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Musings
Category

  • When You Have Nothing To Give But Forgiveness

    The thing about family that is both comforting and challenging is that much like a herpes infection, they never go away. They’re not always there, but when they show up, chances are there will be some soreness. Yet most of us value family and want to maintain that connection, despite the inflammation they may cause.

    Now that the matriarch of my family has died, I wonder what will be the link that binds us together. My grandmother was the last of her generation, and we no longer have a point at the top of the triangle of our family tree. It’s all just branches scattering off into different parts of the world. My grandmother’s womb was the origin zenith which sprouted these many beings, and now we have to find different motives to share time and space.

    I have an idealistic vision when it comes to family. I believe in the relevance that our DNA binds us through quantum ties, and that we are uniquely connected through our chemical make up. Knowing my family ultimately means knowing myself. We were cut from the same physical cloth, even though we are not all the same psychological tribe of people. We all process the world very differently, and yet we all share a similar frame of reference. Some of us rebelled against it, some of us dove into it, but there is a culture that prevails.

    But how do families stay together? How do you keep the same people in your life for the entirety of it? By seeing them less? Or seeming them more?

    I crave the life long relationships. When I seek out relationships, I tend to do so with a fervor that says “guess what, we are in this together – FOREVER!” The friends I make, I make hard. I don’t have casual acquaintances. If you are going get to know me, we are going to go in deep. Unless you do something really brutal to me, like rape my cat in front of my child, chances are I will be committed to you for life. I can’t think of one person who I’ve loved who I’m not still there for.

    I think my commitment to family and friends stems from my best friend dying when we were 20. It was such a crucial and painful moment in my life, and it shaped my worldview completely. It is through that experience I came to see how precious human life is. People aren’t disposable. Even when they suck super hard… and are really annoying and shitty… and you want to shake them like British nanny they are being suck a prick, I will tolerate it and try to work through the bullshit.

    Through our family (and the friends that become family) we find true intimacy. The better you get to know someone; the more comfortable you are around them. The more another person knows you, the greater the opportunity for you to know yourself. The less we posture and hide our vulnerabilities, the more we can delve into the chasm of our own psyches. The value of commitment is having a witness to your personal growth and evolution, but that can only truly take place when you allow that person fully into your heart.

    Yet the irony of my wanting this intertwining of spirits is that the opposite is also true. The more someone knows you, the more they can emotionally eviscerate you. The more capable they are of tearing apart your weaknesses and slapping you in the face with them. The more deeply insulting it is when they misunderstand you. The more time for resentment, bitterness, disappointment to build up like plaque, and no matter how hard we try to brush it off, it’s hard to let go of the pain people cause.

    Seriously, people can be such selfish assholes.

    We are all emotionally damaged. We all have our moments of immaturity. We are all dealing with the primal wounds of childhood and reenacting them in destructive ways. The only way to work through the emotionally complexity of how imperfect we are as humans is through the practice of forgiveness.

    Every goddamn day we have to forgive. We have to truly move on from the past, and recognize that everyone is always growing. We have to let go of the mistakes. We have to forgive people fully and leave room for them to change. We have to know that they are moving towards being the best versions of themselves, and the road to get their will be messy.

    I will leave you with a story where I had to ask forgiveness. I horrible story, that is made from the stuff of nightmares.

    The Munch had her little friend sleep over and as kids tend to do, she brought a LOT of stuff. Bags of toys, pajamas, sleeping bags, nighttime equipment etc… The kid needed a Sherpa for all her gear.

    Munch’s friend had forgotten one of her backpacks at my house, so I left it by the door of my porch so I would remember to give it back. I noticed a small plastic bag also near the door, so I figured it belonged to Munch’s friend. Over the next few days I would move the backpack around to clean, and also move the small plastic bag – assuming I was doing a good thing. When it came time to finally return the backpack, I took the small plastic bag, and stuffed it into the backpack so the precious contents wouldn’t get lost.

    I was trying to be a good mom right!?

    Ten days later I received this text.

    “So I unpacked the backpack left at your house, and inside was a plastic Wal-Mart bag with two tissues and two very dead mice dried up inside. Do you have any idea how they got in there?”

    So basically this mom thought I was sending her kid home with some sort of demonic message. Like I was The Godfather, or Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.” Maybe she thought her kid was part of a satanic ritual and this was my initiation!

