The Wave is Here.

I drew this by accident.

The wave has been my symbol for 2019.

Actually, it started out as the phrase “Stepping into the Tide” and slowly revealed itself in my life as a wave. I saw it everywhere… on murals, at restaurants, in gifts + on jewelry. I even DREW IT BY ACCIDENT a few days ago (image above).

The wave is a symbol of change, of force, and sometimes, even of fear.

When I was a kid, we used to go to the beach in the summers. I remember watching “huge” waves crash onto the shore and thinking that Mother Nature must be grumpy about something. I also distinctly remember being caught in a wave a time or two at the beach wondering if I was being punished for throwing sand too hard as I was tossed and tumbled by crashing waves. Those “near-death” experiences instilled a deep god-fearing type of respect for the ocean. I decided never to throw handfuls of sand into the water again. I didn’t want to make her angry!

Before I experienced being tossed by waves at the beach, I never knew that it was even possible for mother nature to erupt upward with force strong enough to knock me over. So the idea of a similar wave coming over my life gives me a little bit (a lot a bit) of anxiety. But it’s there to remind me to LET GO of the control and trust that the forceful currents the Universe has us cradled in, is FOR us. Things that happen in our life is only for our soul’s mission on earth.

When I created my original Vision Board, I broke up my year into 4 quarters to help me schedule goals…. much like businesses do quarterly reports. The Vision Packet I used to outline my goals and dreams for 2019 is available in the shop for free.

In April, I wrote a blog post that I never published about feeling restless. I felt like I wanted to shed. It felt like nothing I had outlined on my vision board fit me anymore. (I went ahead and published it so you can read here.)

What I didn’t realize, was that I was experiencing part 2 of 4 of the wave.

Q1 was “Footing”. Stepping into the water, and getting acclimated to the temperature. This was about Acceptance and release. At the beginning of the year, I practiced being open and letting go of my desire to control everything.

Q2 was “Ripple” which felt more like a pull. The moment water starts to move, react to you being in the water and then pulls back. Something is coming. I started to feel like my life didn’t fit me anymore. I was beginning to get really unhappy. I was anticipating and hoping for change.

Q3 was “Rolling” – which is a really nice way to say that my soul would literally be rolling around in a metaphorical typhoon. Being tossed and turned by life events – this is the scariest part of the wave. the part where you’re not sure if you’ll make it back up to the surface again.

On June 6th, my dad committed suicide, and my grandma was admitted to the ICU where she laid heavily sedated for a few days. My year-long relationship ended, I moved back to Texas (where dreams go to die) to take on the responsibility of being the executor of my dad’s estate and to help my family take care of my grandma who has had a remarkable recovery but still needs assistance. Being under the stress of the intense change, displacement, and loss made me anxious. For the first time in my life, I truly believed I was unloved which sent me spiraling into a 3-hour long panic attack that almost landed me in Bayview Behavioral Hospital. Most people would refer to this as “the dark night of the soul” I think. When you hit rock bottom. Feeling lost and disoriented. The world absolutely caves in and displaces every sense of yourself there is no up or down. Only spinning and pain.

Q4 was “Flow”. After the big crash, there is stillness, a new breath of air. It’s emerging to the surface after everything and seeing a new landscape before you. I haven’t gotten to this part of the journey yet, but I know I’m getting there. Things are beginning to flow a little bit better, and I think I will be seeing a new horizon soon.

Credit: Underpants and Overbites (@underpantsandoverbites)

I Guess Healing Never Really Ends…

Originally Written April 5, 2019

This morning, I was sitting on my little green meditation pillow with my legs crossed, eyes closed, palms up, and tears rolling down my cheeks.

I’ve been meditating a lot recently. Every day in fact, for the past 3 weeks. Most days it’s really nice, other days, it’s 10min of utter chaos + mental to-do lists, but I consistently walk away from my little green pillow grateful for that time.

When I meditate without a guided recording, I do this:

1. Deep steady breaths to anchor myself to the present moment.
2. Listen to sounds, far away then closer.
3. Back to breathing. How does it feel in my body?
4. I visualize a light surrounding my body, first around my head and then all the way down. As the light moves, I pray that any negativity or tension be release, and I am mindful to relax each individual muscle.
5. Breath here a few times, in this totally relaxed state.
6. This body is now the perfect home to house high-frequency energy like gratitude and joy. I focus on what I want to embody + draw in for the day + feel it in that present moment.
7. That’s usually where I cry. I also used to love to imagine the universe/god being so pleased with me, I try to feel the love it feels for me in the form of a warm all-encompassing hug. Sometimes I move my hands to my chest + stomach. For some reason that position always makes me feel safe.
8. I’ve recently been trying to end every mediation by looking at myself in the mirror and saying affirmations. I wasn’t big on talking to myself in the mirror – it was awkward, but I did it once and had no idea just how badly I needed to hear to the words “I’m proud of you” come out of MY OWN mouth.

The past few days I’ve been slowly declining mentally, emotionally + energetically.

As I sat there on my little green pillow, I noticed for the first time a very stark shift in my mind and body. Where I went from my “low mindset” to the present moment. It’s so good to be here again, I thought to myself. The recording I was listening to mentioned something about neuroplasticity…

I share all of this because I’ve been struggling quite a bit over the past… I don’t even know how long. I hit lows and then I’m fine… I’m not sure if it’s depression or a mild form of a mood disorder, like Cyclothymia which is often diagnosed around 25 years old, or maybe it’s not a mental health condition at all and instead, it’s something spiritual.

