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feelings
Posts

  • Not Playing the Game is the New Game

    How much do you censor yourself on a daily basis? Do you ever find yourself in situations where you want to say one thing, but instead say another in fear of how you will be perceived? How defined is your personality by the expectations of others? Do you feel like your true self has to be tamed or contained in order to protect your feelings and spare yourself from rejection?

    What would happen if everything you wanted to express, you actually did?

    As socialized humans most of us have it ingrained in us that we think before we share, and consider the emotional reaction of others when deciding how to behave. When people shun these rules, or challenge them, they are often out-casted. Yet what do you think are the cultural norms that serve us in our humanity, and what are the ones that keep us from it?

    The other day I was meeting a friend for lunch at the Green Grocer, and decided to do a bit of grocery shopping before hand. As I was loading up my bok choy and bone broth at the register, I suddenly had the feeling that I may have just shit my pants. As you can assume, this is an alarming sensation mixed with a fair amount of anxiety. At that exact moment my friend entered into the store, and started talking to me. Now, it’s kind of hard to be yourself when you’re questioning whether or not there is shit in your pants. So I did what any normal person would do… leaned over and said, “I may or may not have just shit my pants, and kind of need to investigate before I can be fully present.”

    Look… I get it that discussing sharding is not typically grocery line conversation. Yet at the same time, how frustrating is it to talk to someone who isn’t really paying attention and doing weird gestures with the bottom half of their body? Wouldn’t you rather know the truth of your company dealing with a potential bodily crisis rather than thinking you’re boring them as they stare off into the distance with an expression of deep questioning and angst?

    Lucky for me, there was no shit in my pants and I could continue with lunch unfazed by such an inconvenience. However this delightful experience did get me thinking about all the things that we hide from each other that actually might be important to know.

    Like most people, I exist in a quantum mass of contradiction. It’s not like I don’t care what people feel about me, because I do… I just don’t care what people think about me. Does this make sense? I think this comes from the two influences of my parents. My dad is like a social ambassador to the UN. He’s incredibly polite, he can talk to anyone, and he has the uncanny ability to charm even the vilest people. Where my mom will go into a store and ask the sales lady if the leggings she’s trying on is giving her a camel toe. THIS IS WHERE I COME FROM GUYS!

    I am a peacemaker. I care deeply about the emotional well being of others, but if within that context, you also happen to think I’m totally out of my mind, I’m okay with that. I feel like everyone has a mental illness they’re covering up, and the best thing we can do for each other is pull back the veil.

    Yet I also have to acknowledge that the way I deal with people has been fundamentally different from the way I’ve dealt with the opposite sex. When I was in high school my view of men was that all boys use girls. I decided that I was NOT going to be the sucker, or get used by some fucktard dude, and my solution was to cheat on EVERYONE I dated. I figured if I used guys the way they used girls, I wouldn’t feel used. So I always had multiple boyfriends, and lied to everyone. It all culminated when I was 18-years old and ran the Boston Marathon. When I got to the finish line I saw my boyfriend that went to my school, the boy I was cheating on with my boyfriend, another boy who I was having a long-term emotional affair with, my out of school boyfriend, and finally another boy I was leading on. So after running 26 miles and seeing these five boys do you know what I did? I KEPT RUNNING!!! I tried to run home… but everyone stopped me. And would you like to know the consequences of my actions? A LOT OF PEOPLE GOT HURT!

    But I least I didn’t get used right??

    The problem with modern romance is that the culture has become such where people are embarrassed for having feelings, and are ashamed for feeling love. The cool thing to do is show that you have no emotions, and how you’re just so damn cool about everything that whatever goes, and nothing matters, and who cares because Tinder.

    It’s as if the protecting our egos has become more important than sharing our hearts.

    No way I’m I gonna be the one admitting the fragility of ventricles. I’m gonna act like my aorta doesn’t need you because the humiliation of admitting that you got into my right atrium is too much to bare. You guys… I did really good in 8th grade biology can you tell?

