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mothering
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  • A Distraction From Life

    You know what blows? When you are really excited for something to happen, and it doesn’t go down the way you had planned. It is like experiencing emotional blue balls. You just want to release your joy all over the back of existence, but then some metaphoric knock pounds down the door to cock-block your bliss.

    Disappointment is probably the most dissatisfying emotion. At least if you are angry or sad there is some spice too it. You can punch walls, or weep until your eyes look like Bill Clinton’s. Yet when you are disappointed all you do is turn yourself inside out like dyslexic calzone – oozing cheesy self-pity all over the place, but too despondent to spread the sauce of your agony. There is a pathetic flavor to disappointment. You are inherently admitting anticipation that was squelched like a weed in a soybean farm sprayed with pesticides. There is nothing cool about being let down, because it shows you cared in the first place.

    Over the weekend I was going to host a dance retreat so some friends and I could spend our days dancing our asses off. Not in a twerking kind of way where we bounced our asses until they created so much friction they combusted, but in a sweet way. I like having women’s weekends where we eat copious amounts of kale, drink an absurd amount of tea, and talk incessantly about how we don’t need men – because if we discuss them constantly that means we totally aren’t thinking about them am I right?

    The first night I led a yoga class where we explored our 2nd Chakra. You know how bitches are all about opening up their hips and shit. That evening, while washing homemade hummus off the dishes, I told my friend I was going to bail on the morning Kundalini yoga adventure.

    My friend Sarah: NO! You have to go. That is part of the whole plan.
    Toni: I don’t know… it is just so early. I will just meet you guys back here when yo are done.
    My friend Sarah: Dude… it is one morning. We are all giving and we are all sharing our talents. Don’t be a wimp.

    So I womanned up and went to the class. The thing about Kundalini yoga, is that it is all about moving energy and going into the crevices of the body to address core issues. It is more intense than other kinds of Yoga, which is why it is both amazing and terrifying. Not everyday you are psychically prepared to look your inner demons in the face and have a conversation about your damaged childhood.

    I am pretty sure that on this Saturday morning, I just wasn’t in the mental state to get to the bottom of my self-loathing and inner rage. We did all these positons and exercises that felt equally freeing and constricting. As soon as we left the class and I got into my car, I knew my back was totally screwed up. I was like “FUCK! Who am I kidding? I am white! I am not supposed to face my emotions, but repress them deep inside my body until I eventually die of a heart attack. That is the American way!”

    We got back to my house and I tried to do the ballet class – but I could hardly move. I forced myself to continue through the crippling pain for 30-minutes because that is what New England people do, but then I had to lay down and admit defeat. I had fucked my shit up hard core. I could feel it in my back and my hips – if I was a rapper this could have been a pretty sweet Hip Hop song.

    I tried to stretch to release the spasms, but it wasn’t working. I fell down the staircase of frustration because I knew that my dance retreat was ruined. There was no way I was going to have spontaneous recovery and pirouette my way out of this. All my excitement about the weekend was transformed into feeling very very very sorry for myself.

    One of my friends is OF COURSE a hippy healer girl, so she came over to do some voodoo on me.

    Hippy Healer Friend: I am getting a message that part of your pain has to do with your daughter. Not sure exactly what, but that is the information I am receiving. Maybe some issues of violence?

    Ummmm…. WHAT THE DICK!? The last thing I wanted was some peaceful yoga hippy girl to think I was beating my child or something!!?

    Toni: Ummmm violence?
    Hippy Healer Friend: Well it doesn’t have to be literal violence. It could be emotional. Or spiritual. Anyway… don’t get attached to any of this. Just something to think about.
    Toni: Uhhhh yeah okay…

    Not sure if you have ever tried to peacefully receive a healing while at the same time stressing out about what your healer thought of you. But let me tell you… it is NOT as relaxing as it sounds.

    I tried to think about why those were the messages this serene chick was getting about me. It just seemed so extreme?! I mean, I guess I had admitted to her the night before how I let The Munch eat ice cream for breakfast. I some how rationalized this because she also had green beans. The Hippy Healer girl also witnessed The Munch watching Snow White. Maybe in her pristine child-raising world where her daughter thinks raisins are candy and screen time refers to some mediation practice, exposing my child to Disney and vanilla flavored sugar was a type of violence?? Maybe Munch also casually mentioned how we eat meat too! BUT IT IS ORGANIC FLESH FROM A LOCAL FARM OKAY!!???

