Where your Muchness may be hiding…

Today I went to go visit a friend who works at a very well-known fashion company that shall remain nameless. (I’m not sure why it shall remain nameless, but I feel like it should. So it will. Wow. Rule making is fun.)  Said company was recently sold to another well known company that shall also remain nameless, so now the whole current business is being shut down, and all bazzilion employees of the company are moving on to the next groovy steps in their lives.

So when I went there to visit him, the place was really quite deserted. They’re clearing stuff out, packing it up, putting it away…

For me, despite the fact that everything is shutting down, it kinda felt like an exciting new beginning of some sort…. but thats just me and it’s not like I get a paycheck from that place so I probably should keep my cheerfully distorted opinions to myself, because I’m sure a lot of people there are pretty distressed.

But that, of course, is not what this post is about.

It is about My Muchness Moment.

So one of the things this company makes is bags. And wallets and other small and large accessories that I’d be willing to bet my pinky at least a few readers among us own.

Now, my friend took me into a little room in the back of this ginormous office. He opened the door and my heart leapt from my chest. Leapt. And then began thumping, like, in a way it hasn’t in years.

So, now’s the part of my post where I ask you to commit.  Because I’m gonna take you on one of my random story journeys. Either you’re with me, or you are free to jump ship now and stop reading. I promise I won’t take it personally. But you’ll miss what might be a good story. (I make no promises.)

Still here?

Ok, let’s go. 

So, in 1999 I graduated college. I started my first business while still in school. I made fancy custom vinyl and pleather pants for people. (For the uninitiated, pleather was the word for “Plastic Leather.” It is what is now called “Vegan Leather.” Some marketing genius realized if she (Stella McCartney) stopped using a word that associated it with plastic, and instead renamed it something that made people associate it with leather, they could basically charge leather prices, rather than plastic prices. And so “Vegan Leather” was born. …and that is your MuchnessFact of the day.)

So, I was making pants.  I made pants for the guy in this video who played bass guitar for Blondie. But I was too shy to do a proper fitting (because I didn’t wanna get all up in his biznis -ya know what I mean?) so I decided if I couldn’t even do a fitting I probably should not be making pants. So I started making bags. Bags = no fittings.

I loved designing bags. I loved the process of getting them made. I loved the process of branding and marketing them. I HATED the process of selling them. Actually, that’s not true. I didn’t start off hating it, but I grew to hate it. For many reasons, which I will not tangent of into in this post.  (You’re welcome.) I’ll save that for another late night. (No, Thank You!)

Here’s the upshot of the deal. I was burnt out and starting to dislike much about the business that I loved because I was bogged down by all the things I struggled to do. As luck would have it (I say that thick with the residue of contempt) a large company stepped in and liked what I was creating. They offered to help me grow, help me sell and manage all the parts of the business that were easy for them and painstaking for me.

Yay! It was my big break!

Boo! Then they didn’t do it. 

After realizing the full extent to which I’d been screwed, I shut that business and swore I’d never make that mistake again.

Anyway, I got a job, -Not in bags- and stopped following the bag world completely. I used to know every company and their back story and their looks and their logos— the whole shebang…. and in a moment, I decided I don’t want anything to do with bags. Blech. Poo. Not for me. Done. The year was 2005.


And there I stood, my heart thumping inside my chest in a way it hasn’t in years. Inside that room my friend brought me into today was a mini handbag making sample room. It was like, forgive me, but my wet dream from 2003 come to life. The special leather cutting table, the sewing machines, rivet machines…. I couldn’t catch my breath. There was a wall, floor to ceiling packed with perfectly organized bag hardware – sparkly ones, enameled ones, silver ones, bronze and gold ones. It was like looking directly into the sun. IMG_3011

And then, I turned and saw the mini-er room off the side of the mini room. Packed floor to ceiling with leather. metallic leather, textured leather, embossed leather, bold, vivid, brightly colored  Muchy leather.  IMG_3007 My apologies to my vegan friends who are repulsed by this vision. While I get the whole inhumane side, and even the gross side if you think too hard about it, this room made me weak in the knees. The smell of the leather, combined with the faint smell of the glues used to make these bags brought me back to the very first time I visited a handbag factory in midtown manhattan and fell in love with the whole idea of what a handbag could be- how it could be constructed, built, used, adored, and ultimately, if designed well, become almost one with it’s owner.

I got screwed over in the handbag business and I forgot about what I loved about it.

