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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is brilliant. And big. And beautiful.
I love the way your Writer Self rocks this stuff. And I’m pretty awed by the way you come to these realizations. While having stitches removed, no less!
I’d probably be drooling on myself in fear, trying to get my happy place with the quickness. And you’re splashing in a big pool of wow!
You’re all kinds of awesome!
This did remind me of my Writer Self. He’s the one who helped me to get the book done. And then somehow, despite having a real live book published by a real live publisher, I told myself I wasn’t a writer.
It was a fluke. A one-off thing. A not-so-big deal.
But I saw my Writer Self again recently. He’s a real character. Who speaks the words he’s writing out loud. In a British accent. (I’m not British.)
And he’s got a serious case of hyper-focus going on. He talks to him self a lot too. A lot of “Right! Right!” and “YESSSS!” and “Erm, no, no no.”
He drinks pot after pot of tea. And smokes a pipe. And while he writes furiously – looking half crazed while he’s in the process – when he’s not writing, he’s quiet. And he looks at people with these quiet eyes. And he just listens.
It’s nice to remember him. And to read about your fabulous Writer Self. And all of the awesome realizations you’ve had. While getting stitches taken out, no less!
You rock. And I’m really glad you hit that publish button.
What a fun, quirky post, Havi. I have a dancer me who shows up occasionally. I have always dreamed of being a dancer. Instead, I just do silly dances in the kitchen, and my boyfriend and my parrot laugh at me. That’s enough, I suppose. 😉
I hope that you grow more comfortable with Writer-you. You’re obviously a great writer, and blogging is just as serious a commitment to writing as anything else.
I love how Tinkerbell thinks it’s funny too. And how funny things show up that you just *have* to write about them.
Foe me, it’s an inner actress. Gorgeous wardrobe, flowing hair, a deep, mysterious spirit who can speak the voices and emotions of the ages.
Give her a stage and lights!
Instead I work in my jammies at my computer, alone. (thinking) That might be something worth looking at. I’d like that actress to have a role – a bigger part in my life.
Thanks for the learning as always.
Hahaha – you do bring a lot of the funny, it’s true.
It’s true of Writer Me, too – I can be in the most *ridonkulous* situation (see “speed date last weekend”), and it can be sucking so hard, and I can also find it totally hilarious and be thinking about how I will tell the story, who will enjoy hearing it, and anticipating their enjoyment in the listening and mine in the telling.
I love love love your “Writer Me” as a fairy who floats a few feet above. It’s a kind of witnessing, this being-a-writer business – the Tinkerbell-type manifestation is a beautiful metaphor.
Germinationals last blog post..Germinational: @LenKneller Douglas! I saw a whole HERD of fireflies on my way past the community garden tonight. They were single-flashers.
I love this, the recognition that those other, potential selves really aren’t separate, but are in fact part of us right now, along with their little typewriters and buns held together with pencils.
This right here is what really strikes a chord with me at the moment: “Maybe I can let things happen with more ease.” Instead of a New Year’s resolution, this year I chose a New Year’s theme: flow. Moving with the tides and currents instead of fighting them. Learning to relax and float and seeing where it takes me, rather than digging in and tiring myself out by standing still. Your realization is a reflection of that concept, and really reinforces what I’ve been working on for the past six months.
Lori Paximadiss last blog post..it was seven years ago today…
Hee! Artist Me wants to draw a picture of Writer You, giggling so hard she spins around with little feet kicking in glee. We’ll see if I can make the time for it today, so that Artist Me doesn’t sulk and refuse to finish my tiger. 😉
Amy Crooks last blog post..The Exercise Conundrum
I have Dream Companions — people who show up in my dreams and just kind of walk along with me and watch me watch things. Sometimes one of them will look like someone I know, or knew in school; sometimes they will just be sort of shadowy. I figure they are another part of me, there to help or just keep me company. One time I had a weird, elaborate dream that involved me being in some sort of trouble — I was in a van, being hostaged away somewhere, and out the window I saw someone I recognized from a class I was taking at the time. Later I was wondering and wondering why I saw him of all people and why he was so recognizable. I kept thinking, “Why did I see Haven? Why HAVEN?” (Which was his name.) Then it dawned on me…(small “duh” moment)and I realized that at the end of the dream, I did in fact escape my dilemma.
Judys last blog post..On being productive
Like Lori, I’m resonating with your Realization #6 (I don’t have to make everything so complicated all the time.)
The more I pay attention to the complicated areas of my life, the more I see where I’m the one keeping it complicated.
I’m sure you know this already, but your helper mice are totally cool.
Oh, sweetie, you are SO a writer! A brilliant, dancing-across-the-multidimensional-universe writer.
And that’s why you didn’t stay and write precious little pieces for the New Yorker.
Because you and the world both need your great, big, inclusive, evolving vision, and the New Yorker just isn’t big enough to contain it.
Hello there, you gorgeous Writer You!
So much love,
Hiro Bogas last blog post..The Art of Belongingâ€“Happy Birthday, Canada!
I love how you are able to separate all the pieces of you and examine them independently. We are all multi-faceted but some of us have a hard time focusing on single facets. That’s one of the things we love about you: your ability to focus. Your life is no more strange and bizarre than ours…. you just have the ability to recognize it when it happens. Personally, I only realize I’ve missed the opportunity to find the humor in those situations in retrospect. You not only see the humor right away, you foresee the chance to share it with others in the future. That is just another reason so many of us find you endearing. Keep up the great work.
steve weavers last blog post..Ponzi, Pyramids, MLM and YOU
Why on earth would you *not* think you’re a writer, Havi? I’ve thought of you as a writer since I started hanging out here. I know you do other stuff as well, but your writer self seems like a sizable part of you — to me, anyway.
