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.

In Process

I was sitting on the living room floor picking sand grains out of my hair from the beach earlier, and Luke and Bernard sat on the couch, curled up with blankets as the cool night air blew in from the window behind them.

At this point in the evening, we had already caught up on what was going on in our lives and our favorite TV shows – all of the simple stuff.

At this point in the evening, we started having the kind of conversation that requires vulnerability, safety, and trust.

The kind of conversation that a majority of people don’t get to ever be part of.

The conversation was so good, that it went on late into the night, and I actually took notes on my phone.

It began with a question about the meaning of a phrase I’ve been mulling over the past week
“Just Be Yourself”
This is a phrase that has recently really frustrated me.
I ranted about it on my Instagram, so if you’re interested in my thoughts on that, check out the “Inspo” Highlight on my profile.

Anyway, as Bernard explained his perspective, he reached out his hands and said…”To be myself means that there is no gap between the way I feel and the actions I take” he gestured toward himself.

To me this was powerful. It meant that to be yourself, you have to have emotional intelligence. You have to be able to identify things you feel and discern their meaning. And then you have to have the discipline to take action. In short, you have to follow your heart, do the thing that is best for you, and do so even if there is opposition.

I think when we choose to do the easy thing instead of the right thing, it hurts us because it separates us from our true identity. 

It’s not necessarily that the easy thing is the wrong thing, but it is inauthentic when we are aware of what the right thing is. We feel what is right. We feel things, and so often we are told (women especially) that our feelings are wrong, or “extra” or useless. But there is power when you are fluent in the language of emotion and are well connected with the being that lives in your body. What I mean is,  there is power in being aware and accepting of those feelings because they are part of who you are! If you constantly deny your feelings, then you constantly deny yourself.

Luke shifted under his blanket and added how it is also SO important to be with people who reward you for being yourself. When I asked what he meant by being “rewarded” he said “It has a lot to do with the reactions of people around you. Being accepted, being validated, feeling a bond or connection, but ultimately, about being happy.” These things are all rewards for behavior, good or bad.

After sharing stories about being left out of high school cliques and how good it was for us and our identity, we decided, the experiences of being validated for both authentic and inauthentic behavior is also part of growing up and becoming an adult.

This is when I began to get quiet and listen attentively. Bernard is 38, and Luke is 33. Both have many years of adulthood under their belt than I do at 23, and I wanted to understand what defined adulthood for them.

They said it had many parts, and most of those parts depend on the values of the individual. Some of it has to do with age, some of it life experience and suffering, some about milestones. For me at 23, it seemed like being an adult is something that only would come with time, until they mentioned the main factor of becoming an adult. Developing their own voice. 

When they were able to say identify the people that were validating them for inauthentic behavior, and choosing to go a different, more authentic way. They said that adulthood meant authenticity, a recognition of their personal desires, values and beliefs… and acting accordingly… authenticly.

It sounded to me like life is just a process of naming things. 

To wrap up the night, Bernard shared a deeply personal story about a transformative event in his life.
“I realized, ” he said “that all of this around me is just play. What’s in here ” he pointed to his chest, “is real.”

I’ve heard the phrase “In process” a lot lately.
This blog post is titled that because I believe we are all in the process of coming to be our true forms.
To get reconnected with our authenticity.
To be ourselves.

23

I have spent this past trip around the sun trying to prove myself. 
“I can be independent” *Moves to California*
“I can follow my own path” *Opts to freelance instead getting “a real job”*
I crossed off a lot of bucket list items and followed my heart. *Lots and lots of traveling*

I felt like I was constantly yelling into the universe “LOOK AT ME! I CAN DO IT!”
and trying to make others believe me.
I wanted to make the people around me see that the things that made me different, didn’t make me wrong. It was exhilarating and equally exhausting.

Up until now, I’ve been very focused & committed to forging my own path and have spent a lot of time exerting strength externally.
Hacking away the weeds that block me, and moving forward.
Everything has been action based because I had something to prove to my friends, to my teachers, to my family…even to myself.

I believe this season was fruitful & absolutely necessary.
The challenges I faced and things I’ve accomplished have set a foundational layer of my identity.
I know for a fact now that I can literally do anything.
I have what it takes to move into my purpose.
I have the strength to pull weeds & lay bricks.
This past year, I realized that I CAN.

I think this new year, year 23, will be quite a bit different.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a pull inward, to start talking to God more instead of yelling aimlessly into the distance. 
I think this year’s focus (and possibly many after that) will be “I AM” rather than “I CAN”.
This year’s focus will be more about being; who to be, and how to be.
My word for 2018 is Identity, and I think my 23rd trip around the sun will follow suit and be “Womanhood.”
I always think back to my 9-year-old self on my birthdays.
9-year-old Annabelle had A LOT of expectations and hopes for older Annabelle…
I thought by 13 I’d have most of life’s most challenging questions answered, like “Why are there bad people in the world?” or “Why does math exist?”
By 16 I’d be tall and have boobs, and by 23 married, or at the very least, engaged. 
To be fair, 23 was more than double my entire lifetime at 9 so it’s understandable.  
23 to me now means moving deeper into self-discovery and moving more confidently into womanhood. 

I think being a woman is not something you get much choice in, but accepting womanhood is a different story – and it has nothing to do with starting your period.

