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Old School Stories
Category

  • Bras, Boobs, and the Truth About Victoria’s Secret

    I remember being a flat chested pre-teen and really wanting big boobs – so much so, that I’d even wish for them on a star. I’m not really sure that’s what Pinocchio had in mind for me, but I’m 100% sure it’s what Walt Disney did.

    I’m not sure why I was so interested in having large fat balls dangle off my chest, but at the time, it seemed very crucial. Maybe it was curiosity? Wanting to know what they would feel like? I also wanted braces for that exact reason. I’d see my friends struggle with metal scraping their inner lips, rubber bands snapping their tongues, retainers that flipped and got coated with food mucus, and I think to myself – I want that. Braces seemed so eventful compared to my boring mouth that was free of torture devises, and I guess tits shared a similar allure.

    I knew when my mom was young she had a big pair of tits, so there was hope for my dream of acquiring bounteous fun bags – a dream so pure it rivaled the vision of MLK. I even saw pictures to prove my mom’s lady sacks were impressive because her current woman balls were less so. When questioning the size change of her breasts, my mom explained to me that I sucked them away while breastfeeding – her words, not mine. Although I felt slightly guilty for vampirically devouring the bosom of my mother, I also secretly hoped they’d transfer to me through eventual osmosis.

    Finally in the 7th grade I decided I needed a bra. This was of course a subjective decision made by yours truly. I think if you’d held up my front body to the scrutiny of objective scientific inquiry – the results may have varied. Yet sadly for me, science had other things to do than quantifying if my tits needed to be holstered, so I had to rely on my own method of bouncing up and down on a trampoline trying to measure for movement – I mean, I guess I could have gotten a grant to be more precise, but you know how they only give grants to boys in science because the patriarchy.

    After I deemed myself worthy of being initiated into the culture of bra-wearing women, I asked my mom if she’d buy me one. We both knew there was only one store she was going to take me to. This was 1993 my friends, there was no real choice; this was the height of the monolith that was Victoria’s secret (PS her secret is that she’s having an affair, that’s why she needs the sexy lingerie). My mother, who was a classy lady, wasn’t going to take me to some department store to get a cotton “training” bra to train my boobs for some esoteric Olympic event of boob bouncing. My mom was going to take me to where she herself found her breast buckets.

    The closest Victoria’s Secret was at the “Cambridge Side Galleria Mall,” which was not a place we’d frequent often because my mom hated malls – she thought going to malls was a republican thing to do, as was giving your kids rides, or playing golf. As a family we were forbidden all activities that looked slightly republican – hence why I walked miles to school by myself starting at age 7, but I digress. When my mom and I entered into the heavenly scented silk haven that was VS, we then perused the various drawers and racks for the perfect bras for my petite tits.

    To my surprise, it turned out that this process was not the joyous feminine bathing in satin I thought it would be. I suddenly lost interest in all the delicate fabric, and was too ashamed to try anything on, or have a sales lady help me. I felt out of place with my GAP jeans, T-shirt, and ponytail. Nothing about my 13-year old self felt womanly or sensual – nor was I even interested in my own sexuality. I was also very intimidated by the many manikins whose plentiful breasts where being decorated by Victoria’s holsters while their blank faces stared into mine, mocking me.

    I asked my mom to hurry up and pick some bras for me because she loves pretty things. My mother of course chose a red-lace padded push-up bra, size 32A.

    My dad’s a lucky guy. My mom knows how to woman.

    I left that store with this fancy bra and two others, humiliated by my own uncomfortability both emotionally and physically – because wouldn’t you know it, a red-lace push-up padded bra is itchy as fuck, as was the black lace one, and the other flowered lace one. All these bras had underwire in them that dug into my ribs and chaffed my skin. They hurt to wear… but they were beautiful and that’s the whole point right? To adorn your sex parts with sexy clothing so they can be sexy for all the sex you’re going to have? The message was clear – decorate your sex because you are a sexy present that a man will soon unwrap.

    Now, I know you’re probably on the edge of your seat right now wondering if I ever achieved my childhood aspiration of growing big tits. I get that you might even lose sleep if you don’t find out the answer to this crucial question and are probably searching for your anti anxiety meds right now because you can’t take the anticipation. Well you can exhale and breathe again because I DID GET THOSE BIG BOOBS AFTER ALL! I got on birth control pills at 15 and then grew a pair of full C-cups, sometimes D’s.

    I know. You feel so much relief now don’t you?

    But… I bet your still beside yourself with curiosity wondering if that young girl with the red-lace padded push-up bra grew up to be a woman that still wears such alluring lingerie and the answer is… hahahh that’s hilarious. My current bra situation is some old nursing bras that are stained with breast milk from 7-years ago, but I still wear them because they’re soft. I also have some floppy sports bras that aren’t too tight because I hate the feeling of fabric constricting my lungs. These bras don’t necessarily support anything, and are more just material I drape on my body with the intention of holding my breasts in place. These are Buddhist bras, and it’s more about visualizing them working than them actually doing anything productive. Oh, we also can’t forget about my favorite bras of the many no-bras that I have.

