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  • 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: 751

  • Being in a Dick Hijab: Getting To Know My Audience

    I’ve been putting myself out there into the cosmos of the Interwebs for over a decade now – weaving my way into the collective consciousness one “like” at a time. It’s been a slow process of gaining an audience of people curious about what will come out of my mouth hole, especially considering the plethora of gaping holes to gaze into on your screen. Of all the dark abysses that are available on the Internet, I thank you for choosing mine over the myriad of anal cavities currently begging for your attention. Namaste.

    I’m grateful for all the various mediums to actively prostitute my art on. I can pimp myself through a variety of social media platforms, and trick people into consuming the contents of my psyche. It’s a gift to be born in this time where I can broadcast my thoughts out into the hive mind, to desperately buzz around trying to make my quasi-feminist, pseudo-intellectual, semi-philosophical, and comedic-dramatic mark on society. Yet within this quest to create content for the Internet warning people of the dangerous distraction of consuming too much content on the Internet there is one element- perhaps one of the most important- that I have no real control over. Who the hell engages with my work?

    When I think about whom I’m creating my art for, the consumer in my mind is a woman wearing hemp flowing robes that’s free-bleeding onto the dirt floor of her yurt to fertilize her organic chia seeds while hosting a scared ceremony of the high priestess to end world suffering through mass meditation and yoni inspired dance. Not that I’m trying to be super specific or anything – and in truth, I’m happy anyone takes the time to read me or watch my videos. Yet I do have to say, when I go through my Google analytics I’m noticing that my audience isn’t exactly what I expected.

    For one there’s my blog. I’ve made many friends through my writing – glorious individuals I’ve never met, but who’ve resonated with my words, and supported me throughout the years. Yet when I look at the top searches that bring people to my blog, I have to say, it’s the most disturbing shit I’ve ever read in my life. Here’s a sweet example of what’s on there today.

    Wow right??? And that’s actually a tame one! “Kid’s eating cum” isn’t as bad as the one last week of “little girls choking on dick.”

    This is HIGHLY disturbing, but maybe also a victory? I picture the man who’s typing these pedophilic, misogynist, and perverted searches into his Google bar – he get’s out his lotion and Kleenex, all ready to beat his meat to the sight of whatever horrid “virgin sister fucking brother” visuals he can find. As he’s going through his many options, lubing up his hand and practicing his intro strokes, he then lands on my blog to read about ending the patriarchy!!!??? Assuming he makes it even half way through before realizing there is in fact no description of “pussy Viagra,” I think by that point I’d have made a real impression on that guy!

    Yeah, maybe he’s not my ideal reader, but at least I’m not preaching to the converted??

    Then there is my video work. Again, I’d think I’d be making videos for ladies that fashion their hair in fallopian tubes while adorning themselves in uterine lined scarves weaved from their pubic hair and singing the ancient chants of Mother Gaia into pink seashells. Yet I recently put out one of my stand up comedy sets on Instagram and when I looked at the engagement statistics, 83% men clicked on the video!? Keep in mind, the subject of the video was “why men fear the matriarchy,” yet majority men clicked on it! I’m assuming neither women nor men were reading the title of the video, and simply decided whether or not to investigate further pending on my looks. So men thought I was hot enough to see what I was doing, and women decided I was hot enough to NOT be curious about what I was up to?

    I became so disheartened when trying to understand what was going on. Yes there is a real hilarity of men clicking on my video thinking I had a face they’d want to fuck and then having to hear about the matriarchy, yet I was equally despondent my fellow sisters were not inspired to see what I was about. What was I doing wrong?

    I then posted a video where I was dressed as a giant penis, and my male friend was costumed as a vulva, and wouldn’t guess it… the engagement for that video was 50/50. It was an equal opportunity genital video! I was delighted I had accrued more female interest, yet could not help but wonder if that was because I was in a dick hijab?

    Honestly I’m in no position to be overly picky about who’s absorbing the work I share. Every “meeting” with people with power that I’ve ever had trying to take myself to the next level in my career has stressed the need to develop my audience and accrue hundreds of thousands of “likes,” “shares” and “followers.” So who am I to reject lonely men seeking to furiously masturbate??

    March 7, 2018 • ambitions, emotions, Musings • Views: 1149

  • 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?

  • Oh, That’s Just My Open Wound

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

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

    Everyone goes through this right? (Insert nervous laughter)

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

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

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

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

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

    Except for my open wound.

