Let’s Get Waxed

I laid on the waxing table with my knees spread, trying to keep my tears hidden under the fluorescent lights.

“Why are you doing this to me?” I heard…


I first got body hair around 11 or 12 years old.

I didn’t really notice it until one day in gym class, my friends and I sat in a row with our legs out in front of us. We were observing the stubble on our shins. Some of my friends had dark stubble, some had softer stubble, some barely had any, and others, like me – hadn’t shaved at all.

“If you ever feel like shaving your legs, don’t,” my mom told me a year or so prior to my friends leg hair competition in gym class, “let me know and we will get you waxed instead so you don’t get stubble like me.” Her legs were kind of prickly like some of my friends.

So later that afternoon, when I got home from school, we made an appointment. The idea is that waxing over time destroys the hair follicle and actually makes the hair stop growing or grow lighter. The next time my friends and I compared legs, I won the smoothest.

“They’re so soft!!” They exclaimed. “Did it hurt?”

“Not really” I lied. 


The first time I got my bikini line waxed was summer after high school. My friend invited me on a cruise with her family and neither of us wanted to worry about shaving in a tiny cabin bathroom and I didn’t want to irritate my skin shaving every day. Bumps and stubble along a bikini line are not cute… I remembered from that day in middle school that stubble = ugly.

I’ve been waxing since – even though I hate going to the appoints because as you can imagine, having hair ripped from your genitals in chunks fucking hurts.

BUT I was conditioned to HATE my body hair. And I’ve learned how to breathe through the pain of the strip. (Literally, you do breathwork to minimize the pain you feel – it doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me!)


So last week, my 1034th time (or something like that) at European Wax Center, I walked in confidently, made friends with the front desk girl & chatted a bit with my specialist as she did my eyebrows and waxed my lips.

It was my first night back in like 2 or 3 months. Which is a LOOONGGG time since I normally go every 3 weeks. In that time I’ve been doing a lot of work emotionally and spiritually and also A LOT of traveling & moving around.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been here” I warned her.

“Hey there’s nothing wrong will all natural” She pulled the first strip and my chin started to quiver.

I managed to hold myself together long enough to pay and walk out to the parking lot before I totally lost it. The cries that came out of me sounded like they belonged to a scared 10 year old girl. My whole face was wet & each inhale was sharp and I thought I might work myself into a panic attack in the parking lot.

Then I heard it again, “Why would you do this to me?”

Recently I had been learning a lot about “the inner child”. It’s this idea that everyone at their core is this little boy or little girl that wants to play, be creative, explore and be loved. However, as we grow up we tell ourselves “no I don’t have time I have to work” or “no I can’t do that I have other responsibilities to take care of.” Denying our selves of the freedom and exploration we crave makes us miserable. I had just started to learn the ways that I shut myself down when this happened.

Over the last 2 or 3 months, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to accept more love for myself and embracing this childlike side of me.

For the first time, I heard little Annabelle speak to me, “Why would you do this to me?”
I didn’t know what it meant.

I just knew that for the first time, getting waxed felt like I was being punished.
I felt like I had been tricked or lied to.

The truth is, every time I look in the mirror I have to practice gratitude for the body I have and what my body allows me to do – otherwise, I get stuck in a self-loathing pit of doom and the insecurity leaks into everything. And if you want to know the things that adult Annabelle does not have time for, it’s self-loathing and insecurity.

My only explanation for this meltdown is that by after almost 3 months of practicing gratitude for my body JUST the way it is, I rid myself of the insecurity I had about my body hair, and then suddenly, I was back in the waxing room, submitting myself to a world of pain to get rid of a part of me I had grown to accept. 

I started waxing because I wanted to be pretty. 
I wanted to be confident.
I wanted to be desirable.

It was something I did because I felt ugly and part of me, I think, accepted it as punishment or penance for existing the way I was made.

Over the past few months, I’ve learned that body hair isn’t really that big of a deal. That a zillion years of evolution left body hair for protection, for warmth, and for comfort.

