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  • I Just Feel Like Being Upset

    I have no heart.

    Well according to the zodiac I have no heart. I am a heartless Capricorn.

    Yet anyone that knows me know this isn’t true. My friends would say that unlike the Tin Man, I do in fact have a beating ball of tissue lodged in my chest, and it’s actually a pronounced part of my personality. This impression I make on others is most likely because of my Pisces rising, where as you can see, my skin is crawling with hearts like some venereal disease gone awry, infesting my body with pulsing crimson organs oozing with emotion. Exhausting!

    As you can see by the below note, written when I was 17, I have a deep compassion and love for my friends. I care profoundly about their well-being and the important things in life, such as what they are going to wear, if they are hungry, and of course, how soft their lips are. Please also notice how I signed off this note… not with as you may assume a pot of steaming spaghetti, but rather a bowl of burning weed.

    SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE!

    My emotional self is much more tied to the needs and feelings of others than to my own. My personal needs and feelings are a bit of a mystery to me, on the back burner of my consciousness, lodged in folds of my temporal lobe, twisted by my brain’s pleats and creases. As such I’m not the most externally emotional person. I can trace this back to my socialization, conditioning, and programming done within my familial structure, drawing a picture of my identity that has become the current shape of “adult Toni.” Yet despite why I am the way I am, there is also an equal truth that I know no other way. Regardless of whatever personal self-reflection I engage in, or how I deconstruct my psychic constructing out of colored construction paper, this is still who I am, and there for a way of being I am passing on to my child.

    The Munch, who is almost 8, hardly ever cries. Like her mother, months and months will go by without a single salty tear. She rarely has emotional outburst and is mostly an even-tempered child who’s easy to get along with. She is quick to prioritize the needs and wants of others, which is a trait I both respect and fear. I think it’s necessary to be empathetic, but that can also leave you vulnerable and lacking boundaries. Yet I am the one socializing her and have to accept that it’s my doing of creating a mini version of myself to look into.

    Yet every so often The Munch will be excessively tired, burnt out, hungry, whatever, and she will throw a fucking fit. There are many ways I could handle her intense display of feeling, and the way I do is most often through calm rational conversation which as you can see above, is probably because I have no heart. But her emotional displays are insightful lessons for me about the nature of humanity, which I guess because of my android temperament I often forget I am apart of! Even though I bury my feelings deep in my colon, they are still creating a mountain of shit inside of me that I can’t deny!

    The Munch: Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
    Toni: Munch, what is the problem?
    The Munch: Well, I didn’t want Jennifer to wear my clothes!
    Toni: But hers got wet when you were playing in the rain. Do you want your friend to wear wet clothes?
    The Munch: No. But I didn’t want her to wear my favorite shirt!
    Toni: Munch, you picked out the shirt, why didn’t you just give her a different shirt?
    The Munch: Well, because it’s all my fault that she fell in the rain in the first place. I was the one who said that we should jump rope, and if we never jumped rope, she never would have fell.
    Toni: So, you feel guilty your friend fell?
    The Munch: Yes!
    Toni: Do you think your friend is blaming you for falling?
    The Munch: No!
    Toni: So, is there really a problem right now?
    The Munch: I DON’T KNOW!
    Toni: Do you think that maybe you’re upset because you were gone for a few days staying with your grandmother and when you stay with other people you feel like you have to act with your best behavior? So now that your home with mom, you are tired of acting with your best behavior?
    The Munch: Yes.
    Toni: Sometimes acting with your best behavior is really exhausting. I know that when I visit someone I really try to be a thoughtful guest, and then when I get home, I can feel cranky. So, if you were working hard being a good guest at Grandmas, now that you’re home it’s easier to have a meltdown.
    The Munch: Yes! It’s hard to always be on my best behavior.
    Toni: So, do you think you’re really upset about the clothes or feeling guilty about your friend falling?
    The Munch: No.
    Toni: So, what are you really upset about?
    The Munch: Sometimes I just feel like being upset!!!!!
    Toni: That’s okay. Sometimes I just feel like being upset too. But it’s important to realize that. Don’t get caught up in the details, and just let yourself feel upset. In order to know happiness, we have to know sadness. So why don’t you let yourself feel upset until you don’t feel like being upset anymore.

