Ya know how some moms can whip up a gourmet meal in 20 minutes with whatever crap they have lying around the house? I’m not that mom. But when you call me at the last minute and need someone to decorate a teachers door by the next morning using whatever crap I have lying around the house, I got that. Special thanks to Instagram #watercolor and #caligraphy #artists for sharing doodles of videos which inspired this 90 minute masterpiece.

Conversation while driving kiddos to school: Big one: mom, you know money is just paper, you can’t rely on it for anything. And then you die and you can’t do anything with it anyway. Mom: that’s why you have a will. To tell people what to do with your money. Lil one: what if you’re poor and have no money? Mom: you still have a will in case you have kids so you can say who should take care of them if they’re not old enough to take care of themselves. Lil one: like if you have a kid when you’re 90? Big one: you can only have a kid till you’re 50. Lil one: so mommy has 10 more years to have another baby. Big one: but mommys not gonna have another baby because she’s not praying to god to give her one and also she’s happy with the kids she already has. Mom: you learned you have babies when you pray to god to give you one? Big one: yeah, that’s how my teacher (who recently gave birth) got one. She prayed for it. Mom: ya know there’s more to it than praying, right? There’s like, science and stuff…. I’ll get you a book. …. On its surface, I get this— I do send them to a religious school…. but I can’t help but think of the whole “my baby would’ve lived if I’d just prayed harder” nonsense that permeates the babyloss communities. The complicated pregnancies that resulted in healthy survivors and the subtle but unintended arrogance of mothers crediting their prayers for their luck, directly shaming those with worse luck who believed in prayer with just as much blind faith but still lost. #postlosslife – amazing how many things hearken back to the lessons learned. Any book suggestions or should I just do what my mom did and leave a copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in plain site at all times? I think I turned out relatively healthy on that education.

Surprised one of my closest, oldest friends by showing up at his birthday party in NYC when he thought I was in San Diego. Love how we look like an awesome lesbian couple in this pic. 🀣🀣🀣🀣also loved how the last 8 months of boot camp had me dancing with my core muscles engaged in a way I’ve never experienced. Even drunkish I didn’t lose my balance… that’s hot. πŸ˜πŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸ’ƒπŸΌ πŸ’ͺ🏼

Two hour delay at the airport… scrolling through pics on my phone to kill some time and stumbled upon these pics I took a few months ago…. a few years ago I wrote a blog post about my grandmother and her vast collection of mini ceramic shoes. She loved her tchotchkes but she was incredibly classy and her shoe collection always felt a little quirky next to all her expensive crystal and silver. I, of course, loved them, and when she passed away a year and a half ago, while other family members decided who got what from the silver and crystal, I just requested her quirky collection of shoes. And I got them… most of them anyhow. Interestingly, these three miniatures matched so well to actual shoes I already owned. There were others that match too, but these are the only pics I have in my phone. I bought some shadow boxes last year to customize and display the shoes, but never finished that project. I’m gonna pick it up and finish it after Passover and share it with you. In addition to a bunch of sparkly collectible shoes from the MET, I have an entire display filled with just shit-kicking mini cowboy boots. I don’t think my grandmother ever put on a pair of cowboy boots in her life…. unless Chanel happened to make a version of a cowboy boot at some point in the 70s…. and even then…

Putting away suitcases above high closet I stumbled upon a tightly folded piece of paper in the back corner of the shelf. Unfolded it to find this “check to myself” belonging to the previous tenants of this house. 100 miiiiilllion dollars. They didn’t date the check (I would’ve- the universe needs clear instructions!!! details!!! deadlines!!!!) but I put it on my fridge… deciding if it actually means anything in my life (thinking not) but amused by it nonetheless…

Trying to instill in my kids the idea of looking on the bright side. Today I had a challenging day… left late to get the girls at dismissal and had to stop for gas. Overpriced station, banged my door on a pole getting out, dropped my wallet, broken display made it impossible to read and then- to top it off, I stepped in the hugest, stickiest, nastiest piece of gum ever. It stretched for 10 feet before I rubbed it off my shoe but it was still super sticky. Went to wipe it in a dirt patch and found there, looking up at me, this dude, heads up. Decided to let him shift my perspective and see the bright side in my day, then miraculously got to school on time for pickup. Told the girls the story and they loved it. Gonna make the penny into a magnet to keep as a reminder in the fridge to look on the bright side, even when life doesn’t seem to be going your way.

Bought my kid a book on @thriftbooks but the previous owner had ripped a hole through the first 45 pages. They’re replacing the book with a readable copy but I decided to repurpose the ripped one. All it took was a ruler, exacto knife, wood glue and a little patience. Pretty awesome lil secret storage box she’s got now! #book #bookstagram #secret #diy #repurposed #recycle #seriesofunfortunateevents #readingisfundamental #exacto

My (Facebook) name is Tova Muchness Gold and I’m an addict…

I read an article a bit ago about how the physical dopamine rush we get from social media mimics the rush people get from drugs.  It hit a little too close to home for me. That incessant need to grab my phone in any 15 second lull in my day was (is) creating so many negative side effects in my life, I get nervous when I sit down and really think about it. 