    I had to call her up and explain that I didn’t purposefully send her daughter home with carrion in her bag!!!!!!! I later realized my friend who had been visiting was kind enough to pick up the dead mice killed by my cat, but didn’t know where to put them – so she left them by the door thinking she would discuss with me later… but then forgot. I then gingerly moved the carcasses around for days, thinking I was doing the right thing…

    BUT I WAS WRONG – SO VERY WRONG.

    The mom forgave me though, because luckily our daughters are friends for life so she had no choice.

    Here is my face in a toilet…

    toni face in toilet

    August 11, 2016 • Family Drama, Musings, Relationships • Views: 445

  • Making Memories Isn’t Always Easy

    The thing that sucks about growing up is that we get too attached to our mundane patterns of existence. You wake up, go to work, come home, cook food, watch TV, and go to bed. Maybe every once in a while you go out to dinner, get laid, or attend a party where you awkwardly chat until you’re tipsy enough to flirt with someone you’re not supposed to. But even when fun presents itself we often shy away because, “we have to get up early the next day.” So we say “no” to taking ecstasy on the beach with a bunch of strangers with lotus flowers weaved into their blond dreads – even though maybe 10 years ago you would have been the one dry humping the waves.

    Now that I’m in my 30’s, I have different priorities than I did in my 20’s – my work, making my work meaningful, and being successful at work. Oh yeah and my child/family/personal growth/health… snore I just feel asleep. There are more meaningful parts of my life that pull me away from frivolous fun because I know that I have to work hard in order to get the work done. Oh and also spend time with people I love.

    Even though I may not be as reckless as I was in my past, I still feel this undying urge to break out of my own shell. I don’t want to lose myself in a schedule, or in a regime of my own making. When my weeks blend together like an amorphous routine, time becomes indistinguishable. I find myself wondering, “Did that happen that last week, or 7 months ago?”

    The days of doing cocaine on a rooftop may be behind me (probably because more than my soul blew away that evening), but that doesn’t mean I want to live everyday like I did the last. The way I make memories is not by doing the same thing day in and day out, but instead by doing something out of the ordinary.

    When I do something unusual it makes me think of conformity, and reminds me how desperately I want to push against the status quo. I used to do that with bong hits and watching conspiracy theories, but that resulted in eating a lot of cereal. I want to be responsible, but I don’t want to be conventional. I want to be doing things that other people aren’t because being on the fringes of culture is where I like to be – it’s just that now I have to be more creative about finding those moments.

    ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I LIVE IN THE WOODS and am hard pressed to be seduced into making bad decisions by hanging out with the wrong trees.

    In my quest towards making memories I do things that challenge me, scare me, or make me uncomfortable. The more I struggle through something, the more it imprints in my psyche. So if something is hard, you bet your sweet ass I am going to try and do it.

    So last full moon I decided I wanted to bathe under its luminescence and swim across the lake. Now, this is not my first time doing this. Swimming across the lake is something I have done for most of my adult life. The lake has a 3.5-mile circumference, so you do the math of how far that is because I cheated in high school geometry. The probably with this adventure was not the act itself, but the fact that it was the coldest day of the summer at 55 degrees.

    I asked my friend to join me, and she was down… yet as the day went on, we had our doubts. All afternoon it rained, and my friend and I went back and forth on whether or not it was worth it. The rain stopped so we met up, but still deliberated. We sat in our sweatshirts and looked out at the dark water – smoking weed and losing our courage. We took off our clothes and dipped in our toes, both shivering uncontrollably.

    My Friend: Should we do this?
    Toni: I don’t know. I am getting eaten alive my mosquitos though.
    My Friend: What should we do?
    Toni: We don’t have to do it?
    My Friend: But maybe we should?
    Toni: Let’s do it.
    My Friend: But it’s so fucking cold.
    Toni: I know. We don’t have to if we don’t want to.
    My Friend: But we’re here.
    Toni: So let’s go.
    My Friend: But I’m freezing.
    Toni: We have to decide this is crazy.
    My Friend: So what should we do?

    Come to think of it, maybe being stoned was not helping our decision making process.

    My Friend: If you go – I will follow you. But I’m not going to be the one who makes this happen.

    I counted to 3, and dove under. I swam as fast as I could until my body no longer felt numb, and then looked up. Around the corner I could see the moon rising, and it was SO FUCKING WORTH IT!

