“I love you, kid”

Okay yes, I just posted a picture of myself crying. Here’s the story:

During my last week in L.A. I had a MAJOR back spasm that left me barely able to walk or sit or breathe without pain. It caught me totally off guard and made me so angry because I had spend so much money and time the month before trying to heal myself from the same back spasm + pain. I thought I had fixed it.

My best friend + former roommate, Rylee, dropped everything that day to help me schedule and then drive me to an Alphabiotics Healer and Acupuncture appointment.

The first stop was with, Terry, the Alphabiotics healer. Alphabiotics is a healing modality that is based on an energy release technique founded by a chiropractor. Terry explained to me how the stress I have been under had been affecting my body. He reminded me how mind + body are connected and told me the goal of the session would be to release. I slowly and painfully got myself onto an elevated table and he worked his magic. He cradled my head in his arms and we worked through a few deep breaths before quickly twisting my head to the side. I felt a crack in my neck and down my back.

“It’s okay” he said as he stroked my head. “Let it out.” He paused.

I had no idea what he was doing or what we were waiting for.

And then suddenly a huge wave of emotion rolled up from the depth of my chest and tears started streaming.

“Good, release it. Let it go.”

And then we did the other side.

On my way out, this angle of a man told me I did a good job, and then said “In case you haven’t heard it today, I love you” I burst into tears again immediately. After all the treatments I’ve had this week those words were the most healing.

After my appointment, I felt exhausted and hungry (crying is a lot of work) I slowly wobbled down the street to get lunch. I allowed my tears to fall while I was walking and texting one of my friends that lives in New York. She was having a hard day with her depression, so I decided to venmo her $5 to get some flowers, cause flowers make everyone happy. It was my best attempt to be there for her despite the distance.

Shortly after receiving the notification of my tiny gift, she sent me a video of her thanking me with tears streaming down her face.

When I saw Amanda’s video I immediately thought “how beautiful are her tears”

Little did she know, I was also having a really rough morning and at this point, had stopped to sit on a bench and cry outside of a bank in Santa Monica trying to avoid feeling judged by the tourists walking by.

Eventually, I made it to lunch and back into my car to be zoomed off to my next appointment. In the car I thought about how important tears are, and how grateful I was for people like Amanda who share theit tears and healing unapologetically.

The culmination of my experiences from that morning shifted my perspective dramatically about crying. I knew it was good for me but was so afraid of feeling judged for it. I went from being worried about being judged for crying in public, so thinking the salty water running down my cheeks is probably the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I took this picture in the midst of that realization.

They are tender.
They are sweet.
They are cleansing.
They are healing.

After seeing my tears this way, they’ve flowed out of me more easily too, along with any pain or judgment living in my body.

I ended up sleeping the entirity of the next day. And I was back to walking again the following morning. That’s how beautifully powerful they are.

I encourage everyone to cry at least once this week. So much stress can get stuck in your body and it causes pain and disease if you don’t work through it and allow yourself to release it.


Take this post as an invisible permission slip.
Free yourself of the Judgement.

Cry.
Release.
You’ll be able to walk or maybe run better than you ever could before.

A Grieving Human

I’m standing on a terrace overlooking a calm blue ocean. Palms trees sway in the ocean breeze that is kissing my cheeks and kicking up the ends of my hair. I stare up at the sky with tears streaming down my face. 

This is unfamiliar territory. Every time my heart aches now, I think “this is a hole I will have for the rest of my life.” It’s a helpless feeling to think that the pain I feel will never change. It’s humbling. I tried to escape it, but it still found me. Even on the terrace of a 5 million dollar apartment on an island on the other side of the country, there is no escaping it.

My friend Sofia sent me an article about grief by a woman named Sue Hawkes. Sue says “grieving is one of those profound, vulnerable experiences that make us feel incredibly human and entirely mortal.”

These are the perfect words to describe my experience with grief thus-far.

On many occasions, I have felt reduced to a helpless child and elevated to a powerful woman almost simultaneously. I have ventured across a wide field of emotions. I have ventured so far that I have found myself accessing levels of pain and emotion I’ve never experienced before.

It seems to be an initiation of sorts. In many ways, being ushered through this darkness seems to be a journey back to self. No matter how much my chest knots up in pain, I still am grateful for the experience to feel what I feel.  I am reminded of who I am in the most vulnerable way. 

I am reminded that I am human.

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?