Today, that room, it totally reminded me.

I still have many of the bags from my biz. They sit in storage in my basement. They carry with them the energy of pride and confidence in my ability to follow my dreams and create what I still believe were fantastic products and build a real business around it. And they carry with them the energy of anger, resentment, and disappointment in myself and feelings of failure and regret.

I’m not really sure what that moment in that sample room meant. My logic brain tells me I do NOT want to start making bags again…. but oh… my Muchness brain is screaming “do a handbag 30 day challenge and see how you feel after inviting that Muchness into your life for 30 days!” but uch. I don’t want to. but I do. but I don’t.

I thought my passion for handbags was a thing of the past. In many ways it is. But that #MuchnessMoment told me there is much more to it than that. And I might wanna explore with that is.

And here, dear reader, is where I boil it down to the lesson I think I might be learning:

Those things we pour our souls into simply out of joy and love and passion, those things are a huge part of our Muchness.

We may lose sight of those passions specifically because they have the power to make us feel like a failure. Maybe we weren’t the best at it, we didn’t succeed. We maybe, in fact, failed, or were told that we’re not good enough and believed it.  None of that actually changes the fact that it’s still now and will always be a part of our Muchness. 


So I suppose, if the point is to Find Your Muchness, you might have to be willing to look under some pretty big emotional boulders in order to unearth it.

Does this resonate with you? Is there something you used to feel passionate about but now have dismissed because for some reason it creates a knot in your stomach so you just avoid it completely? I really do wanna know.

Push yourself towards your most outer skin…

Push yourself towards your most outer skin… Do you even know what that means? I don’t, yet I just wrote to someone that that is a 2014 goal I set for myself.

I just couldn’t come up with other words to describe it.

Since most of us only know each other online, let me fill you in on a little secret. I talk with my hands. I know. A New Yorker who talks with their hands. What’re the chances? But truthfully, I REALLY talk with my hands. As a kid this often meant getting excited while speaking and accidentally knocking something out of the hands of the stranger standing within arms reach. (Who am I kidding, this still happens as an adult.)

And when I was working as an art director in the fashion industry, I’d often give direction by illustrating the feeling I wanted a product to have by moving my hands, arms, shoulders and whole upper body (Sometimes legs too— if I really wanted it to kick butt) in a way that spoke the words my mouth couldn’t find…. though it tried….. (My best artists and assistants understood what I meant when I sometimes just used sounds— “that’s too arggg,” I’d say while making some pycho looking motion with my hands. “I get it” she’d say and boom- she’d get it. God, I miss having assistants…)  I’ve also been accused of speaking to people like they are 4 years old, repeating the same thing 3 times just using different words to say it. That’s just the way I process…. especially when I’m on the phone and the other person can’t see my less than gracious but very expressive body motions.

I am totally off track here. 

As I mentioned, I didn’t set New Years resolutions. They just feel like a recipe for disaster. You create a platform of routine and then the minute you slip up, you fall right on down that slippery slope. It’s been the same way since second grade when I made a resolution to always do my homework and have a sharpened pencil in my backpack. As my most frightening teacher of all time, Morah Golumbeck can attest to- I didn’t, in fact, follow through on that resolution.

But, as the second week of 2014 rolls in I’ve been thinking about day-to-day choices I need to make in order to get where I want to go and feel the way I want to feel…. and frankly, I want to get to some crazy-ass places and feel like a bad-ass Muchness machine.

Those are big wants.

And they are not going to happen if I allow the parts of me that are shy, insecure or afraid to fold me up into a protective shell and let myself play small. I need to hold my arms back like a clichéd woman in a commercial for some pharmaceutical drug with horrible side effects, and instead of just taking in the beauty of nature that surrounds me in a field of daisies, I need to push my own light out from my core towards my outer most skin and beyond.

This entire post was written with me stopping every few words to hold my hands in front of me and then extend them, trying to find the words to really describe what I’m trying to convey. Is it working?

So this year, my wish for youand for myself is that you are able to reach in to your core and find all the muchy goodness that resides there, and then make choices that help you pull that towards your outermost skin so other’s can see it too.

It’s exactly that which you are put on this planet to share.

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Isn’t she lovely?

Pushing yourself means not hiding from what you really want, so lets start here. How are YOU gonna push yourself to your outermost skin this year and pull your Muchness to the surface? Inquiring minds wanna know!


