Hi. I’m Toni. I’m codependent. I’m working on it, but only if it’s okay with you? If it makes you upset that I’m becoming less codependent then I will stop – but if you approve – then I will continue. Are we okay? I’m sorry for even bringing this up.
Codependence can mean a few things, but one of the main elements is feeling responsible for the feelings of others – at least, that’s how it manifests in me most. Being an empathetic person, I can usually sense the vibes of others. When I intuit someone’s feelings I feel like their feelings are my fault, or my duty to solve.
That’s the main difference between a compassionate person and a codependent. A compassionate person can say, “Wow, I see that you’re suffering and that you are going through something disturbing. I can hold the space for you and energetically witness you’re processes of processing, but I will not take your problems as my own problem.” Where my tendency is to say, “Wow, you have an issue? Well don’t you worry anymore because now your issue is MY issue and I will take it on fully and solve all your problems for you!!!”
A drawback from being codependent is that I am an enabler. I facilitate all sorts of negative behavior patterns in others. I can be so desperate for approval that I lay myself down at the altar of their toxicity to sacrifice us both in my unceasing spiral of need to circumvent conflict. I contort my being into the origami expectations of others to fold my identity into a pleasing crane flying into the abyss of needing to be liked. I know. It’s exhausting.
Codependence is my instinct! If we were sitting in a field together enjoying the sunshine and you happened to get stung by a bee, my initial reaction would be, “it’s my fault.” If we were at a party together and I was having a great time and you weren’t enjoying yourself I would feel like we had to leave. Your being happy is crucial to my being happy because I can’t be happy if you’re not happy so it really doesn’t even matter at all if what we’re doing is making me happy if you’re not happy so we might as well just do whatever makes you happy so we can both be happy because now you’re happy. Get it!?
I always thought my codependent ways of operating in the world came from my conditioning and familial programming. I was the peacemaker in my household, and the youngest child, so it was my role in the dynamic to not cause friction or problems. As such, when I became a parent I wanted to create a different paradigm for The Munch. In fact, the past 9-years of being a mom has been the best training for me to work on these issues. I can’t be a codependent parent because then my kid would be an absolute asshole. If I took on all The Munch’s problems and allowed my codependent reflexes to be my default reaction, then imagine what a dick hole she would be!
Creating boundaries with my kid has been my healing because it has taught me the value of boundaries with all people. Kids thrive when they have clear boundaries, and my parenting journey has revealed that true unconditional love actually NEEDS boundaries to make it a sustainable relationship. If I allow a person to treat me as their emotional punching bag eventually I will hit a breaking point and knock them out of my life. But if I have boundaries and express them openly, that’s actually the most loving thing I can do!
The more I communicate my needs and feelings the greater potential for genuine depth in the relationship. It’s only through my sharing my thoughts that you can realize how your behavior is hurting me and therefor address it. If I keep everything inside and refuse to talk about my actual emotions because I’m too afraid that you will be sad that I am sad, then I’m actually creating distance. The more I fear your feelings about my feelings the greater the chasm, so in order to build the necessary bridge I have to fight my codependence and feel okay if my feeling bad momentarily makes you feel bad.
In my effort to socialize my kid differently than I was socialized, I have made many attempts to be an example of a compassion, but not codependence. I have tried to model my ideals in my dealings with The Munch. She is having a very different childhood than I had for a variety of reasons, and as such, I made the assumption that codependence would not be her cross to bear.
I WAS FUCKING WRONG!
The Munch is just like her mom. JUST LIKE ME! She refuses to talk to her friends about ANYTHING that bothers her about them. She will weep to me about how she’s treated, hysterical in her sadness, but will not address it directly with them.
Toni: Munchee, why don’t you just talk to your little friend and tell her how you feel?
The Munch: I CAN’T DO THAT MAMA! IT WILL MAKE HER MAD AT ME!
Toni: Dude, but your feelings are just as important as her feelings. It’s totally okay and reasonable to explain to her that her behavior hurts your feelings when you’re not being treated like a priority.
The Munch: BUT I CAN’T TELL HER THAT BECAUSE THEN SHE WILL CRY AND BE UPSET!
Toni: That’s fine if she cries and gets upset. That has nothing to do with you. What’s most important is that you practice sharing your feelings and talking openly about how her behavior impacts you.
The Munch. I CAN’T DO THAT MAMA! MY BODY WON’T LET ME!
My BODY won’t let me! HOLY MOTHER OF GAIA! My BODY won’t let me! Ummmm… did I pass down the co-dependent gene to my kid!? Was co-dependence so melded into my DNA that she has doubled down on this helix of emotional hell? I REALLY TRIED!!!
Look at the existential angst on her face!! I GET IT MUNCH!! I GET IT!
If you read my last blog you are up to date on my current health issue regarding my liver not functioning properly. Come to think of it, are you really living your best life if you aren’t acutely aware of what’s going on with Toni’s liver. I think knowing what’s up with Toni’s liver is probably the best barometer of success on the market. You’re welcome.
As I was waiting for the results of my blood work, I decided that trying breath work would be a good modality to get to know my liver better. After partaking in the San Pedro ceremony (and potentially contracting a tick STD) my heart was pretty open to what my lungs had to tell me about my liver. As such, a woman who specializes in breath work came to my house to guide me through the experience. She and I discussed how the liver is where humans store anger, so our loose goal for the session was to inspire me to connect to my internalized and repressed rage.
Even though I was very open to this concept theoretically, I was having my fair share of difficulty connecting to my angry liver. I guess the most obvious reason for this barrier is that the anger is REPRESSED. Duh. But there were also some other factors that were contributing. After doing the San Pedro I’ve been feeling relatively serene, like there is more air in my brain. It’s as if my synapsis have stretched to create more emptiness so the breeze of nothingness can blow freely across my consciousness. It’s not that I am not thinking, but more that I am not thinking as much. There is more time between my thoughts while wind flies across the innards of my skull and out my ear cavities.
