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Musings
Category

  • The Heartbreak of a Broken Heart

    Do you remember your first broken heart? Did it feel like someone peeled back the layers of your skin only to pry their fingers deep into your aorta, and scrape the inner walls of your ventricles with their nails? Were you writhing in agony as the seething suffering traversed your veins and settled into a cantankerous cavity hidden inside the bowels of your being? ME TOO!!!

    My heart was broken for the first time when I was 15. He told me we lived too far apart, and he couldn’t be my boyfriend anymore because he wanted to finger-bang other girls. I wasn’t just devastated… I was destroyed. Forget the fact that I had another boyfriend who went to my school. The loss was too profound to bear. I would think of him every night when I went to sleep, and he was the first thing on my mind when I woke up. I sometimes wouldn’t leave my house in hopes that he would call. (The tragedy of being a teenager in the 90’s, pre cellphones *tear). I thought of him obsessively, and would look for him in any crowd I was in. It took me an entire year to move on emotionally, and of course as soon as I got over him, he was like “let’s date again,” – so we did.

    Being broken hearted is a helpless and vulnerable feeling because it is rooted in rejection. No matter how the other person tries to rationalize their reasoning, the piercing truth is that they don’t want you. That sinking reality is so painful because it also digs at the core of your self-esteem. The ego becomes enmeshed with the heart. Not only is the object of your love leaving, but they are also scarring your sense of worth with their disinterest to stay.

    The Munch is going through her first experience with heartbreak, and it has been breaking my heart to witness her sorrow. Her baby sitter since she was one year old has decided to move on. We had a conversation about it last week, and I think at first Munch was in a state of shock or denial. She didn’t really mention it, so I was hoping maybe it would be a smooth transition. Then the other morning, Munch came in my room while I was meditating wondering what I had done with a picture her babysitter Liliana had drawn her. It had been hanging on the fridge, and I had taken it down. At first I didn’t want to admit that, and tried to claim I didn’t remember – but Munch kept asking me where it was.

    Toni: I took it down.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: It made me sad to look at it.

    That was when everything hit her. Suddenly Munch had to face reality. She started weeping in my arms telling me how much she missed Liliana. I held her, and began crying right along with her. Her pain was so relatable. Of course wanting to discontinue employment as a babysitter is drastically different than ending a relationship – yet in Munch’s world, the sentiment is the same.

    Munch: I still want her to be my babysitter. I don’t like those things she said. They really hurt my feelings. I don’t want her to leave. I miss her. I can’t stop thinking about Liliana!
    Toni: I know baby. It is really hard. But people can’t always be who you want them to be. Sometimes they have to be who they want to be. And when you love them, you have to give them that space.
    Munch: But I miss her so much and I want to see her. I am so angry that she doesn’t want to see me any more. I want to be with her. My heart is broken. She broke my heart.
    Toni: It hurts, I know. But Liliana wants to go back to school. And we want her to be happy. She needs to find her happiness. Don’t you want her to do that?
    Munch: Yes, but I also want her to stay with me.
    Toni: It doesn’t always work that way baby. Sometimes happiness means you have to leave.

    We sat, talked, and cried. I didn’t want to talk her out of her feelings, because that seemed like a fruitless effort. We can’t rationalize our way out of loss. We have to go through it. The only thing I could do was to listen, and suggest different ways of seeing the situation. After a while, we got up, got dressed, and got in the car to go on an adventure. We decided that we would listen to music as loud as we could, and sing as loud as our voices would go.

    As I was driving I realized the universal truth of heartbreak. The other person is happier with out you. That is why they have to go. Suddenly I felt elated by this knowing.  Even though there is a sweet sadness, there is also hope. Your aching has meaning because the person you love is happier. Even though that bruises the ego, the true self wants the people you adore to find their bliss, even if it means they take a different path.