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

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

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

    I miss her.

    I miss her so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But I miss her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    June 14, 2017 • emotions, Musings, Old School Stories, Relationships • Views: 1483

  • Getting Old

    The above picture is of my dog Mona when she was a puppy. I was 21, just lounging around in roller-skates – obviously killing it at life. Now my dog is 16 years old, blind, and deaf. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a dog that was not only blind, but also deaf, but let me tell you…. IT IS FUCKING HARD AS HELL WHEN YOUR DOG CAN’T SEE OR HEAR!

    You’d think that because of her handicaps, Mona would be more cautious. NOPE. Despite Mona’s age and disabilities, her body is quite spry. She spends her days taking many risks. For example, Mona once decided to push her way through the cat door, falling 9 feet onto a furniture tower in the basement. I searched for her for 2 hours in the woods before finally thinking to check down there. It’s insanely stressful when Mona goes missing because you can’t call for her, and YOU CAN’T FUCKING CALL FOR HER! Mona relentlessly escapes the pen that we made for her outside, and has been found miles from my house. How a blind deaf dog not only maneuvers her way through a screened in enclosure, but also traveled so far is beyond me – but the policeman was SUPER judgey when he returned her.

    Mona also now shits and pisses in the house almost daily. Okay, she’s old so this happens, but because Mona can’t see she, steps in her urine and shit balls only to then walk around covering the kitchen floor in paw prints of her piss soaked feces debris. It’s a delight!

    My dog’s aging of course makes me think of my own. I guess I’m officially considered “middle-aged” now? I’m 37 ½ years old. The half is important because I think that’s what keeps me in my “mid” 30’s as opposed to my “late”30’s, which is just 6 months away. Next year will be my 20 year high school reunion which is meant as marker to see how far I’ve come in the past two decades, yet I currently still spend a LOT of time with teenage girls talking about boys and dicks sooooo, I don’t know?

    When I was a kid I used to imagine what being an adult would feel like. For one, I was going to have HUGE tits, and for two, I was most likely going to feel like an adult. None of those visions really panned out, despite many wishes on a star for a full D.

    As a 37 year old I posture participating in adult activities, but it never feels authentic. I do these grownup things like go to lawyers, or send in forms for my taxes – but all this signing pieces of paper I don’t understand just feels like I’m playing pretend. It’s like I’m still that same kid wanting to be someone I’m not while stumbling around wearing my mom’s high heel shoes – and her makeup, and bras, and underwear while balancing her diaphragm on my nose like seal… everyone did that right?

    I think a part of me is in denial. I didn’t even notice I had wrinkles until my friend pointed it out. I guess it wasn’t clear to me because I don’t make a lot of faces in the mirror – just the one where I brush my teeth, and of course the other one where I’m yelling, “you’re never going to be good enough!” My point is, I didn’t realize I had wrinkles until a picture was posted on FB of me with my eyebrows raised and apparently my forehead was contoured with lines! My friend messaged me (actually it was TWO SEPARATE FRIENDS) saying, “Toni you have to take better care of your skin!” Jesus Christ you mean washing it with hand soap twice a week isn’t enough??!! WHAT DOES THE WORLD WANT FROM ME?

    So yeah, I’m getting older and I resist it. Not because I don’t want to be old. Being old is a gift! I think being an old lady will be super fun. I’m going to do a lot of acid, and then talk about my puss to random people at the farmers market just to freak them out. It would be a delight if I get the chance to be a raunchy, shocking, old lady that everyone has to tolerate because, “you can’t teach an old bitch new tricks.” Sounds like a dream. The old part is going to be rad. It’s this in-between part I’m not so sure I’m into because it’s so fraught with expectations.

    So far I don’t feel like I’m a successful adult. I don’t own a house. I don’t have a high paying career. I’m not invited to dinner parties, and when I go to a parent teacher conference for my kid I find myself in a state of shock that I’m sitting in that tiny chair to hear about her, not to learn long division myself. Being a mother is the most mature thing about me according to society’s standards, but keep in mind my 6-year old and I both equally enjoy the new Katy Perry song “Swish Swish,” and I can’t help but notice that we dress the same.

