• KID ME, NOT?

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: self-help

    “Vhy youu no haffve baybee, Tiffi?! Whatz’ a’mattah youu?” *Said in the voice of one of my 400 Serbian aunts. The short answer to this question is because there are too many things I’m uncertain about. The long answer follows…

    Simply stated, I write these posts to help people and they are inspired by what’s on my mind. As of late, like, the last 12 months, and more highly acutely the last 6 months, I have struggled with the question, “Should I have a baby?” Every single day for the last 6 months I think about this, and I try to find an answer. My thoughts are in a constant old school WWF wrestling match with my emotions, and I can’t figure this shit out. Not being able to “figure it out” is a new phenomenon to me. I’m a problem solver with an active style of coping, and I can usually handle these types of things. However, this topic, oh you know, the one about determining whether or not to make a human life, has put me in a purgatory of indecision. It is overwhelming and often feels like relentless torment. Therefore, I’ve chosen to leave my comfort zone and write this personal piece in the hopes that I can help someone who relates to the struggles I’m experiencing. And I know there are people like me out there because I’ve done research, read articles, journals, interviews, etc. and I’ve seen evidence that this specific pain is a thing. I haven’t come across much information describing just how much of a mother fucker this struggle can be, so that’s why I’m writing this post. It’s not about coping skills, tips, and tools this time around. Instead, what will follow are 10 factors that I believe cause and contribute to confusion, doubt, and indecision (specifically, my own confusion, doubt, and indecision) as it relates to procreating in the modern world. In other words, why the fuck it can be so hard for someone, male or female, to determine whether they want to have a baby, and become a parent. *Full disclosure: I know this can be a sensitive topic, so if you continue reading, please understand that none of this is meant to insult anyone, with or without kids, it’s just information I am sharing.*

    (1) Why. Just, why? I’ve asked myself this so many times, and I don’t have a good answer. The best answer I can think of is because I have so much love to give, I deeply love my husband, I love kids, and to create a life from love this pure would be a beautiful thing. LAME TIFFANY!!! Fucking lame. I can express that loving energy in ways other than making a life. This “love” I refer to can be put into other areas and is not accessable only once you have a child. Ok then, why else might I want to have a kid? Do I have land that needs farmhands to help tend to it? Nope. Is my biology telling me to be a mom? No. If it was this would be easy because I’d listen. The only thing my biology is telling me is that I’m getting grey hair and losing ovarian integrity every second of every minute of every day. I’m shriveling up in there and being age 35.5 makes me a geezer when it comes to getting pregnant. So, when posed with the question, “why have a kid?”, I can’t formulate an answer that is logical and sensical, which leaves me unsettled and uncertain.

    (2) Has the world peaked? You know, wondering if the world has passed the point of no return and is now on a gradual descent to hell? There is a lot of bad in this world: Senseless violence, rape, abuse, torture, war, hate, corruption, climate change, pollution, animal cruelty (and experimentation @animaljusticeproject). This begs the question: Has the darkness begun to overshadow the light? I do realize that there is a lot of good on the planet, too. The world is a big place and love, kindness, compassion, and empathy coexist with the bummer stuff, but I wonder if the bad has amassed to the point where the good is just a fraction. Albeit a strong fraction, whether it is enough to combat the evil, remains a frightening uncertainty in my mind.

    (3) Is having a kid necessary, and, as a global citizen, responsible? *I’m not calling parents irresponsible.* The world’s population is 7.4+ billion. Births outnumber deaths and so far this year, the population has grown 18 million in less than 3 months. Where the heck are we all going to go? I worry about waste, damaging our environment, pollution, depleting natural resources, and the legions of animals killed for consumption everyday, born in misery whose sole purpose of existing is to be tortured and slaughtered (search @sympathy_at_slaughter on Instagram for a painful glimpse- just a tiny glimpse of this world). My kid, like all humans, will contribute to these things just by existing. To no fault of his or her own, that’s just how it goes. Even if I compost, feed him/her organic and farm fresh fruits and vegetables, use cloth diapers, by having a kiddo I will be depleting the world of certain energy and resources, and contributing to its waste.

