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emotions
Posts

  • Raising a Little Conformist

    When you have a baby, and that baby cries, it’s not trying to manipulate you. An infant cries because it has a genuine need, and that’s its only mode of communication. The first year of parenting is simple in that way. Your baby cries, so you address their relatively basic problems. (I’m hungry, I’m tired, I have to fart, I have a shit in my pants). But as soon as your kid becomes a toddler and understands that it’s screaming can make you do things you don’t want to do – but will do anyway just to shut them up – you bet your sweet ass that kid is going to exploit the shit out of your weaknesses.

    Once your child is no longer a baby, you have to start considering a discipline strategy, and how you are going to condition them. You’re not just raising a kid, but a future adult you’re going to have to deal with for the rest of your life. There is a major shift of consciousness that has to place for the parent making this transition. Figuring out how and when to say “no” to your child is more complex than you’d think. You don’t want to give into all your kid’s demands because then your kid will be an asshole when they grown up. But when you push back and deny your kid of what they want… they turn into a serious fucking asshole right in front of your goddamn face.

    Modern parents are all products of the baby boomer generation and I love you guys, but you were kind of neglectful parents in a lot of ways. LOVELY people those baby boomers… but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person in my 30’s who was raised by a Television. Probably why the Bill Cosby story was such a hard roofie-cocktail to swallow – it was like finding out your Dad was a rapist. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US DADDY!!!!

    So a lot of us who are parenting now are doing so in direct reaction to feeling slightly abandoned as children. Yet with every pendulum swing, a lot of times things go wayyy too far in the other direction. As children we may have been latchkey kids, but we also had independence, which was crucial. Today’s kids can hardly even pick their noses without parental supervision. We’re so afraid that our kids won’t feel cared for, that we don’t give them any space to figure out the world on their own.

    The same thing goes for discipline. There has been a major shift of thinking regarding how to deal with a kid’s emotional outbursts. Spanking is now ONLY appropriate between two consenting adults in the bedroom. Most of us can agree that yelling at a child is ineffective and cruel. Ignoring your kid only makes them create more havoc to get your attention. Yet rationalizing with a young child is bit like talking to Donald Trump. There are moments when they speak complete sentences and seem to understand you, but then they just say random words and make funny faces.

    In my personal parenting journey I have been working with two concepts. One idea is that I want The Munch to know she is allowed to have emotions, and doesn’t have to not feel the pressure to “always be happy” or “suck it up.” I am a new age hippy who drinks water filtered by moon beams, so of course I my want my kid to be connected to her emotional self and explore the entirety of her emotional spectrum. At no point do I want to be a force that enforces emotional repression. But… I also don’t want to create a goddamn monster that allows herself to express every feeling like an emotional terrorist!!!

    So my strategy has been trying to find a balance between these extremes. When she is upset I ask if there is a solution to her problem. If she is too pissed to think of solutions I suggest she go into her room where she can feel all she wants, but I don’t have to be a witness to her outburst. Then when she is ready to talk, we can talk about solutions and move forward with our lives.

    It took time to get this to work, but now that she is 6, we are in a pretty good place. Not just because of my parenting of course, it’s not like I’m some kid whisperer. Her personality was easy to work with because The Munch’s natural disposition is pretty mellow. She has her moments of expected child rage, but her core essence isn’t very confrontational. She is mostly a “well behaved” kid, and when she is feeling really upset and doesn’t want to be reasonable, she goes into her room and then comes out when she is ready to discuss things more rationally.

    All great right??

    NOT SO SURE!!!

    This is the NEW problem that I’m seeing. The Munch is REALLY RESPECTFUL OF AUTHORITY!

    The Munch listens to her teachers at school, and takes instruction very seriously. When she recently had to deal with the hospital and all her surgery she did everything the doctor said, and was very compliant. The doctor said on multiple occasions “what a good girl she is.” The Munch went to the dentist for the first time yesterday and came home wanting to brush her teeth 3 times a day and floss every morning and night. She listened to her dentist because she is a “good little girl” who does what she is told.

    HOLY SHIT I HAVE CREATED A MONSTER!!!

    Have I raised a little conformist!!!??

    As a parent yes I want my daughter to listen to me… but as a woman I want my daughter to LISTEN TO NO ONE!!!!!!!!!

