What's in the gallery?

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.


Scissors. Part two.

Or: A number of surprising realizations and a typewriter.

Okay. Kind of left you trailing last time … let me catch you up.

If you will recall, I’m getting my stitches taken out (part one) by someone fabulously incompetent.

Or hilariously incompetent …

At least, that appears to be the opinion of my various symbolic allies and helper mice* that I have called on to help me stay grounded and centered.

*Not actually mice.

Because my allies and helper mice are falling apart. Hysterical laughter. Convulsions. Everyone is on the floor.

Even my most hard-core spiritual teacher who never laughs ever is totally snickering behind his hand. And his eyes are crinkling and he’s so completely about to lose it.

I ask what’s so funny, and that just makes them laugh even harder.

Apparently, I’m the funny part.

[What I have to explain here is that I don’t have the clearest reading on who my helper mice and allies are. My teacher is always there. Hiro is there a lot. My grandmother, sometimes.

There are ones that I recognize and ones that I don’t. And sometimes it’s just a big fog. So I’m just going to give them numbers so you know when someone new is speaking.]

Me: No, seriously. I get that this situation is completely absurd — I do, really — but why is it so funny for you guys?
Helper mouse #1: Giggling. You come up with the funniest things to happen to you! Every time! Every time the funny!
Me: No, I don’t. And don’t put this crap on me.
Helper mouse #2: Oh, honey! I’m sorry. She didn’t mean it like that. We’re not laughing at you.
Me: You’re not?
Helper mouse #1: No, of course not. It’s just … the drama. You love the drama. And you love it to be funny. And then you get these total characters around you.
Me: No, I don’t.
Helper mouse #3: Wiping tears away. It’s not you, exactly. It’s your writer self. The part of you who is a writer. You like to share the stuff that happens to you.

I think about this.

Writer Me.

Me: I’m confused, I guess. Are you saying that I exaggerate what happens to me?
Helper mouse #4: Oh, not at all. That’s kind of why it’s so funny!

Paroxysms of laughter from the helper mice. Question marks from me.

Helper mouse #2: What he means is that the funny part is that you don’t need to exaggerate. Your life is just filled with funny.
Helper mouse #3: And then you have this phenomenal auditory memory and you can record conversations verbatim … and Writer You just loves it.

All the helper mice nod in agreement. More question marks from me.

Helper mouse #3: I mean, look at her.

Everyone looks up. And then they laugh and laugh and laugh.

I look up too.

And there, a few feet above me, is Writer Me.

She’s tiny.

Like, Tinkerbell tiny.

Her hair is up in a messy bun held together by a pencil. And she’s typing furiously away at an old-fashioned typewriter and laughing her head off.

And that’s when the realizations started …

Some of them were really obvious. Some were really subtle.

Some were painful and some were sweet.

But they were coming fast and furious.**

**Which, admittedly, is my own fault because I’d been messing around with Shiva Nata the day before and that’s just kind of what happens.

Realization #1: I know that typewriter.

I know that typewriter.

That’s the typewriter that my friend who is dead gave me for my twenty-fifth birthday to remind me that I am a writer.

I have no idea where it is or what happened to it.

Realization #2: Tiny Writer Me is familiar too.

Of course.

She looks different than I’d imagined her, with her retro cat eye glasses and slim skirt.

But yeah, she’s me. And she’s the writer self that I pretend doesn’t exist.

Not that I haven’t thought about her. About what might have happened if I hadn’t moved to Israel at seventeen.

I spent years imagining this parallel life. While I was getting in screaming fights with drunks at various dive bars where I worked in south Tel Aviv. While I was teaching yoga in Berlin.

I’d imagine the me who stayed. Who committed to her writing. Who ended up in New York or Chicago. Who wrote pieces for the New Yorker and did odd little indie projects and collaborations.

And then I gave her up.

Realization #3: I’m completely wrong about Realization #2.

Uh uh.

I realize that this imaginary writer person I am always half-mourning does not exist … and that Writer Me is actually always wherever I am.

It’s like, I had always thought that Writer Me was my unfulfilled self.

The me-that-would-have-been. The grand, tragic story.

But it turns out that Writer Me is with me all the time — about two feet above my head, as it turns out — inventing hilarious things to write about.

And slapping her knee and guffawing, if you can imagine someone doing that in this totally dainty way.

Realization #4: My allies and helper mice deeply appreciate something about me that I am not even aware of.

I realize that they’re laughing with joy and merriment.

And now I know why they’re laughing.

It’s because to them it’s obvious that I want things to be funny.

In fact, they think that I intentionally (or subconsciously?) gravitate towards ridiculous situations because Writer Me enjoys them.

