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Old School Stories
Category

  • Not Playing the Game is the New Game

    How much do you censor yourself on a daily basis? Do you ever find yourself in situations where you want to say one thing, but instead say another in fear of how you will be perceived? How defined is your personality by the expectations of others? Do you feel like your true self has to be tamed or contained in order to protect your feelings and spare yourself from rejection?

    What would happen if everything you wanted to express, you actually did?

    As socialized humans most of us have it ingrained in us that we think before we share, and consider the emotional reaction of others when deciding how to behave. When people shun these rules, or challenge them, they are often out-casted. Yet what do you think are the cultural norms that serve us in our humanity, and what are the ones that keep us from it?

    The other day I was meeting a friend for lunch at the Green Grocer, and decided to do a bit of grocery shopping before hand. As I was loading up my bok choy and bone broth at the register, I suddenly had the feeling that I may have just shit my pants. As you can assume, this is an alarming sensation mixed with a fair amount of anxiety. At that exact moment my friend entered into the store, and started talking to me. Now, it’s kind of hard to be yourself when you’re questioning whether or not there is shit in your pants. So I did what any normal person would do… leaned over and said, “I may or may not have just shit my pants, and kind of need to investigate before I can be fully present.”

    Look… I get it that discussing sharting is not typically grocery line conversation. Yet at the same time, how frustrating is it to talk to someone who isn’t really paying attention and doing weird gestures with the bottom half of their body? Wouldn’t you rather know the truth of your company dealing with a potential bodily crisis rather than thinking you’re boring them as they stare off into the distance with an expression of deep questioning and angst?

    Lucky for me, there was no shit in my pants and I could continue with lunch unfazed by such an inconvenience. However this delightful experience did get me thinking about all the things that we hide from each other that actually might be important to know.

    Like most people, I exist in a quantum mass of contradiction. It’s not like I don’t care what people feel about me, because I do… I just don’t care what people think about me. Does this make sense? I think this comes from the two influences of my parents. My dad is like a social ambassador to the UN. He’s incredibly polite, he can talk to anyone, and he has the uncanny ability to charm even the vilest people. Where my mom will go into a store and ask the sales lady if the leggings she’s trying on is giving her a camel toe. THIS IS WHERE I COME FROM GUYS!

    I am a peacemaker. I care deeply about the emotional well being of others, but if within that context, you also happen to think I’m totally out of my mind, I’m okay with that. I feel like everyone has a mental illness they’re covering up, and the best thing we can do for each other is pull back the veil.

    Yet I also have to acknowledge that the way I deal with people has been fundamentally different from the way I’ve dealt with the opposite sex. When I was in high school my view of men was that all boys use girls. I decided that I was NOT going to be the sucker, or get used by some fucktard dude, and my solution was to cheat on EVERYONE I dated. I figured if I used guys the way they used girls, I wouldn’t feel used. So I always had multiple boyfriends, and lied to everyone. It all culminated when I was 18-years old and ran the Boston Marathon. When I got to the finish line I saw my boyfriend that went to my school, the boy I was cheating on with my boyfriend, another boy who I was having a long-term emotional affair with, my out of school boyfriend, and finally another boy I was leading on. So after running 26 miles and seeing these five boys do you know what I did? I KEPT RUNNING!!! I tried to run home… but everyone stopped me. And would you like to know the consequences of my actions? A LOT OF PEOPLE GOT HURT!

    But I least I didn’t get used right??

    The problem with modern romance is that the culture has become such where people are embarrassed for having feelings, and are ashamed for feeling love. The cool thing to do is show that you have no emotions, and how you’re just so damn cool about everything that whatever goes, and nothing matters, and who cares because Tinder.

    It’s as if the protecting our egos has become more important than sharing our hearts.

    No way I’m I gonna be the one admitting the fragility of ventricles. I’m gonna act like my aorta doesn’t need you because the humiliation of admitting that you got into my right atrium is too much to bare. You guys… I did really good in 8th grade biology can you tell?

    Men seem to think that all women want are relationships, so they act all frosty to show they aren’t ready for any serious commitment. Women know that men are paranoid about them wanting relationships, so they act all blasé to prove you’re not the kind or girl who’s desperate for commitment. Then it becomes this game of pretending like neither of you give a shit, when really, if you don’t give a shit about the person you’re fucking, chances are the sex is shit.

    You can’t enter into relationships feeling guarded, because if you do, you are avoiding the intimacy of who you both really are. There is so much fear around “what is this going to turn into,” or “am I going to get hurt by another person’s indifference,” that people so often self censor or become hyper-calculated.

    When I was in my 20’s I got bored of playing the game. So then my new strategy became to tell the guy I liked everything that’s wrong with me right in the beginning. I’d be like, “hey, I’m mostly lovely but I’m never wrong, I will emotionally eviscerate you in an argument and point out every flaw you’ve ever had, and I will totally lie to you to avoid conflict or get what I want.” EASY RIGHT!

    Technically that’s not how the game is played, but I would argue that NOT playing the game is the new game! How refreshing is radical honesty in this photo-shopped auto-tuned world? How sexy is vulnerability when everyone is treating each other like robots from West World? We are not disposable, and we shouldn’t treat each other as such just because you can swipe right again tomorrow.

    Much like how my friend probably didn’t think she wanted to know about my potentially poopy pants, it was BETTER for her that she did because then she didn’t take my feces inspired pre-occupation personally. The more open we are about what we are dealing with emotionally, the better friends we can be to each other.

