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  • In Your Mother’s Arms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    toni munch painting

    May 19, 2016 • Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 1138

  • The Only Advice You Will EVER Need

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

    And don’t give advice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    advice-blog-2

    May 12, 2016 • Musings, Parenting, Relationships, Sex Stuff • Views: 1111

  • Why Men Fall Asleep After Sex

    Sex is the most ancient and essential building block of life. It’s as old as time. To assume that there are rational explanations for our sexual behavior is as absurd as claiming to understand dark matter. We just don’t. We can have theories, but there is always going to be a mysterious impulse that suggests you masturbate into your neighbor’s shoes while listening to your grandmother singing “Old Macdonald.”

    Considering the fact that there are people who actually enjoy being shit on – that is enough evidence for me to know that when it comes to our sexuality, there is a LOT that can’t be explained.

    Men and women also have very different relationships to sex. For example if I were to use the date rape drug roofies, it would be so a guy wouldn’t try and have sex with me. Instead, I would just prop up his body next to me and watch Netflix – maybe use his hands to do my dishes so mine don’t get all dry.

    Yet for men, rape used to be a reward for war! Sure you would risk your life to invade this village, but if you win, feel free to rape and pillage till your hearts content!!! Rape away soldiers – that’s your prize!

    When women are in relationships and their man is always trying to touch their boobs, they get annoyed. It’s agitating when you’re focusing on chopping vegetables for a salad and someone comes up from behind and cups your tits. I would say things like “this is my body, it’s not your property!” Or “how would you feel if I kept trying to grab your penis randomly when you’re trying to wash dishes?” And he would then answer, “yes, please. Do grab my penis.”

    It’s not that men like sex more than women, they just have a different relationship to it. Yet the idea that women enjoy sex is terrifying to society. In almost every instance when there has been a case of sexual misconduct, the woman gets blamed. Monica Lewinsky is still being shamed for blowing Bill Clinton, and Hillary still called a shrew for letting it happen. Personally I think Hillary is brilliant for outsourcing BJ’s, and what 20-year old intern wouldn’t let the president of the free world finger-blast you with a cigar? That’s the best hookup story of all time.

    Remember how Janet Jackson got all the blame for Justin Timberlake showing her breast at the super bowl? Or how about most of literature? The entire plot of the Crucible, or the Scarlet letter? There are countless stories of how the scandalous woman is the culprit of what was actually a two party sexcapade.

    The only woman that ever got away with a sex scandal was Mary. Somehow she was considered virgin after getting pregnant without sleeping with her husband, which is the ultimate coup. But we also have to remember that she was 14 ad married to a guy in his 40’s, which also explains a lot.

    There is so much missed messaging when it comes to women and sexuality that it’s impossible to keep up. Shakespeare’s originally quote from Hamlet was actually “to be a slut, not be a slut – that is the question.”

    There is a myth from ancient Greece that tries to uncover what gender enjoys sex more. So a god turned himself to both a man and a woman to experience it. Teirresias the prophet was watching two snakes coupling and had a premonition that women had much more explosive orgasms then men. He was then turned into a woman so he could see for him self, and prove his theory right.

    Despite all our conditioning and culture assumptions that suggest men are the more sexual creatures and women are passive recipients, there is a lot of evidence that proves otherwise. When we look at biology, I think I agree with Teirresias’ investigation. Men have one orgasm, where women can have many.

    So this all leads to my personal theory of why men fall asleep after sex. Once he’s passed out, then the woman can go look for another guy to fuck if she’s still in the mood, or wants some stellar sperm competition going on inside her. So back in the days of early man when Crog was too tired after his orgasm, Pog could mosey on over to the other side of the cave and get it on with Cronum. And that’s evolution guys… everybody wins.

    Get out of there girl!! There is another guy who is ready to rock!

    564ceddede9d7

    April 21, 2016 • Musings, Relationships, Sex Stuff • Views: 1475

  • What’s the Difference Between Reasons and Excuses?

    When I was in my 20’s I would say yes to everything. If you asked me to go somewhere with you, my answer was a resounding “YES!” I’m a people pleaser, so I didn’t want to let anyone down by saying “no.” I would commit to things I didn’t even want to do just to avoid disappointing someone. Which is probably how I ended up sleeping with a guy I wasn’t attracted to just because I wanted to go home. Funny now to think that grinding genitals with someone felt LESS awkward than just being like “So… I’m outta here.”

    There are many problems with saying “yes,” and not truly connecting to your own desires. One thing that I found myself doing was waiting until the day of some commitment, and then changing my mind about going. Other plans would be more appealing – like taking bong hits and eating 3 lunches. I would then give some excuse about why it wasn’t going to work out. I think this strategy was wayyyyy more annoying to people than saying no in the first place. I remember a good friend telling me that I flaked on her all the time, and how much it hurt her feelings.

