What we do here:

Work on our stuff. Dissolve stuck. Play. Experiment. Rewrite patterns. We take sometimes-heavy things* and we make them more fun, playful, manageable.

I also write about my conversations with walls and monsters, and what it's like to work on a pirate ship. Good times.

* Sometimes-heavy things include: mindfulness and presence, pain and trauma, business-growing, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity


The Glossary! It makes your hair all shiny.


So Fizz — who is @relsqui on Twitter (you know, the neighborhood bar/cafe place where I’m pretty much always hanging out) — said a wonderfully true thing the other day:

“Reading @havi’s blog the first time is like reading a message in code.

It takes a couple of posts to internalize the vocabulary.”

Ahhhhhhhh. I totally loved this because … yes.

One of the fun things here is the shared language, and that you guys let me get away with all sorts of things without having to explain them. Eventually, you’re in on all the jokes and the wackiness anyway.

So why not have a glossary? I mean, what the hell. That way when you send people here, they can look up at least some of the weird stuff I say. Or see how many Fluent-Self-ified bits of Havi-speak they already know.


This one isn’t mine, actually.

It’s a great word. Though not as good as webcock.

I generally use it to describe the kind of people who throw shoes (see also: Shoes, Throwing of).

And I probably got it from the Communicatrix.


The art and science of growing your thing (the thing!).

And of getting your thing (the thing!) into the hands of your Right People without feeling icky or weird about it.

When I say I’m helping someone biggify, it might mean that my duck (see also: Selma) and I are helping them promote or get the word out about something, but in a non-gross way.

A person who is biggified is someone with platform. And reach. And sparkles.

Generally, biggification = good. I talk a lot about mindful biggification which is what happens when you biggify while working on your stuff. (see also: Stuff)

The word biggifier, on the other hand, has been known to come with a dash of snark.

Ooh. Dash of Snark! It’s just one guy! (See also: It’s just one guy).

Like the internet-ey biggifiers who try to get us to think big think big think big. Whatever. I think it’s okay to not have to think that big.

Dammit list

The dammit list is your list of things you stand for (see also: Sovereignty).

“I am going to wear excessively fuzzy socks, dammit!”

“I don’t have to explain why I need a dammit list, dammit!”

Other dammit list posts: revisiting the dammit list and more ways to use the dammit list.


Working through the stucknesses that get in the way of you doing your thing (you know, the thing!).

Destuckifying is what you’re doing when you’re learning about triggers. Or talking to the fog. Or giving yourself permission to not have to practice “transparency”.

Sometimes it’s figuring out how not to feel like dirt. Maybe because you don’t want anyone to look at you. Or you accidentally gave your monster a cookie and it was, weirdly, the wrongest thing to do, even though lots of other monsters like cookies.

Or using my wacky methods if you’re a Shivanaut (see also: Shivanaut), or if you own my emergency calming techniques package.

It’s applying the stuff that Selma and I teach so that you can have a conscious, intelligent relationship with yourself and the world around you. So that your stuff (see also: Stuff) doesn’t have to hurt so much.

Email sabbatical

The best thing that has ever happened to me. (See also: No, seriously. I don’t do email.)

Fake Band of the Week

This is something we do every Friday on the Chicken. (See also: Friday Chicken)

My brother and I have this thing where we come up with ridiculous band names and then say in this really pretentious, knowing tone, “Oh, well, you know, it’s just one guy.”

That’s it. It’s stupid but it’s addictive.

Stupid But Addictive. It’s just one guy. See? Like that. Only funnier. You’ll get used to it.

Friday Chicken

Our weekly check-in, which I started calling a Chicken. Mostly because my gentleman friend made me this awesome chicken graphic.

You know, because rituals are important.*

This is where I talk about the hard stuff and the good stuff in my week and people join in, and eventually the whole thing devolves into extreme goofiness.

* That might be the first post where I said “blame the Jews!” Ah, nostalgia. Also, I don’t eat the chicken. Selma and I are vegetarians.