    Men seem to think that all women want are relationships, so they act all frosty to show they aren’t ready for any serious commitment. Women know that men are paranoid about them wanting relationships, so they act all blasé to prove you’re not the kind or girl who’s desperate for commitment. Then it becomes this game of pretending like neither of you give a shit, when really, if you don’t give a shit about the person you’re fucking, chances are the sex is shit.

    You can’t enter into relationships feeling guarded, because if you do, you are avoiding the intimacy of who you both really are. There is so much fear around “what is this going to turn into,” or “am I going to get hurt by another person’s indifference,” that people so often self censor or become hyper-calculated.

    When I was in my 20’s I got bored of playing the game. So then my new strategy became to tell the guy I liked everything that’s wrong with me right in the beginning. I’d be like, “hey, I’m mostly lovely but I’m never wrong, I will emotionally eviscerate you in an argument and point out every flaw you’ve ever had, and I will totally lie to you to avoid conflict or get what I want.” EASY RIGHT!

    Technically that’s not how the game is played, but I would argue that NOT playing the game is the new game! How refreshing is radical honesty in this photo-shopped auto-tuned world? How sexy is vulnerability when everyone is treating each other like robots from West World? We are not disposable, and we shouldn’t treat each other as such just because you can swipe right again tomorrow.

    Much like how my friend probably didn’t think she wanted to know about my potentially poopy pants, it was BETTER for her that she did because then she didn’t take my feces inspired pre-occupation personally. The more open we are about what we are dealing with emotionally, the better friends we can be to each other.

    Me at 13 plotting the destruction of the future boys in my life…

    February 22, 2017 • emotions, Musings, Old School Stories, Pee & Poop, Sex Stuff • Views: 17

  • Do People Really Change?

    I would not describe myself as an emotional person. I’m what you call even-tempered, non-reactionary, or dead inside. I rarely pick fights with people, and the only time you will see me angry is when you’re angry with me – so I mirror that “anger emotion” like a robot from Westworld to make it all stop.

    That isn’t to say I don’t feel feelings. I do. At least I think I do. But I mostly keep them to myself. I tend to internalize my emotions rather than externalize them. That’s not to imply they embarrass me, or I’m afraid someone will judge me for not being happy. Who is happy anyway? I don’t trust anyone who is happy all the time – unless they’re my ecstasy dealer. I will easily admit to my feelings and say that I’m depressed, sad, disappointed, hurt… but I’m not really going to ACT that way around other people. It’s more a descriptor of my energy rather than my behavior.

    I never thought of myself as repressed, but I have to admit the harsh reality that every 4 months my body completely breaks down. I will have crazy back spasms, break out in shingles, hurt myself sneezing – whatever. There will be about a 2- week window where my body will be in complete rebellion and I will have to spend the days healing, reflecting, and “nurturing” myself. BORING!

    My most recent experience was hurting my left butt. I know. Who hurts their left butt? But my left butt was sore all the time, and it made it really hard to move. I had a big dance performance coming up for my belly dance company, and was starting to freak the fuck out. We had been rehearsing and preparing for a YEAR! A year of work!! I really wanted to dance.

    I went to see my healer and she went to town on my butt, but to no avail. It was still gripping. Holding onto something – a real and literal pain in the ass. I went back the day of my performance and again the healer went hard on me until finally – BAM! It was over! She had released my ass!

    I was elated. I went to my studio to help set up, my heart filled with joy. I was so grateful my ass was better and I would be able to dance. Then, as I was sweeping the floor, my knee gave out.

    I WAS SWEEPING THE FLOOR mind you. Not doing a back flip. Just walking slowly pushing a broom.

    I could not accept that I was hurt. I tried to knock my knee back in place. Push my shinbone where I thought it needed to go. Massage the tendons. Loosen the ligaments. But it was not happening. A year of rehearsals, dedication, effort, and I couldn’t perform. My butt felt amazing though.

    I went back to see my healer and asked what she thought the emotional aspect of my pain was. I do believe that our bodies manifest emotional pain that our spirit isn’t processing, so I was curious what she thought was going on with me. My healer said she thought it had to do with childhood issues, the current stress I’m under, my over-critical inner dialogue, blah blah blah why aren’t I a robot from Westworld again?