    (4) I feel like a hot fart for considering having a biological child and not automatically thinking to adopt. As I said above, the world is huge and getting huger. There are amazing and innocent little humans across the globe that need and deserve a loving home. Why would I, or you, not adopt? Some reasons I can identify with are to control certain circumstances, like prenatal environmental stress, prenatal diet and wanting to breastfeed (because of the effects these factors have on babies health) but are these reasons good enough? If I’m concerned about the world’s population, the responsible and natural thing to do would be to adopt. Looking for a stroll down harsh reality alley, search “children needing adoption” in your state to see the beautiful kids, ages 0-18 who need a forever home. A picture, bio, and their accompanying case number will follow, along with your heart breaking. I think what will save this planet is rekindling our love for humanity. Not necessarily making a new person to “save the world,” but saving it now, with what we have, by spending time fostering a deepened universal love. A global shift from a “me” or “you,” to an us. Do I want to see what a Tiff / Jeff hybrid human would be like, sound like, look like, and experience that- certainly. But my DNA is not exceptional and there are already children alive, currently in this world, that need, want and deserve a family. Why would I choose not to give him or her a home, if I wanted to have a child?

    (5) I feel selfish. *I’m not calling parents selfish.* The parents I’m lucky enough to know are among the most selfless individuals I have seen. They sacrifice their time, energy, and finances to give their kids the best opportunities in life they can afford. My own mom has said she would rip out her beating heart in order to save me or my sister, and I truly believe she would find a way to punch through her sternum, bust up some ribs, clench and tear out her beating heart if she had to. Homegirl does not fuck around when it comes to how much she loves her children. THIS is the opposite of selfish. I get that, but I, TIff Tuttle, feel that having a child has selfish undertones. A kiddo would undoubtedly make me happy, enhance my life, teach me things, reawaken my awe, … hmmm, there’s a lot of “me” and “my” in that sentence. Hence, I experience dissonance and confusion. I know that parents are selfless, yet I feel selfish for wanting to be one and it’s something I struggle to make sense of. Balancing a logical thought like, “parents are not selfish,” with a feeling of selfishness for wanting to be one, causes me a whole lotta strife and internal conflict.

    (6) FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. This goes both ways. Whether I have a kid or not, I’ll wonder what my identity would have been like. No matter what I decide, my identity will be impacted. Of course your identity changes once you become a parent, but not having one changes it in another way too. It allots you more time to devote to other things. So, I question, who would I be with a child, and who would I be without one? How would my life be different? Science is no help here if you’re looking for a happiness quotient. Studies comparing folks of various ages, with and without kids, find no real difference between those who are “happy” and not. The stats are similar between folks with and without children.

    (7) Anxiety over not being able to protect the human you give life. And I don’t mean from skinned knees after a wheelie gone wrong, rejection from a crush, or a zit on picture day. Those are normal and expected and in the scheme of life, absolutely manageable. I’m talking about school shootings, cancer, nuclear bombs, terrorists, climate change, drunk drivers, freak accidents like getting paralyzed falling out of a tree house, sexual assault, being mugged and murdered by being in the “wrong place at the wrong time,” DRUGS- fear of my kiddo developing an addiction. Additionally, it’s not just about not being able to protect my kiddo, it’s about not being able to guarantee that neither me, nor my husband, will be capacitated enough to care for them. What if one of us falls ill, drops dead when our kid is a baby, or infant? The idea of knowing it is possible that I will not be able to care for my baby or child is painful to stomach. Logically, I know that there are zillions of things that we cannot control. I’m not a total control freak. I drive, work, go out and I’m not consumed by anxiety. But it’s around, leaving me to wonder, Will I be able to manage this anxiety if I have a kid, or, knowing that I am prone to worrying, do I even want to put myself through it? The reality is, there will always be something to worry about so you must ask yourself, can you let go of not being able to constantly protect a life that, once given, will be the most cherished and precious entity of your existence?

    (8) Coming to terms with death. I’ve gotten into some mad deep philosophy, especially over the last 6 months, and in an attempt to basically find the meaning of my life, I’ve had to deal more intimately with my feelings of death. If I am going to create a life, give breath to a specific set of lungs, and make a heartbeat beat, I have to be somewhat okay with death. This means that I acknowledge that my husband, our would be baby and I, like all living beings, will someday die. The idea that my child’s death could precede mine is something I should consider. Ideally not obsess over it, but nonetheless have an awareness of.