    SOMETIMES I JUST FEEL LIKE BEING UPSET!

    That’s just it isn’t it!!

    We need to remind ourselves of this constantly. Unless something HORRIBLE is happening to you at the moment, such as being consumed alive by flesh eating parasites, usually our sadness and pain is about our perspective. It’s never about what’s in front of you, but rather your emotional disposition. Sometimes you just FEEL like being upset, and you can cherry pick from a variety of problems in your life to justify that feeling. For example, I get upset because I am a financial failure and I feel like I work desperately for goals I will never achieve, and sometimes I FEEL like being upset about that, and sometimes I don’t. It’s always there, yet I don’t always direct my attention in that… uhhh… direction.

    I also have a cluster of mosquito bites on my ass at the moment and I go back and forth about my feelings about those. At the moment I feel like being upset enough to scratch them until they bleed, but an hour ago I was leaving them alone. What’s with that?

    Maybe we should put less meaning to WHAT we are upset about and embrace the ebb and flow of life. Sad feelings are inevitable. What you are sad about isn’t something to avoid, but rather a little warning sign on your road through life. You are going to pass through sad corners on the highway of your existence and when you look out the window whatever your attention turns to is guide post to address that part of your existence.

    “Here I am, driving through the interstate of my reality and whoops, I’m heading into a sad section of the ride. Okay, well what’s the scenery here? Oh, there is some self-doubt up on the hill over there, and wow look at that field of fear! Lovely. Oh my, coming across a sunset of need to get better at my craft! Just around that bend I see a hint of delusion!”

    That scenery of our sadness is crucial to look at, but we don’t have to take it too seriously either. Be open to the fact that what we think causes us pain also can cause us joy pending on what glasses we are looking out of. My creative pursuits bring me the most intense happiness even though it’s also why I scream into that mirror I’ve written “loser” on with my blood. We will never truly eradicate all the unsightly landscape of our psyches, but we don’t always have to feel burdened by the panorama either.

  • Pulsing Ego Walks Through Fire and Falls into Darkness and Depression

    I don’t know about you, but I spend a pretty good portion of my life doubting myself. My pulsing ego beating against the soft membranes that barely contain it, writhing in agony as I try to understand my place in the world. Intellectually I know filling my days abusing myself is probably not the best choice of my energy, so I do my best to talk myself out of my negative feelings about me. I say things like, “come on Toni, you may be financial failure and unable to commodify yourself or your art thus indicating that perhaps what you’re creating has zero value to society, buuuuuut you are a good listener and make delicious quinoa!”

    It only sort of works.

    Yet sometimes I find myself tumbling into a darkness of my own making, drowning in a cavernous abyss of insecurity where I question every decision I’ve made in the last 20 years and wonder if I’ll ever accomplish my dreams or if I’m destined for a bleak future where my ambitious aspirations will forever haunt my ego in an enteral feedback loop of failure.

    It just depends on the day!

    Recently my kid had school vacation, and she went away for 7 days to Washington DC to spend time with her two grandmothers. My mom had planned this trip months ago, yet despite my knowledge that I would be kid-free for a week, I didn’t create any grand plans for myself during this time. Usually when The Munch goes away without me, I go away as well. Almost all of our family vacations are spent apart.

    Once The Munch left, I suddenly started thinking that I should do something more exciting than spending the week at home working like I do every other week. Yet none of my attempts of finding fun or making meaning out of my life were panning out. There were no performance opportunities, no creative projects, no people dying to see me, no one wanting to work with me… nothing.

    By not having my kid at home to distract me, this extra time to myself opened up the door to the dungeon of my psyche. It’s not like I don’t get depressed about my life when The Munch is home, because I do – yet it’s hard to go really deep with it when this bright ball of light keeps bouncing around asking me to feel how smooth hot wax is that had dried to her fingers. YEAH I GET IT! I’VE LIVED ON EARTH BEFORE! The diversion of caring for another human that’s so outwardly boisterous and content keeps my disdain about my superficial existence, superficial. I more skate on the surface of my self-loathing, gliding above the ice of my anxieties, and avoid falling into the fishing holes of flagellation when The Munch is with me. Her innocence and wonder at life is contagious, and makes it harder to take my pain as seriously.

