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  • Sea Glass Insomnia and Obliterating Borders

    There is nothing quite like crawling into bed, closing your tired eyes, allowing your breath to deepen, and then just as you’re about to drift off into a sweet slumber snuggled inside the encompassing embrace of Morpheus… you instead start thinking about everything you’ve ever regretted about your life coupled with enervating anxiety about your future. I love when that happens!!! As a life-long insomniac this is often my process in going to sleep, and it’s EXACTLY as fun as it sounds. Something about trying to lose consciousness makes me instead consciously obsess about all that’s wrong with me which then transmutes to all that’s wrong with the world. So relaxing!

    I just got back from vacation, and during that time I was sharing a room with The Munch. Her method for settling down into slumber was to toss and turn in bed as if she were training for a breakdancing marathon. Go figure, but it’s really hard to sleep when someone next to you is engaged in a head-spin. The sounds of sheets rustling against her flailing body eroded my psyche and disturbed any chance I had in settling my soul. With every grand gesture she made, I fell further into the abyss of my own self-loathing. I began stressing about my career and overall lack of financial success. I then started feeling inadequate for all my political impotency. This lead to my being consumed by a deep sensation of dread for everything that was to come in not only my life, but in the future of humanity as well. Stories of the horrific news swirled through my synapses. It was a Kafkaesque nightmare of my own making, and my daughter’s thrashing punctuated my every concern as if she were mocking my anguish with rustling fabric.

    Toni: Munch, I’m having a really hard time trying to fall asleep and it doesn’t help with all that wiggling you’re doing! It’s actually really loud. Can you stop moving around so much?
    Munch: I just can’t stop thinking about sea glass?
    Toni: What?
    Munch: I just keep imagining giant pieces of sea glass. In my imagination, I go to pick up a piece of sea glass and just the small corner is poking out, but when I pull it, I realize it’s actually a GIANT piece of sea glass. I just can’t stop imagining that. That’s why I’m wiggling.

    AHHHH TO BE A CHILD!!!!

    The beauty of her thoughts compared to mine.

    Sigh.

    As an adult it’s impossible for me not to envy the purity of a child’s imagination. A brain that hasn’t been burdened by social programming and conditioning… YET. This still malleable mind of the innocent that thinks beyond the confines of civilization. I was inspired by The Munch’s mental meandering about sea glass and equally lost in self-pity. To live in my mind feels like being trapped in Dostoevsky novel while also inside a Russian prison. Yet to live in The Munch’s mind is like experiencing a perpetual episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse on acid. Her perception of existence feels unattainable for me to achieve because the corruption of culture has infiltrated my sense of reality. I can’t fathom the relief of a mind that focuses so deeply on the joy of finding GIANT pieces of sea glass that it kept me up at night.

    Yet this lack of imagination, of creativity, of seeing how the world could be different, is exactly why we are watching the demise of this country. As annoying as it is to have my kid keep me up at night, at least my kid is fucking with me and not being ripped from my arms by the US government!

    If you have my mental sensibility, chances are the world depresses the fuck out of you. The news overwhelms you. You fear for the future of not only your own life, but what is going to happen to mankind and the animals we are forcing into extinction. Sure, the planet will continue, yet I can’t help but want life to as well. Call me a romantic, but I like life. I think it’s nifty. It would be a real bummer if human beings annihilated it with their selfish greed. I don’t think this is the way things have to be. I think we are stuck in our programming and need a major reboot of how we configure everything. We need a lot more imagination when it comes to solving our political troubles. For example, the solution to this so-called immigration “problem” is not baby prisons. Let’s actually re-imagine how we structure society and get rid of borders.