So this, for example, is a Friday Chicken.


About a year and a half ago I bought some stockings for Naomi. From Sock Dreams. The joke was that we were so obsessed with each other that we were … stalking each other.

So these were … stalkings. Striped stalkings to wear on your legs. Yes, jokes are so much more funny when you explain them in elaborate detail to someone who doesn’t care, do you not find that to be so?

Anyway, we talked a lot about how fansocks (or fan-socks, if you prefer) are the coolest thing ever.

And then random people started knitting them for me. And making scarves for my duck because she doesn’t have feet. Never mind.

It’s just one guy

See also: Fake Band of the Week.

“You know that new venue that just opened up at the meme beach house? I heard Fake Band of the Week is playing. You know it’s just one guy, right?”


Highly Sensitive Person.

That would be me.

This term is also not mine. It comes from Elaine Aron‘s book The Highly Sensitive Person, which probably wasn’t meant to be a biography of me or anything.

But reading it was really helpful. And HSP has become a kind of short-hand for sensitive flower introvert-ey people.

It’s why I don’t go to (ew) networking events. And why that gets a place of honor on my dammit list.


I really don’t like acronyms. But I love NVC.

Nonviolent Communication (aka compassionate communication) has been a total freaking lifesaver.

Meme Beach House

The original reference is to when Stu (See also: Stuisms) translated “people will hate me and be jealous” to people will hang at my meme beach house.

Now it’s become (in my mind, yes?) the venue where my Fake Band of the Week plays its non-existent gigs. Except that it turns out it’s a real place.

My Gentleman Friend

That’s my partner in crime everything. There is backstory to why I call him that, but it’s not that interesting.

Right People

The people your thing is for. Even if they don’t know it yet.

People that you actually like. And they like you. A lot. This is totally not the hippie word for “target market” because blech. I kind of write about this all the time.

» Update: Right People re-explained


Selma is a rockstar. She is the only duck I know who can reasonably be described that way. She’s also my business partner.


People who practice Dance of Shiva or Shiva Nata, in Sanskrit.
Shivanautical = anything that describes the process of Shiva-ing it up (aka doing Shiva Nata).

Example: “Man I had some crazy shivanautical epiphanies this week. Now I know why I flip out whenever that one asshat at work throws a shoe at me.”

Shoes, the throwing of (also known as shoe-throwing)

It’s what happens when people say hurtful things out of nowhere. It sucks.

Also, it’s really hard to destuckify when shoe-throwing is happening. Hence the sovereignty thing. (See also: Sovereignty)


Sovereignty is the state of not giving a damn what people think because you are the king or queen of your life. I got this from Hiro.


The thoughtful, insightful things that we sometimes come up with, usually after some sort of … shivanautical epiphany.


Stu is my stupid, paranoid McCarthy-ist voice-to-text software. His name is short for work, you Stupid piece of crap!

A Stuism is anything that he says. I collect the most egregious of these for your amusement and put them in the Friday Chicken.

Stuff, yours

You know, your stuff. Your issues.

The stuckified patterns that cause us to lose our sense of sovereignty and sometimes to think people are throwing shoes at us even when they aren’t. And yeah, sometimes they are.


(See: Stuff)

Tfu tfu tfu

That’s me spitting three times to avoid the evil eye.

The Twitter Bar

Where you can buy me a drink. I’m @havi. Kazoo!

Very Personal Ads

Also known as the VPA. Though that wasn’t my idea, obviously, since you already know that I have a thing about not liking acronyms.

It’s where we practice getting more comfortable with asking for stuff.

Phew. That was the glossary.

I really need to stop making up words because this post is way too long.

Also: The meta. It hurts.

Ooh, and there are four words in the glossary that aren’t mine: let the guessing (or the counting) begin.

By Havi Brooks. You can also read a couple thousand other things or check the current list of beloved posts. Our sweet peaceful corner of the internet has been around since August 2005 and you are welcome to come play.