Muchlessness stroll down memory lane.


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I was looking through old files to put together on my new portfolio site tovagold.com (coming soon!) and I found this picture I didn’t know existed of me pregnant with the twins at work. This must’ve been shortly before they died. I see so much rumbling below the surface when I look into this woman’s eyes… finding this today is ironic, considering the post I wrote yesterday. I’m wearing three shades of muddy green and nasty gray sneakers, and something is seriously wrong with my hairstyle. Total Muchlessness.  I’m holding a bag full of binder clips. I used those to anchor clothing behind my models back when I was taking pictures to be used on the packaging for the apparel I had designed. The clips made the garments hang nicer, so I would have to spend less time photoshopping. This was the test shot to check the lighting. (Obviously not great lighting.) I remember this day. I was committed to getting those pictures. I cared. I remember that I sat on the floor to get the shot. My tummy was so heavy I asked the model for a hand getting up. And then I got down again. And up again, swinging around each leg, one at a time and pushing myself off the floor with my hands. I wasn’t more that 22 weeks along. How did no-one see what was about to happen?

I used to kick ass

I have a confession.

Once upon a time, before all “this”-

…back in the days that felt most muchless to me, when I’d stopped thinking or caring about myself, when I’d given up on the entrepreneurial dreams I’d held since childhood, when I rode the bus exhausted to work day in and day out, wondering what had happened to the excited and colorful girl I’d used to be. …back in the days when I felt so blessed to have an amazing husband and to be a new mom of my first beautiful healthy daughter, and didn’t really believe I had a “right” to ask for more.
…back in those days when I wore my attitude on my sleeve, when cynicism and snarkiness were defenses I wore to keep my insecurities at bay….
…back in those days, I was also pretty fierce.

I was working as the art director at a clothing and accessory company. I’d built the business basically with the owner, starting as the only design or production employee in a company of 3 people, (myself and the boss included.)

I was on the ball.

I made shit happen.

I had an idea and I could execute it, knowing all the answers before the questions were even asked.

I created stuff and stored mountains of detailed information neatly and precisely in my head. My boss could wake me from a coma-like sleep at 3am, ask me about the velour pajama pants that were made 3 months ago by such and such factory in china and I could spit the details out to him as though they were the names of my children.

Together with my former boss, who himself was a very creative man, I built that design and production room into a team of amazing creative people. I taught my team members how to do things, and how to do things smarter and quicker than anyone else could teach them. I taught them how to think about products more intelligently. I taught them how to come to work with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic because we were all working towards a common goal, and that was to make stuff that we could be proud of. And I loved it, and was really, really good at it.

And then, everything changed. My babies died, and with them, every ounce of strength in my body. There is simply no way to hold yourself up when the bones in your body can’t even stop you from melting into a puddle on the floor.

8 weeks after they died my boss pulled me aside and told me I was carrying a lot of anger. I needed to let it go and get back to work. He said my loss was a result of doing something that pissed God off, but now we were “square” again and so I could get back to business.

I stared at him, willing myself not to cry, yet somehow afraid I’d burst into laughter.

I then dismissed the entire conversation as something that had absolutely no significance to my life whatsoever. He was a man. A man who had no idea what he was talking about and saw the world in an entirely different way than I did.

Three years later I finally left that job. It was hard. I felt like I’d  built what was now something like a $250,000,000 company. I’d imagined being there for a long, long time. It was like family (dysfunction and all) I made a great salary. I worked 27 hours a week. I had great insurance.

But I couldn’t stay.

I’d changed and I needed to honor the person I was becoming.

I remember a conversation I had with my boss shortly before I pulled the trigger. He told me I’d gotten soft. He said I used to be so incredible. That I was worth the salary of two people (which some may suggest I was earning) because even at part time (I left at 3:15PM and didn’t work fridays) I was able to accomplish more than two other people would be able to accomplish working full time. He said I owned that town (The NYC Garment District, an industry I grew up in) He said they just don’t make them like me anymore.

But I wasn’t incredible anymore. For years I’d been less than incredible. I’d been lazy, distracted and unreliable.

And part of me knew he was right. Another part of me, the part connected to my face, told him to go screw himself. (We had that kind of relationship. It was like a marriage. Except I got no alimony)

The truth is I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t deal with the pace, the details. I couldn’t care less about a pair of velour pants that were being made in China and sold to the lowest bidder when my babies were dead and staying optimistic and sharing my happy shoes on social media and making other sad women happy was the only way I could get through the day.