Over the past few months, I realized that personally, I don’t really care if I have body hair or not.

For the record, I don’t blame my mom for making my first wax appointment, she was preparing her daughter to live a culture that would be cruel to her for keeping her body hair. She was trying to make it easier for me to live in this world.

The sad part about this story is that I still feel like it’s something I have to hide. I know my culture doesn’t like to see women with body hair. And I don’t know if I’m brave enough to shock people with my hair yet.

I hope one day we will raise our daughters to embrace and celebrate themselves and each other. The way they are, the way they were made. And That they take ownership over their own bodies and only remove or alter hair because they want to, not because they feel like they HAVE TO.

Lesson #1: You Deserve It

The first time we kissed, we were laying next to each other, with the back doors of his converted sprinter van opened wide. The night sky had wrapped itself around the mountain tops and the cool air moved to the sounds of crickets in the dark.

I dug through the archives to find this photo – the actual view from the van. 
It is the day everything changed.

When his lips touched mine, my insides started screaming. It felt like my heart grew arms inside my chest and were pounding its fists against my sternum as if to say “STOP!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!” 


He pulled away and tears welled up in my eyes. I started sobbing, and his eyes grew so big I could see them clear as day even though we were in the dark. Worried he had done something to hurt me, he pulled me close.”Oh no, what’s wrong? Did I do something? I’m so sorry.” He wiped the tears from my cheeks. “Talk to me. What’s wrong”

I was mortified. I was overwhelmed. I was stupid.


“I”m so sorry” I managed to choke out. “I just – you’re so wonderful, you’ve loved me so well through our entire friendship, and I just – I’m so messed up. I’ll mess it up. and I don’t want to hurt you.”

Over the next 6 or 7 months, I would wrestle with this belief that I didn’t deserve real, beautiful authentic love.

But what really matters in this story is not what happened, it’s what didn’t happen.

I didn’t run.
Something told me to stay. 
That really quiet voice in the back of my head – and a conversation with my beautiful friend Johnnie helped me relax.

“Let a good man love you, Annabelle. It’s the most amazing adventure you can have”
This was the beginning of a true saga. A series of lessons and a period of growth that is nowhere near finished, but after nearly a year of this adventure, I’m ready to start sharing the lessons.

This is Lesson #1 – the first lesson I had to learn about real love. Whether you believe it or not, you deserve to be loved. You are made to love and be loved. This is a GOOD thing. Lean into it.

To hear more about my love story and journey so far, check out the conversation I had with Sophie Kowk, the founder of Love Intently on their podcast!

Love Intently Podcast: 
Episode #19 Moving to a Secure Attachment Style
Dec. 30 2018.
Link to Spotify | Link to Itunes

Thank You

Feminists are often mistaken as “Man Haters”.

And because I call myself a feminist, I also like to emphasize that I love, respect and admire both men & women equally. (Feminism MEANS the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men – READ THIS) 

Except after my last “situationship” went south a few months ago, I’ve been really jaded. I felt myself slowly slide into man-hating and I started to blame eveything on men, and thought that my life would be a lot better without them.

My professor in college told us that our experiences shape the way in which we see the world.
He told us that your expereinces are like bugs that fly into the windshield when you’re driving. They alter what you’re able to see, sometimes blocking your view.

So if you think about all of the expereinces that have gone “splat” against my view of the world, it makes sense that I got jaded…

I was raped by a man.
I have been talked down to by men.
I have been lied to & used by men.
I have been manipulated by a man.
I have had my dreams squished by a man.
I have been honked at & catcalled by men.
I have been sexually assaulted by men.
I have felt worthless because of the way men have treated me.

Men, have made my life way harder than it needs to be and hurt me in so many ways. These experiences have created a reeeeally nice layer of bug guts on my windshield, and after so many hurtful expereinces with men, I started to feel like I would never meet a good man in this world.