    I don’t understand why this is such an outlandish proposition. We already live in a global society. Our media is global. Our communication is global. Our trade is global. Why are we holding onto borders? What do they accomplish? Having borders means we have war. Having borders means we have EVIL anti-immigration tactics. Having borders means we have nationalism that promotes racist ideologies. What do borders accomplish that are good for humanity as a whole? Borders don’t even reflect the truth of how we interact. Borders are a colonialist structure that benefits those in power. Borders are a way to perpetuate capitalist corruption. Borders serve zero purpose to the suffering, and clearly only have value for those in power. Why can’t we instead develop a system that supports and admits our interconnectedness? What are we holding onto by maintaining this antiquated arrangement?

    I want to see a political platform that is thinking on these levels. That wants to truly eradicate the infrastructure that’s designed for the rich to oppress the poor. Only then will I have a night where I can maybe think about sea glass instead of traumatized children.

    To be fair munch is right, sea glass is pretty epic.

  • 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: 775

  • 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: 1883

  • I Need a Vacation From Myself

    When most people go on vacation, they find themselves relaxing at the beach, drinking Mai Tais, taking in some light reading, and sleeping in. When I try to vacation I tend to have my ego ripped out of my psyche so I can fully examine all my demons and search deep into the dark depths of my soul to uncover all it is about me that is vile. To each his own.

    It’s not like I had that intention when I got on the plane to California. My initial vision was that I take a work meeting, and then visit my lovely friend in LA to go on adventures. It was the perfect idea to get me out of my head because so far, no matter where I go, I keep bumping into me. I figured hanging out with a childhood friend who also happens to be one of the best people on planet earth would be the ideal getaway. Not to say that didn’t happen – but it wasn’t exactly the light-hearted jaunt I had intended.

    The first 24 hours were pure bliss. Everything you dreamed a vacation would be. But then, on a hike, my knee started to hurt. Not because of any reason mind you, it just hurt. I knew what this meant. It meant it was time for my soul to communicate to my ego through the language of my body. OBVI!

    My knee hurting was holding us back from all the fun things we could be doing. I knew the pain was a message I had to decode, because my body breaking down is when I am forced to do my deepest self-reflection. Otherwise I’m always on the move, trying this, doing that, being here, going there. But when my body slows me down, I am forced to think about all the things I avoid thinking about.

    In a way, the ego journey was obvious. I was in LA. LA represents much more to me than just a city that will soon be underwater, or blown up by North Korea. LA is the mecca of ambition and success in my creative field. A lot of people ask me why I don’t move to LA, especially because it’s kind of hard to network / break into the business when you live amongst the trees in rural New Hampshire. Sure I often go outside and pitch my witty feminist script ideas to the squirrels, but they are so damn critical about narrative structure.

    I’m an obsessive and ambitious person, but I don’t really thrive when I’m in places like New York and LA because I get too distracted. My FOMO takes over, and I end up flitting about to this place and that like a hummingbird with ADHD – always looking for the next place to be, or the next person to talk to. But when I’m isolated in nature, with nothing to pull me away from my work, I’m infinitely more productive. As an artist my life choices make sense because they facilitate creativity and productivity, but it’s not like I have any big success to brag about either.

    A lot of these questions were coming up for me, but they are nothing new, and were not the mystery behind my knee pain. Then my friend made a comment… “You want to come here to LA to make big strides” and it really struck me. Not only because I have freakishly long legs, but also because the wanting to make strides was so clearly manifesting in my knee.

    That night I went to bed, and I couldn’t sleep. I started thinking of how unconsciously judgmental I can be of my friends who are more focused on relationships than me. How there is this way I’ve felt superior because where they’re busy thinking and talking about guys, I am busy thinking and talking about my career. Constantly. I had to realize that I am no different than my friends looking for love. The yearning I have for my career is the same. I’m just as pathetic as a teenage girl the morning of prom, waiting to see if someone will call. I’m just as boring talking endlessly about this project or that, as any girl talking about this boy or that. I mean both conversations involve dicks, mine just happens to center around how to turn the vas deferens into a character for a video.

    I woke up that morning and my knee pain was gone! I did it! I was free to finally enjoy myself right?

    NOPE!

    Then the next day my back went into spasm. Of course.

    What the dick universe? Now what?