    Me at 13 plotting the destruction of the future boys in my life…

    February 22, 2017 • emotions, Musings, Old School Stories, Pee & Poop, Sex Stuff • Views: 891

  • Do People Really Change?

    I would not describe myself as an emotional person. I’m what you call even-tempered, non-reactionary, or dead inside. I rarely pick fights with people, and the only time you will see me angry is when you’re angry with me – so I mirror that “anger emotion” like a robot from Westworld to make it all stop.

    That isn’t to say I don’t feel feelings. I do. At least I think I do. But I mostly keep them to myself. I tend to internalize my emotions rather than externalize them. That’s not to imply they embarrass me, or I’m afraid someone will judge me for not being happy. Who is happy anyway? I don’t trust anyone who is happy all the time – unless they’re my ecstasy dealer. I will easily admit to my feelings and say that I’m depressed, sad, disappointed, hurt… but I’m not really going to ACT that way around other people. It’s more a descriptor of my energy rather than my behavior.

    I never thought of myself as repressed, but I have to admit the harsh reality that every 4 months my body completely breaks down. I will have crazy back spasms, break out in shingles, hurt myself sneezing – whatever. There will be about a 2- week window where my body will be in complete rebellion and I will have to spend the days healing, reflecting, and “nurturing” myself. BORING!

    My most recent experience was hurting my left butt. I know. Who hurts their left butt? But my left butt was sore all the time, and it made it really hard to move. I had a big dance performance coming up for my belly dance company, and was starting to freak the fuck out. We had been rehearsing and preparing for a YEAR! A year of work!! I really wanted to dance.

    I went to see my healer and she went to town on my butt, but to no avail. It was still gripping. Holding onto something – a real and literal pain in the ass. I went back the day of my performance and again the healer went hard on me until finally – BAM! It was over! She had released my ass!

    I was elated. I went to my studio to help set up, my heart filled with joy. I was so grateful my ass was better and I would be able to dance. Then, as I was sweeping the floor, my knee gave out.

    I WAS SWEEPING THE FLOOR mind you. Not doing a back flip. Just walking slowly pushing a broom.

    I could not accept that I was hurt. I tried to knock my knee back in place. Push my shinbone where I thought it needed to go. Massage the tendons. Loosen the ligaments. But it was not happening. A year of rehearsals, dedication, effort, and I couldn’t perform. My butt felt amazing though.

    I went back to see my healer and asked what she thought the emotional aspect of my pain was. I do believe that our bodies manifest emotional pain that our spirit isn’t processing, so I was curious what she thought was going on with me. My healer said she thought it had to do with childhood issues, the current stress I’m under, my over-critical inner dialogue, blah blah blah why aren’t I a robot from Westworld again?

    I went to my friend’s house and decided to pick a tarot card. I asked the tarot what was the message of my knee and the card I picked was… you guessed it… Childhood.

    Fine tarot. I get it. But what about childhood?! What does that mean? I could be anything!!!!?? Can’t you be a little more specific tarot!?

    Here is where shit gets weird. As I was lying there unable to walk, I check my email. My friend from high school, out of nowhere, sends me pictures of a letter I wrote to her when I was 17.

    As you would have it, the secrets of my pain and the message of me knee were written out for me in plain English… just 20 years ago.

    (FYI The context of the time of this letter was that I was fighting with my parents and staying at my grandmother’s house).

    Here are some excerpts.

    letter-page-1

    “I just finished the ‘Great Gatsby’ and it greatly depressed me. I mean here is a guy whom everyone is using for something, and no one completely understands him. And it’s sad because that’s all he truly wanted, and he never got it.”

    First of all… nice usage of the word “whom” 17-year old Toni. Second of all, I find it both hilarious and tragic that the “Great Gatsby” depressed me. How bourgeoisie! It’s clear that I identified with him, and also felt used and misunderstood. Even though I probably wouldn’t qualify these feelings as my current problems – I also relate to them in a deep way.

    letter-page-2

    “I feel like everyone wants something from us and we never really get anything in return. I mean, it seems all guys really want from us is sex (however that’s all we want too) but still, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone love you even if you didn’t have a hole they could empty themselves into?”

    Wow… okay Teen-Toni. That’s kind of a bleak view, but also one I don’t totally disagree with. I think for many women, we question the motivations of men. Do you they really like me as a friend/ co-worker? Or are they waiting for me to get drunk enough to fuck them one day? But at the same time… “THAT’S ALL WE WANT TOO!” Touché Teen-Toni… tou-motherfucking-ché.

    The male-female dynamic (for heterosexuals) is often fraught with confused sexual emotions. It is hard to cultivate dynamics that are tainted with an underpinning of desire. It’s a challenging context of which to find purity of intention. Yet even if women feel they are also using men for sex, there is something still inherently shitty about feeling used for sex when you’re a woman. Probably because anatomically speaking as a woman you have a hole in your body and are inviting someone else inside. That’s a vulnerable place to be. I mean, how many people would you put your finger in their mouth? Probably a lot. You wouldn’t even have to think too much about it. But how many people would you let but THEIR finger in YOUR mouth? NOT AS MANY!! It would take wayyy more trust no? Hence the sexual double standards we all struggle with.

    letter-page-2-copy

    “The more I think about it the more I know that all I really want is for someone to understand me and wants me to be happy. That’s kind of why I left home for a while because I figured if I wanted that, I should figure out what it is I want myself.”

