Why are you such a Judgy McJudger?

When I speak publicly or lead workshops one of the things I get asked about often is how I walk out the door, wearing my muchy Muchness, and don’t care what people think. The question itself is sorta a backwards compliment, but I’m not picky. I’ll take compliments in any form. :-)

Now, I have an answer to this…. or the parts of ideas and thoughts that have pieced themselves together into an answer, and I’ve become so subconsciously aware of when people are thinking this, that I sometimes bring up the topic on my own in talks.

It basically boils down to this:

When I proactively make a choice to forget to judge others, somehow that makes me forget that they may be judging me.

It doesn’t happen automatically- there are certainly times where I stand in my closet and think “God- if I wear that, what are “they” gonna think?” but then I remind myself that just because “they” may wear beautifully tailored clothing, with perfectly coiffed hair from the salon and impeccably polished fingernails, doesn’t mean “they” are a judgmental bitch. Frankly, if I assume “they” are, than what does that make me? I’ll tell ya what…. a judgmental bitch.

I get that this is not so simple. I get that there are a lot more layers to this “who am I and how do I fit in with the world and people around me” conundrum, but frankly, I don’t have time to be doing that kind of math and emotional spelunking.  Besides, I indulged those thoughts for years. I was left wearing gray and feeling invisible and like crap. But hey, at least no-one on the outside of my head was judging me, right? 

So what do I do? I look around my closet, pull out something that makes me smile, is clean, weather appropriate and meets the general, broad guidelines of “appropriate” and walk out the door, reminding myself that everyone is human and sparkles make me happy. Anyone who wants to judge me behind my back just needs a little Muchness in their lives! (and PS- while you’re back there, don’t forget to kiss my muchy ass! :-) )

So last week I went to an incredible event- the Mom Grows A Business Conference in White Plains NY. This is me on that day.

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I was a sponsor of the event, so I had a table full of Muchness Stuff, but what I didn’t expect was to be called on stage to share The Muchness Movement and my story.

But I was, and so I did.

And in that moment- that moment where I felt pretty effing awesome about being confident and experienced enough to grab a mic and hop on stage unprepared in front of 300+ entrepreneurial woman and keep my cool, I was being judged.

Probably by many, many people.

But only one decided to share it on her blog. (That I know of.)

And while I certainly could have assumed that I was being judged, assuming it and reading it in black and white are two entirely different things.

As I read her post, I got a little hot under the collar, ya know? I tried not to get all tense, or start second guessing my decision to wear something I KNEW would set me apart from the…. other women at the event.

OK- now before I go any further I want to point out a few things:

1-  Despite what she wrote, I was not wearing vertical AND horizontal stripes. Just horizontal…. with a zebra striped Muchness Band. So sue me.

2- The idea of being styled by a carefree, excited-about-life two year old doesn’t really bother me that much. Better that than the personal shopper at, um…. White House Black Market. (hello….color?)

3- I didn’t have a miscarriage at 23 weeks. In-utero losses past 20 weeks are considered stillbirth. And I was 23.5 weeks. It’s a small difference but important to me.

I wear what I wear because I believe what I write, what I speak, and what I feel. I wear what I wear because once people are done judging me from afar, they may just get close enough to know why. Or I may get lucky enough to get on stage and share it with them. And sharing my Why is why I am here. Because my why seems to open people’s hearts. Because it helps people lower their own barriers, drop the walls and judgements they have built around them that stop them from… well, from doing so, so much in their own lives, with their own truths, hearts and talents.

So…. yeah. In the end, it was a pretty complimentary post- Wanna  see what lesson this woman learned about her own Muchness? Go. :)

PS- If pre-Muchness Tova saw me now, she would totally judge me. But frankly, she was kinda a judgmental bitch.

Why I’m wearing my maternity clothes again…

Yesterday I went into manhattan to meet, for the first time, an online friend who was instrumental in my Muchness journey. If you watched my speech last week, I mentioned her- the woman who let me know she had an event that she didn’t want to go to so she bought herself a sparkly headband and it made it just a little bit better. That was the day I thought to myself “Oh! You mean this sparkle thing works on other people also?” And my brain started whirling with the possibilities.

I was picking my outfit yesterday morning and felt drawn back to those early Muchness making days, and pulled this sequins shirt from my maternity clothes bin.

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It’s actually a plus size tank top from target that, when I first saw it in the store, I was intimidated by its loudness and thought it was beyond tacky.  (Of course, I never claimed not to appreciate a good dose of tacky with my muchness … on occasion.  And yes- I realize my perspective on “tacky” is highly subjective…) Anyway, it made me smile, So I bought it. To test my boundaries and push my comfort zones. Because that was the kinda mood I was in.  I was about 6 months pregnant with liat the first time I wore it. I felt a bit shy and loud but I wore it anyway. I stepped into the elevator in my dreary office building and a bunch of dreary office workers looked up at the sparkling pregnant disco queen (this was technically pre-Muchness)  that had just stepped on the elevator. One dude made a joke about how I should spin in circles and turn the elevator into a mini disco party and we all laughed and by the time the elevator hit the ground floor, the dreariness had lifted.
That was when I first understood  how it felt to know you had brightened someone’s day just by showing up in their world. When I knew that doing that could immeasurably brighten your own day.