Another wonderful post, my dear writer friend.
Catherine Cantieri, Sorteds last blog post..Land of the free, home of the Sorted
I’m not sure I would have found you if you’d been writing anywhere else. You have enriched my world, and the worlds of all the creative people around me to whom I’ve shown your blog.
I read your blog BECAUSE you are a writer, not just for what you say but precisely because of the way you write it. I love your insights, my mom and I talk about your posts like you are a wise and fun friend who somehow always knows what we are going through, can articulate it and provide solutions. So thanks for that.
I have a secret Writer Me because I am married to a writer and I don’t want to upstage him, though paradoxically, he knows all about that Me! If I did get published? He would be the happiest for me. *sigh*
Lizs last blog post..4th of July Staycation?
From my Journal Sept 16, 2008 –
Dancing Girl: Out here (on a page with no lines) Oh, wow, out here I can swirl and swing and shout.
[another unnamed voice]: If I’m so f*** creative, then why don’t I ever write and publish anything?
Dancing Girl: (in a thoughtful, bright voice) That’s a very good question. (pause)
Bully: I can see you now, but nobody else can. You are innocent, delicate. (firmly) You need protecting. I, THE BULLY, will PROTECT YOU.
Dancing Girl: (Tee hee) hi bully. How you doin’ today?
[… a page or two later in the journal]
Dancing Girl: Bully, Bully – come on. We have to gooo. I’ve found the way. At least I know where to start. Commmeee oooonnn.
Bully: But, where are we going? What will we eat? How long will it take? Where will we sleep? What about the bad people on the road?
Dancing Girl: Bully, we have to start now. I don’t know the answer to all these questions. But you have to come too. You have to help me stay on the road, and protect me if I get spacey and try to leave. You are so strong. I want you to come and help me get us to where we are going. It’s really, really important. You have to come. We have to go. I don’t know the answers. Please come. Please. Will you come with me? I need you.
Bully: Yes, I’ll come. I don’t understand. But I’ll come.
So, Havi. Dancing Girl, who, it turns out is a bit of a writer, delicate, and flakey, is hard to take your eyes of off once you see her dancing with whatever she is around. And Bully, dark, not very good with words, heavy, and a little overprotective. A very odd couple. Yes, they live with me. It explains a log. There are others too, but this conversation resonates so with your post today.
Thank you for reminding me of this conversation. I reminds me that I have been on this journey (starting a solo-entreprenurial blog/business) for quite some time.
Merediths last blog post..An Entrepreneur’s Story About Changing Tactics
Good grief Havi, you are a writer! A writer with a unique point of view and your own voice that is yours and yours alone.
I think you asked for similarities. Here’s one. I have been known to tell stories about things that happened to me that are true, but maybe ummm not embellished exactly but enhanced in the telling, heightened, accentuated. My sister, if included within the story, has been known to say: “HEY! That’s what happened, but it’s not what happened!!!” (And in a way, she’s right.)
So yeah,it’s the writer’s prerogative (and right, and duty) to tell/illustrate/dramatize/interpret/illuminate a tale in whatever way seems to fit the material, the audience, the day. Because that’s what writers do to life day in and day out with their heart and mind and voice!
All that is difficult sometimes and it’s no wonder people shy away from or circle around being writers and living that kind of rich but busy life and sharing it so publicly. How human!
What do I shy away from and duck out of? being an actor, of course. LOL
Barbar Martins last blog post..How to Outsmart Perfectionism
Saturday Night Fever Me.
Saturday Night Fever Me is always listening for the Thump. Even when the Thump is next door and I turn into Grandpa-I’m-gonna-call-the-cops, there’s a little Saturday Night Fever guy inside who is ready to… move. Move the thing. Shake it. Whatever.
The funny thing is, I’m actually a good dancer. Mom was even a dance teacher but I spent most of my childhood pretending to hate dancing to avoid being pulled into one of her classes with my – gasp – girl classmates from 3rd grade.
Saturday Night Fever Me comes out now and then, but mostly he stays hidden.
He came out last week when we were visiting Seattle. We were at the Experience Music Project, which is this fantastic place where you can watch videos and listen to musicians and songwriters talk about their background and how they came up with their stuff.
So I’m standing against a wall in a very large room listening to Diane Warren (80s songwriter) talk about her experience writing “Rhythm of the Night” for El Debarge.
So this song is so cheesy by today’s standards, but at the time it was hot, hot , hot.
After she talked about coming up with her little piano intros and how it launched her career, they play the whole song.
Saturday Night Fever Me busted out.
So here I am, doing this wacky 80s dance thing in the middle of the Experience Music Project all by myself, hoping that Jenni and the kids would walk by.
Yes, I was mostly trying to get a laugh. They walked right past without seeing me. Damn!
I almost stopped when I notice this very serious-looking Mom with her little girl, staring my way with Great Concern.
The girl was dancing and kind of laughing. Heh heh. I wrapped it up and left before security was called.
Why doesn’t Saturday night Fever Me come out more often?
I don’t know. Embarrassment, mostly. I’m not always in the mood to be seen getting a groove on, ya know? Unless it’s for an easy laugh so I have an excuse to be feeling the music.
A part of me thinks about how I could have become Saturday Night Fever Me in real life and had some kind of dance career. The thought was there.