    Okay… again, I wouldn’t say I felt this way out loud, but I also deep down totally get it. Probably why my life’s work is creating content in a desperate attempt to express myself and be understood. And “I should figure out what it is I want myself” – ummmm why didn’t I have a teen self-help advice column??

    letter-page-3

    “Sometimes I feel there are too many people in my life, and sometimes I feel there are not enough. But through it all, I always seem to feel alone.”

    Okay, these are some amazing lyrics for an angsty 90’s rock ballade, and holy shit I was deep. I totally agree with you Teen-Toni!!! Who doesn’t feel this way!!?

    “I crave to be with someone, although I don’t know who it is. I can’t really deal with my parents anymore because I think they are having problems with each other. At this point I don’t really care because I can’t relate to either of them because they can’t relate to me.”

    Oooooo snap! I was pissed!!! But I find it interesting that I couldn’t relate to them, because I felt they couldn’t relate to me. Being a teenager is a such an isolating time, and it feels as if parents are fundamentally unable to get you. Is that because of the generational divide? Or is there an inevitable cultural clash that comes with the search to find one’s own identity? Does any teen feel like their parents relate to them?

    “Sometimes I feel like I am being selfish, and other times I don’t. I can’t tell anymore.”

    Totally Teen-Toni. Still can’t.

    “I am not in love with any boy anymore and I don’t know what to think about that either because it will probably change. My grandmother says pimply teenage boys are a waste of time and all they want to do is empty themselves inside of you…”

    Hmmmm I guess I was kind of a romantic… but my CATHOLIC GRANDMOTHER was none too impressed by my sexing up teen boys. Maybe she had some influence on my cynicism…. Both then and now!!!

    letter-page-4

    “It is kind of a harsh outlook, but it seems pretty accurate. Every where you go people want something from you, and I know there is no avoiding that.”

    Damn Teen-Toni… that is so fatalistic, and yet… yes. I hear you. I grapple with the concept of unconditional love. I want to believe in it, but it feels that much like communism, it’s impossible in practice.

    After reading all this – it’s kind of shocking how little I’ve changed in 20 years.

    I’m also so taken aback with how deeply I seemed to have felt my feelings. They were so raw then. Even though I essentially feel the same ways as Teen-Toni, for Adult-Toni these feelings are no longer on the surface. I’ve come to accept so much of this as part of life, or at least part of my life. I don’t let it get to me anymore – at least not on a conscious level. It’s as if at 17 I was walking around like a giant open wound, and now, almost 37, I’m just a big scab.

    So get this!

    I went home that night, still unable to walk because my knee was so enflamed. Sad and frustrated, I sat down at the kitchen table while the Munch had her dinner. Then, out of nowhere, The Munch grabs a pad of paper and asks me to write down all that I was feeling. I complied, and then she asked me to write down all my needs.

    CAN YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THAT??

    She then drew pictures representing my feelings and my needs and gave it to me to remember.

    Now that is some profound ass shit. What an amazing exorcise to do when trying to heal. DON’T YOU THINK YOU SHOULD DO THAT YOURSELF RIGHT GODDAMN NOW!? I don’t know where The Munch came up with that … but the next day I could walk again.

    I can’t wait to read what kind of letters that kid will be writing to her friends bitching about me when she’s 17.

    Below is the picture Munch drew for me. Notice the “emotional ambulance” between our names. Then you see the faces of my feelings… frustrated, anxious, and later loved (with my nose looking surprisingly like a set of cock and balls). Then below the faces are my needs, which seemingly include meds, a tower of penises surrounding a bong, more meds, a happy heart, and back to the meds.

    toni-feelings

    December 15, 2016 • Family Drama, Health, Mommyhood, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 760

  • Am I Smarter Than A Harvard Professor?

    When I was in high school I hated school. I would go to the bathroom every class, each and every day. I guess this practice earned me the reputation amongst my teachers of either having a serious bladder infection, or a rampant case of irritable bowel syndrome.

    I also had no problem blatantly lying to my dad to get out of going to school. He would come wake me up at 7 am, and I would tell him that morning classes were cancelled, and to wake me up in two hours. Either my dad was insane for believing me, or he just didn’t care about my future. Regardless, most days I sauntered into school around 11.

    I perfected my mom’s signature, and would forge notes about my many doctors’ appointments – fueling rumors that I had some incurable communicable disease. I was even known to bend down to “pick up a pencil,” and then crawl out the open door of my classroom. If there was an opportunity to roam the hallways aimlessly, I took it.

    Part of the reason I disliked school was because I didn’t feel it was cultivating my own understanding of the world. I only did well when I learned how to anticipate the teacher’s opinion about the subject, and then alter my material accordingly. The process of developing my personal philosophies was hardly encouraged – rather I was only praised when able to regurgitate the views of my teacher.

    My junior year, I had this one English teacher who really didn’t like me. Maybe he didn’t view me as a serious student, or an avid intellectual because I was usually talking out of turn or trying to escape. It’s not his fault he didn’t see me as academically curious, because I did oscillate between being totally disruptive and completely checked out. But it was also kind of annoying that every book we read was written by a man and about male characters. Yet that was the canon, so that was what we read.