    But with the Munch not around for me to deal with her needs, my needs became like a putrid rotting open wound I couldn’t stop picking at. Once the scab of my sense of self started bleeding, I decided it was probably best to peel off all my skin and turn inside out in the process.

    Needless to say I was a lot of fun to be around!

    On Wednesday I went on a walk with my friend and told her about my spiral of self –questioning, yet rather than allowing me to stew in self pity, she reminded me that I am making a choice to pursue an artistic career. I am not a victim and my goals are lofty. There are millions of talented people who work just as hard, and there is no guarantee for any of them. I knew she was right. I know she is right. Logically yes! YES TO ALL. Yet emotionally my struggle of accepting what I know to be true was torturous. That’s the crazy thing about self-inflected pain – it’s just as painful as the pain you didn’t cause yourself.

    I then talked to another friend who reminded me of how many hundreds of auditions she does – the amount of effort she labors out into the ether, putting herself out there time and time again. Reminding me that there is a futility in trying, but it’s also only in trying that anything ever happens – so even in perceived pointlessness there is a point!

    I then had to ask myself why? Why do I try? What drives me? What pushes me forward? Why do I spend my days writing gentalia infused social commentary? What is the point?

    I kept coming back to the same answer. It’s my pain about society. I want to be a part of changing the way people think. I have a deep desire to make an impact on culture and challenge the status quo. I want to shake shit up. Maybe I’m going about it in a weird way by making videos with penis costumes and having friends seduce life-sized dolls to comment about the patriarchy – but it’s not my fault my muse is obsessed with dick jokes and comedy! I’m inspired to make art because I’m inspired to inspire others to question. For the love of Gaia I was a philosophy major at Sarah Lawrence… what do you want from me?

    So that night I spend about 8 hours on my computer trying to find every writing contest, comedy festival, short film contest I could find and started submitting my work. I use to do this all the time, but the problem with applying to things is that every time I open my email, I’d get another rejection. I’d get rejected from things I didn’t every remember applying to. It got a bit demoralizing, so I stopped trying. Yet even if there is a .00001% chance of getting accepted to things that I apply to, that’s still better than the 0% chance I have when not even applying. So to deal with the pain of rejection, I had to open my heart up to more rejection. I have to just keep working and get better at what I do until I don’t get rejected.

    Isn’t that the hilarity of life?

    I tried to re-commit to myself and my process – which is something I think we all have to do. We have to re-commit to relationships, dreams, visions, goals, because they all will disappoint you. Yet even though my brain said “re-commit to your art Toni,” my heart said, “no matter what you’ll never be satisfied so you might as well take all that eternal angst and commit your organs to science.” The days went on, and I tried to talk myself out my sadness, but couldn’t.

    The Munch returned, yet my emptiness remained. We had our friends over to make chocolate chip banana bread, and my friend told me I was putting in too many chocolate chips which I didn’t even think was possible. We sat down to do a tarot reading and I picked a card on my career and suddenly my stomach hurt more than it ever had in my life. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I went to the bathroom and tried to evacuate the demon clawing its way out my colon, but nothing came out of me. I couldn’t puke, I couldn’t poop, nothing.

    I told my friend I was really hurting and felt like a creature was gnawing its way through my intestines – she suggested maybe I had ecoli. I went back to the bathroom and the pain was so intense it was blinding. Now I am NEVER one to go the hospital, yet I started to think maybe that’s where I needed to go. I felt like I was dying. I didn’t have the energy to go to the hospital, so I decided I just had to relax. I had to relax into dying because fighting it seemed like the wrong vibe. I tried to breathe into my dying and I went and laid in bed under 3 blankets, shivering to the point of frenzy.

    The pain wouldn’t release me from its clutch, so again I slinked to the bathroom, barely able to hold up my body. I exhaled and felt a cramping so severe I honestly almost passed out. And then I took the most excruciating but also shamanic shit of my life. As soon is it was over, the pain was gone. Just as fast as it came.

    I laid on the couch for the rest of the night and had some chocolate chip banana bread – and yes there were too many chocolate chips.