I will be in the middle of something, like teaching my dance class, and suddenly have no idea what is going on, who I am, or what we are doing. Did I already do a lunge to this side? Have I pumped my pelvis 8 times… or 16? I am usually so on top of life, like a woman prepared to ride her way to orgasm, yet at the moment my spacey head is more like a swirling galaxy. If this is the price I have to pay for escaping the relentless pestering of my ego – then so be it!
The other issue that was preventing me from feeling my feelings of hidden fury was the soundtrack playing in the background. As a dancer I am so influenced by music and the sounds that were filling the air were really upbeat. I kept picture fun choreography. “Ooooo this would be a great moment to undulate!” At one point the breath work lady was suggesting I make sounds to externalize the voice of my anger. She also suggested I punch the mat to release the wrath my liver was holding onto – but the song from Austin Power’s was playing!!! How could I be angry in that context?
I then starting spinning into a co-dependent swirl. My internal monologue was scolding me for not allowing my anger to manifest. “Aw man, I don’t have any sounds that want to come out! I’m actually in a great mood! Fuck. Am I letting her down because I’m not making guttural sounds of resentment? GODDAMMIT TONI! Why can’t I make a sound of anger? Oh dear, now she wants me to punch that mat! Fuck hole… I can’t punch the mat! I feel totally at peace! I am flooded with feelings of forgiveness. I am absolutely failing her!”
But then I realized that maybe the anger I am holding in my liver isn’t actually mine? What if I am a sponge for the anger I am exposed to? Perhaps I’ve just sucked too much in and haven’t taken the time to squeeze myself out, cleanse my aura, bathe the emotions and feelings of others off me. Maybe my purpose on the planet is to be an anger loofah, but in order to do that I have make sure I spiritually exfoliate myself more often?
All I really want to do with my time is bring people joy. To make them think. To be a part of their self-evolution in order to continue to evolve myself. Isn’t that what my artistic and creative projects are ultimately? Maybe I don’t have to be so tormented? Maybe I can just realize that even though I am not accomplishing things on the scale that I want to, I am still doing what I am meant to do. Perhaps I won’t ever get my Netflix comedy special, but maybe a few people smiling at my videos is enough? I’m already living my dreams. I’m already living my purpose. I’m already doing what I want to be doing even if only a few people give a shit. And with that, I melted into another dimension and lost all awareness of my body. Naturally.
Later that week I went back to the doctor to get the results of my bloodwork.
Doctor: Well Toni, your tick panel looks good!
Toni: Oh phew. But what about the tick that just bit me? The one I got tested and that came positive with a tick STD?
Doctor: Yeah, the bartonella… hmmmm, well… we will get back to that.
Toni: Isn’t it crazy that I went to do San Pedro with Shamans in the woods to heal from a tick disease I didn’t have, and maybe I just contracted a whole new tick disease?
Doctor: It is.
Toni: Does the healing ever end?
Doctor: Good question. You also don’t seem to have the genetic disease that I feared.
Toni: That’s a surprise. My mom did smoke and drink when she was pregnant with me.
Doctor: But it turns out you have antibodies for Hepatitis.
Toni: OH NO!
Doctor: But you don’t have it any more. What you have is the immunity for Hepatitis A.
Toni: Is that the sexy Hepatitis that Pamela Anderson has?
Doctor: It’s not.
Toni: So, you’re telling me I didn’t sleep with Tommy Lee.
Doctor: What I am saying is that you don’t have Hepatitis C. You HAD Hepatitis A.
Toni: So, what’s Hepatitis A?
Doctor: Umm, it’s fecal oral…
Toni: Shit in mouth!? Am I hearing that correctly? I had shit in mouth Hepatitis?
Toni: HOLY SHIT!
Doctor: It’s more common than you think. You could have had it years ago. Someone who had that disease prepared food that you ate…
Toni: Wait, so someone with shit in mouth Hepatitis had Hepatitis shit on their hands and they then made my food. So, I ate the shit from someone with shit in mouth Hepatitis!?
Doctor: You did. I have no idea when. It could have been years ago?
Toni: But don’t have it anymore?
Doctor: You don’t.
Toni: This is much better as a story that happened in my past rather than my present reality.
Doctor: I agree.
This is me about 5 years ago… is this when I had shit in mouth disease??
You ever go to the doctor and they tell you something you don’t want to hear? I recently went to a medical professional and the doctor kept insisting that there is something wrong with my liver and blood, which I found really irritating. I got so angry at her. I kept thinking to myself, “why are you telling me this? I don’t like hearing this at all!” That wasn’t on my agenda for the day! I was merely in her office to refill my lady cream prescription and there she was telling me I potentially had some disease. A disease!? Doesn’t that seem so dramatic? She was thinking either tick borne, genetic, or maybe I had slept with someone who shot heroine? That’s a pretty wide range of potentials! I tried to narrow it down in my head, but anything is possible. Ticks are all over the place, my genetics are a bit wacky, and who knows if I have some heroine sex disease from my past? I mean who hasn’t slept with someone who did heroine? Someone who hasn’t lived that’s who!
I left her office a bit perplexed and with a slip of paper telling me to get more bloodwork done. I then decided to consult my acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist to see what she had to say.
My Acupuncturist: Hmmmm. Your liver chi is very weak. Blood deficiency too.
Toni: Oh dear. Do you know why my liver chi is weak?
My Acupuncturist: Because your liver is cold.
Toni: Do you know why my liver is cold?
My Acupuncturist: Because your stomach is cold.
Toni: Do you know why my stomach is cold?
My Acupuncturist: Because your liver is cold.