    I know Munch is still hurting from this separation. She will go through her iPod, find videos of her with Liliana, and then cry as she watches them. Although the tragic rawness is brutal to witness, I also respect that this is a process she has to go through in order to let go. All I know is that I considering Munch is only 4 and feels this deeply, I am seriously in for it when she is a teenager.

    heartbreak-blog-(i)

  • Unleash Your Inner Teenage Girl

    When I was a teenager I would come home from school, put on really sad music, and cry. Just to drive this point home and make sure you have the visual… every day for four years I would blast Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLachlan, and *insert any 90’s angst- ridden singer songwriter here – just to make myself weep FOR HOURS! When I look back at that time in my life I have to wonder what the fuck was going on with me?

    The obvious answer is I was a hormonal mess, controlled by the insanity of estrogen pumping through my system at an alarming rate as it surged through my veins. Yet at the same time it was deeper than that. It was the one part of my day where I actually felt alive. For whatever reason, being a teenage girl made it possible for me to easily access my sorrow. It didn’t take much for me to feel infinitely sorry for myself, or even for all of humanity. I could tap into grief with a calm effortlessness, and access that intensity more than any other emotion.

    I didn’t know how to make myself feel boundlessly joyful, but I did know how to drop into sadness. Even though the melancholy didn’t feel good, the extremeness of the sentiment was full of vitality. The heightened sense gave meaning to everything, even if the moment was blurred by my salty vision.

    I don’t suggest this as a daily practice – unless I can get a book deal, in which case sign up for my 3-week course “Weep Your Way Into a Better You,” – but I do think there is something profound about releasing into the chaos of desperation. Perhaps if we were more willing to feel the truth of the lows, there would be more room for the altitude of the highs.

    Pain is also terrifying. I don’t want to feel hurt, nor do I want to see other people suffering. I once saw a cat that had been run over and was lying on the side of the road. I stopped to help it, but I didn’t have the capacity to handle how much the poor creature was in agony. Another car stopped right after me, and the driver went right over to the mangled animal and held it in her arms as it died. I had so much respect for this woman. She was able to bear the burden of this being’s transition when I was rendered impotent by my own excessive empathy. I felt so deeply for the cat that I couldn’t be there for it because I was too lost in my own feelings. I would like to think that if that woman hah never showed up I would have pulled myself together, and been more proactive then sobbing uncontrollably. Yet I am so grateful that she did, because she was there for us both that night.

    I was once part of a hippy new age shaman ceremony celebrating the descendants of grandmother moon, and go figure, I was actually feeling pretty good. Then this woman started writhing in discomfort as her primal cries filled the room. I found myself totally distracted by what was going on with her. As much as I wanted to help, I also knew that there wasn’t much I could do for her. She was on her trip. The best way for me to have been there for her was to visualize her as the perfect self. Yet it was so challenging not to get caught up in the drama of her experience. I had to repeat the mantra “this is her healing” in order to maintain my own sanity.

    Even though I felt terrible for this woman, I also wanted her to stop being in pain – not only for herself, but for me too. Her anguish was harshing my mellow! I felt so guilty that I was feeling fine, and she wasn’t.

    Isn’t that a metaphor for the global suffering that is going on all the time? When you are having the best night of your life, someone else is having the worst night of theirs. That is why it is so hard to really contemplate about all terrible realities going on. I feel awful when I really allow myself to think about child brides, therefore I don’t want to think about it. It is too hard for me to be happy when I remind myself of the millions who are not.

    So that is why we all need to unleash our inner teenage girl, and allow the totality of suffering to pass through us. Not only for ourselves, but also for all the beings on this fucked up planet we live on. To run from the hurt doesn’t mean it goes away. Maybe the best thing we can do is to truly turn towards it, so we can actually deal with how much it all sucks.
    (Look at me! I am on the verge of tears just sitting around xmas eve when I was 14)

    teenage-girl-blog

    January 15, 2015 • Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 213

  • The Joke’s on You Bill Cosby

    I generally don’t watch award shows because they’re a painful reminder that I’m sitting on my couch at home, instead of sitting in the front row, waiting for my name to be called. The only award I ever received was for a drinking game while on spring break. I don’t even remember “winning” because I blacked out. Yet I did watch the introduction to the Golden Globe’s this week, hoping Amy Poehler and Tina Fey would say some funny shit and I’d forget about myself for a few moments.