    So yeah, my daily uniform of leggings and hoodies does not exactly make me appear like I’ve got “my shit together” as a grown up. In many ways, I am still striving to be one. I have this endless yearning towards finding success in my artistic pursuits, and the naïve assumption that achieving that will make me feel whole, even though I know it won’t. Yet I think I hold onto my youth as a means of excusing the reality that I cannot stop making art, and that is the only life I want. It’s a childish commitment of wanting a life full of creative expression, and I’m not sure I will ever feel like I mature out of that.

    Maybe I also am stunted in a certain way because of the death of my best friend? She died when I was 20, and I part of me died too that day. Perhaps holding on to youth is my way of holding onto her. We stopped growing up together the day she died, and it’s almost like I don’t want to outgrow our friendship by leaving behind that part of me. But I’m also sure if she were alive today, we’d still be smoking pot together while skinny-dipping in lakes – doing handstands in waist deep water in the middle of the afternoon. So maybe it’s just the tribe of people I surround myself with?

    The only place where I can say with true confidence that I’ve grown is emotionally. In that way, I am mature as fuck. I self-reflect, I don’t blame others for my problems, I look out for others, I do favors, I know how to apologize, I am forgiving, I’m not afraid of failure, I take risks, I don’t hold grudges, and I try to find solutions to my challenges rather than wallow in self-pity. But I can’t put shit on a resume. There is no bragging on Facebook about my most recent accomplishment of “being really gracious when someone was taking out their bad day on me, and then helping them to dig deep into why they were acting out.” So yeah, maybe when I go on Facebook and see a Congressman Kennedy verbally eviscerate Donald Trump’s budget I think to myself, – “huh I went to high school with that kid and he’s probably gonna be president” and then fall into a spiral of self doubt where I debate pulling out all my eyelashes just to feel something different. But then I have to remind myself, “but Toni, you did open that door for that dude carrying all those boxes at the Organic Coop – so you’re doing your part.”

    Here’s Mona… having escaped and frothing at the mouth with one cataract reflecting in the sunlight.

    May 25, 2017 • ambitions, change, children, emotions, kids, Mommyhood, Musings, Parenting • Views: 1856

  • My Life is Totally Meaningless… NBD

    The other day I came home and went upstairs to Munch’s room to see what she wanted for dinner. I sat on her bed, and she told me she just needed a minute to finish making a bunk bed for her dolls before she could decide. I figured that seemed like a reasonable request, and decided to be patient – like a good parent. But then I realized I had left my phone downstairs, and had a mild anxiety attack.

    The Munch had taken a small stool, and turned it upside down so the four legs were facing up. She then took a wire-framed doll bed, and balanced it on top of these precarious posts. Once the top bunk was secured, she would make the bed with her little doll mattresses, blankets, and pillows.

    It was usually the last pillow that would set everything awry. The weight of the tiny materials would undoubtedly disrupt the stability of the wire bed on the stool. Rather then rebalancing the bed with the mattress, blanket, and pillows still intact – The Munch would take the entire thing apart and do it all over again.

    I watched this process for about a half an hour. Balancing the bunk bed, making the bed, accidently disrupting the bed, starting over.

    As I sat there I realized that what I was watching was a metaphor for my artistic process. The perfection of this bunk bed is totally unimportant task to everyone but Munch. She is the only person that this bed matters to, and yet she is treating said bed like it is the most vital thing in the world.

    It doesn’t matter if anyone else will see this bed. She sees it. Therefor she has to make it exactly the way she wants it, even though the result is utterly futile.

    The Munch making and re-making this bed is the physical manifestation of the insanity of my existence. At that moment I realized that my life is utterly meaningless. My artistic method only holds value to me, just like the bunk bed only has value to The Munch. It became so painfully clear that creativity exists in a vacuum – and the only way to release the pressure is admit that you are the one both sucking and blowing hot air.

    Just as I was about to weep tears of sorrow about the senselessness of life I realized “holy fuck Toni didn’t you also eat weed chocolate about an hour ago – and is that maybe contributing to your thought process?” But who knows?

    doll bed

    doll-bed-blog

    February 9, 2016 • Mommy Mind, Musings, Playing • Views: 1485

  • You’re Better Than Me!

    My kid and I don’t really have a lot of the same interests. We have some things in common. We both really enjoy loud music, cookies, and fart jokes. We also both think it’s hilarious when you’re spitting phlegm out the car window, and said phlegm flies right back into your face. But in terms of things we like to do to pass the time, we’re very different.