    I could barely stand without shooting pain, so I had to think, and I had to think fast. Why? Why was my back in this tightened state of constant spasm? I realized that the seed of the spasm had been planted in a yoga class my friend had taken me to earlier in the week. I don’t usually go to yoga classes because I’m a teacher, so I practice yoga on my own. There doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to go to class because no one challenges me in the same way I know how to challenge myself. So this yoga class felt easy to me – which of course I KNOW IS NOT THE POINT OF YOGA, but I had a lot of energy to burn that day. Rather than just enjoying the experience I was having, I kept making everything harder for myself. Doing 7 of a pose instead of just the few she was suggesting. I had to realize that are many times where I’m trying to make the moment more than what it is.

    That was exactly it. That was my problem. Always wanting things to be more than what they are. The struggle of enjoying what is in front of me. Now this is something I know intellectually – that I should honor the process not focus on the goal – but having a philosophical understanding is not the same as a visceral one.

    The challenge is that existing in the present is a lofty goal, because if you think about it, there is no present moment – only the past and the future. What we think is the present moment is actually the past because it takes time for our brain to process the data and information to make sense of the reality in front of us. The now is already over. This moment just happened. It’s like the line of the horizon – it actually doesn’t exist. It’s just our perception. In theoretical physics, there is no difference between the past and the future because they’re treated exactly the same. Yet we are told to live in the present to avoid the suffering of obsessing about the past and future. Suffering is not caused by the external realities around us, but rather the internal thoughts inside of us. Our minds are the cause of our suffering. Wanting to be somewhere else other than where you are is the root of suffering. Not being able to appreciate what is happening because you have a craving for something different. A person who does not crave cannot suffer, yet achieving that state of Nirvana takes a discipline so many of us lack. So we run from pain towards pleasure… always wanting less pain and more pleasure. As long as we exist in that paradigm, we will never be satisfied because we will always be in this state of craving more or less of something. That is the irony of the human condition, one obsessed with the illusion of linear time. Time is a circle. Time is infinite. The past could be the future. Time is barely relevant in this multi-verse of multi dimensions of infinite time and infinite space because the universe is not only expanding away from us it’s also accelerating. That’s all I had to learn. DUH!

    Here I am when I was 19 and on vacation in Greece… god I was so much simpler then! Just sticking my tits out enjoying life like a normal person.

    May 3, 2017 • Adventures, ambitions, emotions, Musings • Views: 1371

  • Scratching That Itch Doesn’t Make it Go Away – it Just Moves it

    We’ve all had those moments where you ask someone to scratch your back, and some willing, but slightly irritated victim obeys. No one wants to scratch someone else’s back because as a rational person you know what you’re in for – a journey into the impossibility of satiating an itch. Seconds after the skin scraping ritual begins, the itch moves. “A little to the left,” you say. Once again, it moves. “Now back to the right,” you instruct as their nails skid across your human casing. “Now up… down… over… to the left… no to the right I said… back down again… up… more up… up some more… and…”

    An itch isn’t meant to be relieved; it is designed to torture you with craving. We fool ourselves into thinking that digging your claws into the right spot will make it go away. We forget the unavoidable truth that the very nature of yearning is rooted in the harsh reality that even when you get what you want, it isn’t what you want any more. Our collective story is fraught with examples of this. I want that man, but now that I have him, he bores me. I think that those drugs would feel divine, yet now I am puking into my shirt. I need that job – huh, boy this job is stressful. I need a vacation, and now I need a vacation from my vacation. I’ll go on this dating app to have meaningless sexual encounters, yet at the same time look for a relationship. Even though we can often see the hamster wheel of another person’s life, we put ourselves through the same cycle over and over and over again, running into the oblivion of our ravenousness.

