Privilege

I woke up this morning to the sound of rumbling thunder outside my window.

I love waking up to rain. It is peaceful and cleansing.
To me it feels like the world is giving me permission to take a break and be present.

But then, I picked up my phone and did a quick scroll through Instagram and every bit of peace left my body and was replaced with a tightness in my chest.

I saw people crying. I saw broken glass. I saw fires. I saw people pushing each other and dragging each other. I saw people yelling. I saw fists in the air. I saw kneeling. I saw Courage, I saw fear. I saw love. I saw hatred. I saw solidarity.

“this is not 1968. this is 2020. tell me why we are still here. a young black man wearing a t-shirt saying “stop all violence” gets dragged away by police officers both in uniform and civilian clothes. i’ve seen enough and i’m over it. | BROOKLYN, 2020” All photos are from protests in New York captured by my friend Julian (@mf.julian)
All photos are from protests in New York captured by my friend Julian (@mf.julian)
All photos are from protests in New York captured by my friend Julian (@mf.julian)
All photos are from protests in New York captured by my friend Julian (@mf.julian)
All photos are from protests in New York captured by my friend Julian (@mf.julian)
All photos are from protests in New York captured by my friend Julian (@mf.julian)
All photos are from protests in New York captured by my friend Julian (@mf.julian)



I saw myself being part of the problem.

I have been too passive on this issue.

In one of the very first LTMLS meetings we talked about how even though there were mostly white women, that I wanted to be and feel inclusive for ALL women. I am not interested in a white-washed version of sisterhood. I want the real thing. All people – because the only way we can change the world is TOGETHER.

But if I’m being honest, I didn’t know how to do that. I didn’t know how to make that obvious and I was scared of saying something wrong. I didn’t realize that all I had to say was:

If you are a woman of color please know there is space for you here. We want to hear your voice. You are my sister and I love you.

I am sorry I didn’t speak up sooner.
I own that. I own my privilege.
I choose to be part of the solution.
I am doing my part now.
I will stand up for you.

To stand with our brothers and sisters, I created a list of resources below based on the core pilars of Letters to My Little Sisters as a brand: Education, Community, and Reflection. We want to dive to the root of the issue. We want to build up the leaders and create lasting change that starts in the heart and perspective of the individual.

I tried to keep the list relatively small, but if you begin to feel overwhelmed as you read it, just look for 1 or 2 things that you can commit to doing today. Then come back and pick 1 or thing for the next day, and so on.

Education:

“Unpacking White Feminism” by Rachel Cargel ($35 Lecture) – In order to better serve ALL sisters through LTMLS I will be taking notes on this lecture over the weekend.

If you find yourself holding back because you are required to purchase, please remember that anytime you buy something, it is an act of support for that person or organization.

Community:

Please note that it is of the UTMOST importance that our privileged voices join the conversation. Minority groups need allys. It is the same reason it is so powerful and healing to have a mans voice speak up in support of female rape survivors. POC are tired of fighting. It’s our turn to stand up and support them.

  • Show up at a protest (please stay safe, aware, and be smart)
  • Text a POC (person of color) you care about and check in on them.
    “Hey, I’ve been seeing a lot of crazy stuff on the news and I just wanted to check in on you and let you know that I care about you. I’m here for you and I support you.”
  • 75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice Resource Guide written by Corinne Shutack.


Reflection:

  • “#Dothework” Course (FREE) – 30 challenge with daily information, community, and conversation around the ways you can be actively and intentionally anti-racist. by Rachel Cargel. Maybe grab a friend and do the challenge together!
  • There are two resources that are available in the LTMLS shop right now to help you do the work:

Invisible Knapsack or Privilege” by Peggy McIntosh Is a simple exercise I did in my first year of college that opened my eyes to privilege and I recommend that everyone do this at some point in their lives.

Personal Check-in – this one is for EVERYONE. If you are feeling utterly overwhelmed by the news media or by the pain of your loved ones, or are feeling drained from being caught in such a tumultuous season, this packet will help you process all of those uncomfy emotions and help you create a simple action plan. We are responsible for effectively processing and acknowledging our feelings so that we can show up to do our part in the world from a place of love and peace.

Thank you to every voice that came before me that taught me, asked for justice, and worked for equality. I am happy to join in the chorus and I invite you to do the same. Together, we will create a more compassionate world.

A New Chapter: Why I Decided to Re-Brand

If you’re reading this, then chances are that you’ve seen my re-brand announcement video on IGTV. (@letterstomylittlesisters)



I tried to keep it light and funny and simple but in doing so I completely neglected to talk about the catalyst of this whole decision. And as someone who is normally sharing her process with the internet, I figured I should share the thought process of one of the most important pieces of my journey thus far.

AND even in the 2 months that it took me to actually edit and post that video (lol I know it’s ridiculous) SO much has been refined, and now I actually have a small team of people in my corner making this happen with me. So with this blog post, I’ll be able to go into more detail and answer some questions you might have about this new adventure.