    The Munch for one loves to play “hide and seek.” Maybe that would be fun if I was on acid, in a mansion, and the walls were made of Playdough. But playing “hide and seek” in my house where I know every possible hiding space isn’t exactly mentally stimulating. Especially because half the time I can obviously see her – because she SUCKS at “hide and seek!” So then I have to walk past her, PRETENDING I can’t find her like a fool. That game is really more of a time for me to look at my phone while crouched in the closet.

    Then there are the “make believe” games The Munch LOVES to play. There is something so inspiring about watching your kid lose themselves in a world of their own creation. I find myself awestruck by her authenticity – as she plays pretend with her toys, and explores her imagination. The Munch gets really into it too. She uses different voices for each of the characters, and develops incredibly intricate plotlines. Nothing is more peaceful than relaxing in the living room while eavesdropping as The Munch plays sweetly. I can just sit back and listen to her deepest thoughts as one of her character says, “my mom killed my sister Becka, but that’s okay because she didn’t even know her letters.”

    Like I would ever name my kid Becka!?

    But I can’t play pretend with The Munch! I don’t have that capacity any more. I am a grown up, and I use my imagination to stress out about my future and have anxiety about my past.

    Finding things to do together that we BOTH enjoy equally isn’t always easy. She is not that interested in talking about Donald Trump’s ties to the lizard Elite, and I don’t give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut about My Little Pony.

    Munch: I’m bored! I wanna play with you!
    Toni: Do you want to play the Congress is corrupt?
    Munch: NO! Too predictable! Can we play kittens on a pirate ship?
    Toni: How about we draw together instead?

    Now let’s be clear about something. I cannot draw. I cannot create a depth of field. I can’t draw people. I can’t shade. I have no ability to draw anything beyond two-dimensional shapes. So I decided I would just do that – and color them in pretty.

    At first everything was going fine. My friend Natalya came over, and drew with us for a while as well. It was kind of an adorable scene – us all drawing together and drinking tea. After Natalya left The Munch and I continued to draw – sure it had been almost 3 hours at this point, but I was pretty OCD and NEEDED to finish my picture.

    Munch: You’re star is better than mine.
    Toni: Drawing a star is tricky. Do you want me to show you how?
    Munch: Okay.
    Toni: This is how I learned. You draw an upside down “v” like this. Then you bring one line over here, the other over there, and then you connect them!

    The Munch practiced with me, drawing a star with lines that ran through the center.

    Munch: But your star doesn’t have lines through it.
    Toni: That’s true. But it took me a long time to draw a star with no lines through it. I started with the lines until I got better.
    Munch: I wanna draw my star with NO LINES!
    Toni: Okay… give it a try.

    The Munch tried, and was having an increasingly difficult time.

    Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I CAN’T DRAW A STAR WITH NO LINES!!!!!
    Toni: Munch, you don’t need to get so worked up. The way you get better at something is to practice! You just have to keep trying. You will get it!
    Munch: BUT YOUR STAR IS BETTER THAN MINE!!!!!!!!
    Toni: That is because I have been practicing drawing stars for 30 years.
    Munch: YOU DRAW BETTER THAN ME!!!!
    Toni: Dude, if I didn’t draw better than a five-year old, you should be seriously worried about me.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR AND I CAN’T AND YOU DRAW BETTER THAN ME!
    Toni: Munch, Natalya draws better than me.
    Munch: NO she doesn’t! Her “space cat” doesn’t even look like a cat!
    Toni: That’s because it’s a “space cat” with boobs! Not a regular cat! And she is a wayyyyyyyy better at drawing than me. Do you want to know why?
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: Because she practices! She works hard and drawing, and that’s how she got to be so talented.
    Munch: BUT I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR AS GOOD AS YOU!
    Toni: Dude, this is the thing. How I draw a star has nothing to do with you. We have to be able to happy for other people and their accomplishments, even when we are struggling with our own feelings of insecurity. I can think Natalya is a better drawer than me, feel jealous about her skills, but at the same STILL be happy for her! In fact, my feeling happy for Natalya for working so hard means that I don’t even feel jealous anymore. My feelings of happiness for her are more pronounced than my feelings of jealousy. So I can instead focus on working hard and practicing, while being happy for my friend that I love.
    Munch: BUT I DON’T WANT TO PRACTICE! I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRAW A STAR JUST LIKE YOU NOW!!!
    Toni: Munch, you can’t be so goal oriented about your art. That’s not the point of creating! You have to enjoy the process.
    Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    The Munch stormed off and left me to my coloring. Which I of course continued because I was ALMOST DONE! I had to finish it okay!?

