Day 9/10 + Beyond: The Quiet Tampon Wrapper

Me sitting on the stage of Yellow

So I’ve spent the past few days volunteering at Yellow Conference. Running between the speaker lounge and the AV booth with mics and questions and tape.
It was thrilling really.
I was surrounded by 500+ women in social business. 500+ women, each rockin the world in their own way.
I got to mic the speakers & hang out “back stage” before listening to them share their incredible stories on stage. “omg I just mic’ed that woman” I’d think to myself.

On the first day, one of the afternoon speakers, Moorea, caught my attention as I was walking between Jamie (the AV guy) and the lounge.

“I thought to be a good woman, I had to be gentle, quiet and soft. I thought that being intense and feeling intensely prevented me from being a good woman.”
I paused for a second.

Yeah, I feel that.

Like a quiet tampon wrapper.

I remember, when I was in high school, Tampax launched a new line of tampons that had wrappers that didn’t make as much noise when you opened them.

I remember watching the advertisement on T.V. and going hmm… I wonder why that’s important…?
I literally could not think of a single reason why having a quiet tampon wrapper would be useful – except maybe if you were trying to hide the fact that you were menstruating from other women in the bathroom (who also menstruate).

Oh that’s nice I guess….wait a second
Should I be hiding my period?

It infuriates me to think about hiding ANYTHING about myself now.

Last week I picked up a friend to go hang in Venice. We started talking about relationships and I don’t know how we got to the topic but I remember telling him that guys have told me that I am ‘high maintenance.’ He said….”Well I don’t think you’re high maintenance in a bad way. You just know what you want and demand it. Some people probably think you’re a bitch because of your confidence.”

I smiled.
“Thank you” I said.
I know that about myself.

In fact, I LOVE that about myself.

I had to learn to love it of course, but the string that ties these three stories together is that you should not be ashamed of who you are because the world tells you so. The world, in my humble opinion, doesn’t know shit about you.

No one knows the beauty and the power and the magic that illuminates inside you. It’s your job to show them. It’s your responsibility and your right to know what you want, stand up for what you believe in, and do whatever the hell you dream of.

You don’t have to hide anything from the world. Not your feelings, not your mistakes, not your PERIOD.

If you decide to keep something personal, do it because it’s YOUR choice, NOT because the world thinks you should.

DO NOT be the quiet tampon wrapper.

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” 
― Albert Einstein

Day 8 – Story: 5 Life Lessons You Need to Learn to Make Your Story Great

Hanging out on one of the locations in Culver City. (Did NOT walk all the way up here lol) 

Yesterday I got to PA for the first time in L.A.
(PA = Production Assistant)

It was part of the first episode of a new reality series where people divulge their secrets.
This day, in particular, we didn’t focus on the telling of the secret, we focused on a woman and her story.

I chatted with her driving from location to location, and after talking to her and totally vibing, I realized that I have learned a lot of really valuable lessons in my 22 years of life and I could see her starting to figure those same lessons out, even though she was 11 years older.

I was out to lunch with my friend the other day and I told her, life has a way of teaching everyone the same things in different ways. At first I said it to make her feel better about “missing out” on her “party animal” years. I told her that a woman of her depth and magnitude would not be fulfilled by drunken make outs and embarrassing stories. AND that most people go through those phases because life is trying to teach them something. “You didn’t miss out on anything. And I’m sure life has taught you those same valuable lessons in a different way”

And this morning, I realized that maybe I’m actually right.

All of this to express that I’ve been able to talk to a lot of people about their story and I realized that although some of them are quite older than me, they are walking through life lessons that I’ve already learned… and some of them have been walking through these lessons for a long time.

It’s almost like a video game… beat one level and move up to the next.

But unlike a video game, I don’t think these lessons or levels have any particular order… I think for the most part they probably coincide with the development of the human brain, but some of the deeper lessons and the answers to more expansive questions come at all different points in life.

But the catch is, the more of these lessons you learn, the more of these questions you ask, the more your super power grows, and in turn, your story becomes greater.

