Just For Now

If you were to ask me what my mind is like today, I would say “Thumbtacks”.

I feel like Thumbtacks are flying at me. Not in a purposefully hurtful way…. they are just kind of throwing themselves at me. It’s just happening. 
It means I have a lot (too many) projects – tiny projects right now. Small projects and things to do that can either help me set up things for my future or just become a pain in the ass. 
And at the beginning, it’s very hard to tell which one is which. 
I feel like a lot of things are like that. 
Today I got to hang out with my friend Zach. We went to the 360 bridge in Austin and did a little photoshoot for his brand Live A Great Story (@LIVEAGREATSTORY). Afterwards, we got breakfast tacos and chatted about the pressing matters of life and purpose.

And the thumbtacks started flying. 

I’ve met so many beautiful souls, connected with countless creative people and I want to help them, be their friends, scratch their backs…. and they want to do the same thing for me. The trouble is that most of us are still stumbling around with thumbtacks trying not to get hurt.

He understood. He said he was in the same boat. “You don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re doing it.” SOML….

Later I got to chat with my girl Lauren. We’ve been encouraging each other for almost a year now and met through her company Every Ella (@everyella). She swears she can see my growth – I think she’s crazy, but also a lot like me so maybe I’m crazy too. We talked about our thumbtacks- The things in our lives that we are passionate about and excited to accomplish, but we also just don’t quite have the capacity to do yet. Whether that’s a money issue, or a time issue, or a priority issue, whatever it may be, it’s just a little bit out of reach right now.
I laid out all of my thumbtacks in front of her and asked for her opinion. Then she said “Annabelle, if you could mentor yourself right now, what would you say? What would you tell you?”
I laughed, very hard. Too hard. That was a damn good question. I gave her an answer I didn’t like, but it was the truth. “I’d probably tell myself to keep doing what I’m doing, keep being me and don’t give up. It will work out…..eventually.”

Not the answer I wanted because I can’t SEE what ‘it will work out’ looks like! I have no idea what that means. 

I guess I just have to keep trying to decorate my future with my thumbtacks and just hope it all works out.

The Power of a Name: Annabelle Finds Her Purpose

Photo By: @ Pj.g

So if you know me or have followed my blog for a while you know that I’ve been wrestling with the meaning of life and struggling to find my purpose for literally years. Which is normal I think – a lot of people wrestle with this question for their entire lives. Some of them never actually find the answer.
My mentor, Will, taught me the best way to live, to give back, and to find your purpose, is to follow your dreams. I couldn’t agree more.

So throughout the years I would write down my dreams, and the things that made me truly happy.
Over and over again through different seasons of growth and change, I’d write down what it was that made me come alive. What were my passions? What did I love to do? When I felt lost or like I was lagging, I would go back to the list.

To my frustration, some of the things on this list would be different from the last time, leaving me feeling like I was at square one again trying to figure my life out. And it seemed like nothing I liked could ever work together for one greater purpose.

My Twitter Bio says “Writing, dancing, and brainstorming to make the world a better place.” Please tell me how that makes sense. How could I do all of those things at once? How could I give my random travels a purpose? My modeling? My love for business? For so long I felt like I liked too many different things to take any one job that would really make me happy. I knew I had to create it for myself – but I didn’t know what to call it or what it would look like.

Well, yesterday it hit me.

“It” is the guiding label I could give myself for my life purpose. Where I could combine my different passions to create all sorts of different projects that didn’t restrict me at all and would continue moving me in one simple world changing direction.

I was eating leftover spaghetti out of a plastic container for lunch when it hit me, and I got up and ran to write “it” down: “I love connecting people, so I create opportunities for other people. I produce opportunities through vision, connection, and passion. I am a producer of opportunity”

From my “Project Wall” AKA “The Dream Wall”

 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.

“Opportunity Producer” is my new job title.

However, “It” wasn’t able to come to fruition until I had met all the people I’ve encountered over the past 5 years that were able to show me a piece of myself or teach me something I would have never been able to learn otherwise. It is through other people that I found this title.

What is really interesting about this revelation is that on the very same notepad, I had written something down last week that was almost the exact same thing. In blue marker, it says: “I will be successful in lifting up and supporting others in the pursuit of their dreams.”

