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  • Perfect in Your Imperfections

    When you see a picture of yourself, what is the first thing you notice? If you see a video of you just acting like you, what do you see when staring at your own moving image? Do you think to yourself – “wow, look at that special person, way to go me!” Or do your eyes immediately gravitate to all your imperfections?

    I remember back in the day when there used to be answering machines, the sound of my own voice was more irritating than puking kittens sliding down a chalk board while a tea kettle whistled in the background and a car alarm went off. I couldn’t stand how I sounded, and it was really hard to believe that anyone could tolerate that horrendous auditory assault that came out of my face hole.

    Nowadays, it is too easy to document everything, and see exactly what people see when they look at you all day. So many pictures of myself make me think “holy fuck – that is what I look like when I am not paying attention and staring off into the cosmos? I need to shut my damn mouth and work on that weak chin of mine!” It is hard to remember that people probably aren’t as critical of you as you are of yourself because everyone is too busy thinking of themselves. But still… it is really humbling to come face to face with all the fucked up faces you make throughout any given day.

    I envy the days when it took half a lifetime of sanding sand just to make a mirror. The human mind is designed to pick a part the good and sift out negativity. We are critical by nature, and often our own harshest critics. That is probably why we envy the naivety of children so much. They live in this blissful state of not noticing or caring about the little flaws that seem so detrimental to us. A small child won’t think your tummy is pudgy, but rather see your paunch as comfy pillow. I remember loving the feeling of lying on my dad’s stomach because it was soft, and not rock hard abs jutting into my cheekbone.

    Kids are really oblivious to their own imperfections as well. They run around with chocolate on their face, their hair all fucked up, and not caring that their clothes are covered in snot stains. There is innocence to their lack of awareness. So it has been really challenging to watch how The Munch has to encounter the reality of her flaws because of her wandering eye. Everyday now Munch has to wear her eye patch, so she is forced to remember that something isn’t right about her.

    Munch: Mom I don’t want to wear the eye patch. I HATE wearing the eye patch.
    Toni: I know it isn’t easy. But you have to wear it so you don’t get surgery and the doctor doesn’t have to poke your eye.
    Munch: Will the doctor take my eyeball out?
    Toni: Uhhhh I don’t really know how it works, but it doesn’t look fun.
    Munch: I don’t want the doctor to take my eyeball out.
    Toni: Well, they would put it back in. But that is why you are wearing the patch. So your eye gets strong, and you don’t have to.
    Munch: But why do I have a lazy eye?
    Toni: Because nobody is perfect, and we all have problems.

    Sigh. Even though I know this to be true, it is just hard that she has to be aware so young. I am hoping that this means she will have a higher tolerance and acceptance of herself in the future.

    (Here is mom rocking the patch to make Munch feel better)

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  • Vanity and Beauty In The One Eyed Beholder

    We are living in an age of vanity. There are too many technological gadgets to document ourselves, and too many outlets to broadcast our glory. I mean, is there any point in looking cute if someone doesn’t capture your image for a new profile pic?

    I don’t think that technology is making us vain as much as it allows this pre-existing condition we often fall victim too. The difference is the ease to which we can connect to our vanity, and the instant gratification of people encouraging it with likes, thumbs up, and comments. It is almost impossible not to be somewhat seduced by it all.  When you are looking your best you kind of want the world to notice – or at least acknowledge a perfect hair day.

    Not that there is anything wrong with wanting to look good. Physicality does play a role in attracting people to you. If you are super smelly, look disheveled, and have plaque on your teeth coated in rotting meat residue – no one is going to want to spark up a conversation. We of course want to be somewhat presentable to instigate relationships. The problem is that if you are going to excessively care when people think you are hot, you are also going to care when they think your not. I am not just talking about having an off day wearing cargo shorts and Tevas.

