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  • Why Do People Smoke Weed?

    I used to smoke a lot of pot. When I think about how much money I spent on 1/8ths of weed, I could have easily bought a car. Not like a lotus or anything, but definitely a 2003 Toyota Camry. When I lived in New York City I would call a delivery service that would come to my house – always 2 hours late. The coke guy was there in 15 minutes and sweating profusely, but the marijuana guy would most likely get around to coming between 2-7. This could have been considered annoying if I wasn’t already on the couch playing video games, or watching documentaries about animals communicating telepathically.

    I would then pick out a type of weed from a variety of strands. They had absurd names like “sticky laughy taffy,” “total chronic meltdown” or “paranoid punk rock absolute ganja package.” As far as I knew they were all the same shit, but having the choice made me feel a connoisseur. Ahhh yes sir, I will take the “fuck my mind and erase my face,” today. I would then smell it like a fine wine, and give the nod that I was pleased with my informed decision. “I think this will go great with the cheese sandwich I will be eating in 40 minutes.”

    My boyfriend and I would always befriend our weed delivery guys, not out of obligation, but more because we never left our apartment. We were pretty much starving for human contact. We would often offer the guy a bong hit, which he rarely refused. We would get high, laugh for a bit, but then feel increasingly uncomfortable as we thought too much about how everything is actually nothing. There would be a silence that lasted either 3 minutes or 2 hours (it was hard to tell) – yet would eventually get interrupted by the sound of the weed guy’s pager. He would slowly gather his things while mumbling about how he has to hurry to get to the next client, but we all know his real agenda was to get a slice of pizza and stare at a wall.

    Our next plan of action was to deal with the relentless munchies that were upon us. Of course there was the option to go outside and get food, but the thought of interacting with the reality we just smoked away was way too much pressure. I would call the bodega that was ½ a block away, and the lady who owned “Sunny and Annie’s” would always recognize my voice. Every time she answered my “hello” with “yes 190 East 7th street apartment 701 – what kind of cereal you want?”

    I smoked consistently for a decade of my life and never really questioned “why?” Part of my rational was that it helped me sleep at night. I had been an insomniac since childhood, and the weed did assist me in passing the fuck out in front of the TV. Yet that wasn’t the sole reason. Of course weed can be fun, provide an interesting perspective, and provoke insight… but it can also make you lethargic, suspicious, and introverted. There was something profound that I was holding onto beyond “self-medicating” but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. The classic analysis was that I was running from something, or trying to avoid dealing with existence, but it felt deeper than that. It was giving me something that I needed, even though it was also taking away things I required.

    I stopped smoking pot 6 years ago. I had been trying to quit for 2 years prior (because of my brain tumor), but couldn’t fully commit to abstaining. Then there was one fateful day when I was forced to realize that I had indeed smoked enough. I was at my friend’s house, and she offered me a bong hit. It had been quite some time since I had one of those, yet I went for it anyway because that is how I role. About five minutes later, I was lying on her floor having a full-fledged anxiety attack. I had no idea who I was, or what being “Toni” even meant. I couldn’t remember how to think, what thinking even was, or how on earth I had ever been comfortable thinking at all. I was losing it and started to shake uncontrollably because I was so cold.

    My friend brought me to her bedroom and had my lie down in there. Partly because she was concerned, and partly because she wanted to watch a movie and my moaning was too distracting. I kept shaking and complaining about being freezing. She put two more blankets on me including a heated electric one. I finally relaxed and fell asleep.

    I woke up about an hour later and had some harsh realizations. I had to say to myself “Okay Toni… it is 3:00 in the afternoon and 75 degrees out – but you are under 7 comforters and had to be put to bed like a baby because you got too high.” My friend gave me some apple crisp (which was the best thing I ever tasted) and I decided that maybe it was time to finally call it quits.

    I can’t say I haven’t missed it. I have. But I have been too afraid to smoke because I really didn’t want to bug the fuck out. Yet when I was dealing with all my back pain, a kind friend gave me a weed tincture to deal with the suffering. I was super nervous about giving it a try, but also desperate for some relief. None of my hippy doctors had prescription capabilities to give me the high-grade narcotics I was begging for. I took a tiny sip of the tincture and waited. Was I going to see Jesus? Was I going to lose my mind? I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

    Because I took such a micro dose, I didn’t get high… but I did have an epiphany about why people (me) smoke pot. Weed is a plant. It has a personality. An essence. Maybe even a soul. Wait… stay with me now. When you smoke her, it is like inviting someone into your brain to keep you company. She is someone to have a conversation with inside your consciousness. Weed becomes a friend within your own mind who averts you from being alone with your thoughts. She is the antidote for the feeling of solitude that we are born alone and we die alone. She is there with you.