    I think it’s that exactly feeling that our smarty pants phones tap into. This need for an instant hit of something outside of ourselves to distract our minds from the pain of our thoughts. For most of us, our brains have a mind of their own, and we are thinking about things we don’t want to think about, yet can’t stop thinking about. So we want, and want, and want some more. We want more love, more sex, more drugs, more success, more entertainment, more food, more sugar, more adoration, more acknowledgement, more appreciation, more money, more security, more freedom, more stuff… and then we want it all over again, just a better version.

    This constant striving may be the catalyst of the vast majority of our emotional suffering, yet it’s also the drive that pushes towards progress – and maybe even our own survival. The curiosity of humans, this ceaseless thirst that we cannot quench, is unique to our kind. Back in pre-history when Neanderthals reached the shores of an ocean do you know they did? They turned the fuck around because there was a goddamn giant scary body of water in front of them, and they couldn’t see the other side. Do you know what Homo sapiens did? They built a raft to float out into the unknown and see what was beyond the horizon. When the Neanderthals reached a mountain range they would camp at the bottom, but Homo sapiens, even the straight ones, would climb to the other side. Neanderthals lacked the seemingly crucial social construction of craving for more, where we Homo sapiens succumbed to it. And who the are the ones that are extinct now!?

    Even though our wanting is part of our demise, it’s also part of our successes as a species. So how do we as individuals have a more reasonable relationship to the seduction of desire? Is there a way to find balance amidst the chaos of greed?

    If there is anything that being a parent has taught me it’s that looking for someone else’s socks can make you suicidal. The other thing I learned is that children have a much greater capacity than adults to deal with disappointment. It may not seem that way at first. If I tell my kid “No you can’t watch Monster High while eating your leftover chemically ridden Valentine’s candy before bed,” she might scream for a moment in protest. This is where depending on my emotional capacity; I may give in just so she shuts the fuck up. But if I stay strong and deal with her momentary rebellion, she will forget about it, and move on. She doesn’t hold it against me. It’s not like The Munch will even bring it up again like, “remember that time you didn’t let me have that 3rd cookie?” No. She never says that shit. She just keeps living her life, not holding onto the past of her unfulfilled desires.

    Wanting shit is not the problem. It’s how we deal with not getting what we want is.

    The reason why kids move through their feelings with greater ease and grace is because they fundamentally think differently than adults. There is more space between their thoughts, because their egos aren’t as developed. The adult mind is dealing with CONSTANT chatter from the ego. Even right now as you read this very post your ego is still talking to you, judging what I say. Yet with kids, their egos aren’t as loquacious, leaving more room in their minds for observation and imagination.

    The more the mind is engaged with observing the world around us, the less energy is spent judging it. The more the brain is bouncing around creative concepts, the less it’s criticizing. So the solution to our all our problems is right in front of us. Think less by training your mind to observe, and through that you will find the wisdom of contentment in where you are in the moment – knowing it’s all a process and you’ll never truly be satisfied anyway.

    I think The Munch has tapped into this angst of mankind, and as such told me this glorious nighttime story.

    Munch: “Once upon a time there was a toilet, and this toilet was very sad. It was a sad toilet because no one was peeing in it, so it couldn’t drink pee, and no one was pooping in it, so it couldn’t eat poop. And that is the story of the sad toilet.”

    Am I raising a genius or what?

  • 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?

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    February 9, 2016 • Mommy Mind, Musings, Playing • Views: 1509

  • The Life Of an Artist is Just an Extended Childhood

    As an anti-conventional free-spirited hippy parent that wants my child to take down the system and plan a revolution, sometimes the idea of orthodox schooling disturbs me. Part of me thinks it’s important to learn how to function within the framework society has pre-established as necessary. Yet if my kid never conforms to that regimented approach, and instead commits her energy fully to a more creative life, then she would hopefully develop the skills to carve a different path. One where she is not contributing to the capitalist system that is currently sodomizing all of humanity – without even the decency of lube.

    The Munch has one more year at her idyllic Waldorf preschool where they frolic through the forest floor while a pan like creature plays a lute, and innocence is as abundant as leaves on trees. Yet soon she will have to go to school, sit at a desk, and be scolded for staring out he window. At least that would be the “normal” trajectory.