    I went to my friend’s house and decided to pick a tarot card. I asked the tarot what was the message of my knee and the card I picked was… you guessed it… Childhood.

    Fine tarot. I get it. But what about childhood?! What does that mean? I could be anything!!!!?? Can’t you be a little more specific tarot!?

    Here is where shit gets weird. As I was lying there unable to walk, I check my email. My friend from high school, out of nowhere, sends me pictures of a letter I wrote to her when I was 17.

    As you would have it, the secrets of my pain and the message of me knee were written out for me in plain English… just 20 years ago.

    (FYI The context of the time of this letter was that I was fighting with my parents and staying at my grandmother’s house).

    Here are some excerpts.

    letter-page-1

    “I just finished the ‘Great Gatsby’ and it greatly depressed me. I mean here is a guy whom everyone is using for something, and no one completely understands him. And it’s sad because that’s all he truly wanted, and he never got it.”

    First of all… nice usage of the word “whom” 17-year old Toni. Second of all, I find it both hilarious and tragic that the “Great Gatsby” depressed me. How bourgeoisie! It’s clear that I identified with him, and also felt used and misunderstood. Even though I probably wouldn’t qualify these feelings as my current problems – I also relate to them in a deep way.

    letter-page-2

    “I feel like everyone wants something from us and we never really get anything in return. I mean, it seems all guys really want from us is sex (however that’s all we want too) but still, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone love you even if you didn’t have a hole they could empty themselves into?”

    Wow… okay Teen-Toni. That’s kind of a bleak view, but also one I don’t totally disagree with. I think for many women, we question the motivations of men. Do you they really like me as a friend/ co-worker? Or are they waiting for me to get drunk enough to fuck them one day? But at the same time… “THAT’S ALL WE WANT TOO!” Touché Teen-Toni… tou-motherfucking-ché.

    The male-female dynamic (for heterosexuals) is often fraught with confused sexual emotions. It is hard to cultivate dynamics that are tainted with an underpinning of desire. It’s a challenging context of which to find purity of intention. Yet even if women feel they are also using men for sex, there is something still inherently shitty about feeling used for sex when you’re a woman. Probably because anatomically speaking as a woman you have a hole in your body and are inviting someone else inside. That’s a vulnerable place to be. I mean, how many people would you put your finger in their mouth? Probably a lot. You wouldn’t even have to think too much about it. But how many people would you let but THEIR finger in YOUR mouth? NOT AS MANY!! It would take wayyy more trust no? Hence the sexual double standards we all struggle with.

    letter-page-2-copy

    “The more I think about it the more I know that all I really want is for someone to understand me and wants me to be happy. That’s kind of why I left home for a while because I figured if I wanted that, I should figure out what it is I want myself.”

    Okay… again, I wouldn’t say I felt this way out loud, but I also deep down totally get it. Probably why my life’s work is creating content in a desperate attempt to express myself and be understood. And “I should figure out what it is I want myself” – ummmm why didn’t I have a teen self-help advice column??

    letter-page-3

    “Sometimes I feel there are too many people in my life, and sometimes I feel there are not enough. But through it all, I always seem to feel alone.”

    Okay, these are some amazing lyrics for an angsty 90’s rock ballade, and holy shit I was deep. I totally agree with you Teen-Toni!!! Who doesn’t feel this way!!?

    “I crave to be with someone, although I don’t know who it is. I can’t really deal with my parents anymore because I think they are having problems with each other. At this point I don’t really care because I can’t relate to either of them because they can’t relate to me.”

    Oooooo snap! I was pissed!!! But I find it interesting that I couldn’t relate to them, because I felt they couldn’t relate to me. Being a teenager is a such an isolating time, and it feels as if parents are fundamentally unable to get you. Is that because of the generational divide? Or is there an inevitable cultural clash that comes with the search to find one’s own identity? Does any teen feel like their parents relate to them?

    “Sometimes I feel like I am being selfish, and other times I don’t. I can’t tell anymore.”

    Totally Teen-Toni. Still can’t.