The past few months (Since like Feb.) I’ve been feeling this need to shed. Like I don’t fit into the life that I’m living anymore. I don’t know what, but I know in my core something needs to change. I’ve been doing the job search thing, I’m trying to set boundaries for my days, but it’s all really hard. Yesterday I had a rude awakening and curled up on the couch crying. I realized that 2 weeks of trying to shake things up isn’t enough time. I had energy and was excited to be moving onto this grand, new chapter. I was hoping that it would feel more like starting a whole new book instead of just turning a page. Patience…

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.

WTF Is Self-Care?

Written April 17, 2018

Tonight I had dinner with one of my lovely friends at this DELICIOUS Pizza place in NoHo (That’s short for North Hollywood). I was super stoked when I found out they had a vegan pizza option… The last time I had pizza it really hurt my stomach.

Anyway, as we were sitting out on the patio with glasses of wine in our hand and suddenly the phrase “self-care” came up.

Galit said, “I feel more feminine lately when I’m doing a little bit of self-care, like this week I went to get my nails done, and that not necessarily what everyone wants to do, but I know it makes me feel good.”

And then it hit me.
“Self-care” has become this buzzword that means candlelit bubble baths and expensive massages.
And I’m realizing that’s NOT what self-care is.

REAL self-care is being able to tune into how your mind, body & soul, are feeling, and then knowing what things they need in order to function happily and balanced.

REAL self-care is knowing WHAT you need when you need it.

I saw an Instagram post of a bullet journal that said “Self-care list” and it was broken up into sections. “Heart, Mind, Body, Soul.

It annoyed me because it looked like there were just random things written in each category that didn’t really have anything to do with.

Just like self-care was the moment I chose to have a vegan pizza instead of regular because I knew that regular would make me feel sick and I wanted to take care of my body, not hurt it.

Self-care should feel rejuvenating and bring you back to center & balance. If that means spending time at a spa, or with friends, or eating vegan pizza so be it! And if it changes from day to day, that’s cool too, as long as you know what YOU need, do it!.

I decided I wanted to share some of my self-care lists so that you can see that not all self-care looks the same. And who knows, maybe it will give you some new ideas! At the very least, I hope this share will prove the fact that self-care can change from day to day.

In the morning I try to do what I call “Preventative work”. These are things I try very hard to do every day when I wake up because they are automatically balancing for me and keep me from going into a slump. Lately, I’ve noticed that if I hit a slump, it’s usually because I’m not making the time to care for myself in these ways…

  • Stay away from the phone! Especially in the morning. This has been nearly impossible for me lately. I think I need to get an alarm clock that’s not my phone.
  • Journaling I started doing this when I was working through The Artists Way. The challenge during that time was to get 3 pages written every morning. It was an excellent practice. Writing has always been my way of processing things, so I’ve kept up with it and it’s helped a lot! It’s nice to have a place to dump all my thoughts without any judgment. 
  • Workout This is one of the hardest things to get back into if I get out of the habit. But starting off my day with sweat is awesome and always gives me energy. Lately, it’s been inspiring me to write too!
    • 10 Push-ups Before I started working out regularly, I used to do 10 push-ups every morning. I did it because I hated push-ups and I knew that if I could get through those 10, I could tackle anything that day might throw at me. It was more a workout for my mind in a sense.
  • Having Breakfast Time For some people, this just means eat something before you go out the door. Usually, that’s what this means for me too, but if I have time, I like to sit with my breakfast and challenge myself to be present while I eat and stay off my phone
  • Putting on Face Lotion I always feel refreshed after I put lotion on – I do it before bed too. I don’t really know why I love it, but I do, and my skin feels like a baby’s butt 24/7
  • Water My Plants I love my plants. Having something to take care of and watch grow is really cool. To me, it’s soothing to tend to them.
  • Meditate I hated meditating but recently I finally had a breakthrough and figured out how to do it! I use this time to reconnect with God. It’s always between 3-7 minutes. 🙂
  • Drink Water I think my plants and I have a lot in common. I notice that when I drink water RIGHT when I wake up, I automatically have more energy. I stand and little taller and feel a little brighter, just like a flower 🙂

So most of my daily stuff is in the morning, but then I also have things I try to do weekly to stay grounded and connected.

  • Go to Church I really feel when I start disconnecting from my faith & spirituality. Going to church reminds me of my truth and the abundant love that exists for me. 
  • Meet up with a Friend I tend to isolate myself with work really easily so I have to make a conscious effort to spend time with people that I love!

What I do when I’m in a slump, to get out of the slump and also find comfort in the slump:

  • Affirmations I have affirmation cards I used to read to 
  • Gratitude Lists I still like to do this when I’m not sad, but if I start sinking into a slump, this is the first thing I go to. It helps tremendously
  • I go to bed early I don’t get mad at myself for wanting to stay in and take it easy. 
  • Buy a blanket Going to Target and getting the softest blanket to curl up in when I’m sad is always amazing.
  • Daily Reflection Sheets I created these sheets that I print off and complete daily for at least a week when I’m struggling or feeling overwhelmed. It helps you identify and focus on only the things that will help you grow and succeed. I recently made them available online. Check it out!

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