    Even though I don’t blame this teacher for hating me, and I am sure I could have been more strategic, but there was a deeper reason I didn’t thrive. My problem with this teacher was that I only got good grades from him when I didn’t read the book! If I hadn’t read the book, and could write papers or take tests purely on my notes that I took during class, he would give me an “A-.” But if I were to read the book, and add my own analysis into my writing, he would give me a “B.”

    It’s like he didn’t even care if I thought Moby Dick was a dick.

    I went to a super competitive private school in Cambridge Massachusetts. It was the kind of place where kids were having full blown anxiety attacks in the 5th grade because they got a 90% on their spelling test, and felt like that ruined their chance of getting into Harvard. At my school, a “B” was the kiss of death. I might as well have flushed my head down the toilet for shaming my family. It was clear that soon I would have to build a raft and set myself out to the ocean for all the disgrace I was causing.

    I told my dad that my English teacher gave me bad grades because he didn’t like me, rather than my shitty “B’s” being a genuine reflection of my efforts. My dad however, didn’t believe me. He thought that I wasn’t applying myself, and would tell me to work harder.

    One day, I decided to put my dad’s theory to the test. Was it really my fault I wasn’t doing well in this class?

    It was the end of the school year, and I had two papers to write. They were both due the next day, and there was no way I could finish them both, or get an extension. I went upstairs to my dad’s office to discuss my predicament.

    Toni: Here’s the deal. I have two papers due tomorrow, and I can’t write them both. If I don’t hand one in, I will get an F on that paper – which will not look good when I apply to colleges.

    My Dad: You bet your ass it won’t. This is not good Toni.

    Toni: I know. So this is what is going to happen. I will write one, and you can write the other.

    My Dad: Jesus H. Christ Toni it is 10 pm!

    Toni: I could take the F.

    My Dad: No we can’t do that. Then you won’t get into a good college and bring eternal dishonor to the family.

    Toni: You can choose between “The Old Man and the Sea” or “Great Expectations”

    My Dad: I am not happy about this.

    Toni: You don’t have to do it.

    My Dad: I’ll take the Old Man.

    I smugly tossed my dad the book, and went downstairs to write my paper. Okay fine, I was being kind of an entitled asshole. My poor dad had better things to do with his life than write my English papers, but at the same time, fuck him.

    Now keep in mind, my dad is kind of a genius. He graduated high school when he was 16. Blasted through college in 2 years. Got his PHD from Harvard when he was 23. Speaks 22 languages. He writes a book almost every year of his life. In short, my dad is way smarter than the average high school student.

    My dad should have received a good grade on this paper right? He was after all competing against the standards of 17-year-old kids. If my English teacher was truly giving each paper I wrote a fair chance and not typecasting me, this essay should have done well right?!!

    I handed in the two papers, and when I got them back, I got a “B+” and my dad, THE GENIUS HARVARD PROFESSOR, got a “B.”

    Toni: So dad, since I got the better grade, does that mean I’m smarter than you?”

    My Dad: WHAT!? I got a “B?” I really tried too! I didn’t even dumb myself down! That teacher of yours really is an asshole.

    Look at that guy! HE DOES NOT DESERVE A “B” FROM A HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER!

    218023_1025466730208_5564_n

    February 25, 2016 • Education, Family Drama, Old School Stories • Views: 943

  • It Turns Out My Vagina is Not More Important Than Social Justice

    Do you ever have those moments where you are doing something mundane, like washing dishes, and suddenly a memory pops into your head that you hadn’t thought of in a long time? It’s almost like an assault of your unconscious. Your brain suddenly insisting, “Hey! You did this! Remember it!!!”

    That happened to me the other day when I was chatting with my friend Grace. We were having a perfectly average, everyday conversation about chakras. You know… one of those totally run-of-the-mill dialogues about your spirit body being fractured because of an esoteric violation in the cosmic stratosphere. We’ve ALL been there right? But then suddenly I had a memory of an event in my past that I had totally forgotten had ever taken place.

    Toni: I just had this crazy memory of when I was in the 8th grade. It was the night before the last day of school, and I was hanging out with my friends drinking and smoking pot. At some point everyone had to go home, I guess because we were 14 and it was a school night.

    Grace: These things happen.

    Toni: But for whatever reason, I didn’t go home. And neither did these two boys I was friends with. We all went to the Boston garden to keep drinking and smoking weed. It was a warm outside, so we ended up staying there the entire night! I think my mom was out of town, so my dad wouldn’t have really noticed if I had come home or not.

    Grace: Coming home can be remarkably unnoticeable.

    Toni: One of the guys was the dude I had lost my virginity to. I took his v-card too might I add. And the other dude was his best friend. So… I’m not quite sure how exactly I finagled this, but I remember distinctly that I would make out with one guy for a while, while the other one went for a walk or did whatever. Then when I got bored of that guy, I would leave to go find the other dude and make out with him for a while.

    Grace: That’s pretty gangster.

    Toni: Right? Especially for an 8th grader? I mean that is kind of sexually aggressive, and psychologically manipulative. I’m pretty sure they both assumed I was just making out with them, and had no idea what I was doing when I was gone.

    Grace: That is some pretty impressive slight of hand! You were like the David Blain of Making out!

    Toni: They were both pretty hot so I had to do something. But then the next day, things kind of went to shit. One of the dudes was dating my friend, and the other dude my other friend had a super crush on. The boys and I were all keeping our mouths shut about what happened, but I had these hickies all over my neck that everyone wanted an explanation for.