    “I am not in love with any boy anymore and I don’t know what to think about that either because it will probably change. My grandmother says pimply teenage boys are a waste of time and all they want to do is empty themselves inside of you…”

    Hmmmm I guess I was kind of a romantic… but my CATHOLIC GRANDMOTHER was none too impressed by my sexing up teen boys. Maybe she had some influence on my cynicism…. Both then and now!!!

    letter-page-4

    “It is kind of a harsh outlook, but it seems pretty accurate. Every where you go people want something from you, and I know there is no avoiding that.”

    Damn Teen-Toni… that is so fatalistic, and yet… yes. I hear you. I grapple with the concept of unconditional love. I want to believe in it, but it feels that much like communism, it’s impossible in practice.

    After reading all this – it’s kind of shocking how little I’ve changed in 20 years.

    I’m also so taken aback with how deeply I seemed to have felt my feelings. They were so raw then. Even though I essentially feel the same ways as Teen-Toni, for Adult-Toni these feelings are no longer on the surface. I’ve come to accept so much of this as part of life, or at least part of my life. I don’t let it get to me anymore – at least not on a conscious level. It’s as if at 17 I was walking around like a giant open wound, and now, almost 37, I’m just a big scab.

    So get this!

    I went home that night, still unable to walk because my knee was so enflamed. Sad and frustrated, I sat down at the kitchen table while the Munch had her dinner. Then, out of nowhere, The Munch grabs a pad of paper and asks me to write down all that I was feeling. I complied, and then she asked me to write down all my needs.

    CAN YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THAT??

    She then drew pictures representing my feelings and my needs and gave it to me to remember.

    Now that is some profound ass shit. What an amazing exorcise to do when trying to heal. DON’T YOU THINK YOU SHOULD DO THAT YOURSELF RIGHT GODDAMN NOW!? I don’t know where The Munch came up with that … but the next day I could walk again.

    I can’t wait to read what kind of letters that kid will be writing to her friends bitching about me when she’s 17.

    Below is the picture Munch drew for me. Notice the “emotional ambulance” between our names. Then you see the faces of my feelings… frustrated, anxious, and later loved (with my nose looking surprisingly like a set of cock and balls). Then below the faces are my needs, which seemingly include meds, a tower of penises surrounding a bong, more meds, a happy heart, and back to the meds.

    toni-feelings

    December 15, 2016 • Family Drama, Health, Mommyhood, Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 636

  • 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: 797

  • 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: 863

  • 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: 812

  • Does Pain Have to Be So Dramatic?

    I don’t understand why when kids cry; they have to cry so damn loud. There is always a wail beneath their weeping that makes the whole incident an event you are forced bear witness to. Trying to talk over a crying child is like whispering to an 80’s punk band musician during a car alarm. Nothing is going to get heard.

    Kids also cry a fuck of a lot. Especially when they hurt themselves. When children are in physical discomfort, their bellows have a density that is unparalleled. It is not that I can’t understand the need to express your emotions when faced with agony, but why at such an intense decimal?

    When The Munch hurts herself, she suddenly has the vocal capacity of an opera singer with an elephant lung transplant. If I am being real with you, it can get annoying. I am not a monster, so of course I hug her while she is processing the pain – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck having someone screaming inches from your ear. I am not saying that she isn’t suffering, but does she have to suffer so dramatically?

    You guys… it is not my fault I am like this. I was raised in New England, by WASP’s. We don’t talk about silly things like emotions. When I felt a feeling, like coldness, I would never express my penetrating discomfort – I would just get a mild case of frostbite because it “builds character.” That was how you did things. As much as I want to be sensitive to The Munch’s despair, it is also sometimes hard for me to patiently tolerate the theatrics.

    The other day Munch and I went on an adventure to this kid’s extravaganza that involved the stories of Roald Dahl. I don’t really get what was going on, but there were girls dressed like oompa loompas and what else did I really need to understand? We went with a bunch of our friends, so after 3 minutes of being there I was already overwhelmed by the variety of needs demanded from the variety of children who surrounded me. I told Munch and her friend Hazel to go climb the rocks so I could have a moment to watch the rain fall on my head and travel down my cheeks like the tears of failed dreams.