    As a parent it is really amazing that she is so easy tempered, empathetic, thoughtful, nice, caring, but as a feminist I want her TO SHAKE SHIT THE FUCK UP AND CHALLENGE ALL STEROTYPES AND NEVER MAKE IT EASY FOR MEN TO TAKE ADVTAGE OF HER!

    As a parent it is so nice that my kid takes direction well, shows adults respect, isn’t a problem at school, is easy to teach… but as a wannabe revolutionary… FUCK AUTHORITY! FUCK THE POLICE! FUCK THE SYSTEM!!! FUCK GOVERNMENT!!

    Do you see my problem!!

    So here is my plan for the next 6 years… slowly undo every thing I have done and recondition her. This way by the time she is 12, she will be a fucking nightmare – just in time for her teen years. She can rebel against everything and everyone, have ton of fun, and become a total bad ass. Then from 18-24 we find the balance between the two.

    conformist-blog

    October 5, 2016 • Disciplining, Education, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 1197

  • When You Have Nothing To Give But Forgiveness

    The thing about family that is both comforting and challenging is that much like a herpes infection, they never go away. They’re not always there, but when they show up, chances are there will be some soreness. Yet most of us value family and want to maintain that connection, despite the inflammation they may cause.

    Now that the matriarch of my family has died, I wonder what will be the link that binds us together. My grandmother was the last of her generation, and we no longer have a point at the top of the triangle of our family tree. It’s all just branches scattering off into different parts of the world. My grandmother’s womb was the origin zenith which sprouted these many beings, and now we have to find different motives to share time and space.

    I have an idealistic vision when it comes to family. I believe in the relevance that our DNA binds us through quantum ties, and that we are uniquely connected through our chemical make up. Knowing my family ultimately means knowing myself. We were cut from the same physical cloth, even though we are not all the same psychological tribe of people. We all process the world very differently, and yet we all share a similar frame of reference. Some of us rebelled against it, some of us dove into it, but there is a culture that prevails.

    But how do families stay together? How do you keep the same people in your life for the entirety of it? By seeing them less? Or seeming them more?

    I crave the life long relationships. When I seek out relationships, I tend to do so with a fervor that says “guess what, we are in this together – FOREVER!” The friends I make, I make hard. I don’t have casual acquaintances. If you are going get to know me, we are going to go in deep. Unless you do something really brutal to me, like rape my cat in front of my child, chances are I will be committed to you for life. I can’t think of one person who I’ve loved who I’m not still there for.

    I think my commitment to family and friends stems from my best friend dying when we were 20. It was such a crucial and painful moment in my life, and it shaped my worldview completely. It is through that experience I came to see how precious human life is. People aren’t disposable. Even when they suck super hard… and are really annoying and shitty… and you want to shake them like British nanny they are being suck a prick, I will tolerate it and try to work through the bullshit.

    Through our family (and the friends that become family) we find true intimacy. The better you get to know someone; the more comfortable you are around them. The more another person knows you, the greater the opportunity for you to know yourself. The less we posture and hide our vulnerabilities, the more we can delve into the chasm of our own psyches. The value of commitment is having a witness to your personal growth and evolution, but that can only truly take place when you allow that person fully into your heart.

    Yet the irony of my wanting this intertwining of spirits is that the opposite is also true. The more someone knows you, the more they can emotionally eviscerate you. The more capable they are of tearing apart your weaknesses and slapping you in the face with them. The more deeply insulting it is when they misunderstand you. The more time for resentment, bitterness, disappointment to build up like plaque, and no matter how hard we try to brush it off, it’s hard to let go of the pain people cause.

    Seriously, people can be such selfish assholes.

    We are all emotionally damaged. We all have our moments of immaturity. We are all dealing with the primal wounds of childhood and reenacting them in destructive ways. The only way to work through the emotionally complexity of how imperfect we are as humans is through the practice of forgiveness.

    Every goddamn day we have to forgive. We have to truly move on from the past, and recognize that everyone is always growing. We have to let go of the mistakes. We have to forgive people fully and leave room for them to change. We have to know that they are moving towards being the best versions of themselves, and the road to get their will be messy.

    I will leave you with a story where I had to ask forgiveness. I horrible story, that is made from the stuff of nightmares.

    The Munch had her little friend sleep over and as kids tend to do, she brought a LOT of stuff. Bags of toys, pajamas, sleeping bags, nighttime equipment etc… The kid needed a Sherpa for all her gear.