It’s been almost 4.5 years since they died. I miss the part of me that kicked ass like that. The me that was focussed and detailed. The one that knew the answers and made quick, smart, confident decisions. The one that could look at a to-do list of 25 things and know that I could cross them all off by 3:15 and remember exactly what I had accomplished that day.

Now I feel lucky if I get 3 things done and swiped off my list…. and that’s often only if I can even find my effing list.

Even at my most Muchless I suppose there was some level of Muchness in me. Muchness of a different kind.

I miss my bad-assness. I want it back- just a hell of a lot muchier. I think it’s time for the best of all of the “me’s” to hit the ground running and do what I was put here to do.


What parts of you do you miss? The good parts that were hiding in the background of the bad parts, or maybe even the bad parts that were hiding in the good parts? I don’t know. Us people, we’re pretty complex, ya know?

Love your body, even if your boobs hit your belly button.

This conversation happened today between myself and two friends on my facebook wall and I knew I needed to share it here so it doesn’t disappear into the oblivion of Facebook. Every woman needs to read Dennel’s words. EVERY WOMAN. Dennel is a home healthcare worker.  I made her words into a graphic. Please share it. On your wall, with your friends, with your friends friends…

Christina: College was when i was my muchiest!

Tova Muchness Gold:  Me too!! I talk about that in my talks at empowerment events.

Christina:  i feel like marriage and kids are muchness thieves. You can be selfish when you are single. It’s really, really hard to feel hot when your daily routine involves wiping someone else’s butt.

Tova Muchness Gold: Do it in heels Christina. And ask Dennel about that. She does that for strangers. In shiny pants. Anything is possible!!

Dennel Link-Pickering: Totally I do. The other day I caught vomit in my hand. Not my vomit. While wearing sequins. All in a days work.  the truth is, Christina, when you’re wiping someone’s butt, it’s all the more important to feel pretty. Gets you though it. If you have a bridesmaid dress hanging in the closet, wear it on your next day at home while you clean the house, do the laundry, take care of Chase. You’ll soon start humming cinderella tunes and twirling. Guarantee it. 

Christina: that’s awesome. i did buy a lot of new clothes over the holidays, bright colors and sequins. i need to get off more weight though.

Dennel Link-Pickering: Ha. That sounds good in theory. Not so easy to do. Truth is, try and lose wait, but love your body as it is in each stage. I would like to lose weight too. Need to start going back to the gym. But I need to feel pretty no matter what size my body. Brooke told me my jiggly belly was gross. I told her that I am proud of that jiggly belly. It grew 6 people in there. Now she asks to jiggle it and tells me she was the first one to live in there. You could be a whole lot fatter. Perk to my job is that I see all sorts of people naked and every body is beautiful. Even when your boobs sag to your waistline. Even after shoulder surgery, hip surgery, knee surgery, c sections, etc. bodies tell a story. Every body has been through something, something unique. Your body has grown two beautiful boys. Your body has comforted you through the loss of your baby, through fights with friends, relatives, lovers. Your body has given you pleasure (won’t elaborate on that one ha ha). And your body allows you to get out of bed and wipe that little guys butt. No one has a body exactly like yours. And some would love to have your body, I took care of a woman my age in a wheel chair with a degenerative, fatal disease. Her body couldn’t walk, barely talk, and has difficulty breathing. Kinda outs it into perspective. So. Long winded story, love your body exactly as it is. Show off your curves and love your boobs that haven’t made it to your belly button yet. Love it enough to try to get it in better shape, but love it for the shape it’s in too

Tova Muchness Gold:  Dennel- I love love love this so so much and I am going to make it a graphic and spread it far and wide. I’m like, crying. You’re amazing. And you too Christina!! Xoxox

Dennel Link-Pickering:  thanks, Tova! That would be awesome!


I cried in the grocery store…

Leave it to me, after weeks and weeks of not blogging to post two times in one day. This thing happened to me and I almost  posted it to my FB page, as I usually do, when I remembered one of my non-resolution resolutions, which is, to post more to my blog and share the posts on the Finding My Muchness FB page... I just feel like so many nuggets and inspiration wind up there and then disappear into the oblivion that is facebook.