I realize now, almost 10 years later, that the congratulatory “Welcome to womanhood” cheer I received from my female family members after I hit puberty is absolute bullshit.

I had no idea what that meant & it scared me.

I think about countries where girls as young as 11 are married off and expected to bear children after they start their period. How can you be a woman if you are still a girl? How can you be a woman if you don’t know the power a woman has?

Is womanhood taught?
Is it experienced?
Is it earned?
Is it real?

My friend Houston is a professional speaker, and almost every time he speaks, he shares a quote that has become one of my favorites:
“If you don’t understand the purpose of a thing, you will abuse that thing”. 
I believe this can be applied to womanhood.
If you don’t understand the meaning of womanhood, or the power of womanhood, chances are, you’ll abuse it…which might translate to abusing yourself and the people around you.

This 23rd year will be dedicated to learning, exploring & understanding what womanhood means.
I will not be chasing a universal definition, just a definition for me.
I will discover the things I agree with and the things I don’t and of course, I’ll be writing about it all.

What does Shania Twain really mean when she says “I feel like a woman” Men’s shirts, short skirts?
Common Shania, there’s gotta be more to womanhood than subjecting yourself to the male gaze. It has to be more than starting your period and being able to bear children. 

There has to be more to womanhood than that.

Full of Emptiness

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN MARCH 22 2018

I feel full… and not the happy, warm kind of full.

And definitely not the food baby kind of full.
I’m the kind of full that feels more like overwhelm.
Except I don’t feel overwhelmed, I feel like I can handle it.
Which is probably even worse.
When you’re overwhelmed you KNOW you’ve reached a limit & have no other choice but relinquish control.
But my newfound organizational skills keep me on top of everything despite my unstable emotional state.
I’ve been near tears this week.
One day, I cried 3 different times.
Another day, I felt tears emerge before facing a whole group of people & had to dart into the bathroom to cry with tissues under my eyes so my mascara wouldn’t run.
I’ve been snapping at people
I’ve been feeling immediately irritated if someone asks for help or needs something from me.
I’ve been negative.

I’m not myself.

It’s the kind of full that’s really empty.
I’ve felt unloved, undervalued, overworked, underprepared, under qualified for pretty much everything I’ve been doing.
And I keep finding myself wanting to blame things on other people, but today I realized I’m doing it all to myself.

It’s scary because I don’t know how I got to this point.

My roommate came into my room last night. She sat next to me on my carpet and handed me a cup of tea. “I’m worried about you.” She said. “Your energy has shifted, what’s going on?”

I immediately buried my head in my hands and to no one’s surprise, I started crying.
That was the first time someone had asked me how I was doing, and meant it, in at least 2 months.
She and I talked for a while. We pinpointed the shift. It was around the time I started my new job.  But I REEEALLY like my job? How can that be?
After some reflecting, I realized I had been internalizing and pushing down a lot of fears…
I feel like I’m not worth what I’m being paid (Which is a modestly average amount). I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing & I’m making things up as I go along, which makes me a fake. (AKA Imposter syndrome)
I feel a lot of pressure to be perfect at this job that I feel underqualified for because if I lose it, then I’m financially screwed.
AND all of these fears and driving me to pour everything I have into this work…. which didn’t seem like a bad thing until I was walking around totally drained.
After this conversation with my roommate, I realized that I’m only getting better at my skills, not actually pursuing my purpose.
 
What the hell is my purpose?

I’m realizing that I’m not JUST a businesswoman, I’m an artist.
An artist who happens to be good at business.

 

And the only thing being an artist means is that I create things in order to translate my love, energy, and purpose into the world.
It’s a spiritual thing.

But this season I’ve realized that being an artist has to come FIRST if I’m going to stay balanced.
Being an artist & cultivating my spirituality has to be a priority.

I think back to a conversation I had with my friend Emma recently.
“The world needs your writing Annabelle.”
She compared my written thoughts to some of our favorite role models in the business & personal development worlds.

I had a hard time receiving such a huge compliment, but it stuck with me and has been ringing in my head lately.

I bought a 12-week reflection course called “The Artists Way” and started reading it today.

I stumbled upon this quote in the introduction and it stopped me.

“We see God as a creator but seldom see creator as the literal term for artist” – Julia Cameron

Wow.

My favorite argument for keeping myself in an unhealthy work situation is “but I’m learning a lot.”

 

The skills I’ve learned and am developing are only meant to be the supportive structure which helps me get my art into the world. Whether it’s writing, or creativity or … it doesn’t have to be for any noble cause other than out of the pure relationship with my creator.
Then all of this work I’m breaking my back doing is NOT my purpose.
THAT’S why I feel so full of emptiness.
I’m neglecting my creativity, the part of me that lives in direct communication with my creator.
 

I kept lifting my hands from my keyboard to my face as I wrote this because the formation of these sentences allowed me to process this concept & I feel so much clearer now than I did before.

I literally was figuring this out as I wrote.

And that’s what I was meant to do.

I was meant to be writing.
I was meant to be creating.

All of this to say, having a job I like isn’t a bad thing.
I just can’t let fear & insecurity take control of my life & neglect to cultivate my artistry in the process.

One is needed to survive, the other is needed to live.