This remarkable online space is powered by APPRECIATION, an unconventional and wildly subversive currency which can take many forms. For example, sharing this post, leaving <3 in the comments, investing in the Monster Manual & Coloring Book or glowing a thank you to the Discretionary Fund or joining the Guild of Secret Agents.

46 Responses to The Glossary! It makes your hair all shiny.

  1. Willie Hewes
    Twitter: williehewes

    Too easy. Asshat, HSP, NVC and Sovereignty, which I still pronounce wrong (in my head) even though I was on the call and Hiro said it right dozens of time. Some part of my brain just thinks it needs an extra vowel towards the end.

    I love the way you make up words. It’s very tribalising. I would attempt to dazzle you with further cleverness, but today my back pain is joined by brain fog. I’m sure this post will come in useful.

  2. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    Havi, you may have heard of Sovereignty from me, but you’ve defined it in ways that are entirely your own–and that include your Dammit List. :-)

    Nice to have the linguistics of Havi Land all in one post like this, complete with etymology. A Traveler’s Guide to your Magic Kingdom!

    xoxo Hiro
    .-= Hiro Boga´s last post … Follow the Yellow Brick Road — Create the new story of your business in 2010 =-.

  3. Nenah-Cherry-Rocked-The-House
    Twitter: LeilaLEvelyn

    Oh yeyyy. A friggin inspiration woman. Oh and Selma. SELMA SORRY – you toooo my sweet thing!

    I’ve been biggying you up relentlessly like
    ‘come and party at Havi’s and Selam’s house online. Come nowwwww. Come, come, come’.
    You do know that – right? We all do it I guess it’s impossible not to!
    Not that I have much influence on Facebook or anyone else as such. But still I am seized by an urge to do just that.
    So ummm I’m probably quite annoying. But I don’t give two hoooooots. Bonkers? Moi?
    Dizzee Rascal over here sang something about this
    (Me to Me: Grow up woman you’re in your 30’s and will never ever be down with the pretty people so why bring HIM up? Knowone cares!)

    Some people think I’m bonkers
    But I just think I’m free
    Man I’m just living my life
    There’s nothing crazy about me
    Some people pay for thrills
    But I get mine for free
    Man I’m just living my life
    There’s nothing crazy about me

    So yes…bonkers moi? Ummm hello? Why the heck not?

    Embrace your Inner Crazy I say.

    I love your language.
    I want my own…but what can you do?

    Also I have to keep going back to my rambling posts and adding a disclaimer bit like: Everything I write is Havi and Selma inspired/stolen. She is the real deal and so much more.

    Do you think wonderbaaaaaaa might take off?



  4. Nenah-Cherry-Rocked-The-House
    Twitter: LeilaLEvelyn

    typical. Spelling soooo bad.
    Sorry Havi!

    Hugssss (Will sadly only get me so far. Damn it/Dammit!)


  5. Inge
    Twitter: _i_n_g_e_

    Great meta thing, like a front gate I can send people through when I refer them to you, Havi.

    Some of these terms have already become part of my everyday meatspace vocabulary. Just this week I found myself trying to explain Destuckification to my office matey and I frequently use the explanation of ‘Your Stuff, Their Stuff’ when I see shoes being thrown at friends. I might have also started exclaiming Item! and Chicken! in front of live friends. Maybe.

  6. So the part of me that read all the rules to Dungeons and Dragons but *had not friends to play it with* LOVES being in this gang.

    We’ve got a (now-not-so) secret language.

    And everything.

    Now all I need is a nickname.

    Oh, and a modem, like that guy in War Games.

    A modem would be *cool*.
    .-= Andrew Lightheart @alightheart´s last post … Why is your blog called that? =-.