First, we have to pause and rewind a little bit.

In preparation for the website re-modeling, I had to go back through ALL of my blog posts and re-categorize them. (The main topics for LTMLS will be “Healing”, “Pursuit of Purpose”, “Leadership”, “Self-Discovery”, “Love & Relationships” and “Feminism is for Everyone”)

In doing so, I ran across a post from 6 years ago titled “The Power of a Name: Annabelle Finds her purpose” that I wrote + published in 2014.

In it I wrote:

“I will be successful in lifting up and supporting others in the pursuit of their dreams….I am the woman that makes things happen in creative ways. I connect people, imagine things, and inspire others to put their best foot forward and do what they love.”

I started calling myself an “Opportunity Producer” for a while after that – which I still think is a pretty dope title.

And when I read it, I threw my fists into the sky and shouted internally “YES!!! OH MY GOD I’M DOING IT!!! FINALLY!!”

In truth, this “re-brand” has been the climax of 7 years of dreaming to make a difference. A dream to connect with people who had similar hopes, motivation, and dreams to me.


The catalyst was slowing down.
The catalyst was being totally broken open.
The catalyst was my dad’s death.


I’ve talked A LOT about it and the grieving process on this blog and online, but what I didn’t share was the secret promise I made to myself a few months after he passed.

I promised that since it seemed like God hit a reset button on my life, that I would take the opportunity of a new beginning to ACTUALLY REALLY TOTALLY follow my heart. To see this vision through. To take a leap and allow the ground to appear underneath me. My dad was an entrepreneur and an artist, and he had really encouraged those traits in me, so I took a small amount of money he left behind to hire a few people to help me get started.

If we’re being honest, it’s all perfect timing. I couldn’t have started this one minute earlier, even if I wanted to.

The 8ish years of dreaming and scheming allowed me to experience, to grow, to heal things, to learn things about myself (mainly how to take care of myself) that I NEEDED to find the clarity and make this happen – I’m only 25 and still have A LOT more growing to do, but now I can really say….

I’ve been there, I’ve pulled myself through the mud and now I can walk alongside you.

Which is the whole point of LTMLS. To walk together, grow together, learn together, and create a more passionate world, together.

As I’ve moved through the planning and the creation and now the announcing of this new business, I’ve had to overcome fear after fear after fear. And I expect for fear to be a constant companion for me on this new adventure.

I’m grateful to my close friends for the continued encouragement and to YOU for showing up, reading this, and letting me know that this is important to you too.


Okay so, here’s what to expect with the new re-brand:


THE NEW WEBSITE – exciting, yes! However, it will take a few months to come together. Rome wasn’t built in a day ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

COMMUNITY – Also known as “The Virtual Big Sister Network” Scheduled to launch in June! More about that VERY soon!

PROGRAMS – We have 2 programs coming soon, the first one is our “Lead with Light Program” for any young woman interested in developing her leadership skills. This will be open for registration in late June/July. (If you’re a member of the network you get a 20% discount on programs!) The second will be a self-discovery program, which is still in development.

I’ll be posting again soon about the new logo (revealed May 19th 2020) and the meaning behind the design and the brand, so drop your email in the contact form on the contact page to be alerted!

2019 kicked my ass.

Not an Oak Tree (my 2020 theme) but close enough.

Apparently, the internet elves have been stalking me long enough to know I love planners and goal setting because this past week I have been hit with more Instagram ads for planners and intention setting workshops than I’ve ever seen in my whole life.

I’ve been just scrolling through so many beautiful, perfect-looking people and their big hairy-ass goals for 2020.

I actually began to resent all the goal-setting this year because I have been feeling so lost, and so unworthy of making plans. I got so turned upsidedown this year that I didn’t feel like I even deserved a new planner to schedule my time with.

Lucky for me, I have great friends that quickly told me how stupid that was. I, just as much as anyone, deserve to have dreams and goals. So after I shed the excuse of being undeserving, I was left with the fear that formed that belief.

The fear was that I have been taken so far off of my intended path that I’m not even sure I know how to dream anymore. *dramatic*

That is a lie.

Of course I know how to dream! and Of course I am deserving of those dreams!


The truth is that the guidance towards our purpose or intended path lives inside of us. And no matter how far you wander from your life’s work, the path back to it can always be found again because it is inside of you. You just might have to wack away some of the weeds to see it again.

I realized that after living through some major life-altering events this year, this season was going to be more about integration than trying to set and achieve new things. I have experienced SO much intense change this year that has forced me to leave the weeds to grow wildly unattended. So now it’s time to clear the way again with a big ass weed hacker and get back to my path, with my newly-learned life lessons on my back.

So I returned to what I love: introspection and reflection. I put together a few of my favorite exercises and created the 2020 Vision Journal. This journal isn’t about setting lofty goals or building businesses or creating new years resolutions. This year, it is a tool to clear away the weeds and come back to center. It’s supposed to be a mirror to hold up in front of you to see the path you’ve walked and how it has influenced your growth as a human being. After learning yourself again, you’ll be able to look forward to the future and dream of what you might want to do next.