    Munch’s friend had forgotten one of her backpacks at my house, so I left it by the door of my porch so I would remember to give it back. I noticed a small plastic bag also near the door, so I figured it belonged to Munch’s friend. Over the next few days I would move the backpack around to clean, and also move the small plastic bag – assuming I was doing a good thing. When it came time to finally return the backpack, I took the small plastic bag, and stuffed it into the backpack so the precious contents wouldn’t get lost.

    I was trying to be a good mom right!?

    Ten days later I received this text.

    “So I unpacked the backpack left at your house, and inside was a plastic Wal-Mart bag with two tissues and two very dead mice dried up inside. Do you have any idea how they got in there?”

    So basically this mom thought I was sending her kid home with some sort of demonic message. Like I was The Godfather, or Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.” Maybe she thought her kid was part of a satanic ritual and this was my initiation!

    I had to call her up and explain that I didn’t purposefully send her daughter home with carrion in her bag!!!!!!! I later realized my friend who had been visiting was kind enough to pick up the dead mice killed by my cat, but didn’t know where to put them – so she left them by the door thinking she would discuss with me later… but then forgot. I then gingerly moved the carcasses around for days, thinking I was doing the right thing…

    BUT I WAS WRONG – SO VERY WRONG.

    The mom forgave me though, because luckily our daughters are friends for life so she had no choice.

    Here is my face in a toilet…

    toni face in toilet

    August 11, 2016 • Family Drama, Musings, Relationships • Views: 1030

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (Ps she totally did remind me…)

    munch in van

    March 30, 2016 • 5 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Parenting, Relationships • Views: 1370

  • I Don’t Love You Anymore!

    The Munch is still in a state of healing from her eye surgery. It is for sure WAAAYYY more complex than I imagined, and as it stands right now the doctor is thinking that we may have to do another operation. I of course REALY don’t want to put Munch through that, so have been going hard on the holistic healing front.

    In these past few weeks I’ve taken her to a variety hippy doctors, and they all say her body is still processing the trauma of the experience. Because I want to be as proactive as possible, there are a bunch of things I am trying in order to address both the emotional and physical distress. This is the short list:

    1) Eye patch glasses: Munch didn’t want to wear an eye patch because she didn’t think patches were “fashionable,” and the adhesive gave her cheek a rash. So I made her some super sweet Hello Kitty glasses with a ballerina patch over the good eye. Now she looks like a punk rock pirate, and will wear them around her friends.
    2) Pills for her blood/liver: My acupuncture lady said we needed to support her liver/blood to keep tendons and eyes healthy. I brewed Chinese herbs for 2 days in hopes that Munch would drink it, but she refused because it tasted like “monkey poop and pee.” But she did learn to swallow pills so at least that is happening – but she is also now irrationally excited about swallowing pills… which makes me somewhat concerned for her future and doing ecstasy. PS I am also now drinking the “monkey poo and pee” drink because I don’t want it to go to waste, and it tastes more like giraffe semen.
    3) Eye Games: We play games with flash cards where I make her move her eye around. This game has now evolved to me also playing, and working out my eye, which can now bench press 250 lbs.
    4) Massages: I massage her leg to stimulate blood production, her feet to lower stress, her head to relax the brain, and her eye to bring awareness of healing. This is a 30 min process where I have to keep her relaxed and entertained so she doesn’t squirm around. This means I tell stories the entire time, which I make up from the top of my head. I now have carpel tunnel syndrome in my hands from all these damn massages, and probably should enter an improv group for my amazing off the cuff story telling abilities – although many of them end with someone farting really loud.
    5) Singing: Now I have to make her sing as much as possible because the vibration in her head is healing, but she HATES it when I sing because The Munch is a musical snob… sooooo this one isn’t going so well.

    I have also been taking her to healers who do cranial sacral work and trauma release. I have noticed that when we get home from these visits, she has total meltdowns that night. The Munch isn’t really one to have tantrums, so I figure she is getting out these buried emotions that she kept in while trying to be cooperative during the surgery. She was excessively stoic, and maybe needs to get some of the fear and rage out?

    I have been trying to give The Munch space to have these outrageous moments of outburst, and not take them personally or get angry with her for acting out. I know her well enough to know this isn’t her normal behavior, so there is no point in punishing her for needing to release. But this is what it looked like last night.