    It seemed insane that we were the only people making this life choice that night. Yes it was cold. Yes it is cozier inside. But nothing could rival the beauty we experienced, and it was only highlighted by the effort it took to be there. It’s like we were in on a secret that no one else knew. If you push past the discomfort, there is a glory to behold that is a much greater gift.

    For the next hour, my friend and I swam towards the open arms of the full moon. We talked, laughed, thought, and dreamed. From the second we submerged ourselves we were so grateful that we had. Everything that we went through, the struggle, the cold, the indecision, made it all the more memorable.

    I realized something about myself in the middle of that lake. I almost need things to be hard and arduous to fully lose myself in the process. My friend is the type of person who could just go for a night swim. She could swim around, enjoy her self, and then get out. But not me. I’m the type of person that’s either swimming across a fucking lake or not at all.

    When I do something with a specific goal, like getting to the other side of the lake, I can let go of thinking about all the discomfort of getting there. I don’t allow myself to dwell on how my body is cold, or that my neck is tired from holding my head up. Anytime my mind wanders to complaining, I just say, “Well there’s nothing you can do until you get to the other side – so think of something else.” Having a goal keeps me in the moment. It frees me up from thinking about all the things that make it challenging, and anchors my mind in the present. It’s when I’m in that kind of headspace that there is the potential for spiritual awakening. When I am not thinking, but being. That is when I am most myself. When I am most creative. When my heart is most open to listening to my soul’s cries.

    lake swim weather

    August 4, 2016 • Adventures, Musings • Views: 582

  • Death, Doughnuts, and Defecation

    Returning to my blog is kind of like coming back to an ex lover. I know I can eventually get off, but it’s gonna take work to get there. Mostly because I already know how everything can go terribly wrong.

    The month I was filming my movie was intense. My cinematographer and DP is a vampire who doesn’t sleep, so he insisted we film at sunrise because blah blah blah magic hour zzzzzzzzz. I’m the kind of lady that leisurely wakes after the last rooster has been slaughtered at my command, so I would have preferred if we just drank the blood of virgins instead.

    We got into a groove and became increasingly manic as the days went on. If we happened to have a break in the filming schedule, we would make a short film, or a music video to pass the time –we both entered into a frenzied state of hysteria. The seduction of the muse was so alluring that I think we became the bottom in a BSDM relationship with creativity.

    Retrospectively I realize that a huge part of my impulse to create is because it anchors my mind. It gives me something to think about, and having that structure helps me stay sane. When I listen to music I envision dances in my head. When I have no one to talk and nothing to distract me, I daydream about scripts I want to write and stories I want to tell. But when I don’t have anything creative going on, my mind wanders into a land of anxiety. I think about the past, conversations I wish I had, future events that will never happen, people I can’t control… Thinking about my actual life is way more boring than thinking about the made up lives of characters in my head.

    My creative drive keeps me on the road of mental stability, even though most of the things I create are mentally unstable.

    In the midst of filming my grandmother died. My mom called to tell me the news, and I realized I was eating a doughnut the moment her spirit traveled into the other dimension. It was a delicious treat, but it felt kind of strange to think that the person you owe your heritage to can die while you gingerly enjoy a yeasty delight. Then I had to continue moving forward with the filming because I had been planning it for months so what could I do? It’s kind of surreal how quickly life moves on. I was like “oh she died… and scene.”

    My grandmother had been sick and was suffering quite a bit. One of the last times I saw her she told me “I don’t want to leave the party, but I don’t like the way I am dancing.” We both agreed this was a pretty amazing metaphor, and congratulated her on her poetic phrasing. I have a lot of respect for a person who even when they are in their weakest time; they still have the strength to recognize their own epic quote. She was right though, the party will go on, but what’s the point of being there if you can’t get down?

    I don’t think it’s a tragedy when an 89-year-old person dies, yet I did feel sad. Not the kind of sad that elicits an outburst of emotion, but more a subtle sorrow. She had been my neighbor for the past 6 years so I saw her all the time. I didn’t have any regrets, or anything I wish I had said. I felt like I had closure, and genuinely learned a lot about life through her process of dying. In a way it’s a great gift to experience the end of someone’s life. It’s of course hard to watch them physically and mentally deteriorate, but at the same time I had this rare exposure to what she thought about during her final months.