So here are some of the lessons I’ve realized have helped me “level up” to make my story great.

1. There is a reason things make you happy.This is literally what I preach on a daily basis and the first thing I tell people when they are struggling with finding a direction. “What makes you happy?” and I mean like really what makes you feel ALIVE. What excites you? What are you passionate about? This is often times the first level up lesson we learn, because once you discover this thing, you have a responsibility to grow this gift and give it back to the world. Some people have a hard time pinning that down, like my sister. I’m encouraging her to really jump into the unknown & things that force her out of her comfort zone and try new things. For people like me that are multi-passionate, I want to remind you that it’s okay to focus on one at a time. You aren’t neglecting yourself by giving each passion a little bit of quality time. And I don’t know how much good it does to stress out over how they all fit together, I think life will reveal that in time. Patience. (And that’s coming from an Aries lol)

2. Know what your core values are. Learn to live by them.
For me, having a very strong sense of right and wrong has saved me from getting into a lot of trouble. This also kind of goes with #4 because your values make you who you are. Knowing what you value and what you don’t makes you a very powerful decision maker, and that will also earn you a lot of respect. People that opporate purely and transparently through their value you system without hating on other people who have different oppinions are few and far between in the world. So, fill the gap.

3. Ask Good Questions
Don’t be afraid of clarification questions, comminication is important. BUT most importantly, push the boundaries. Good questions make people stop and think, or help you understand a different perspective. Asking questions keeps you open and keeps you educated. And keeps you from looking like a dick 😉

4. Know Yourself.
This is essential if you ever want to be content in life. Period. If you ever want to live a great story. Know who you are & what you deserve. Know your weaknesses and your strengths but most of all, know what you like and don’t let anyone else shame you for it. When you know yourself, you feel more comfortable in your own skin. Don’t let other people project their fear on to you, don’t let other people pressure you into things you don’t want to do or talk you out of something you know if right in your heart. When you know who you are, chances are you’ll want to stand up for yourself more, take more ownership over your life and decisions. Listen to me, IT’S OKAY TO LOOK OR FEEL DIFFERENT.

5. You are Human.
On the other side of the same token, you have to remember that you are human. You are not an all powerful God with authority over the weather and the mountains. You have human limits. You will make human mistakes. The key is, to ground yourself in a higher power. You are NOT defined by those limitations or mistakes, you are defined by the immense Love and energy God/The Universe has for you. You are human; you feel, you hurt, you laugh, you desire, you think. This is the most incredible thing in the entire world. I believe that. And once you accept your humanity, you can accept others as they are, you can push your limits and you can be free.

Living these lessons is what makes your story.
Learning these lessons is awhat make your story great.

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

No Means No

My heart feels like it’s on fire right now.