    I wasn’t exactly sure that my pain had to do with The Munch, and was more convinced it was my philosophic quandary regarding the futility of existence. This relentless knowing that no matter what life path I choose, it will be fraught with bullshit and the same patterns of consciousness that oppress me today. How regardless of my efforts, I will continually make the same mistakes while I swirl in a spiral of mediocrity. Come to think of it, I would much rather contemplate my relationship to The Munch than that shit!

    So I thought about my child, and how so often she can feel like a distraction from life. Yet in truth, she is not distracting me from my life. The Munch is my life. Maybe The Munch thinks I am not showing her that enough?? Perhaps she feels that our time spent together, I am too distracted from all my blaming her for being the distraction.

    I felt sad. Even though I can’t live my life where every second of everyday is devoted to my child, I still want her to feel valued. I decided we had to have a discussion about this so I could get to the bottom of my back pain … ummm I mean, be a good mother to my kid and figure out how she was feeling.

    Toni: Munch, you know how Mamma’s back hurts?
    The Munch: Yeah….
    Toni: Well, my friend says it is not physical. She says my spine feels aligned. She thinks it is an energetic block from something emotional.
    The Munch: What is emotional?
    Toni: Like my feelings? She thinks my back hurts because of my feelings. She told me it has something to do with our relationship. What do you think about that?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe your back hurts because you dance too much. Maybe you should stop dancing because it is so boring for me.
    Toni: Ummm well I love dancing so that is not going to happen. But what do you think about our relationship. Do you think I am a good Mamma to you?
    The Munch: Well sometimes. You always say “no” to me when I want more chocolate.
    Toni: Okay “more” chocolate… fine. But I have to do that. Seriously. Are there things you want me to do different? Is there ways I could be a better Mamma to you?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe we just have to take care of each other more.
    Toni: Okay. That sounds like a plan.

    The next day, because I was hurt, I couldn’t do anything but relax. As a result, The Munch and I ended up spending 7-hours playing together with ZERO interruptions. We didn’t even leave the room we were in. I didn’t touch my phone. We just hung out – and rationed out a banana with peanut butter to survive. It was like we were in a vortex. Usually some thing breaks up your day, like going on an errand, or having some sort of obligation to do. Yet we were in this black hole of togetherness that nothing could penetrate.

    Things got kind of weird at times, we laughed, we fought, and she pretended to be a baby as I swaddled her in a yoga blanket. But it was amazing to just be present with her. I am not sure we have been like that since she was first born and I was high on all the new mom hormones. So even though it sucked my back hurt and I couldn’t dance for my retreat, it created the space for this memorable moment with the most important person in my life.

    distraction-blog

  • Power Tripping

    I think I would be a really bad dominatrix. I am sure I would look pretty decent in the getup because black latex is so slimming and all, but I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to humiliate someone. There is no part of me that gets off on making someone feel inferior because I get too overwhelmed with empathy. The whole time dominatrixing I would instead be like “hey, is your gag ball too tight?” or “should I whip you softer – it looks like your left butt cheek is really red.”

    Yet power and control are huge parts of relationships. You cannot avoid the fact that one person will always has a little more power over the other. Unless you are Ram Das and have a perfectly balanced bond, there will always be some element of a struggle. In romantic situations power directly contributes to romance, passion, and lust. These themes are unavoidable because they are so interconnected. Eventually the goal in any dynamic is to obliterate the power element and find true equality, but unless you are meditating every day in a cave for 40 years – good fucking luck accomplishing that. The question then becomes how do you handle power, and to what extent to you abuse it.

    In the parent-child relationship the complexity of power runs deep because of course as the adult, you have ALL the power over your young child. Yet to constantly exercise that will is not only oppressive, but also tyrannical. As your kid ages, they become increasingly aware of how power plays are played out. Children also have to deal with power clashes in relationships they have with other kids. Who gets to play with what toy, which kid is hitting, and who is forcing their will upon the rest? There is always some kid asserting their dominance, and those who are acquiescing to that aggression. So basically as soon as we start socializing with other humans, we are dealing with the subject to power.

    Okay… so this weekend, power became the theme of my Sunday morning. It began when Munch and I went to practice yoga in the barn next to my house. Now I know my child can be demanding, but she has been socialized to respect my time when I dance or do yoga. We have been doing this since she was a baby, and there are days where she will let me practice for 3-hours and play the entire time on her own. We have an understanding.

    Yet this fateful day, she had another agenda. It started with her INSISTING we listen to her music and not mine.

    Munch: Mom, can we listen to Iggy Azalea two times, and then we listen to your music.
    Toni: Ummmmm okay… but just two times.
    Munch: Okay. Let’s listen to “Fancy” and then “Bounce.”
    Toni: Fine. But then we listen to my music.
    Munch: I promise!

    We listened to her songs, but then Munch wouldn’t give me back my phone to play my music.