    The Munch: Mamma, can I have a candy cane?
    Toni: There is no way! It is bedtime, and you can’t eat a candy cane right before bed.
    The Munch: But I WANT ONE!
    Toni: That is understandable because candy canes are delicious. But you have to wait until tomorrow. You can have one then.
    The Munch: Well I can eat it anyway, and you can’t stop me.
    Toni: Of course I can. I am way bigger than you and can take it from you. I would rather you just put it away and have it tomorrow.
    The Munch: Try and take it from me.
    Toni: I am not going to do that.
    The Munch: Just try and take it from me.

    Okay fine… I am the grown up and could have refused. But she was TAUNTING ME OKAY!

    I grabbed the candy cane and it she held onto the hook, and now the other half was in my hand.

    The Munch: AHHHHHHHHHHHHH YOU BROKE IT!!!! WAAAAHHHHHHAAA
    Toni: Dude I am sorry. I didn’t mean to break it. It was an accident!
    The Munch: WELL YOU DID BREAK IT!! WAHHHHHAAAA
    Toni: You told me to try and take it!
    The Munch: WAAAAAHHHHHHHHAAAAAHHHHHAAA!!! YOU BROKE IT!
    Toni: I didn’t mean to break it, but you did tell me to try and take it. Besides, you can have the pieces in the tomorrow. It gets all broken up in your tummy anyway. I will save them for you.
    The Munch: I DON’T WANT IT TO BE BROKEN! I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE! AND I AM TAKING MOLLY FROM YOU AND YOU WILL NEVER SEE MOLLY AGAIN. EVEN THOUGH SHE IS YOUR FAVORITE STUFFY.

    The Munch then went into my room, and got my stuffed animal dog named Molly, and hid her. Okay fine a grown up isn’t supposed to sleep with stuffed animals. But I have had molly for 25 years! I always sleep with Molly!

    The Munch: There! Now Molly is hidden and you will never find her!
    Toni: Munch I hear that you are angry, but I think you maybe need some time to think and calm down and then we can talk.
    The Munch: NO! I am locking you in my room and YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE!
    Toni: Never? What if I get hungry?
    The Munch: You will get nothing to eat!!!
    Toni: So I would just starve to death in your room?
    The Munch: YES!!!
    Toni: So when people ask you “what happened to your mom?” you would just say “oh I got super mad because she broke my candy cane so I locked her in my room. She eventually starved to death and died.”
    The Munch: Yes!
    Toni: Don’t you think you would maybe miss me?
    The Munch: YES I WOULD!
    Toni: Okay well can we think of a solution for you to feel better so you are not yelling or trying to starve me to death?
    The Munch: NOTHING WILL MAKE ME FEEL BETTER EXCEPT FOR WATCHING MY LITTLE PONY OR EATING A NON BROKEN CANDY CANE.
    Toni: Well, neither of those things are going to happen.
    The Munch: WELL THEN YOU CAN’T MAKE ME HAPPY!
    Toni: Of course I can’t make you happy! You have to make your elf happy! Can you think of something that might make you happy? Like maybe you could jump on the bed and then into my arms.
    The Munch: Ummm okay.

    Then she was totally fine and we did our 45-minute healing routine and I got early onset arthritis. This morning we talked about it…

    The Munch: I love you. You’re the best mommy in the whole universe.
    Toni: Remember when you told me last night that you didn’t me any more? Did you mean that?
    The Munch: No… I was just angry.
    Toni: I know. But when you say harsh things, even when you are angry, it can really hurt someone’s feelings. You have to always be careful with your words, because you can never take them back.
    The Munch: Well you didn’t seem like your feelings were hurt last night.
    Toni: That is because I’m your mom, and moms are always more forgiving towards their children. Not everyone will be that way. I knew you didn’t mean those words, but I also know you have been going through a lot, so have a lot of emotions you are working through.
    The Munch: Maybe you also knew you shouldn’t have broken my candy cane.

    She does look pretty bad ass right?

    don't-love-you-(i)

  • The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

    I’ve been feeling pretty emotionally raw lately. Just really sensitive, like the genitals of new lovers who just couldn’t get enough of each other one night, but then the next day are like, “ow… that looks pretty red. Maybe I need a day off.”