    The next day I saw my healer, hoping for answers about my stomach pain, my back pain, and my emotional pain.

    Toni: I had taken some expired Advil. Do you think that could have been the reason my stomach hurt so much?
    Healer: No, I don’t think so. Get on the table and let’s check you out.
    Toni: Okay.
    Healer: Well, your first chakra is split, your 5th chakra is split, and your 3rd chakra is not only split, but it has an entity attached to it.
    Toni: Oh dear!
    Healer: Let me just remove the entity… AHHH it jumped on me!
    Toni: Goodness! Did you catch it?
    Healer: Give me a moment.

    (Pause for dramatic exorcism of entity)

    Healer: Okay. It’s gone.
    Toni: Wow. Do you think that’s why my stomach hurt so much yesterday?

    My healer looked at me with an expression of genuine bewilderment.

    Healer: I don’t know? How could I know that?

    Let’s not forget that my healer DID know that I had an inter-dimensional being lodged in my 3rd charka that she had to physically remove – yet what she did NOT know was if that galactic creature was the cause of my stomachache… which is actually totally fair when you think about it rationally.

    I left my healer’s house feeling better. You could attribute it to a thousand things… pending your belief system and how open your mind is. All I can say for sure is that I feel a lot lighter… that could have been the epic shit too? Who knows?

    I mean… this IS how I choose to spend my days after all…

    May 9, 2018 • emotions, Mommy Mind, Mommyhood, Musings, problems, responsibilities • Views: 639

  • The Real-Estate Agent In Your Brain (Renting Out Your Depression and Anxiety Apartments)

    When I am my happiest, I am thinking the least. Not a lot is going through my head when I’m having a good time. I’m not thinking about my own personal failures, the fact that humans are currently causing our 3rd massive extinction of animals, or about the inevitability of implicit bias and how our collective unconscious mentalities only further subjugate the already oppressed and vulnerable. I’m not thinking of any of that, or feeling the inevitable depression that coats those thoughts, but instead I strip down, allowing my brain cavity to empty out the pesky thoughts of the overwhelming inequality in the world, leaving space to forget all that momentarily to instead notice the beauty, hope, and potential all around me… and then of course I take another hit of weed.

    When I’m at my most depressed, I’m thinking a lot. My mind is filled with the futility of my artistic pursuits – how I’m just spinning wheels, existing in a vortex of my own mediocrity and meaningless efforts. I question why I spend my time yearning for something I’ll never achieve because my poor life choices mixed with average abilities have rendered me forever insignificant. My head will then fill with the living nightmare of my political and social impotence to be part of a real revolution that annihilates the economic system that has corrupted every facet of human culture and serves as the driving force of ecological terrorism we’ve enacted on the planet. I’ll lose myself in these thoughts that everything is so insurmountable and regardless of my emotional boner to penetrate society with my positive influence, I’m instead a flaccid inactive member that hangs pathetically, ashamed of my own inadequacy.

    Everyone feels this way right??

    Most people I know battle with depressive thinking. We all choose to handle it in our own ways. We self-medicate, masturbate, and believe that smoking a vape is safe. Yet the truth is, there are countless things to be legitimately depressed about, yet we all crave reprieve from that all consuming feeling of no feeling. No one wants to be depressed. There is a massive industry promising you relief from this encompassing emotion, and people will deal with the side effects of dry mouth(s) and soft dick for liberation. Depression is a pervasive feeling that has swept across this country with millions of people aching to sweep it off the platter of their emotional plate for good.

    We can be depressed about a romance gone sour, a love that has curdled in the cup of your heart that you don’t know how to reverse the rotting process. So you think about this person obsessively, not because it feels good, but because it feels bad. It’s almost as if you’re not the one doing the thinking. That someone else is controlling your mind as if with a remote. Every time you try and change the channel to something else, they change the channel right back to your heartbreak. You try desperately to watch something benign like animal planet, but this demon keeps forcing you “Clockwork Orange” eversion therapy style to instead stay tuned to the reality show of your bitter rejection.