    Grace: You’re a WASP, didn’t you have turtleneck you could wear!?

    Toni: I know! My one friend thought it was her boyfriend that gave me the hickies, but I admitted nothing. Especially because I had a boyfriend too! When my boyfriend saw my neck, I told him that I had fallen in a bush.

    Grace: Hickies do look like bush scrapes…never.

    Toni: I panicked! I hadn’t noticed them because I never went home, and was still wearing the same clothes from the day before! We slept in the Boston Gardens and then went straight to school. In reality I should have just gone home. But we were going on a class trip to the amusement park, and I didn’t want to miss out on that – because I was still a child who liked roller coasters more than worrying about getting caught cheating!

    Grace: We all have our priorities.

    Toni: I was so tired that when my boyfriend confronted me, falling in a bush was the first thing that came to my mind. I fell in a bush! That’s what’s all over my neck! Bush! At first he believed me. Or maybe he just wanted to believe me. But whatever the case, he stopped asking questions. I had almost gotten away with it, but then I told one of my best friends what really happened. You know, because half the fun of making out with people is talking about it.

    Grace: Of course.

    Toni: But my best friend ended up telling my boyfriend!!! And when I asked her why she did that, she explained that she felt like she had too – that because they were both black, it was her racial duty to tell him what happened.

    Grace: So the racial solidarity superseded the girl code.

    Toni: Exactly! It wasn’t like she hadn’t kept secrets of mine before or after that. In fact she kept a lot of them. But this secret she couldn’t keep.

    Grace: Race vs. gender loyalty is tricky.

    Toni: It is! I think by the end of the day, the entire school knew about my sexcapade moment in the park. My friends were really pissed at me for my making out with their boyfriends, the dudes were upset I was making out with both of them, and my boyfriend was SUPER upset I cheated and lied to him. But I totally understood why my friend told on me. Even at that young age I knew that ultimately, my vagina wasn’t more important than social justice. And besides, at least I got to ride the roller coaster.

    toni modeling 2

    January 25, 2016 • Old School Stories, Relationships, Sex Stuff • Views: 830

  • All My Mom Wants From Me

    Teenagers are intense people. Their emotional brains, and hormonal influxes rule their relationship to sanity. Every parent is going to have conflict with their teenage children because they are in such an intense state of growth, exploration, and questioning.

    As far as teenagers go, I wasn’t that bad. Fine… I may have had a LOT of parties behind my parents’ back, would go to raves to take crystal meth, got caught stealing, and maybe one New Years Eve I did a ton of ecstasy and called my mom at 3 am to tell her I was going to marry my 18-year old boyfriend. It’s possible I was once brought to the hospital with a police escort from public intoxication and running from the cops, and perhaps at 14 I spent a night “roof jumping” with some boys only to come home at 7am the next day really stoned.

    BUT I DID MY HOMEWORK!!

    I got along with my parents, but we also fought. Mainly because THEY SUCK!

    Over the holiday I was home in my childhood room, and I found this note I wrote to my mom. I think it was an effort to make up with her after an argument, and show I was listening to her “needs” in terms of our relationship.

    (PS my favorite is “no manipulating with tears.” As if I NEVER had an authentic reason to cry or be upset, and only wept to control my mom).

    Mom Needs from me note

    January 6, 2016 • Family Drama, Old School Stories, Parenting • Views: 875

  • My Failed Modeling Career

    When I was a kid, my cousin was a child model. This made me think that maybe I should try it, because her smiling face in OshKosh adds looked so genuinely happy. I wanted to be complete like her. My mom brought me to an agency, and they sent me out on my first audition. It was for a Yoplait yogurt commercial, and I didn’t get the part. I think I felt pretty bad about myself, because it was my first experience with rejection. To comfort me, my mom said I didn’t get the role because “I was too pretty.” She was a good stage mom, but even I knew at 8-years old, that was a load of shit. I just didn’t have what it took to sell sour fruit flavored milk, and I knew it.

    The first time I ever got approached by someone who was interested in me as a model was when I was 14-years old, and on a flight to Paris. It was one of those life moments that you never forget – maybe something every girl dreams of. A strange man coming up to you on a plane and asking “when are you going to get your braces off?”

    I was 5ft 10 inches and skinny. So I had what it takes!!! All I needed was to get that torture apparatus off my teeth, and I was good to go! The modeling agent gave me his card, and my mom and I called as soon as my mouth was metal free.

    We went down to Florida to get my “book” done. We were near Disney World, but didn’t have time to attend the magical kingdom because we were going to be too busy with the pictures. I remember this being a GENUINE BUMMER – which basically describes my maturity level at the time.

    At the studio there was a make-up artist, hairdresser, stylist, fancy photographer – and they were all equally horrified by my chipped nail polish and lack of waxed eyebrows. They were so appalled, it was almost as if I had raped a kitten in front of them. They were also none too impressed when I wanted more than water for lunch. Thank god they gave me that lemon.

    Once I was all dolled up, it was time to actually take the pictures. They would tell me things like “open your mouth slightly,” and “chin up – but face down.” I guess it was supposed to be fun to have all this attention, but it was actually a goddamn nightmare. The whole scenario felt contrived, and I couldn’t lose myself in the moment. I was way too self-conscious, and increasingly uncomfortable the more people stopped to watch. I didn’t want to pretend to want to fuck the camera, or the man behind it. I just wanted to play Super Mario Brothers.

