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responsibilities
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  • Did I Fuck Myself By Making You a Better Person Than Me?

    Before having a kid, I had all sorts of ideas and goals about how I was going to indoctrinate a human. I felt very confident in my ability to socialize a person, and believed my influence could guide my child’s essence to develop into my ultimate Nietzschean ubermensch. In my fantasy she was going to be a counter-culture anti-corporate non-conforming anarchist revolutionary that would be really into Avant-garde art, only listen to obscure neurofunk tracks, watch exclusively Dutch films part of the digressionism cannon, and of course be an intellectual prodigy. So far things haven’t worked out exactly as planned. The Munch did in fact go through a 3 year My Little Pony phase, is not as interested as I would have thought in my anti-capitalist rants about the Amero or the federal reserve, and genuinely enjoys such TV programs as Full House – but at least she likes Pink Floyd so, that’s something.

    I guess another aim I had was to install a deep sense of empathy in my kid – especially if she’s not going to shave fractals into her hair and write gnomic poetry about the absurdity of existence – sigh. It’s hard to say if The Munch’s empathetic nature is a result of my flawless parenting or more an innate impulse that would have existed regardless, but she is one of the most moral and thoughtful people I know. She is genuinely happy for her friends when good things happen to them, she feels authentic sadness if she causes someone distress, and she’s hyper-aware of how others are feeling. It’s almost uncanny at times how compassionate she can be, and for a while I thought this was a good thing.

    But is it?

    The other day we were driving to my dance studio in Vermont and there was a homeless lady on the corner. We were stopped at a red light so The Munch had time to read her sign asking for money saying “any help is appreciated.”

    The Munch: Mom, the lady’s sign says she needs some money.
    Toni: Ummm… here is $2 – roll down your window and hand it to her.

    The Munch complied and the lady said thank you and we drove into the parking lot to go grocery shopping before I had to teach my class.

    The Munch: Why did that lady need money?
    Toni: Because she’s homeless.
    The Munch: How do people become homeless?
    Toni: There are so many reasons. Sometimes they have mental illness. Sometimes they have addiction problems. Sometimes they lost their jobs and can’t find another one and don’t have friends or family to help. Sometimes they are coming out of prison and can’t find work and have nowhere to go. I mean in truth it’s is a crime against humanity that there is homelessness, especially here where there is the national income to support homeless people – we just make the choice not to. There are solutions, but it’s just not the priority of the government or I guess any of us.
    The Munch: So, they need other people to help them and give them money to survive?
    Toni: Yeah.
    The Munch: So why did you only give her $2?
    Toni: Huh?
    The Munch: Why did you only give her 2$?
    Toni: Well, it’s more than $1…
    The Munch: But you have a $20 bill in your wallet. I saw it.
    Toni: Oh. Well… ummm…uhhhhh… you don’t really give homeless people $20???
    The Munch: WHY NOT!? THEY ARE HOMELESS!? MOM SHE DOESN’T HAVE A HOME AND YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GIVE HER $20?!
    Toni: Well, it’s complicated. I don’t know what she’s going to spend it on….
    The Munch: MOM WHY DOES THAT MATTER!? DID YOU NOT HEAR THE PART ABOUT HER BEING HOMELESS!?
    Toni: Touché.

    Munch took my wallet, grabbed my last $20, and went to find the woman to give it to her. And that’s how I began a relationship with a homeless woman where every time The Munch and I see her Munch gives her all the money in my wallet.

    Here she is making sure that I’m giving all my cash away.

  • How to Stay in Love and Be Happy in a Relationship ForEVER!

    I think we all know the narrative of the classic love story. Human meets human. They fall in love. They have sex 3-5 times a day. They think this will never change. They know they are the real deal, the ones who have found the hidden elixir of eternal love and lust. They are convinced they are different. They move into together. They are happy. But who’s turn is it to unload the dishwasher? Why are your dirty socks always on the sofa? Don’t use the sponge to wipe up the floor! THAT’S FOR THE SINK! No, you take out the trash! I did it last time. Who’s turn is it to make dinner? But I cleaned up yesterday! Why are you in such a bad mood all the time. No, YOU’RE THE ONE WITH TOO MANY EMOTIONS! Why are you always interrupting me? That’s my story… I want to tell it! I don’t want to watch that show, I want to watch THIS show. I guess we can have sex. Did you brush your teeth? Does that mean I have to brush my teeth? No it’s fine, I’ll do it. Wanna put some music on? Not that track, I hate that track. Have you always had this mole?

    The intimate relationship of living with a person and committing yourself to them is not an easy dynamic. Cohabitating means you’re exposed to MANY different sides of a person. No one is in a good mood all the time or has the energy to consistently be on their best behavior, so as a consequence you’re going to see the worst of your partner. (Except for me, I’m always a delight) It’s the moments of witnessing the shadow side of your lover that you may even feel some hate for them, but here is the question – how long do you hold onto that hate? How easy is it for you to access forgiveness?

    Genuine forgiveness is the KEY INGREDIENT to keeping the cherry pie of your relationship stay fresh. When you start to resent your partner, and are unable to forgive them for their behavior, that’s when you know you’re in trouble. Forgiveness is best accessed when the other person owns their shit and can say to you, “Whoops, I know I just took a huge metaphoric dump on the rug of our love and it’s smelly and moist, but hey, I’ll clean it up. Maybe the scent will linger for a bit, but I won’t deny my shit stank up the room. I also have this Nag Champa incense we could burn.”

    Of course, not everything a person does is forgivable. People can be abusive and if you’re living in that paradigm and keep forgiving then you’re putting yourself in danger (emotionally and physically). Yet for many of us our problems with our partners aren’t major red flags but more insidious scratches all over the body, and if you have too many, you will slowly bleed to death. You have to have time to heal each abrasion before the next one forms because even if they scar, they at least are no longer open decaying wounds.

    Having unconditional love for a person doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries. I used to think that to show unconditional love I had to always say “yes” and do what a person wanted. But that’s not sustainable. Saying “no” is sometimes the most loving act you can do if saying “no” means you won’t resent them in the future. Unconditional love is what we are looking for, yet that means we also have to give it. So how is this achieved?

    We have to separate the person we love from the behavior we want to choke them for. People don’t change, but behavior does. It’s hard to fathom changing who you are, but it is totally possible to change how you act. When you’re with a partner you love and respect you have to take their feedback of your behavior and modify accordingly. Chances are the stuff you do that drives your partner crazy also drives everyone else fucking crazy. Your partner just nags you about it more because they have to goddamn live with it!

    We have to train the person we want to be with to be the best versions of themselves. Just as if you got a puppy, you wouldn’t just expect that puppy not to piss in your shoes. You’d train them how to act so they’d know what behavior was acceptable. Some people lack the skills of being a good roommate and they have to be taught how to be so they aren’t insanely annoying. The more your partner is willing to be influenced by you, and learn from your wisdom, the more you will be able to work together in being the best versions of yourselves more often.