    My rational mind can give myself all sorts of suggestions on how to pull out of this funk, and feel the funk of life again – George Clinton style. But my heart-self just wants to crawl into a hole and burry my face in the dirt. Although I bet my pores would get really clogged if I did that.

    So it got me thinking of all the advice I’ve received in my life, and the pieces of wisdom that stuck with me over the years.

    1) Know your audience: When I don’t know whom I am talking to, or where they are coming from, I tend to accidently shove my foot in my mouth – maybe even deep throat it. I have a tendency to make outlandish provocative statements that appeal to some, but NOT to others. Most of the time I’m just trying to be funny, but if I’m not careful, I will offend the shit out of people.

    For example:

    Toni: My organic farm CSA is giving me an anxiety attack because I have too many vegetables that I can’t eat in time. It’s giving me an aneurism imagining my squash going bad because I don’t make soup by Friday. I’m being plagued by root veggies. It’s like I have beets coming out of my ass. But don’t worry; I’m seeing a doctor about it.

    Woman I don’t really know that well: Does anyone know of a food shelter in this town? The last one I went to, the food was really bad, and I chipped my tooth. I had to pay $300 to get it fixed. My dad also died of an aneurism.

    Okay… of course there was no way I could have known any of that stuff, but the point is that the more questions we ask of the people we are talking to, the more we can be thoughtful of the information we share with them. When I am being wise, I ask a lot about someone before I reveal anything. Who are they? Where are they at emotionally? What is their vibe for the day? Our minds are filled with thoughts that don’t need to be distributed. It is our responsibility to sift through them, and try to only articulate the ones that bring value.

    Back to more advice….

    2) When in the shower, wash your face before your ass: This may be an obvious suggestion. But until it was so beautifully articulated, that had never occurred to me.
    3) The horizon is pretty to look at, but you will never get there: This one is my own advice, but I think it is a good for me to hear. It’s important to have goals in life, but no matter what, you will never achieve them. Because as soon as you do, there will be another one off in the distance. So sit back and enjoy the view.

    dublin lake sunset

    October 28, 2015 • Musings • Views: 1202

  • How Do You Treat People When You’re in a Bad Mood?

    How often do you get in a bad mood? Every week? Every day? Every few hours?

    What do your bad moods look like? Do you take it out on the people around you? Do you retreat into yourself? Do you punish your furniture or punch walls? Or do you paint pictures of Donald Trump with your menses?

    Everyone gets into bad moods. It seems like an unavoidable aspect of the human condition. We can’t have happiness without moments of darkness. We all feel waves of pessimism, and ironically, our own thoughts are often the cause of the turmoil.

    Most problems we have are not the external interference of someone intentionally fucking with you. The majority of our personal suffering we put on ourselves by being upset over things we have little control over. We thus end up spending a huge part of our lives managing this self-induced pain.

    But here is the problem with being in a bad mood. NO ONE LIKES TO BE AROUND SOMEONE WHO’S IN A BAD MOOD!

    Negativity is more contagious than a strand of herpes infested Ebola virus mixed with measles. When you are around someone who is complaining, wallowing, or finding the fault in everything – it is hard not to sink into the pit of despair with them. Bad moods are the quick sand of the emotional spectrum, and most people will run the other direction so as not to get sucked in.

    So the question then becomes, what do you do with yourself when you are in a bad mood? If you don’t honor your feelings, they tend to fester and breed. That energy has to be expelled somehow, because denial only delays the inevitable breakdown. The ideal would be to notice your bad moods, but allow them to float through you without attachment. Just let them pass like gas! Yet that can be really hard if you are not a Buddhist monk spending your life meditating in the forest!

    When you live with a kid, their moods are in a constant state of chaos. They can get angry about something as simple as having too many raisins in their granola. Which although is maddening, is not a reason to throw yourself on the floor and weep as if you just ate your cat by accident.

    When Munch is in a bad mood, she also happens to be a total asshole. It is hard to be empathetic to her anguish when I also think she is being a dick. I don’t want Munch to feel like there isn’t space to be her authentic expressive self; but I also don’t want to be an emotional punching bag in the process.

    Toni: Listen, Munch. I totally understand that life can be frustrating, and sometimes you get in a bad mood. I am never asking you not to feel your feelings. But I am asking you to start thinking how you treat people when you are angry inside. If you are in a bad mood, is it possible for you to also be kind?