    My grandmother’s mind was totally preoccupied with feelings about relationships – she had 6 kids, 9 grandchildren, 2 husbands, many friends, and a big family. She reminisced constantly, both about good times and bad, and didn’t care about much else. When we are dying I think we tend to think most about how we treated those we love. When our minds go lucid, memories of people are what will traverse our consciousness. Yes we all have ambitions, ways we distract ourselves, superficial concerns… but it’s our connection to others that will have the greatest pull in the end. The more strings you tie with care, the more your heart will feel secure as the spaces between the beats grows longer.

    The Munch would visit her great-grandmother a lot during her final months. Munch wasn’t fazed by my grandmother’s oxygen mask, the wheel chair, the fading ability to communicate, or her increasingly frail physique. Munch was lighthearted about it all, and saw my grandmother as a “legend that would always live on – like ‘My Little Pony’.” A week after the death my friend asked Munch how she felt about it. Munch just looked into her eyes for almost a full minute then said, “I didn’t want her to die.” I think we all feel that way. We knew death was going to happen, but we didn’t want it to.

    The death hung over me for the rest of the film shoot, but in a way it also protected me. I didn’t really have to process it because I was so overwhelmed with the task at hand. When the movie was done, it was like I had given birth, and lost a lot of blood. I was exhausted and all my life force had been drained out of me, but unfortunately I didn’t have any placenta to make soup out of ☹

    The crew was gone and because no one was around to film me I started to have a hard time appreciating life. Everything felt so meaningless. I would watch my daughter run through a field of wild flowers at sunset and feel so much regret that I wasn’t recording it. What was the point of this beauty if I didn’t have my camera to capture the moment!!?? Look at all these sun flares – am I just supposed to remember this perfect lighting and not show it to any one else while I edit in more reds??!!!

    I knew I was supposed to “relax” and take it easy, but it’s not relaxing for me to relax. It takes work!! I would sit outside under a shady tree and spend the entire time waiting for it to be over. It was really stressful.

    I figured I should go see my hippy healer and get some healing done. That would put my soul at ease right? And maybe that would have been a good idea, but instead my healer told me I had parasites. PS…. THAT WAS NOT WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR!! She put gave me some herbs and I left her place looking forward to shitting out worms for the next few weeks.

    I took my new age tinctures and went to bed dreading the next morning. It was a living nightmare – wondering what was going to crawl out of my anus the next day. Every bowel excretion I envisioned an army of critters having a mass exodus out my ass. I was so afraid to look… but OF COURSE I DID ANYWAY! So far it’s been two weeks and I still haven’t seen any serpents in my feces, but maybe that’s because I didn’t poke around enough.

    Look at these fucking sun flares!!!!!!! And am I seriously supposed to drive around now and not have a reflector to catch the light?

    toni abner elise family filming

    abner filming toni

    July 21, 2016 • Musings • Views: 715

  • Taking a Break to LIVE MY DREAMS

    Holy shit you guys! It’s been 6 years that I have been writing Toni Bologna!! Who would have known I had so many vagina jokes in me! I can’t believe it!

    For the first time since the birth of this baby I am going to need to take a break. I am already sad. The thought of this just gave me hives and anal leakage.

    The reason why I am taking this hiatus is because I am going try and live my dreams for a moment and make a feature film.

    Holy shit… writing that makes me feel like a crazy person who is mostly likely delusional. Hold me!

    I will be back in exactly 3 weeks. In that time here are my predictions of what is going to go down.

    1) I will think of the most amazing joke involving labia and then weep terribly for I will have no venue to express myself.
    2) Donald Trump will resign from being the republican nominee and form his own political party called “Orange You Glad I’m Gonna Take Over the World.” Bernie Sanders will lose the democratic nomination because of super duper pooper-scooper delegates and also from his own political party called “Kale Today Gone Tomorrow.”
    3) I will finally come up with the perfect metaphor involving the shedding of uterine lining and the corporate take over of the lizard elite.

    I will see you guys back in JULY!!! Please don’t forget me. The thought of you not thinking of me just disrupted my colon so deeply that I may or may not have just shat out my mouth.

    break-blog

    June 9, 2016 • Musings • Views: 998

  • Learning To Live With your Inner Demons

    If you see a bug in your house, how do you react? Do you kill it? Do you trap it and release it outside? Do you call it a monster and shame it so severely that it’s self- esteem crumbles and it commits suicide?