    Maybe you are thinking, “it sounds like you actually did get high as fuck Toni” but whatever. Anyway, I have to run and eat some ice cream on toast.

    (Here is a montage of pictures where I am as high as fuck…)

    why-peeps-smoke-weed-blog-(i)

    October 28, 2014 • Health, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 2827

  • Do Hidden Cameras and Dumb Tweets Help Stop Violence Against Women?

    Sometimes I ask myself, “What is going to stop men from raping women or beating them within inches of their lives?” And by sometimes I mean every time I read an article about a crime against a woman – which is daily.

    Even though men are the ones who are often perpetrating these offenses, I don’t think blaming them is the answer. There will never be any true systemic change regarding the way women are treated if the polarity between the genders continues. Men are not exclusively the enemy, and women and are not exclusively the victims. We all suffer from a culture of abuse and violence. What varies is how we choose to internalize it, and the bodies we have to externalize it.

    Yet as much as I can acknowledge the challenge of understanding one’s masculinity in modern times, I am still like come on guys… can’t we just not rape and beat women?

    One way to force people to acknowledge the ugliness of brutality towards women is accountability. Not that I am condoning a society run by Big Brother, but the fact that privacy is now something you need to seek means people are essentially more liable for their actions. I am not just talking about hidden cameras, but also the ways in which we publicize ourselves through social media.

    When you are being watched, you will be held up to a different standard.

    Let’s take for example how musician CeeLo Green tweeted a remark that said rape is only rape if the woman is conscious. “”If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously, so WITH implies consent.” He also added “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!”

    What?? No Ceelo… just NO! I used to love you in Goodie Mob! You were the best judge on The Voice!  You look like an oompa loompa Why did you do that??!!

    An added dimension to Ceelo’s remark is that a woman recently accused him of slipping her ecstasy without her consent – but the charges were eventually dropped. So this statement carries an extra sinister element because of that context. Green’s lawyer argued the two had “consensual relations,” despite the woman’s claim that she woke up in bed next to Green and was unsure of what happened the night before. Ummmmmm… after reading that tweet I think you gave her the ecstasy Ceelo, and I am pretty the charges shouldn’t have been dropped!!!!

    Since his words were recorded in the public domain – there were consequences.  Ceelo was pulled from performances, and his TV show was cancelled. Similar to what happened with the leaked video of Ray Rice abusing his girlfriend. It was one thing to hear about Rice beating her up, but it was another thing to see him punch her in the head and then nonchalantly drag her limp body out of the elevator. Hearing this news got Rice a suspension, but seeing him to do it got Rice kicked off the team.

    That is progress!

    Even though I feel happy there is an effort towards justice, I do cringe regarding the racial aspect of these cases because they both involve black men. I am glad these guys are paying for what they did despite the fact they are rich enough to hire the best lawyers, but they are still black enough to be seen as guilty. There are many white men from frat boy culture who act just as abhorrently, yet are not made into public examples because of the race/class privilege.

    When you live in a political system that thrives on domination and power over others, you are going to be psychologically corrupted. Yet even though there are relevant and potent influences outside of us, we still have the capacity to make different choices. We can reject the system by questioning it. The more we talk about these issues, even to the point of obsession, the more it will persuade people to analyze their own participation in it.

    That is why these public cases are so important. That is why women coming forward to report abuse is so meaningful. Because without the transparency, there will be no motivating force towards change.

    rice-ceelo-blog-(i)

    September 8, 2014 • Current Events, Musings, Women's Business • Views: 3497

  • Does Always Wanting More Make you An Addict?

    The problem with good things is that they leave us wanting more. If I have a bite of delicious cake … I want more. I have some good sex…I want more. I try some amazing pure Columbian cocaine…I want more. The nature of pleasure is to desire more, more, and more of it.

    Part of being an adult is learning to moderate the seduction of indulgence. We are expected to find balance because we have the foresight to understand that too much of a good thing is actually bad. Too much food destroys your heath. Too much sex gives you bumpy rashes. Too much drugs can kill you. Understanding boundaries is part of growing up. The alternative is to end up an addict.