    Since then we’ve had a few meltdowns about drawing – always the same theme. The Munch eventually gets upset because she can’t do something perfectly – then traveling down a rage spiral while comparing herself to me and feeling inadequate. But that doesn’t mean I am going to not draw my best because I have coloring to accomplish okay!!?

    But I realized that everything I said to The Munch about her drawing, I could apply to myself. I am SUPER goal oriented when it comes to my art. I have expectations of how I want things to be received, or turn out – and when they don’t I feel just like her. I get disappointed, frustrated, insecure, and yell belligerently at the wall.

    It made me think that maybe The Munch’s angst about her art is merely a reflection of my own. That she is just picking up on my vibes, and reflecting them back to me. It made me wonder how much of my energy is unconsciously infiltrating her consciousness, and perhaps most of her psychosis is really just my own stress being mirrored back to me.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some coloring to get back to.

    The famous “star picture”

    toni star drawing

    Natalya’s “space cat”

    space cat

    This only took me 5 hours

    toni drawing

  • Me, My Brother, Mania, and the Muse

    Last year something very important happened to me. I was feeling tired all the time, and like I didn’t have enough hours in the day to get things done. Then my brother suggested the revolutionary idea that I get up earlier so I could be more productive. My retort was that then I would be even more tired, to which he suggested, “not if you drink coffee,” – and then my life changed FOREVER!

    I drink coffee like a holy sacrament. I don’t fuck around once I’ve ingested this sacred sap of the muse’s teat. As it pours down my esophagus and infuses into my veins, I only direct my attention towards truly celestial creative work. Then the mania begins.

    My brother is probably the only person who truly understands just how severe the hysteria can be. How once I feel the artistic fervor to accomplish something, it takes over like parasite – engulfing all the mental microbes of sanity. I then enter into a trance where all that matters is the vision locked inside my being that I have to release from the asylum of soul.

    But let’s say I drink the blessed beverage, and then perhaps, get a phone call, or come across another human being. The result is by no means a normal exchange between two rational adults. It’s more like if you encountered a strange humanoid that had been living in a cave and was raised by bears. When someone has to deal with me after I just drank coffee, they will experience the unleashed OCD energy that should ONLY be channeled into a solitary act of my own making.

    The other day, I went to Boston for a “girls night out” for my friend’s birthday. I think this is an important thing to do as a parent, because you need nights where you think to yourself “my butt can still vibrate to the beat.” It makes you feel alive. I always have a good time because hey, no one is asking me to make them a sandwich made with mayonnaise, peanut butter, and cereal. There was one time when I was out dancing with my friend, and someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “why are you having so much fun?” to which my explanation was “because I’m a mom from New Hampshire.”

    So when I woke up the next morning after my night on the town, I went downstairs to gather my things to leave. My brother was in the kitchen, and in the middle of experiencing his righteous ritual. He looked up from his coffee with wild eyes. Now remember, we have the same DNA. We react the same to all substances. So once my brother gets an idea on coffee, his idea WILL be executed!

    My brother: Baby sister sit. We talk about the succession of the South, and how World War 3 might be here by the fall.

    Toni: I have to go pick up my friend to get her back to New Hampsha on time.

    My brother: Baby sister is hung over. You are going nowhere! You will be drunk driving!

    Toni: No I am not! I am fine! I promise!

    My Brother: Look at this picture of Baby Munch! She will say to me, “Why did you let my mom leave that morning! Why didn’t you make her stay!? Now I have no mother.”

    Toni: I’m so fine!!! I swear to you on everything holy!!

    My Brother: No baby sister! Make this friend come to you! I insist! Sit! We chat!

    There was NO changing his mind, or making him see the world differently. I had interrupted his consecrated custom, and now all that prana was directed towards me. The muse had spoken to him, and he was committed! But I was already late to pick up my friend, and also pretty sure my brother was going to tie me to the chair to hear his analysis on race relations in modern times.

    Toni: What if I go get some coffee? Then will I be okay?

    My Brother: Oh. Right of course that’s what you should do. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.

    laz-muse-blog

    July 15, 2015 • Adventures, Family Drama • Views: 1680

  • Hating Your Parents

    You know how you once thought you would never turn into your parents, and then you realize, “oh fuck, I am totally just like my parents?” Yeah… so do I.

