Want to find your Muchness? Look into the past.

In 8th grade we were given an assignment to write a hebrew poem for our yearbook.

A bit of backstory… As a student, I was not what you’d call a success. It was the 80’s and schools taught very one-dimensionally. If you didn’t learn in the fashion that they taught, you were dismissed as dumb. In my case, it was the “not living up to my potential” tagline that followed me around, year to year, like a plague. But that’s just 1989 teacher talk for “I get that she’s dumb, but she can’t possibly be that dumb.”

Did I mention my older sister is an MD and a Phd – and a pediatric cardiologist to boot. Yeah. So, she learned the way the schools wanted us to learn. From books and by listening to the teacher and completing homework and studying very, very hard. That was a bunch of stuff I wasn’t really good at. So, by comparison, to the untrained eye, I suppose I did appear that dumb.

Anyway, back to the point.

We had to write a poem. So I sat with my mom and talked through what I wanted my poem to be about and then she helped me translate it into hebrew. I submitted my poem, perhaps the only homework assignment I completed that year that made me feel accomplished… or at least not dumb.

I was informed a few days later that the teachers and yearbook editorial staff concluded I could not have written the poem- it was too good for a dummy like me and it would therefore not be printed in the yearbook. If memory serves, I believe it was suggested by a classmate that perhaps my sister wrote it. If that classmate is a FB friend who happens to troll this blog and reads this post, Fuck You.

But anyway, I was crushed.

I committed the poem to memory (The only thing I memorized that year, I’m sure… and not to difficult since I’d written it) and in 12th grade, in a different school, I submitted the poem for publication in the yearbook. After correcting some grammatical mistakes, it was published. Victory was mine.

I was recently in the shower (where all random thoughts and moments of pure genius occur) and this memory popped into my head out of nowhere, along with the poem, permanently inked on my brain. I thought about the meaning of the poem I was shocked by how true it has stayed, throughout my life, informing the decisions I’ve made and following this path that has led me to The Muchness.


The world spins in circles.

If you want to know yourself
Look into the past
Because that is where you’ll find
what you’re looking for.

Because in this world
there are no beginnings and there are no endings
and there is nothing new under the sun.

I was so smart!

Looking in the past is how I found my Muchness! I looked to the things that used to bring me joy on a more innocent, easy  time, and I invited those small joys back into my world.

As a kid, what made  you feel Muchy? What sparked you? Ignited your passion and brought a smile to your face? What were you good at and loved doing? What did you daydream about in class? Recapture those memories by writing them in the comments below. And then explore them in your world. 

…Perhaps I should once again start writing poetry

When I went to take a picture of the poem I came upon my 8th grade yearbook picture which I’ll be sharing shortly. What was written next to it truly blew my mind.

Love & Muchness, Tova

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2 Replies to “Want to find your Muchness? Look into the past.”

  1. Dennel

    Those teachers failed YOU. Clearly they missed out on seeing your uniqueness. 🙁
    You sound like my oldest, and that fills me with hope for her 🙂

    When I was a kid, I found muchness in catching snakes and salamanders frogs. I was reminded of this today when I took the girls to a reptile talk for kids and my 2 1/2 year old was thrilled with the snake and couldn’t take her eyes off it. I think i may come home one day with a snake for the girls. I went to the sloughs in our town almost daily. My sis and I even caught a turtle there one year. As a teenager, I even went with my boyfriend where there was a duck with a rotten wing stuck in some wires. We freed him but he was mangled up pretty badly. Boyfriend took the duck home and tried to nurse it back to health, but unfortunately it died.

    Lots of kids thought I was weird. I was. In the best possible way. There is nothing more annoying than a grown woman freaking out over a little bug or lizard. Being weird is something to be proud of.

    • Tova Gold Post author

      I so agree. I had a bumper sticker on my mirror as a teenager that said “Why Be Normal?” and though that’ tame for a teenagers room by todays standards, it really, really spoke to me. That school did fail me, but thankfully my parents didn’t buy into that and let me know my strength lay elsewhere and I’d be fine. …and by and large, they were correct. 🙂


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