    The thing with kids is they don’t get it. They have no concept of time, so rationalizing the limitation of a certain behavior because of future consequences is futile. I can tell my kid “Look, if you eat all that chocolate you are going to feel sick and shit your brains out later.” Her response will always be “I don’t care.”  It is up to me to moderate her intake, because left to her own devices The Munch just doesn’t give a fuck.

    I’ve tried letting The Munch totally indulge, so she could do a little soul searching on this subject. The prevailing logic was that she would realize for herself the results of excessive behavior, and consider the impact the next time she is faced with temptation. Yeah. No. That really didn’t work. Saying to my four year old “Remember last time when you ate too much ice cream and felt really sick,” only resulted in yet another “I don’t care.”  Whatever memory of the ice cream tummy ache from the past held no power over the delicious taste of ice cream in the present. I guess The Munch is very Buddhist because she only exists in “the now,” but the awareness of past or future effects is a pivotal part of learning restraint.

    The Munch is relentless in her quest for more of everything. She is never satisfied and this is annoying as fuck. She will make a promise like “Mom, let me watch something. I will only watch one episode of My Little Pony I promise. Then you can turn it off and I won’t fuss.” So I let her because I trust her* (*want to get away from her) but when her stupid neon colored show is over, The Munch immediately says, “okay just one more. I PROMISE!”

    While I admire The Munch’s commitment to negotiation, everything becomes a battle because of her inability to be content with what she just had. She will literally be eating a cookie while asking for another. I will be like “Dude, you don’t need to double fist cookies. Just relax and appreciate what you got!” But then she will start crying because I won’t give her another cookie WHILE SHE IS STILL EATING THE FIRST FUCKING COOKIE.

    Here is my dilemma. I can’t tell if The Munch’s excessive wanting “more” of everything is a result of her age or a precursor to a struggle that she will battle with for the rest of her life. I don’t want my kid to grow into an adult with an addictive personality. That is how you end up in back allies doing things you really regret. And is a hard thing to overcome. It is difficult for me to distinguish between normal kid shit, and the makings of a person who is going to beat up old ladies to steal money for blow. It is a fine line, my friends.

    Munch: Mamma, can I bring two lollipops to the beach?

    Toni: No Munch.  One is enough.

    Munch: But what if I want another one? Let’s just bring two just in case.

    Toni: Munch, that is excessive. You don’t want to feed that part of your soul. We all crave more, but it is pivotal to know your limits. Being greedy is a detrimental trait because you will never be satisfied, nor truly appreciate anything. Be grateful for what you have. You are so lucky and have so much abundance in your world.

    Munch: Okay how about I eat one lollipop now, and we bring the other one for later.

     

    more-blog-(i)

  • Don’t We All Want To Kill Ourselves?

    There is a fine line between creativity and mental illness. When tapping into the true artistry of the mind and heart, your sense of reality can change. People who move us the most with their creative gifts allow themselves to examine culture in a manner that digs deeper than most of us are willing or able. Yet the more layers you philosophically peel off of the onion of life, the more the tears are going to flow.

    The tragedy of Robin Williams’s death does not simply lie in the questions surrounding his suicide. The specifics details may not be known, but I think we can assume the genuine and significant existential angst this brilliant man must have experienced. Creative, artistic, reflective people can’t be happy all the time. When you take the time to really sit down to contemplate humanity, the world, and the seeming futility of life, there is no way not to wonder, “What is the point?” People who truly consider the nature of existence will never naively subsist in society.

    In order to get out of bed in the morning, most of us choose to ignore the harshness of life. I don’t wake up thinking about genocide or child prostitution. Instead I worry about what I am going to eat for breakfast and what form of caffeine to ingest. I read the news to stay informed, but I distance myself from the information I am inundated with. “Wow, that sucks about the Ebola outbreak in Africa… sigh… good thing I don’t live there.” To avoid paralysis, I avoid emotionally connecting with the horror of the headlines each day.

    There are moments when the callous, protective, self-involved layer is shed and my rare underbelly is exposed while I weep about how helpless I really feel about the state of the world. In high school I often came home from school and cried – not only about drama in my own daily life, but largely about the merciless awareness growing in me about the grave injustices of the world. The innocent benevolence of my childhood was replaced by the brutal realization of history. I wished with all my heart I didn’t have to feel the truth in this way.