It’s not really sad that he’s mostly hidden. I kind of enjoy it. Letting him out gets easier as I get older, but it’s still hard because I don’t want to be laughed at for the *wrong* reasons.
As an artist and animator, sometimes I have to drag Saturday Night Fever Me off the bench so he can help me create a character or a movement. Otherwise, he’s just sort of useless, hanging out and getting fat sitting at a table in the corner.
Havi, you are a brilliant writer! Why on earth would you think you aren’t? I read your blog because it’s written so well and because it’s funny, yet I learn something from it as well. Not many people have the ability to write funny and bring a message across.
And yes, maybe I should just slap myself in the face now and scream to myself “and that counts for you as well young lady!”. I love writing and have been writing my entire life. I even studied journalism because of my passion for writing. Instead of becoming a journalist, I decided to follow another passion being webdesign. It’s great as well, but I sometimes miss writing and I don’t spend enough time doing it. Lately my little writer is starting to pop up a lot, even in the most awkward situations. I haven’t seen him yet, only heard him. And yes, he’s a male, while I’m a female. I don’t know how that works, but that’s the way it is. He’s trying to encourage me to write something: a short story, a novel, a blog, maybe even this comment and as soon as I start writing something he seems to relax and starts saying “yes, this good, this is how it should be,”.
I hope he’ll stick around for some time. I like him. 🙂
This reminds me of my own FWID* (friend who is dead) and not what he gave to me, but rather what he told me I didn’t need anymore. Ten years ago he said, “give me your watch.” And I did, because he’s my friend. And he told me that I wasn’t getting it back until I realized that time wasn’t the thing I was made to slave after…
I haven’t worn a watch since. I also finally realized that I never wanted to work the 9-5, corporate lifestyle I’d been striving for all my life. Like a firefly, I set time free; it’s no longer stuck in a tiny box laden with quartz and metal, dying on my wrist. We have a much better relationship, time and me.
*The very hard (couldn’t wait until tomorrow’s chicken): my FWID committed suicide October 2006. My father committed suicide May 1998. (Soapbox warning) This is what’s coming up for me as I read/write this: I feel like suicide is one of the last holdouts on what people aren’t “supposed” to talk about. We now talk about mental health issues. We talk about cancer. But it still seems that suicide is taboo.
But Havi knows how it is. And I know how it is. And I bet that so many people around know how it is too, but might be afraid to ask for what they need because of the social stigma put upon those who are “left.” And it’s not easy (it pretty much sucks). And you can’t fix it (it’s pretty much permanent).
But we are not alone. And we will always remember.
It is so cool that you share all this wacky stuff. I find it liberating for myself. It expands the space I have opened for myself, makes it way more flexible. So that when something really weird happens or appears in my head, I don’t feel inadequate or roll my eyes at myself.
I have a rock star self. She has long dark hair, plays the hell out of the guitar, is confident and calm, and finds infinite joy in the teamwork that is a band. And she parties (like I used to).
And then I have a feminist academic self. She got a PhD and is a college professor now, teaches gender studies at a university full of nerds (like the one I went to!). She has an office overflowing with books but not too messy (like my thesis sponsor had), wears her hair up, pants and turtlenecks, is reasonable, helpful, patient, productive, confident, and super bright. She has a steady, medium-pitched voice and does wonders with her students. She is happy with her life, calm, and has found her place in the universe.
The third is a women’s rights activist. She works for an international women’s rights organization and travels the world helping set up shelters, organizing educational programs, intense awareness/self-esteem/self-defense workshops, and doesn’t run out of energy because she’s optimistic and productive. Not the kind to see much crap that she gets saturated and collapses. She has also found her definite place in the world. She goes everywhere, actively making the world a better place. She’s happy and has found her place too.
#2 and especially #3 are still possibilities. Who knows?!
Ohmygod, this is so fantastic!
@Sparkyfirepants – I LOVE Saturday Night Fever You. That sounds so perfect. And actually, when you were describing it, I was thinking “oh, of course – I can completely picture Mr. Pants being all about the dancing!”
I *also* have Saturday Night Fever me and she does not get out to play nearly enough. Though recently she dragged my gentleman friend out to a swing dancing workshop and that was crazy great.
We should have a Portland dance-up instead of a tweet-up!
@Jen Hofmann – wow!
I had no idea. Though yeah, that also makes sense to me. You’re such a terrific teacher and you have so much presence. Maybe we should all start having a dress-up day once a week or once a month like your Office Spa Day.
Where you wear your glamorous actress clothes to work and I do my bun and my fabulous skirt. Or dress like a pirate. That would work too.
@Meredith – that is just the coolest thing ever. I LOVE IT!
@Liz – oh, wow. Super interesting. And it’s so fascinating for me how even when everyone else is giving us full permission to “do the thing”, it’s still completely challenging (and/or impossible) to give that permission to ourselves. Or to internalize it.
Not able to say that succinctly, but you know what I mean!
@Judy – Haven! That is a beautiful story. I have goosebumps! Haven.
@Fabeku – I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me that your Writer You is British and smokes a pipe. That is so so so great. You rock, sir.
@everyone everyone everyone – yay. I love that you do this with me and hang out with me and let me be weird when things are weird … and then you don’t even think it’s weird, which is (weirdly) even better. Whew.
Oh boy, it looks like your Writer You is really a pixie-tinkerbell wee one. They totally love to pull your hair and then hide, or apparently to create not-so-funny funny circumstances and then laugh anyway.