    Now I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “But Toni, what about those ample ta-ta’s you had?? Don’t they need to be held up securely?” Well… despite my fun bags at one point being as large as a Double D when nursing… my daughter sucked them away, and now I’m a B cup just like my mom. I know. Karma.

    What have I learned through this journey of not having boobs, then having boobs, then not having boobs again, to decorating them with painful bondage binds, to freeing them from captivity? What are the lessons I gleaned from caring about them, to then not caring about them?

    Boobs are part of my lady suite and I had wrongly assumed that acquiring them would make me feel more feminine. What actually happened is that they always felt like they were for someone else, rather than for me….

    My boobs were tools to attract others to me, and then me boobs were tools to keep my child alive. In both cases it was more about the “other” than the “self.” It’s not like I ever sat around playing with my tits, molding them like Play Dough into little shapes of animals. They mostly just have sat there, ignored, and collecting dust. Of course tits can be a part of sex – but that’s more about the nipple anyway – the actual size of your breasts has nothing to do with pleasure.

    What I’ve come to think about lingerie is that it’s a costume for women to adorn themselves with to find their identity of “sexy” in sexual situations. It helps both parties get into character. When you think of all the weird, banana pants stuff one does in the bedroom, you kind of have to suspend belief and forget who you actually are for a moment. A rational person would NEVER ask another human to tongue their asshole. That’s just not an activity that makes ANY sense when you think about it in a normal state of mind. So we have ladies ornament themselves with lingerie as part of the process of forgetting all reason and allowing a new version of yourself to come out and not question all their bizarre shit we do to each other’s bodies when possessed by lust.

    Look how much fun they’re having!

  • Why Do I Let People Draw On Me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    January 3, 2018 • 7 years old, emotions, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 948

  • Oh, That’s Just My Open Wound

    On the average day, I feel a LOT of feelings. I usually wake up with a deep dread, wishing I were still asleep because in that reality I don’t feel like a failure – oh and there was also that velvet couch I was eating covered in frosting. I then do a meditation and perhaps feel a moment of calm inspiration only to be punctuated by stress the second I open my eyes. I drive The Munch to school looking at her sweet face in the review mirror and feel like, “aww look at all that hope in her eyes that has yet to be crushed by the knowledge that Trump has raped her of a future.” This then transmutes into the drive back home where I start to wish the day were already over, only to sit at my computer with a mixture of creative energy and crippling self doubt… and its not even 9:30 am.

    By the time I’ve gone to bed at midnight I’ve gone through maybe 14 cycles of “life is okay,” and then “holy shit what is all this for besides facing the eternal misery of my futility playing the stings of my heart with the violin of delusions I call an existence.”

    Everyone goes through this right? (Insert nervous laughter)

    Yet if you were hanging out with me I don’t think you would say, “That Toni is one moody mother fucker,” because I keep most my emotional ebbs and flow buried deep inside, much like a dog with their bone. But instead of the fleshless carcass of an animal to chew on, I instead gnaw on the skeletons in my closet that I’ve come so accustomed to dressing up.

    That’s normal right? (Insert anxious hand wringing)

    The reason I try not to let myself get too carried away in my emotional self is because I know that feelings are ethereal wisps of wind that blow in and out of your consciousness like dandelion seeds. You can feel one way for one moment, and then the complete opposite the next. Although feelings are important and crucial aspects of the human experience, they are also somewhat absurd because of how unpredictable and illogical they are. As such, my internal world is much different then how I project myself to others. In the outside world, I come off as very unemotional. I don’t cry very often, I’m not quick to anger, I’m patient, I don’t overreact, and many think I’m easy to talk to. I keep a safe distance from my feelings because I don’t want to take them out on others. Of course all my close friends know my shadow side – I’m manic, compulsive, bossy, particular, controlling, excessive, and overwhelming… but because I mostly keep myself in check their overall impression is that, “Toni’s chill, and a good friend.”

    There is this dichotomy between how I feel and how I act because I ultimately want to be an emotionally mature human. It’s not that often that my feelings overtake my behavior, so when it happens, no one really knows what to do with me. I’m not really used to relying on others emotionally, so when the darkness comes, the black depths of my being is confusing to others. I’m not approachable when I’m upset, and therefor not that easy to comfort. Mostly I just want to be left alone to drown in my melancholy.

    I know we all have primal sores of our childhood, and there are plenty I have as well. Yet I feel like I’ve come to terms with most of them. Sure there are moments when I can access the sadness of my socialization, but I don’t feel ruled by it. I’ve tried to face my conditioning, forgive what hurt me, have empathy for the adults that disappointed me, and let go. I’m SURE there are aspects that still influence me greatly, but I don’t feel controlled by my past pains.

    Except for my open wound.

