Wanna hear a story about a scumbag?

So, one thing has become abundantly clear… I should not be at that job. Seriously, I actually had a panic attack on monday and hid under my desk.

Yeah. I debated sharing that, because it’s clearly not very Muchy but if you follow along on my FB page you can see that I am trying to make the best of the situation and think positively (PS: I am positive I am not supposed to be there.)

So, I’m a girl who looks for signs. Ya know, signs, to tell me that I am where I’m supposed to be or doing what I’m supposed to do. You may not have known that about me because for a long time I stopped looking for signs- at least on the surface. Signs include an element of “God, let me know what I’m supposed to do” and  lot of me was heavily committed to “screw you god, I’m pissed.” but, well, in the end, the signs won out.

Here’s a signs story for you to chew on.

Once upon a land, in a time called “my 20’s” I lived in an apartment that had terrible plumbing issues. I’d find my Indian neighbors hair stuck to the bottom of my tub. I point out that he was Indian because they were the type of Indian with really long beards and reeeeeally long hair that was wrapped up on a turban. My hair was short. The hair in my tub, 3 feet long. Gross. Grody. Repulsive. Disgusting.

I demanded they fix the plumbing. They lied and said it was impossible. I stopped paying rent and three months later bailed on the apartment. They came after me for the rent. In court. But when I got to court, they dropped the case.

Two years later they refiled, because they had handed the paperwork over to a scumbag lawyers whose life revolves around squeezing people by their balls for 15 cents.

I went to court. Again. Settled the case and agreed to pay the back rent because I was getting married and just wanted the nightmare to go away. I paid the settlement over the next few months, but one month shy of completing the payments, my bank account was frozen. Frantic, I called the lawyers and they refused to call me back. Had to go BACK to court multiple times (I’m living in a different state at this point) only to find out that they had not provided me the correct address on where to mail the checks. But they DID have my money. The judge was PISSED at the scumbag lawyer because this was all just a big waste of everyone’s time. Meanwhile- it was the ABSOLUTE most stressful thing in my life. I had the lawyers number filed in my phone under the name “scumbag” because that is what he was.

By the time I got married, the entire thing was ancient history. I had the paperwork to prove it.

At this point, you may be wondering why I’m telling you this story after talking about my job…. you’ll see.

So, there I was, pregnant with the twins, on bed rest and under doctors orders to “avoid stress” because that could do serious damage to the delicate balance of placental tightropeing that we were in the middle of.

And then, It arrived.

A letter from scumbag lawyer, stating if I didn’t show up in another state on the date specified, my bank account would be frozen. I was like WTFYGDMFS?!?! (You can figure out my rant…. just get creative and imagine me as pissed off as I was.)

I called the Scumbag’s office and told the kid who answered the phone that I was on bed rest with high risk twins and could not get to court. I TOLD him this was settled and paid. He told me his boss, Mr. Scumbag, would call me back, and I should fax copies of the legal documents.

I faxed. I called. I called. I faxed. Day. After. Day. Stress. After. Stress. NO RESPONSE.

None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Waiting to see if my bank account would freeze… or what would happen

No communication.

Stressed.

After the twins died I called the courthouse and they told me the action had been delayed.

Months later I had to go back to the court to deal with it.

I was six months pregnant with my rainbow, Liat.

I brought a friend, a lawyer who actually went with me to the cemetery the same day.

The Scumbag wasn’t there. He sent some mini scumbag in training.

Through a mess of tears, I told him, the judge and everyone within earshot that I held that cocksucking lawyer personally responsible for the death of my daughters. It was not the only factor that took them, but I believe , without a doubt, that the stress he inflicted upon me by failing to communicate properly (and according to legal guidelines) contributed to their death. The judge told me I had grounds to file a misconduct claim against him and potentially sue. His SIT (Scumbag in Training) told me that the paperwork had been filed because of a simple clerical error. ooops! They didn’t have a copy of the piece of paper I’d faxed him multiple time. Sorry!

Again, I just wanted to put the nightmare behind me so I could finish my pregnancy and focus on my precious new baby.

That was the end of the case.

I thought I had put this all behind me.

I carry a hatred in my heart for this man, and, god as my witness, there is no-one else that I can say that for on this planet. Well, Hitler. But besides him…. just that lawyer guy. His name – which is unusual and memorable- gives me anxiety, having seen it on those envelopes and court papers for so many years…. always carrying with it the stress, and now, compounded by my associations of him as partially responsible for the death of my two daughters.