    The crescendo of their banter culminated in a nearly flawless joke about Bill Cosby. It had the perfect set up, impeccable impressions, and was just provocative enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Although Bill Cosby has done nothing to laugh about, making a joke about his actions is an almost perfect revenge, ie using his craft to humiliate him and doing so with actual quality humor.

    There are so many disturbing elements about the Cosby saga. He could have had sex with a variety of women simply because he was rich and famous. The drugging and raping is obviously symptomatic of his desires to have power and dominance over their unconscious bodies. He wanted absolute control and for them to be completely passive recipients.

    I cannot relate to Cosby at all. If I were going to drug a guy, it would be so he wouldn’t try to have sex with me. I would prop his body up next to me on the couch to watch Netflix. Maybe I would use his hands to wash all my dishes…you know, so mine didn’t get all dry and cracked. When he woke up in the morning and look at his chapped fingers, he’d be like “Nooooo. What happened?”

    I find the Cosby story especially depressing when I consider how he had absolutely no interest in the humanity of these women. The more common manifestation of this mentality is when a guy pumps a woman like a rabid rabbit, attempting to fill her with his manhood but doesn’t give a care about her pleasure. Of course many men have evolved beyond this behavior, but many haven’t. When a woman brings sleeps with a guy for the first time, she never knows what to expect. The disappointment is severe when she feels like a filling station rather than a human with feelings and desires.

    “Rape culture” is a daunting problem to solve. There isn’t a simple solution like “just don’t rape girls and women.” As horrific as Bill Cosby’s acts of violence are, I’m grateful it is pushing us to face and address the rampant reality of sexual assault.

    To address any confusion that still lingers around rape, I think the primary concept to consider is “enthusiastic consent.” Mutual attraction and interest is what makes amazing sex amazing. I am willing to bet that the worst sex of your life was because you or your partner wasn’t that into it. Perhaps it was something that happened to avoid an awkward. Who wants to have crappy, apathetic sex? With the endless amount of pleasure tools available, it would be such a waste of time. If we can teach and encourage each other to express and look for genuine eagerness from prospective partners, then perhaps we will take the crucial step towards an authentic sex positive society.

    bill-cosby-blog

    January 12, 2015 • Current Events, Musings • Views: 290

  • It Turns Out Women Are Just as Perverted as Men!

    Life if full of contradictions. We need the sun for vitamin D, but too much sun can cause cancer. Sunscreen might help prevent skin cancer, but it also might cause cancer from all the fucked up chemicals in it. Nothing is exactly how it seems. The universe is a hazy shade of grey.

    Perhaps… 50 shades of it?

    Sorry… I had to go there.

    The media’s portrayal of female sexuality remains a great paradoxes. We are told we can sleep with guys, yet not too many guys, but as many guys as we want as long as we “lean in” while being a “Tiger Mom” who lost all our baby weight! I read a lot about women and their lady parts because you know… I have a vagina, and get my period, and gross!!!

    I recently came across this article on Jezebel, where the author tricked her boyfriend into seeing a German movie called “Wetlands.” If you know anything about German movies that involve sex, you know that shit is going to get weird real fast. The movie narrative (based off a book) uses flashbacks to tell the story, because the main character, Helen, is stuck in the hospital from cutting her ass open while shaving around her hemorrhoids. A common mistake! The Jezebel author describes Helen as “sexually empowered” and “knowing what she wants” – which involves rubbing her gaping genitals on a toilet seat covered in feces, shoving an avocado up her twatt, and my personal favorite “putting the shower head inside herself and filling her vagina with water until she feels like she’ll burst. Then she pushes until the entire thing feels like it’s going to fall out.”