    From that moment forward I made a promise to myself. If I said yes to something, no matter what the circumstance, I would follow through. My thinking was that if I used excuses to excuse myself, then I would keep unconsciously saying yes. But if I knew that I was going to keep my word, then I would eventually teach myself how to say no.

    This is fucking harder to do than you think! Especially when someone is like “can you come to my wedding April, 24 2019? I know I currently don’t have plans that far in the future, but come that date, I am sure there will be a thousand things I would rather do than go to your dumb wedding. I mean, celebrate the glory of your eternal love.

    Of course there are moments when you have a genuine reason that you can’t do something you said you would. I may have said I would help you move, and then can’t because hurt my back. If that is true, then it’s a reason, but if it’s a lie, it’s an excuse. PS my back actually does hurt, so no I can’t help you move anytime in the next 60 years.

    When you give someone an excuse, you still act like it’s a reason, and hope they don’t pick up on the fact that it’s actually an excuse. But energetically we all know when someone is giving you an excuse. You just feel it in your bowels.

    Which then begs the question, what is the difference between a reason and an excuse?

    An excuse makes you feel bad about yourself, where a reason makes you feel for the other person. A reason is when you authentically WANT to do something but can’t. An excuse is when you really DON’T want to do something, but don’t know how to be brutally honest and say, “I just don’t want to.” A reason is when you really can’t, an excuse is when you are choosing not to.

    Like when someone answers an email after a few weeks and starts off with “sorry to take so long, been super busy.” Okay no. President Obama has time to respond to emails if he wants. No one is that fucking busy. The truth is, you didn’t FEEL like responding because you’re subtly letting me know I’m not that important to you. YEAH I GET THE HINT!

    I think we would all be better off if when we don’t have a reason for doing something, just owning the fact that you would rather watch a documentary about people who are addicted to watching documentaries. It may make the other person feel like a non-priority to you, but maybe their not, and it’s okay for them to know that. Or you are close enough as friends to know they will be around for the rest of your life… so fuck it. Instead of coming over, I’m going to sit on my couch and not come over because that’s what I feel like doing. And I got too high and ate too many dinners.

    Sorry girl… I would hang out with you, but I would rather let my social anxiety take over instead.

    toni and bridget

    April 6, 2016 • Musings, Relationships • Views: 1007

  • Just Because I Love You, Doesn’t Mean I Care About You

    I think we waste a lot of our life force bickering with the people we love the most. You know those stupid cyclical fights that you’ve had over and over and over again that never seem to get resolved because in your heart you know they are going to leave their fucking dirty socks on the shower bathmat again? Most of the disagreements we have with people are just repeat conversations of the past, and each time we go down that yellow brick road, we will eventually end up in a poppy field passing out from emotional exhaustion.

    When you’re really close to someone, you have to deal with their eccentricities, annoying habits, compulsive behaviors, and shitty moods. The more comfortable someone is around you, the more they let they guard down, and reveal the underbelly of their darkest selves. Sometimes I want to say, “hey, do you mind putting a shirt over your vulnerability right now, because I’ve seen a little too much of you today.”

    The times I get most upset with people are when I feel like someone has disappointed me. I had some expectation they didn’t live up to, and then felt let down. I justify my rage by feeling like I was just caring about them – but is my caring a prison? If I never had that expectation to begin with, then I would never have gone through that psychic journey of disappointment.

    Do you think it’s possible to love someone deeply, but not really care about them?

    I don’t mean caring about their wellbeing, but caring about them in the sense that you don’t care or anticipate how they will behave.

    When we fall in love with someone – a lover, friend, or even our own children – we have LIMITLESS expectations of them. When you first meet a person they are perfect in our eyes, because they haven’t yet revealed themselves otherwise. It’s so easy to think that this dude will never put the silverware facing down in the dishwasher, or this friend will totally steam her vagina with me, or my baby will never boss me around like the evil step sisters in Cinderella and then yell in my face that she hates me because I said it was time for bed.

    The more you get to know someone, they will eventually fail you in one way or another… but is that their fault, or yours?

    It’s a lot easier to see YOU as the cause of MY misery. When something doesn’t go my way, that’s not my fault, it’s YOURS for making me do it in the first place! Although it may feel momentarily better to blame other people for my emotions and say, “you made me feel bad about myself!” In reality, I made ME feel bad about myself. Even though it may feel like a lot of responsibility to see things that way, it is also empowering. I am the architect of my responses to the world, and can choose how I internalize my feelings.

    If every time I get upset with someone I see it as my own doing, then I am no longer at the mercy of the world around me. I can’t control how you treat me, but I can control how hard I cunt punt you… I mean how I react to you.