    (9) WHAT is the point? You know, of creating offspring, or offspringing? I know, to pass on family name, bloodline, genes, culture, heritage, or because maybe your religion practices procreation, but I’m speaking on a more micro level. For me, it has to do with experience. E-X-P-E-R-I-E-N-C-E. It all comes down to this. When I try something new that is awesome, I want to share it with the people I love, mostly my husband because we hang out all the time and I love him the most. A new food, song, music video, movie, skit, picture, story, anecdote, joke, article, interview, art, link, etc.. If it’s something he hasn’t tasted, heard, seen, tried and I have, I am eager to share it with him because I want him to have the experience. My natural inclination is to share something that made an impact (big or small) on me with someone I care about in order for them to experience a similar feeling. So, as it relates to creating a life, I ask myself, is life really that fucking fantastic that I want to bring into existence a person to experience it? I’m not saying I don’t like living. I dig it. It’s cool. I’m blessed, mostly happy and content. In other words, I’m glad to be alive. And since I am, I have obviously been born. Therefore, I lack the experience of not being born (at least on a level of consciousness I can access… tripping out here). While I don’t know what it is like to “not be born,” I’m inclined to think that it can’t be that bad. Nonexistence does not imply deprivation (in my opinion). So, I remain stumped and ask myself, Am I enraptured by life to the point that I am compelled to create another life to experience it?

    (10) Time’s running out. Worrying and wondering if I should only have one child, and thinking that I need to make him or her a sibling. My sister is my best friend (and in all lifetimes after this, we will find a way to be besties- somehow). Worrying about wanting to make my would-be-but-currently-nonexistent child, a brother or sister to share life and create experiences and memories with, incites anxiety. Way to go anxiety. Showed up again. Now in my hypothetical worry-laden world, there are two tiny humans to permanently be concerned about. Numbers 1-9 above are automatically amplified. Doesn’t stop there, I worry that I’m getting more decrepit as the days go by, and thinking, “Ok, if I get pregnant when I’m age ___, then I’ll be ___ when the baby is born, and 50 when he or she is 13, 11, or 10.” Deciding whether I want to be in menopause when my kiddo(s) is a tween or teenager is something to consider. Same goes for guys. Not that you have menopause, but how old do you want to be when your kid starts dating and bringing home super hornified guys or girls for you to meet?

    There you have it. My top 10 issues // reasons why deciding to have a child in the modern world is a mother fucker (my painful pun). Over the course of writing this piece, my feelings have fluctuated more times than I can track. On any given day, there is a tug-of-war between the uncertainty in my head, and the love in my heart. I pass the playground by my house and picture walking there with my family. I see a cute teen with her mom at the Post Office making jokes and laughing, and I grieve for maybe not ever knowing what that will feel like. I spend time with my mom and mom-in-law, and feel guilt because they would be amazing grandmas. Then again, when I drive past a billboard with the face of a teen killed by a drunk driver, or watch the first 10 minutes of any news program, I experience relief. Relief in knowing that I don’t have a child who will be raised in this world. Maybe my indecision (and that of my husband, who pretty much echoes my concerns) is mother nature’s way of preserving herself, and eventually I will age-out of the system and be too old to naturally conceive or adopt? Then again, maybe the world has always been messed up (because it’s so enormous and shit is bound to go wrong) and I just “have to do it” as a number of people I love and respect have advised. In the future, if I have a kiddo, I might feel like a butthole for having so much doubt now, but today is not that day. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just stick to hanging with my husband, minpins and friends, and feeling happy for the life I am lucky enough to lead. Thanks for reading this. If you’re struggling with similar issues, I hope you were able to take something valuable away from this entry. And if you’re a parent, I truly commend you for being the superhero your child and this world needs.


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: self-help

    Mother F’er. We’ve all got hot buttons, we’ve all encountered people who push them, and we all do some pushing ourselves at times. This post is designed to help you learn how to manage your fine self when you get angry and encounter a situation with someone whose personality + behavior you want to body slam.

    #1 – It’s important to ask yourself why you’re having the visceral reaction you are; as in, “Why is it that when I encounter X, my stomach starts punching itself and my brain starts pile driving my temples?” Is it because some jabron cut you off while driving? Is it because someone stole your phone, or your boss is acting like a butt hole, or a friend machete stabbed you in the back, or maybe an ex really burned ya? There are different reasons for why you’d get riled up and it’s worth your while to explore what they are. When you become all hot and bothered (not the wokka wokka sexy kind) it’s supremely important to stop and reflect on what is making you mad, before you react, in order to get a handle on your emotions. This is because your glorious emotions are automatically triggered when you sense someone is being shitty to you, so you’ve got to stop, reflect inward and gain some perspective if you’re going to cope well.

    I’m generally not an angry person. I do get mad about stuff sometimes, but overall, I’m not an aggrolite. So, when I encounter something or someone that makes me feel angry, it throws me off. Like knocks me on my ass thrown off. In order to regain my footing and ground myself, I’ve learned that I must do the bunny hop from the part of my brain that turns into emotional lava when I’m pissed, to the wonderfully cool and soothing thinking part that helps me be rational. By doing so, I am able to get into a space where I can explore what the heck my anger is about. Hanging in this space for awhile increases my understanding of my anger, and helps me figure out healthy ways to problem solve so I can cool my jets and handle the situation with poise.