    Maybe you’re depressed because you can’t have the career you want, the baby you want, or the life that you want. When your needs aren’t being met, or you feel at the mercy of a culture that’s designed to keep you down because you’re not the status quo, it’s natural to feel hopeless, helpless, and despondent. Yet those feelings are often not in the backdrop of your brain, quietly murmuring in a corner of your mind, but instead they are the loudest voices in your head – reminding you constantly of their existence by screaming their discontent.

    Why is it that when you WANT to think about something else, you CAN’T? Aren’t you the only person in your mind? So then why can’t you choose what you do and don’t think about!? If YOU don’t want to be thinking about something, yet can’t stop thinking about it, then WHO is the one making you think about it? Is there a real-estate agent in your mind renting out the rooms of your psyche?

    Imagine your brain as an apartment building, and each feeling is an apartment in your head. Let’s say you’re in a relationship, and you give that person the keys to your penthouse. The penthouse is of course the pinnacle of your mental energy, so by living in the penthouse your lover becomes the thing you think about the most, care about the most, and are most consumed with. If the relationship is good, or you’re in that initial phase of love/lust where everything seems perfect and full of possibility, then allowing yourself to daydream about that person all day feels okay. But what happens when the relationship starts deteriorating? Then thinking about that person is going to make you feel like shit, yet you can’t not think about them because they live in the fucking penthouse of your brain! In order to stop thinking about them, you need to get the keys back!

    You tell the real-estate agent in your mind that you’re breaking up, so your lover can’t live in the penthouse anymore. The real-estate agent then says “Okay, so we’re evicting Chad from the penthouse – who wants to rent the space now? Oh ‘Crippling Self-Doubt’ your application looks good and I see you have the full down payment. Wow, ‘Self-Loathing,’ your credit score checks out – y’all wanna be roommates? Now, who wants to rent the anxiety apartment because we just remodeled it and added a few extra rooms in including a master bath for depression! Oh Chad you’d like to live in anxiety now? Sure that works out, and you’re new girlfriend can even have her office in there, so perfect. Ummm let’s see, looks like suicidal thoughts has a room to fill, any takers? Looks like Chad wants a few more keys to some other apartments. How about right before bed thoughts, and first thing in the morning thoughts? Great. Oh, and of course Chad, here is the key to listening to music and watching people kiss on the street.”

    Who lives in the penthouse of your mind? If it’s another person, career goal, how fucked up the world is, or a specific vision of how your life should be – chances are that you’re going to think about things that make you miserable. We have no control over other people, we have no control over our success, we have no control over the Illuminati, and we have no control when it comes to constructing the perfect life. If your penthouse is rented to something or someone you have no control over, then you will always feel powerless in your own mind. Instead, why not rent out the penthouse of your brain to the process of self-growth? Not a specific vision of what that looks like, but rather the simple journey of self-reflection and actualization. If you decide that your one goal in life is to evolve at whatever pace makes the most sense at the time, then you are no longer a victim of circumstance. You are the architect of your own personal progress, and you can design your penthouse for you. Maybe your kitchen is messy and the master bedroom is still under construction, but you still sleep well in the guest room and the walk-in closet is finally finished. As long as you’re working towards progress, you will always feel some sort of mental peace. Yeah the world is a fucking trashcan filled with racism, sexism, hate and fear – but the greatest form of activism starts with empowering yourself to have the mental energy and emotional bandwidth to put yourself out there in the face of all the adversity and try. Why rent your penthouse to anyone else besides your self-awareness? It’s YOUR penthouse after all. Would you own an apartment building and live in the basement? So why would you do that in your own head?

    Of course for some many of us that are in debt, the targets of bigotry, or suffering from severe trauma – your penthouse is going to have some squatters. When you are struggling financially and worry if you can feed your family, those thoughts are going to plague you. If you’re a person of color constantly reminded that your life doesn’t matter, these thoughts will haunt you. If you’re the victim of some awful crime it’s going to be incredibly to hard push those thoughts out of the penthouse. You maybe have to have some unwanted tenants in your penthouse, but you STILL have to insist that it’s YOUR name on the lease, and your RIGHT to kick them out as you gain strength and need more rooms.