Anyway, I was walking through the grocery store this morning stressing out. It is a really scary feeling being at the grocery store and feeling fear around money. I don’t like it. I was all wrapped up in my own head, my own problems, when I went to get on line to pay. I switched lanes twice because I wanted to be on the shortest line. I flipped through my phone as the elderly couple in front of me went through checkout. As they came to the end of their paltry selections, the woman removed a few tomatoes and two cans of soup from the belt. Then, she went to pay and slid her card through a few times. The pin was incorrect, the credit wasn’t accepted. The next card didn’t have any money.

Did I mention this couple looked really down on their luck? Their faces showed battlewounds of  life spent battling addictions. I’m no expert, but that was my assessment. But there they stood, just wanting to buy 11 dollars and 37 cents worth of groceries.

I turned and asked them if I could pay for their groceries. I swiped my card and they said Thank You. The woman took a scrap of paper and half-heartedly asked if I have an address so she could pay me back. I said “No- Happy New Year.” and smiled.

They took their groceries and left.

It kinda made me feel good, but mostly, it made me realize to stop focussing on my own problems for just a minute.

But then, the cashier looked at me and said “That was the nicest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” and for some reason, that just made me choke up. I just didn’t think it was so unusual— we read or hear stories all the time about people helping others out at the checkout or whatever. I assumed she’d seen variations on that in the past… So somehow, my instinctive response was to minimize it. I blurted out “I may have no job but at least I have my teeth.” which sounded way more obnoxious coming out of my mouth than I’d meant it to sound.

What I meant was “Today I’m gonna make a point to count my blessings.”

A few minutes later I ran into an acquaintance in another food shop and told her the story. She asked if I wanted her to pay for my purchases to “pay it forward”… I told her no, but if she wanted to pay for someone else’s who needed it more than me, that would be cool. 🙂

If you wanna jump on the $11.37 bandwagon and pay it forward, that would be cool too.


Happy New Year Everyone.


Christmas gratitude…

It’s been a long while since I Checked in. The longer I wait between posts the more difficult it is to post. Writers block kicks in and I feel all apologetic, but talking about that isn’t exactly riveting blog content so ill just get to it.
This year is ending with a major bang. I’ve spent the last two months writing, funding, printing and shipping my first book and preparing for my TEDxWomen talk which was an awesome event ill share more about soon. These are both major achievements and though they took a ton of my time, energy and focus, I felt on top of the world while they were in progress.
And as soon as they were done, I crashed. Just crashed. Seriously. Emails went unanswered, calls unreturned, and I vegged in front of the tv watching season finales of reality singing competitions that sucked and left me with an internal mild feeling of self-loathing at my laziness.

And now, Christmas. Although I don’t celebrate, it is a holiday that still carries with it the feelings of the end of year blessings and new beginnings.

Our family tradition is Atlantic City on Christmas. It began in 2005- the year I met Elie, we drove down for an AC Christmas date in the hotel pool. (I remember the string bikini I wore. Oh, how flat and taught my pre-30 + 3 pregnancy belly was…) and in the 7 years since have been here at least 5 times.

Getting away is always a great way to gain perspective and unwind from the day-to-day routines.

It’s here that I see my kids getting bigger, running through the ginormous hotel lobby. Here that I take stock of my year and what I’ve achieved. And here that I inevitably remember that moment in my hotel bathroom, on my honeymoon, when I realized the kind of man I married.

He’d taken a shower and used the towel that was on the rack above the toilet, within arms reach of the shower. The other towel was further away , but still close.

I hopped in the shower and while in there, Elie came in to the bathroom to brush his hair or whatever.

When I turned off the shower I reached out to grab the towel and found it right at the edge of the towel rack, waiting for me exactly where I needed it. He’d seen that it was a bit far and slid it close.

This is so not a big deal, but something about the thoughtfulness if it impacted me greatly as u wrapped myself in its plump softness. I had married someone who would be looking out for me, thinking of me and trying to make life easier for me every step of the way.

This past year hasn’t been easy. It’s been 14 months since I left my full time job to follow my passion and share this message I’ve been gifted to share.

I’ve often said I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve made a ton of mistakes. I’ve learned a whole lot and still remade the same mistakes. I’ve wasted money. I’ve lost opportunities. I’ve procrastinated. I’ve been paralyzed by fear. I’ve chickened out. And I’ve put my family in a place of financial uncertainty.
And yet, this man still supports my vision. He supports my independence. He believes in me, even despite his own fear and stress. He still slides the towel over to make it easier for me, when he can.