Dramatic I know, but remember my windshield was dirty, and any time I thought about men, I couldn’t see clearly – only a dirty windshield.

Last week, I assigned homework to our interns to write Thank You notes to three different people. I made it my homework to write each of them a Thank You note as well, and as I was writing, I thought it would be nice to write a note for each of the two men I work with too.

One of the men is Kelby,
and when I sat down to write Kelby’s note, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for him.

Kelby is disciplined, listens to loud Electronic music, works out so that he can “look good naked” (his words),  is very organized, clean, and leaves a lot of space inbetween you when he gives hugs.

I realized that he is a beautiful example of what a good man can look like – not becuase of his taste of music or love of working out but because of the way he’s treated me. And because of him, it’s impossible for me to be a “man hater” because to be a “man hater” I would have to hate all men, and I don’t hate all men because I love Kelby.

In my note to him, I thanked him for making me feel respected, heard and valued always. I thanked him for his vulnerability, his loyalty and for the way he communicates. At the end of the letter I asked him to hold on to these qualities, even though the world might tell him otherwise, because they make him an amazing man.

I made Kelby read the note before I left that day, and when he got down to the bottom of the letter he smiled, and gave me a hug. This time, with no space inbetween.

That day, I realized that we don’t celebrate our men enough. We don’t celebrate and thank them enough for the qualities that make them good humans. And I think we should because our culture constantly tells them that hyper-masculinity is the only way to be a man.

So I decided to write down a list of men in my life that I love and admire to write thank you notes to.
And that list is now longer than the list of men who have hurt me.

This has been one of the most healing things I’ve done.
Who knew that Thank You Notes could make such great windshield wipers?

Skeletons In My Closet

Photo By: @AlfieFriday
“When health is absent, 
Wisdom cannot reveal itself,

Art cannot manifest,

Strength cannot fight,

Wealth becomeS useless,

And intelligence cannot be applied.” – Herophilus


In my Instagram post, I said that “beyond physical health, there is also spiritual, emotional, mental, environmental, and social health.”

I want to go deeper into that…


Spiritual health is not just whether you believe in God or not, it’s about how you focus your energy. It’s about your pillars of truth and the things you believe in that keep you grounded. This is the center from which most of your decisions come from.


Emotional health is not just being happy, it’s about learning how to live with the things you feel and channeling those emotions out in the world in constructive ways. 

Mental health is your mindset which is influenced by chemicals in your brain and also has a very strong connection to your emotional health.

Environmental health is your physical environmental which is composed of a lot of things you can & can’t control. The things you can control are things like cleaning your room or organizing your desk. Things you can’t directly control include the amount of pollution in your city when a wildfire burns near your home, federal rulings on health care. 
I also want to add time management in here too. Learning how to influence your environment and the power you have to change it by how you spend your time is important too.

Social health is about the people you keep around you. It’s about all the different kinds of relationships you have and whether or not those relationships are lifting you up or dragging you down. Also, it calls to question how you treat others, which is directly related to mental and emotional health.

In reality, all of these things are very connected to each other but in modern medicine, we don’t talk about these connections as much.

Story Time
On my Instagram post, I mentioned how I’ve been saying no to a lot of things. 
It’s because I’m trying to gain strength, in my mind, body, soul, environment, and friendships to prepare for life after graduation. To slowly transition in order to give me the best shot in conquering my goals and dreams.

And I wanted to share how empowering that has been, especially after today -which is the first time I’ve really noticed it. 

Today, I chatted with a friend of mine who is also an ex-lover. It has been a few months since we’ve spoken to each other and after catching up, the conversation turned to where it used to always go. Sex. 

But today was different. 

I didn’t want to. Like I really didn’t want to even though I knew how fun it would have been and how good it might have felt. I know my heart is somewhere else and I wanted to respect that. I didn’t want to muddy the feelings I have or make it more complicated. I also didn’t want to share myself with someone I didn’t have feelings for anymore.

But I was afraid to say no.