I think I have a Writer Me too. Every now & then I let her out to play, but recently with blogging, it’s shifting a little. I always thought I would write novels. But now I’m called to writing things that would impact people in a different way, through raw food.
Actually, at one point I wanted to write a novel with main characters who ate raw food, and/or worked at a raw food restaurant. It really made sense to me then, and who knows maybe one day that will happen. Until then, raw food blogging & “how-tos” it is. 🙂
Say hi to your pixiedust sprinkling Writer You for me, she seems like a nice friend to have. 🙂
Nathalie Lussiers last blog post..Why It’s Easier to Go Raw Than To Become Vegan
Havi, my jaw dropped when I read the part about you denying that you’re a writer. YOU ARE A WRITER, and a fantastic one at that. I keep coming back here because of your stories, observations, and insights. And Selma, of course. 🙂
Also, “should” is an evil word. It should be outlawed. (Oops. I said “should.” Dagnabbit!)
The only realization I have to share is that it’s okay to “get myself out there” more, be it online or in real life. The fact that I have a website that’s not just an online portfolio with a picture and my real name is huge. Until last year I hid as much as possible. I thought — and still do to some degree — that people in general are hurtful. It’s better to hide and stay safe. Now I know that some people are cruel, but not everyone. Most people will pleasantly surprise you when you give them the chance.
I’m finding a lot of these little tinkerbells after I read your post and the comments. The biggest realizations were, I think, that
1) there are several little tinkerbells I’ve been carrying around but that I’m not letting out to play enough;
2) most of them (like Rock Singer Me, the one with black eye makeup and a raspy, cackling laugh) try to get out every now and then but a sophisticated cage mechanism detects them before long;
3) thinking of all the little tinkerbells caged up somewhere in the back of my head and neck brings tear to my eyes;
4) I don’t know what triggers the cages, but I want to (not the “sh-” word) find a way to defuse them for good.
Sari O.s last blog post..Letting go
I totally have a Writer Me, who is also sort of Irresponsible Me — wearing clothes I Don’t Wear and rocking them like I enver could, saying things I Don’t Say (and there’s not a lot I Don’t Say), doing who and what she wants when she wants and coming out fresh and clean. I credit her with the fact that I got my Master’s in Journalism, but my Everyday Self took over after six months of post-degree unemployment, so here I am as a cube-monkey at a Large Corporation. And Writer Me sits there and yells “Look around at all the people who were irresponsible and have what you want! You did everything right and here you are! Where’s your precious payoff now?!” Which is a really good question.
But then there’s also Minister Me, who is sort of Idealized Me — generous when I’m selfish, patient when I’ve had quite enough, thank you, and very, very calm. Minister Me is fine with Delayed Gratifcation (Writer Me is not), but sometimes tsks at me for not having enough Faith in the payoff. She’s the little voice in my head that says maybe I should have gone to seminary, but it’s OK because I can always do that as a second career after I retire, and maybe marrying a Catholic woud get in my way but being a Deacon still totally counts so I should consider that at some point, too.
And yes, Minister Me is a writer, too (someone has to give the sermons!), but she’s not the Writer.
Laura Gs last blog post..Help us pick our wedding song — Round Two (part 2)!
Oh how I LOVE that image of your tinkerbell, writer self hovering above you snickering and madly typing away. And of COURSE you are a writer…… and a FABULOUS one at that. And it’s so wonderful and inspiring to see you owning her more and more.
It’s funny, cause I’ve been writing about the whole alter ego thing and Fabeku and I were kind of playing around with this yesterday on Twitter. So mine is the creative cowgirl spiritual adventuress.
She is brash, she is feisty, and she is so incredibly joyful that she just fills the room with bright, wildly colorful, creative energy. She’s also very outspoken and says what she thinks and her heart is huge, huge, HUGE….. full of compassion and love and wisdom while she kicks your ass. She is smart and goofy and imaginative and is just completely herself without caring at ALL what anyone else thinks!
As I write this I realize that truthfully, I’m already kind of this way, although it took me close to 50 years and a million dollars worth of therapy to get here. But of course there’s always more. What I need to do now is to let her be even BIGGER than she already is. Which really scares me. But it’s what I’m trying to do with my writing and just becoming more visible with my work. The next step is to show more of my paintings which is a huge risk cause talk about trippy and weird!!!
And to finally spring for those extravagantly expensive Virgin Of Guadalupe cowboy boots!
Thanks for the great exercise! You are a constant source of joy and inspiration in my life.
chris zydels last blog post..ARE YOUR ART SUPPLIES KEEPING YOU FROM BEING CREATIVE?
You are certainly a writer, you put words together into magic that makes people’s soul hum. And I love reading your thought processes, it’s always nice to ‘not be the only one’.
Mine is a Writer, it’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to be. Like Havi I can’t really survive the day unless I get to write for awhile. The Writer has nails cut to the quick, for faster typing, and very short hair so that it’s never in the way. She spends several hours in bed every day, on her stomach, writing in a doze – because I write better in that state of mind. All kinds of things come out. Writing is the thing that makes her worthwhile, makes her whole, makes everything in life worth experiencing.
To this day, nothing makes me feel as good about myself, or as happy to just be me, as writing does.
Annie Blues last blog post..List of the Currents
When I read: “You don’t even call yourself a writer. You call it “blogging” and pretend it’s just this thing you do for your business,” I thought, of course, you’re a writer. But then I realized I often make the same writer vs. blogger distinction about myself.