I didn’t plan on making this post about him. I planned to make it about being grateful, counting blessings, and sailing forth in out MUCHNESS into 2014, to kick muchy butt and take names.

…but somehow it’s about him. Because without his support, I’d be having panic attacks under a table at a job that feels like a prison cell.

He’d kill me if he read this post, which he likely won’t because as much as he believes in me, he has no interest in my blog. 🙂

What will be your driving force to kick butt in 2014? Mine will be the promise I made to myself while drying off in the shower that day on my honeymoon. To always remember to be the kind of wife that slides the towel to be in arms reach.


Muchness mind-shift: Turning a crap day into something amazing.

Back some time ago, in May of this year, I think, Elie and I packed up the kids in the car and headed to Brooklyn to see some friends. It was one of those days when everything just was not working. When the moments just feel out of sync with each other. The kids were moody, we were disorganized, running late and  the day carried with it that unease where everything that was spoken never felt like it landed anywhere.

Finally, we got our acts together just enough to get into the car, buckle in the kids and get the heck out of the house.

We hit the road and almost immediately hit traffic. Unless I am on the way to the airport, in which case traffic can cause me to hyperventilate, I’m never really that bothered by it. We kept going assuming it would let up, and as we inched slowly passed the last exit before the bridge, Elie asked me one last time if I was SURE I wanted to go ALL the way to Brooklyn fighting this traffic with the kids in the back seat, who by now were whining for snacks and potty breaks.

I insisted. I really wanted to see my friend and I really like spending a sunny day in Brooklyn.

We went through the toll, which these days costs as much as dinner for two at a crappy restaurant, and continued inching across the bridge.

I realized this traffic was probably going to get worse in Manhattan before it got better. I realized that it was entirely possible we were going to spend 3 hours in the car. I realized I should have listened to Elie.

And so, I told him we should turn around.

He was not happy.

I was not happy.

The kids were not happy.

So far, pretty good day, right?

I pulled out my phone and said I would find something for us to do in New Jersey. Because that plan would have been too easy 45 minutes and $12 ago. 

I saw that there was an arts and kids street festival in Hoboken, which is a town situated between where we were and where we live.

The last time I was in Hoboken was in college. Back then it was a party town filled with bars frat boys and sorority girls. The kind of folks that went on booze cruises and grew up to become stock brokers and dentists. At least that’s the way I categorized it. The artists I related to moved to Brooklyn and grew up to become… I have no idea what.

Turns out, Hoboken has grown up too. It’s now filled with strollers and families and arts and culture and all sorts of things that I like.

We walked through the street fair, each of us in our own little world. Elie was aggravated that I had made us go all the way into the city before coming to the conclusion that he had been right all along. I was annoyed that all he wanted me to do was admit that he had been right all along. The kids were hungry.

I decided that I was going to adjust my mind-set about the day and redirect my energy into looking for the “Why.” I concluded there was a reason we ended up here- a place we never would have ended up, if the day hadn’t started out so crappy. And if there wasn’t a reason, I was going to create one, dammit!

So I slapped a forced smile on my face, bought us all some street-roasted corn on the cob and started looking for the Why.

And there it was.

At the time I was in the middle of a speech writing course from KC Baker. She teaches women how to write & deliver the talks of their lives. I’d won a scholarship to the course and was so filled with gratitude to be in it.

The Holy grail of public speaking for many people is TED.

Ted talks are a worldwide non-profit devoted to giving people a stage to present their Ideas Worth Spreading. Giving a TED or TedX talk is a huge honor. (TedX are local events sponsored by the TED organization.)

So, right there, in the middle of the crowd were two dudes standing near a table wearing TedXHoboken T-shirts.

I was like- “Dude! That’s it! That’s why I’m here. Got it.”

I shoved all my natural shyness aside (yes- that exists) and walked up to them to ask them about the event. The invited me to attend as an audience member. I replied, “Oh- actually, I want to speak.”

I’m pretty sure that’s not how these things usually happen.

They suggested I contact the organizer of the event, but chances are pretty definitive that that was not going to happen.

I contacted her anyway. I needed to prove my Muchness Theory right- that when we look for the opportunity in every moment, we give ourselves the potential to create them. I also needed to justify the $12 I spent on a toll to go nowhere.

And I did. I proved my theory right.

When the event happened in June I was called up from the audience to share the Muchness in 60 seconds or less. And I did. And it was AMAZING.