    Now call me old fashioned, but seriously WTF????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As a feminist I am supposed to clap my chubby little hands at all things women do to express their deepest desires. Yet I am pretty sure that if this story were about a man I would have just as many questions. Mainly, were you hugged enough as a kid?

    I am happy that women’s sexuality is being depicted as complex. This is progress. You wouldn’t have seen this film or read the novel in the fifties (although it would have made for a pretty epic “Leave it To Beaver” episode). Truth be told, this type of sexual behavior makes me want to hurl. Not because I am some prude who thinks they shouldn’t do it…. BUT HOLY HELL DOESN’T THAT HURT AND ISN’T THAT DANGEROUS??!!

    This is my question: when people’s sexual identities are so intense, doesn’t that border on obsession? Sex is cool and all and should be a priority, but it takes a lot of time to shove a variety of vegetables inside your body. Time that could be spent learning how to farm organically, or petitioning politicians to stop Fracking. Isn’t there a balance between getting freaky like how Helen “fingers her ass until her fingers are brown with butt sleaze,” and not having your sexual preferences take over your life? Is this really a depiction of what “sexual empowerment” looks like? It just seems to me that when people have such vastly extreme tastes, that maybe they are working out something that is much deeper that what can be achieved through aggressive masturbation.

    Sex is just as addictive as any drug, and just as powerful of a distraction from facing reality. Society is struggling with vast terrifying predicaments and like sex and pornography are a few of the key ways grown-ups check out from dealing emotionally with our lives.

    Of course this logic applies to TV, smoking pot, or watching sleepy cat videos on Youtube – soooo cute!!!!! We all run from the responsibility of figuring out how to revolt from the 1% Lizard-People elite who control the planet and will soon be using our blood to fuel for their rocket ship to Mars after this planet has been destroyed by their greed. Yet the more we spend our time jerking off, the more we are not participating positively to the collective effort to better the world for the future.

    I’m glad people are finally waking up to the fact that women can be just as perverted as men. That said, I don’t jump up and down every time I hear about a guy wanting to a martini glass full of a women’s shit; I also won’t be moved to hear about a chick eating a semen covered pizza. Perhaps if the dude was having his diarrhea cocktail while presenting his plan to end sex trafficking at the United Nations, or the woman was munching on her delicious treat up in a tree in the rainforest to protest the degeneration of our most precious source of oxygen, then I would want to know all about it!

    (I mean I guess wiping your menses on your face is a good idea?)

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    January 7, 2015 • Current Events, Musings, Sex Stuff, Vagina Stuff, Women's Business • Views: 312

  • Is Life Really That Different?

    Vacations used to be comprised primarily of ecstasy, alcohol, flirtation, and hazy memories. I danced in a foam pit non-ironically, got lost in the Red Light district of Amsterdam for six hours while high and gazing at prostitutes in the windows wondering if I had seen the one with the sad eyes wearing crotchless panties before. Once I even pitched a tent on a German highway because my boyfriend and I had no idea where we were. Okay, it was after a huge festival but it was super dark out!

    The complexity of my life now is that it is really hard to abandon my responsibilities and give myself a true break. There are endless obligations lurking in the background of my brain, relentlessly reminding me of all the shit I need to get done. Then of course there is my inbox – bottlenecking with messages from people wanting, needing, and bossing me around. When I finally checked Gmail this morning there my computer was pleading, “I am so constipated!!! Free me from the burden of holding all these in!” Whatever escapism I was experienced when I was young and dumb, has been marred by the presence of technology.

    Vacations are no longer a break from life, where I get to push the limits of my consciousness and abuse my liver to the point of near failure. They have a very different texture these days. For one, my kid is on vacation from school so that means I have to be with her all day. Sorry –I mean I “got” to spend time with my darling angel during these fleeting precious years of her childhood. Although theoretically The Munch would totally rock out while dancing on a bar until four am, taking a four-year old to da’club is pretty much frowned upon. Instead, I have to do “kid appropriate” activities that don’t include experimenting with hallucinogens and Ambien.