    My mom and I got back from the trip, and I expressed my disinterest. I moved on with my life, started smoking pot, and my friend got a Nintendo 64.

    When I was 17, another modeling agent approached me. I was a little older and decided to give it another try. Maybe I would feel differently? Perhaps I would enjoy arching my back while getting really excited about lipstick shades. Anything is possible. Yeah… it turns out no. I couldn’t connect to the idea of trying to look sexy, and instead looked like I was constipated. They also told me I had to lose 10-20 pounds because I had “too much muscle” from playing sports.

    I decided to stick with the sports because I wanted to be strong and have arms like Madonna.

    When I was 24, I lived in NYC. Assuming my old age meant the end of any modeling career I could have had, I was surprised when a guy on the subway told me he owned a modeling agency, and that he wanted to represent me. We went through the same process, but much like before, I pretty much sucked. The idea of making my face look like I was ready to give a blow job to sell a leather coat made me feel like an idiot. Maybe if I was hawking dildos it would have made sense, but what does winter comfort have to do with my sticking my ass in the air? Again, I didn’t get very far, but I did get a coke dealer out of the experience.

    Here is the thing that is ultimately fucked up about modeling. If your identity is defined by your sex appeal, you are setting yourself up for disaster. There is no talent in looking like you are ready for anal. You shouldn’t feel proud of yourself for having a body type that looks somewhat skeletal. That isn’t an accomplishment. You didn’t do anything to achieve a symmetrical face. It is just a consequence of genes. It’s nothing to be proud of.

    When you overly identify with your looks, all your value is fleeting and superficial. It isn’t rooted in a deep yearning for existential growth, but the capacity to stick your tits out while still looking somewhat demure. It is a fine thing to do if you can get into it emotionally, but it isn’t going to feed your soul in any profound way. There is artistry to photography, and any muse for that is contributing to the creative process, but most times models are more vehicles for a corporate agenda. Maybe if I were modeling organic flax seed oil I could have gotten more into it. That stuff is really important for your digestive tract after all.

    So basically my modeling identity was a disaster, and it was probably because I wasn’t attractive enough, skinny enough, or sexy enough. Or maybe my mom was right and I was just TOO pretty. You know, not everyone has what it takes to have a failed modeling career.

    Here I am at 14 with not so much a “come fuck me” look, but more “I’m going to grow up to be a serial killer” kind of vibe.

    Toni Modeling about to kill

    My “comp card”

    Toni Modeling comp card

    I seriously wanna dry hump this tree.

    Toni Modeling hugging tree

    Fuck this jean jacket…

    Toni Modeling jean jacket

    My body language here pretty much says it all. A natural I know…

    Toni Modeling Pink pointing

    Everything is stupid.
    Toni Modeling pissy face and body

    Red dresses make me contemplative….
    Toni Modeling red dress NYC

    Here I am needing to lose 20 pounds…
    Toni Modeling RL shirt

    Can you believe I haven’t lost that weight yet? I mean look at how much extra flesh is on me!
    Toni Modeling when too fat

    January 4, 2016 • Old School Stories • Views: 1422

  • That Time My Dad Came To My Prom

    When I was in high school I had a lot of parties. A lot.

    You are probably asking yourself where were your parents? Were you not supervised? The answer…. Not really.

    My mom and dad were raising their kids in the 70’s and 80’s. It was a different time. They didn’t do silly PC things like quit smoking when pregnant. It never occurred to my mom not to have bourbon before bed while I was gestating inside of her. Nonsense! They didn’t share the same uptight morals of today – like making your children wear seat belts – poppycock!

    My parents wanted their independence from us, so in turn my brother and I had a lot of independence from them. We knew how to take care of ourselves, mostly. I did however eat candy for dinner many a night.

    When my brother went off to college, that meant my there was only one more child in the house – a 15-year-old girl. They were practically done with their whole parenting journey right?! I mean what kind of trouble could a teenage girl get into when left alone to explore her moral compass? The answer… quite a lot.

    My parents would leave most weekends to visit their country house in New Hampshire. That meant from Friday through Sunday, the Boston house was mine for the taking. As a result, I had a LOT of opportunities to throw parties. I developed a system that was so thought out, it would probably qualify me to run for president… you know… considering Trump and all.

    This was how it would all go down. My parents would leave Friday afternoon, and I would sweetly kiss them goodbye. As soon as they were out the door, the phone calls would start. This was before the age of cell phones, so we had to use my house phone. Because my parents craved autonomy, and didn’t feel like sharing, we had 4 separate phone lines – one for each member of the family. That meant that 3 of my friends and I could all simultaneously call almost everyone in our class.

    I believed in equal opportunity high school parties. I didn’t want to only invite the popular cliques. That felt way too cliché and exclusionary. So I invited representatives from each group from my grade. The kids who played Dungeons and Dragons, the hockey players, the druggies – everyone was welcome. At least everyone who answered their phone because there was no mass texting. If that had been around then… lord help me.

    The party would happen on Saturday. My friends and I would spend all day preparing. We would tape off rooms people weren’t allowed in, and leave a few open for make out sessions. We would take all my mom’s fancy living room bullshit frills, or anything breakable, and lock it away. We always provided a few cases of beer that a homeless man had bought for us (preferably something sophisticated like Red Dog), and the other kids would bring the rest. Everyone was invited to sleep over, so no one had to travel home wasted. At the end of the night, my one friend and I would walk over passed-out bodies, and drink all the half-filled drinks that were left over. You know, because we were classy.