    A lot of my friends who date men often accept their ways because they assume that’s just how men are – especially around the house. NO! People have so much potential for growth, you just have to figure out the best strategy to motivate them to work with you not against you. Many men haven’t been taught to access their nurturing, caregiving, or homemaking sides. But a life partner than can cook, do the laundry, care about your emotional needs, express their emotional needs, clean up after themselves, take care of children, is a person that’s more fun to live with. When the woman takes up all the slack of running the house, holding the emotional space, and has to also work a job – she’s going to feel bitter. When a person refuses to evolve you’re going to resent the shit out of them. But you sometimes have to train your lover to learn that evolution is best for all parties. The better person you are to your partner, the better person you are to the world at large.

  • The Meditation of The Mundane Moving Me Through My Mania

    I don’t help people move. I do a lot of things in this world, but moving you is not one. When even my best friends tell me they’re moving, I just smile without teeth, nod, and then change the topic to myself. We all have our limitations. I will share my underwear with you, I will hold your hair back while you vomit, I will pick your toenails, clean your open wounds, and listen to you endlessly complain about your lover – but I will not help move that lamp.

    When it came to be my turn to move, I knew I had to go this journey alone. I can’t ask people to help me do things I would never do for them. Even when friends offered, I had to deny their generous gesture because I didn’t want to be beholden to a future moment of retribution. Fuck you friend. I’ll lift this bookshelf without you because your bookshelves are your problem!

    When I used to move apartments in my 20’s, I would get through the experience by doing bounteous amount of cocaine. I would fully pack and unpack a house in a 36-hour period and not stop once to sleep, eat, or even rest. The only thing I would pause for was of course, more cocaine. Yet now that I’m in my 30’s I had to approach this move like the mature adult that I am. Plus, I don’t have a dealer out here in the woods so…

    I guess I could have smoked weed, but who wants to puff on a joint and then pick up a couch? That wasn’t going to work, because then I would just eat chips and think about space. I had to move sober and totally aware of every moment.

    There are a lot of things I had to face during this 8-day process of moving, cleaning, and organizing from 8 am until 12:30 am. The first most glaring reality is that I am an ecological terrorist. The number of meaningless things I have accumulated over the years were frightening. The amount of trash that was produced as a consequence was utterly horrific. The frequency of dump runs was downright depressing. I am never buying anything again – except for white cut off shorts for the summer because cute right?

    I also could not help but notice my own naivety and entitlement. Because I’ve never owned a house, there is a detachment I have in the places I’ve lived. In my parent’s house I’d do the obvious things to keep it clean, like put away my dishes and pick up my room, but if I spilled crumbs of the floor I’d figure someone else would deal with that. I wasn’t going to wash their floors or windows. When I lived in apartments with boyfriends, we’d just accept crumbs on our floor. I never cleaned my toilet, or my shower. I didn’t vacuum, or scrub. I didn’t care. I’d just look at massive dust bunnies as pets and brown stains as decorative. When I’d see mouse shit on my counters I’d just flick it behind the oven and move on with my day.

    Throughout my 30’s I’ve had a cleaning person that has helped out with these nitty gritty details. I’d pick up for her and make things presentable, but I’d still assume that someone else would deal with things I didn’t feel like doing. This privileged perspective of “Oh, that will get done eventually, just not by me.”

    My own ignorance became glaringly apparent to me when I realized there was a major moth infestation that had to be dealt with. Now, I’m not a total idiot. I kind of knew that you didn’t want moths in your house and something about putting cedar in closets. But I also simultaneously thought moths weren’t that bad, and just night butterflies. I didn’t realize that moths would eat the shit out of fabric and plague your belongings with their maggots! I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up a cushion and then realized that you’re covered in moth larva, but holy shit is that a humbling moment. I spent 6 hours of my life vacuuming, scrubbing, cleaning, vacuuming, and then cleaning moth larva – breathing in these miniscule fetuses.

    So much of my stuff was covered in mouse piss from storing it that I had to clean every single thing I owned, including my cleaning products. I realized that I had to accrue a different awareness about my impact on not only the planet, but also how I approach my own relationship to responsibility. I can’t have the entitled attitude of the past, nor can I pass that on to my kid. As such I got her a dust buster so she can vacuum up her crumbs every time she sits down to eat.

    Yet despite my spoiled complaining of how much it sucks to move, it was actually a truly profound meditation. White people pay for meditation retreats to find enlightenment (present company included) but the mundane process of going through everything you own, cleaning it, and then putting it in a specific place was akin to a mediation retreat on crack. This mundane work took me to a mindful place where nothing else mattered but wiping off a counter. Dealing with how in the beginning it felt so overwhelming to stare at everything you own covered in animal feces to slowly chiseling down the effort where not only is all clean again, but also put away in its newly proper place was truly transcendent. I didn’t listen to music, or podcasts. I didn’t talk to anyone or distract myself with drugs. I just focused purely on the act in front of me, even if it was finding an onion that had somehow been packed in the kitchen “box” and said onion had molded to a point of creating a new ecosystem of fungus.

    I became so absorbed in this process that I forgot who I was. I forgot my ambitions, my anxieties about work, my depression about my unrealized dreams. I even forgot one of my best friend’s birthdays! I didn’t check email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. I didn’t hear about the news or the fact that WE ARE PUTTING BABIES IN DETENTION CENTERS AND OUR GOVERNMENT IS RUN BY IMMORAL MONSTERS WHICH ONLY HIGHLIGHTS OUR AMERICAN LEGACY OF SEPERATING FAMILIES THROUGH THE GUISE OF POLITICAL POLICY WHEN IN FACT ITS PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE AGAINST THE OPPRESSED!

    Fully immersing myself in the mundane was a vacation from the mania of myself. I dove into my psyche at its core and scraped off the superficial concerns that usually plague me. Yet now I don’t know who I am. I sit in front of my computer and I question everything. I became Toni who vacuumed and scrubbed, and that Toni had a mental freedom that the Toni that writes, makes videos, talks comedy into microphones, and tries desperately to be noticed doesn’t have. Cleaning Toni can have a goal and accomplish it. Cleaning Toni can eradicate crumbs and handle moth abortions. Trying to get into Sundance Toni I’m not so sure about.

    My stuff… still covered in pee pee of rodents

    ecological terrorism 🙁

    I also found such gems as the below old diary… where I not only practiced by alphabet cursive, but graded myself and A+ and decided I was “great.”

    June 21, 2018 • ambitions, change, emotions, Musings, responsibilities • Views: 438

  • Attracting the Law of Attraction

    What do you guys feel about the “law of attraction?” Do you feel you attracted to it? Have you been able to attract the law of attraction? Does that word sound silly to you now? Attraction. Attraction. Attraction. AHHHHH LIFE HAS NO MEANING!

    In simple terms, the “law of attraction” means the ability to attract into our lives what we focus on. If you direct your attention towards negative thoughts, then, that’s what you will attract. But if you focus on positive things, then suddenly you will be transported to a land of clouds made of cotton candy where fairies fart plum flavored pixie dust into your mouth and all your life’s dreams will be accomplished as hard-bodied lovers massage your inner thighs and kiss you tenderly with their eyes open to better gaze upon your magnificence. I don’t know about you guys, but I guess I must be a negative thinker because my life seems to be more of a series of mouth farts made by a burly guy that has heart burn and a penchant for sloppy-joes.

    I have a law of attraction story (I think), but you guys have to help me better understand it.