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It is those 50 seconds (I came in under the limit!) that let me know, in no uncertain terms, that public speaking is meant to be a part of this journey for me. It rekindled a part of my Muchness that has, for so, so, so long gone underground. The last time I stood in front of a room full of people and spoke was when I played the tin-man in my seventh grade play.  I didn’t even speak at my wedding. But those 50 seconds made me realize that in some ways, the things that fuel our Muchness the most are the ones we stay farthest away from, for fear  of doing it wrong or not meeting our own, or other people’s, expectations. I didn’t even know I wanted to do any kind of public speaking. I would have said, if asked, that it was totally, totally something I had no interest in, and I believed that was the truth.

But not anymore.

I’ve spoken a number of times since then, at a B.I.G Womens Business and Personal empowerment meeting and, most recently, at a remembrance walk for babies gone too soon.

And then yesterday, I got an email that had me bouncing off the ceiling.

The organizer of the TedXHoboken talk is taking on a new project. TedXHobokenWomen.

“This may be your lucky day!” she wrote and included a formal invitation to give an actual TedX talk!! (Look! I’m even on the speakers page– next to some overwhelmingly impressive women!!)

Despite sitting still long enough to write this all-together too-long blog post, I am still bouncing off the ceiling.

I think the most important lesson I want to hold onto and share with you is this:

Wait- there’s two.

1- In every moment we make a choice to lean into the crap of our moment or look for the possibility that exists there. It’s really easier to lean into the crap. At least a lot of the time. Sometimes if feels like not leaning into the crap is almost like trying to defy the pull of gravity. Do it anyway. You can. Even just a little bit at a time.

2- You don’t have believe everything you think. I actually saw this on a bumper sticker the other day while driving and got this awesome shot while stopped at a red light:

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I totally had no intention of adding this pic to this post but look how well it fits! For years I told myself I had no interest in public speaking, and I believed me! Yuck. That was a lie that somehow grew into a false reality. Now that I realize this totally happens, my mind is racing with all the potential stuff I could be doing and loving if I wasn’t so busy lying to myself all the time.

Next up, I’m pretty sure I wanna try the trapeze.

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Finding God inside Babyloss

Last week was Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. Rosh Hashana is considered a joyous holiday, filled with family, food and the promise of new beginnings.

This Friday is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year on the Jewish Calendar.

The 10 days between these holidays are known as Ten Days of Repentance. These 10 days are the time to ask our fellow man forgiveness for our sins from the previous year so that God may grant us long life and prosperity and all that other good stuff the following year. Yom Kippur is the day we ask God to grant us a good year and long life. At the end of the holiday, God seals the book. Your fate for the year is written, can’t be changed. No more begging or pleading or asking forgiveness. Case closed. God shuts the book, puts it up a shelf and goes on a beach vacation. It’s a lot of pressure figuring out everyone’s fate for the next 365 1/4 days within a 10 day time frame.

Of course, I’m being a bit glib about it, but that’s basically the gist of it.

This will be the fourth Yom Kippur since our twins died.

The last time I went to temple was Rosh Hashana, 2009. With my tremendous belly leading the way, I pushed our toddler in her stroller as I walked to synagogue. How clearly I remember my husband asking if I wanted him to push and I said no. I was actually feeling so much better that day than I’d felt for months. The pressure in my tummy had lessened and, as I was getting ready to enter my third trimester, was hopeful that I’d finally start feeling a bit more comfortable. Plus, I added, pushing the stroller helped me balance my weight. Yup. I was finally feeling good.

We got to temple and started seeing friends and acquaintances, many of whom didn’t know I was pregnant. “Identical Twin girls!” we told them excitedly.

I felt very blessed that day, happy and optimistic about the future.

The Monday after Rosh Hashana we went for our weekly ultrasound. It was the first ultrasound since they first discovered signs of TTTS that I was feeling confident and happy. I’d been feeling so much better, certainly the ultrasound was going to reveal that our fluid levels had balanced out and our girls were thriving.

But I was wrong. I was feeling “better” because Daisy’s heart had stopped beating.

The next day we lost Sunshine.

The two days after that were spent visiting the hospital so I could be dilated and prepped for Friday, the day we would ultimately say goodbye to our daughters, without ever even seeing their precious faces. (A decision I will regret until my dying day.)