After the 1st segment of this story, I was wondering why you didn’t stop her and ask for someone else, but reading this, I totally get it.
My writer self isn’t a separate entity so much as something that inhabits me when I write. Or conversely, pulls me out of myself so I can observe the crazy of a situation I’m in from a more neutral (and often amused) vantage for later reference.
claires last blog post..The nature of art and creativity
You are ridiculous.
Havi, I’m so glad you published this – thank you! It is one of my new favourites of your blog posts. I remember I originally found The Fluent Self through some other blog I’ve long forgotten, where you were listed under the heading “People I Want To Be When I Grow Up” and it didn’t take me long reading your stuff to feel the same way about you.
I’m still searching for My Thing, but it’s so nice to see other people have people living in their head too – I usually feel like such a freak! My Warrior Self is strong, gorgeous, coordinated, and her first reaction to trouble is usually to slice someone’s head off with a sword. She is passionate, unlike little over-intellectualized me. I like her, but she scares me too.
I want & need to think there’s a Writer Me too, but I’ve never spotted her. 🙁
A tweet from yesterday kind of goes along with this:
Went on a walk to get away from it all only to realize that All was with me.
Dave Thurstons last blog post..The Board
I like to believe I never shied away – consciously – from stuff due to fear. But I still ended up with a lot of little unfulfilled fairies dancing around my head, the writer, the dancer, the “not a mom” independent woman…
My life has had so many choices… Part of the path not taken always stayed with me, as a regret. This post showed me that I don’t need to be concentrate on the regret, those parts of me I thought I lost long ago came along with me. And I can “revive” them if I chose to see them as positive. 🙂
I think I have one of those. It looks like a little fox and it’s quite annoying because it is really not who I want to be at all.
Though though thinking about this there are probably lessons to be learnt about this…
Pauls last blog post..I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life
just stumbled onto your site(s) two days ago and it already feels like a loooong friendship. You (and Selma, of course) spread so much fun, wisdom, and energy, it’s hard to imagine how I survived before.
Really, really great stuff.
Writer? Yes, you are a writer. You have big poet part in you, working brilliantly in tandem with a kick-ass comedienne. I simply love your style. Seriously.
Concerning my other Mes… Well, I never thought about it this way, but it totally makes sense.
There are at least:
Curious Me: Always on the lookout, always obverving, asking, learning. I think, one of those brillant and adventurous boys I read about as a child.
Cautious Me: Trying to keep me out of trouble. Moved in late in my life after I made some serious errors. Quite a bit overprotective though. Looks a lot like me – minus the laugh.
Confident Me: Walking upright, a bit bigger, slimmer and fitter than me. A bit of a pirate actually. Space pirate that is. Slept for long times during the past, but has been chipping in a lot more lately.
Dancer Me: Shy. Doesn’t go into full power when other people are around but seriously rocks through my apartment – with wireless headphones on, of course. He wouldn’t want to annoy the neighbors.
And last but not least Writer Me: Enjoys the flow of words and figuring out how to explain things to others. Quite torn between showing everyone how good he is and being afraid of being rejected. But Confident Me is having a positive effect on him.
My ___ (insert deity of choice), what a crew. Brilliant, in fact, but a bit disorganized and working and cross purposes. Well, we’ll shake that pattern up when the “Dance of Shiva” package arrives 🙂
P.S.: Everyone commenting this post strikes me as a writer. Great crowd. I’ll hang around a bit, if you don’t mind.
I have a lot of conversations with myself. With this other part of me. I don’t know a lot about her – I wouldn’t call her a writer per se. She’s more like the Wise Woman. The one who’s making sure I do and learn and experience what I need to. I haven’t listened to her much lately. Now I’m thinking I should. It’s hard to just be and just listen with my two kids loudly demanding my attention, but that’s partly just an excuse I have, I think.
Anyways, this spoke to me. This other part that I pretend doesn’t exist, or is somehow separate but maybe really isn’t at all.
Ambers last blog post..Saying Goodbye
OMG I love your description of Writer-You! Can I be in love with her, just a little bit? Because I *adore* what she makes you create.
This reminds me of the deeper parts of myself that are always setting up scenarios where I have to confront and heal things I’d rather not. Mine don’t have their own names and identities yet, but I know they’re there. Even when I hate that they’re there, of course.
I’m glad you published this one 🙂
Eileens last blog post..Gumshoe’s Guide to Getting off the Couch (Introduction)
I think your Writer-Me and my Writer-Me are sisters, because that is exactly what my life is like. I am always the one that these kinds of things happen to, so I always have things to write about.
The cool thing is that the people around me are now able to see situations from my screwball-ey perspective, and they love my story-telling so much that there’s always like, “You should totally write about this! You need to tell this story!” so that they can read it and laugh. Even if it’s a story they already know, from having just lived it themselves.
Writer-Me is also a big help to have around when things get challenging (like with my illness and stuff), because she distracts me from thinking about how sucky something is by getting me to think instead about how I can turn it into a funny story.
Jenny Ryans last blog post..And This Is Why I Would Be The Worst Contestant Ever On “The Amazing Race”
I don’t comment a lot but your posts are my favourite ones in my google reader :), I definitely look out for them. They make total sense to me; more sense than so-called newspaper articles or academic writing. This is about hearing and listening and writing and knowing yourself.