    So now when anything happens to me where I want to choke someone, I instead try and see my part in the situation, and instead focus on that. No matter what shitty thing happens, there is always a lesson I can learn. Even if sometimes that lesson is dipping your toothbrush in my pee toilet.

    I have been trying to teach The Munch to not blame other people for her emotional wellbeing, but instead recognizing that she is the dictator of her internal world. So far this strategy is being met with mixed results. Sometimes it only inflames her:

    Toni: Okay, that’s enough screens for tonight.
    The Munch: Can I just watch one more “My Little Pony?”
    Toni: No. We had a deal, and it’s time for a bath.
    The Munch: I WANNA WATCH ONE MORE “MY LITTLE PONY!!!”
    Toni: Dude. You and I had an agreement, and you have to honor it.
    The Munch: YOU’RE THE WORST MOMMY IN THE WHOLE WORLD!
    Toni: Munch, I know it’s disappointing, and you want to watch your show, but that doesn’t mean you have to deflect your anger onto me. You have to look inside yourself and realize that you made a promise, and it’s not my fault I am making you keep it. Instead of caring about me, and how I’m not letting you do what you want, you should instead care about you, and learning how to keep your word.
    The Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

    But other times, it actually has been making an impact.

    The Munch: Mommy, did you remember to pack my stuffed animal?
    Toni: Oh no. I forgot. I’m sorry.
    The Munch: That’s okay. I should have reminded you.

    See how much easier it is to get along when we all just take responsibility for ourselves!!!

    (Ps she totally did remind me…)

    munch in van

    March 30, 2016 • 5 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 1371

  • 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: 1175

  • How To Win the Mind Fuck

    1) When they are trying to pick a fight with you, tell them “you’re boring me.” There is nothing quite as offending or demeaning than being told, “you’re boring.”

    2) When they insult you, or try to blame you for the dysfunction of the relationship, laugh. Laugh long and hard and then say, “you’re funny.”

    3) When they text you shitty things trying to get a rise out of you, respond only in non sequitur emojis. Like Chinese food, dragons, and a chicken poking his head out of a shell.

    4) Blow off relationship conversations completely, then change the topic and get really passionate talking about what you’re going to get your cousin for their birthday.

    5) Every so often, practice random radio silence. Don’t respond to anything for a few days. Then simply text a funny Youtube video – like of Snoop Dog narrating Planet Earth… WITH NO EXPLANATION!

    6) When having sex, comment about how their body isn’t how your remember it being.

    7) Have plans to hang out. Break those plans 3 hours before you’re supposed to meet with no explanation. Then 2 hours later, say you want to hang out after all, but bring some friends and pay most of your attention to them.

    8) Walk away from the relationship entirely.

    You many not get laid with these strategies, but you will win the mind fuck.

    See Kourtney Kardashian gets it…

    kourtney US weekly

    January 20, 2016 • Relationships, Sex Stuff • Views: 2713

  • Why Being Around Your Parents as an Adult Sometimes Sucks

    One of the hardest things about the holidays is being an adult, and being around your parents. No matter how great your relationship is with them, there are moments when you are going to feel infantilized, triggered, or irrationally full of rage. This is often solved with the right amount of bourbon, Xanax, and preferably pure MDMA – but one can’t always get their hands on such things… mainly because grandma keeps hogging all the drugs.

    If you think about it, most of your life with your parents, or with your kids, is when you are adults. Childhood isn’t really that long. So the rest of that time is seeing and treating each other as peers. Yet that can be challenging when looking at your now grown up child and remembering them as that baby who once shat in their own hand and ate it. You know too much about your kid to take them seriously as an adult.

    This holiday my parents were gone, but because of Munch’s surgery, I spent a week with them in Boston before Thanksgiving… which is the LONGEST we have been around each other for 17 years. Okay granted this was a time of stress and anxiety because of Munch’s medical journey, so that may have colored things a bit. Yet I did come to a MAJOR realization of why this adult parent-child dynamic can be so challenging.

    My mom and I have a lot in common when it comes to our interests. We both enjoy walking in nature, talking about ourselves, and reading trashy magazines. We can bond over the fact that Scott Disick cheated on Kourtney Kardashian with not one, but TWO of her sisters. Yet we also are fundamentally different people. We have different moral inquiries, different views on life, and a different standard of what constitutes as dirty hair.

    Most of my time with my mom we got along really well, but there were a couple instances where we didn’t. In short it boiled down to two things. She thinking I was a total basket case for my life choices, and me thinking she was a judgmental bitch.

    We could have just swept those moments under the rug to join the other unsaid resentments of the past – yet instead we discussed what happened. From my mom’s perspective, she sometimes still sees me as that teenage girl who thought it was a good idea to do acid at an Allman Brother’s concert then drive to a rave. Or that girl in my 20’s who would often drink so much that I would end up puking at a diner, then leaving on the back of hot guy’s motorcycle to later get dropped off at the apartment building I moved out of 2 years earlier. Yeah I get it. I had a time in life when I was a little reckless. Yet a lot has changed since then, because I wear helmets now.