    Most of my time spent with her is between “the schedule” of what is planned. We go from this place to that, I make her food, and we go to bed. There is less down time where I actually have to figure out what to do with her. Of course I love my kid, but it’s not like I have that much in common with her. I guess we both like eating cookies and laughing at farts but The Munch never wants to talk about the police state, she doesn’t care about Monsanto, and she doesn’t think she needs feminism.

    I think a key element to having a healthy relationship with your child is developing common interests. If there are things you enjoy doing together, then you have outlets which you both enjoy. Of course there are times when I can get down with playing “princess-queens who are sisters with magical powers that conquer the mountain and hide in a special cave of diamonds while turning all the babies into ladybugs,” but unless I am going to become a pothead again, my imagination is only so fertile.

    The one thing Munch and I can do for hours and hours while both being happy is listening to pop music while practicing handstands. We do have a couple debates going however. For one – auto tune. We discussed for over an hour about how all her favorite singers use auto tune and what that is doing to the music industry. The Munch thinks auto tune is “cheating,” but still likes those songs better than the Indigo Girls, whereas I believe our ears are being trained towards falsity which could have lasting impact on our neurology.

    We are sorting out her feelings on hip-hop music. Munch isn’t into men rapping because she doesn’t like boys, but she will listen to Biggie Smalls and Eminem when there are girls singing on the tracks. This feels like a decent compromise, because I figure there is still time to get her into Mob Deep and The Pharcyde. We do both agree that music should be listened to so loudly that you can both feel the vibration in your bones but not hear your own voice while singing along.

    So come to think of it… maybe life isn’t so different after all? Chicks hanging from ceilings and shit…

    vacation-blog

    January 5, 2015 • 4 years old, Adventures, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Musings, Parenting, Playing • Views: 292

  • New Year Same Old Me

    We have a cultural obsession with the concept of the New Year, yet what we are ultimately looking for is a new version of ourselves. This is all manifested in the enthusiastic display, but often empty realm of “resolutions.” The New Year holds such promise because it encapsulates the possibility that not only will the year be different, but so will you! In 2015 I eat will better, exercise more, work harder, be healthier, and finally stop eating my body hair!!!

    This marker in time is significant mostly because we feel like it is a chance to reboot our operating system, and become the 2.0 version of ourselves. Yet once February comes around, the complexity and complications of change overwhelm the fantasy. We start to lose hope that change is possible, and that disappointment festers and pools in the gutters of our consciousness.

    Yet here is the thing. We can’t think about becoming a “new and improved” shiny version of the self, because that implies that we aren’t already who we want to be. That person who you are striving to become, you already are… just not as often as you like.

    Change feels like such a daunting notion because of the assumption that you need to completely transform from one thing into another – like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. By the way… I have heard that when the caterpillar is in the chrysalis about to experience the metamorphosis, it actually thinks it is going to die. I have no idea how anyone would know that, because who knows what caterpillars think about, yet it is still an interesting idea okay! So much like our fellow worms, transmutation feels terrifying!

    The objective isn’t to suddenly grow wings out of your ribs and fly, but rather be the parts of yourself that you like – just more often. There are plenty of times that you are kind, sometimes eat broccoli, take the stairs, work with passion, don’t yell, demonstrate empathy, prioritize others… You already do all those things – just do them more. Be that person as much as you can, rather than the part of you that is lamebook.

    Here is a super old school pic of me on New Years Eve and I am WASTED!!
    PS my hair is special here
    PPS the Picture above is an even older picture of me wasted on NYE!
    new-year-blog-(i)

    January 1, 2015 • Current Events, Musings, Relationships • Views: 255

  • I Have Met My Match (and she will destroy me)

    I am a really hard person to argue with. Not that I am mean or nasty. I will not call you vile names or spit in your general direction – unless I am hanging out my Llama friends. Yet I am a master manipulator of logic. I will sieve through your rational, pluck apart your reasoning, and destroy you with a flawless case of why I am right and you are wrong.