    When my best friend Bitty died, a piece of me died with her. Last Sunday, June 11th, was the 17th year anniversary of her death.

    17 years is a long time to have passed. They say time heals all wounds, but in truth time just means you get used to the pain. It doesn’t go away, but rather becomes a part of you. Like roots of a vine growing around your soul, the pain of loss entwines your spirit and tangles into your psyche.

    The tragedy of Bitty’s death affected everyone who loved her. It bonded us in a web of mourning. An entanglement that can’t be escaped because holding onto the pain is also holding onto her. I can think of Bitty and remember the happiness of our relationship and feel a certain sense of peace for her spirit, yet that doesn’t take away the core loss. There is a bottomless yearning that I feel because I can no longer look into her eyes, see her smile, or watch the way her lip curled when she was angry. I’m still her friend and our love is just as real as ever, but I miss her physical presence in my life and nothing can change that.

    I miss her.

    I miss her so much.

    The day of Bitty’s funeral, I couldn’t leave the graveyard. Everyone slowly made their way to the lunch, but I stayed. I stared at where her body was buried, still in total disbelief that this was really happening. I felt so helpless that I couldn’t turn back time and have stopped this from happening.

    I wept at her grave that day as the tears that over took me. The anguish was consuming. Possessed by regret that I had spent any time away from her. If I had only known all I had was 20 years with her, I never would have left her side. I would have sewn myself to her so as not miss even one moment. I would have given anything to see her again.

    There was this senselessness to her death that I couldn’t wrap my head around. Why? Why did this have to happen? The mystery of misfortune was plaguing me. There are so many disastrous things that happen every day, and those that live through them are just left with the question of why. Our brains want to solve puzzles, yet death is one that we can never decipher. Yet all I wanted was something to ground this horrible event.

    I made a promise to Bitty that day. I swore to her that I would live for the both of us, and that I would make my life meaningful to some how make her death make sense. I opened up myself to her, and invited her into my body. I didn’t want to lose her. I wanted her with me, and I needed her to know that I was still there for her, even if I couldn’t stop her from dying. I blasted open my being so she could find a home in me. I knew her soul had traveled on, but there was still the human energy of her, I could feel it. I embraced it.

    I’ve tried to maintain inspiration from Bitty’s death because that’s the only way I know how to honor her life. Because of Bitty, I believe in magic. She is the guiding energy of my life. Every moment of coincidence, synchronicity, positivity, I see as Bitty. I feel her talking to me, looking out for me, guiding me. I attribute all the beauty in my life to her, because she changed me. Growing up I was never artistic. Bitty was the artist. Everything she did was creative. She drew, she made clothes, she made jewelry – her room was an explosion of her unique aesthetic. Yet since Bitty’s death, the artist in me was born. I don’t see that as random, and I am so deeply appreciative of that.

    Bitty’s death destroyed me, but it also awoken me. It connected me to the spirit world, and everything mystical. Without Bitty’s death I wouldn’t be who I am to today, and I’m so grateful to her. She’s been such a good friend even if she’s no longer on this earth to share time with me.

    But I miss her.

    I’m starting to forget our memories. I don’t have her to go through them with me anymore. As I grow older, my brain gets filled with new memories, making the ones with her harder to hold onto. I would trade any memory I have had of the past 17 years without her for one more moment of our time together. My memories of her are everything because they’re all I have.

    This is my open wound. One that is not always so raw, but when it is, it’s like my skin has been peeled off and all that is left of me is vulnerable organs unable to defend themselves against the elements. There are times when I can talk about Bitty and I feel almost nothing, because I can’t let myself. Yet there are moments when just the thought of her makes my soul scream so loud it’s deafening. My head filled with echoes of my heart crying in despair.

    This Sunday was a hard one for me, and I couldn’t escape it.

    But it’s okay. It’s okay that I go through this, and I always go back to the one and only therapy session that I’ve had in life. It was about 2 years after Bitty died, and I was still crying daily. Waking up thinking about her, going to bed thinking about her. People were worried. I was consumed with grief. The therapist asked me one question, and it was all I needed to hear.

    “How do you think Bitty would feel about the way you’re reacting to her death.”

    I thought about it, and I know everyone was telling me, “she wouldn’t want me to suffer,” but they didn’t know Bitty.

    She would be happy I was this upset!! She was my best friend! If I just moved on easily or wasn’t tormented Bitty would be like, “What the fuck Toni!!!”

    That realization gave me permission to feel, and I keep that with me. The universal spirit of Bitty that is all one with the cosmos of course wants the best for me, but the human Bitty that I knew also thinks it’s totally reasonable I’m this broken up about her death. I loved her. Of course I care this much. That’s just what happens when you lose someone you love. You never let go, you never get over it, and you always miss them.

    June 14, 2017 • emotions, Musings, Old School Stories, Relationships • Views: 1334

  • 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: 1329

  • 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: 1218

  • 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: 1382

  • 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: 1286

  • 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: 1435

  • 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: 2235