    As the weather got more extreme, I watched the girls sliding down the slippery rock, and knew some shit would go down.

    The Munch lost her footing, slipped down the rock, and then landed on her knees on another rock. I am not going to say it wasn’t a digger. It was. It looked fucked up. She was bleeding, and it bruised immediately.

    Yes she was also freaking the fuck out. At first I was like “yes, yes I understand” like a normal person, but as the minutes ticked on I was kind of like “girl, you got to get over this and moveon.org.”

    The problem when Munch hurts herself is then everything becomes about her “boo boo.” She will be like “I can’t walk because of my boo boo.” Or she will just keep repeating “my boo boo hurts” like the mantra of a stoned monk who forgot what he just said 3 seconds ago. Now we had just driven for 40 minutes to get to this god forsaken kid’s paradise, and there was no way I could deal with the entire evening being textured around her fucking boo boo.

    Munch: Mom… my boo boo really hurts. Will you carry me? I can’t walk. I need you to carry me. My boo boo really hurts mom.
    Toni: Listen dude. We have an entire evening here, and I cannot carry you the whole time because my arms will fall off my body.
    Munch: But my boo boo really hurts mom! Wahhhhhaaaa. WAHHHHHAHHHA!
    Toni: Munch, it’s okay to cry, but can’t you just do it more quietly?
    Munch: But I can’t calm down. It really hurts.
    Toni: I get that it sucks, but that is being a kid. Children fall down Munch. You fall, you scrape your knee, but then you get up and keep going. Life is full of pain. You are going to hurt yourself 1,000 more times. You can’t hide from the pain. The only thing you can do is learn how to deal with it.

    The Munch hobbled along stoically… yet would still occasionally mention the bleeding festering wound on her knee. I of course would respond oh so compassionately with statements like, “I am not sure little girls who complain will get chocolate at the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory station where there is a chocolate fountain to dip your chocolate sticks into.” The Munch would then bravely continue – ever motivated by sugar.

    Then last night, as Karma would have it, I trekked outside to visit my brother around 11 pm. It was very dark, and the clouds covered the slight sliver of moon that would have provided light. I couldn’t really see where I was going so I tripped on a log, bashed my knee, and cut my toe. AND BOY DID THAT HURT!! I just started screaming out into the abyss of the night “Holy fucking mother of Christ!!! God fucking dammit to hell!!” I was so loud that everyone in a one-mile radius could hear me with the clarity of Beats by Dre. When I finally got inside where I could see the damage, there was barley a scrape on my knee, and the slightest cut on my toe. BUT YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I COMPLAINED ABOUT IT!!!

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  • Life is Pain, Sweetie

    I really like The Munch.  I think she is pretty badass.  But damn – she can also be quite the drama queen.

    Kids hurt themselves a fuck of a lot.  They don’t watch where they are going, are easily distracted, and are just about eye-level of all table corners.  They are going to injure themselves at LEAST once a day, and in The Munch’s case she makes an event out of every instance as if she were auditioning for role of Lady Macbeth.

    Here is my conundrum. I don’t want to deny The Munch of her pain.  I think saying “oh never mind… forget it… you are fine” is demoralizing because it is telling your child how to feel rather than listening to what is actually going on.  But as much as I want to honor her life experiences, and for The Munch to understand her mind, body, and spirit in all its complexities – I also don’t want her to be a total pussy.

    One major mistake I made recently was letting The Munch watch the iPad after a particularly bad fall.  She was just in such a state of personal chaos… and I was super hungry for lunch.  The problem is that now she asks for the iPad when she is in pain like some possessed post-modern Pavlovian dog.

    Munch: WAAAAHHHHAAAA MAMMA IT REALLY HURTS! I NEED TO WATCH A MOVIE!

    Toni: Munch, no you don’t need to watch a movie.  Would you like me to give you a hug though?

    Munch: NO MAMMA NO!! I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE!! WAHHHHAHHHHAAAHHHHHAHAA!