I hope you all have an opportunity to brighten someone’s day just by showing up in it.

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This is me and my beautiful friend Dana yesterday in front of Freedom Tower in downtown manhattan.

What an amazing, gratitude filled day.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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….

 

What can potty training teach you about your Muchness?

When’s the last time you intentionally did something you are scared of? There was a long time in my life where I couldn’t answer that question. I really couldn’t remember.
I may have found myself in circumstances that frightened me, but intentionally stepping into them? No Thank You. Life has enough stressors and surprises.

Recently I’ve been potty training my 2.5 year old. She took to it really easily- told me when she had to pee and even sometimes went herself.

But, like many kids, when it comes time for, ya know, #2, she freaks the eff out. Tells me she needs a pull-up, cries and screams of sheer terror that I can truly see in her face.

For a little while I indulged her, put her in the pull-up so she could go to her spot and do her business and then come to me for changing but after a week or so I decided enough was enough.

I made her go on the toilet. She was terrified. I soothed her. I held her hands. I told her she was strong and awesome and a big girl. I told her I’d be proud. I sang her a song. I read her a book. I tried to calm her nerves and the whole time I was thinking to myself “Dude- I didn’t know pooping on the potty could be so scary! How many times is she gonna have to do this before she loses the fear? …and how can I write about this aha moment on my blog without my kid hating me forever?”

And then, this weekend, I spoke live, in front of an audience , and I was – no pun intended – shitting bricks. I knew I wanted to do it, I’d been envisioning it for months- I wanted to face the fear, but every molecule of tension was bubbling up inside me. I tried some half-assed meditation looking thing I read about online, I ate an assortment of nuts and cravings before to keep my blood sugar balanced so I didn’t end up in “psycho-tova-needs-to-take-a-breath-and-oh-yeah-your-hands-are-super-shaky” mode, and I tried to focus on how proud of myself I’d be when I finished.

And then, I spoke. And, for the most part, it came easy. I was more nervous before and after the speech than I was in the middle of it -even when I lost my train of thought and decided to say “OMG- I just forgot what I was gonna say” to buy me some time to remember.

And I was proud of myself. I wanted to go around and give everyone hi-fives afterwards and say “I did it! I gave my speech!” like Liat does when she so proudly tells her dad that she has pooped on the potty (only different.)

Ultimately, it’s a lot easier to ask for a pull-up and go hide in a corner than face your fears. But in doing that you also miss out on the rewards (with potty training, there are many, for everyone involved.) Eventually, Liat will become accustomed to doing her business by herself. And eventually, I will become accustomed to getting up on stage and speaking. Because in the end, it’s what I want to do, and facing the fear just makes it that much more rewarding.

In what area of your life have you been allowing yourself to slip into a pull-up and hide in the corner even though you know you are capable of “being a big girl” and pushing yourself to accomplish more? Eventually those things that bring terror today can just be one of those things you do without giving it much thought at all. (Except in public restrooms. I give that a lot of thought. We all have our boundaries.)

Relaxing after my speech. So proud of my myself…

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Wanna see my speech? I opened the day, speaking to a room full of brides about maintaining their Muchness during stress of the wedding planning process.

note: The beginning was cut off. I thanked them for coming to my special day, 😉 and then told them where the term Muchness originated from…

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By_72vXLwXE” ratio=”4:3″]

I have the key to happiness. I’ve had it all along.

Last week my younger brother got up in front of 200 or so people and made a speech at his newborn sons Bris. He talked about a bunch of things I won’t bore you with. The thing that knocked me on the forehead and said “Hello!” is what I’ve sat down to share with you today.

My brother is actually my half brother. My mom married my stepdad when I was 5 years old and together they had 3 kids. 2 younger brothers with a sister sandwiched in the middle. This was the older younger brother. The younger younger brother’s baby boys Bris was on sunday. 😀

My stepfather died when I was 14. His kids were 2, 5 and 7. Both of my new nephews were named for their grandfather, my stepfather. Baby boys receive their names at their bris and hearing them call their sons by their father’s name was really beautiful.

In my brother’s speech he spoke about a magnet my mom, who’d been widowed at 35 with us 5 kids, has had on the refrigerator for just about as long as I can remember.

It reads:

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“Most people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

This is a sentiment which, when life is in the middle of shitting on you, can make you wanna take a magnet and hurl it out a window.

But somehow, after years of reading that line over and over and over again, every time we reached for a soda or an apple or a roasted chicken leg, it seems to now truly define a large part of what believe about ourselves as adults.