    The other day I went for a hike in the backwoods of my house with my friend, and we did what any two responsible mothers having a break from parenting would do – smoked a joint and started obsessing about how moss is spiritual. We were having a grand time pontificating about the splendor of nature and its endless capacity to incorporate the needs of all living organisms when the unthinkable happened – we ran into another human being!

    These woods are technically private property, but, also are they? Can anyone really own the land, man? But what I do know for sure, is that this lady took one look at me dressed in my uniform of sweatpants, a buffalo plaid hunting shirt, a jacket 4 sizes too big, and my hair resembling a nest for baby possums, and questioned if I was an undeserving vagabond who didn’t belong in these private woods, relishing the forest floor, deliberating if mushrooms are actually God’s freckles. I live in a pretty snobby area where people are VERY concerned about the goings on of others and always trying to make sure if you truly BELONG. It’s the New England way to belittle anyone who you think might be poorer than you.

    Lady in the Woods: Did you come from the highway down the road?
    Toni: I did not. We came from the estate over yonder! Betwixt the lord’s land and the serf’s manor. And you my lady? From where did you emerge?
    Lady in the Woods: Oh. My parents live up the road.
    Toni: Cool.

    Awkward silence.

    Toni: I’ve never seen another person in these woods before.
    Lady in the Woods: Neither have I.

    More awkward silence.

    Lady in the Woods: So, what do you do about ticks?
    Toni: Oh, ummm, nothing really.
    Lady in the Woods: Well, I had Lyme disease so I’m extra concerned.
    Toni: That makes sense.
    My Friend: I make a yarrow tincture.
    Lady in the Woods: I never heard that. I’ll try it.

    As my friend and I walked off, I was kind of irritated. For one – I didn’t like this lady’s attitude. Even if we had come from the road does that mean we should be denied the opportunity to stroll amongst the trees?! It’s not like my friend and I had chainsaws and were hacking plants recklessly. We weren’t smashing beer bottles, or hunting wildlife. We were chilling! This lady’s energy felt so elitist, exemplifying the very selfish attitude of the wealthy that only THEY are eligible to experience pristine natural beauty while us peasants should instead congregate at “public beaches” and “public parks” to roll around in the trash of their corporate greed. Barf.

    My second problem was that this lady made me think about ticks!

    Toni: Who does that lady think she is? Being so damn proprietary! PRETTY SURE THIS IS MY FAMILY’S LAND!!! MINE MINE MINE!! Also… I wasn’t thinking about ticks at ALL before she said that, and now I can’t stop thinking about them!
    My Friend: That’s a little nutty. You didn’t think about ticks once? This whole time?
    Toni: NO! Didn’t even occur to me.
    My Friend: Well, maybe you should think about them?
    Toni: How is that going to make my life any better? I was having such a good time in my head not thinking about fucking ticks… and now that I’m thinking about ticks, I’m having a less good time!
    My Friend: Still, it’s a little hubris not to think of ticks.
    Toni: Aren’t ticks the physical manifestation of capitalism? These creatures that suck blood until they are so full they just fall off their victim and are forced to then lay on the floor, unable to walk away because their bodies become too bloated and their legs too short to touch the ground?
    My Friend: This lady Susun Weed who has a podcast I listen to says that she just asks the part of her body and consciousness that feels things on her skin to communicate with her. She connects with that internal knowledge that has the awareness to let her know if there is a tick walking around.
    Toni: Huh. That’s pretty smart.
    My Friend: Right?

    So, I did just that. I asked my body to let me know if there were any ticks on me.

    I got home and suddenly my body told me: take off your socks and pants. Wouldn’t you know it… THERE WERE TWO TICKS ON MY LEGS! I got them off, and then asked my body again to let me know if there were any more. About ten minutes later I picked one off my head, and then ANOTHER off my neck!

    Now here is my question!!

    Did this lady save me by mentioning the ticks? After all, if she hadn’t said anything I wouldn’t have thought to take off my pants and socks to look for ticks at all. It’s because of that conversation that I became concerned about ticks and tried to connect to my body to give me insight on whether or not they were on me. Also, the fact that she initially offended my sense of morality made the conversation that much more heightened. So, in reality, her being a judgmental profiler made me listen even more.

    Or

    Did this lady CAUSE the ticks? If she hadn’t said anything I never would have thought of the ticks at all! Did her mentioning the ticks made me think of them and there for ATTRACT THEM TO ME!? Had I never thought of the ticks, would I never have attracted them, and there for never HAD to look for them.

    WHICH ONE IS IT??

    (PS my friend had NO ticks on her…)

    (PPS my friend was also using the yarrow tincture)

    Here are the two first ticks…

    May 24, 2018 • Adventures, emotions, Musings, responsibilities • Views: 692

  • Pulsing Ego Walks Through Fire and Falls into Darkness and Depression

    I don’t know about you, but I spend a pretty good portion of my life doubting myself. My pulsing ego beating against the soft membranes that barely contain it, writhing in agony as I try to understand my place in the world. Intellectually I know filling my days abusing myself is probably not the best choice of my energy, so I do my best to talk myself out of my negative feelings about me. I say things like, “come on Toni, you may be financial failure and unable to commodify yourself or your art thus indicating that perhaps what you’re creating has zero value to society, buuuuuut you are a good listener and make delicious quinoa!”

    It only sort of works.

    Yet sometimes I find myself tumbling into a darkness of my own making, drowning in a cavernous abyss of insecurity where I question every decision I’ve made in the last 20 years and wonder if I’ll ever accomplish my dreams or if I’m destined for a bleak future where my ambitious aspirations will forever haunt my ego in an enteral feedback loop of failure.

    It just depends on the day!

    Recently my kid had school vacation, and she went away for 7 days to Washington DC to spend time with her two grandmothers. My mom had planned this trip months ago, yet despite my knowledge that I would be kid-free for a week, I didn’t create any grand plans for myself during this time. Usually when The Munch goes away without me, I go away as well. Almost all of our family vacations are spent apart.

    Once The Munch left, I suddenly started thinking that I should do something more exciting than spending the week at home working like I do every other week. Yet none of my attempts of finding fun or making meaning out of my life were panning out. There were no performance opportunities, no creative projects, no people dying to see me, no one wanting to work with me… nothing.

    By not having my kid at home to distract me, this extra time to myself opened up the door to the dungeon of my psyche. It’s not like I don’t get depressed about my life when The Munch is home, because I do – yet it’s hard to go really deep with it when this bright ball of light keeps bouncing around asking me to feel how smooth hot wax is that had dried to her fingers. YEAH I GET IT! I’VE LIVED ON EARTH BEFORE! The diversion of caring for another human that’s so outwardly boisterous and content keeps my disdain about my superficial existence, superficial. I more skate on the surface of my self-loathing, gliding above the ice of my anxieties, and avoid falling into the fishing holes of flagellation when The Munch is with me. Her innocence and wonder at life is contagious, and makes it harder to take my pain as seriously.

    But with the Munch not around for me to deal with her needs, my needs became like a putrid rotting open wound I couldn’t stop picking at. Once the scab of my sense of self started bleeding, I decided it was probably best to peel off all my skin and turn inside out in the process.