    And just to be clear… I am always right.

    I have yet to come away from a disagreement saying, “you are right… I was wrong… sorry.”

    Until now…

    I have met my match you guys, and she is a 4-year old Munch.

    It all started one fateful evening over dinner. The Munch was eating pesto and pasta, and I was sitting across from her enjoying a plate of sand. (I heard its good for your colon). Because my mouth was rather dry, I took a sip of her apple cider. Munch took notice….

    Munch: It’s good apple cider huh Ma?
    Toni: It sure is!
    Munch: I got it with Liliana at the coop after gymnastics. I like it a lot.
    Toni: We should get it again some time. It is quite delicious.

    We both continued our meals, and again I felt the sensations of thirst. I reached across the table, and took another sip. Yet this time, my actions were met with INTENSE FUCKING RAGE!

    Munch: MOM YOU KEEP TAKING SIPS OF MY APPLE CIDER AND NOW IT IS ALMOST ALL GONE!! STOP DOING THAT! NEVER TAKE SIPS OF MY APPLE CIDER AGAIN! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAHHHHHHAAA!
    Toni: Dude! That is so unfair! I share with you all the time!
    Munch: BUT YOU ARE DRINKING ALL MY APPLE CIDER AND NOW IT IS ALMOST ALL GONE!
    Toni: Ummm that is so not true. I had two sips, and they were small sips!
    Munch: I AM NEVER SHARING WITH YOU EVER AGAIN!!
    Toni: Dude!!! You are being wicked selfish! I share everything with you! How would you like it if I never shared with you again?
    Munch: BUT YOU DRANK ALL MY APPLE CIDER SO I AM NEVER SHARING WITH YOU EVER EVER EVER AGAIN EVER!!!!
    Toni: Munch… that is a terrible thing to say. You share with people you love because you love them. You share with people because it is the right thing to do. Being selfish is a terrible personality trait. Getting this mad about apple cider is absurd. We can easily get more tomorrow, or I can put water in it so you have more.
    Munch: BUT THEN IT WILL BE WATERY APPLE CIDER! I AM NOT SHARING WITH YOU ANY MORE!!!
    Toni: Well what is a good solution? What can we do about this?
    Munch: YOU CAN NEVER TAKE SIPS EVER AGAIN!
    Toni: You know what Munch? There are kids all over the world who have so much less than you – children who have hardly anything to eat or drink. They are starving and thirsty all the time. Yet they still share with their family. They are not selfish. You have everything you could ever want. You have juice all the time. Yet you are going to get this irrationally mad at your Mamma, yell and cry, just because you don’t want me to have a sip of your juice?
    Munch: WELL IT WAS MY JUICE, AND YOU DRANK ALL OF IT!! I GOT IT WITH LILIANA AND IT WAS MINE!! WAHHHHHAHHHHHWAHHHHHAAA!!
    Toni: Okay… that is enough. You have to go to your room.
    Munch: BUT I WANT MY JUICE!
    Toni: Fine, bring your cider to your room – but you have to think about how you treat people.

    The Munch stormed off crying and yelling to herself about how unfair I was. I stayed in the kitchen fuming. My head was spinning with rage. “What a little shit!!! I didn’t drink all her fucking apple cider! I had two sips!!!! Fine, there wasn’t that much left, but what the dick!!!??? This first world entitled mentality bullshit is goddamn bullshit. I am sure there are kids in the open tundra of Uzbekistan who share their last drops of goat milk with their mom!!!! Am I seriously raising a spoiled post-modern monster who flips the fuck out over sharing a sip of her drink!!??”

    The Munch then came into the kitchen – her tears dried, and disturbingly calm.

    Munch: Mom, I wasn’t mad because of sharing my juice. I was mad because you didn’t ASK to have a sip of my juice. You can’t just take things from people without asking. You have to ask first. But that is what I was trying to say…
    Toni: Oh… you are right… I was wrong. Sorry. I should have asked first.