And that’s kind of weird for me considering I am usually pretty good at doing what I want and speaking my mind. It weird for me to feel like I couldn’t tell the truth.


So I sat back with that feeling and asked why. 
That’s when I realized that I was afraid of saying no because I was afraid of not being valued. I was afraid of him getting mad at me and not wanting to be my friend anymore if I didn’t give him what he wanted. 

Well Shit.

That’s not a good reason.
I come first! 

It’s not selfish – I don’t want to have any kind of relationship with someone who makes me feel like I can’t tell the truth about the way I feel or speak my mind without him getting angry.

So I siked myself up. I told myself I was strong. I reminded myself of the commitment that I made about clearing out my life this season, which means saying goodbye to old habits and bad energy and clearing the way for the good stuff. And lastly, I reminded myself that I’d be perfectly fine (probably even better) if I didn’t have sex with him.

So I replied honestly. Instead of making excuses I told him I didn’t want to because my heart was somewhere else, but I did want to hang out as friends.

He flipped shit. 
Told me I teased him & toyed with him.
I told him I didn’t mean to – that I was trying to make a decision and that I was afraid to say no.

I WAS AFRAID TO SAY NO. *Red flag*
That part didn’t register with him.

After an angry phone call, he blocked me & 
I didn’t care.

I felt empowered.
I didn’t even cry.
I was proud of myself.
I took control of my body and my feelings and did what was best FOR ME.
And there is nothing wrong with that.


Of course, I felt bad that he felt so bad about the whole thing, and I felt bad that I bruised his ego. But if he really meant what he said he loved me as a person and friend then I would have expected him to respect my decision in a respectful way. He has no rights to my body – no one does. So to act the way he did was wrong.

Anyway, it was just another step I took to take care of myself in this new season.
I have also stepped back from my job, which has left me more time to strengthen my friendships and also prepare mentally and emotionally for what may lie ahead. I’m making an effort to strengthen my spiritual health by reading books, praying regularly, and listening to podcasts. I’m working out regularly, getting rid of a lot of my clothes, furniture, and possessions. 

And I’m doing it all because I want to be the strongest I can possibly be for the next phase of my life – and it’s working! I’m feeling better about myself and more rooted every day and I can’t wait for my next journey to begin.

The Point

I wanted to write this to remind you, the beautiful, strong, fierce, woman or man reading this, that you CAN say no and that it is okay.
You don’t have to convince yourself that you want it.
You don’t have to do it.
You CAN walk away.

Whether it be a draining job, an unhealthy relationship or a toxic environment, a bad habit, or whatever it is holding you back.

I’m taking care of myself now. And I love myself a lot. And it took me a reeeeeeaaaaally long time to get to this point, but it’s so worth it.

If you can’t think of anything that is holding you back I suggest you do some self-reflection because the things might be more invisible to you. 


Once you can see it doesn’t have to control your life anymore.

It’s like leaving a sock on the floor and then walking by it so many times that you forget it’s there – it becomes a part of your everyday life. It’s not until you decide to clear your floor that you realize you were stepping over it every day.

We have to listen to the way we feel in different situations and hold tight to what those feelings are telling us. Ask questions, dig deeper.

Imagine where you want to be or the kind of woman or man you’d like become and make the decision you think that person would make. Manifest what you want and say no to the things you don’t need or don’t improve your life/make you happy.

You deserve the best and you deserve to be healthy, but most of all you deserve your own love. 

The Day I Became Normal

Photo by: @Jackbolga
New York, New York

I hate the word normal.

Because normal is relative.
Because it’s not a consistent scale to base our judgments on.

What I really mean is healed, free from poor mental health.

I went to therapy for a long time after I was raped 3 years ago. I took a break for a while and then decided to go back about a week before I got into my accident because I was starting to feel depressed again. I kept wondering what was wrong with me. Something didn’t feel “normal”, and then when I had my accident, I ended up laying in bed for a solid week even though I had no physical ailment aside from the light burn on my left arm.  I felt like my reaction wasn’t normal.