    Needless to say I was a lot of fun to be around!

    On Wednesday I went on a walk with my friend and told her about my spiral of self –questioning, yet rather than allowing me to stew in self pity, she reminded me that I am making a choice to pursue an artistic career. I am not a victim and my goals are lofty. There are millions of talented people who work just as hard, and there is no guarantee for any of them. I knew she was right. I know she is right. Logically yes! YES TO ALL. Yet emotionally my struggle of accepting what I know to be true was torturous. That’s the crazy thing about self-inflected pain – it’s just as painful as the pain you didn’t cause yourself.

    I then talked to another friend who reminded me of how many hundreds of auditions she does – the amount of effort she labors out into the ether, putting herself out there time and time again. Reminding me that there is a futility in trying, but it’s also only in trying that anything ever happens – so even in perceived pointlessness there is a point!

    I then had to ask myself why? Why do I try? What drives me? What pushes me forward? Why do I spend my days writing gentalia infused social commentary? What is the point?

    I kept coming back to the same answer. It’s my pain about society. I want to be a part of changing the way people think. I have a deep desire to make an impact on culture and challenge the status quo. I want to shake shit up. Maybe I’m going about it in a weird way by making videos with penis costumes and having friends seduce life-sized dolls to comment about the patriarchy – but it’s not my fault my muse is obsessed with dick jokes and comedy! I’m inspired to make art because I’m inspired to inspire others to question. For the love of Gaia I was a philosophy major at Sarah Lawrence… what do you want from me?

    So that night I spend about 8 hours on my computer trying to find every writing contest, comedy festival, short film contest I could find and started submitting my work. I use to do this all the time, but the problem with applying to things is that every time I open my email, I’d get another rejection. I’d get rejected from things I didn’t every remember applying to. It got a bit demoralizing, so I stopped trying. Yet even if there is a .00001% chance of getting accepted to things that I apply to, that’s still better than the 0% chance I have when not even applying. So to deal with the pain of rejection, I had to open my heart up to more rejection. I have to just keep working and get better at what I do until I don’t get rejected.

    Isn’t that the hilarity of life?

    I tried to re-commit to myself and my process – which is something I think we all have to do. We have to re-commit to relationships, dreams, visions, goals, because they all will disappoint you. Yet even though my brain said “re-commit to your art Toni,” my heart said, “no matter what you’ll never be satisfied so you might as well take all that eternal angst and commit your organs to science.” The days went on, and I tried to talk myself out my sadness, but couldn’t.

    The Munch returned, yet my emptiness remained. We had our friends over to make chocolate chip banana bread, and my friend told me I was putting in too many chocolate chips which I didn’t even think was possible. We sat down to do a tarot reading and I picked a card on my career and suddenly my stomach hurt more than it ever had in my life. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I went to the bathroom and tried to evacuate the demon clawing its way out my colon, but nothing came out of me. I couldn’t puke, I couldn’t poop, nothing.

    I told my friend I was really hurting and felt like a creature was gnawing its way through my intestines – she suggested maybe I had ecoli. I went back to the bathroom and the pain was so intense it was blinding. Now I am NEVER one to go the hospital, yet I started to think maybe that’s where I needed to go. I felt like I was dying. I didn’t have the energy to go to the hospital, so I decided I just had to relax. I had to relax into dying because fighting it seemed like the wrong vibe. I tried to breathe into my dying and I went and laid in bed under 3 blankets, shivering to the point of frenzy.

    The pain wouldn’t release me from its clutch, so again I slinked to the bathroom, barely able to hold up my body. I exhaled and felt a cramping so severe I honestly almost passed out. And then I took the most excruciating but also shamanic shit of my life. As soon is it was over, the pain was gone. Just as fast as it came.

    I laid on the couch for the rest of the night and had some chocolate chip banana bread – and yes there were too many chocolate chips.

    The next day I saw my healer, hoping for answers about my stomach pain, my back pain, and my emotional pain.

    Toni: I had taken some expired Advil. Do you think that could have been the reason my stomach hurt so much?
    Healer: No, I don’t think so. Get on the table and let’s check you out.
    Toni: Okay.
    Healer: Well, your first chakra is split, your 5th chakra is split, and your 3rd chakra is not only split, but it has an entity attached to it.
    Toni: Oh dear!
    Healer: Let me just remove the entity… AHHH it jumped on me!
    Toni: Goodness! Did you catch it?
    Healer: Give me a moment.

    (Pause for dramatic exorcism of entity)

    Healer: Okay. It’s gone.
    Toni: Wow. Do you think that’s why my stomach hurt so much yesterday?

    My healer looked at me with an expression of genuine bewilderment.

    Healer: I don’t know? How could I know that?

    Let’s not forget that my healer DID know that I had an inter-dimensional being lodged in my 3rd charka that she had to physically remove – yet what she did NOT know was if that galactic creature was the cause of my stomachache… which is actually totally fair when you think about it rationally.

    I left my healer’s house feeling better. You could attribute it to a thousand things… pending your belief system and how open your mind is. All I can say for sure is that I feel a lot lighter… that could have been the epic shit too? Who knows?

    I mean… this IS how I choose to spend my days after all…

    May 9, 2018 • emotions, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Musings, problems, responsibilities • Views: 774

  • The Real-Estate Agent In Your Brain (Renting Out Your Depression and Anxiety Apartments)

    When I am my happiest, I am thinking the least. Not a lot is going through my head when I’m having a good time. I’m not thinking about my own personal failures, the fact that humans are currently causing our 3rd massive extinction of animals, or about the inevitability of implicit bias and how our collective unconscious mentalities only further subjugate the already oppressed and vulnerable. I’m not thinking of any of that, or feeling the inevitable depression that coats those thoughts, but instead I strip down, allowing my brain cavity to empty out the pesky thoughts of the overwhelming inequality in the world, leaving space to forget all that momentarily to instead notice the beauty, hope, and potential all around me… and then of course I take another hit of weed.

    When I’m at my most depressed, I’m thinking a lot. My mind is filled with the futility of my artistic pursuits – how I’m just spinning wheels, existing in a vortex of my own mediocrity and meaningless efforts. I question why I spend my time yearning for something I’ll never achieve because my poor life choices mixed with average abilities have rendered me forever insignificant. My head will then fill with the living nightmare of my political and social impotence to be part of a real revolution that annihilates the economic system that has corrupted every facet of human culture and serves as the driving force of ecological terrorism we’ve enacted on the planet. I’ll lose myself in these thoughts that everything is so insurmountable and regardless of my emotional boner to penetrate society with my positive influence, I’m instead a flaccid inactive member that hangs pathetically, ashamed of my own inadequacy.

    Everyone feels this way right??

    Most people I know battle with depressive thinking. We all choose to handle it in our own ways. We self-medicate, masturbate, and believe that smoking a vape is safe. Yet the truth is, there are countless things to be legitimately depressed about, yet we all crave reprieve from that all consuming feeling of no feeling. No one wants to be depressed. There is a massive industry promising you relief from this encompassing emotion, and people will deal with the side effects of dry mouth(s) and soft dick for liberation. Depression is a pervasive feeling that has swept across this country with millions of people aching to sweep it off the platter of their emotional plate for good.

