In My Birthday Suit (pic inside)
It’s my birthday today and I’m getting naked!!
Okay so that’s about all the skin you are going to see, but when I say naked, I mean it. Here’s a list of everything I can think of that I don’t want you to know about me.
- The real reason I started my business is that I have been fired from almost every job I ever had and I didn’t want to go through that again.
- I’ve lost and regained around 100 pounds so many times that it’s hard for me to accept your compliments. I’m paralyzed by the fear of gaining it back.
- I hate it that everyone thinks I have my shit together because I’m a hot mess. Also, please note, I want you to think I have my shit together.
- People I really respect have accused me of being a sleazy over-promoter; and even though I know my marketing efforts help authors get their message out into the world, I lose a lot of sleep over this.
- This year I sent a one-time email to a big list of coaches in a mortifyingly spammy way (my assistant accidentally put their email addresses on the CC line instead of the BCC line, I KNOW I KNOW). I forgave her almost instantly and then took to my bed for 3 days deciding whether or not to kill myself or just close down my business.
- A lot of the time I am not very compassionate towards myself.
- I’m a (non-practicing) cutter.
- I’m terrified to be happy because I’m afraid of the crash when it ends so sometimes (err… ummm most of the time) I keep myself just a little unhappy – on purpose.
- I miss being fat because I could attribute all my problems to one, little, totally solvable situation.
- Turning 40 last year freaked me out and for about 12 months. I turned into someone I didn’t respect and I treated the people closest to me like complete shit.
- I’ve spent well over $100,000 on coaching and therapy and I’m still dealing with a lot of the same issues as I was when I started my personal growth journey in 1992, which most days I find completely unacceptable.
- When I turn off my phone and laptop I usually have intense physical feelings of panic, loss and extreme anxiety.
- I worry that I’ve burned more bridges than I’ve built.
- I am extremely uncomfortable on the phone, except when I’m coaching a client.
- There are a handful of people in this world I love deeply and miss horribly on a daily basis.
- I have ended friendships that weren’t serving me and had people end their friendship with me because it wasn’t serving them. I find both experiences equally painful.
- Things aren’t easy for me (I know you think they are – you’ve told me so in person and in email more times than I can count, but they aren’t and the fact you think they are bums me out more than you can probably imagine.)
So there it is – MY BIRTHDAY SUIT! In less than 500 words I’ve told you just about everything I can think of that I don’t want you – my prospective clients, colleagues, partners and friends – to know about me. Many of the items on this list my closest friends and family don’t even know. A few of these items have never been uttered out loud.
This is where my shame sits.
But today I’m 40-effing-1 and I’m taking off my shame soaked suit. To celebrate this disrobing of sorts, I’ve got a couple of presents for those of you who have your own Birthday Suits to show off.
First up is my favorite poem – no, it’s not from Rilke or Hafez or Mary Oliver — my favorite poem is by Jewel. It’s called Long Has a Cloak. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Long has a cloak of coarse wool
and wet feathers smothered my
Long has doubt and a thorny chain of
caused my vision to stagger
Tired of my purple burden in search
I have longed to throw off the gauze
curtains and kisses
which bind me
My mouth so full of berries and
other people’s tongues
my heart sick with thick hands and spittle
(but there a secret I don’t tell you)
I have dulled my spark and weakened
so I could continue to stay where I
I did not flourish
(There. It is said.)
To stand new in the naked air
with no crutch, no pretty eye
I leave not only you
but also the part of me that
fears my own song’s truth
For my birthday this year I’m giving myself the gift of facing my own song’s truth – and I’m giving you the gift of letting you hear my song.
This month, for my birthday, I’m going to stay on for an extra hour and take any and all questions from members and non-members alike about writing, publishing and promoting your book. Whatever is standing in your way, I’ll help you remove the obstacles to becoming an author.
The call will be from 12:30 – 2:30 ET on Friday March 28th. This is your chance to ask me anything – and if your timing is right, you might even get to sing me a round of Happy Birthday.
Here are the call-in details: Dial: 760-569-7676 Code: 353499#
So I’m dying to know… which of my Birthday Suit confessions shocked you the most? Drop me a note and tell me and I’ll write a detailed blog post about the one that gets the most comments or questions.
I’d love to hear from you, especially if any of this struck a cord for you. You are not alone.
P.S. This post is dedicated to Susan Hyatt who taught me The Art of Not Giving a Fuck, fellow birthday girl Lisa Tatge who made me brave enough to write this post, and my heart-brother Mike Hrostoski who makes me braver every day.