I much preferred that line of thinking, don’t you? The dialogue with western medicine is too narrow – something is wrong with you thus you have a disease. Such a linear way of thinking, like a boner of rationality pointing me in one direction. The Chinese approach is much more palatable because is circular. The ovarian shaped logic that my liver is cold because my stomach is cold because my liver is cold – an eternal spherical insight into my health. I left my acupuncturist with herbs to warm up my organs and then thought about what to do next as I waited for the results of my blood work. So, I did what any responsible adult would do faced with unknown health ailments. I signed up to do San Pedro with some shamans in the woods.
I am a firm believer that the reason one has physical ailments is because our “higher self” is trying to communicate to our ego through the language of the body. I felt that higher self Toni was trying to tell ego Toni a message that just regular Toni wasn’t listening to. Supposedly the liver has to do with anger, but I wasn’t sure what I was angry at. I try to be a compassionate person that understands where people are coming from. I often visualize the Buddhist practice of picturing those that hurt me as a defenseless baby to remind myself that we are all victims of our programming. Yet according to my liver, I was angry so I had to let that out! Whatever anger that was inside me had to go! My anger at my family, myself, humanity, people from my past… The San Pedro was going to open my heart to it all… right?
I didn’t know much about San Pedro, but I have done ayahuasca before because of course I have. I decided not to look too much into it and instead just open my heart to receive whatever the medicine had to teach me. The ceremony took place outside and during the day, which was very appealing to me. I’d much prefer being in nature than stuck inside in some decontextualized setting where I would feel the absurdity of trying to recreate a traditional ceremony inside. When I had done ayahuasca years before I could not quite get over the reality that I was in fact notin the Amazon jungle, but instead in some yoga studio in Connecticut. At least with this situation I’d be in the forest which I found great solace in.
After drinking the San Pedro, we all got into a line and walked in a silent procession towards the river. It was about a mile and half journey and the whole time I was trying to keep myself from puking. I attempted to appreciate the beauty around me, but anytime I looked up from the soil, the nausea took over. I kept my head down and kept walking, trying to focus on my breath. It then dawned on me that I had NO idea what San Pedro was going to feel like. It had been years since I had done a new “drug,” and didn’t know what to anticipate. I did my best to exhale my fears and release the panic of the unknown.
Eventually we got to the river and made our offerings of tobacco, crystals, and sea shells. We then gathered around a tree to pray and connect to the spirit. The shamans were a husband and wife team which I really appreciated. It felt balanced – both the father and mother energy. They chanted, drummed, talked about our ancestors, and we prayed. I no longer felt sick, but instead lost myself in the quantum entanglement of those who came before me. I connected to my grandfather who I had never met. I did some healing with him and my grandmother around their very contentious divorce. I danced between worlds and held the hands of those that I shared lineage with. The female Shaman started talking about the importance of family, both through blood and humanity. Her voice cracked as she begged us to find our gratitude. My heart broke. I wept at their generosity. I cried tears for their sharing of their ancient wisdom and healing medicine with us white devils. I felt my whiteness profoundly. I sobbed at what white people have done to indigenous people, to nature, to themselves. I felt so much gratitude to bring my ancestors in communion with the ancestors of these shamans. I came to terms with life and death. “We come from our ancestors, and then we return to our ancestors. That’s where we go when we die – back into the arms of our ancestors that bore us. My life’s purpose is to do as much healing as I can of my past ancestors and myself. I then have to bring that energy back to them. The only purpose of my life is to be the best version of myself possible so as to help heal the past, and then to parent my child to be the best person she can be to help heal the future. Death is no big deal. It’s just going back from where I came.” It made so much sense.
After hours of praying it was time to silently walk back. I hugged the tree and started to follow the rest, and realized, “Holy shit Toni, you are tripping HARD!”
I could see the trees breathing. I could see the ground moving. I could have stayed and looked at the bark morph for hours, but I had to follow the rest of the group. I surrendered to my lack of control. I had no personal agency because the experience wasn’t about me. It was about the group. The collective. The family. The shamans were guiding us and I allowed that to be. I kept walking and noticed a leaf. I realized something. “Some people are just born men! They can’t help being born men any more than this leaf can help being born a leaf. They are just men! And men are okay! Men are doing the best they can with being men! And come to think of it, a lot of men don’t rape women. A lot of men don’t beat women. A lot of men don’t destroy nature. A lot of men are really trying.” And just like that, years of resentment, animosity, rage, and disappointment in men just melted away. “Men have something to offer!” I appreciated men in a way I hadn’t maybe ever. Because I have been so disgusted by the actions of SOME men it poisoned me to men. But it wasn’t men that I was angry at exclusively. I was also angry at myself for how I allowed men to treat me. I was mad at myself for what I had done for men. I was furious at myself for not asking more for from men. But men have value. Men are bringing something to this earth that is needed, even if some are corrupted.
We eventually made it back to where the camp site was. A sweat lodge had been built and it was time to enter. It was a cold rainy day, and it was hard to take my clothes off. The mud was up to my ankles and cold. So cold. The air was damp. I shivered. I walked towards the sweat lodge and entered. It was so low to the ground it was hard to sit up. There were so many people packed in, shoulder to shoulder, and in two layers knees to back. I squeezed in and as the next person came in to sit next to me I panicked.
“I can’t do this.”
I couldn’t handle the idea of being boxed in. Trapped. I quickly crawled out. Afraid.
Helper: What’s wrong?
Toni: I can’t do it. Too many people.
I stood outside of the sweat lodge flooded with emotion. I felt terrible. I felt like failure. I was a chicken. I thought I was such a strong person who could do anything, but I was weak. And not to mention, covered in freezing mud. I scrambled to find my clothes. I had never been more ashamed to put clothes on. I could hear everyone in the sweat lodge chanting, praying, and together. I hated myself. I tried to forgive myself. I tried to tell myself maybe I just had to listen to my body. I tried to tell myself it was okay. I tried to fight the fear of missing out. I kneeled by the sweat lodge. I prayed for the people in there. I wanted to support them. I felt like I had let them down. I had let myself down. I was spiraling.