    Munch: Let’s listen to Iggy Azalea for two more times, and then The Spice Girls two times.

    Okay, so you want to know the least peaceful music to practice yoga to? Fucking Iggy Azalea and the Spice Girls that is who. But I was trying to be cool, so I let her listen to her songs…. but then things got out of hand. Munch wouldn’t give me back my phone, and she wouldn’t stop playing these fucking songs. Now of course I am stronger then my 4-year old and could have easily grabbed it out of her damn hand, but that would be a terrible example.

    Toni: Dude, you have to give me my phone. I am going to lose my mind if I have to keep listening to these songs over and over again. You had your turn, and now it is my turn.
    Munch: I don’t care what you say.

    Ummmmmmmmmm so when your precious little 4- year old baby looks you straight in your face and says something like that, pretty sure you want to drop kick them across the room.

    Toni: That is a very rude thing to say. I am not going to grab the phone out of your hand. But you are being very selfish right now. You are not he only person in the room. We got to listen to your music, and not it is Mamma’s turn to listen to her music. If you think what you are doing is right, then keep doing it. But I think you are acting very selfish.
    Munch: I don’t care.

    I really didn’t know what to do with that logic.

    Here was the other problem I faced. My kid is also very extremely proficient with technology. She knows how to use the iPhone. She knows how to set up the blue tooth to the speakers. And she also knows how to control the volume. Even when I would try to turn it down, or disconnect the phone from the room speakers, Munch would just reconnect them, and turn it the fuck back up.

    Let’s keep in mind I was trying to practice yoga and be all one with the cosmos and shit, so getting angry felt hypocritical. I was kept trying to appeal to Munch’s rational spirit body, yet it wasn’t working because she kept responding that she didn’t care what I said. So in the ethos maintaining some semblance of patience, I decided to ignore Munch and keep practicing – as the charming lyrics “I’ve been up all night, trying to get that rich. I’ve been work, work, work, work, working on my shit” melted into my psyche.

    Munch noticed that I wasn’t fighting her on the music anymore, so she then started physically harassing me. She would crawl underneath my downward dog and stare me in the face and be like “Mamma, I am going to turn it up okay?” Or she would get underneath my warrior two and push my thigh to try and tip me over. It was relentless. The more I tried to keep my Zen, the more creative she got with trying to destroy me.

    Toni: You know what? I have had enough. Not only are you being really selfish about he music, but you are not respecting my body. You need to go in the house.
    Munch: NO! I want to stay with you.
    Toni: Listen, there is no way you are staying with me right now. You need go in the house and I will come find you when I am done.
    Munch: Well then I want to watch something.
    Toni: You are out of your mind if you think that is going to happen. Now go in the house. I can’t be around this energy. It is too disrespectful, and I have had my limit.
    Munch: FINE! I am going in the house and I AM NEVER GOING TO LOVE YOU AGAIN!

    Munch stormed off and went in the house as I tried to find a place of peace within my own soul. I really didn’t get what was going on. I had never encountered this kind of problem before with her, and was getting super depressed. It wasn’t just about the music (although just so you know, if you ever want to torture someone, play the Spice Girls 6 times in a row) but the intention she had of being inconsiderate. I am not being paranoid or overly sensitive. She was trying to fuck with me!

    About ten minutes later, Munch came back into the barn.

    Munch: Mamma, you really hurt my feelings.
    Toni: Well Munch, you also really hurt my feelings.
    Munch: I know.
    Toni: What was going on with you?
    Munch: Sometimes my friend Maya is mean to me, so I wanted to act like her.
    Toni: So you wanted to act mean to me to see what if felt like?
    Munch: Yeah.
    Toni: Well did it feel good to act mean?
    Munch: No. It felt really bad.
    Toni: Do you know what people sometimes act mean?
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: I think people can be mean sometimes because it makes them think they are powerful.
    Munch: And people want to be powerful?
    Toni: Sometimes yes. But I don’t think that is what real power is. Do you?
    Munch: No I don’t. But what is real power?
    Toni: I think real power is making someone laugh. Or making someone feel good about themselves. Or making someone feel loved.
    Munch: I am really sorry Mamma.
    Toni: I am sorry too.

    power-trip-blog

  • Share Bear

    Some cultures don’t have the word “mine” because everything is considered “ours.”  For them, personal possession isn’t a concept because all property is communal.  Although I think this is a beautiful notion, I was raised in an environment where my Dad’s popcorn was his, and to even think of taking some I had to consider what life would be like without fingers.