    I sometimes worry about The Munch and the challenges of raising a daughter in a culture obsessed with female beauty.  Of course, The Munch isn’t exactly helping the situation with her mania towards fashion, and penchant towards all things ultra fancy and princess like. I really can’t tell where the Disney seduction ends and the awareness of prettiness begins…

    Soooooo… The Munch has a wandering eye – which although is exciting to have that kind of spirit in an organ, it is still something I have to address. I have been taking her to get cranial sacral work for about a year to try to avoid surgery. It has helped, but her eye is still like a deadbeat dad who keeps trying to take off when things get difficult. The next option is to have her wear a patch on the strong eye so she is forced to use the weaker one. To be honest I have been not only been dreading, but also avoiding this option. The Munch is SOOOOO particular about what she wears, I didn’t know if it was going to become this major battle of the wills. I can’t even get her to wear socks she doesn’t like – let alone a fucking eye patch on her face.

    I found the coolest, sparkliest, shiniest eye patches on the market – The Munch would for sure scoff at a flesh colored Band-Aid with zero pizzazz. Luckily there were some options that had a little swagger to them. I was nervous about how it would be received so I brought Munch to the chiropractor who has been helping her, and we put it on her ceremoniously.

    She actually took it pretty well. The only thing she complains about so far is his her eye getting hot and sweaty.  She doesn’t seem evenly slightly concerned about looking like a princess pirate.

    The Munch really reminded me that you don’t have to let physical “imperfections” limit your confidence, especially when you have style.

    eye-patch-blog-(i)

    July 14, 2014 • 1st time for everything, Musings • Views: 19010

  • Hey, That’s MY Message!

    Information is social currency.  When I send someone a link, or post something illuminating, it contributes to my public value. The Internet allows us not only to spread information but also to become associated with it. It’s almost as if we can brand ourselves alongside the messages we are spreading.

    So last week when everyone was talking about the Monsanto Protection Act I was really involved in the discussion. This is an issue that I am very passionate about and have been researching for over a decade. I wanted to be an active part of the discussion – to help spread the message of why I think Monsanto should be a major part of the public dialogue and we should all have a clear understanding of not only its power but its product.  Our food system.

    I had first learned about Monsanto and genetically engineered food over 10 years ago when I was in college. Before understanding the science behind food, the only thing that concerned me was calories and fat grams. Then one fateful night, while smoking joints with my friend Marisa she told me,

    “You know, the reason why Americans are so overweight and unhealthy is because of partially hydrogenated oil.”

    “Wait, what is that?”

    “They, like, add hydrogen to the oil, so it is fluffier and takes up more space. They can then use less of it and save money, but the human body can’t digest it. That is what makes you fat.”

    “Why do they do that? How do they do that? And who is they?”

    “You know… they!  I don’t know Toni, I am not a scientist… look it up. But I am telling you. That is why Europeans are all skinny, because they don’t put crap in their food.”

    This really blew my mind into a thousand pieces. Before that moment, I had never considered that highly processed food wasn’t actually food. And I did not want to get fat because I was unconsciously consuming a science experiment. Forget that we were scarfing down ice cream at that moment…. We were high – remember? I am perfectly okay getting pudgy eating delicious treats, but there is no way hydrogenated oils were going to give me a muffin top.

    After that fateful conversation I started looking at ingredients rather than the silly numbers on a side of a box of processed food. Initially my rejection of GMO food may have been for my own vanity or health, but the more I learned, the more committed I became.

    I then read The Age of Access by Jeremy Rifkin, and started to comprehend the environmental consequences of genetic engineering. The massive destruction of natural resources, the farmers that it oppressed, the annihilation of biodiversity, the subsidies that forced an economic stranglehold on the entire food industry, and – perhaps most demented – gene patenting. Rifkin hypothesized that the future held forth a new economy based on owning and patenting genes. The thought of corporations and life-science companies owning the building blocks of life and leasing out the rights to it seemed like an apocalyptic nightmare.

