very personal adsPersonal ads! They’re … personal! Very.

So my itty bitty personal ads made me realize that it’s time to make a regular practice of trying to feel okay asking for stuff.

Even when the asking thing feels weird and conflicted.

Ever since I posted the first one asking my perfect house to find me, which united me with Hoppy House, I have been a fan of the madness that is personal ads.

And now it’s my weekly ritual. Yay, ritual!

A love letter this time.

Because The Fluent Self is celebrating a birthday today. And it feels like kind of a big deal. So I’m writing it a letter.

My dear sweet love,

It is five years today since I knew you existed. A few months later when you first got your real name.

And four years today since we marched into City Hall in San Francisco and made it official.

I felt as though I was holding you in the palm of my hand, trying to grasp how something so fragile and so special could breathe and exist in this world.

Like if someone breathed too hard, you would be gone. Whoosh. A dandelion in a gust of wind.

But I was wrong.

You may have been a tiny, sweet thing, but you were also a force to be reckoned with. So much power. So full of surprises. The best possible birthday present to me. Every single year.

And look at you now.

Your success provides me and Selma and my gentleman friend with a beautiful, safe place to live and everything we need. With a kooky, bizarre, fun, meaningful life.

With this space. This gathering of bright, interesting, silly people who are my people. My right people.

And you care for me as much as I care about you.

And you are pure possibility.

Oh yes. You are my pirate ship and I am your pirate queen. We can go anywhere together, because you are the fastest and — when I am with you — I become the smartest and the silliest and I can imagine anything.

Who would have thought? Not me.



I knew nothing about business. Nothing.

But you needed to live. And thrive. And do crazy, wonderful things in the world.

Also, I really needed to not live on the street.

And so I learned. We didn’t have any money so I threw myself into reading everything I could get my hands on.

Remember? How many ezine-thingies and online newsletters we devoured? How many stacks of business books from the library?

The classes at the Small Business Association. The freebie teleclasses from various biggifiers. The binders of notes and piles of scribbled ideas.

It was two years before we actually bought anything. A class with Andy. It was awesome. I was too scared to speak during the calls but I took notes on how one day I would teach mine.

I remember.

I remember when I was too embarrassed to hand out business cards without adding oh I’m such a corporate whore sell-out sorry that I have a business card I know it’s gross I’m sorry.

I remember when we’d get six people on a teleclass instead of six hundred.

And when it was terrifying instead of fun.

I remember doing things the hard way. I remember staying up too late and getting up too early.

Forgetting to take care of myself. Forgetting to live by what I wanted to teach.

And of course there were shoes thrown at us. Each time the period of paralyzing fear and agonizing doubt that followed got shorter…

But it took a hell of a long time to even notice that.

We’ve been through a lot of scary together.

Like when we produced the Procrastination Dissolve-o-Matic. It took months. Just the hugest, craziest most intimidating project.

And I was so afraid we’d never finish and I’d have to die of shame. Or possibly of boredom from everyone I met making “oh, are you procrastinating on your procrastination book” jokes.

Then it was done and only a couple of people bought it even though it was on sale for practically nothing (in retrospect possibly because it was on sale for practically nothing).

And my monsters were horrible and bitchy about it:

What’s the point why do you even bother doing anything since no one appreciates it anyway and it probably isn’t even any good and you’re wasting your goddamn liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife.

Except that then the people who had it were getting these amazing results. And changing their lives in cool and completely surprising ways.

It’s now our most popular product by a lot (even though my own personal favorite is still the Emergency Calming Techniques package). So. Just goes to show ya.

Yeah. I know. It was me who was worried. You, my sweet business, you were fine. You were always fine. I’m the one who concocted all the drama. You just did what needed to be done.

Regrets? Sure.

I’ve made some decisions that weren’t the wisest.

I haven’t always been spending as much time on the bridge as I would have liked.

There have been times when I relinquished my sovereignty and let other people or situations run things.

I have cried myself to sleep. I have overworked us into Emergency Vacations. I have screwed up with people and with things and with commitments. I have lost friends.

And we’ve learned.

Thanks to you, I know how to write a terrific apology letter. Goodness knows I’ve had enough opportunities to practice that one.

We’ve been on German television. In the New York Freaking Times. Done Shiva Nata in unlikely and inappropriate places.

And get this — I can now write a killer sales page in under fifteen minutes. Except that I still can’t say “sales page” without having to throw up a little.

So I call them hats. Yes, hats. It stands for Havi’s Announcing a Thing. HAT. But you love me for that so it totally works.

Thank you, my dear.

You. The Fluent Self.

So much more of a bad-ass than I give you credit for. And so much fun.

You can stand up for yourself now. You can talk to me and show me where you want to go. We can have madcap adventures together. Whee!

Here’s to the next five years, honey.

My commitment.

To love you.

To appreciate you.

To take care of myself so we can love each other up for many more years to come.

Thank you for changing every single thing in my life.

And thanks to all of my commenter mice and the Beloved Lurkers and everyone out there who is a part of my business in some way. I love you all too.

Progress report on past Very Personal Ads.

Just to update you on what’s happened since last time.

I wanted big forward progress on my Playground project. And got it. Though a lot of it happened in my head rather than on the ground. But that counts too. Good stuff.

And I asked for lots of questions for my teleclass on shoe-throwing. Which I got. In spades. Thanks, guys!

The last thing was about transition rituals for birthdays and such. Got a ton of excellent suggestions. And have been coming up with some of my own. So we’re good. Yay.

Comments. Since I’m already asking …

I am adding to my practice of asking for stuff by being more specific about what I would like to receive in the comments.

Here’s what I want (just leave them in the comments):

  • Your own personal ads, small or large. Things you’ve asked for. Or are asking for. Or would like to ask for. Or updates on last time!
  • If you live in Portland and you think you might have met my Playground space, please let me know!
  • Celebrating with me for this wonderful thing that I want!

What I would rather not have:

  • Advices.

Thanks for doing this with me!

The Fluent Self