Then, they opened the sweat lodge because they needed to put in more hot rocks! I didn’t know they were going to do that! Someone came out. They had had enough. That meant there was room for me!
Toni: Can I go in?
The helper nodded “yes.” I threw my clothes off and crawled into the collective womb. Maybe I was afraid to enter the womb. Maybe I never felt safe in there? When I sat down the shaman smiled at me. It was so warm. So full of love. His face free of judgement. They closed the door and the darkness overtook me. I felt safe. I closed my eyes and it was as if I was in the bottom of the ocean. Phosphorescent lights pranced before me. The sweat started to pour. The heat was overpowering but I was so grateful. I was so overjoyed that they let me in that the discomfort was meaningless. I was enveloped with appreciation for the experience. I was also lucky because no one was sitting in front of me because I was the last one in. Every time the helpers had to add in more rocks, I had to leave the tent to let that process happen. I got to have a break between each of the 7 or so rounds. Because I had this privilege I wanted to be there for everyone else. They were all trapped. They couldn’t leave. But I could. With each time that I returned and we went in for another round, I tried to hold the space for those that were suffering. I tried to hold them with my energy. I owed them that. The man next to me was a big tall man, and to be folded up like that was hard for him. His toe would touch me, or his elbow. For a moment I was annoyed. When I felt his flesh against mine it took me out of my out of body experience. I didn’t want to be grounded by his skin. I wanted to fly away into another dimension without my body. I felt irritated that he was interfering with my desires. Then I said to myself, “No Toni. Don’t be annoyed. He can’t help it. He’s just an uncomfortable man! He’s doing his best. He’s not trying to annoy you, he’s trying to get more comfortable!” He no longer bothered me. I sent him love and comfort. He deserved it.
In the end, I really enjoyed the sweat lodge. I felt so blessed they let me in, that there was nothing I could complain about – especially considering my position of freedom. Maybe it was okay I didn’t torture myself and found pleasure because then I could be a better support for others? At least that’s what I told myself. As I exited the sweat and smoke filled dome, I was rebirthed, covered in earth, and ready for whatever life had to offer me.
Of course, the next morning I woke up with a deer tick having bit me. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. Did I just to go a healing San Pedro ceremony to heal from my potential tick disease only to contract another tick disease? Hahah. I hope not. But if I did, there’s always next time.
Gather round little ones, snuggle by my side, and tuck yourself into a cozy blanket while I tell you a tale of white privilege. Lend me your ears to hear this glorious legend of how I, a white woman, was able to prevail despite a harrowing encounter. The suspense of my journey will leave you grasping at your own breast, hoping that me, your hero, triumphs despite my hardships. As the protagonist of this epic story I invite you to perhaps take a sip of tea, to calm your nerves, for what you are about to read is sure to shake you to your core.
It all began on a Sunday afternoon. I was strolling through the woods with my dog. Excuse me. My RESCUE dog because I’m better than you. How do it? My moral righteousness knows no bounds. I’ll take my Noble Prize later though, for right now, I have a saga to convey. One of my dear friends had come over to promenade my RESCUED dog with me, and we were partaking in some herbal remedy. (We smoked some weed). I had yet to eat lunch, and subsequently got very high. You’d think considering how often I partake in pot, and for how long I’ve been puffing pot for, I’d have a better understanding of how to best dose myself. Yet my shamanic attempts have always been such where I take a little too much of everything. Yes, I’ll have that last tequila shot at 4 am! Whoops, who knew projectile vomit could traverse such a distance? Even though I can see the trees breathing, why not eat a few more mushrooms? My heart’s beating so fast I think I’m having an anxiety attack – but let’s do more anxiety! (coke). I do drugs to the point where I feel like I’m almost dying just to remind myself that I do in fact want to live.
My friend, RESUCE dog, and I eventually made it out of the woods, and onto the country road. As we were walking – discussing how time is an illusion because in theoretical physics there is no difference between the past and future because they are treated exactly the same and how the present doesn’t even exist because everything that happens in the “present moment” is actually in the past because it takes time for your brain to process the data and information in front of it – we ran into another woman with her dog. (Probably just a regular dog, and not a RESCUED dog like mine). Even though this woman wasn’t a national hero like yours truly, she still seemed deserving of a polite “hello.” Yet upon our greeting, I realized that she was in fact, quite distraught.
Woman with NON-rescued dog: “There are some dogs down the road that are running free without anyone monitoring them, and they are very aggressive.”
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “OH DEAR! Loose dogs! I actually know those dogs. One of them bit me once! I was just walking by, and it came up and chomped on my hand!”
Woman with NON-rescued dog: I’m actually afraid of dogs, so I’m turning around.
I’m not sure if you know this, but my dog is actually a RESCUE dog, so she has some emotional baggage. As of right now, she does not get along with other dogs well, nor can I let her off the leash to figure it out doggie style. I am too conservative for that. Also, because I was pretty high, dealing with unsupervised antagonistic dogs was not on the top of my list of preferred priorities.
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “Maybe we should turn around too? I’m not sure I’m prepared to handle dog drama.”
My friend: “Fuck that. We’re going for a walk! I’m going to go tell those dogs to go home.”
My friend went ahead and yelled at the dogs to go home – which they actually seemed to do! Emboldened, we started walking again. We passed the place where the hostile dogs lived, and I thought we were going to escape their wrath. Yet we were not so lucky. They must have sensed our presence. The two dogs came barreling down their driveway and started chasing us. Had I not had my RESCUE dog, I could have stood my ground, but I was attached to their object of prey. So, I started running. Did I make clear that I was pretty stoned as well? I rationally knew running from animals chasing you is probably not the best solution. I was only making us more appealing by becoming a moving target. But I was just not emotionally equipped to face Cujo 1 and Cujo 2.
