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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


I highly recommend doing this.

The reason I was walking around two different airports yesterday wearing a giant fuzzy rainbow snake and carrying a very soft cow with a giant head is actually very simple.

They don’t fit into my luggage.

And Flopsy Cowpers doesn’t like the dark, so the inside of a suitcase would be no place for Flopsy anyway.

Also I was wearing a large purple rose in my hair because I couldn’t find a way to pack it without it getting smooshed.

So I may have been a little odd-looking. Ahahahaaaaaa. A little more odd-looking than usual.

This turned out to be a good thing. An exceptionally good thing.

Wearing a giant snake (with a loopy-but-happy expression and a very pink tongue) actually serves many, equally useful purposes. I need to remember this.

  • A giant fuzzy rainbow snake keeps you so warm that you don’t need your coat on the plane! Very cozy.
  • Everyone who encounters you smiles a giant smile. They cannot help themselves. Wham. Their day is now slightly better.
  • The TSA guy asked if I was studying to be a veterinarian and then couldn’t stop laughing. But happy-laughing. This is the best question I have ever been asked. Also I didn’t have to go through the loathsome machines. Probably unrelated, but I’m going to just go ahead and give the snake credit here.
  • The flight attendant also burst into giggles and then asked if she could touch its head. This is also a first. It’s sort of hard to explain how this makes flying more fun but it just does.
  • It’s a really great scarf. Better than a scarf, really.
  • Also it functions as a neck rest. I did not know that.
  • Wearing a giant fuzzy rainbow snake is kind of a sign that announces that you are a total kookypants. It gives you a certain degree of spaciousness.
  • There is room for you. Literally because oh, look, a giant fuzzy rainbow snake. People make room for you. But also emotionally and mentally. It’s a buffer. I adore buffers!
  • But you also get to meet all the fun people. Because you have secretly winked at them with your snake. So they talk to you. And you can talk to them too. Or not. Either way is okay because no one expects you to be predictable when you’re carrying a cow and wearing a colorful boa. Constrictor.

Weirdly, no one made any “snakes on a plane” jokes. So that was okay.

And here’s the best part.

You know how I completely dread being asked what I do?

And how I turn into a stuttering mess whenever this happens?

Which is why I have to pretend I’m five years old or suddenly announce that I’m on silent retreat, or tell people that I’m an interior-interior designer and/or anInternational Woman of Mystery

Well, yesterday the woman seated next to me asked what I did, and I just said it:

“I run this center where people go to play! It’s like preschool but for grown-ups! There’s napping and snacks and costumes and toys, and people come there from all over the world to work on secret projects while eating pretzel sticks and finger-painting and singing pirate songs!”

And she said, Oh, of course that’s what you do.

Because it totally made sense. There’s really nothing else I could do. I mean, come on. I’m wearing a giant fuzzy rainbow boa. Constrictor.

And I have a cow. Named Flopsy Cowpers.

I already knew this, of course.

I always say that costumes solve everything. But I hadn’t thought to take myself so literally, you know?

Worth doing, as Nick would say.

This is the only way to travel.

For me, at least. I can’t wait for my next trip!

Yesterday my big plan was to get a suitcase big enough to hold my giant rainbow snake.

Now my plan is to be the person who has the best snake-scarf. And the best cow. And all doors open for her. Because that’s what happened yesterday.

Play with me. In the spacious commenting blanket fort

So. I’m in Denver right now. Hello, Denver.

With Selma. And the Schmoppet. And Flopsy Cowpers. And the snake.

Anyway… this afternoon we’ll be in Boulder!

Teaching a shivanautical workshop and giggling. With twenty seven lovely, lovely people who read this blog.

In the meantime, let’s play!

You can invent airport costumes and traveling costumes and secret missions. Costumes can also be invisible, you know. Some of the best costumes are invisible.

As always, we’re all working on our stuff. We make this a safe space for playing by letting people have their own experience, and not telling each other what to do or how to feel.

Love to you, from me and the Fluent Self menagerie. All the way from Colorado to wherever you are at the moment.

28 Responses to I highly recommend doing this.

  1. fairbetty
    Twitter: fairbetty

    “…No one expects you to be predictable when you’re carrying a cow and wearing a colorful boa. Constrictor.”

    I love this! I have a travel sloth that goes with me on trips and loves to have his picture taken… but perhaps I should also consider a costume… hmmm…
    fairbetty recently posted… Nano Day 8… and… Hey, Blogger Friends!

  2. Elaine Smith
    Twitter: Wordsmith21

    Yay for the TSA! A sense of humor! Who knew?