So, last week, when I saw that name on an email from my new co-worker, my heart skipped a beat. And then another.

I asked him if she knew of this lawyer.

And alas, he is her brother.

Her brother.

Her brother.

My heart didn’t stop racing all day.

Why. Why did that scumbag lawyer’s sister have to be planted in the cubicle next to  mine?

At first, I tried to see it as a sign that I should forgive him. Find forgiveness in my heart and just send it through the air to him, releasing myself from it’s weight. That would be the muchy thing to do, right?

But the truth is, I can’t do that without him knowing and understanding what he did.

So I thought of writing a letter. But then I thought- “he’ll probably sue me.”

So then I thought – “hey! I can just tell his sister!” and that idea is still sitting with me, though what an awkward work relationship THAT will create, right? That being said, she already knows I dislike him

(Todays exchange:

her: My brother had 5 teeth pulled today.
Me: Ouch. was he in a lot of pain?
her: yes.
Me: Good.)

But then, as I found myself, earlier this week, cowering under my desk having a panic attack (for the record, that’s not something I generally have) I thought- MAYBE it’s just a sign that I am not supposed to be here.

Which, well, I already knew as soon as HR told me I wasn’t allowed to wear shorts to the office.

I don’t work so well with “not alloweds”.

…wondering if any of my coworkers have bothered to google me. Maybe I’m hoping they do and she can just read this whole drama and I will get it off my chest without ever having to address it.

In other news, I’ve been making it a point to be EXTRA muchy at this office. I think it actually annoys some of the people there, who would rather drown in their sourpuss grayness.

954651_490612671004845_675145991_n

I skip through those hallways like a dash of blinding light. Those who are not allergic to joy seem to appreciate it.

Next week, Neon.

Weekend Muchness Project. Paint will set your MUCHNESS free…

When Molly was three we bought a copy of the movie Annie. The kids watched it, as kids do, over and over and over and over again. Molly know the songs backwards and forwards and sung them under her breathe or in whispered hums in the back of the car. If anyone acknowledged her singing, she immediately stopped.

Nine or 10 months later a local group was putting on a production of Annie and I decided to take Molly. She was excited to be going somewhere special with me but didn’t really know what to expect. She perched on my lap with her back straight to get the best look and when Annie came out, boldly and clearly singing the opening lyrics of “Tomorrow” Molly spun around in my lap and, eyes wide, exclaimed “She has an AMAZING voice!” – those words, out of a four year olds mouth, with that much passion- I loved it.

From that day on, Molly would belt out tomorrow at the top of her lungs from the backseat of the car. Or, in the shower, or living room. It was like she’d suddenly been granted permission to use her voice. If only as adults we just needed that little bit of reassurance, right? A few weeks ago, I saw a YouTube video about this 5 year old painting prodigy, Aelita Andre. The beautifully artistic video of her gracefully yet playfully painting in her studio made her appear etherial and angelic.


I think what was so compelling to me about it was that she was just doing what she wanted to do. No rules, no worries about using too much paint or making a mess or getting it wrong or staying in the lines…. the kind of freedom that only a child can capture without trying. So this weekend, I showed Molly and Liat this video and asked if they wanted to do it too. Like the singing, I knew that seeing someone her age express herself so freely would inspire Molly, who has a tendency towards shyness and has been known to freak out if she colors outside the lines. They were psyched. I printed out my Michaels 50% off Memorial Day coupons and we took a family trip to the craft store. before Then we went down to the basement and got busy! Here’s a “before” pic and video of the action. I loved making this video- It made me laugh out loud doing a “knock-off” of the very serious vid above.

Truth? As the girls painted, it was hard to stop myself from offering guidance or directions. I wanted to say “Try it this way” or “Don’t mix those colors together” but I didn’t. I just let them go for it. I put out the paint and I put out the glitter and I let them figure it out. It was so tremendously relaxing and so amazing watching them just explore the paint, the colors and their creative freedom. I wanna do this. Maybe together with some friends, some wine, and some music, this would be a totally amazing way to tap into a Muchness that has been feeling stifled for far too long…. Who’s in? :)

What to do when you feel off-track.