    Then don’t forget how do you want to design the rest of the building? You are going to have an anxiety apartment, a self-doubt apartment, a self-loathing apartment… But how big are they? Who are you renting them out to? Who are you allowing in these spaces? What about your love apartment? Your feeling optimistic apartment? How big are they? And what is your screening process like? Don’t let rats and vermin take over your building and make sure you’re only giving out keys to those with impeccable references!

    Look at this lovely bath in the penthouse in your brain!!!

    April 12, 2018 • ambitions, emotions, Musings, problems, Relationships, responsibilities • Views: 945

  • Only The Best Picture of All Time Can Cure Depression

    Lately I’ve been feeling super depressed, sad, and full of anxiety. You know those days where life feels like a meaningless cavern of emotional torment, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t dig yourself out of the headspace that your life is totally futile?

    No? Neither have I.

    I’m soooo fine. Really.

    I’ve tried a variety of efforts to inspire a different feeling other than hopeless despair. One was to binge watch Game of Thrones, which surprisingly only made me more despondent. I guess super violent rape, murder, and incest isn’t the best way to cheer yourself up. Go figure.

    Usually music and dancing helps take me out of emotional funks, but I couldn’t fake the funk.

    I tried eating hotdogs, because hey, hotdogs can be good.

    That didn’t work.

    But then I saw this picture. And even though I can’t say my heart isn’t a black abyss of suffering, I did get a good laugh out of it.

    Isn’t Munch’s face so priceless here?

    It’s like she’s saying to herself, “When is that goddamn beat gonna drop?”

    best-picture-blog

    June 10, 2015 • Musings • Views: 1277

  • The Heartbreak of a Broken Heart

    Do you remember your first broken heart? Did it feel like someone peeled back the layers of your skin only to pry their fingers deep into your aorta, and scrape the inner walls of your ventricles with their nails? Were you writhing in agony as the seething suffering traversed your veins and settled into a cantankerous cavity hidden inside the bowels of your being? ME TOO!!!

    My heart was broken for the first time when I was 15. He told me we lived too far apart, and he couldn’t be my boyfriend anymore because he wanted to finger-bang other girls. I wasn’t just devastated… I was destroyed. Forget the fact that I had another boyfriend who went to my school. The loss was too profound to bear. I would think of him every night when I went to sleep, and he was the first thing on my mind when I woke up. I sometimes wouldn’t leave my house in hopes that he would call. (The tragedy of being a teenager in the 90’s, pre cellphones *tear). I thought of him obsessively, and would look for him in any crowd I was in. It took me an entire year to move on emotionally, and of course as soon as I got over him, he was like “let’s date again,” – so we did.

    Being broken hearted is a helpless and vulnerable feeling because it is rooted in rejection. No matter how the other person tries to rationalize their reasoning, the piercing truth is that they don’t want you. That sinking reality is so painful because it also digs at the core of your self-esteem. The ego becomes enmeshed with the heart. Not only is the object of your love leaving, but they are also scarring your sense of worth with their disinterest to stay.

    The Munch is going through her first experience with heartbreak, and it has been breaking my heart to witness her sorrow. Her baby sitter since she was one year old has decided to move on. We had a conversation about it last week, and I think at first Munch was in a state of shock or denial. She didn’t really mention it, so I was hoping maybe it would be a smooth transition. Then the other morning, Munch came in my room while I was meditating wondering what I had done with a picture her babysitter Liliana had drawn her. It had been hanging on the fridge, and I had taken it down. At first I didn’t want to admit that, and tried to claim I didn’t remember – but Munch kept asking me where it was.

    Toni: I took it down.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: It made me sad to look at it.

    That was when everything hit her. Suddenly Munch had to face reality. She started weeping in my arms telling me how much she missed Liliana. I held her, and began crying right along with her. Her pain was so relatable. Of course wanting to discontinue employment as a babysitter is drastically different than ending a relationship – yet in Munch’s world, the sentiment is the same.

    Munch: I still want her to be my babysitter. I don’t like those things she said. They really hurt my feelings. I don’t want her to leave. I miss her. I can’t stop thinking about Liliana!
    Toni: I know baby. It is really hard. But people can’t always be who you want them to be. Sometimes they have to be who they want to be. And when you love them, you have to give them that space.
    Munch: But I miss her so much and I want to see her. I am so angry that she doesn’t want to see me any more. I want to be with her. My heart is broken. She broke my heart.
    Toni: It hurts, I know. But Liliana wants to go back to school. And we want her to be happy. She needs to find her happiness. Don’t you want her to do that?
    Munch: Yes, but I also want her to stay with me.
    Toni: It doesn’t always work that way baby. Sometimes happiness means you have to leave.