    We can be depressed about a romance gone sour, a love that has curdled in the cup of your heart that you don’t know how to reverse the rotting process. So you think about this person obsessively, not because it feels good, but because it feels bad. It’s almost as if you’re not the one doing the thinking. That someone else is controlling your mind as if with a remote. Every time you try and change the channel to something else, they change the channel right back to your heartbreak. You try desperately to watch something benign like animal planet, but this demon keeps forcing you “Clockwork Orange” eversion therapy style to instead stay tuned to the reality show of your bitter rejection.

    Maybe you’re depressed because you can’t have the career you want, the baby you want, or the life that you want. When your needs aren’t being met, or you feel at the mercy of a culture that’s designed to keep you down because you’re not the status quo, it’s natural to feel hopeless, helpless, and despondent. Yet those feelings are often not in the backdrop of your brain, quietly murmuring in a corner of your mind, but instead they are the loudest voices in your head – reminding you constantly of their existence by screaming their discontent.

    Why is it that when you WANT to think about something else, you CAN’T? Aren’t you the only person in your mind? So then why can’t you choose what you do and don’t think about!? If YOU don’t want to be thinking about something, yet can’t stop thinking about it, then WHO is the one making you think about it? Is there a real-estate agent in your mind renting out the rooms of your psyche?

    Imagine your brain as an apartment building, and each feeling is an apartment in your head. Let’s say you’re in a relationship, and you give that person the keys to your penthouse. The penthouse is of course the pinnacle of your mental energy, so by living in the penthouse your lover becomes the thing you think about the most, care about the most, and are most consumed with. If the relationship is good, or you’re in that initial phase of love/lust where everything seems perfect and full of possibility, then allowing yourself to daydream about that person all day feels okay. But what happens when the relationship starts deteriorating? Then thinking about that person is going to make you feel like shit, yet you can’t not think about them because they live in the fucking penthouse of your brain! In order to stop thinking about them, you need to get the keys back!

    You tell the real-estate agent in your mind that you’re breaking up, so your lover can’t live in the penthouse anymore. The real-estate agent then says “Okay, so we’re evicting Chad from the penthouse – who wants to rent the space now? Oh ‘Crippling Self-Doubt’ your application looks good and I see you have the full down payment. Wow, ‘Self-Loathing,’ your credit score checks out – y’all wanna be roommates? Now, who wants to rent the anxiety apartment because we just remodeled it and added a few extra rooms in including a master bath for depression! Oh Chad you’d like to live in anxiety now? Sure that works out, and you’re new girlfriend can even have her office in there, so perfect. Ummm let’s see, looks like suicidal thoughts has a room to fill, any takers? Looks like Chad wants a few more keys to some other apartments. How about right before bed thoughts, and first thing in the morning thoughts? Great. Oh, and of course Chad, here is the key to listening to music and watching people kiss on the street.”

    Who lives in the penthouse of your mind? If it’s another person, career goal, how fucked up the world is, or a specific vision of how your life should be – chances are that you’re going to think about things that make you miserable. We have no control over other people, we have no control over our success, we have no control over the Illuminati, and we have no control when it comes to constructing the perfect life. If your penthouse is rented to something or someone you have no control over, then you will always feel powerless in your own mind. Instead, why not rent out the penthouse of your brain to the process of self-growth? Not a specific vision of what that looks like, but rather the simple journey of self-reflection and actualization. If you decide that your one goal in life is to evolve at whatever pace makes the most sense at the time, then you are no longer a victim of circumstance. You are the architect of your own personal progress, and you can design your penthouse for you. Maybe your kitchen is messy and the master bedroom is still under construction, but you still sleep well in the guest room and the walk-in closet is finally finished. As long as you’re working towards progress, you will always feel some sort of mental peace. Yeah the world is a fucking trashcan filled with racism, sexism, hate and fear – but the greatest form of activism starts with empowering yourself to have the mental energy and emotional bandwidth to put yourself out there in the face of all the adversity and try. Why rent your penthouse to anyone else besides your self-awareness? It’s YOUR penthouse after all. Would you own an apartment building and live in the basement? So why would you do that in your own head?

    Of course for some many of us that are in debt, the targets of bigotry, or suffering from severe trauma – your penthouse is going to have some squatters. When you are struggling financially and worry if you can feed your family, those thoughts are going to plague you. If you’re a person of color constantly reminded that your life doesn’t matter, these thoughts will haunt you. If you’re the victim of some awful crime it’s going to be incredibly to hard push those thoughts out of the penthouse. You maybe have to have some unwanted tenants in your penthouse, but you STILL have to insist that it’s YOUR name on the lease, and your RIGHT to kick them out as you gain strength and need more rooms.

    Then don’t forget how do you want to design the rest of the building? You are going to have an anxiety apartment, a self-doubt apartment, a self-loathing apartment… But how big are they? Who are you renting them out to? Who are you allowing in these spaces? What about your love apartment? Your feeling optimistic apartment? How big are they? And what is your screening process like? Don’t let rats and vermin take over your building and make sure you’re only giving out keys to those with impeccable references!

    Look at this lovely bath in the penthouse in your brain!!!

    April 12, 2018 • ambitions, emotions, Musings, problems, Relationships, responsibilities • Views: 1750

  • Maybe We Should Get to Know Each other BEFORE Getting Naked?

    Toni: I totally forgot about that attempted rape!!!!

    That was an actual sentence that came out of my mouth last weekend. I wasn’t trying to be flippant – it was just an authentic reaction to a memory I hadn’t thought about since it happened. Not because I was repressing trauma (I don’t think) but more because it was just one of so many times where a man tried to sexually violate me that I swept it under the Persian rug of my consciousness. I got away, and nothing happened, so why file it in the memory banks? That’s how many #metoo moments a lady can have. So many, you forget about the ones you escape.

    Sadly, not every time I was in a creepy situation with a guy did I feel tough enough to scream in his face, “I’m going to cut off your dick and eat it” – too many times I felt the opposite. I have plenty of memories where I felt unsure and unsafe. I acquiesced. I resigned. I did things I didn’t want to do because I didn’t have it in me to yell about chomping off penises. This is the problem with the gray area around sexual assault. The story that Aziz Ansari is currently the unwilling ambassador of. The encounters that leave a woman feeling sexually violated even though she wasn’t held down with a gun to her head, and the man is left confused, not believing he did anything wrong. I think in Western American culture we have come to a common understanding of what violent rape is, but we have no idea about the massive spectrum of harm against women that is now dominating the conversation.

    WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE GRAY AREA!!

    Not just us ladies. If men want to stop getting accused of being rapey they’ve got to be open to understanding why shit feels rapey. Probably a lot of men are thinking right now, “Shut the fuck up… just shut the fuck up about all this. Your feelings make me uncomfortable so stop sharing them. Shut the fuck up and take it.” Well, we have. We’ve shut the fuck up for thousands of years and now we’re done being quiet.