  7. Darcy
    Twitter: darxyanne

    The vocabulary you’ve invented was one of the main things that drew me to you and your writing, because I love it so much more than the words I’d heard before that tried to talk about the same stuff. The language I heard/used before never felt comfy to me, always felt a little icky, but I didn’t realize that it was okay to be squicked out by those other words. Hooray for vocabulary lists and for making up new ways to say things that feel good!
    .-= Darcy´s last post … Day 32: Late again =-.

  8. All those cross-references. I think you need a wiki, not a glossary. :D
    .-= Michael Herzog´s last post … Die analogen Andenken kehren zurück =-.

  9. Sarah Tieck
    Twitter: WriterSarah

    Just wanted to send you a BIG yay for the glossary … I actually knew the meanings, but I’m guessing there are some people who might come here that won’t. And, this will help them feel welcome. And, besides that, I was just impressed and thought it was really cool that you took the time to put all that together. Glossaries are the types of things that feel like sort of a feat to me … they take lots of time and organizing (at least they have for me!!) … so thank you for that neat little gift :-)
    .-= Sarah Tieck´s last post … Photo Inspiration #6: Birds! =-.

  10. chris zydel
    Twitter: wildheartqueen

    Thanks darling,

    That was a dizzyingly delirious and delightful dalliance through the multitudinously meaningful meanderings of your magically mysterious mind!

    I have been reading you long enough that I understand both your own unique and original language and your hippy dippy references but what a richness to see it all located in one place. This glossary DEFINITELY needs to go into your book!!!

    As someone who appreciates the beauty and power and just sheer JOY of language, I tip my hat to you as a true worsmith-ess!

    Love you madly,
    .-= chris zydel´s last post … Why I Don’t Believe In The Whole Idea Of Bad Art =-.

  11. chris zydel
    Twitter: wildheartqueen

    Ah…. that’s WORDsmith-ess… like the Bloggess… minus the hobo fingers (-:
    .-= chris zydel´s last post … Why I Don’t Believe In The Whole Idea Of Bad Art =-.

  12. Elizabeth
    Twitter: elizabethhalt

    Fun to read! Hee. I managed to figure it out when I started reading because, ummmmmm, I obsessively read all the archives immediately. The one that took me a while though was the tfu tfu tfu.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last post … sunlight and shadow – and skateboards =-.

  13. ilikered
    Twitter: carriemoore

    I’m with Darcy,
    The way you talk about the things you do is so refreshingly different and non-icky. I like that you write in a natural, what you would speak in real life, kind of way. I can’t even begin to tell you how much just having the word “stuckness” changed my life. Giving that stuff a name was HUGE HUGE HUGE for me and the first real progress I’ve made internally in years. That word gave me a starting place and I thank you soooo much for that!

    *hugs* :)

  14. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    Hi guys!

    Of course I’m already coming up with stuff that didn’t make it to the list. Ridiculous.

    @Michael – now *that* would be funny. A haviwiki. It sounds like a tropical fruit. Or something that would be sold on late-night television.

    I’m sure some of my more dedicated people are working on something at least that weird. But yes, I couldn’t stop giggling while cross-referencing. :)

    @darcy – oh good! That’s lovely. I’ve had the same problem forever — there are all these useful concepts that get talked about in ways that make me want to hurl. It’s a relief to remember that I get my people too.

    @Chris – mwah! Thinking about hobo fingers made me wonder what a glossary for The Bloggess would look like. Wow.

    @Nina-Nenah yay!

    @everyone – I love that you do this stuff with me.

  15. Janet Bailey
    Twitter: janetbailey

    FINALLY I unnerstand fansocks! YAY!

    Jokes Explained in Elaborate Detail appreciator

    .-= Janet Bailey´s last post … How to write a blog post, fast (for perfectionists) =-.

  16. Holly Marie
    Twitter: HollyMarieHill

    Just some silly random thoughts I had when I read:

    “Selma is a rockstar. She is the only duck I know who can reasonably be described that way.”