I feel like I took a wrong turn. I’m trying not to feel this way. I’m trying to choose to look on the bright side. At the good stuff. That’s what makes life better, right? It’s all about perspective. But then, I think- sure, human beings can get used to anything- it doesn’t mean it’s what they should accept, or, technically, get used to.
I’m sitting outside this job, in what I unaffectionately call The Prison Yard, wondering if this is where I’m “supposed” to be. Maybe this job is the bone I was hoping would be thrown at me. Or maybe it’s a distraction. Maybe it’s a fear based “out” I created for myself when things were just starting to get real.
I don’t know.
I feel like Brittany Spears- I’m at a crossroads. I feel like Irish I could just pop in a belly shirt, hop in a convertible and head cross country. (Is that how that movie went? I have no idea. Shocking though it sounds, I’ve never seen it.)
Anyway,
Last week I went to an event with my family that honored Holocaust survivors. (Hows that for a segue?) My grandmother was amount the honorees. She and 7 other survivors shared their story about how they – all children at the time- barely survived the Nazis and were forced to live in unimaginable circumstance. They’ve gone on to build full lives and large beautiful families that were in attendance.
I found myself thinking “really Tova? Really?? WTF do you have to complain about? Get your ass-kicking boots on and show the world what you are made of!…. And then the next day I packed up my Tupperware lunch and hustled out the door to spend my day – voluntarily- sit behind barbed wire.

20130513-131610.jpg

I suppose I should (and am) be grateful that noone will shoot me in the back with a machine gun if I touch the fence… And as i write this im thinking “really To a, I’m not sure you’re keeping things in the proper perspective.”

Damn- I gotta run… If my lunch goes longer than 30 minutes I might get in trouble.

Help me out, wouldya?

Do you think you have an ultimate “reason” and purpose for being here? Are you living that purpose? If so, how’d ya do it, and if not, share your purpose here. What’s one thing you can do to get closer to that goal?

Thanks for listening.
T.

Finding my voice

Tonight I went to a local event hosted by a non-profit called NechamaComfort.

20130505-224005.jpg
NechamaComfort is a Jewish pregnancy and infant loss support group started by Reva Judas, whom I met when she reached out to me after seeing the Muchness Bands featured in a local paper.
This event was designed to help the community understand the complexities of pregnancy and baby loss so they can be better prepared to understand and help when it occurs to those they love.
At the end of the event, I raised my hand and shared that today is International Bereaved Mothers Day. And then I asked if I could read something I wrote for the day. It is posted on PowerOfMother.com
The response was amazing.
I never feel regret after sharing my voice. I only regret that I don’t do it even more.
Please check out my post.
A mother is a mother
.

20130505-224841.jpg

Right now. Are you where you are?

I’m not exactly sure what or how it happened but sometime in the last week I went from living in fear- living in mental noise and chaos- living in the future and in the past- to living now.
Suddenly my mind has quieted down. My creativity has piqued, and I’m feeling more focused.
Maybe it is the job. Maybe having the security of income is helping my fears subside. Maybe being in a space where I am the most colorful thing outside of a Pantone Swatch Book is reminding me of the importance of my mission.
Or maybe it was the trip to the cemetery. Something about going there feels like it set me free. Suddenly I feel free to accept what comes my way, confident that it is all part of a master plan. It created a shift in perspective for me that is making it easier to go through the day with grace and confidence.
It has also made me realize I need to step away from the computer. If I accept this job I will be glued to a screen all day. That means for me to find my muchness out of a job I need to create a tactile experience for myself. A craft, a human connection.
On the drive home from the cemetery inspiration struck. I initially dismissed the idea but I the more I think about it the more connected to it I feel. And the more excited.
I’ve decided to keep it a secret until it is underway. I know. So selfish.
I will refer to it as Operation:Glitter.
Stay tuned for more info…
As we drive down the highway I found myself (in a very non-tova way) noticing the foliage.
I said to My hubby “hmmmm… Pretty trees.”

20130505-023236.jpg
Is that some variation on stopping to smell the roses?
Welcome to my change in perspective.
Hoping to hold on to this one….

Stop and let a little light in!!!

I discovered something about myself today. I went back to that job that is dreary and gray and I came with a new attitude.

I taped my postcard above my computer and took the two rocks I brought home from Sunshine and Daisy’s grave and put them below that, and then I decided to shine my Muchness into the hallways of this J.O.B. Perspective is everything.

photo

At lunch I went to go sit outside in the prison yard and there were some other employees out there. One was a guy who said he used to paint art and had gallery shows but he gave that up when he started having kids, and he took this job in the grayness and dreariness of Armpit, NJ. He said – in a tone that was clearly sincere but marked with sarcasm – that he felt as though he was rotting from the inside out.

I was like “NO!!!! No you CANNOT rot from the inside out!!! Please, please do not do that to yourself…. that makes me so sad for you!! I want to help!!!!” …and I meant it.