The Muchness was born from my decision to make up my mind to be happier. All the self-help gurus and happiness coaches in the world always basically come back to this core belief.

“Most people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Sure, they each provide different tools to get you there: affirmations, meditation, gratitude, kindness towards others, goal setting etc. etc. etc. My tool? Sparkle. To each his own. And yes, it’s possible that other stuff kinda works too….

But ultimately, it boils down to this: It’s not about waiting to be happy, it’s about making up your mind to be.

Thank You mom for the lesson. I want to teach it to my kids, every time they reach into the fridge for a chocolate pudding, because I see now how well it’s served us. So I made a muchy magnet and because I love to share what makes me feel muchy. you can get one too.

Click for it. 

How Muchtastic is that?

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Study shows: Muchy shoes = Muchy You!

So often when I wear my Muchy shoes like the ones above, I get compliments from women who then say “I love them…I wish I could wear shoes like that… Mine are just boring.”

Well, according to this study, you can judge 90% of a strangers personal characteristics just by looking at their shoes.  And based on that article,  what they’re actually saying is “I wish I was more outgoing and could form relationships more easily.”  Interesting….

My favorite line in the article
Practical and functional shoes generally belong to agreeable people, ankle boots fit with more aggressive personalities and uncomfortable looking shoes were worn by calm personalities.”

 So, my question: What if the shoes look uncomfortable but are actually quite practical &  functional, and on top of that, happen to be ankle boots?

I present, Exhibit A:

Jeffrey Campbell Brand = Usually Surprisingly comfortable.
Black color + Closed toe= practical + functional = agreeable personality (We both agree these shoes kick ass!)
Ankle Boot = Aggressive personality (…If you don’t agree, I’ll kick your ass!)
Uncomfortable looking = Calm personality (…But I’ll do it while really relaxed)

So, because I have zero qualifications to tell you what to do, (besides a LOOOOVE of statement making shoes) I’m gonna tell you what to do…

Think about the person you wish you saw when you looked in the mirror- the person you KNOW you could be, the person you WANT to be. I’m gonna guess that it’s probably you just happier, more confident, more balanced and basically more in touch with your Muchness. Then think about the shoes that person would wear. Chances are they look just like the shoes you are drawn to and admire but don’t think you could actually wear yourself.
OK. Now,

BUY THOSE SHOES.

But wait, I’m not done. I’ll bet you thought I was done. But I’m not. Because next comes the tricky part… ready? OK. Listen carefully….

WEAR. THOSE. SHOES.

I know! Scandalous!

Take that tiny leap outside your comfort zone and literally walk in someone else’s shoes. Whose? Yours. Just, ya know, Muchified.

And, for what it’s worth, based on my own experience, I really agree with this article. When I was at a place of complete Muchlessness, my shoes showed it.

I present, My Before-The-Muchness Black Boots- Exhibit B:

I feel like they were boots without a backbone and absolutely no soul (or sole, as the case may be.)

What do you think? Do your shoes accurately reflect your personality? And if so, how would you change that? I’d love to hear— and if your shoes ARE Muchy, post a pic on FB and share it as a #MuchnessMoment! 😀

PS- Wanna see some super Muchtastic shoes? Go Here. Nasty Gal totally kicks ass. :)

PPS- Yes- that link is an affiliate link and if you buy anything from that super fantastic site I might make a few cents, but I am only sharing the site because I loooove their shoes (and lots of their clothes) and have tons of stuff from them… and not all of their shoes are super crazy. except these:

Totally super crazy. I agree.

PPPS- yes- that picture is another affiliate link. ha! 😉

I’m already going through Muchy Shoe withdrawal syndrome

Today was my LAST DAY of work!!! That’s it! I’m done! Crayyyyyzeeee!!! I thought it would be next week but it just made more sense to do it today. As soon as it was done, A wave of joy and fear and disbelief washed over me. It felt like the day I graduated college, knowing the checks from Dad were gonna stop coming every month but I didn’t have a job yet. The panic thrill of “What’s next” and the possibility of what can happen when you open yourself up to opportunity —- well, it was really, um…. muchy.

So, I left my office totally excited. I took a #MuchnessMoment pic of the view as I walked out of the building so i could remember the thrill I was feeling at that exact minute.

Then, I walked one block.

Oy.

So, the majority of my Muchy shoes were opportunistic purchases. Meaning (Since I’m not sure I used that term properly) I pass the Muchiest shoe store every single day on my way from the office to the bus. And I fall in love there a lot. And there it was. Those Jeffrey Campbell shoes, taunting me with their studs and crazy heels and… OMG. I’m pretty sure they don’t make Muchy shoes like those at the shoe store of my future- Payless.  It was a sad moment for me. So i recorded it. For posterity. You can hear the sadness in my voice. :-

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5wFrpQTKXY&feature=plcp “]