As we ran from the dogs I realized “Holy shit, I have not run my fastest in a while, and this is intense on my lungs!” Eventually my friend had the brilliant idea of turning around and yelling at the dogs to go home. Her standing still and matching their hostility allowed for me and my RESCUE dog to gain greater distance. We rounded the corner out of their sight, and the dogs lost interest.
This dramatic event had us all a bit dazed, so we of course stopped to smoke more weed.
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “That was fucked up. I don’t want to live in fear of these dogs! I do this walk all the time!”
My Friend: “I know. They were going to eat your dog.”
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “My RESCUE dog.”
My Friend: “Right.”
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “I kind of want to call the police. Something should be done!”
Now, was I really going to call the police? Of course I wasn’t. That would be crazy. But threatening to was how indignant I felt about the whole affair. We kept walking and smoking more weed. What? I needed to ease my system! Then, as if positioned by the Goddess herself, I saw a cop car pulled over! He was tucked into a driveway trying to trap speeding drivers, but to me, it was like a sign from mother Gaia.
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “LOOK! The cops!”
My Friend: “Toni, no…”
There was no stopping me. Was I thinking about how America is a police state full of corruption and abuse of power? No. Was I pondering the prison industrial complex and its impact on society? No. Was I musing on the justice system and how its flawed morality is indicative of a broken system that targets the poor and minorities? NO. Was I convinced that my class and race privilege would protect me from all this? I SURE WAS! The spirt had gifted me with an opportunity to live my truth, and I went right up to the cop.
NOW KEEP IN MIND I HAD JUST BEEN SMOKING WEED. NOT ONLY DID I HAVE WEED ON MY BREATH, BUT ALSO A SMOKING HOT BOWL IN MY POCKET! I must have smelled like a Grateful Dead show gave birth to a Phish tour. But I went right up to cop’s window, despite my friend’s objection.
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “Excuse me officer? I was just walking my RESCUE dog, and my friend and I got chased by two loose dogs. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but is there anything you can do to communicate that this was a problem? I am an upstanding honorable member of this community and all.”
The Police Officer: “Sure Ma’am. Can I just get ALL your information including your address and phone number?”
Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “You sure can!”
All the while my friend is losing her shit. For from her perspective I was literally blowing weed into this cop’s face, but from mine, I was letting the law know my rights had been infringed upon! I know. I’m so brave.
Here is Luna… the RESCUE dog I so selflessly adopted.
What do you want most in the world? Close your eyes and picture it. Is it love? The caress of a person you long for to be eternally devoted to you? Is it success? The accomplishment of settling into your ideal career, or getting the job of your wet dreams? Is it money? Being so wealthy that you can use dollar bills as toilet paper? Which, btw, I do not recommend because that’s one hell of a place to get a paper cut. Is it the perfect body? Being so chiseled you could cut steak with your abdomen? What is it? Let your greatest desire, your deepest want wash over you. Do you have it in your mind’s eye? Are you holding that yearning in the palm of your hand? Stroking it like a flaccid soldier you want to harden for action?
Now guess what?
You will never get it.
You will never get what you want.
I’m not saying what you want won’t happen. It’s absolutely possible that it will happen. But once you get what you want, you will not want it anymore. Not in the same way. The wanting will evaporate. The initial bliss will be replaced by being accustomed to having what you wanted. You will get used to it, and it will be impossible to remember the yearning of before. What you wanted will no longer be a desire, but a familiar part of your life that is taken advantage of, unappreciated, and expected.
I used to want to be a published writer. Salon published my first article 7-years ago. I then wanted that article to be read more than it was. After that, I wanted to write for other publications. I did. But then I wanted my articles to go viral… frowny face. I got sick of writing for other people so I started writing movie and TV scripts. I made short films. I wanted my scripts and films to get into festivals. They did. Then I wanted my scripts and films to win awards at festivals. They did. Then I wanted some Hollywood big wig call me on the phone to tell me, “You’ve got the goods sweetheart. I’m buying you a ticket to tinsel town.” Still waiting.
I once wanted a boy. I got that boy. He annoyed me. I wanted to be free. We broke up. I was lonely. I wanted long hair. I grew long hair. It got tangled. I wanted change, I got bangs, too much change. I wanted to start a business. I started a business. It was stressful. I wanted chocolate crepes with strawberries. I made chocolate crepes with strawberries. I ate too much.
You will always have something to complain about when you are in the mindset of complaining. You can always find problems. You will always want the next thing. What you have will never be enough. Nothing will ever satiate the deep need for more that lives within us.
Unless you are an enlightened being, of course, which in that case, groovy.
I am currently not enlightened, so this paradigm is something I struggle with from time to time (every day). Yet I am aware of it, and that awareness makes it less painful (not really). Contentment is a very hard emotion to cultivate, and even harder to maintain. Yet contentment is what we all need more of. Not perfection. Contentment.
Maybe that’s not the sexiest concept? How are you today? I’m content. You don’t hear that very often. But we should. That is what she should be seeking. Not happiness. Happiness is an ethereal fairy that drifts around indiscriminately like a floating dandelion seed. A more reasonable expectation of life is having total acceptance for what is and an apperception for what’s in front of you.
Feeling genuinely grateful.
Yet you have to remind yourself to feel grateful. Daily. I don’t think gratitude is our default operating system. I think we have to upload it every morning. Have rituals to connect to it. My personal strategy to access gratitude is listening to 90’s hip hop or smoking weed in nature. We all have our methods. What’s yours?
