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.

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

Truth V. Lie

Written April 8, 2018

“The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity.” – Brene Brown

I managed to take some time today to write – despite my hangover.

I actually had been avoiding it – feeling totally uninspired, so I decided to read instead.
I’m working on 3 books right now.
Rising Strong (my first Brene brown book)
The 60/60 Experiment
& The Artists way.

I read a bible verse  – it’s the commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself”
and had a weird feeling immediately, so I decided to reflect.
I realized that I absolutely do not want anyone to love me the way they love themselves. Most people I know have a really hard/damaged/broken/disconnected relationship with who they are – their souls & their bodies…

So how do we fix this?
You can’t come to love others until you learn how to love yourself.
And that’s really fucking hard to do
We live in a culture that celebrates self-destruction. We make money off of people hating themselves. They pay for a quick fix after quick fix.
They become so self-consumed that it becomes hard to see others.
It’s easy to become like a torpedo of “not enough”
Trust me, I’ve been there.

It really comes down to the

You do love others the way you love yourself.  & It’s totally unconscious – have you ever thought as you set the capacity for how much love you both give and receive?

My faith tells me that I have to boot the lies out of my head.
My faith tells me that there’s something that happens bigger than me around me and with me
My faith tells me that the universe is constantly sending love to me
My faith tells me that love is a choice. and so is accepting it.
We need to accept that we are being loved whether we think it’s possible or not, whether we deserve it or not, whether we are good enough or not.

So how do you love your neighbor as your self? You know your truth, and respect their truth – THAT opens the gateway for real, authentic love.

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?

Poem of the Week

Sydney, Australia

 

Recounting past lovers of ancient days
Whose remnant love left me in a rushed dark haze
Some of these memories,
Are hard to digest
Especially when one
seems just like the rest.
My heart shrinks, my arteries burst
My body feels drained
My heart overwhelmed
It seems that nothing will change
I feel alone in my sorrow
The only one in my boat
My soul feels lost in space
& my body afloat.
But I realize it’s not darkness around me
It’s the hand of my maker
A voice says aloud,
“This is my child, let me shape her”
As my body drifts in currents of stars
His hands work as he whispers
This is what you are” A beautiful gift, a warm light,
Nothing will shake her
A woman of force, a bright soul,
a power of nature
A gentle smile with big dreams
She is a human worth
much more than she seems.

Here is the breakdown of this poem & what it means:
The beginning part sets the stage. The poem came to me after talking & laughing with a friend as I shared funny ex boyfriend & dating stories. Like how every single one of my college boyfriends ended up dropping out or in the hospital for some kind of mental illness.
The stanza
“Especially when one
seems just like the rest.”
Points to a recent dating situation I had that showed me a new pattern that I have developed recently in my love life that is equally embarrassing & painful.
I continues to talk about this feeling in the next few stanza’s but then at stanza 8 something shifts & God comes into the pictures.
His hands shaping me is really how my faith has already redefine my identity. That my relationships don’t need to be rooted in brokenness anymore.
The rest of the poem I wrote to remind myself of the truths that I’ve forgotten after the lies that brokenness has led me to believe.
That I am loved & I am worth it.
It’s to remind me that even though a boy chose to disregard my humanity, it doesn’t strip me of my right to deserve it.