They’re amused and entertained by my marvelous, tumultuous, goofy-ass life. And they are here, in part, to help me enjoy it more. To appreciate it more.

Of course, if I ask them for more calm and grounding and quiet, they can do that too. But if I’m not asking? They’re pretty much just going to sit back and enjoy the show.

Because it’s basically the best situation comedy in the world.

Realization #5: Writer Me pushes me into bizarre situations so that I will be forced to write about them.

She knows that I avoid her. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to put up with me not writing.

In fact, I suddenly understand with perfect clarity that if I spend more time with Writer Me, she won’t have to invent such crazy scenarios to make me write about them.

It’s as though she’s almost forcing me to write.

And then she said that. To me!

“You know what your problem is? You don’t want to own me. You won’t even admit that I’m this huge part of you. You don’t even call yourself a writer.

You call it “blogging” and pretend it’s just this thing you do for your business. You hide from the world.

Well, guess what. I make sure your life is so interesting that you can’t not tell people about it. In words. That you write. That people read. So there.”

And then she stuck her tongue out at me.

And went back to typing furiously and snickering.


Realization #6: I don’t have to make everything so complicated all the time.

Because yeah …

Maybe things can be funny and sweet without always having to be so hard and so bitter.

Maybe I can let things happen with more ease.

Maybe Writer Me and I can work together on some projects.

Maybe she can help me keep writing and keep seeing the funny … but without it all having to be so ridiculously chaotic all the time.

And maybe there are more realizations that are going to clear stuff up around this and I don’t have to figure it all out right this second.

So I’ve been practicing asking for what I want to receive in the comments — if you feel like leaving one, you totally don’t have to, of course!

Here’s what I want:

  • Reactions. Reassurance. Things from your own life that this reminds you of. Realizations of your own if anything is coming up.
  • If you have a Writer You or a Dancer You or a Scientist You or whatever who shows up on occasion, I would love to know what they look like! Or sound like …

Here’s what I would rather not have:

  • Judgment/observations about how crazy I am. Or about how obvious and predictable this all is. Or, you know, casual backseat psychoanalysis.
  • Shoulds.

My commitment.
I am committed to giving time and thought to absorbing everything that people say, and I will interact with their ideas and with my own stuff as compassionately and honestly as is possible for me.

Thanks for doing this with me! I am totally hesitating over the publish button on this one, but what the hell.

59 Responses to Scissors. Part two.

  1. Zia says:

    You’re brave. I wish more people were like you, especially bloggers.

  2. Deborah says:

    I have an “Always Rational” part of me that comments, very calmly, on the absurdity going on around me.

    An example: when I was in labor with my youngest, it turned out I needed to be in a different delivery room from the one I was in and I needed to be there SOON. I was very far along and trying desperately not to push or even breathe with my diaphragm (difficult after 11 years of choir.)

    So, the nurse notices as we round a corner that I have a death grip on the railings of the bed. She says, very sweetly “Oh honey, you should let go of the railing before you get your fingers crushed.” Mmmm, wracked with pain I glared at her and ran through a delightful string of obscenities in my head.

    But at the same time that Always Rational part of my mind said (still completely in my head, while the obscenities were running) “Do you want me to have the baby right here in the hall, because that’s what’s going to happen if I let go, dear.”

    Always Rational is closely related to my Inner Writer.

    Good on you for finding your inner writer, Havi! Way to go!!

  3. Hi Havi,

    The combination of your post and Hiro’s post yesterday totally shifted some HUGE stuff inside me, so I poured it all out into a blog post of my own. I didn’t want to hijack your comment box with such a long response. But I do want you to know that you *directly* inspired this post of mine:


    I’m honored to share my reactions and realizations with you!

    Jess xo

    Jessica Reagan Salzmans last blog post..This is real, this is me. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

  4. […] Anna-Liza here. You may have noticed my girl-crush on that I really enjoy¬†Havi Brooks? Anyway, this post of hers got me thinking about my “other selves”. Not in the “Sybil” sense […]

  5. Tracy
    Twitter: verdissage

    Havi, I have to add these two quotes that the Universe brought me this afternoon (after my first comment), as I was cleaning and packing in preparation for a Big Move (literal & cross-country).

    The first quote is something I had written in a “creativity notebook” I kept six years ago when I was on the brink of another Big Move (figurative & identify-shifting). This notebook contains all sorts of goodies that I exactly need right now today!–a gift from my past self, who was a lot wiser than I give her credit for.

    And the second quote is from a song on a mix CD that a wonderful old friend gave me last week, a song that happened to start playing just as I was leafing through the creativity notebook.