    The Munch was quiet for a moment while she took this suggestion in. Then she looked at me as if she totally understood what I was saying, then dramatically threw her head back.

    Munch: BUT IT’S SO HARD!!!!!

    Exactly Munch…

    (This was her first day of school… and boy was she in a bad mood!)

    first day of school

  • How Not To Be an Emotional Terrorist

    Even though emotions seem esoteric because you can’t tangibly experience them with your physical senses, that doesn’t mean they aren’t energetically tangible. We are all entangled in each other’s emotional webs. We feed off each other in an eternal feedback loop of feelings – like a snake giving it’s tail a blowjob.

    You are mad at me, so I then get mad at you, which makes you even madder at me, and that makes me SUPER mad at you. You know what? Forget it. I don’t even want to talk to you about this any more.

    People are so easily impacted by the moods of others. There is a contagious quality to our dispositions that spreads like a virus. It is really hard not be influenced by each others energies, and often we blame people for fucking with our chi. We say things like “you’re bringing me down,” “you’re putting me in a bad mood,” or “bitch don’t kill my vibe.” Yet even when we feel like we are victims of emotional terrorism, we are also the emotional terrorists when we take on other people’s feelings.

    Here is my 2 step guide on how not to be an emotional terrorist.

    1) Contain your own energetic temperament. If you are feeling particularly negative, perhaps keep to yourself until you can work through what’s going on. Just because there is internal turmoil doesn’t mean you have to externalize that experience and take it out on others.

    2) Don’t be an energetic sponge! It is one thing to be intuitive and notice that someone you love is cranky, sad, disappointed… whatever. You can have compassion for their experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to mirror their state of mind. You can still be happy and content around someone who is having a hard time.

    When we don’t own our own feelings, then we make it impossible for people to be authentic around us. We can’t go around being shitty and expect that not to impact people. But we also can’t get impacted every time we are around someone acting shitty. Maybe you come home from a hard day, and some motherfucker is in your house – like your kid, spouse, or dad who actually is a motherfucker. We are not academy award winning actors. I can’t always act happy just because someone is in my kitchen making a sandwich. When you live with people, they are sometimes going to witness your foul being, and that has to be okay.

    There is a fine line between allowing feelings to pass through us, and using them as weapons of mass destruction. If we all could learn how to better negotiate our moods, then we wouldn’t terrorize each other with them. Like when The Munch is really cranky, I don’t want to give her the impression that there isn’t space for that. I don’t scold her for having emotional complexity. Of course she can be in a bad mood about not finding the Lego piece. That is totally understandable. But it is also okay for me to leave the room as she processes those feelings. Just like she is free to feel, I am free to get the fuck out of there and do something else. I don’t to be the audience for that breakdown because holy shit kid; it is just a fucking Lego piece.

    Moments before the meltdown…

    lego much

    October 12, 2015 • 5 years old, Behavior, Family Drama, Musings, Parenting, Playing, Relationships • Views: 1288

  • A Monster is Ruling My life

    The parent child relationship is a dance of power dynamics. Of course as the grown up, you are in control – but there are moments when the ferocious emotional reaction of your child will make you bow to their supremacy over you. Sometimes I hold my ground against The Munch being an unreasonable twatt, but there are also instances where I will bend over upside-down and twisted to avoid her wrath.

    This is a story that tells the tale of the true craziness of my life.

    It all started with getting Munch’s new bedframe delivered.

    I was with my friend Grace, and suddenly realized that in order for Munch’s new bed to be set up by the delivery men, I would have to unmake her current bed and move the mattress. This may not seem like a big deal, but in my world, it was huge.

    The Munch has a thing about her bed, and the set up of her stuffed animals. It’s a very elaborate installation art piece that I am NOT allowed to touch. I haven’t even washed her sheets for 9 months. There are bloodstains from a bloody lip, an unidentifiable green blemish, and I am sure variety of forms of E. Coli.

    Toni: Fuck. If I move her mattress, Munch is going to know I moved her stuffed animals?
    Grace: And?
    Toni: She is going to get really mad.
    Grace: And?
    Toni: You don’t get it.

    Grace and I moved Munch’s mattress, and I washed her sheets since I had the chance. The bedframe was constructed, and I did everything in my power to make the bed exactly as I had found it. Although I did fail to use the 5 blankets she had been using to avoid the crumbs from eating cookies in her bed a few months ago.