So I don’t sit down and think about it. Instead, I grab my phone and distract myself from my thoughts until the thoughts pass, washed away by the brainless thumbing of my algorithmed Facebook feed, perfectly named to reflect the way it fills my need to feed my dopamine-induced social media addiction. 

Recently, in a business building FB group of which I’m a member, the leader asked if any of us had questions we’d like them to answer on an upcoming episode of their weekly show. The group is for owners of product based businesses and is co-run by a seasoned, successful veteran of a product based business and her 20 year old protege who is building a remarkably successful product based business under her mentorship at the speed of light. 

I posed a question to the mentor- how did she build her multi-million dollar business while balancing young kids, marriage and all the responsibilities of adulthood. When I was 20 and building my first business, I was able to eat, breathe, sleep my business without worry or concern for other tiny humans or another adult… some days I forgot to even think about food and that was ok for me…  but as a married mom the general responsibilities of life limit my time and focus and makes everything more stressful and tasks take a million times longer than they would’ve in my “past life.” 

Almost as soon as I hit “post” on my question, I knew the question was, at least in part, a lie. 

I was burying my head in the sand to the reality I didn’t want to face. Yes, my family distracts me from my business tasks. Yes, everything takes longer than I know it could or should. But social media distracts me from my family. (That sentence makes me want to vomit) and shit takes longer because feeding my social media addiction makes it take longer. 

And I won’t lie – I do enjoy crafting a cleverly worded Facebook post and watching the “likes” pile in as I read and reread my perfectly cadenced selection of words, but it also kinda makes me hate myself. 

Not like, hate- hate. But the kinda hate you feel  when you binge on leftover Mac n cheese straight from the pot rather than put it away for the kids to eat later. It’s the kind of hate when you knowingly neglect what’s hard and important and instead do what’s easy and pointless. 

The kind of hate when you know you’re not reaching for your potential. When your minimizing your capabilities. When you’re accepting less from yourself than you know you should be. When you set a bad example to little impressionable eyes. When you throw yourself into a loop of negative self-talk. 

In high school my best friend was a real Negative Nancy. She would see everything around her- including herself- through a really negative lense and I think I was attracted to her because her negativity offered me space to apply my natural positivity. She’d complain about something and I’d offer a perspective shift. I’d feel good about myself and she’d feel less bad about herself. She’d start a fight about some superficial nonsense and I’d laugh at her decision to turn some mole hill into a mountain. I remember once she got soooo mad at me because she’d gotten mad at me and I didn’t remember what she’d gotten mad about, and I didn’t get mad back, nor remember what she was even mad about the following day. God that made her mad. 

Anyway, I remember a conversation we had where she asked me how it was I liked myself so much. Not -I don’t like to think- in an ego way, but just in a happy and comfortable in my own skin kind of way. I remember it because it had never occurred to me in that way before. That people could actually just not like themselves. I replied that I have to spend 24/7 with myself… I really better make sure I like the person I’m hanging out with or hanging out with myself would be a real drag. 

“But how do you DO that?” She asked

I said I look at people who have qualities I admire or think about the person I WANT to be and then do the stuff that that person would do. 

I remember thinking… “yup- that’s pretty much it.” She asked if that was hard and yeah, sometimes it is, and sometimes you fall short but you just keep coming back to that. Do the things that the person you want to be would do. 

And I think I’ve basically run most of my life that way. And it’s worked pretty well. 

But social media has changed that fact about me. Because when I first got into social media I was doing the things that the person I wanted to be would be doing. I was helping women find light after loss. I was healing from my own loss through the help and support of others. I was, I felt, offering a perspective shift and dose of positivity for people who felt trapped in some kind of darkness. And it filled that need in me, (similar to that which my old high school friend filled, I suppose) and I felt SO on purpose. 

But at some point, it stopped working for me.  But I stayed on it. After all, who are we in 2017 if not our social media presence? I mean, without Facebook, do I really even exist? Do my thoughts have less value if they only sit in my brain for me to ponder rather then get phrased in a cleverly cadenced assortment of words meant not to offer me self-reflection or personal insight but to entertain others or make them think I’m so naturally “quippy” and that all my random thoughts are so cleverly phrased and wrapped up in a sparkly bow? 

When did we start thinking in social media language? When did we start experiencing our “now” for only as long as it takes us to sum up that moment in two creatively crafted sentences designed to express our “now”, “now” being an obsolete moment in history by the time we press the “post” button?

Social media was a tool through which I Found My Muchness, starting way back in 2011, when grief and darkness were overshadowing me in an indescribable way. Social media was my healing salve. Relationships I built online were literally the foundation upon which I stood when I felt unable to stand on my own, the glue which held together so many of my broken pieces. 

But now I’m feeling broken in different ways. My inability to concentrate, my lack of time management, my general low-level constantly distracted mind… I am not the person that the person I want to be would accept for themselves. 

I need to Find My Muchness again. This time, in a reality free from the social media mental chaos. 

As I spend less time there I’m hoping to write more here. This is the first Real thing I’ve written in quite some time. The first thing written with my writing language, not my Facebook language.  I’ve missed it. 

But I’m gonna go back to thinking about who I wanna be and remember how to make choices that she’d make, so I can sit in the silence of my thoughts and enjoy my own company.