    I know that sometimes we need to act on impulse, fight or flight style, and tear ass out of a situation for safety, but these instances are rare. When someone pushes one of your hot buttons and takes you from 0 to 525,600 in an instant, your life is usually not in danger. Your integrity, pride, ego, etc., might be threatened, but your life is not. In these moments where you’re triggered to react, but your life is not in danger, getting in the habit of inserting thought before you do anything is something that I promise will serve you well.

    #2 – Vent to people you trust AND THEN… ask for their opinion. When you are seeing red, you-are-seeing-red. Meaning, you could be blind to the other colors/factors involved a situation. Maybe it’s a cut and dry, black and white situation, but usually there are other pigments involved. Asking people you trust for input after you’ve vented about it is an important thing. But it’s also a hard thing because when you open yourself up, you might not get the feedback you want. You may be looking for, “Yo, you are 100% right and homegirl (or homeboy) is assed up for acting like this.” Instead, you might get, “Well, I see both sides of it.” Getting feedback will help give you a more comprehensive view if you allow yourself to be open to receiving it. It doesn’t mean you have to take what another person says as gospel. Just acknowledge, “Ok, I trust X to be honest with me because they love me, so their opinion has merit.” If it’s someone you trust, you know they are being honest. And if you don’t get the reinforcement you hoped for, just remind yourself that sometimes what you want to hear and what you need to hear aren’t always the same thing. Lower your defenses when you reach out to people you love, because if they truly love you, they have your best interest in mind.

    #3 – After you give yourself enough time to reflect, cool down, and get other perspectives, go back to your emotions. Are you still feeling angry? If so, that’s important to recognize. You have a right to your anger. Your anger is likely being triggered as a defense and it wants to come to your rescue. If someone hurts or insults you on a grand level, having a reaction of anger is normal and healthy. It’s your minds way of defending you against an attack. And anger can be a sign of self-esteem. As in, you don’t feel like you deserve the treatment displayed by X, who pushed your hot button, got you mad, and offended you. So, go back to your emotion, honor your emotion, and then make a plan.

    After you’ve had a chance to do #1 and #2 above (not a potty joke), you can come back to the situation and formulate a plan of action while in a collected state of mind. Believe it or not, it is possible to be angry and also collected at the same time- I’ve been there and totally done it! And when you’re able to hold anger in one hand and composure in the other, you can choose to respond to the situation in a healthy way. You can send that text, write that email, make that phone call, or have that face-to-face, in a zen state. Ok, maybe not totally zen, but you get what I mean, in a state where you’re thinking clear and have a handle on your emotions, versus, a state of being a spazzy mess with delusional thoughts and King Kong emotions. Which sounds better to you?

    #4 – Don’t hold a grudge, it’s poison and will hurt you. I mean, the literal interpretation of “holding a grudge” makes me visualize a person holding a stinky load of wet summer garbage and excrement in their hands. YOU DON’T NEED THAT. I’m not saying you have to forgive someone for hurting you if you don’t want to, just that it would benefit you to let some anger go. Holding on to it doesn’t hurt the other person(s), it hurts you because it prevents you from letting happiness into your life. It’s all about YOU here people (it really is!) and holding a grudge leaves less room for awesomeness in your life because anger takes up space. So flush that doo doo brown all the way down and stop giving the person (or people) that hurt you the ability to continue hurting you.

    Absolving yourself of anger doesn’t mean don’t ever get angry and defend yourself, or that you have to tolerate bullshit treatment, it just means take your power back so you can make more room for happiness and posi vibes. Flush the grudge and then tuck the anger to bed and let it sleep so you can focus on things that nourish your happiness, spirit, and wellbeing. Life is tricky sometimes and your anger will probably wake up again at some point to protect you, but knowing when to kiss it goodnight is a skill worth developing. I’m not encouraging you to go out and get aggro to get practice, just that, when you get mad, practice what I’ve suggested and see if it helps. If you can’t seem to let go of anger, or it’s constantly waking up, something inside you could be unresolved. I recommend more inward reflection and calling in the pros to assist if you can’t figure it out on your own. There could be some serious layers to it and that’s why people like me are around- to help you make sense of it. Reach out of you need to and search to find a therapist in your area.

    That’s what I got!! Thank you for reading along and feel free to send me a shEmail or hEmail anytime!