    The reality is the human condition is depressing and many of us are probably slightly depressed all the time. There is so much suffering inherent in being alive. Heartbreak, death, failure, oppression, unfairness, the confusion of identity – there are endless reasons to feel destitute and wonder about ending it all. The journey is how we learn to deal with all the massive disappointments we face. For people who live in the world of Hollywood, the pressure to be adored is unparalleled. While the glory of being worshipped is an intense high, the moments you are not must be a serious low. Robin Williams’ career was spent in an industry that treats people as disposable and replaceable. It had to be challenging as he aged to understand his sense of self without constant public validation.

    People who take their own lives don’t hate life, but actually love it the most. They see and feel beauty so acutely that the pain of the ugliness in our world is too much to bear. The schism of these extremes must be maddening. For those of us who have found self-preservation in the middle, we can never truly understand the power of having those bipolar forces to pull at you. I find comfort in knowing that in addition to the extreme darkness someone must experience to take their life, there was also a time when they were immersed by lightness so bright it was blinding.

    robin-williams-blog-(i)

    August 13, 2014 • Current Events, Health, Musings • Views: 5385

  • The Number 1 Thing You Don’t Want to Hear When High On Mushrooms

    Although hallucinogenic drugs are “fun” and “mind expanding,” you are also playing with fire when it comes to sanity. Reality becomes as malleable as fresh earwax, and you want to be really careful about your surroundings and the type of information that penetrates your psyche. You don’t want any metaphoric penile bombs pumping in and out of your dark squishy mental state.

    Yet sometimes you think you are creating the perfect environment for your perception to be expanded far into the cosmos, but then some shit goes down. Then you are left with your limp consciousness in your hands feeling like, “holy fuck, why am I on drugs while dealing with this?”

    After I graduated college, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with my time on planet earth. I had majored in philosophy, so it seemed perfectly logical to contemplate existence endlessly and ask my bellybutton a bunch of questions about life. So one weekend, I left New York City and came to New Hampshire with my boyfriend Erik to take mushrooms… because of course I did.

    Our plan was to eat the “shrooms” and then walk to our friend’s house 3-miles away to play video games and smoke pot. I know. Pretty awesome plan. We got about a mile down the road, and then everything started to “kick in.” The air around me started to become an actual substance. I could feel the viscosity of the particles, and was pushing my way through the texture of molasses.

    Toni: Dude…. I can’t make it. We have to go back. The air is too thick. I can’t walk through this. The wind is sticking to me.

    We turned around, got back to my house, and lay down on the grass. I wanted to get up, but that was an impossible task considering how heavy the clouds were pressing against my crumpled body. A few hours went by as I dipped in and out of existence, I opened my eyes, and saw a blurry figure walking towards me. It was my friend Amos, who we were originally headed to see.

    Amos: Ummm what happened to you guys? I thought you were coming over?
    Toni: We took some mushrooms and now the sky is oppressing me.
    Amos: Maybe we should go inside and get some water.

    Erik and I followed Amos inside and melted into the couch. Water seemed like a good idea – that is if I still had a mouth and not a beak. I tried using my wing to bring some drops of moisture into my mouth as Amos stared at me semi-concerned. Then out of nowhere, a deafening ring filled the house, and I turned myself inside out to hide.

    Toni: What is that noise!?
    Amos: That is the telephone. Someone is calling your house.

    For whatever reason I answered said “phone” – but I knew it was really a transistor radio to the White House.

    Do you want to know who was on the other line? My grandmother. Now there are a lot of people who you may want to talk to when tripping labia, but your grandmother is not one of them.

    Nagymama: Tonikam…. I am so glad you answered.
    Toni: Nagymama?
    Nagymama: Tonikam listen to me… your parents are dead.

    Now if there is information you don’t want to hear while high as a rocket ship, it’s probably going to be, “your parents are dead.”

    Toni: What? My parents are dead?
    Nagymama: Yes. I have been calling them all day and they are not answering. They are dead.

    Amos: What is going on?
    Erik: Who are you guys?
    Toni: My parents are dead?!

    I got off the phone with my grandmother by hanging it up in the toilet. Erik, Amos, and I sat there taking the news in.

    Amos: Wait, how does she know your parents are dead?
    Toni: Because they are not answering their phone. I can’t believe this is happening….

    I called my parent’s phone number, and sure enough they didn’t answer. They had to be dead. Who doesn’t answer their house phone unless they are dead? Now this was the early 2000’s. People had cell phones, but there wasn’t this super intense relationship where leaving the house without your phone would be akin to going to a sex party without your genitals. I am sure my grandmother had the number to my mother’s cell, but she probably never called it in her life.