    I went to pick Munch up from her friend’s house, and since it was a beautiful day, suggested we go to the playground before going home.
    Munch: Can we stop by the house so you can get my Frozen shoes and my Elsa flip-flops?
    Toni: Sure.

    We stopped by the house and I found her Frozen sandals, but not the stupid flip-flops. I had forgotten to mention this however, because while I was in the house, I was so fixated on her bed being absolutely perfect for her to see.

    We headed to the park, but first stopped at the Organic Store for some $38 sandwiches.

    Toni: Come on Munch. Let’s go in the store and get the sammiches.
    Munch: Can I get a treat?
    Toni: Sure. Just put your shoes on.
    Munch: Did you bring my flip-flops?
    Toni: I couldn’t find them. But I brought the Frozen sandals, so just wear those.
    Munch: BUT I WANTED TO WEAR MY FLIP-FLOPS!!!!

    Now keep in mind we were in the parking lot of a judgmental hippy store, and now my kid was freaking the fuck out over Frozen flip-flops. I was trying to be patient, but I was also debating shoving my head in a juicer. I tried to reason with Munch that she has 2 other shoe options to choose from, but she was having none of it. She was in rare form. I finally got out of the car and said when she was ready to calm down we could go in.

    I wanted to just turn around and go home to avoid this whole scene – but the problem was that I had already ordered the sammiches over the phone. I HAD to go in and pick them up. I couldn’t bring my crying crappy child with me because that was too embarrassing. So I waited. And I waited. And waited some more while Munch continued her total break down in the car.

    Eventually my neighbor pulled into the parking lot to do his grocery shopping.

    Toni: Hey. Can you watch my car for a minute while my kid has a tantrum? I have to go in the store and pick up the sandwiches I pre-ordered.
    My Neighbor: Uhhh okay?

    When I came back out, The Munch had stopped crying and was talking to my neighbor. I thanked him, and got in the car.

    Munch: Can I still get a treat?
    Toni: You have got to be fucking kidding me.
    Munch: But you promised.
    Toni: Dude… do you seriously think I am going to get you a treat after that?
    Munch: But you promised!!!!

    At this point I was weak. I was broken. Munch put on her god forsaken Frozen sandals, and we went inside so she could get a treat. I don’t know why. I was just trying to have a nice day I guess. But once in the store, I guess Munch hadn’t really gotten over her mood, so she couldn’t figure out what treat she wanted. She then started stomping her feet in frustration.

    Now my kid can be an asshole. But this was some next level shit. I had never witnessed this level of cuntyness.

    We left the store and I was livid.

    Munch: Can I have my chocolate now?
    Toni: No way. And we are not going to the park either. You were so rude in there, and it was embarrassing. I got you a treat because I said I would, but that doesn’t mean you can have it after you acted in such a disrespectful manner.
    Munch: YOU ARE BEING DISRESPECTFUL!
    Toni: Am I? Do you think I like going to the playground?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Was I taking you to the playground for my health? Or because you like it?
    Munch: Because I like it.
    Toni: Have you been kind to me? Or appreciative at all of my efforts to do things for you today?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Would you give you a treat if you were me?
    Munch: No.
    Toni: Okay. So no treat, and we are going home.
    Munch: BUT I WANT MY CHOCOLATE!! WAHHHAHHHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA.
    Toni: You are acting like a baby.

    The Munch cried the whole way home as I fantasized about driving into on coming traffic. At this point we were both starving because neither of us had eaten lunch. I got to my house, threw her the sammich, and went to the yard to eat alone.

    We kept our distance for a few minutes, and then The Munch came over to me with flowers she had picked. She then handed them to me.

    Munch: I’m sorry.

    Oh she’s good. She is soooooo good.

    We made up, ate together, and everything seemed fine.

    Toni: This is the plan. We are going to Sally’s for dinner, and you have to take a bath before then because it’s been a few days. So lets go do that, and then get ready.
    Munch: Okay.
    Toni: Oh. I almost forgot. Your new bed came. Do you want to see it?
    Munch: YAYYYYY!

    We ran upstairs. Munch was ahead of me. She entered her room, and my heart tightened.