    I have done all of the above. There was a point where the fear of an exoskeleton was so great that I would murder it viciously with a shoe, book, or in one case a used condom – drowning it in my misery. Then I started doing yoga and became all newagey and one with the universe or whatever the fuck, and I started capturing all of god’s creatures and freeing them outside to live their destiny while gifting them with my positive intentions. Looking back on that time, I realize that it was actually the same spider that just kept coming back in over and over again.

    Now when I see a bug in my house now you know what I do? Nothing. I just acknowledge its presence and hope it doesn’t crawl into my mouth while I’m sleeping and lay eggs.

    I feel like this is all a metaphor for my personal demons. There are many ways of which I deal with, or try to cope with the darkness inside me. Yet no matter what my strategy, there are going to be insects of my self-destruction crawling around inside my consciousness. The common solution to an infestation is to have an exterminator come and bomb your house with chemicals, and maybe that is often what we do to ourselves? We often rely on substances to free us from the contamination of our thoughts. I guess all that acid I did in high school was an attempt Raid my mind? And the coke I did later… and ecstasy… and the one or two times I tried meth. YOU GET THE GIST!

    There are desperate times when I feel plague ridden with vermin, yet in my attempts to create a manageable ecosystem where my psyche is not overrun by parasites, the solution is not to kill everything in sight. The more reasonable idea is to get the numbers down.

    Bugs are part of nature’s plan no matter how gross and yucky their gnarly crunchy little bodies are, much like the shadow side of our humanity is part of our experience on planet earth. We can’t poison all the bugs without killing all of life, much like we can’t ever truly get rid of the negative thoughts and still be alive. Unless you are enlightened, chances are if you are breathing air, every one in a while your mind will come up with some shitty shit.

    I live in the country so I have to co-habitat with many bugs. Yet when I see their creepy little physiques I think how we are not that different. I force myself to accept that I can live with them because they are the physical manifestation of my journey to become an evolved person and how I will come across plenty of creepy-crawlies inside myself as well.

    Well, well, well… so we meet again.

    demons-blog-(i)

    June 1, 2016 • Musings • Views: 737

  • Is There Magic in Your Life?

    I remember times in my life where everything felt like magic. I would see signs all over the place and convince myself there was so much meaning to them – no matter how far fetched the connections “Oh look! That bird eating a Dorito means I should totally go on a trip with that dude I just met!” Coincidences would happen and I was convinced the cosmos was speaking directly to me, suggesting that my life’s quest was on the right track. I would howl to the wolf mother knowing that the universe’s intentions for me were not only deliberate, but that Gaia herself was orchestrating my existence.

    Now however… not so much.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve become older and jaded. Too many stories have happened where I believed that I was being directed towards a certain path, and I wasn’t. Everything would fall through in the last minute, and I would be left with my limp soul in my hand. I had believed so much that there was a guiding force guiding me towards something, but the outcome was never what I had expected it to be.

    I began to feel the universe was kind of cunty.

    Yet part of being in the magic of life, is being open to it.

    I don’t want to become cynical from disappointments. I’m trying to observe the world around me and fantasize how maybe reality is a construct. Perhaps I’m not only the narrator of my life, but also the architect? Maybe part of the problem is looking outside of myself for the magic, and forgetting that I am the magician.

    Quantum physics suggests that we project reality onto the world, and that the power of the observer dictates the outcome of how molecules behave. So many New Age guru types have become convinced that we can manifest our destiny through our thought patterns. I want to believe that, but I struggle because there is so much that I’ve tried really hard to “manifest through my breath” or whatever, but it just didn’t happen. Much like you don’t want to use deodorant made only of good intentions, it’s also hard to base your life philosophy of them.

    I have to believe that it’s possible, but if I am trying to convince myself to believe then isn’t already impossible?

    My plan is to really try and be aware of the world around me, and allow possibilities! But then I realized something so goddam depressing.

    IT IS REALLY HARD TO NOTICE THE MAGIC AROUND YOU WHEN WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKIG DOWN AT OUR PHONES!!!

    So often we stare at our phones to avoid boredom. Why wait in line at the grocery store and make eye contact with sexy strangers when you can just look at your Facebook feed?! If you feel uncomfortable in a social situation, or your friend leaves to go to the bathroom, instead of looking around and being open, we close ourselves off and look at our phones.