    We sat, talked, and cried. I didn’t want to talk her out of her feelings, because that seemed like a fruitless effort. We can’t rationalize our way out of loss. We have to go through it. The only thing I could do was to listen, and suggest different ways of seeing the situation. After a while, we got up, got dressed, and got in the car to go on an adventure. We decided that we would listen to music as loud as we could, and sing as loud as our voices would go.

    As I was driving I realized the universal truth of heartbreak. The other person is happier with out you. That is why they have to go. Suddenly I felt elated by this knowing.  Even though there is a sweet sadness, there is also hope. Your aching has meaning because the person you love is happier. Even though that bruises the ego, the true self wants the people you adore to find their bliss, even if it means they take a different path.

    I know Munch is still hurting from this separation. She will go through her iPod, find videos of her with Liliana, and then cry as she watches them. Although the tragic rawness is brutal to witness, I also respect that this is a process she has to go through in order to let go. All I know is that I considering Munch is only 4 and feels this deeply, I am seriously in for it when she is a teenager.

    heartbreak-blog-(i)

  • Unleash Your Inner Teenage Girl

    When I was a teenager I would come home from school, put on really sad music, and cry. Just to drive this point home and make sure you have the visual… every day for four years I would blast Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLachlan, and *insert any 90’s angst- ridden singer songwriter here – just to make myself weep FOR HOURS! When I look back at that time in my life I have to wonder what the fuck was going on with me?

    The obvious answer is I was a hormonal mess, controlled by the insanity of estrogen pumping through my system at an alarming rate as it surged through my veins. Yet at the same time it was deeper than that. It was the one part of my day where I actually felt alive. For whatever reason, being a teenage girl made it possible for me to easily access my sorrow. It didn’t take much for me to feel infinitely sorry for myself, or even for all of humanity. I could tap into grief with a calm effortlessness, and access that intensity more than any other emotion.

    I didn’t know how to make myself feel boundlessly joyful, but I did know how to drop into sadness. Even though the melancholy didn’t feel good, the extremeness of the sentiment was full of vitality. The heightened sense gave meaning to everything, even if the moment was blurred by my salty vision.

    I don’t suggest this as a daily practice – unless I can get a book deal, in which case sign up for my 3-week course “Weep Your Way Into a Better You,” – but I do think there is something profound about releasing into the chaos of desperation. Perhaps if we were more willing to feel the truth of the lows, there would be more room for the altitude of the highs.

    Pain is also terrifying. I don’t want to feel hurt, nor do I want to see other people suffering. I once saw a cat that had been run over and was lying on the side of the road. I stopped to help it, but I didn’t have the capacity to handle how much the poor creature was in agony. Another car stopped right after me, and the driver went right over to the mangled animal and held it in her arms as it died. I had so much respect for this woman. She was able to bear the burden of this being’s transition when I was rendered impotent by my own excessive empathy. I felt so deeply for the cat that I couldn’t be there for it because I was too lost in my own feelings. I would like to think that if that woman hah never showed up I would have pulled myself together, and been more proactive then sobbing uncontrollably. Yet I am so grateful that she did, because she was there for us both that night.

    I was once part of a hippy new age shaman ceremony celebrating the descendants of grandmother moon, and go figure, I was actually feeling pretty good. Then this woman started writhing in discomfort as her primal cries filled the room. I found myself totally distracted by what was going on with her. As much as I wanted to help, I also knew that there wasn’t much I could do for her. She was on her trip. The best way for me to have been there for her was to visualize her as the perfect self. Yet it was so challenging not to get caught up in the drama of her experience. I had to repeat the mantra “this is her healing” in order to maintain my own sanity.

    Even though I felt terrible for this woman, I also wanted her to stop being in pain – not only for herself, but for me too. Her anguish was harshing my mellow! I felt so guilty that I was feeling fine, and she wasn’t.