    Women are trying to talk about it, and that is actually the MOST important part of this movement. Sure it sucks for these public figures that are now becoming the reluctant figureheads of these dialogues. It may not feel fair to some that Aziz is experiencing a massive public shaming for behaving in a way that millions of men do daily. But you know what else isn’t fair? The millions of women getting raped at this moment across the world. Life isn’t fair. It hasn’t been fair for women since the dawn of the patriarchy, and it hasn’t been fair for most men either. Some men that aren’t technically “bad” men are going to go down, and yeah, it’s a real bummer for them – but it’s also the ONLY way men will listen. I think many of us feel conflicted because who wants a seemingly benign dude like Aziz to be the poster boy for sexual assault? Especially when what he did feels so relatable to so many? Trust me, I’d rather have a white piece of shit like Weinstein continue to be the face of the #metoo stories because I hate the racial undertones. Yet Weinstein was such a monster that most men were like “Shit, I’m not like that mother fucker so I must be okay.” The reality is that these more common stories have to be the ones we’re paying equal attention to even if they lack the obvious violence of the Weinstein style rapes. The more men identify with Aziz and his story the more men will develop a greater curiosity to understand what all these “lady feelings” are about when it comes to sexual assault. The more men that burn in fire of this flaming desire women have to be heard, the more men will wake up and listen.

    This is not a bad thing. This is actually really important for men, women, intimacy and culture. I think we’re actually evolving, or at least the process is in front of us. Yet the question shouldn’t be “why don’t these women just leave if they feel uncomfortable,” but rather “why aren’t men curious about the woman’s sexual and emotional experience?”

    Of course there are instances when husbands rape their wives. There are countless stories of someone you know raping you. This happens too. Knowing each other will not stop all rape, but it will have an impact on these millions of confused moments between strangers. In modern western “hook up culture” having sex with a stranger has become normalized. Yet there are MANY problems with this expectation that you should get naked with someone you barely know. One major issue is that you have NO idea their sexual history or experience with trauma. When you don’t know a person, you have no way of knowing if they are fucking you because they want to, or because they have become psychically paralyzed and are trying to get away from you but don’t know how. Our personal histories contribute to our sexuality and how we react to situations that feel violating. Not every person that feels scared is going to speak out and let you know. Sometimes they are too petrified to say how terrified they really are. If you don’t know them, how would you have the emotional intelligence to pick up on their energy? As a man, isn’t that something you want to know?? Don’t most men want the woman they are with to genuinely want them? So if men like Aziz Ansari don’t want women to blog about them publically and tell their #metoo stories when they think they were just having a good time, they might actually have to get to know women before fucking them.

    Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. Women are actually pretty interesting. We are worth getting to know. Yet we live in a culture that treats people as if they are disposable. Both men and women have become so accustomed to fucking strangers that the expectation to connect to a person intimately is no longer a pre-requisite of sex. We have stripped all the humanity from sex when we continue to refuse to actually know each other, know each other’s pain, and have curiosity for who we actually are. I’m not suggesting we expect each other to live out a Jane Austen novel, but rather, I don’t know… start developing a more patient and curious dynamic with the people we plan to share our bodies with? We’re more willing to expose our genitals to someone than we are our hearts.

    Sure the occasional one-night-stand can be fun – but that still needs to be a respectful encounter where BOTH parties are pretty clear of their intentions. This means that rather than using another person’s body to masturbate with, we actually have to have a real conversation making sure the exchange is mutual. Call me old fashioned but my best sexual experiences are when the guy I am with is interested in my experience with him. He is caring and aware of not only my pleasure, but also checking in if what he’s doing is okay. What makes the scene hot is his genuine interest in me as a human, even if I never see him again. And guys, wouldn’t you rather air on the side of caution??? Let me tell you something, when I want a guy, I fucking make that shit known. If I’m going to have a one-night stand, I’m goddamn ready to do that. I promise you – the type of woman that’s down to fuck for the night is the type of woman that will go after you. There is no need to push yourself on someone feeling timid because that’s a sure fire sign that she’s NOT INTO IT!

    We don’t need a movie “he’s not that into you,” we need the movie “she’s not that into your dick so don’t force it on her okay sweetie?”

    There are too many instances where men are caught off guard by how they make a woman feel during their sexual encounter. The apology of Aziz is maybe the most disturbing part of the story – how these two people were on SUCH drastically different pages regarding the same event. Him thinking she wants it, her feeling assaulted. Him believing that because he texted her a few times and took her out to dinner that he was being a gentleman, her feeling used and abused. The most crucial part of this narrative is how almost every woman and man in this country can relate to it. We’ve all been there, so now we all can talk about it.

    Texting someone a few times is not getting know someone. We pretend it is because so much of our communication is now through that medium, but a text convo is not going to build trust in an authentic way. Having a “text” relationship before a date is NOT building the intimacy necessary to be respectful during sex. For her to be able to say “I am uncomfortable” and for him to actually hear that. I know Aziz doesn’t want to think of himself as rapey, but he also wasn’t interested in this woman’s pleasure. He wasn’t interested in her mind. He wasn’t shoving his fingers down her throat while asking her what her favorite book was, or if she was close with her father. When women are objects of sex for men, there is no reason for men to try and understand who women are. I’m sorry to say this guys, but women are kind of sick of being sex dolls.

    We fear intimacy because we fear love because we fear getting hurt because we fear ourselves because we fear intimacy because we fear love because we fear getting hurt. YOU GET IT? We are driven by fear. Men treat women like androids not because they are brave, but because they are scared. They are afraid of women because women can hurt their hearts. So why not think of a woman as purely a pussy because that’s easier than being vulnerable to the potential pain she may cause? It’s a pre-emptive strike. If I treat you like you mean nothing to me, then you can’t make me feel like nothing.

    Everything about modern culture is actually tearing us away from each other. Most porn is a psychological barrier objectifying women and sex. Social media is a physical barrier fooling us that an online community is as valuable as real life interaction. The patriarchy is the ruling system dividing the genders and creating power dynamics that affect every facet of how we interact. We can’t talk about rape culture and #metoo moments without deconstructing the societal infrastructure that supports this complete lack of genuine connection. The complicated reality is that for men to know women, they also have to know themselves. There is no more avoiding the self. The day of reckoning has come. We are all victims of culture, yet we all have to take responsibility for our actions.

    So I know guys – it’s hard. But think of it this way. If every man had to suffer the social consequences of being sexually inappropriate with women then holy shit we’d have to restructure the entire planet because there is a lot of them. All those high powered 1%-ers, those lizard people politicians and executives would no longer be in power. Men in all industries would fall. It would be kind of amazing. Maybe this is what all people have been waiting for? Our current society is fucked as fuck, on the brink of nuclear war, and in the midst of environmental mayhem. I am willing to bet my left tit that 99% of the top 1% of men that are currently destroying all hope for humanity have sexually assaulted women. So if this #metoo movement means these dudes lose power and a new infrastructure must be formed in it’s wake then actually… everyone wins!

  • Maybe I’m not a total failure after all?

    In this age of social media where we’re constantly seduced into comparing our lives to the glorious existence of others, it’s easier than ever to feel like a total failure. If it weren’t for Facebook I wouldn’t know that a kid I went to high school with was now a U.S Representative and probably going to be president one day while I’m watching his speeches about health care stoned in my sweatpants. Forget the fact that he’s a Kennedy, he knew what he wanted out of life and pursued it with focus while I’m busy thinking how I should start micro-dosing mushrooms because then maybe I’ll come up with more vaginal related humor.