I did some reconnecting with my fiften-year old self a few years ago, without knowing about any techniques or ever having heard of them. She just showed up, sat in the chair opposite of me and the room was filled with her presence and our moment. I apologized to her and told her I felt sorry about the stuff she had to go through; that I was sorry I could not take care of her then. She totally excused me and proceeded to kick my ass about losing some aspects of me that she rocked. Like fearlessness. And following your heart no matter what the consequences. Believing in what you feel. Kicking peoples asses when they are dead wrong and hiding from themselves. And taking your convictions to the very end.
I had buried her when she had a hard time. I had moved on to a more distant, more rational, less entangled and engaged self…. A Self that was fun to explore, too.
Asking my fifteen-year old kick-ass emotional self to come back into my life, however, was an empowering moment for me. The air was filled with acceptance and chemistry and something which is not really power but it’s… strong and intense and very present.
Then, just last year, I realized that my character “Edna the witch” was the strongest part of me and someone I should wonder about. I am still working on that one.
Thank you for sharing and for opening up this part of HSP-life to discuss 🙂
Havi, your Writer Self is totally rocking one! Please tell her that I love her and that she makes me so happy!
Somebody here also want to be mentioned: My Painting Self.
I usually refer to her as my Asocial Self, because she never comes out to play. Actually it is me who locks her in, because I don’t think she’s good or smart enough to go out. I keep her like the Weird One inside, and she appreciates the solitude of it.
So usually we both stay in, her in my head, and me not going anywhere, and she ends up creating these whole worlds for her in my head, cuz she can, and I stay outside that world “Because that’s just temporary and doesn’t serve a purpose”, and I hang outside there in the Real World with my Judging Self and my PoorLittleMeImSoStuck Self.
So today morning, I stay alone there in my head for a while (the two mentioned Selves haven’t woken up yet). And I’m brushing my teeth and opening the shades, and I feel sooo good! Like someone made out the whole world for me to now wake up and play in!
I accidentally peek in to see what it is that my Painting Self is up to, (actually not so accidentaly, cuz I see something’s happening and I can’t resist, beautiful music and sparkly colors and sounds of joy coming below her doors!), and what I see – she is on a roll! Like with your Writer Self, she is little, but the world she creates is enormous!
And I jump in to this crazy beautiful world, where I’m good enough how ever I do my stuff, and everything is functioning, and there’s nothing that can be so bad that I’d ever have to feel bad about myself again. (on the outside, I am spontaneously dancing around the flat, and whatever I do is with such a joy it looks like a private ballet)
So my breath is taken away and this huge amount of joy scares me, and I jump out quickly to my outer world, to get a breath of the Usual tastes, and – the Usual is not there! I mean it is, but it’s totally different! It’s all Good and similar to the world inside! And while catching a glance of myself in the mirror dancing, I look ridiculously good while at it.
And it hits me like a brick on the head, and I feel such joy that cannot stand alone, so I wake up my honey and start sharing my discovery: “Honey I solved it all! My problems… Of course honey I am so afraid to sit down and paint or sketch, of course I am afraid to even start and afraid of other people, afraid of world – it is because the part of me that CAN sketch is always hidden in the other world I created for it! I lock her down when I want to get real! I should just let that other world exist as well outside and create some things in THAT world, and it will be okay, because if they were made well in one world, its not like they will not be good in the other, I mean they DO coexist in here!” (Pointing at my head, and kind of losing the thought in that second.) Honey is sleepy and confused, but smiles from ear to ear and is happy for me and my fast speaking enthusiasm.
So today to read your Scissors post, that was such a treat of this morning’s super smooth feeling, and I want to thank you Havi, and your little helpers for getting me there!
All my crazy love,
p.s. I was so afraid to post this because it sounds too crazy and is too long, and I haven’t commented before and…you get the point, and then, I saw haw happy it just might make someone who gets any sense in this rambling.
The Me that’s most important to me is not so much a Creative Me. It’s Library Anna. Who gets to spend *all afternoon* just wandering around the shelves. Who is quiet and wondering. Nobody knows she is hiding out in the library except for me and you guys and the kind, eccentric Librarian, who knows well the quiet wondering ways of the library.
Library Anna is (still) age 9-14 with long messy hair and the sweater-jeans-and-converse combo I made my way through college with. The Librarian is one of my actual old librarians (they work in shifts) – the horn-rimmed one who wrote limericks with me, and the cellist/storyteller one.
The part of this post that was most important to me was “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.” Thank you, thank you for that.
And hear, hear, Hiro! I adore the New Yorker but I am so glad you’re here instead.
dear Pirate Queen,
finding your writer me, sounds a lot like finding some cool buried treasure.
i’ve been finding some in me over the last couple of years. the biggest was Rock Star Me, which kind of blew me away with how obviously i was stuffing music in every crevice of my life, but never opening my mouth.
the other was Porn Star Me, which has blossomed as i’ve explored the (internal and external) parts of me that were ashamed of enjoying sex for numerous reasons.
and now i sing and play.
thanks for all your posts. i lap them up daily and you inspire me tremendously with your honesty!
chips last blog post..touching up
I love your allies and helper mice! This reminded me that I used to have a Story Teller Me. I went through a period where I seemed to attract lots of ridiculous things that would happen to me. They were stressful at the time but they made wonderfully fun stories. This made me realize that the Story Teller Me hasn’t been around much lately and I kind of miss her. Maybe I should wake her up.
On the other hand, Scientist Me is almost always around, analyzing, questioning and investigating things. Interestingly enough, sometimes Scientist Me can be almost as entertaining as Story Teller Me. Course I just realized that maybe Scientist Me and Story Teller Me are collaborating.
Thanks for this!
