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feelings
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  • 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: 1389

  • 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!!!

    boo-boo-blog-(i1)

    boo-boo-blog-(i2)

  • 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 😉

    life-is-pain-blog-(i)

     

  • 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!)

    trust-me-you-can't-blog-(i)

    April 8, 2013 • 2 years old, Musings, Relationships • Views: 1294