    Brain immediately tried to come up with other duck rockstar candidates, and the first that popped to mind was the Aflac duck. Then, wow, now there is a duck with some serious Stuff & Stuckness he needs to work on, and then I pictured Selma taking him on as a client, teaching him emergency calming techniques for when people forget the name of that insurance company… and then I started giggling madly to myself alone in my office.

    Oh, and then I remembered this: http://failblog.org/2009/10/23/ad-placement-fail-4 and I still can’t believe that “the fear of being watched by a duck” is common enough to have a name, and then I thought how lucky that Havi’s Gentleman Friend doesn’t suffer from that anatidaephobia because that would be an awkward conversation! “I love you, but I can’t shake the feeling that Selma is watching me.”

    Hopefully all this blather will amuse someone else too. Lunch is over now and I have to go back to work and think less fanciful things. Happy Thursday, everyone!

  17. Colleen Wainwright
    Twitter: communicatrix

    I like this even better than the FAQs. Which I always pronounce “FAX” to rhyme with “QUACKS” which would be a nod to Selma if she wasn’t the only duck I know who speaks (to me, privately) in perfectly-accented, Parisian French.

    Also, please release “tfu tfu tfu” as a ringtone. I would totally pay a dollar for that sh*t.
    .-= Colleen Wainwright´s last post … Poetry Thursday: Circling =-.

  18. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    First thought that popped up in my mind when I read the first part of that post:
    Though my self is far from being fluent, it’s pretty cool to know that I am fluent in that Fluent-Self-ified Havi-speak!
    .-= Josiane´s last post … Noticing – the dragonfly edition =-.

  19. Amber
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    This glossary is fifteen kinds of awesome. However, my hair looks exactly the same as it did before I read it. Maybe Selma can explain why that is?
    .-= Amber´s last post … Stories We Tell Ourselves =-.

  20. spiralsongkat
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Hee — I remember, when I first discovered this blog about seven months ago, trying to figure out what tfu tfu tfu meant, and the feeling of eureka! when I got it.

    Also, your being an HSP was absolutely a red velvet rope to me. Little fireworks exploded in my head: Wow! She’s an HSP and an introvert like me, and look how biggified she is! I must find out more!

    Also also, I was half expecting you to include a definition for the thing (you know, the thing!)…but no, defining that is up to each and every one of us, isn’t it?

    Enjoy Sacramento! I will think of you as I engage in my own peculiar and hilarious flailing, here on the opposite coast.
    .-= spiralsongkat´s last post … Blogging in the dark =-.

  21. Claire
    Twitter: catskittyns

    This post is essential Havi-speak as noted by Josiane. Seems like this post would work as a velvet rope too. Love it.

    –Claire aka catskittyns (Yes, I’m still around!)

  22. claire, not the same one as above yo
    Twitter: claireofRA

    I never thought much about your language creations because I was easily able to grasp their meanings from context. Sort of like scifi ep.s which have aliens that speak differently but in a way you can totally grasp if you’re paying attention.

    Love and appreciate all the cross-referencing since I hate dictionaries that define words using other words you don’t know.

    As for “tfu tfu tfu”, I think I will keep thinking of it as the sound I had in my head before I found out it’s spitting if that’s all right. :)
    .-= claire, not the same one as above yo´s last post … As long as it’s sir with respect… =-.

  23. Sandra
    Twitter: sandrajapandra

    Part of what I love about being here is how all these words just make sense – that feeling of ahhh, now that’s a good thing to call it, of course! like Darcy said.
    I am sheepish to admit that I didn’t get the meaning of, of all things, the Chicken, for, like, ever. Every week, in the back of my mind I thought, “oh, Havi is doing that check-in thing. I wonder why-oh-why it’s called a chicken? (shrug.) Oh, well, why not?” Then around the millionth time I got it. Some part of my mind did a sarcastic 80s movie slow clap as check-in/chicken (not really such a leap) clicked into place. I didn’t even mind the sarcastic clapping because it was such a delightful minipiphany.
    Thank you for so many smartnesses!!
    .-= Sandra´s last post … Tis the season to do it at home =-.