Sydneys last blog post..Rooftops in the Negative
look what a blog post accomplished today. 🙂
I’m still at work so I can’t stay long, but reading this post and these comments throughout the day has been so encouraging and eye opening to me.
I have my skater chick that I immobilized. She is the one that everyone recognizes on the street and has random friendly conversation with. She is happy and healthy and has the most perfectly fitting comfy jeans. She moves easily through all sorts of social groups and doesn’t flinch at harsh judgements or nay-sayers. People are drawn to her confidence and happiness. Her wheels have gotten crusty and an early morning skate park session is calling her name. that clickclickclickclick cachunk wssshhhhhh clicklcikclick is a haunting rhythm….
My artist.. oh. she is deep and pondering and so good at exploring the true meaning of things. she is a dreamer and quiet and likes to work in solitude. she hangs closest to my vivid childhood imagination and keeps it alive and well. she is awestruck and wants to share her wonderment with the world. she trusts her hands and eyes and senses…it seems I do not.
My traveler that never was. *sigh* she went to Paris and met my family, saw the chateau, used the 200 year old silver. She spent hours in the museums and ate her weight in bread and cheese, drank lots of cheap wine. She went to Africa and met Diop’s family in his village, played soccer with the kids and gave them toys. She saw cheetahs, zebras, elephants and the lions roaring at dusk scared the bejessus out of her as she hunkered down in her treehouse under a mosquito net. Thailand was a tropical wonderland and the food was amazing. Surfing in Costa Rica was thrilling…
Born Again me has the biggest heart of all. Compassion for others in pain brings her to tears. She has a grateful and humble spirit and thanks God/Jesus/Holy Spirit constantly for their grace,love and guidance. She always has hope and comfort in the bigger plan God has for her. She can always find peace in him. There are physical words to turn to. Nothing can match the experience of worship. To sing out loud and and be overwhelmed with being so loved that you can’t help but cry joyfully. She has absolute assurance and a solid foundation, unshakeable Truth and a community of other believers to stand with and confide in.
Born Again me died in 2000. she is buried way down in there, but maybe she is more of a zombie and scratching at the coffin, because I hear her loud and clear even though we don’t agree on a fundamental level anymore.
Wow, Havi, I have this weird feeling of … empathy and compassion maybe? … about you not admitting/claiming being a Writer! It’s a hard thing, I guess, even though we write (this “we” includes all of us who do that). Wow. And you’re such a terrific, funny, insightful writer and I wish there were other words that didn’t sound so cliched to describe you and your writing. You cut right to the essence for me, every time, and I get to laugh too.
I have *lots* of Other Selves. I frequently refer to myself (in certain contexts) as “we” and “getting all of my selves aligned”. Here are a few that are most familiar to me (and easiest to describe).
Dancer Me is close to the surface. I love to dance and can usually “let her out” whenever dancing happens. She’s in better shape than I am currently, looks more like I did in college as a drama major with lots of dance classes. Down to the leotard, the hair in the ponytail, the old cardigan and the legwarmers.
I am currently knitting a pair of sexy legwarmers (no really, they are sexy). Could be related.
English Teacher Me: She has a name – Amanda Louise. She looks a lot like a sister to your Writer You – slim skirt, hair in a bun. Glasses. She definitely has a sense of humor, will tolerate a lot of leeway in spoken language and casual writing, and she has no problem with the invention of new words to convey new flavors of ideas, but she gets *really* pissy when people use the words “action” or “architect” as verbs. She has a red pencil and isn’t afraid to use it. She’d be a good “Jeopardy” player in certain categories.
Rock Star Me: Black leather. Long curly hair. Tattoos and heavy eyeliner. High heeled boots. You know the drill. Mostly a singer and bass player, but she monkeys around with drums pretty regularly and isn’t above the humble cowbell. Has a thing for lyrics that actually mean something. Frequently transforms into Lounge Singer Me – sparkly heels, slinky dress, long earrings and (of course) a microphone and a baby grand to lean against.
Writer me? I’m still not certain she exists, but now I suspect that she does and I’m trying to ignore her. She’s probably not Amanda Louise, but they talk a lot and have coffee together frequently. Or maybe she is Amanda Louise and just keeps this part a secret!
You know what? I think this is going to turn into a blog post!
Anna-Lizas last blog post..Pollyanna Has Some Sense After All
My Writer Me is an 11-year-old girl who got shamed by her teacher for one moment of wool-gathering in class, at which her teacher accused of her having been “sitting there dreaming up stories.”
It was a pivotal moment, a betrayal, and the first instance of me turning from “impractical” art to practical matters.
When I started to heal and reclaim my voice as a writer, I imagined that little girl sitting with me. The Me of Then wears homemade corduroy skirts — especially a Kelly green one — white knee socks and white sweaters over a white oxford shirt. I consult with her on ideas and treat her like the colleague that she is. I give her the respect that she didn’t receive then.
RhondaLs last blog post..The things I do for horse racing …
Thank you, thank you for this post.
I have always been terrified to call myself a writer, while quietly scoffing at those who refer to themselves that way. How self-indulgent!, I thought. But really, it’s just gutsy, and they have a sort of courage I don’t, and I’m jealous of it.
My Writer Self is eight, running her play-calloused hands over the splintered wood of a playground. She’s there, at the exact moment she realized she was a writer, narrating everything she does in the third person. Sometimes she calls herself by another name. Sometimes she’s in another place. There are always adventures.