    Toni: The thing with you mom is that you go so far in your thinking to see my behavior as questionable, and judge said questionable behavior. Yet you don’t take the next step and ask yourself “why is she acting that way.”

    My Mom: Yeah I can see that. But I think I just have PTSD from that time in your life.

    Toni: You know, as parent it is really easy to see the parts of your kid that you like, and take credit for those aspects of who they are. Yet when you see parts of them you don’t like as much, we often want to say “oh well, that’s just they way they are.” Or “that’s their personality.” We want to see our nurturing as the reason for their good, and their nature as the reason for their bad. But we are equally responsible for all parts of our kids. Social conditioning isn’t just about shaping the positive, but also the negative.

    My Mom: Haha. That is so true. But seriously that was just you being you and I am the reason why you are okay.

    Me and my mom during my “questionable behavior” period… (PS the top picture is my mom and dad in the late 80’s… pretty sure it’s the best thing ever)

    toni and mom hughie party

    November 30, 2015 • Family Drama, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 1386

  • Do You Speak My Love Language ?

    We use the word love all the time. I love chocolate. I love sunsets. I love “Game of Thrones.” But there is no way I feel the same about a delicious dessert as I do about watching someone’s bowels get ripped out their anus on a Sunday night. One is infinitely more satisfying than the other. (Up to you to choose which one).

    Love is an oversimplified term to express one of the most complex human emotions. That is why the Ancient Greeks had 5 words for love – to represent the different flavors of love we feel. There are varying ways in which we experience love for something or someone, and the deeper we understand these distinctions, the more we understand our relationship to the target of our affection. Not every person you love you are meant to be with, much like how not every pie you love you are meant to eat the entirety of.

    Just as there is a distinction between loving your friend and loving your favorite pair of boots (the boots obviously being the ones you confide in on those cold lonely nights) there is also diversity in the ways in which we express love towards each other. Haven’t you ever been in a relationship with someone that you know you love deeply, and they love you, but you both constantly feel unappreciated and misunderstood?

    The problem isn’t that the love isn’t there. The real issue is that you aren’t speaking the same love language!

    According to Gary Chapman, who has spent over 30 years as a marriage counselor, there are 5 major love languages. We all speak love in a very specific way, regardless if others are actually aware of our modality. I could be shouting at you with my love language, but you if you have different love language, my efforts to communicate might fall onto deaf ears. It would be as if I only knew French and you only knew Russian – we just wouldn’t comprehend what the other person was saying.

    We look for people to love us the same way that we love them. When you speak a love language, you assume everyone is fluent in it. Yet in truth, someone might be showing love in their love language, but you’re just not listening!! We all have to become not only bi-lingual in love languages, but uhhh… five-lingual. The more we understand the different ways in which people love, the more we can acknowledge and appreciate people’s tries!

    If I learned your love language and spoke it to you, and you learned my love language and spoke it to me, our relationship would be infinitely more loving. We need to be aware of each other’s vocabularies. Imagine if at schools, rather than just learning the basics of grammar and reading, children learned to speak love. If they were taught to be able to identify, translate, and be fluent in all love languages. Wouldn’t the world be such a better fucking place?!!!

    Here are the love languages

    1) Words of Affirmation: Someone who gives a lot of compliments, says “I love you often,” and outwardly expresses gratitude for things like taking out the trash or doing the dishes. These are people who enjoy praise and appreciation, and want you to give that back to them in return.
    2) Acts of Service: These are people who are always doing you favors. Helping out around the house, driving you to the airport, moving your apartment for the 3rd time. They show love with their actions, and are looking for you to be as helpful as they are.
    3) Receiving and Giving Gifts: These are not materialistic people looking for lavish presents, but rather “the thought that counts” kind of gestures. They see gifts as a way of showing “I was thinking about you when I saw this fox key chain because I know how you like foxes and key chains.” It makes them feel heard, understood, and like they are on your mind.
    4) Quality Time: These people are looking for giving and receiving quality time together. Moments of pure undivided attention. They want the intimacy of interaction, and knowing they are the only thing in your world for that moment.
    5) Physical Touch: These people show love through their body. They need affection, and readily give it. A squeeze on the shoulder, hug, kiss on the head. They feel most loved when their body is also experiencing the sensation.

    So which one are you? I think we are all familiar with each one of these ways of loving; yet there is probably one that speaks to you most loudly. Know your love language, teach it to the people you love, and ask to learn theirs.

    I hope this baby speaks petting as it’s love language… but not heavy petting, because that would be just weird.

    love-language-blog

     

    November 9, 2015 • Musings, Relationships • Views: 1165