I have spent the last 6 months – the months I took to Build The Muchness – and spent it behind my computer screen. That is awesome because I love connecting with people online, but it also left me without the face-t0-face time and conversations that truly help me see where my energy is needed. This guy- oy. He was so drained of Muchness. I just wanted run over to him and sprinkle pixie dust on his head to awaken the muchness monster inside him.

I think he will be my project. All of them. I am still not 100% sure I will be taking this job. I don’t know if it’s what I am supposed to do to help me create income while I continue to share The Muchness, or if it was brought to my life to serve as a wake-up call about what The Muchness is truly meant to be about.

If you are reading this and can relate to that guy, that person that says “Oh, I used to……. but now I just…… because I have to. I’ll refind that part of me later.” I IMPLORE you to go out and but yourself a present- something sparkly, something bright and beautiful and vivid and wild that you LOVE that breaks the sound barrier of gray that surrounds you. Take one little step to push through that fog. Please, please, pretty please do not sit there and say “later, I’ll do that.” NOW. IS. LATER.

photo copy

I wore these shoes today. First time since last fall. These are my absolute favorite shoes for a whole bunch of reasons. But the #1 reason?? Because they make other people smile. Ya know how good it feels to make other people smile just by walking into a place wearing absurd shoes? It feels damn good. Good enough to have you contemplating taking a job at the grayest place on earth.

Maybe I have been sent where I am needed….

 

My commitment

I’ve been feeling so off-track lately. Two weeks ago I felt right in the zone of muchness and then, boom, in a minute I felt more lost than I have in years. I’ve spent the last week at a 9-5 job and it has been so.not.muchy.
I don’t even say that to be cute. The people are lovely. The work is fine but something about the environment feels like it is the most absolute wrong place for me.
But I need to earn a living.
And trying to figure that put while simultaneously follow my purpose is a real complicated clusterf*ck of “how to?”
I’ve stayed away from talking about the big M word ($) on the blog because I told myself it wasn’t something “appropriate” to talk about. But the fact is, it’s a reality of life, and unless I learn to make peace with the idea that earning money is not a “bad” thing, I’m really never going to earn any.
The Muchness was sent to me as a gift from my girls and it has been the path that guides me to my passion, which is helping people find theirs. I can’t fulfill my purpose when I’m worried about paying bills.
Do I have a solution? Not yet. But it’s time to start being honest. Because this conflict has been causing me a lot of pain. A lot.
Today I went to the cemetery to see Sunshine and Daisy. I hadn’t been there in over two years. I felt like they were calling me and I needed to go to them.
Their rocks are still there. Faded.

20130430-200323.jpg
I sat next to them and talked. I cried. I asked them to help me see the answers. To help me make the right choices and send me signs to let me know I am.
While there, I pulled out my laptop to write them a letter. It was a commitment letter. A promise to keep doing this work, to stay connected to my light, my talents, my joys- and a promise to continue to share that with others. That means blogging more often. When I’m up, when I’m down. It means sharing my voice even when it shakes. It means forgiving myself for the things I wish I did better and allowing myself to be real and vulnerable so others (and i) can see that that is not weakness. It is life.
As soon as I finished writing that commitment letter, two white butterflies flew past me, and as I lifted my tear filled eyes to follow them I saw two birds, flying together across the sky. They were the only birds I saw the entire time I sat there. I completely lost it.
Then, I pulled out some stickers and decorated their rocks.

20130430-203037.jpg

20130430-203057.jpg
Then, I turned and looked at the other baby graves. When I was there three years ago it looked deserted. Like no one ever visited these little babies. But something was different. There were more tombstones. Stuffed animals rested against grave markers. Directly in front of my babies was a headstone and on the back, facing my girls, was a collection of stickers, clearly stuck there randomly by a child- likely a sibling of the deceased baby. The stickers were worn and weathered but when I looked close I could make out the image on a few. This one was the clearest:

20130430-203635.jpg
A mama bear with her two baby cubs.

There was also a new grave. Decorated with a collection of daisies and sunshiny yellow glass stones. And two butterflies.

Somehow, I know everything is gonna be ok.

20130430-205207.jpg

At odds with myself

As I crawled into bed tonight I started feeling very emotional. I spent the day at a “full-time job”- testing for a position I am beyond qualified to fill, creating products I actually like.
I have been on the fence about whether I am going to accept a (basically) full time (4-day) position.

The idea of it terrifies me.