    The next morning my core group of friends would stay behind to help me clean up. This often consisted of my calling the rug cleaners, and convincing them to come in on a Sunday. Once the house was spotless, everyone would leave just in time for my parents to come home.

    My Mom: Wow. It is really clean in here.
    Toni: I cleaned up for you… because I love you.
    My Mom: Did you have anyone over while we were gone?
    Toni: A few people.
    My Mom: You didn’t have a party did you?
    Toni: Of course not. It was a gathering.
    My Mom: What is a gathering.
    Toni: Well it is a little more than a get together, but much less than a party.
    My Dad. Oh. Okay.

    Maybe they knew I was full of shit. But there also weren’t any real consequences they had to deal with. The neighbors never complained, and the house was immaculately tidy.

    I started to get cocky. There was even one time when my dad was home, and I had a party while he was upstairs working. It was in the summer, and he was trying to finish his book in time for the deadline. Our house is a town house, so it is really tall and skinny. It has 6 floors, with one or two rooms on each floor. I figured since my dad was on floor 6, surely he wouldn’t hear us on floor 1 and 2!?

    Toni: Dad… I’m going to have some people over. Maybe you could just stay up here and not come down at all.
    My Dad: Well can I have some pistachios so I don’t get hungry?
    Toni: Sure. I will bring them to you.
    My Dad: I don’t have to talk to anyone do I?
    Toni: You don’t. Especially if you stay up here, and don’t come down at all until tomorrow morning.
    My Dad: Deal – as long as I don’t have to talk to anyone.

    He never even knew 40 kids were in his house listening to Snoop Dog and drinking 40 ounces of malt liquor.

    By the time I was 18 I felt invincible. I had this whole thing down to a science that would make Bill Nye proud. I was too confident, and that’s where things went wrong.

    We had a party the night before prom. Because it was towards the end of the year, some older students who had already graduated, and were home from college, decided to come. These older kids brought some of their friends, and shit got out of hand. When I usually had parties it was only kids who knew me, and appreciated the opportunity to drink and dance to Dr. Dre. They didn’t want to fuck shit up for me, or themselves. That’s why those parties were always respectful. Everyone was on the same team of wanting them to continue. But these older kids didn’t give a care about my house, or anything in it.

    The next day the house was a disaster. We spent all day cleaning, and I assumed no major catastrophe had gone down. I went to my prom thinking that I was in the clear. As I was on the dance floor, the energy suddenly changed. It went from lighthearted bouncing around to Adina Howard “Freak Like Me,” to like a dark haze of collective anxiety. Everyone was whispering to each other , and looking around frantically. Finally the message came to me. My friend pulled me aside.

    My Friend: Dude. Your dad is here.
    Toni: What do you mean my dad is here? At prom?
    My Friend: He is looking for you. He looks really angry. You better run.

    Without thinking, I ran. It wasn’t until I was pushing past people in the hallway that I saw him. I knew it was my dad, although he didn’t really look human. His face was a shade of red that you only see in horror movies. His hair was standing on end like Einstein had been electrocuted. But it was his eyes that were the most alarming. They weren’t exactly inside his face anymore, but rather bugging out so far that they touched you from a foot away.

    My Dad: TONI GET OVER HERE THIS INSTANT!
    Toni: Uh. Hi Dad. What are you doing here?
    My Dad: You had a party while we were away didn’t you?!
    Toni: Maybe?
    My Dad: Well you mother’s laptop has been stolen! And her book was on that! AND NOW IT IS ALL GONE!

    With that, my dad left. This is the catholic way. To shame you with intense guilt for your wrong doings, then leave you to self-flagellate. It was very effective.

    I had no way of getting home, so I had to wait for the rest of my friends and ride in the limo to my house. It wasn’t exactly the fun “after prom limo ride” everyone had envisioned. We were all quite solemn because I was crying. Everyone knew I was in a ton of trouble, but they also really wanted to get rid of me so they could have fun with the rest of their night.

    Luckily my mom had backed up most of her book on hard drive so she didn’t lose the entire thing – although no one really ever forgave me. The only redeeming moment was my high school graduation. No one would sit next to my mom or dad, and all other parents were pointing and whispering “There are those Nagy parents with their hedonistic ways.” At first my parents couldn’t understand why they had the plague, but it eventually became clear to them the reasoning behind their social outcast. Then one mother came up to them with a different kind of energy.

    School Mom: I just want to thank you for inviting my son to all those wonderful parties you had.
    My Parents: Oh…. Right. Yes Of course.
    School Mom: They were the only parties he was invited to, and he always had such a great time. Thanks for making this high school experience happen for him.

    So you see mom and dad! Those parties were actually my form of philanthropy!

    This its he actual outfit I wore to my junior prom… couldn’t find any pictures of this fateful senior prom…

    toni jr prom night

    December 14, 2015 • Family Drama, Old School Stories • Views: 1129

  • Spending The Night With Strippers

    When I was 18-years old, I liked getting drunk. You know, because I was class and sophisticated. Yet getting alcohol wasn’t always so easy. I would either have to ask a homeless person who most likely had a substance abuse problem that I inadvertently supported by giving them some vodka if they bought it for me, or some pervert who liked getting beer for underage girls and trying to go home with them. It wasn’t really a good scene.