  24. Gilbert (@CrazyOnYou)
    Twitter: CrazyOnYou

    But… you missed:

    Havinator (n) What a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) becomes when she is stimulated too much.

    Also, are there variations of fansocks? Like fanstockings, fansocklets, fantoesies, etc.?

    As always, thanks for bringing some crazy into my life. Sanity works, but it can be poisonous in doses too large.

    Huge air-hug to you, nod to Selma and wave to your Gentleman Friend.

  25. […] I don’t remember where did I first hear it. Maybe in one of the countless Wayne Dyer speeches I listened while I was on a quest for my bliss. Way back before I found WHAT my music really IS. As Havi says, “You know, the thing!”. […]

  26. […] Thanks for visiting!As I was approaching a stoplight on my way to work this morning, some asshat (Thanks Havi –   see full definition here) random person in a red SUV tore past me well over the speed limit, […]

  27. […] good starting point is this explanation of the concepts used. It takes time to get used to the style. But for me it was worth […]

  28. […] Especially as I prepare for today’s Q+A call. Especially when I think about the new year and all the new stuff I’m planning to try. Especially when I think about biggifying (that’s Havi’s word). […]

  29. […] Especially as I prepare for today’s Q+A call. Especially when I think about the new year and all the new stuff I’m planning to try. Especially when I think about biggifying (that’s Havi’s word). […]

  30. […] good starting point is this explanation of the concepts used. It takes time to get used to the style. But for me it was worth […]

  31. […] like Christmas carolers. Except it’s just one guy. […]

  32. […] VPA’s for the faeries VPA=Very Personal Ads it’s a Havi-ism and if you don’t know her brand of kookie you should go look at her glossary. […]

  33. […] Just in case there’s anyone left who hasn’t yet gotten the new Girl Talk album, here you go. He’s offering it for free under a Creative Commons license. And yeah, Girl Talk really is just one guy. […]

  34. […] the Faeries Part II Where the smart people who live at Havi’s Kitchen Table ask the faeries questions and they answer. faeries rushing […]

  35. […] something more neutral, like my relationship to books, to do some work on these patterns. And the destuckifying** I do there will spill over into those other, scarier […]

  36. […] midwifery school and Shiva Nata and why I changed my name and generally pretend I am all famous and biggified but somehow don’t need to change into actual clothes (of which I had none because the day I […]

  37. […] midwifery school and Shiva Nata and why I changed my name and generally pretend I am all famous and biggified but somehow don’t need to change into actual clothes (of which I had none because the day I […]

  38. […] is a concept that I’ve really learned to love reading Havi’s blog (along with a ton of other cool Havi-isms), which is totally not bike-related, but is totally awesome-related. I didn’t really have […]

  39. […] it is a perfect complement to all the work she does in helping people work through their Stuff and destuckify. And somehow the combination of physical movement, brain-scrambling, and emotional destuckification […]

  40. […] I can’t type for myself very easily, she is scribing for me instead. Unfortunately, just like Havi’s retired Stu, she doesn’t always get it right, which can be both hilarious and […]

  41. […] her blog, crediting someone else. See her most excellent Glossary (it Makes Your Hair All Shiny) at http://www.fluentself.com/blog/ask-havi/the-glossary/. It’s a great term, it’s not terribly respectful, but hey, this is about as much “getting […]

  42. […] week, I committed to really destuckifying, taking the time to interact with my monsters when I felt stopped on a task. When I made space to […]

  43. […] Constructed {metaphor upon metaphor upon metaphor}. Affable. Lovably neurotic. Self-conscious and self-referential. Winning {not in the Charlie Sheen […]

  44. Beth says:

    Oh my goodness. I’ve spent all weekend reading your archives and only just got the chicken/checkin thing. Not my brightest moment!!

    Anyway. Carry on.

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