    I try not to envy others because jealousy is one of the most useless emotions. It doesn’t motivate me but rather traps me in a cage of my own insecurity and all I can do is feast off the flesh of whatever carrion the zookeeper of my psyche nonchalantly tosses at me. I grew up in a very competitive environment living in a Harvard Dorm as a child, and then going to a private school where kids were having panic attacks in the 5th grade because they feared an 85% on their spelling test meant they weren’t getting into MIT and only getting into Brown would cause deep shame to their family.

    I was used to competition and probably even felt it was healthy. It wasn’t until I drank ayahuasca in my 20’s (of course that happened) that I realized my competitive nature was part of my dis-ease. The medicinal vine showed me that comparing myself to others was what was holding me back emotionally in life and an energy I had to address. From that moment forward every time I felt myself comparing myself to someone else, either to feel better than them or worse than them, I would send that person loving kind energy. You should fucking try this sometime because it actually works. The minute you feel the impulse stop yourself, send them some love, and move on to the next thought. Don’t worry – you have thousands up there, like being curious if white supremacists worship albinos. I HAVE TO KNOW!

    Yet even though I developed this practice to stop me from comparing myself to others, I still have all this competitive energy socialized into me. Because I’ve been so committed not to direct it towards other people, its morphed into competing with myself. I think this is mostly okay, but also means that I’m always striving towards something in front of me. No matter what I accomplish, I’m then already focusing the next goal. I’m like one of those horses in a race chasing a fake rabbit that will always be a few paces ahead. I run faster and faster, frothing at the mouth hoping to catch up with a dream that is unattainable because I’m not meant to reach it. Okay fine, that’s not a great way to be either. Whatever no one’s perfect.

    Everyone always tells me I have to enjoy the journey because the journey is all we have. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the stupid journey. Don’t get me wrong, I believe this to be true, it’s just hard for me. I try my best to have patience with myself and realize that there is no destination because the place I’m trying to go will always change. I can’t reach the horizon because it actually doesn’t exist. It’s just an abstract line in front of me that will always move farther into the distance. There’s no point in stressing out about my lack of success because I’ll probably always want more. The best thing I can do is to accept that truth, and appreciate the process. I’m trying. I really am. Some days are better than others, but there are moments where I can actually feel this peace of mind and not just pretend I do.

    But what is success really? The way I measure success is through my work ambitions, but is that a metric I should be using? Aren’t there other ways to track success beyond the recognition of the economic marketplace validating your effort? Is my obsessive determination to quantify my artistic self my only worth? Of course not, even though it can feel that way for me.

    What I realized about myself recently is that all the parts of myself I value the most are the most conventionally “masculine” aspects of my personality. I respect that I work really hard, that I’m driven, that I don’t have emotions, that I rarely cry, that I’m hyper rational and argue like a corrupted corporate lawyer. It’s rare that I look at my more feminine qualities and honor them as part of my success.

    YOU GUYS!! DID YOU HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID? This is so humiliating to admit? I secretly worship my inner male and cast aside my inner female? Me?? The womb worshipping witchy woman? How can this be? How insane is it that a rabid feminist that gnaws at the heels of the patriarchy is still so internally ruled by it. I never feel pride about my more “feminine” successes. They are not a part of my self-esteem. In fact, I barely even notice them. So how can someone like me, who so openly honors the feminine in others, disgrace it in myself?

    When I confessed this to myself I was overcome with confusion. My whole life’s goal has been to venerate the metaphoric vagina in all of us. I believe the feminine aspects of all humans have to be penetrated into culture. Society has been ruled by the so-called “male” for so many thousands of years and we’re obviously out of balance. I’m not talking gender binary because gender is a fluid spectrum every person experiences. I’m talking about how society has defined, boxed in, and co-opted our understanding of gender. Whether we identify with gender or not, the gender stereotypes exist and we’ve been over valuing the “masculine” since the dawn of the patriarchy.

    If I’m going to self-righteously preach the glory of the feminine and how we need its influence, I also have to apply this rhetoric to myself. Isn’t it time I de-program my vision of success through this masculine financially based model and look at what I’ve accomplished that isn’t quantified? I may be an economic failure, but that doesn’t mean I’m useless. For the first time I looked at my life and proclaimed to myself that my greatest success has been being a mother.

    I know. I just said that.

    This may be something many women feel, but it was never something I felt. It didn’t even occur to be to see my mothering as a success. First of all, my life is my writing and that’s not funny content to write about – no one wants to hear about that. Can you imagine if my blog was just a series of humble brags about how much I loved my kid and what an easy time we were having? Boring. Snore. Blah. Makes me want to barf. But the truth is, that I’ve done a pretty fucking great job raising my kid, so much so that I can barely write about her anymore because she’s just so damn delightful. We have very little conflict, she’s wonderful to be around, I really enjoy her company, and our boundaries are super clear. I don’t feel like I even have to parent The Munch right now. I ask her to do things and she just does them because we have an understanding of how to best live together and there is mutual respect. The Munch is more like a roommate than I kid that I have to constantly monitor their behavior. I mean just writing this paragraph kind of made me gag, but I’m trying to hold back the bile.

    I’m sitting with this. I’m doing my best to let myself feel the success in my mothering and just not feel like a total failure for one day of my life. Sure most of the things I apply to reject me. Yeah I prostitute myself on the regular for “likes,” “comments,” and “followers.” Yes I spend everyday desperately trying to make myself culturally relevant in an artistic world oversaturated with talent and content. That’s all still true and can eat away at my soul like a raccoon at the dump of trashed self-confidence. Yet I do have this one gem in my life – this little person I’ve influenced that is not an asshole. That’s got to count for something right?

  • Men That Are Part of The Solution

    Throughout these past few weeks of Weinstein and #metoo, I keep craving for men to participate more in the conversation. I know I am not alone in this. I think we all know that we cannot change rape culture with women solidarity alone. We need alliances with men. In order for the deeply engrained patriarchal messaging to change, it is crucial that men are willing to look at themselves, their own behavior, and ask themselves hard questions. I’ve had many private conversations with men that have started to contemplate their part in this zeitgeist, and wonder about their past in a new light.

    It’s hard for me to say that men are born rapey. I know too many little boys for me to chalk rape culture up to testosterone. Last night I was with my friend and her small son, and he peed his pants. She asked if I could watch him while she ran to the car to get clean clothes, and there I was, staring at this 4-year old little boy with no pants. He was holding his shirt up with his one hand to avoid getting pee on it, and then holding his dick with the other. We looked at each other, and he tugged on his dick a bit while maintaining direct eye contact. I asked him what he was going to be for Halloween. He told me a ninja. I went into some stories of my past Halloweens to continue the conversation. I told him of trick-or-treating in the city, scarfing candy to the point of vomiting, and of course how my mom would eat my favorite chocolates while I was at school. When this kid’s mom came back with clean pants, he then relayed to her EVERYTHING I had told him. He recounted my stories in exact detail, sharing my joys and pains with his mom with the empathy of Mother Theresa. This little boy listened to me intently – despite his dick in his hand. THAT IS THE POTENTIAL OF MEN YOU GUYS!