    Isn’t that a metaphor for the global suffering that is going on all the time? When you are having the best night of your life, someone else is having the worst night of theirs. That is why it is so hard to really contemplate about all terrible realities going on. I feel awful when I really allow myself to think about child brides, therefore I don’t want to think about it. It is too hard for me to be happy when I remind myself of the millions who are not.

    So that is why we all need to unleash our inner teenage girl, and allow the totality of suffering to pass through us. Not only for ourselves, but also for all the beings on this fucked up planet we live on. To run from the hurt doesn’t mean it goes away. Maybe the best thing we can do is to truly turn towards it, so we can actually deal with how much it all sucks.
    (Look at me! I am on the verge of tears just sitting around xmas eve when I was 14)

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    January 15, 2015 • Musings, Old School Stories • Views: 2102

  • 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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  • Tragic Beauty

    As we all know from debating the worth of a song, book, or painting, art is a subjective experience. I have often wondered what that intangible pull might be. In my own relationship to works of creativity, I have always felt that what makes art evocative is the spirit in which it was created. If, the artist is fully present and passionate about their craft, then that will translate into my relationship with it. Being in the flow and connecting to that force can make the artist feel like the work is channeling through them, and that sincerity is palpable.

    Even though every artist has their own unique creative process, what unites them all is the need to take what is in their imagination and translate that into a medium that people can experience.  The intentionality of wanting to connect to others in these ways puts the artist and the viewer or listener into a symbiotic relationship. Even if I never physically associate with the creator, my observing of their art means that we are energetically intertwined. So, as the photographer sees the beauty in their picture, as the painter commits entirely to their vision, as the writer is immersed in their words, so am I.

    But some art comes from a different sort of inspiration.  Not from what the artist is seeing or fantasizing in their mind, but from what they are dealing with in their actual lives.  Often times, it is this type of expression that is the most moving.  Especially when the subject matter is deeply intimate.  Its almost as if the more personal someone is willing to be, the more universal the outcome.

    I came across this blog called “the battle we didn’t’ choose” where a husband documented the last few years of his wife’s battle with breast cancer.  The pictures are so beautiful and heart wrenching that it is impossible not to cry.  He used his artistic talent as a photographer to tell her story in a way that was more compelling and tender then words ever could.  It is so hard to relate to an experience that you have never had, yet seeing these pictures on screen spoke to me in a way that not only evoked my compassion, but also touched my soul.

    I really commend him for creating him for his courage to share these images with the world.  In the face of tragedy, his art is spreading a message.

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    April 12, 2013 • 2 years old, Current Events, Health, Musings • Views: 1406

  • Emotionally Exhausted

    The mind-body duality is a philosophical conundrum that has been pondered for thousands of years.  In my understanding, the mind is this ethereal idea that is associated with the brain, but doesn’t necessarily reside anywhere.  Who is to say that your mind is in your head, it could be in your heart, stomach, penis… or the little man in the canoe.

    Your mind may not even be yours alone – it could be just a tiny fraction of a collective mind that we all share.  Floating around as part of a giant network of energy, suspended in the quantum universe that you are plugged into for all eternity.

    The body, however, has an expiration date and will decay over time.  It ages, excretes, sweats, leaks, expels, and can embarrass you with its strange noises – like queefs.  But the body is simple.  It is a mechanism that serves you – not an emotional terrorist like your mind.  A tired body from being challenged physically feels like an accomplishment, where a depleted mind from emotional exhaustion can feel depressing.

    Feeling emotionally drained can come in many different forms.  Getting into a fight with a loved one, a stranger being rude, your boss demeaning you, comparing yourself to others, paying bills, family events, or having your period 3 times in 6-weeks.

    The mind-body duality should be called the mind-body marriage, but between a couple that has been together for 50-years and is all crotchety and resentful.  Because if something is affecting the body, like oozing blood out of your lady parts, your mind will also be impacted. Right now my body may be provoking my mind, but does my mind have to be such a bitch about it?

    I need to take a break from all this….

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    March 27, 2013 • 2 years old, Health, Mommy Body, Mommy Mind, Musings, Relationships, Women's Business • Views: 2054