Oh dear. The counter crusade of the #metoo movement has been birthed. #HimToo has passed through the psychic canal and squeezed its collective consciousness into the time space continuum. Mind you, #HimToo is not referring to men who have also experienced sexual assault, but rather men who are in threat of being accused of sexual assault. This effort is… SURPRISE… currently building its base at Trump rallies where people believe that men need to be protected from women and their rampant “false accusations” of sexual assault. Much like the concept of #alllivesmatter there seems to be a panic in the air, polluting the pristine noses of those white faces shaded by red hats.
My initial reaction to this was to be expected. A quite rage that filled my being with a toxic energetic putridness that could only be contained through deep breaths, focused meditation, and of course screaming “WHAT THE FUCK?” to an empty room. Yet after I did a few sun salutations I wanted to better understand the logic behind this thinking. Am I in fact a different species than other Americans? How can we think so differently? I needed to mentally grasp this discrepancy.
My plan was to see this as an anthropological inquiry and channel Jane Goodall – observe “the other’s” behavior while taking scrupulous notes with my hair tied back in a low ponytail. Sadly, I didn’t have access to a Trump rally to question these thinkers myself, so I went to my next best source. Youtube videos.
After watching a few interviews about their perspective regarding the need for #HimToo – I have identified the main points of their rational.
1) A left-wing conspiracy: Ohhh you got me there MAGA devotees! I also am a BIG believer in conspiracies and often question the “official story” provided by the mainstream news outlets which are beholden to the whims of big business and corporate interests. On any given day I can find myself questioning if Hillary Clinton is in fact a lizard person from the Palladian system, if the Federal Reserve is run by corrupt aliens, or how all of mankind is an experimentation of some other conscious creature. I’m open! Perhaps the earth is flat? Who knows… I’ve never been to space and the only people that have are people indoctrinated by NASA, otherwise known as THE GOVERNMENT! Granted I also think to seduce people with conspiracy theories is the ultimate conspiracy. The internet has been flooded with conspiracies to oversaturate the market – making everything obsolete. I believe in questioning, but I’m not sure we’ll ever know the truth about anything because there is too much information to sift through. You can have the internet prove whatever you want. You can “prove” vaccines are good just as you can “prove” they are a ploy headed by Bill Gates to poison the poor for population control and emptying out Africa so the rich can take over its resources once the apocalypse comes. Everything is absurd because so many absurd theories are out there. I too live in a post-truth paradigm so I understand the mistrust these people feel when it comes to “tearing down our leaders.”
2) “We have to protect our Sons” This was mostly women claiming this rhetoric. I have sons, I have brothers, I have a father – I have to protect them from these slut women who want to trap them with their whorish ways and then blame my boys. Sigh. For one, I think the main issue is these women identify more with men’s needs than their own. They have internalized the patriarchal viewpoint that a man’s life is of greater value, therefor they are the cultural priority. I think for these women the fear of one man being falsely accused is more crucial than the millions of women are actually sexually assaulted. The justice system is highly flawed but I think for all of human history the scales have been tipped in favor of the man, not the woman, when it comes to rape. The research around “false accusations” of rape shows that its very uncommon – especially considering the stigma attached to coming forward. Of course, a false claim has happened, yet I think it has impacted black men more than white. In the times of pre-Civil Rights white women did accuse many black men of rape when they were having a consensual sexual relationship to avoid the social consequences of their actions. This was a phenomenon in our dark history, yet I don’t think the Trump supporters are talking about this. I think the women coming forward for Brett or Donny are motivated not by lies, but rather not wanting a rapist to be president of part of the Supreme court.
3) Why didn’t they come forward before?: This was a big one for the men – not understanding why these women waited so long to say something. They just can’t seem to wrap their heads around how experiencing trauma would keep you quiet, or how the fear of not being believed is an exponential trauma. I find this perspective problematic because it lacks any sense of empathy that perhaps different people have different reactions to violence. I feel like these guys don’t understand the humiliation/ /shame/vulnerability of rape and think of it like getting punched in the face. They assume it’s a simple assault that should be simply dealt with simply. Just go get a rape kit, like that’s exactly what you want to do right after getting violated – have a police woman re-violate you to prove it happened. It’s a shallow analysis of what these women actually go through. I wish these men would witness some sexual assault victim support groups and get a better understanding of the psychological impact of rape before allowing their assumptions to prevail regarding how women “should” respond.
For the past 15 years I’ve been slapping my opinion onto the collective table of the internet. I’ve dealt a variety of different cards during this time – sketch comedy, music videos, stand up, written blogs, memes – shuffling through my consciousness in a desperate attempt to be heard. Why I have this compulsion to broadcast my thoughts is not exactly clear. The short answer is obviously because I feel like I have something to say and the long answer dates back to my childhood insomnia fueled by a quantum entanglement with my father so we’ll just leave it at that.
When you feed yourself to the wolves you can’t complain about getting eaten alive. I’ve learned to grow a dense hide in order to protect my ass from the hate. There are times I create something and receive nothing but praise (thanks mom!) but there are plenty of other times my work tickles the taint of those that don’t share my view point, humor, or politics, and I am then flooded with a deluge of zealous condemnation.
I recently made a video entitled “Is that Rape?” inspired by the adorable Brett Kavanaugh and his charming “who cares if I assault women” attitude. I knew when I made this video that not everyone was going to clap their chubby little hands in approval, and boy was I not mistaken. I got plenty of comments calling me a “libtard” to remark on how dumb and how unfunny I am, with even some really sweet annotations wishing violence upon my being. The internet is so cute!
To me the problem isn’t that people disagree, it’s how they disagree.
If you think about our educational system, there isn’t a lot of emphasis on learning the art of dialogue. In the times when the Greeks were developing the concept of democracy, the process of dialogue was HIGHLY regarded as one of the most crucial and pivotal personal aptitudes. Socrates’ entire philosophy was based on the importance of dialogue. He didn’t concern himself exclusively on what the topic of the discussion was, but rather how the topic was discussed. He encouraged a deep knowledge of how to have a conversation because the contents of that conversation were of lesser importance.