It feels like I’d be stepping back in time. It feels like I’d be turning my back on this life course I feel I was created for. On this gift and assignment I was given.

But It also feels like income.

And I need that.

I keep telling myself that this job will bring me peace of mind. That being around people all day, wearing muchy shoes and constantly being told how fabulously talented I am will help me reconnect to my muchness and fuel this project. But I can’t also help but feel like this job offer is more of a wake-up call. My goal when I left my last job was to put myself in the path of Muchness growing opportunities, and while I did do that, I’ve also squandered my time. I’ve been fearful and shy. I’ve been self-critical and lazy- attributes disguised as confusion.

I was watching Project Runway tonight. (I know, that was one hell of a segue.) It was the finale. I haven’t watched it all season but flipped it on while I sat and collated decks of Muchness Moments cards. What I saw made me cry.

Those finalists, they took everything they had in them, they dug deep, found their voice, found their confidence, and worked their asses off for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that was sitting in front of them.

I’ll have what they’re having please.

I remember my portfolio when I graduated with my degree in Toy Design. I knew it had to be fan-fucking-tastic, and I knew it would take me 3-4 rounds for every project. I brought my B game all semester long. I was absorbing the info. Rather than killing myself to create “my best” knowing it wasnt going to be “good enough” and then be disappointed, I created “good enough for now” The program head was very worried about me. But I knew. I knew that at the final hour, when those boards had to be done the final time, they’d be everything they needed to be. Maybe more.

And they were.

Maybe this job is my “by the way, it’s almost graduation time- time to pick up your A game” heads up.

In fashion everything is always completed a year in advance. I spent half the day thinking the current year was 2014. No joke. I was honestly stumped at one point.

I’m not ready for 2014. No. Not ready at all.
In the words of this teenage crush:

20130426-001116.jpg

I wore two Muchness Bands today. A double dose.

20130426-001832.jpg

Ya know that moment when you’re driving somewhere unfamiliar and waiting for the correct street and convince yourself you’re going in the wrong direction so you turn around right before you get where you’re going?

I don’t want to be that person.

Xox, Tova

This is a problem…

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/dTFDfR47dl4″]

Two days ago after posting about how I was going to try and stay present and grateful and real I came across this video on my friends newsfeed. Just listening to it calmed the voices in my head, and the last two days have felt a lot more serene and less stressful than the days before.

The fact is, on this roller coaster train of Muchness seeking I feel like I am in a cycle of dips and highs and I am responding in the exact opposite way as I know I’m supposed to- I’m being the anti-muchness- looking at all the things that aren’t working, that are stressing me out, that are less than ideal.

Blech.

This video – even in all it’s woo-woo calmness – has helped me remember to slow down, focus on one thing at a time, and pay attention to my present moment. (Because really, the present is the only place you are gonna see your Muchness Moments anyway)

Today I looked down and realized that I am wearing the blue jeans the absolutely DEFINE my lacking Muchness period of my life. That kinda upset me.

jeans

I like to think that to a casual observer they are just cute distressed jeans but in reality I know better.

I bought them at a time when I was unhappy with my body. They were the only jeans that fit over my tush nicely. (They are designed to fit “curvy” girls)

I wore them to death, until there were literally holes in the inner thighs and crotch.

So I patched them. I told myself it was cute but in my heart I knew I didn’t mean it. Wearing them made me feel disgusting.

So I eventually bought a new, identical pair.

And I wore those until there were holes in the inner thighs and crotch. So I patched those. I again told myself it was cute but I knew I didn’t mean it. Externally I cursed the manufacturer for making such well fitting and expensive jeans in such crappy material. 

And every time I wore those jeans I felt like crap. Even though they still looked pretty cute on my tush. Except where the patches were.

And when I began my journey to find my Muchness I put them away and said “never again”… I will keep these as a reminder of where I never want to be again.

And I’m wearing them today.

Why?

I don’t know. Something about the old familiarity of them was calling to me. I noticed today that the patch on the hole on the crotch has developed it’s own hole. Air conditioning.

A family of 4 could crawl through the hole in the knee and have a picnic on my thigh.

And I won’t even mention that my combat boots look like they’ve been to a war zone.

It’s spring. It’s time to make a change.

I think it might be Muchness Hunting Season.

I’m on a really tight budget these days.

Muchness might mean DIY and Creative problem solving.

What is must mean is reconnecting and being present.

And sequins. Color. Smiles and optimism.

Maybe I’ll start by giving these damn jeans a Muchy Makeover. After all, they do still make my tush look nice….