    Munch: YOU MOVED MY STUFFED ANIMALS!! I WORKED SO HARD ON MY SET UP!!! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!??
    Toni: I had to in order for your bed to be delivered. But I put everything back.
    Munch: YOU DID IT WRONG! MY SEAL DOESN’T GO HERE. IT GOES THERE! AND MY DOLLY GOES HERE!
    Toni: Okay. I don’t want to fight about this. Lets fix them together.
    Munch: DID YOU MOVE MY COZY BLANKETS??!!
    Toni: Yes, but I washed everything and put them safely in the closet.
    Munch: I NEED MY COZY BLANKETS BACK!
    Toni: Dude… we got this. I will take everything down, and we can do it together okay?
    Munch: WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS WITH OUT ME!?
    Toni: You weren’t here. Let’s not have a tantrum, or act like a baby. We can talk about things and figure out solutions with our words and actions. So explain to me how you like it, and we can do this together.
    Munch: Okay. First we have to talk off all the stuffed animals and the blanket so we can put the cozy blankets down first on the bottom.

    I started taking her stuffed animals of the bed so we could remake it the way she liked. I moved the tiny bunny, the little bear, the giraffe, and then I put my hand on A FUCKING LIVE MOUSE!!

    A mouse had been cuddling with her stuffed animals, just chilling next to the tiny badger, and I almost picked it up with my BARE FUCKING HANDS!

    Toni: AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    I pulled Munch off the bed. The mouse was now buried under the other stuffed animals on the floor.

    Munch: What? WHAT IS IT?
    Toni: IT’S A MOUSE!
    Munch: Where?
    Toni: THERE! Under your animals!!
    Munch: Well get it and bring it outside.
    Toni: I’M SCARED.
    Munch: Come on Mom, you can do it. Don’t be such a baby.

    bed-fight-blog2

  • Rappers Talking to Teen Girls About Love is Only the BEST THING EVER!

    Are you ready for your heart to erupt out of your ribcage, and your eyes to swell with the butterfly dreams of caterpillars? Do you feel prepared to allow hope to wash over your membranes and loofah your radiant body with the sweet scent of optimism? Then you must watch these rappers giving love advice to teen girls. Here are your tissues, and please only use them for tears because you know why.

    The website Rookiemag.com hosts a series where teenage girls can ask famous grown ups questions about the secrets of existence. In the most recent episode, rap duo “Run The Jewels” (comprised of Killer Mike and El P), provide guidance on affairs of the heart. Can I just say the idea of two grown men, (one of whom calls himself KILLER Mike) giving sincere feedback on intimate questions is the MOST BEAUTIFUL THING EVER!

    Both genders have immense cultural pressures they have to contend with. I am usually writing about women and what we experience because you know, I have a vagina, and my period, and GROSS! Yet there is also much men have to battle when it comes to societal demands – especially in the world of hip-hop where masculinity is a huge part of credibility, and ones personal brand.

    I am not sure, but I am going to bet the status quo would not consider it “gangster” to be giving empathetic thoughtful counsel on the pressure of the “first kiss”- but I think this is the manliest display of manliness I have ever witnessed. Both Killer Mike and El P take the concerns of these girls incredibly seriously, and are genuinely compassionate when it comes to their sensitive struggles.

    Teenage girls are notoriously THE MOST emotional creatures on planet earth, but Run The Jewels makes it clear that their experience of love is comparable. They both open up about the insecurity they have felt when being in love with someone who they were not sure loved them back, the fear of telling someone how you honestly feel, and the heartbreak of wanting someone you can’t have. They discuss the value sense of humor and personality, as well as promote themes of honestly, transparency, and self love. With such gems as “Let fate do its part, but don’t stand around waiting with your heart,” and “Say directly how you feel. You would be helping man kind if you were direct,” you would think this was coming from some New Age hippy adorned with pukka shells as the sounds of gongs played in the background.

    This is the path masculinity needs to be directed towards. Grown men who exhibit no fear of of admitting their emotional nature. The more men can be encouraged to not only tap into, but to discuss their feelings, the less repression they will experience. There is so much value added when men are equipped to have deep philosophical conversations about the nature of their psychological selves.

    I wish that this were going on when I was a teen girl. I can’t imagine the impact it would have had if Biggie Smalls and Eazy-E did a web series telling me how I don’t want a crazy imbalance of power when it comes to relationships.

    runthejewels-1

    January 26, 2015 • Birth • Views: 1891