    Amos: Does your mom have a cell phone?
    Toni: Yeah…
    Amos: Maybe you should try calling it?
    Toni: Try calling what?
    Amos: Her cell phone.
    Toni: How can my mom answer her cell phone if she is dead?
    Amos: Well, maybe she is just not at home?

    I called my mom’s cell phone… she didn’t answer. I called again… and again… and again….

    My mom: Hello?
    Toni: Mom? Are you dead?
    My mom: What are you talking about?
    Toni: Nagymama told me your guys were dead?
    My mom: Why would she say that?
    Toni: Because she has been calling you all day and you didn’t answer.
    My mom: Toni, it is our anniversary. We went to the gardens to look at flowers for the afternoon, and then we WERE having a romantic dinner until you called 300 times.
    Toni: So you are not dead?
    My mom: Are you high?

    mushie-blog-(i)

    August 6, 2014 • Adventures, Family Drama, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 1738

  • Puff Puff Pass… Wait, Not To You Mom or Dad

    My parents were pretty liberal when dealing with my “experimental phase” of smoking weed as a teenager.  I think they figured that if they made a big deal about it that would only encourage me more, and assumed it was a phase I would outgrow.  As long as I was doing well in school, they pretty much turned a blind eye.

    So if I happened to run into them after smoking pot, I would just play it cool, and they would placate me.  But thinking back to what they must have been thinking when they saw their daughter with blood shot eyes and reeking of pot trying to pretend I was sober– it must have been kind of hilarious for them.

    Example 1

    My friend Bitty and I were smoking weed outside while my parents were at the movies.  We decided we needed to eat raw cookie dough, so went into inside to make some.  The movie had sold out so my parents were home in the kitchen.

    Toni: “Oh. Hi mom.  Hi dad.”

    Mom: “Hi.”

    Toni: “Why is it so smoky in here?”

    Mom: “What?”

    Toni: “Were you guys cooking something? Why is it so smoky?”

    Mom: “What?”

    Toni: “Is the oven on? Its just really smoky in here.”

    Mom: “Ummm Toni, the only thing smoking is your head.”

    Toni: “Oh.”

    Example 2

    Again, Bitty and I were smoking weed outside, but this time we decided that we needed to eat raw cake batter and watch Alice in Wonderland.  My mom was adamant that we never ate in the living room, but we really needed to watch Alice in Wonderland while we ate the cake batter.  Since it was 3 in the morning, we snuck in the living room and figured my mom would never have to know.  But unfortunately she woke up and I heard her coming down the stairs.  So of course Bitty and I did the only logical thing.  Hide the cake batter behind the chair and tried to hide us underneath the table.

    Mom: “Toni? What are you doing underneath the table?”

    Toni: “Oh nothing.”

    Mom: “Are you trying to hide from me under a table? You know it is empty under a table right? I can see you both.”

    Toni: “Yeah, totally. We know you see us. We were just looking for something.”

    Mom: “Okay, well did you find it? Are you coming out from under there?”

    Toni: “We found it.  Yeah.  Coming out.”

    Mom: “Why is it so dark in here?”

    Toni: “We were just watching a movie.”

    Mom: “Well I am turning on the lights.”

    Toni: “Okay.”

    Mom: “Hey, were you girls eating in the living room?”

    Toni: “Nope.”

    Mom: “Are you sure you weren’t eating in the living room?”

    Toni: “Yup.”

    And then I looked over at Bitty and she had chocolate cake batter all over her face, as did I.

    Example 3

    We are smoking some weed outside on my parents terrace because I thought they weren’t home.  My dad opens the door seconds after I inhaled.  I exhaled into my shirt thinking he wouldn’t see the smoke billowing out of my armpits.

    Dad: “Its smells like roofers out here.”

    (Okay… so I lost my shit laughing.  It was too much).

    Toni: “Dad its reefer!! Not roofers!! It smells like reefer out here!”

    Dad: “Oh right! Duh”

    Its hard to say whether or not I will take the same approach as my parents did with The Munch.  I have no idea what it is like to have a teenager, and after what I put my parents through, I am sure I am really in for it.  But they were right in many ways, that it was just a phase, and it did smell like roofers.

    (Here I am at 15 going to my friend’s prom…. Yeah…. pretty sure that girl was trouble)

    pot-blog-(i)

    April 25, 2013 • 2 years old, Family Drama, Musings • Views: 1276