    Genius…

    (Here is Munch plotting my demise)

    met-my-match-blog-(i)

  • The Magic Christmas Tree

    My favorite part of Christmas is the tree. The etymology of this symbol is rooted in ancient traditions of celebrating mid-winter by bringing nature inside to honor her glory. I like to fancy myself a pagan moon goddess who worships mother Gaia with my sacred dances of the primal birth while howling ageless rhythms into the ebony night sky… so I am totally down with the vibe.

    Even though I am technically an adult… I don’t have “adult-like” things – such as Christmas ornaments. Last year my mom had kindly given me some, which then lived in the back of my car until August, and that I smartly put away somewhere I can’t find…. THEY ARE OUT THERE MOM SO DON’T BITCH AT ME OKAY?!

    When we brought home the tree for Munch, she was irrationally excited – as she should have been because holy fuck there is a tree inside the house!!!! I did have lights, thank the universe… so I am not a total failure… but then Munch wanted to decorate the tree.

    Toni: Well… I can’t find the ornaments that Manna gave us… so… but I will probably find them tomorrow? We can do it then okay?
    Munch: But I really want to decorate the tree today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have those ornaments that Gramma gave me!?
    Toni: Okay cool! Lets use those!

    So then we had 3 ornaments on the tree….

    Munch: We need more things to decorate with!
    Toni: Well, like I said… we don’t have any more Christmas ornaments so…
    Munch: That is okay! We can just find stuff around the house!! Let’s look for things that have a hook! Or a loop or whatever!

    The Munch and I then went on a scavenger hunt looking for stuff we could decorate the tree with. And you know what?? You would be surprised by how much stuff you have laying around that is perfect for a Christmas tree! We used about 6 of my necklaces, a Hawaiian lei, a wool sock I tied a string around….

    If you take a step back, our tree is just as beautiful as any tree out there – it is only when you look up close that you would say “wait… is that a pot holder?”

    (Kids really are creative, awesome, and better than us in every way… )
    xmas-tree-blog-1

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  • The Chubby Mermaid

    Not to brag or anything, but my kid is kind of a genius. No, she isn’t a 4-year old fashion designer for J-Crew, and no she doesn’t paint pictures that get sold for thousands of dollars… but she does know how to work my iPhone like a fucking pro. I feel like this is only the beginning of The Munch’s mastery of technology… even if her main motivation is to watch the new Taylor Swift video. But who knows, maybe she is going be the next Steve Jobs – but whose goal is to make 3D digital holograms of Katy Perry that project directly from your eyeballs thanks to an implanted nano-tech microchip.

    I know there are parents who never let their kids watch any modern media, and if they do, it is a supervised experience where they enjoy the wholesome story of Heidi (the 1937 version staring Shirley Temple). Together, they sit around a crackling fire eating fresh popcorn harvested from their farm while the children blissfully fall asleep from their full day of frolicking freely in the forest.

    Then there is my approach of handing my kid my phone/computer/iPad/soul and saying… “Here… watch whatever you want, just let mommy be alone.”

    Now the problem with this strategy is that The Munch then has access to peruse through Youtube, and find other things she may want to watch. She will scan the “related videos,” which may or may not actually be “related” to the initial media I approved of. I would set her up with something innocent to watch like “Curious George,” but then come back 20 minutes later to find her watching a BBC expo about a baby in Indonesia who smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

    There was also a time where Munch found these videos that some charming person had created with the PBS character Caillou. Let me just say, I actually hope Caillou dies a horrible death where he is mutilated by rabid wolves. The show is terrible, and Caillou is a whiney little prick that deserves to suffer. So I can get how it would be funny to take this shit-head character, and re-edit the videos so all the audio is a raunchy dialogue filled with a myriad of swears. Yet despite my present attempt at humor, it was a sad and rude awakening to overhear The Munch listening to Caillou calling his baby sister a “fuck-face.”