    Every time you look down at your phone you are not looking up to see the magic. You are not going to ever find signs on your screen. If we want to feel like we are living in a magical world we actually have to live in it.

    GET OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE TONI!

    toni on phone

    May 26, 2016 • Musings • Views: 496

  • In Your Mother’s Arms

    The first home you ever had was inside your mother. Of course, she eventually evicted you, but her uterus was your apartment – complete with psychedelic posters and tapestries.

    After you were birthed into to this cold dark world, her arms then became your home (assuming your mom stayed in your life). It was there that you felt safest. As a child we run into our mother’s arms for comfort, we collapse inside her hug for security. To experience this kind of embrace with your child is profound. It makes up for all the complexity of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and the unique pressure women face of living up to the role as “MOTHER.” That moment when your kid melts into for solace is truly priceless.

    Yet eventually your child gets to know you more, and realizes how you damaged them in one way or another. Then the arms of the mother are no longer their salvation. There is this thing between you – the mistakes, arguments, resentment, and annoyance that your Mom is always yelling at you about using the last of the toilet paper. The purity you once felt for your mom eventually gets clouded. She is not the goddess you once perceived her to be that was the answer to all your problems, but a flawed person who is doing her best… most of the time.

    As a child you want your mom to be a function of you. You assume that she was born onto this planet solely to be there for you. But as an adult understanding motherhood I have to admit that even though The Munch is a priority – she’s not my ONLY priority. Sometimes other things are more important than her. Like wanting to dance, or be with my friends, or work, or be creative, or eating the last cookie I know she was saving.

    The relationship we have to the MOTHER is as much personal as much as it is societal. There is an image of THE MOTHER that we are all conditioned to expect from media/stories. We have a tendency to compare our mothers to the narratives we are given. When I was a kid, all I wanted was a suburban stay at home mom. They kind who knitted, did crafts, and baked cupcakes. Instead, the mother I got was ambitious, anti-conventional, and would threaten to pick me up at school wearing her Magnum Condom T-shirt.

    Even though my mom wasn’t my ideal, as a grown up I very much like her as a human. She is way more fun than the Joan Cleaver of my childhood fantasies.

    Last night my mom came to New Hampshire because her mom has been really sick. There was a scare, and we all thought that this could be the end… but as soon as my grandmother heard everyone was coming, she perked right up and went downstairs to have a roast beef sandwich. My mom and I got into bed with my grandmother that night to keep her company as she slept.

    So there we were, 3 generations of mothers all entangled in each other’s arms as my mom and whispered to each other about mothering while my grandmother snored.

    My Mom: I know I wasn’t the mother that you wanted, but I was exactly the mother that I wanted!

    Toni: Well even though there were these ways you parented that felt traumatizing in the moment, I also think those very same things I wished were different made me a stronger person. I felt abandoned as a kid because you gave me so much independence, but now I’m a really emotionally independent person – and I like that about myself. Even though I may have wished that I were coddled more, I am glad I wasn’t.

    We all tend to parent in reaction to our parenting. We become the parents we wish we had rather than the parent our kid necessarily wants.

    There are a lot of similarities in the way I parent Munch and the way I was parented by my mom, and there is a lot I do that’s in direct reaction against the way I was parented. I have to constantly remind myself that Munch is not my inner child wanting to be healed, but her own person. I have to constantly observe and adjust my approach to her, and not get lost in trying to re-imagine my past.

    I will never the exact parent Munch wants me to be, but I can at least be open to her feedback. I want to build the kind of trust where she always feels at home in my arms, and comforted by my embrace. That way I can be sure that when I am super old she will jump into my bed with her daughter and talk about me behind my back while I sleep.

    toni munch painting

    May 19, 2016 • Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 551

  • The Only Advice You Will EVER Need

    Let me give you some advice. Don’t take people’s advice.

    And don’t give advice.

    My problem is that I can’t even take my own advice about not giving people advice. I’m an advice giver! I can’t help it! When someone talks to me about a problem they have, I want to save them from whatever’s tormenting them. I want to solve their crisis because the solution seems so obvious from my outsider’s perspective. Isn’t everyone else’s life so simple compared to our own? We are too clouded with subjectivity and confused emotions to see clearly most of the time – which is why we may think we want advice – but in truth we really only want to hear what we want to hear.