    They’re both about singing what you need to sing to be fully alive:

    I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.
    – E.B. White

    All I could eat was the poisonous apple,
    And that’s not a story I was meant to survive.
    I was all out of choices, but the woman of voices,
    She turned round the corner with music around her–
    She gave me the language that keeps me alive.
    She said: “I’m so glad that you finally made it here,
    With the things you know now, that only time could tell.
    Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are.
    And oh, …aren’t we aging well?”
    – Dar Williams

  6. Shannon says:

    I’ve been out of town for a few days. I first read @JessRs’ post and then caught up on reading your blog.

    This post affected me on a deep level — brought up tears of recognition and sadness for my hippy-dippy beautiful Inner Writer. She wears flow-y skirts and a scarf on her head and she’s passing out daisy chain necklaces and giving kisses to complete strangers. She’s strong, too, speaks her mind and her truth freely and unabashedly. Swears. (A lot.) She loves herself so much, has no fear, only love, allowing, surrender, joy. She flits from thing to thing, and she is loved for this bumble-bee spirit she has.

    She and I increasingly play together. But I do have my hang-ups. I’m thankful that she’s wise and her eyes twinkle with humor and gentleness as coaxes me out of the veneer of perfection and distance I can sometimes hide behind.

    I have an Inner Artist, too. She’s a bit more haggarded and neglected from lack of attention, but she’s there, too. She’s quirky, with paint-stained jeans and hair with streaks of blue and pink and a messy studio in a loft.

    I’m committed to playing with both of these beautiful parts of myself more often.

    Thanks for the chance to publicly name that.

    P.S. I have always considered you a first-rate writer. And in this post, especially, I love how you so brilliantly share what you discovered — it opened me up to seeing my writer and artist more clearly too.

    Shannons last blog post..Poppy Posies: A Week of Flower Wisdom, Day 5

  7. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    I love that Writer You brings “drama” and “funny” together. That’s better than drama alone. But it sounds like your realizations may lead you to have less drama+funny and more funny alone, which is even better!

    That’s another post I have to come back to later because I want to read all the comments!

    I also have to come back, because I know there is a Something Me somewhere inside, but I just can’t identify it right now. Foggy brain really sucks – and I’m so fed up with it!
    Oh boy, the dam burst, lots of tears coming up. Something just connected, I think. Something Me may have something to do with Foggy Brain.

    That’s kind of a huge realization. Thanks Havi for facilitating it. Signing off: I’ve got some thinking to do on that one.

    Josianes last blog post..Traveling Muffins

  8. Ruth says:

    I have an inner dancer. Her name is Vivi (short for Vivian). She speaks in a thick Eastern European accent and is a huge flirt. She doesn’t care if men judge her for her looks because she knows that she looks so darned hot that they just can’t help themselves. She feels sorry for them really. She always wears her clothes just a little too tight because she likes the feeling of the fabric on her skin. She likes to sometimes put on a twirling whirling skirt over a leotard so that she can spin and swoosh and dance around like a little girl pretending to be a princess, only she’s sexy about it, and knows that she’s not a princess. At least not in an entitled spoiled sort of way. If she is a princess it’s in a weirdly normal she abdicated the throne because it would have been too stifling to be surrounded by all that pomp sort of way. But she secretly likes the pomp sometimes because it lets her be shocking. She does dearly like to shock people. Not in a mean they need to get over themselves condescending sort of way, but in a funny show them what life could be like if they wanted it to be sort of way. She loves to be scandalous. Deliciously scandalous. As in everyone one else wore pastel to the party and she shows up in fire engine red because she can scandalous. And she loves to dance crazy all alone, whirling twirling out of breath and just loving her body and how it moves dancing. And if I’d let her, she’d dance like that in front of people too. But I’m afraid to be scandalous, so I don’t let her. And then she pouts. And wonders what it is about the way her body moves that I don’t like or find unattractive. And then I wonder why I wake up in the morning and can’t find a thing to wear. One day, Vivi and I will make peace and I will let her out whenever she wants. And we will laugh. And dance.

  9. Molly says:

    Francesca. Her name is Francesca. She’s a professional intellectual living in Paris, or Florence, or Barcelona. Something to do with the History of Art. Maybe an expert in eighteenth century damask silk weaving techniques. Or Boucher. She is who I would have become if I even vaguely had my shit together. If I’d studied Art History instead of Law… If I’d stayed in England to finish my degree… If I’d been brave enough to catch the night ferry to Amsterdam with my friends. She is clever, self-contained, erudite. Not much self-doubt, but a lot of curiosity. Fundamentally at ease with her life choices in a way I am fundamentally not. Able to put her energy into doing what she does, rather than looking for something to DO.

    I’d like to say I have my regrets… but my new favourite quote is ” I have regrets, and sometimes, when no-one is looking, I throw them into the air and I dance”

    So yeah, I’m dancing instead :)

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