    American individualism means that we are very attached to the idea of “I,” “mine,” and “me.”  The person is more important than the collective.  Although we are taught values, and to honor other people by being aware of their needs, that doesn’t take away that our filter is clouded by the idea of “how will this effect me” more than “we.”

    I would say that I am a generous person.  I am giving with what I have: my money, my time, my home, my love.  But when I view something as mine, and feel ownership over it, I don’t like to share it.  I mean, of course I do share – after all I did graduate from the 3rd grade.  But I do so begrudgingly.  More because I don’t want to say “no” than actually wanting you to have a bite of my cupcake.  And to be honest, I say “no” a fair amount too.  I guess I really like cupcakes.

    But since having a child I have had to share everything with her.  I shared my body with her when she was living inside of it, I shared my precious lady parts with her when she burst out of them, I shared my boobs with her as she survived off of them, I share every single thing I eat and drink with her even though she backwashes and her hands are gross.  And you know what? I want to! I even ENJOY sharing with her.  Those crazy mommy hormones make sharing with her feel better than having myself. I would rather The Munch had the last bite of avocado because it is more important that she eats.  My excessive love for her means I want for her more than I want for me.

    But everyone has their limits.

    Last night when I was putting The Munch to bed she decided she wanted to bring my teddy bear into her crib.  Now, I now I am a grown ass woman, but I have been sleeping with a stuffed animal my entire life and that is my teddy bear.

    Toni: “Munch, that is Mamma’s teddy bear.  But it back on my bed please.”

    Munch: “No I want to bring your bear in my crib.”

    Toni: “No sweetie.  That is Mamma’s.  You have all your babies, your seal named Penguin, your weird vagina looking monster thing… Mamma only has one bear.  So can you put him back please?”

    Munch: “No but I want to bring him in my crib!!! Please Mamma.”

    Toni: “Okay Munch.”

    Did I want to share my bear with her?  No. Not at all.  Did I say yes? Of course I did. I am her mother and my love is unconditional.  And because the second after she feel asleep I took it back.

    (Tell me that is not a vagina monster???)

    share-bear-blog-(i)

  • When you are talented you don’t have to be pretty

    Although the culture at large is obsessed with physical beauty, being an attractive woman can become the defining attribute of your identity.  Men of course can be vain and care deeply about their appearance, but there will still be societal expectations of him beyond his defined cheekbones and sculpted buttocks.  Yet for a woman, sometimes, just being pretty can be enough.

    When a woman is gorgeous it can excuse her from being anything else.  That is why it is always surprising when a stunning girl also happens to be smart, or good at science, or interested in politics.  The “sexy professional” is a concept so absurd by cultural standards that it has become a cliché Halloween costume… in the realm of myth, fantasy, and the ridiculous.

    Even though I know all this, and can identify the meaninglessness of judging women for her looks, I still do it everyday of my life.  I will flip through a magazine or watch a movie and think: “Well, she is not that pretty.  Her left eye is lower than her right and she has this weird dimple thing going on when she talks.  Her forehead is too small and there is a something funky going on with her left ear.  Oh, and her ass is kind of flat and flabby.”

    What am I even talking about?? Why do I do that?

    First of all, all these women are somehow in the spot light and therefor have even more pressure to be aesthetically perfect.  Which is bizarre considering how many foul looking men are able to be in that same position but are critiqued on skill alone.  Then I realized that the women I evaluate the most are the ones that I am not blown away by their talent.  I mean they are okay, they don’t suck, but they aren’t brilliant.  When a woman is really masterful at her craft, be it Lena Dunham, Adel, Brittany Howard, Meryl Streep, Toni Morrison, Janice Joplin, Virginia Wolf, Martha Graham… I don’t give a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut what they look like.  I will maybe rip apart Brittany Spears for her hair extensions showing and having a frozen grin plastered to her face, but that is because she is only mediocre at singing.

    So being excessively beautiful may stunt your growth as a human, artist, or thinker because people’s expectations of you will be lower.  You wont have to push yourself as hard.  Beauty can conceal your averageness.

    Supposedly I am not supposed to tell my daughter she is pretty all the time because that will infect her psyche and she will start to believe her beauty is tied with her self-worth.  No doubt.  This is true, and I down with this idea.  But I also don’t want her relying on her lovely face, and be unexceptional in the rest of her life, because it was too easy to invest more in her genetic disposition.  That sounds lame!  I would so much rather The Munch impress people with her endless genius than her tits or ass.  Of course I don’t want to give her a complex and never acknowledge her adorableness, but at the same time most insanely attractive people are also insanely boring.

     

    when-you-are-talented-blog-(i)

     

     

    March 18, 2013 • 2 years old, Mommy Body, Mommy Mind, Musings, Women's Business • Views: 970