    If I were to project any dreams onto my child it is that she would live outside the confines of culture, and question it rather than submissively participate in it. I want to encourage her to define her own reality- not bow down to a soul sucking structure. What if she spent the rest of her life creating one giant art project!?

    Every kid on planet earth likes art when they are young. They all do artistic things naturally as part of the everyday shit that kids do. They gravitate towards art on their own. Not that many children are like “I want to learn about macro-economics today mommy,” but they all will sing the fuck out of the ABC’s.

    How kids play and enjoy life is the nascent stage of becoming an artist. All artists are just grown ups that were able to hold onto their childhood interests! Picasso was once a little brat who liked drawing noses where the ears should be. He just got really really good at it. So basically if you practicing playing really hard – eventually you could become an artist.

    When I think about what The Munch actually LIKES to do right now, and if she just were to concentrate on her playing, she’s got some pretty good life options a head of her!

    This is her average day, and the potential if she just keeps at it.

    1) Makes up Songs about “My Little Ponies” killing each other with magic powers: She could be a singer/song writer.
    2) Shakes her body around: She could be a dancer.
    3) Plays pretend with her dolls/My Little Pony’s: She could be an actor, director, or screenwriter. (PS these games are complicated as fuck and involve a variety of characters that talk in distinct voices and have very complicated backstories. I can’t just jump in and insist that “Pinkie Pie” can fly to Nightmare garden because according the to The Munch “Pinkie Pie” does not have wings!!!!!)
    5) Wraps herself in material: Totally high fashion designer
    4) Tells poop and fart jokes: She could be a comedian.

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    August 24, 2015 • 5 years old, Education, Musings, Parenting • Views: 1433

  • 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.

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    July 15, 2015 • Adventures, Family Drama • Views: 1707

  • You Don’t Have To Be A Creative Genius to Be Artistic

    Being a parent has really helped with my acting chops because I have to act “impressed” a lot. You know, so I am encouraging and don’t scar my kid for life by looking at a drawing she made of me and saying, “well, I don’t really have a line for a body, and there is no 3D perception when you make my nose a dot.” I have to pretend like her efforts are good so she will inspired to keep trying – even though you and I both know the sun is more complicated than a yellow circle with some streaks sticking out of it.

    The only way to get excellent at anything is through practice, so I have to help foster this process of trial and error. I want The Munch to explore her potential talents because the more confidence you have about skills you excel at, the less drugs you do as a teenager. This is a fact. Much like girls who ride horses are less interested in boys – so you better believe that I am getting a goddamn pony.

    Finding passions and hobbies is a really important aspect of personal growth. And, when your kid has school vacation; you need a place to send them so you don’t commit murder suicide. Which is why last week, The Munch went to art camp.

    Did I know what art camp was? No, not really? Did I do a lot of research? Not so much. But I did know that her cousin was going, and she would be gone from 9-3 everyday – so that was enough information for me!

    At the end of art camp, the students put on a performance – which was maybe 45 minutes longer than it needed to be – but also the sweetest thing ever!!!! Watching these kids was both painfully boring and incredibly endearing. Their effort to remember the song, or the incredibly repetitive dance movies of turning around then jumping up and down, was priceless.

    I loved the kids that just HATED being on stage, and would stare out into the audience with their hands on their hips, refusing to participate. Then there was the over enthusiastic ones who were wayyyyyy into it, even though they had no rhythm and continuously bounced their knees off beat.

    There is a certain joy of watching your kid on perform because even if they aren’t the best, the fact that they are out there ignites immense pride. You don’t have to be an artistic genius to take creativity seriously, and to observe your kid genuinely trying is insanely cute. We all have an artist inside of us, and the more we get to know them, the happier we will be in the long run.

    Not to brag or anything, but The Munch kind of killed it as her very important role of “mouse.” Sure, she did pick her nose at one point and eat it – but she also knew all the moves and has genuine swagger.

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