Two days later was Yom Kippur. I didn’t participate. Instead I spent the day on the couch, watching a Law & Order SVU Marathon, eating Fruity Pebbles, drinking wine to stop the unbearable pain in my heart and popping Advil to stop the unbearable pain in my breasts as they filled with milk to feed two babies who weren’t there to be fed.

When I think  about my loss, I think about September 25th as the day we said goodbye. Every year I watch the calendar with my eye on that english calendar date, and yet, every year I am surprised to find myself walking through the shadows of grief during these 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, regardless of the date on the english calendar.

For the last three years I have held a lot of resentment towards God for forcing my girls to die before I was even given the chance to pray for their lives on the holiest day of the year.  I haven’t actually participated in either Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur since that year, sort of my FU to God, because I know he cares about those things and is losing a lot of sleep over it.

Sometime this past year someone told me that people who die during those ten days of repentance are considered especially holy and their souls are given a direct pass straight to heaven. Hearing that made me cry, as it continues to do even as I type this, because it’s something I long to believe, even as I struggle with my own belief system. When I think about that, it allows me to shift my perspective a bit and see how losing them at the time when we did made way for a new year that was filled with life. My youngest daughter, Liat, was conceived four months after our loss and was born shortly after Yom Kippur the following year.

Molly and Liat are getting bigger and started attending Jewish School this year. They’re learning about the Jewish Holidays and God and all that stuff. It’s going to force me to come to terms with a lot of things that I’ve happily avoided thinking about for the last 4 years.

What am I going to do this Yom Kippur? I don’t yet know. I guess I’ll play it by ear and base it, in part, on what my kids expect to see me do. Does that even make sense? I’m not sure.

But then, I’m not sure about a lot of things these days.

At the one year anniversary of their death, I made this memorial video to share Sunshine & Daisy’s “life.”

Thanks for watching it.

Things about the old me that I miss…

September is here. That’s the month that carries the weight of the world on it’s shoulders- we said goodbye to the twins on the 25th of this months and can I just tell you? I am so not in the fucking mood. Really. It has been a heavy, loaded summer. I have been unself-employed this whole summer, working with my husband 24/7 who is also unself employed. We’re working on so many amazing and exciting things together but I’m also just feeling so disconnected and exhausted.

I’m trying to really, truly pull away all my bullshit excuses for how I feel and get to the truth about what’s making me feel so overwhelmed and the truth is, I have no idea what the truth is. But I kinda do.

I feel like I used to kick ass. I feel like I was tough and sarcastic and funny and that I could just own whatever task I set out to do. I’d work hard, take no prisoners and be awesome. And now I feel like I crumble.

Yes, crumble. All the empathy and kindness and open-heartedness that loss and grief have left me with make me just want to crumble….  despite the strength I swear they’ve given me too.

I feel like there is so much push and pull inside me that I don’t know if it’s good or bad or whether I’m coming or going.

I’m more disorganized now than I’ve ever been in my life. I feel like I’ve been that way for the last 4 years, since they died. 

I don’t know if it’s because of something internal related to their death and me feeling the need to hold onto things that before I’d throw away, or if that’s just some bullshit excuse I’m creating because I spend so much time online I don’t take the time to really clean up the crap in my house.

I’m more easily manipulated and bossed around by my kids. 

I don’t know if that’s because I cling so tightly to them now that the sound of their cries melts me, or because I’m a sucker who doesn’t know how to discipline properly.

I create so many things and fail to follow through to finish them. 

I don’t know if that’s because I’m scared and weak or a perfectionist who doesn’t come close to perfection.

Tonight I read about another mom blogger whose child died from heart issues. I don’t even know this mom- it’s a friend of a friend and my first second thought (after, “jeez- that’s heartbreaking”) was “Really? Another baby dead? How did I end up in a world all about dead babies?”  and then I just thought to myself “This is exhausting.” 

I’m sorry if writing that offends anyone.

I’m just feeling exhausted by all the grief. I’m also exhausted by all the joy, honestly.

This is supposed to be vacation week. It wasn’t. Back to school for the kids (exhausting), Tons of jewish holidays (exhausting), Trying to pull together everything for my official launch of Muchness Meals (exciting and exhausting). I’m gonna be speaking at two big events in the upcoming weeks and I wish I could just zone out and focus all my spare brain power on getting ready for those… but I have no spare brain power.

Thinking I need to detach from my iphone. I may be an addict.

Thinking I need to re-find my Muchness…

just hold on a sec while I go play some Words With Friends and check my status updates….