myself again. There was less time to be spent on mothering, but now what? I was no longer living in New York City, and sequestered amongst trees. That’s why I started writing, and making art more seriously. I had always dabbled, but seen it as a hobby. Something shifted in me. I figured maybe I couldn’t change the world from the bowels of rural New Hampshire, but I could at least try to entertain it?

    Yet somewhere along way, my motivation of why I do the things I do got convoluted. I’m no longer in that adolescent state of my 20’s when anything seems possible. I’m in my 30’s. Reality and responsibilities color my every decision. I need to have a career. I need to figure out my place in this world. I want my art to be that driver. I don’t know if it ever will. But there is a pressure that sits on my chest making it had to breathe.

    Yet I can now see the only motivation I need is not one of success, or recognition, but rather to be propelled by the same force of my 20s – that naïve belief that I can make a difference in this corrupted world. Idealism gets beaten out of us so easily because of the overwhelming task of it all, but fuck that. I don’t want to be cynical. I want to be impassioned by the same ignorance of my youth. The benign belief that if you try hard enough, shit will change. It will get better even if it is just in your small corner of the world. Even if my only true contribution to society is that because of me, a woman can pulse her pelvis to the beat of hip-hop music at my dance studio.

    Noam with his paper towel.

    Noam’s apartment.

    My tearful goodbye, sending Noam away.

    The culprit… my cat.

  • I Can’t Play With You!!

    It’s really hard to play with my kid. My brain has been corrupted by adulthood. I no longer have an imagination that can travel off to distant lands where vampire kitties can fly. I don’t know how to lose myself in a fantasy world because the so-called real world in front of me is so goddamn consuming. All my imagination has transmuted into anxiety about the end of humanity and trying desperately to envision a future where I no longer torture myself with endless craving. HAVE I MADE IT YET?

    Playing with The Munch is challenging. As she’s busy making up a world where bunnies pick daffodils made of sugar, I’m instead obsessing about how Mitch McConnell is to blame for the Trump presidency. I can’t lose myself in the moment, and keep trying to make the chipmunks talk about universal health care.

    It’s my own fault though. When you have an only child, you end up having to play with them more than if you had more kids. In many ways having one kid is MUCH easier as a parent. I have more freedom. It’s easier to find childcare. If I asked you to watch my one kid for the afternoon you’d most likely say yes. But if I asked you to watch my 3 kids for ten minutes you would probably lie to get out of it right? I think there is a major misconception that having more kids doesn’t make that much of a difference because you already have one – so why not add a few more? NOPE WRONG! The difference between having one kid and two is almost as profound as having zero kids and one. The amount of need you deal with is added exponentially with each kid. The equation is something like one child squared to the 10th power.

    Yet when you have a bigger family, the kids are more of a pack. They play together leaving you more free time to yourself to clean up after them. I don’t have that. Lucky for me The Munch has many friends and plenty of play dates, but there are inevitable moments where she looks to me to be the one to act out scene 7 of the mermaids that are astronauts’ saga.

    But you guys…. I think I have the answer to satisfy my inability to free my mind from the burden of hyper awareness about the destruction of world, and my daughter’s insistence on playing with me… a solution besides getting really high I mean.

    We now play political games.

    These games have been a profound journey because I get to learn what my 6-year old thinks about political policy. It is both equally awe inspiring and depressing.

    The Munch: Okay so Ariel the mermaid is a princess, so that means she’s royalty.
    Toni: What does it mean to be royalty?
    The Munch: It means you have to be kind and gentle and you have to like solving problems. Oh, and you have to love everybody.
    Toni: How do you become royal?
    The Munch: Well Ariel’s dad was royal and his dad was royal and his dad was royal and his dad was royal…
    Toni: Who was the first royal person though? Why did they need royalty.
    The Munch: Because everything was so confusing and the mermaids wanted someone to help create solutions to problems.
    Toni: I see. In the human world royalty is kind of different – so I like what the mermaids are doing.
    The Munch: What do the human royals care about?
    Toni: Mostly power, that’s why the humans have so many wars.
    The Munch: The mermaids have wars too. But they are silly wars.
    Toni: What’s a silly war?
    The Munch: Well, there are no weapons because they are too dangerous. They don’t want to hurt the other animals or fish in the ocean with war and weapons. So it’s a splash tail war. They just splash each other with their tails on the top of he water… like this.
    Toni: That makes a lot of sense.
    The Munch: So how were the first people made?
    Toni: How do you think the first people were made.
    The Munch: Ummm I think there was a ghost lady that has always been here – she’s never been born or anything. And that ghost lady created all the people and the earth and the planet and the stars and the mermaids.
    Toni: You’re probably right.

    This is the set up for tonight’s game. It’s called “Hey congress, rape is not a pre-existing condition.”