Let’s talk about what it means to be safe, and stand your ground.
I was in the middle of a Law and Order SVU episode when I received a DM from a stranger. This alone does not bother me. I’ve made many new friends through Instagram and many who have wanted to collaborate on projects.
However, I’ve gotten a few weirdos reaching out too. From creepy to clearly mentally unsound.
I’m bringing this up because I’ve had too many young girls ask me how to model or how to get in touch with photographers. When people ask about how I meet such great people, I tell them “Oh well, as weird as it is, it’s through Instagram.” But I never talk about HOW.
So we are going to talk about internet safety, but from the girl who broke most of the rules and created her own. And then we are going to talk about this guy that contacted me cause he pissed me off.
There are these certain unwritten guidelines I have set for myself when encountering a new person on the internet. It’s important.
1. If the person contacting me makes me feel uncomfortable or annoyed in any way, I do not respond. EX: These are usually “Hey babe ;)” or “wow so hott” DMs.
2. If the writing sounds unprofessional I do not respond. EX: This means, writing “i” instead of “I” or “gr8” instead of “great” (who even does that anymore?). If the person speaks English as a second language you can usually tell by the way they write too but that doesn’t mean that it is a red flag.
3. If they are offering products without getting to know me first, I decline. People are representative of their work, and their ethic. If they do not value the person they are working with, then they probably do not value the work they produce and therefore I would rather not waste my time. EX: There was a woman who reached out and said “Have you tried this product? I’d love to have you be a model for it to add you to my portfolio.” It was either a waist trainer or some kind of supplement. It seemed like a copy & paste kind of message and didn’t care to know what kind of person I was before making the offer. This means she could have some wackos on her team, or not care about the product at all.
4. If they do not respect me in even the smallest way, I tell them politely to fuck off. 
This is so important. If the person does not realize that they are crossing the line, how would I trust them to be a good collaborative partner? This goes for boys too, do not let potential romantic partners, business partners, mean women or cocky MEN push you around. You have to believe in yourself and the ground you stand on, then stand there!
5. NEVER WORRY ABOUT LOSING WORK OR AN OPPORTUNITY. There are always opportunities for things, if you get the slightest doubt in someone via the internet, drop the project. There is no shame in that. You are refining the types of projects that deserve your attention. You only want the best for yourself so #NeverSettle
6. If you decide to meet someone in person, bring a friend. This is a rule I’ve broken way too many times to count. But I’d like to think that I’ve become a pretty good judge of character. And I always set other safety precautions.  I set an appointment I need to go to, I meet in a public place, and I send my friend my location. I dress like a boss, slightly intimidating. and am straightforward with my intentions and questions.
7. Always be professional. Period. And if they can’t meet that standard, ditch em. Of course, there are many people who have wonderful ideas and pure intentions who have never learned how to move within the professional world. This is okay. Still, ask yourself if their work is worth it to you and if it will help you grow. Then if it does, and their genuine character overshadows their lack of professionalism, lead by example.
8. It’s always a good idea to ask questions. Ask people to be clear about their intentions and ideas.
9. CREEP and check references. A few times in NYC I contacted other models from a photographer’s profile page to see how they felt about working with the photographer. The ones I asked about were always like “yeah he’s great” so I never had any trouble. When creeping, look for past projects, collaborators, endorsements. If the person is aligned with anything that makes you uncomfortable you always have the freedom to walk away or ask them about it. If their website looks outdated I am usually judgemental and bring it up. An outdates website is a sign of sloppy work, and a website with little information or a bunch of fluff words that don’t say anything is someone who might have something to hide. walk away.
10. I don’t contact people. Period. Unless a mutual friend has recommended it, I never reach out to people on Instagram via DM to collaborate.
11. Number of IG followers doesn’t mean much. As you will see with the person below. 
SO anyway, there was this guy (?) sent me a DM with their phone number and asked me to call. I didn’t really feel like calling and thought it was pretty random so I invited the person to send me an email detailing the kind of collaboration they would be interested in doing (as I do for nearly all clients & partners) the person said to just give him/her a call. I was annoyed and said outright that for safety reasons I preferred email. I will attach the conversation here so you can see how I dealt with hum/her.
It was really frustrating that this person kept trying to push the very clear boundaries I had set. I checked out his profile on IG and youtube. He has 46k on IG or something. You would think that this person would know how to handle things professionally. Whatever. The point of me posting this is to remind people that Saftey and self-worth come first. Don’t let anyone try to manipulate you or push you around.
My guidelines may seem harsh but they are always executed with kindness and compassion. I always try to let the person explain their stance. But being compassionate and kind should never jeopardize your well-being.
 We will see if this person ever emails me. They probably won’t. And I will not be contacting them again. If they do, I still probably won’t work with them. Why? Cause they broke rule #1. 
They annoyed me.

First 100 Days Of Freedom

People that know me know that I’m pretty hard headed & driven. 