  3. Hannah K says:

    Ahhhahahahaha amazing!!

    My favorite traveling costume is a GIGANTIC-brimmed purple straw hat. The TSA guys love it, strangers find it hilarious, and it keeps the sun off me at my destination.

  4. Tori Deaux
    Twitter: ToriDeaux

    This… it’s is why I love you so.

    Well, this and everything else you’ve ever done. But today, it’s ESPECIALLY this.
    Tori Deaux recently posted… It’s ALIVE! (The New Beta Community)

  5. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    I want a photo! Of you wearing your giant rainbow boa constrictor. And carrying the big-headed very soft cow. :-)
    Hiro Boga recently posted… You are a Miracle

  6. Tina says:

    I cannot even tell you how excited I am to see you in Boulder today! and to see Selma and the Schmoppet and eeeee! Can’t even contain myself!

  7. Ealasaid says:

    Hahahaha! Awesome! Thank you for this, I made the error of reading some stuff on the internets this morning that made me mad, and then I logged onto my work email, which ALSO made me mad.

    And then I read this and laughed and read part of it to my sweetie and I feel worlds better.

    You definitely have a secret superpower of making people’s days better even when they’re not in the same place as you. How cool is THAT?

    I am definitely going to have to travel with an equivalent of a fuzzy snake from now on. I loathe traveling, but love the idea of having a thing that will lighten the mood of the people around me.

    Also, I love your explanation of what you do, it’s brilliant. I am totally borrowing that for when I explain where I’m going in June (for Rally! EEE!) or who this Havi person is I keep talking about. :)

  8. Jess says:

    This is awesome! I tend to travel these days in a yellow and black striped straw hat, which always seems to make everyone I meet more kindly disposed to me.

  9. Simone
    Twitter: simonethinks

    That might have been the best travel advice EVER.

    Now, must go find a ridiculously colored wig to wear on my flight to PDX for Rally… (Rally!)
    Simone recently posted… Hero worship patterns.

  10. Miss P.
    Twitter: chemieemma

    “And she said, Oh, of course that’s what you do.” Love that line. Brilliant!

    And I second Hiro’s ask for a picture of you and the snake and the cow.

    I travel with my knitting and this is always a nice subject for people to talk about, at least the people who appreciate artisanship, or soft yarn. Everyone else tends to steer clear, I am after all the lady with the pointy sticks.
    Miss P. recently posted… The Post Wherein NVC Rocks My World

  11. Beadle
    Twitter: amybmorris

    “Wearing a giant fuzzy rainbow snake is kind of a sign that announces that you are a total kookypants.”

    It’s official. I’m in love with Havi. This is the sort of thing I’ve always WANTED to do but instead I dressed “sensibly” or–even worse–“businesslike.”

    I totally need to make room for some kookypants in my wardrobe!!

    Much Love!

  12. Elizabeth
    Twitter: elizabethhalt

    I cannot even tell you how happy this makes me. And that fuzzy snake would make the best neck cushion!
    Elizabeth recently posted… clearly i have been practicing a lot of shiva nata

  13. tereza
    Twitter: terezabrown

    yes yes yes to the picture request! i have seen and so can visualise rain-boa snake, but flopsy? sounds like a must-see…

    congrats on so many rightnesses in travel; wishing well to all in denver & boulder.

    travel costume i loved for me most recently: stretchy dark color tie dye skirt with black wool tights, hiking boots, extra pair of green socks, black tshirt with skull and raven design, and rings that do not look like power rings to the untrained eye, but very much are powerful. also a big smile for everyone, internally if not outwardly, whenever i could possibly make one happen honestly. for some reason i got many double takes, was given room to move, and everyone was very nice. lovely.

  14. Ginny
    Twitter: subtleharmony

    Oh, I love this! I want a rainbow snake. Years ago at work I had a long-armed stuffed monkey around my neck for a few days (until it returned to its regular owner) and it made the whole workday better (when usually I did not like the workdays very much). I somehow along the way forgot about that monkey and how it helped…
    Ginny recently posted… Thursday’s thought…

  15. chacha1 says:

    Next time I fly I think I’ll try this with my life-size plush giant octopus. He is not rainbow-colored, but he does have panache. And a lot of curly arms.
    chacha1 recently posted… link of the week: unclutterer

  16. Sue T says:

    This is The.Best.Ever.Costume-Story!
    Oh, my, have to try it. The TSA guys are always so *serious* … I have been trying to be cheerful but I’m always concerned about the machines, too, so costumery sounds like just the ticket! Thanks, Havi and Barrington!

