“You’re not the same as you were before. You used to be much more… muchier… you’ve lost your muchness.” – Mad Hatter.”
One of my favorite movies when I was little was Alice in Wonderland. I was mesmerized by a world that was down a rabbit hole.
I’m pretty sure I watched the movie 444 times. The VHS tape was so worn out it would skip in places. As I grew up, the movie wasn’t played as often, but I never forgot that elated feeling that cartoon evoked inside of me.
When I was a freshman in high school, we had to pick any fiction book to read and write a report on, and I picked Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol.
A quote in the book I will never forget is:
“You’re not the same as you were before.
You used to be much more…muchier…you’ve lost your muchness.” – Mad Hatter
My 16-year-old brain believed what the Mad Hatter was insinuating was that Alice had lost herself, was getting more cynical as she aged, and was changing and not necessarily in a good way.
Having struggled with depression since I was 13, I related to Alice. At that moment I remember wanting to do whatever I could as I aged to not lose my “muchness”.
Muchness is defined as, “greatness in quantity or degree”. Kobi Yamada defines it as, “The full-hearted abundance of hope, joy, and imagination that each of us has when we come into this world. Over time, as we take on more responsibilities and worries, our doubts and fears have a way of growing with us. And because of this, we can lose much of our muchness.”
When you are a child, life can seem hard:
- Not getting that candy bar when you are standing in the check out line.
- Having to study for a spelling test when you really want to be watching your favorite TV show.
- Having a boy circle “NO” when you give him a note that says, “Do you want to go with me? Check YES or NO”.
I think we can all relate to the Mad Hatter’s comment. Losing some of who we are, pieces of ourselves, our true identity, our—muchness as we age and we face the challenges life throws our way.
As we grow up, life starts to get a little more complicated than not getting to watch our favorite show or wondering why our crush checked the box no. Obstacles are thrown our way, and in all honesty—life can be downright shitty at times.
We start to compare our lives, we start to criticize ourselves, we get disappointed or feel shame for choices we have made, and we start to lose ourselves in life’s complexities.
And when life gets overwhelming, it’s easy to start to lose some of who you are. Our muchness can start to fade as adulting takes over. We start to lose ourselves in the reality that the world is a big scary place at times.
As you get older and go through life and the challenges it can throw your way, you can often start to feel like you are losing yourself.
When life gets difficult, I challenge you to tap into your Alice. Some of our muchness as children lived in our imaginations. You aren’t yet exposed to all the challenges of adulthood when you are young, but we do think about our lives as adults and envision what we want to be when we “grow up”.
- You wanted to be a doctor. Why? Was it that you wanted to wear a white coat—or was it that you wanted to save lives?
- You wanted to be a chef. Why? Was it because you wanted to eat whatever you wanted without your parents saying no—or was it because you wanted to create something fantastic for others?
- Let’s even say you wanted to be a superhero. Was it that you wanted to fly like Superwoman or Superman—or was it you were inspired by their strength?
Maybe we haven’t lost our muchness, it’s just been suppressed and we need to dig a bit deeper into what our young minds were inspired by. The imagination, the hope, the passion, the desire, the creativity, the strength.
As adults do we overthink things and make situations more challenging and complex than they need to be? Maybe if we tapped into that muchness we had when we were younger, it would help us navigate the obstacles thrown our way as adults with a little more ease and optimism.
I believe your muchness is internal. Everything you need to fill the emptiness, stop the pain, and move forward is within you. It might have been pushed down, squashed a bit and be hidden because life has thrown shit your way, and you might even need some help finding it again—but you have the power to reclaim it!
Remember, You Got This!
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