    In order to preserve my child’s innocence and shield her from the vulgarities of the world, I had to to say to her, “Hey Munch, you have to check with me before you watch something – because there is some seriously fucked up shit on the Internet.”

    The Munch, who is an honest person, has kept to her word and now comes to me for my approval.

    Munch: Mom… is it okay if I watch “The Chubby Mermaid?
    Toni: WHAT????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay… so lets get real. One thing we can all admit about society is that media FUCKS UP YOUNG GIRLS when it comes to their body image. The last thing you want for your daughter is for her to have an unhealthy relationship to her body, and feel she has to conform to a photo-shopped standard of beauty where her thighs are thinner than her forearms.

    I couldn’t understand WHO ON PLANET EARTH would make a cartoon called “The Chubby Mermaid!?” (Answer: Someone on the Internet – that is who.) My main concern was the term “chubby,” and how The Munch internalized the Meta meaning of that word. I started to panic, wondering if lifelong damage had already happened.

    Toni: Why is it called “The Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: Well, the mermaid is chubby because she ate too many gummy bears.
    Toni: Well “chubby” is not a very nice word.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: Do you know what “chubby” means?
    Munch: It means you have a round tummy – like the “chubby” mermaid who ate too many gummy bears.

    HOLY FUCK YOU GUYS!!! I was like “shit, shit, shit, shit in the ass shit!” Of course “eating too many gummy bears” is not a good idea for anyone. Especially since they are made of gelatin composed of horse hooves – I mean basically they are molded balls primed to give you diabetes… But still! I don’t want The Munch thinking that fat shaming a mermaid is okay just because she happens to have a penchant for gummy bears!!

    Toni: Well, what do you think of the “Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: I like her… that is why I want to watch her???
    Toni: I mean, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: Huh? What do you mean?
    Toni: Do you think she is bad for being “chubby?”
    Munch: No???
    Toni: So, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: I don’t know mom??? I haven’t seen the rest of it yet? I only saw the beginning?? I don’t know her yet?
    Toni: Well do you think it is nice to call the mermaid “chubby?”
    Munch: She ate too many gummy bears, so she has a chubby tummy? Like it pokes out a little bit.
    Toni: Do you think she still has value to society even though she ate too many gummy bears?
    Munch: Huh? I don’t know??? I haven’t seen the whole video? Wait Mom… do we have any gummy bears??

    From the Munch’s perspective, being “chubby” wasn’t an insult. It was just a descriptive. Like having blond hair or green eyes. She couldn’t tell me if the mermaid was a good person until she actually saw what she was like as a person. Nor did she think there was anything wrong with the mermaid because she was chubby. She just ate too many gummy bears. In Munch’s mind being chubby was simply a consequence to an action.

    Placing moral judgment because of someone’s weight is a learned behavior. The idea that being “fat = bad” is a notion society has constructed. The Munch didn’t see the “Chubby Mermaid” as less than, but simply a mermaid whose mom didn’t micromanage her diet to make sure everything she ate was organic, biodynamic, and macrobiotic.

    Weight has become a barometer of self-worth that is deeply psychologically engrained in adults. Being thin means you feel better about yourself, regardless of actually being healthy. A super skinny model that subsists on champagne, lettuce, and cocaine is not in prime physical condition – even if she is slender. You can be “overweight” but also strong, dexterous, and able to climb stairs without passing out from fatigue.

    The body is a handy mechanism that moves us around planet earth – it is not the gauge with which we should measure our importance. I think it is completely possible to shape a child’s understanding of the body on function rather than form. There is no reason to condition our kids to think that their body weight has anything to do with their status as a human. You want to watch what you eat because a lot of processed food products are essentially poisoned. Pesticides, GMO-s, hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, preservatives… are not nutritious and may cause long-term damage. We should be cautious about what we consume not because culture will demoralize you for enjoying butter, but rather because we don’t want to ingest toxins.

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