    Toni: Sweetie, that is not going to happen.  But I can give you a hug, or I can tell you a story about the little girl named Adelia who fell and hurt herself?

    Munch: NOOOOO! I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE BECAUSE I HURT MYSELF AND THAT WILL MAKE ME FEEL BETTER!! WAHHHHAHAAAAHHHA!

    Toni: Munch, I know one time that happened, and that watching a movie helped you to feel better.  But that was a special occasion. I am not going to let you watch Curious George every time you hurt yourself.  That would be setting you up for disaster.  For the rest of your life you will turn to TV as a distraction from you pain rather than facing it head on.  I don’t want to create bad habits like that.

    Munch: WAAHHHHAAAAA BUT I NEED TO WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE SO I CAN FEEL BETTER!!!

    Toni: Munch listen to me.  Do you know who else hurts themselves?

    Munch: Who?

    Toni: Your cousin Calvin – he hurts himself.  And so does your friend Amelia.  Remember how she broke her arm?  And your friend Julien – sometimes hurts himself too.

    Munch: WAHHHAAAAHHHA!

    Toni: You see Munch, everyone hurts themselves.  It is a part of the human condition.  Life is pain sweetie.  And the challenge of existence is how you deal with that pain.  So you have to remember you are going to hurt yourself a thousand more times in life, and it is important to cope with pain with grace and humility.  So not every time you hurt yourself you have to get into a state of hysterics.  It is important to not be controlled by your suffering, but realize it will pass in time.

    Munch: Can I look at pictures on your phone then?

    Toni: Sure.

    I think I made my point 😉

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  • Trust me, you can’t trust me

    I don’t always trust myself.  But you can trust me – in the sense that I am saying you can’t really trust me.  I mean, you can sometimes trust me, just not all the time.  But enough where you can trust that you will be surprised to discover that you really shouldn’t have trusted me in the first place.  I hope this clears things up.  But I also hope you know I didn’t mean anything I just said.

    Trust is such an important theme in relationships that it deserves its own song.  We are all very concerned with trust and do a lot talking about it.  Trust is like the Kim Kardashian of emotions.  It just keeps coming up no matter where you look.  But I see trust as spectrum – something that has flexibility depending on the person and the situation.  With everyone I love in my life I trust them each in specific ways, and in varying capacities.  Some people are really honest, but are fucking crazy as shit.

    There are those in my life who I trust will always tell me the truth, because it is not in their character to lie.  But that doesn’t mean that they are reliable people.  Or I can trust them to deal with my emotions.  If am questioning if the bags under my eyes make me look gross they will for sure say “yes…”  And if I ask their opinion on work I need critiqued they will be absolutely upfront on how I can improve.  I really appreciate how they never blow smoke up my ass – although I used to be into that sort of thing.

    People who speak their mind in a completely unfiltered manner can be hard to digest, but with a little fiber, you realize they are giving you a great gift.  It is not always what you want to hear, and these are not the people I trust to comfort me when I am down, but I trust that they have my best interest at heart by telling me exactly how they see things.

    I also know people who I know tell white lies, are not upfront with their feelings, but I consider them really dependable friends.  They are empathetic, considerate, great listeners, and often make me feel safe opening up my most vulnerable side.  Even though I can tell they lie about certain things, it is usually harmless, and in some way maintaining their own pride.  I may not be able to trust these people to be completely transparent, yet I can trust that I can be myself completely around them.

    My feelings about trust are that it is not about trusting someone entirely about all things all the time. It is trusting that not matter what happens, you can trust that you can work through it together.  You have trust in the relationship, and you can trust them with your heart.  Because in every bond there are moments where trust is violated, but trusting that you can work it out, to me, is the most imperative.

    For example, I can trust that The Munch will tell me the truth when I ask her if ate a cookie at her grandmother’s house, but I can’t trust her when she says “one last time.”  She never actually means “one last time” because she is a fucking liar!  But I trust that we will figure it out in the end.

    (See…. look at me! Colored lasers all over my face.  You can’t trust that girl!)

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    April 8, 2013 • 2 years old, Musings, Relationships • Views: 846