So, what happened? America boasts that we’re the “greatest democracy in the world” (we’re not) and yet there is zero attention paid to the most basic and fundamental principal of democracy. How can the people rule when the people can’t talk to each other? I find myself getting into arguments with humans I mostly agree with simply because they don’t know how to have a productive session of listening and exchanging. Don’t you feel like it’s time we make the art of dialogue a priority again?
No one knows how to argue because very few people are open minded enough to allow their consciousness to expand. When you have a political view, or some moral commitment, you tend to build a narrative that supports your thinking. We construct our reality in order not to challenge our construction of reality. Once you have committed to seeing the world in a certain way, you are often too afraid to re-think your thinking because then what does that mean about the reality you’ve created around it?
But here is the issue. You can create any reality you want. I could just as easily create a reality where Brett is a victim of nasty liberal feminists trying to take him down because of their venomous ways, as I could the reality that he is in fact quite rapey and has no place on the Supreme Court (much like Clarence Thomas). There are plenty of “facts” out there to support either position.
Where we are failing each other is not acknowledging that everyone’s reality is valid to them. Even those that we vehemently disagree with, they still have a sense of reality that’s based on logic. Their logic may seem crazy pants to you, but it’s logical to them. When we act like the other side is just a bunch of dumb dumbs without rational for their viewpoints we are ignoring an unavoidable truth. 99% of people have REASONS they think they way they do, and if you’re not curious about their reasons and instead just toss insults and disdain we will never have constructive dialogue.
Everyone’s relationship to reality is born from the data and processing power in front of them. There is a reasoning system that humans apply which means that all points are valid, regardless of how much they might enrage you. That’s not the point. The point of dialogue isn’t to think someone’s an idiot for seeing the world differently than you, but rather to have a dialogue deconstructing why. We are ALL the consequences of our programming. We have all been conditioned by our parents, society, and our life experiences. The question then becomes how do you take that reality internally and implement it externally? There has got to be a better way than calling people “cunts” on the internet.
What if we argued less and talked more? What if we understood that we’re all victims of structures of power, and that even those supporting these high-rises of oppression are still slaves to it? What if we stopped wasting all this energy screaming about who’s right and instead worked towards a greater understanding of what’s to be done?
The sexual assault accusation of Brett Kavanaugh is one of nuance, and if there is one thing our American political system avoids, it’s complex thought. The media is struggling to box this story up into a black and white package, which is hard to do when a woman feels she experienced an attempted rape and the man feels like, “what?” Men like Fox news columnist Stephen Miller chalking the whole scene up to “drunk teenagers playing 7 minutes in heaven,” makes me wonder if Miller understands that HEAVEN usually doesn’t entail someone holding you down and trying to force themselves inside of you. If that’s your idea of heaven sweetie, I know a place for you to experience that… Prison!
If I look at this story from a meta perspective, it’s obvious to me why many men don’t want to classify this it as a crime. For Kavanaugh to pay the price of what he did as a 17-year old (as if that’s the ONLY time he acted this way which I highly doubt) then what kind of snowball effect would that have on other men? What are the standards of which we should hold men accountable to for assaulting women? Men don’t want to set that precedent because of the fear that too many of them will go down in flames.
Women speaking out about this situation are begging for retribution. They want to expand the definition of punishable assault because, go figure, most people don’t like to be attacked and forced to do things they don’t want to do. They want Kavanaugh to be held accountable in order for our society to have higher standards. They want a more intricate understanding of assault, because for many, even if the penis never makes it inside of you, the trauma is just as significant.
I have read countless stories of women voicing the need for us to redefine our understanding of how rape violence impacts victims, and men saying “hey honey, it’s not that big of a deal.”
Who I haven’t really heard from is the MILLIONS OF MEN THAT ARE ALSO AFFECTED BY RAPE CULTURE AND COULD PERHAPS SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE THAT RAPE CULTURE DOESN’T JUST IMPACT WOMEN WHO ARE RAPED BY ACTUALLY THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD!
There are MANY men that I know who would NEVER be handsy, rapey, or inappropriate. I even know men who can’t watch porn because it feels too degrading towards the actress and they empathize with her and the life experience that brought her to have two dicks stuffed in one ass. There are so many men who don’t rape or assault others. Call me old fashioned, but I have a lot more trust in the morality of a man who doesn’t rape than a man who does.
Who is the kind of guy that rapes or attempts to rape? Men who want what they want, when they want it. They want power over others. They want to show their strength. They have no concern of the consequence of their actions on other people’s lives. They prioritize their own needs over the feelings of the person they are with. These men use psychological and physical violence to get their way.
This begs the question who are these guys when they are not busy raping? I’ll tell you who they’re not – Mr. Rogers that’s for damn sure. The type of guy that is open to raping is also the type of guy that is spreading that same forceful energy in every aspect of his life. Everyone is impacted by the energy of rapey men. We need to examine how rape culture is directly destroying the planet – how rape culture is effecting the environment, business, media, politics, war, weapons, the world economy, men, women, and children. Rape culture is so insidiously ingrained in the patriarchy that it’s often hard to identify.
The micro is the macro. That’s why this current media cyclone is not just about Brett being a little too aggressive one night. It’s also about do we want this kind of man, this kind of thinker, IN CONTROL OF OUR NATIONAL LAWS? I don’t! That’s why this is important. Rape culture can’t be the prevailing foundation of which we build our lives upon, and rapists cannot continue be the ones in control of the future.