  17. Christina
    Twitter: ChristinaEHW

    This is completely amazing. When I travel I usually try to… sort of sneak through it, wearing unremarkable and comfortable clothes, and this is not working for me. It just makes me want to hide under chairs and not come out (anxiety mouse!).

    I do not own a rainbow snake, but maybe I could wear rainbow clothes? Oh – rainbow socks! Obviously. And giant sunglasses like a celebrity.

    Thank you for the travel epiphany!

  18. VickiB says:

    I love this story! I love that you did this and the way it worked. Pictures, please!

    I can see it now, all the Rally-ers converging on Portland, wearing rainbow snake boas and big purple flowers. And airport staff saying, there must be another Rally happening.

  19. R says:

    This reminds me of when I had to travel to my grandma’s funeral right after I had wrist surgery with the giant cast on my arm… I thought it would be twice as horrible traveling but it was actually many times easier. People wanted to help me! I remembered to ask for what I needed! I didn’t feel silly asking for what I needed because, look, giant cast on arm! It was a great unexpected lesson for me.

    Now, maybe instead of wrist surgery I’ll just buy a boa (constrictor).

  20. Taryn Blake
    Twitter: tarynblake71

    Hmmm…sounds like a good time to be in the giant fuzzy rainbow snake business. And surely someone at Google is wondering why so many people are searching for stuffed snakes.
    Taryn Blake recently posted… Meet Delisa Carnegie

  21. pat says:

    Thank you! Reading this made my day.

  22. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
    Twitter: NicoleJLeBoeuf

    Miss P., do TSA ever give you trouble about your knitting needles? I started bringing knitting on board planes around 2003 or so, and then I stopped again when the special scanners went into play and they even wanted to know about my sharp wooden hair pin… I don’t want to get my fabulous #2 40″ circulars confiscated!

    After 9/11 I got in a habit of acting about 10 years old when I went through security. While being overly polite. Skipping in my stocking feet and smiling very broadly. In retrospect, I think there’s a parallel to the particular way some cats purr that says “I’m not a threat! I love you! Don’t hurt me! I love you! I’m just cute and not scary and don’t kill me!”

    Costumes… One thing that sticks with me from Caroline See’s book about living the writing life was, she suggested consciously creating a writer persona, including how you dress the part. I started thinking about that and deciding on small things to do when I go to conventions, like this necklace and those rings (I usually don’t do jewelry, even the wedding ring–I’m afraid I’ll klutz out and break it by flailing my hands around), or to wear my hair down (which I usually don’t because it is inconveniently long), or what pen to have at the ready for taking notes or one day signing autographs (sparkly body tattoo pens are good! fountain pens soak through the paper, so are kind of not good! I’ll have one of each!).

    The fun was thinking of me as the sparkly future bestselling author: who is that me? What does she look like? How does she feel? If I can’t make myself feel like that today, I can still dress that way and bring just a little bit of my desired future into my present.

    (This is of course in addition to the boring pragmatic part of making that future happen, which is actually writing.)

  23. Deb says:

    I LOVED reading this and imagining the TSA folks and the flight attendants and everyone else. I, also, would love to see a picture!
    Deb recently posted… Being Enough

  24. Laura
    Twitter: flamenooregon

    I LOVE this!!! I’m already imagining your trip back home…
    Laura recently posted… Viernes con una letra (y una puerta)

  25. brooklynchick says:

    Reading this MADE. MY. DAY! What a great mental movie I watched imagining this…. YAY!!

  26. Risa
    Twitter: lichtstrom_

    This makes me so happy, alsobecause I’ve read your blogs about travel and oh! oh! what a lovely healing thing!

    (I’m gobsmacked :D )
    Risa recently posted… Inadvertent Rituals

  27. Lori
    Twitter: CollectiveSelf

    I’ve noticed this in my own life the past few years. It’s amazing how great it feels when your inside and your outside are in alignment. All my years in the corporate world, dressing a part that didn’t do my creative, unique inside justice. Never again. I may not be wearing a snake and holding a floppy cow (at the moment), but bright colors continue to take more space in my closet, and funky shoes, and octopus jewelry. Think that perhaps the octopi of Puget Sound are using telepathy to push me toward getting their image onto more of my jewelry, in what I have to believe is the most brilliant stealth marketing technique I’ve come across. ;-)

  28. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    How wonderful!

    I’m thinking about invisible costumes now. One nice thing about them is that I can always decide to pull one out of my pocket at the last minute.

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