TLDR; This Vision Journal isn’t about DOING more things, it’s about integrating the experiences you’ve had over the past year and taking responsibility for your future to make a greater impact in the world.

2019 has taught me many valuable lessons and now I’ve been able to wack away the weeds. Now I can see my dreams with 2020 vision 😉

WE FREAKIN MADE IT! (click the photo to check out the 2020 Vision Journal)

Nuevo

October 9, 2019

This is a photo of me outside of the restaurant I inherited from my dad.

I haven’t talked about it at all because I’ve felt so incredibly incompetent.

Yes, I’ve studied business and worked in marketing, but I know NOTHING about what it takes to run a restaurant. Literally nothing.

I, somehow, never had the typical “coming of age” job of working a waitress like everyone else. The only time I ever step inside a restaurant is to eat.

And now I am responsible for the success of one and the livelihoods of the 12 people whose work I literally know NOTHING about.

Fuck.

Every week for the past 4 or 5 months, the manager has given me a folder with bills and receipts from the week that I’ve just been stacking in a pile in the corner of my bedroom because I don’t know what to do with them. I write checks when people tell me to because I don’t know better. I have no idea if I’m getting ripped off or what to budget or plan for in the coming months.

This mode of operation is EXTREMELY dangerous because it’s SO easy to STEAL cash from a restaurant. I know that. Needless to say, I’ve been very overwhelmed.

I have felt inadequate.
I’ve felt like I need to ask for permission to do anything because I don’t want to mess things up.
I’ve also felt like I’ve needed to puff up my chest and flex my muscles around staff so that they don’t think I’m as stupid as I feel. (Which actually probably makes me look a lot more stupid than I am LOL)

But then, this week, something happened. We got a bill for something that didn’t feel right to me. I followed my gut, and for the first time told the Manager that I wasn’t going to write the check.

I immediately went home to tell my mom about the situation and sought her advice.
She told me I did the right thing.

I made the right choice.

And I remembered, that even though I don’t know anything about restaurants, I DO know something about business. I DO know something about Leadership.

I have always believed that successful business owners and successful leaders become successful because they make decisions based on STRONG VALUES. This allows them to be consistent by creating a solid foundation for every decision they make.

I also realized that I have a specific role to play in this business, and in that role I don’t have to know very much about restaurants, because I’m not running day to day operations. That’s not my job. Yes, it helps to have a gist of what is going on, but I’m running the business and handling the money. And THAT I can do.

The next day, a bigger problem came up. Someone on staff began to make demands in a very unprofessional way and walked out on us. Quit, right there in the middle of the workday and left.

Last week I would have had a meltdown.

But this week, I remembered my role and my values, and I knew exactly what to do. I talked to the manager. We established what our values were and from there, decided how to handle the situation.

The difference between today’s success and yesterday’s failure is my own attitude.

Realizing what I am ABLE to do, what I am ABLE to learn, and how I am ABLE to grow, has made me more confident and positioned me to be a lot stronger and also a lot more relaxed so I can handle situations as they come up.

4 Months, a New Journey Begins.

Today marks 4 full months since my dad died.

Since he killed himself. And left us behind.

I’ve spent the past 4 months floating through a range of challenging emotions and although it was evident yesterday I am not done grieving the loss of someone I love, I’m ready to share my story. Our story.

I’m back in L.A. this week, for the first time in 4 months.

I keep telling people that I don’t feel like it’s been that long. In my head, it feels like I was only gone for a week… so when I saw that my neighbor’s puppy was a grown-ass dog now I cried.

This past month has been so strange because I decided to start living again. I’ve been working with a therapist that encouraged me to start working out again and reaching out to old friends. But it’s strange to live with death. So tears of grief still roll down my cheeks, while I walk down the sidewalk even though I’m feeling more alive than I did before.

This experience has stripped me down. Completely. It has uprooted everything.
I ended my relationship.
I quit my job.
I put down my life in California to pick up responsibilities as the Executrix of my dad’s estate + to run his restaurant in Texas. A business I’m truly not interested in and know nothing about. #awesome

This week I came back to L.A. to pack up my car and drive it back to Texas. God only knows how long I’ll be there. The few days after my plane landed in LA I felt so angry at my dad. I’m so mad at him for making me leave everything behind. And so grateful at the same time because I’ve learned more about BEING instead of DOING. I’ve learned about the importance of legacy, and community, and grieving. I can feel the shift inside me, the ripple effect of this tragedy is redirecting me to a deeper purpose and deeper growth. And I have chosen to go with the flow.

In short, this time has been confusing and challenging and frustrating and fucking weird. It has been beautiful, and painful, and life-changing. It has been big, and made me feel small, completely worthless, and so held and loved and supported.

I’m excited to come to the page now to share the writing that the journey so far has inspired. I’m excited to evolve, for the change in direction, and for the hope that I may honor my dad’s life by growing up and passing his love and creativity forward.