And in my real life, there have always been adventures. Writing-worthy adventures. And even when I do write them, or blog about them, or put them in a cookbook–after which I still wouldn’t call myself a writer, because hey, it’s not a real book!–I still wasn’t a writer…
So thanks Havi, for your post. It lit up this bit in me that realized the only thing keeping me from embracing the Writer title is pride. Or perfectionism. But I think that eight-year-old girl is stronger and humbler than those things, and I think she’s going to start making more appearances.
Joys last blog post..Letter from a Vegan World
I am so completely in awe of all of you. Wow.
I don’t even know what to say. Breathtaking. And inspiring. Really.
Also, @djuro – you said “I saw haw happy it just might make someone who gets any sense in this rambling” and I KNOW it did. It made me happy too and I get it and it’s beautiful, so thank you for that!
@Jens – you are so right! Everyone here has such talent and also such sincerity. I love that you’re going to be hanging out here with us too.
Oh, yes! Your Writer Me is so very present in every post! And she is so very creative as well as funny, so profound as well as lively, so very human!
It really hit me when you realized she is always with you, and always has been, wherever you’ve been. Because I did the same job on my Writer Me, relegating her to that unfulfilled self I left behind too long a go to ever resurrect. And I started my business as an excuse to write a newsletter (later a blog, as well).
You have such gifts to offer the world, Havi! I’m coming to believe I might, too. I appreciated the help you gave me over my stuckness on Molly Gordon’s Shaboom County call, and I’m looking forward to meeting you in Taos at the workshop in a few weeks.
What a wonderful life!
Lynne Tolks last blog post..Overwhelm – and a little help from my Higher Self
If this experience is going to result in even more of your writing for us to read, then I am very. Excited. Indeed.
Chloe Walkers last blog post..chloewrites: Why do the websites of young, up-and-coming fashion designers always force you to view the pictures in an utterly retarded way? Grah.
Although I am a newbie to your blog, in the last two days that I have been here, my life is being turned right around from reading your posts.
I recognised myself in your story. I am always tearing around like a whirlwind, knocking things over, hair in disarray whilst muttering “why do these things ALWAYS happen to me?!” Ah.. it is all so clear now!
My Writer self is standing in the background, tapping her foot impatiently asking me ‘When do you think you’re going to get around to doing this writing thing? Cos the ideas are backing up here and one day you’ll be buried under the avalanche.”
Busy Me – “Yep yep, in a minute.. I just have to get this work thing done, clean the house, ring the family..(insert unending list of busy-ness here)..”
Writer me raises an eyebrow ironically from the doorway – “Uh-huh.. sure thing.. I might just go for a walk. Not sure if I’ll be back. There’s a lot more interesting things happening out there than here. Give me a ring when you’ve sorted that “Busy Stuff” out..”
Yikes. She was just about to leave when I read this post. Luckily I finally decided to get off my butt and write something.. even if it is “just” a reply to your brilliant post.
Thanks Havi and the rest for inspiring me to stop finding excuses not to write. Oh.. and Havi you are so so not just a blogger.. a writer you truly be.
O wondrous Pirate Queen,
I sat down to see this post in my email inbox just five minutes after watching “Mamma Mia”–watched it with someone else (someone I love dearly) despite my indifference because she wanted to see it, but I was riveted and moved by the time it was 20 minutes in…because one of my secret inner selves is a Dancing Queen. She’s 10 years old and lives in a purple leotard and sparkly legwarmers, and she knows what she loves and does it because it’s fun, and she isn’t scared (yet) of what other people will think. She knows the words to all the good songs and she sings them at the top of her lungs because it feels good, and she makes up spontaneous choreography while waiting in line in the cafeteria because why not make life more interesting?
I have been gradually allowing my inner Dancing Queen to show up in little tiny ways over the last few years–but I have to admit that I am embarrassed by her. She is unprofessional, and silly, and will ruin my chances of being taken seriously. And also–she’s so little and vulnerable and wide-open…I’m afraid she’ll be destroyed. So I keep her in a secret bubble. Sometimes, with people I trust, I talk about her–but I don’t let anyone see her.
I keep thinking of something James Taylor said- to play your music for others, because they need to hear it, and you need them to hear it.
Thank you, Havi, for the heart-touching post, and the bravery of publishing it, and the timing–when my heart was open enough to hear it.
Turned into a long comment again, but I simply had to write again, strange and serious stuff is happening these two days. I’ve been using the long Magical Procrastination-Dissolving Fairy Wonder Dust as my ritual as part of 2-5-1 technique. And I’ve been reading around this blog, especially this post.
Yesterday, while going shopping, I had an immense phycical reaction, my legs turned into jelly and I had to stop walking for a few minutes. After that, it was as I had forgotten how to walk. Very strange.
Later that same day. Again I go out to meet someone and – lo and behold – I’m walking more upright, more confident, more centered than in a long time. Confident Me came out to explore and conquer the world!
And then these comments: I suddenly realized (thanks RondaL), that I had some very powerful experiences in school and at home when I was in fifth or sixth grade. Both totally put a block on expressing my playful and creative self in public. There were no bad intentions from the other party, I realize now, but it still stopped me. Luckily, I found some other ways to express myself, but only in protected environments like on stage or doing stuff for others. But very seldom for myself and its own sake.
How sad. How liberating.
And even though I feel sad and angry about all these lost opportunities, I’m allowed to feel sad and angry about these lost opportunities.
Thanks for this wonderful and strange (and wonderfully strange) community. Part of myself has finally found a family and a home, I feel.