I do what I want when I want, and the way I want. 
Anything I set out to do, I accomplish. 
I graduated from Southwestern University yesterday and am essentially being “released” into a very chaotic world, as a citizen of the United States of America, under a Trump Administration (Yikes).
My Alma Mater and I have a similar purpose: to contribute toward the well-being of humanity. 
And we share similar values. For example, to be true to oneself and others and to be activists in the pursuit of justice and the common good. 
So, with this in mind, I have conceived my own “100 Days of Freedom”, inspired by the first 100 days of Presidency, filled with ways in which I will attempt to better myself, and my country (despite our orange leader), contribute to my communities, lead a happy life, and prove my worth to the world.
(This list is different than my “Post-grad Goals” List, which contains many more life aspirations and goals that will definitely take longer than 100 days to complete) 
1. Move to Los Angeles, California
2. Begin Outreach For Into The Darkness
3. Start Survivor FB Page
4. Finish 2 Books
5. Finish B-School (Online Business/Entrepreneurship Course)
6. Start Elegant Excellence (Online Business/Entrepreneurship Course)
7. Begin Writing my 2nd Book
8. Sell Almost Everything I Own
9. Get Out of the Country
10. Send The Email
11. Get a Bike
12. Start Newsletter (Letters To My Little Sisters)
13. Get Rid Of My Tendonitis
14. Get a Pet
15. Find A New Church
16. Set Schedule For Time With Jesus & Spiritual Development
17. Connect With 5 New People
18. Save $X (The amount is none of your business)
19. Start Building/Marketing Freelance Services & Mentorship
21. Get a Small Piece of Writing Published & Get Paid for It
22. Rest, Reflect, Slay
Most of the goals I have for the first 100 days set the tone of my new life, and are helping me prep for success in the real world.
This is just the beginning. 
Watch out.

Princess Annabelle

Photo By: @Itsjustayejay

I started organizing my goals and I felt like I just kept hitting my head against a brick wall. Nope. Can’t do it. Capstone Capstone Capstone. I like my project for Capstone but…

I’M OVER IT
I’m over not having time available to chase my dreams or SET GOALS TO BE MORE SPIRITUAL –
do you know how ANNOYING that is?

I’m trying to better myself as a human being to make a more positive impact in the world and I CANT because I have to write a STUPID history essay about a fake “counsel meeting” (aka class discussion) from the perspective of a townsperson ABOUT THE PLAGUE. 
…. ok.
When I was little, like from birth – 10 years old, I thought I’d make a really good princess. I thought, wow, I’d really like to rule over a kingdom and take care of my people. I was convinced I was born in the wrong time period. 
One night, I had just finished watching The Princess Diaries on VHS in my parent’s bedroom when my grandma walked in. She sat on the bed and we talked about princesses. I told her that I thought I was supposed to be one. (duh)

Then she told me that I was.

Uhm. WHAT?
My 8 year old heart combusted.

She said that there was a book that traced our family all the way back in time to like the 1400’s, and that our bloodline was royal. She said that if the revolutionary war had never happened, I would have been the princess and ruled over North America.
False. 
SO incredibly false.

But to an 8 year old that knew nothing about History it made total sense.
Little 8 year old Annabelle with big dreams TOOOOOOTALLY believed it. I knew it in my bones that I was meant to be a princess. 
Obviously, I was pretty pissed when I figured out that she was lying about the whole thing.
(The book thing is totally real though and we do have a coat of arms from our ancestors that I brought to show and tell to prove to everyone that I was a real princess)
But the feeling I felt in my bones remained.  
Fast forward almost 10 years and I think I’m having another “aha” moment.

It wasn’t the glitter or the beautiful dresses or fancy things that a princess has that I wanted, it was the charisma, confidence and compassion it took to move & care for the hearts of people that I wanted to learn.
It wasn’t being a princess that captivated me, it was being a leader.
I’m sitting here still dreaming of my own adult kingdom.
Except when you’re an adult you call it an empire.
And instead of calling you a princess, they call you a Mogul.

I have dreams and plans and things to do and goals to set and accomplish. Building an empire and finding a team is going to take a lot of work but I know I can do it.

It’s just taking a little bit longer than I’d like right now because first, this princess has to graduate from college…..*eye roll*