    After understanding the full scope, I became outraged. I was so committed to this cause that I spent three years of my life trying to open an organic fast food restaurant so more people could have access to clean food, but in a format they were accustomed to. I wanted to bring organic food to as many people as I could. Even though my vision did not work out the way I wanted it to – I didn’t get to open my restaurant – I could still do my best to continue promoting the idea.

    So when everyone was talking about Monsanto last week, I made a little cartoon with The Munch and me and posted it on Facebook. It started making the rounds and people started sharing it. But I didn’t put my logo on the picture. So then I started seeing other friends post the pic, and other groups, but it wasn’t associated to me any more. I mean it was my picture, but it didn’t link back to me in any way.

    At first I was so mad at myself.  I felt like a missed a major opportunity to drive traffic back to me! So more people would see me… like me… care about me! I wanted to be the giver of the information!  Me! Me! Me! The more I saw it floating around, and not attached to me, the more I freaked out.  Of course the original picture I shared had 1,700 shares thanks to my friend reposting it on her popular page… but that had a spelling mistake in it because that is my fucking karma! (Hey! I know I am using the concept of Karma wrong here, but I am being emphatic so forgive me).

    Okay… pause….

    I found this to be a really interesting example of how the ego gets tied into things that are essentially ego-less. In reality, I should have been happy that people thought the image had value and wanted to share it. That it took a small part in spreading awareness about an issue that I cared about. But as much as my rational mind knew this, my emotional-self wanted to be credited with that message. WHICH IS ABSURD!!  It was beyond ironic that I had the audacity to feel used by people sharing my picture without crediting me, when the message could easily say I was using it to promote myself.

    That is the thing about activism. It has to come from a pure place, and not from wanting to somehow have ownership over the message. Because to feel personal attachment to the information you are trying to spread, is the very same paradigm that we are trying to change with activism.

    “Mamma you are being silly!

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  • The Cost of Free Art

    I remember paying for art.  If I wanted to own music, I would go to the store and buy a tape. If I was interested in a movie I could either rent it, or pay more and own it.  If I wanted information in the form of print, I would buy a newspaper, magazine, book, or go to the library.  I never felt cheated. I never resented this process.  It all seemed fair to me.

    But now the idea spending money on media seems absurd.  Don’t’ get me wrong, I fully believe the creators of content should get paid… just not by me.

    The Internet has made me an entitled little shit.  I am ashamed of this truth.  The access to free art has corrupted me completely.  It is too tempting, too hard to resist, and too easy to obtain.

    I don’t really feel sorry for the poor rockers and movie stars who are making less millions.  But they are not the only ones affected.  The desperate artist is also at the mercy of the free art paradigm.  The Internet has provided a medium where anyone and everyone can expose their art to the public, and potentially gain an audience.  This democratic platform is like a wet dream for creative people, but also a really easy way to exploit your self.  You can put your heart into the process of entertaining and engaging people, but that doesn’t mean you are ever going to make money doing it.  Although in the past the middleman had control over the industry, he also made sure you got paid.

    People are relying heavily on advertising and corporate backing, but getting into bed with big business does not guarantee satisfaction.  In fact, you are majorly compromising your self, and I don’t mean in a fun S&M kind of way.  Especially when dealing in the realm of journalism and writing.  Considering 6 companies control 90% of the media in this country – that means the vast majority of the mainstream media is corrupted.  But relying solely on blogs for information, and people with little resources or financial compensations, doesn’t guarantee reliability either.  I mean I love my some conspiracy theory sites, but I am not sure that it is scientific fact that the Royal Family are lizard people.

    The idea that everyone one, regardless of income, can have exposure to information and art is magnificent and should never change.  But the idea that art is free does not honor the time and effort put into it.

    I guess it sounds like I want to have my cake and eat it too.  But I don’t get who just sits around watching a cake.

    free-art-blog-(i2)

     

    March 20, 2013 • 2 years old, Current Events, Education, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 1024