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.)
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.
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. 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.
Infertility. Painting. Beading. Fine art in general. Very different things yet the same feelings.
Okay, I literally saw the photo and started getting a full on high over the organization, the precious little trinkets (that I would LOVE to get my hands on and use in my paintings) and the uber duber coolness of the realization that you have just been in the one of many places on earth that is the womb of creation. Seriously, how can a creative person NOT be excited in there?! You got to step into the room (womb) of possibility and that is so very MUCHY!
And yes, it sucks rotten eggs that your bags make you feel this way, but then again . . . it makes you feel (dare I say) alive, just a little bit. To be intimately in touch with the pain is to be aware of the glory and passion that it all began with. You had a road that diverged and perhaps it is coming around again. But more importantly, you connected to it ~ to the moment ~ the visceral memory of your dream/vision/passion and that is always something that I think too many of us discredit. We brush aside the power of how it makes us feel because the ‘feeling’ may just be too icky or uncomfortable. And here you are at the edge of it again and learning to go deeper. WAY TO MUCH ON!
Yes! it is so much- all of that… so much. Thank You Stephanie-
I am on the verge of it.
I’m working on my portfolio site again- finally able to look at and sift through all the beauty I created in my past that I just had to walk away from for a bunch of years…. first because I thought I had to, and then because within the depths of grief, it became too much to deal with.
I feel ready to pull back those curtains a bit…
Oh, I totally do this Tova. I perform stand up comedy, and have been told by many people that I am awesome at it, and that I am gifted, etc, yadda yadda. I also give humorous speeches and get great feedback in the form of belly busting laughs and tears streaming down faces, as well as people telling me after how much they loved it. However, when I am asked to speak or perform at any event where I will be paid, I feel myself shrinking back. I feel like there’s more pressure if I am getting paid – if I do it for free and suck, well no harm done right. I need to step into my muchness and dare greatly (as per another sassy lady Brene Brown paraphrasing T. Roosevelt :)!
I totally relate to this. The fear that being paid means it’s not good enough and everyone will be disappointed.
When looked at logically, it’s so illogical and totally wrapped up in distorted money issues we absorb throughout our lives. I’m reading a self-help book about this exact issue… it runs DEEP.
I want to see you perform! I’s PAY to!! 🙂