    Most of the time people have no interest in taking your advice, they just want to know you care about them enough to give it. There sometimes may be the illusion that they are following your advice, but that’s usually because your advice happened to coincide with what they were going to do anyway. It’s more likely a coincidence that you thought they should do what they were already thinking of doing.

    I know all this, yet my compulsion to tell you what to do is stronger than my rationality of knowing you don’t want to know what I think. I get this from my mom, as she is the exact same way as me. Ironically every time I’m telling her about something that upsets me and she tries to give me advice… it SUPER annoys me!! Of course she’s just doing what I’m doing to everyone else, but really all I want her to do is listen to me. Yet when she is telling me her problems, all I want to do is give her advice!

    Recently I’ve started a personal habit of asking someone “do you want my advice?” when they are telling me something. At least that way they are welcome to say “not really,” and for us both to save the energy. Because when you give someone advice, isn’t it kind of insulting when they don’t do what you suggest? It’s like “why was I thinking so hard when you were going to just do what you were going to do anyway!? DO WHAT I SAY!!!!”

    I’ve also tried to notice how I feel when someone gives me advice that I don’t want to do. Do I not want to do what they are saying because they are wrong? Or because they are suggesting the RIGHT thing to do, but it’s also the harder choice, so I don’t want to do it. My practice is to force myself to follow the advice I don’t want to, because maybe they are seeing something I can’t? Maybe the advice I give my self is exactly what I shouldn’t be doing, even though the advice I give other people is exactly what they should be doing!?

    Even though advice is mostly useless, our culture is obsessed with giving it out. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of consciousness around what we do with it once we receive it. There is a whole industry around self-help: parenting advice, health advice, relationship advice, even some forms of therapy are basically just getting some therapist’s advice on how we should live our lives. In a way, it’s kind of a total waste. Most of us only truly change because of the results of our actions, not because of someone suggestions.

    Yet as I am saying all this, I am rendering myself totally insignificant! If people don’t need my advice then I will have no meaning in this world! Who would read my blog!? Who would care about me!? WAIT! Stop taking my advice about not taking my advice because I know you’re not going to anyway. Instead let me give you some advice about all the things you’d need advice about so you never have to take advice again! Unless it’s mine of course!

    Parenting advice: No matter what you do, you are going to fuck up your kid somehow. It can’t be avoided, so do what feels most right to you in the most conscious way possible, but get ready to cause some primal wounds and traumas. The only thing you can really do is preparing yourself to confront it at one point. Your kid will grow up and realize how their conditioning damaged them and if you can acknowledge their pain that you unintentionally caused, they may change your diapers when you need them to later.

    Relationship Advice: You are either going to be the object of worship, or the one doing the worshipping. Which one do you prefer? If you are being worshiped you will feel more secure but less lusty for your partner. If you are doing the worshipping you are going to feel more lusty but less secure. Pick your poison.

    Health Advice: Eat whole foods that don’t have chemicals. Cook everything you can for yourself. Move your body. Mediate. Get enough sleep. Be experimental. Investigate the emotional messages of your pains. Believe you can heal.

    Sex Advice: Don’t fake orgasms. Be honest about your desires. If you don’t like something, don’t pretend to.

    What you will learn in therapy: Your parents fucked you up and they are the root of all your problems. But they are just people who had fucked up parents who fucked them up – so be forgiving.

    advice-blog-2

    May 12, 2016 • Musings, Parenting, Relationships, Sex Stuff • Views: 572

  • My Life is Turning Out EXACTLY as Planned! How About YOU?

    I’ve always envied the type of person who knows exactly what they want out of life, and takes every logical step to achieve their goals. Say someone who wants to be a doctor. They’d study science in high school, make a conscious choice to go to a college that is acclaimed for pre med, and then spend 7+ years at medical school / a residency. After all that focused effort would then earn them a position as a doctor, and they’d maintain that career with satisfaction for the next 40+ years. You never see a doctor switching their attention mid way, and saying “I’m sick of proctology, I’m gonna do heart surgery now instead.” NO! Once a doctor commits to finger-blasting assholes for their life, that’s what they do – and they don’t question it.