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: self-help

    This topic has been on my mind a lot lately and something I often address in therapy because, well, it’s a damn good subject matter. Creating the balance I refer to in the title is part of becoming empowered and awesome and yadda, yadda, happy, great, amazing, rad, fabulous and so on. 2015 has begun, and if you need some extra help getting those sweet ass-butt cheeks in gear so you can actually achieve the goals you have set for yourself (resolution or not), I really think this topic is going to help you. So… let’s discuss.

    Often times we confuse what we need and what we want as being the same thing. Yes, we need necessities like food, shelter and water, but when I refer to “need” in this sense, I’m talking about the things in our modern world that assault our consciousness and trick us into believing we need something that more accurately reflects something we want. As the lines between ||need||and||want|| become blurred, we can lose focus of what is important in our life. We get further and further away from ourselves and can become disconnected from our own conscious state. The more disconnected we get, the more we start to act like zombies. Seriously, damn zombies. Continuing to act strictly on wants and desires will eventually decrease your awareness of some really important things. Like the things that keep you healthy and functioning optimally, and the things you know you should be doing because they benefit you in the long run. When you lose//forfeit your awareness, you forget about what you truly need. This is scary for a lot of reasons, mostly because when desires overrun needs, we can lose control over our life.

    Here are a few examples:


    I love my phone and my computer, but do you ever stop to think, “Fuck, when did I get so dependent on these physical items?”


    Who has control over your drinking, you or the beer company?

    Your weight

    How did you gain so many lbs? It wasn’t by eating consciously.

    I’m not berating anyone. Lord knows I’m huskier than I’d like to be, that I’m sometimes tethered to Apple products, and that I know what it’s like to feel addicted to a drink (not the sauce, but my on again/off again affair with damn dirty stinking Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi).

    I know it feels good to lose control, to be impulsive, to not give a damn about what you’re eating, drinking, saying and doing all the time. We have a lot of obligations to fulfill in order to live the lives we lead. We have jobs we sometimes hate, school, debt, fucked up family/friend/relationship drama and lots of other things, so sometimes losing control, or not giving a shit can feel supremely magnificent. Keyword being: SOMETIMES. It’s not bad to get what you want: to eat cake for breakfast, to take a personal day from work in order to hang out and get nice with your mate, to spend $$$ on yourself because you work hard and don’t need to justify it. All these things are A-OK when they are balanced by you also fulfilling your true needs.

    It’s not just about food, sex and money (even though those are really great things). Emotional needs and wants are important too. If there is a topic you don’t want to broach with your partner, but know you need to, you might want to avoid it, but ultimately it needs to be addressed. For example, you’ve been dating your mate for 4 years, you’re totally in love and really want to get married, but that partner of yours just ain’t feeling it. You can avoid dealing with this sometimes (so it doesn’t consume all your thoughts and mental energy) but, if it’s important to you it needs to get discussed, and the sooner the better. Avoidance tends to breed resentment and you don’t want that. A surefire way to prevent this is to pay attention to your needs and vest energy into getting them met in healthy ways. In this case, a need of yours might be to discuss your future, for purposes of determining where you stand with your partner. This is out of your need for safety and security. This is all 100% valid and 100% normal.

    Quit Being a Zomb-oner and Start Being Awesome

    To get reconnected to oneself, my advice is to simply begin asking, “Do I really need this, or is it something I want?” An important thing to remember is:

    ***B A L A N C E  I S   K E Y***

    I’m not a party pooper, and life is no fun without being able to do what you want, but it’s also no fun when all you do is hedonistically feed your desires and act on impulse. That’s two-dimensional living that will leave you empty and unfulfilled, and you deserve better than that – you’re better than that. You’ll have more power, control, command, meaning, validation, fulfillment and happiness in your life IF you can create balance between what you want, and what you need. So, raise your consciousness and open that third eye. If you can’t find your third eye, poke around your face until you feel it. OK, so don’t really poke yourself, but do ask and re-ask and re-re-ask, “Do I need this, or do I want this?” “Is this serving me well?” “Is this truly fulfilling?” “Am I acting on impulse?” “Is this fucking critical to my existence, or do I simply want it?”

    You are capable of amazing things. You have free will and can make choices that serve your life in healthy ways and promote your wellbeing/awesomeness. Balance. Is. Key!

    Thank you for reading this! As always, I hope this sparked some inspirational activity in your beautiful brain. Please send me a shemail or hemail and tell me what ya think! Peace in your crease- by which I mean your magnificent brain creases!