    Men are not born monsters. I mean fine, some are. Some people are born with the desire to eat other people. There are some fucked up brains out there, and it doesn’t matter who their parents are, or what school they went to – they are going to do absolutely insane shit like keep a freezer full of heads. Some atrocities can’t be explained through conditioning, society, or the patriarchy… but those cases are the extreme.

    Since rape culture and sexual assault is SO PERVASIVE THAT EVERY SINGLE WOMAN I KNOW HAS EXPERIENCED IT MULTIPLE TIMES… there is something beyond brain chemistry fueling this. Too many men have been perpetrators. This is not purely a phenomenon of some bad eggs… but rather a ubiquitous energy that affects us all.

    Culture at large, the patriarchy, and our rapey economic system entwined with the corporate and political agenda that backs it up are CRUCIAL ASPECTS OF RAPE CULTURE. (I wrote about this in detail last week). We live in a society propped up by a system of exploitation. The patriarchy of course oppresses women, but also men – even though few of them are the obvious beneficiaries of it. If you are not part of the 1% of men that the patriarchy is designed for, then you’re just as negatively impacted, but in a different way.

    Men internalize the patriarchy different than women. They are brought down by feelings of insecurity and failure. For me as a woman to not succeed in the patriarchy, fine whatever, it’s not intended for me. I know that. If I were to succeed in life it would be despite the patriarchy, not because of it. But for men to not succeed, you’re an extra loser. The powerlessness I feel in being an economic failure is easily explained by a rampant sexist culture that has been at play for thousands of years. For men to feel powerless, when they are technically the ones with the power, it is a distinct feeling of weakness.

    Many men act out this deep seeded insecurity and self-flagellation onto women. They take out their rage of feeling pathetic onto those they can easily exploit. They seek the power they lack by overpowering others. Yet even though I’m not going to feel bad for a raper, I would rather be raped then live with raping someone. I would rather be the victim of violence than the perpetrator. I can live with myself after being raped, sexually assaulted, and violated. I don’t have the guilt of doing that to someone else. These aren’t fun memories for anyone of course. They’re horrible and they eat away at you. But when I’m lying on my deathbed I’m not going to be filled with regret for being a horrible person. I don’t care who you are. But when you’ve denigrated and hurt others, you will have to face that when you’re dying. You can run from it your whole life, but you can’t run forever. It will catch up to you. I don’t know if you’ve ever been around a dying rapist, but I have – and let me tell you, there is a fear in their eyes I will never have.

    The patriarchy is the guiding force at play, yet we women also prop it up. As painful as that is, and as much I can say that we are brainwashed so of course that happens – it’s still a fact we have to face. Its already circumcised women that circumcise girls – women that have personally gone through that pain and suffering then perpetuate it in the name of tradition. The women carry on the practice. It’s white women that voted Trump into office. (Sorry I just gagged). There are women that are part of the “Men’s Rights Movement.” Women are married to Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein. Women may be programmed by the patriarchy yes – but not all of us are. Many of us are fighting.

    Men too are encoded by the patriarchy, but some of them are trying to break free from the matrix as well. We need to come together, but in order for us to do that, we have to work with the men that are opening their eyes trying to change things.

    As I woman I want men to be my ally. In order for men to understand their destructive behavior towards women they have to 1) look out how culture at large has shaped them, and 2) understand their own personal context.

    Which leads me to a post I recently read on Facebook by Daniel Pinchbeck. In the post he attempts to understand himself, and why he acted in ways towards women that was sexually inappropriate. He didn’t break any laws, or act in a way that would get in him jail, but we all know there is a major gray area when it comes to sexually violating someone. Not everything you do that would abuse a woman is illegal.

    Pinchbeck goes deep into his life experience, trying to understand the primal wounds of his childhood that were at play in his adult decisions. He talks about his relationship with his mother, some memories of his grandmother that involved forced enemas, and how he was in a full body cast from ages 10-11. His effort seemed to me to dig into the personal framework that shaped him. He talks of the impact of other men and how they treated women, as well as his experience of how fame gave him access to women he never had before. To me this was an attempt for a man to publically own up to his part of rape culture, apologize for it, and try to understand how he came to be part of it in the first place. The most important sentence he wrote was, “I want to clear this thoroughly and thoughtfully. I would like to ask any woman who has felt wronged by me to contact me directly or through an intermediary, if she would like. We can discuss in private or we can use mediators if that seems best. I appreciate those who have written to me already.”

    That feels sincere to me. I read that as not as, “hey I fucked up, but I have mommy issues so it’s not my fault,” but rather, “I know this Facebook post is only the tip of the iceberg and I want the actual woman that have ever felt violated by me to know that I am fully wanting to work together, admit my faults, and at least plant the seeds for healing.” None of this is perfect, but there is no guidebook for how to deconstruct yourself. Pinchbeck’s effort is what I felt was the most important. This is not a man that is running from his past, but towards it.

    To me, this is an example of what I want men to be doing. It’s not flawless. It’s messy. But yeah, so is all of life. If any of the men that sexually violated me reached out to say, “Hey, I know I really fucked up and I would love to talk about how to heal,” I would be ready to listen. Not for them, but for me. It’s better than dealing with it all alone, as these events I try not to think about too much because the memories make my body cringe.

    I started looking through the comments of his post, and some people were supportive, and others were so shitty! Just tearing him down for saying anything. Page 6 even wrote an article saying that Pinchbeck was trying to blame women for his sexual misconduct. Page 6! The same mother fuckers that defended Weinstein for years is now calling out a dude trying to be part of the solution under the guise of feminism, or sticking up for women.

    Feminism is about finding genuine equality between the genders. Part of that process is making space for men to look at their own home lives, how they were parented, how they were mothered, and question how it effected their sexuality. If I said publically that the way my parents treated me impacted my sexual identity, no one would question that. Isn’t feminism allowing men to do the same? Isn’t that equality? For Pinchbeck to wonder how his personal story impacted his actions I think is something we all have to do. We must understand our primal wounds as children in order to comprehend our adult selves.

    As parents, we are going to make an impact on our kid’s sexuality. Of course we are. Parents influence every aspect of our children, and even though no one likes to think of their child as a sexual creature, they are. I didn’t see Pinchbeck as blaming his mom, or women, but asking questions around how he was raised. He was trying to understand his past and how internalized behaviors he didn’t understand when he was a kid.

    People abuse PC-ness and become vicious when ripping other’s apart in the name of victimness. Yes it’s important that we have a culture shift that is more sensitive, but that does not give people a blank card to violently bash others in the name of justice. How is that progress?

    If we attack men opening up about their regrets for not doing it EXACTLY right, how does that inspire other men to do the same? We need men to be doing more of this, not less!! If the response is to demonize them rather than asking questions to FURTHER the conversation, then we’re just making men more indignant. We need men to open up and be vulnerable, and if we shit on them when they’re trying, we’re only discouraging others.

    We need a foundation to start from – a platform for healing to begin. That starts with men feeling that there is room for them to be vulnerable, and open up. Their first try may not be watertight, but it’s a start. From there we keep talking, keep unwinding, and keep unraveling the thread of the patriarchy that has tied us all up in a web of misery.