    But if I’d wanted to be a doctor, this would’ve been the path I’d have taken. Study drawing in high school, go to a college that specializes in poetry, drop out of said college then attend another college that’s famous for it’s French literature program – but graduate with a degree in Confucius. I would then move to an ashram in India to write my dissertation on crowd psychology, but instead make a movie about what dirt tastes like. That would be where I would meet a contortionist who I fall madly in love with, but leave him to become a trapeze artist. After this great heartbreak of my own induction I’d get my pilot’s license, but end up driving a school bus – all the while insisting that I probably could do your brain surgery because I have been training to be a doctor after all.

    I feel like I’m one of those people that life just happens to. An opportunity arises, and I see where it takes me. If I look back at the last 20 years of my life, there have been many incarnations of the different people I have been. The model, the failed model, the sports fanatic, the philosopher, the magazine owner, the bartender, the political activist, the event planner, the businesswoman, the restaurateur, the professional skate boarder, the reality TV producer… non of which obviously took off for me.

    Why can’t I be like, “I wanna be lawyer!” and then become a lawyer? That plan is so reasonable, yet so beyond me. Or like those gymnasts in Romania who know when they are sperm that they’re going to the Olympics. When I was a kid I wanted to be a psychiatrist and I didn’t even become that. I don’t know what that says about me, but maybe it says I needed a psychiatrist!

    The best things in my life are things that I didn’t plan at all. I never wanted to be a parent, and was even told by the doctors that I could never have children because of the pituitary tumor in my brain – looks like those “doctors” should have studied Voltaire and had more affairs with circus folk am I right?! WHAT DO THEY KNOW!

    In truth I feel super corny saying Munch is the best thing in my life because I don’t mean it like you think I do. It’s not like the love I feel for her is unparalleled to anything else or she has given my life a meaning it never previously had. Of course you love your kid and they are meaningful, but I’m not hanging my relationship to my identity on her back – because she’s still pretty weak. Like she can’t even give me a shoulder ride. It’s more that every once in a while I witness her innate kindness, which is by far the most inspiring aspect of my life because her authenticity gives me hope for civilization.

    For instance the other day we were leaving my friend’s house, and I was carrying a bunch of stuff while trying to slip my socked foot into my Birkenstock. Munch observed my effort, and instead of saying “Mom, this fashion statement of socks and sandals is such a clothing crime that you might as well tattoo “I give up” on your forehead,” she instead bent down, and helped me with my shoe. I didn’t ask her to do that, but she instinctively wanted to help my struggle – not aesthetically but practically.

    I have these moments with The Munch where I am so emotionally moved by her sense of humanity. This isn’t something she was necessarily taught, but rather a natural disposition that drives her. When I am faced with these instances, I’m over come with the belief that maybe we are all going to be okay. That perhaps mankind does have a chance to evolve into beings of higher consciousness? But then I see Ted Cruz try to hold his wife’s hand, and the nihilism takes over yet again.

    The other part of my life that gives me immense joy is my dance studio. Now again, I never planned for that, it just fell into my lap and I happened to plié into it. DANCE JOKE! Amazing work their Toni. It’s not like I’m the best dancer on planet earth. Far from it! But choreographing and creating feeds my spirit body in the most profound way and I am eternally grateful for the community we have created. Without my studio there would be no reason for me to change from pajama sweatpants into my daytime dancing sweatpants – it’s my reason for getting up in the morning.

    Then there is my career – my writing / movie making ambitions. This actually is something I’m trying to plan out, but let me tell you, it’s an eternal effort with zero potential for satisfaction. Even if something good does happen, it’s only good for that brief moment until it’s not good enough anymore and I have a new goal. No matter what success I have, it is clouded by the reality that it’s such small step towards a totally insane goal. My ambitions are outlandish, and the probability is basically impossible. Yet I keep moving towards them because I can’t stop myself. Yet the insanity of this path is looming over me, and the only way to deal is by fatalistically not caring while at the same time passionately wanting.

    It’s not that my life is bad, but it also doesn’t feel within my control. Everything I desperately want I never really get, and things that I didn’t know I wanted – I do? All I know is that when I watch NOVA and see archeologists digging in dirt for 70 hours a week looking for traces of the Vikings in North America, they seem more content. Like they understood from an early age where they were heading, and went there. Or quantum physicists who talk about string theory. They just seem like there life went exactly as planned!

    Maybe I would have been better off if I’d lived my childhood dream of becoming a psychiatrist!

    What about you? Is your life turning out like you’d planned!?

    toni head back

    May 5, 2016 • Musings • Views: 845