But an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is in fact, natural and normal. 

What is the “proper” reaction to feeling like your stuck in a place you don’t belong, living out your life for other people, and then witnessing your car get totaled by a drunk driver from the inside? 

Answer: There is none.
Becuase everyone processes situations differently in their brain based on their life experiences and about 10000 other things.

Anyway, fast forward a few months and about 4 therapy sesssions. I’m feeling better, & probably a little too excited to get this last semester of college over with and freakin graduate already.

I went to therapy last week, told her about my winter break and then started to tell her about my therapeutic goals for the semester when she interrupted me – “Before you tell me your goals, can I give you some feedback?”
“Yes of course!” I said enthusiastically. (I love feedback.)
“Well from what I see, you don’t have much to work on here. There’s no sign of mental health issues at all.”
“What?” Tears welled up in my eyes immediately.
“You don’t need to come to therapy anymore Annabelle. I even have a hard time writing my notes sometimes.”
“Are you serious?”
 ” Yeah! You have struggles, just like anyone else, but you are more than capable of handling them! I see no reason to keep you here!”

I laugh-cried.
She was surprised to see me cry & I told her it was because I was relieved, and felt so grateful that she told me. I didn’t realize how much weight I had been carrying from feeling “abnormal”. It was like someone finally checked under my bed and in the closet and found no evidence of any kind of monster lurking in the shadows. 

But I was also kind of scared.
Now, I don’t have something to blame my feelings on. I can’t use my ‘depression’ as a crutch or an excuse for the negativity I feel anymore. I can’t blame the monsters in my closet for my temper tantrums or making my room a mess. 
This is real life now, and real life is full of unpleasant feelings, and I am responsible for taking care of myself and cleaning my room.  

But with the fear came freedom too; and validation, and reassurance that not everyone feels things the same way, and that what I need to do to take care of myself and deal with those feelings, is okay, even if it looks different from everyone else. 

My struggle through healing from being raped and feeling unworthy has taught me how to take care of myself and not to judge those strange “abnormal” feelings when they arise. 
Suffering is just a part of life, even a happy and healthy one. This is it.

I’m not a victim of rape.
I’m not a lost girl.
I’m not unworthy.
I’m not fighting.
I’m not suffering.
I am alive.
I am living.
I am growing.
I am a survivor but,
I am also more than that.
I am 100% me.

Nothing is looming in the dark to pull me back under. 
There are no monsters in my closet, and that’s a pretty big deal.

Later I asked her about her opinion on the purpose of suffering.
She said “I think it’s growth. Pain always leaves an opportunity for growth – without it, we would never change. We only change when something is uncomfortable or hurts.”

Health is not the absence of disease or suffering, it’s more. It’s taking a changing circumstance and turning it into an opportunity for growth.

I found this online, and I think it’s pretty great. It’s what this guy, Dr. Ratson believes is a true meaning/definition/path to health.

“A person must recognize the inherent PURPOSE of his or her own life. The constant awareness of why you are here and whether you are working towards that purpose can help you to wade through the conflicting and confusing mass of expert advice. This is important because there is a lot of confusing and conflicting expert advice available and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

When you feel unconditional LOVE for yourself and others, you cannot help hut feel that the entire universe supports you. There won’t be room for a cynical or hostile view of the world or its people. Many negative emotions arise from a cynical, paranoid and hostile view of the world. Believe it or not, but our view of the world affects our health. 


When you take total RESPONSIBILITY for your own well-being, you can trust and rely on your innate biological, psychological and spiritual healing power. Also, when you assume total responsibility, you can never abuse your personal power.

With inner FREEDOM, you can no longer be a slave to external pressures or other handicapping conditions. Inner freedom gives you hope for the possible and faith in the probable. You are then able to experience genuine joy. When you characteristically experience genuine joy, something interesting happens. Others cease to irritate you or give you any more grief, even though their behavior might not have significantly changed.”

– Dr. Ratson