There are men out there who have raped, who have assaulted, who have pressured, and they have owned their actions. They have admitted what they did and apologized to the people involved. Beyond prison, I think what we also want is for rapists to understand the hurt they caused. For the event to change the assaulter as much as it changed the victim. If one is emotionally mature enough to acknowledge and take responsibility for the hurt they caused, then mostly likely that awareness would seep into all aspects of their life. These men are our allies too. It takes way more balls to be able to say “I’m sorry I raped you,” than it does to rape. I believe in personal evolution. I believe that people can realize the trauma they caused and have genuine remorse. I believe there is a place for them to be forgiven. Yet if you are going around raping people and then defending or denying your actions, then what else are you capable of? How else will you psychically rape the people you are around, or emotionally rape the system you have power in? I don’t want a rapist ruling this country. I don’t want rapists ruling business. I don’t want rapists in control because they don’t just rape people, they rape period.
Rather than arguing about “is this attempted rape really that bad” why don’t we instead focus on not giving power to men why try to rape. In the priesthood, in Hollywood, in politics, in business, in all these circumstances where men exploit their power over others. If we take down the rapists we take down the patriarchy. If we take down the patriarchy we will have the revolution we’ve been looking for. The change we have been craving. The desire to live life as we know is possible. If we want a paradigm shift it starts with this. If we want to reform Wall Street it starts with this. Rape is not a woman’s problem, it’s the world’s problem.
A schedule is a helpful asset to adult survival. It allows structure to existence so as to better enslave my spirit to the constrictions of the matrix. Yet every so often I can feel oppressed by the mundane predictability of life. Go figure! I know I’m not alone in this feeling of psychic enslavement. We all have our methods of mental escape. Right at this very moment there is a guy on the Internet buying a pair of panties from a lady who has worn them for 6 days without showering. For whatever reason smelling these sullied undies will bring this man joy he can’t otherwise access. I must be kind of a square when it comes to rearranging my headspace because even the thought of strange man’s underwear penetrating my nasal cavity makes me dry heave. As such, I instead turn to other sources of inspiration to mix up my mind…
Mushrooms have become very “in vogue” recently thanks to Microsoft engineers partaking in micro-dosing morning rituals. Many of the human androids belonging to Silicon Valley wake up, have a bit of coffee, and then ingest tiny licks of psychedelics with their Wheaties. The true breakfast of champions!
Psychotropic drugs are ever so slowly becoming normalized in mainstream culture as a means of healing and self-betterment. “Micro-dosing” is a developing phenomenon and method for partaking in this mind-magnifying ritual of psychedelic ingestion, and I am a big advocate of this happening! I’m pretty sure if the Republican party woke up every morning to a Grateful Dead smoothie instead of their usual breakfast of goat’s blood and virgin flesh, the world would be a much different place! Yet personally I’m not sure I can keep up with the micro-dosing schedule. I barely remember to brush me teeth in the mornings (read as never) so adding slightly tripping to the docket seems like an unreasonable expectation of myself. As such, I prefer my mushrooms the old-fashioned way. Eating a bunch on top of a mountain and hoping I eventually find my way down in the dark.
Considering not everyone can get their hands on some cow shit foraged mushrooms or a fresh sheet of acid, I figured I would share my top 3 most recent mental meanderings while on mushrooms with you. Who knows, maybe reading this will save you the trip?
1) Nature is excessively beautiful. It’s painful how gorgeous a sunset can be. Even when inside the moment of experiencing natural glory, there is always a part of me that can’t appreciate it fully. That can’t suppress this underlying sense of nostalgic mourning for what I’m observing. I look at how amazing it all is and simultaneously feel the loss that the moment is fleeting. This tragic knowledge makes me miss the moment even when it’s right in front of me. Everything ends and will be lost in a memory I can only vaguely access. That tragedy makes me never want to leave the beauty of nature and instead focus purely on how gorgeous it all is. Yet with nature, the beauty is endless. As day turns to night, which turn to day again, there is nothing but beauty to witness if your eyes are open enough to see it. How perfect a blade of grass is, or a butterfly wing. How remarkable it is the way ants move, or when clouds morph. Human beings had to develop an indifference to this beauty. It was crucial to not always see it in order to prioritize other things like eating, mating, and staying alert for the dangers of predators. It was an evolutionary necessity to build up an indifference in order to function, yet this muscle has been over-developed. It’s become grossly exaggerated, pulsing, throbbing, and taking up too much space with its excessive force. Now in order to relax that muscle we often turn to drugs to bring us back to that state of being. Drugs are how we access the ability to acknowledge fully just how magical it all is. We crave reprieve from this feeling of indifference yet it’s this same feeling of indifference that also paved the path for “progress.”
2) In a capitalist society class is so deeply ingrained in your psyche that it will forever stain your understanding of self regardless of what’s in your bank account. If you were born rich, you will always see yourself as a rich person. Even if you lose all your money, you will just feel like a rich person who happens to not have money. Yet if you’re born poor, that mindset will stalk you as well. Even if you make a billion dollars, you will still feel like a poor person who just happens to have money.
3) After I made it down from the mountain (SURPRISE) I of course sat under the stars. Looking up at the sky, I could see the energetic connections between the stars – this hazy blaze of luminescence that tied the stars together in a cosmic web of connection. It looked like the synapses that attach neurons in our brains. This made me realize that not only are the stars communicating with each other, but the structure vastly resembles the neural network of the human mind. So… check it. What if planet earth is just one neuron inside the head of giant conscious being, and every star in our universe (or multiverse) are actually neurons inside this giant conscious skull? And what if that giant being is part of a community of other giant beings and whatever planet they are on is just one neuron inside the scull of ANOTHER giant conscious being? Which means subsequently that every neuron in each of our brains are actually the stars of a smaller universes and in one of our neurons is a little planet like earth?
Aren’t feathers and clouds UNBELIEVABLE!! Isn’t it crazy not to spend your days staring at them and never doing anything else ever again?