    One day my boyfriend and I had the super bright idea of driving 5 hours to go to Montreal for the night. Since the drinking age was 18, we could easily drink until we vomited blood. I know. We went to private school – so we were pretty smart.

    Since it was already 7 pm, we got moving, and grabbed his best friend to come with us for the ride… and because we needed more money for our adventure.

    Considering we didn’t want to get there too late, I decided I should probably drive 95 mph. I mean, I was going to college the next year, so obviously I had a great understanding of physics. The faster I drive, the faster I get there right? Yeah maybe… unless you’re lost in a small town where the speeding limit is 40, and you get pulled over.

    Since I was going over twice the speed limit, I was in big trouble. The cop that caught me had little sympathy, and brought me right to jail. He wanted to impound the car, but in order to do that; I had to see the judge. The judge was home with with his family, as it was 10 pm on a Sunday, so was forced to leave his house to come to the courthouse. I’m sure you would not be surprised to hear that the judge was not very impressed by my explanation of why I was speeding. He set my bail at $900.

    When we pooled together all my money, we had exactly $975. Keep in mind, this was 1998 there were no cell phones, no GPS, no FUCKING ATMS!! This was ALL THE MONEY we had. Yet we had no choice. We handed it over in order to get me out of jail and my car out of the impoundment.

    Then we had a really important decision to make. Do we continue to Montreal with $75, no place to stay, and no access to get more money for the gas we would need for the return trip back? Or do we cut our losses and go home?

    Of course we continued to Canada. Did I mention both my parents or professors!? I am obviously a genius with genius ideas!!!

    We got to Montreal, and reality dawned on us. We had no place to sleep. We needed money to get home. And it was 1:45 am.

    So what did we do you ask?

    We went to the only place that was open, where we could drink as much as we wanted, and could stay until morning.

    We went to the strip club.

    Did I mention I had been accepted into Sarah Lawrence College! That’s a real intellectual school. That’s why I make such good life choices!

    Spending the night with strippers was simultaneously crazy fun, and insanely sad. Fun because we got to drink until the room spun – sad because naked women who felt like their dads didn’t love them were spinning around poles with their pussies exposed. Yeah I know – maybe they like their jobs and feel sexually empowered. But as a young empathetic feminist who cared about their humanity and hoped these naked ladies were truly happy, I cried one glittery tear. But on a positive note, we did save money to get home because all the lonely men bought me drinks.

    Here I am at 18…

    stripper-blog

    November 16, 2015 • Old School Stories • Views: 800

  • Just Another Childhood Trauma

    Sometimes I like to sit around and think about how my parents totally fucked me up. I just find it relaxing.

    You know, on those cold fall days where I’m questioning my existence and wondering if my life is simply a series of failures – I quickly shift my focus to how my mom and dad made me the nut case that I am today. See… it’s all their fault.

    My dad has a thing with death. It makes him REALLY uncomfortable. Probably from being raised Catholic. He just can’t deal with the thought of death because it is too painful. Perhaps it makes him think of the existential quandary of heaven and hell, and that we’re all going down because we’ve masturbated? I don’t know! I’m not in my dad’s head okay! (At least not any more… I only shot through there super fast on my way out of his balls). I digress!

    So when I was about 8, my Dad and I went to our country house and came across 15 baby mice corpses. Now you can’t just leave carrion in your house – because the bodies will rot and begin to smell. My mom would NOT approve of decaying flesh polluting her home. We HAD to dispose of them. At least one of us did.

    Sure my dad was the adult, and I was the child. One would assume he would swallow his fear, and deal with the DEAD BABY MICE rather than making his 8-year-old daughter do it. But you see – he didn’t want to pick up the small pink carcasses. Instead, my dad told me he would pay $20 for everyone I got rid of.

    Now I am not saying I sold my innocence that day, but I am saying I bought a lot of She-Ra dolls after that weekend.

    Because my dad was so traumatized by the idea of death, he never wanted me to have animals. Not because he didn’t like them, but he liked them too much! When I wanted to get a dog I had to leave a puddle of tears in my Dad’s office to convince him. He just stared at the wetness on his floor and finally acquiesced.

    Once I had my dog Fiona, I wanted to get another pet. I loved pets! They were my friends!! So I got a hamster! Yayyyy! More furry things to love!!!!

    But one night while I was sleeping in my bed, I heard all this commotion underneath me. I turned on the light and realized my hamster had somehow gotten out of the cage. I then looked under my bed where all the turmoil was coming from, and realized that Fiona was in fact killing my hamster.

    I ran into my parents’ room.

    Toni: Mom! Dad! Fiona is under the bed killing my hamster.
    My Dad: Well, it’s all your fault. Deal with it.

    Now, it was 4 in the morning… and no one likes to be woken up at 4 in the morning and then deal with a half eaten hamster.

    I am not sure who ended up disposing of the body. I’m pretty sure it was my mom, because she is stronger than all of us. All I remember is sitting in my living room as the sun came up, holding my dog, and thinking I was to blame for the murder of my hamster.

    But I love you dad!! It’s your birthday today, and your sensitive heart is as pure as gold. You also let me get a bird… and cried at her grave when she died!! It is the way of the Nagy’s to weep mercilessly and lament at all animal death and suffering.

    (Me and Fiona)

    toni and fiona

    October 21, 2015 • Old School Stories • Views: 1200