    There are many things my mom did to me when I was a kid that I SWORE I would never do. She ate my Halloween candy when I was at school, she also ate my valentine chocolates when I was at school, and then she once bit the head off my Easter bunny when I was at school. OBVIOUSLY I SHOULD HAVE NEVER GONE TO SCHOOL!!!

    Along with her penchant for sweets, my mom’s also a compulsive cleaner. If you are eating in her kitchen, she will tidy around you as you try and finish your meal. She will even go as far as to pick up your plate and wipe the table clean mid bite. She is obsessed with order and everything being in the right place – kind of like Martha Stewart on meth.

    Because my mom likes things to be neat, she was also always moving our stuff and throwing things out. In her mind it was clutter, but to my brother and me, those He-Man toys were important!!

    The way I learned to deal with my mom’s ways was deciding personal possessions are meaningless. One day you could come home, your things would be missing, and you just moved on. Maybe that Godzilla doll did have go, even though now I would never know where its vagina was. These are the questions of my childhood that will remain unanswered.

    But it turns out that I am now also a compulsive cleaner. I’m constantly moving Munch’s stuff around and giving away old shitty toys I can’t look at any more. I try to be discerning, and only abandon the objects she discarded, but sometimes my instincts are wrong. There have been moments where she looks at me with rage in her eyes and asks, “Where is that one Barbie shoe that was in that box?! I NEED IT!”

    Kids have a lot of fucking shit, and their shit takes over your house like an infestation. In every room there are remnants of plastic toys to step on in the middle of the night. It’s hard to escape, and sometimes you just want to purge and say, “fuck all your stuff.”

    In order to deal with the vomit of neon littering the house, I ordered some furniture for Munch’s room so she could better organize her toys. She spent all night putting everything away in just the right place, and we were both happy with the result. But then I went downstairs, looked at the living room, and felt like there was still too much crap. There was a table that was covered with her paraphernalia, and I really wanted it put away.

    Okay so here is the thing about Munch. She’s an installation artist. She creates these set ups, and then refuses to play or touch them because she put so much effort into their arrangement. I’m not trying to stifle her vision, but it’s also super annoying because then there are these shrines of her “work” I’m not supposed to touch.

    So what did I do?

    I cleaned up the fucking table.

    What happened when she saw it the next day?

    She was fucking pissed!

    Munch: AHHHHHHHHH WHAT DID YOU DO???
    Toni: I cleaned up in here.
    Munch: MY TABLE!!!? WHEN DID YOU DO THIS?
    Toni: Last night when you were sleeping.
    Munch: WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? YOU SHOULD HAVE ASKED ME FIRST!!!?
    Toni: I’m sorry. But you wouldn’t let me clean it, and it was driving me nuts.
    Munch: I WORKED SO HARD ON THAT!!!
    Toni: Yeah, but then you never played with any of those toys again.
    Munch: THAT’S BECAUSE I WORKED SO HARD! THAT WAS MY COLLECTION!
    Toni: I’m sorry, but it looked really messy.
    Munch: I AM SO CROSS WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Toni: Look, you can’t just put your toys everywhere. That’s not fair.
    Munch: WHERE IS ALL MY STUFF?
    Toni: It’s right here in these bins.

    I showed Munch the bins, and to be honest, I did get rid of some of the things that were on the table. Like I don’t know… a pile of rocks she brought in from the driveway. But I also kept a lot more than I wanted to. Munch then started tearing through the bins and throwing things across the room looking for all her nick nacks.

    Munch: IT’S NOT ALL HERE! WHERE IS THE LITTLE BUNNY WITH THE MISSING HEAD??!!! I AM SO CROSS WITH YOU RIGHT NOW!!!! I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Toni: Dude, that isn’t fair come with me. Lets go on a tour of this house.

    I then proceeded to drag her into every room in the house.

    Toni: Whose stuff is this here?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: What about here in this room. Whose stuff is this?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: Come upstairs. What about here in the hallway – whose stuff is this?
    Munch: Mine.
    Toni: Do you see how your stuff is all over? You can’t monopolize every room in the house! You’re not the only one who lives here. We have to compromise okay?
    Munch: Fine. I will make my collection again, and if you touch it, I will throw your computer out the window.

    Pretty sure I won’t be touching this table for a while…

    art-table-blog