From my “Project Wall” AKA “The Dream Wall”

Apparently, my purpose has been with me all along. I mean duh…
But it took a name for everything to come together. A name. A frame. An idea.

Coming up with this name provided a lens in which I could see my future.
That’s how powerful names are.

What I mean is, if you call yourself Ugly, stupid, just lucky or not enough…. these are the ways you frame your future. It makes it hard to see how tomorrow could look magical when you give yourself names that suck.

This is a very real thing – I learned it and re-learned in absolutely every communication studies class I have ever had.

Ever since I accepted the things that made me different I’ve wanted to label them – in an attempt to understand their full potential and put them to use.

Things like being a survivor, being a thinker a writer, a dancer, a businesswoman and an artist. These are all thinks that make up a part of me, and each one took time to name. But once I did, I indulged my passions and my differences the way their names called for, until they lead me to one big name I could light the way with.

For the first time in my life, I feel grounded and rooted and safe when I think about the future, becuase I know I will be following my heart, and my heart can finally see where it’s going.

From my “Project Wall” AKA “The Dream Wall”

3 Words That Will Ruin Your Life

I’m doing this new thing with my vocabulary.
I’m cutting words out.

So far I have three:

  • Can’t
  • Should
  • Shouldn’t

It all started at my job. I am a dance coach at a studio that doubles as a cheer gym. Anytime one of our athletes says that they “can’t” do something, we make every single person on the floor do 10 push-ups.
Because saying you “can’t” is setting yourself up for failure before you even try.
It’s really amazing how far a little bit of positivity can take you.

Eventually I added “should” and “shouldn’t” when I realized how pervasive their concepts were in advertisement.

I have a whole elaborate theory about human nature and marketing but in a nut shell, many advertisements are only successful because they make their interpolated audience feel like they are lacking and that the product that is being sold with fulfill them.
So wrong.

Not all advertisements use the words should and shouldn’t, but the concept is there. 

In day to day life, I noticed myself thinking that I “should be” a better dancer – which left me feeling hopeless because I was simultaneously tell myself that I wasn’t good enough. That I just missed the mark.
And telling myself that I “Shouldn’t be so lazy” didn’t help me find a solution. It left me dwelling in the negative.

If you are looking to make an improvement or break a bad habit – stop looking down and beating yourself up. Look up, brainstorm, talk to people and think of ways to actually make a change. Don’t hate on yourself for being human. 

Cutting these words out of my vocabulary actually made me think about my situation more deeply. Making a conscious effort to re-phrase sentences or ideas I had actually made me a little bit more positive in a very realistic and motivating way.

In the end, it came down to acceptance. There is so much freedom in acceptance.
There is so much peace in being okay with being just the way you are.
You are enough – always have been, always will be.
Don’t let these words tell you otherwise.
The challenge is in the journey to finding it for yourself. Kind of like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L. Buckmaster

Let’s put “Human” back into “Humanity”

Photo By: LT Edwards Photography
Chowing down on a protein bar in this photo…

“To put ‘human’ back into humanity”

This is unofficially my new slogan – the guidelines by which my purpose/life is executed.

I’m involved/interested in a lot of random things – and my website is tangible proof that I have a very hard time organizing my life and making up my mind about what I like to do. I enjoy cooking/nutrition, nature, healing, psychology, dancing, modeling, social activism, business, teaching/mentoring, and a lot more.

But finally, a few nights ago,  I sat down and tried to figure out what the common string is that ties all of my work and interests together. And I came to the conclusion that I just have this strong desire to restore the vulnerable and soft part of the world.

The purpose of my slogan is that everything I do is aimed to this one goal. It keeps me focused and moving in a positive life fulfilling direction. I see the ‘human’ part of the equation as the brokenness or weakness. The part of ourselves that we are ashamed of, that we keep in the dark. The parts of us that feel things, create things and imagine things. I was to restore this – it’s the part of ourselves that help make us who we are and we live in an environment that tells us that we shouldn’t feel pain, that imagination and creativity isn’t valuable enough to be paid for, that brokenness is a sign of weakness. We are told lie after lie in our culture and I want to end it.

I am a communication major – and last semester I took a class that focused on the cause and effect of communication in the modern world – is VERY mediated. The more I discovered about how our communication works against us and the underlying cause of a lot of issues we have, the more I saw what can be done to change it. I have to believe that we have the power to change our reality for the better because of the very fact that we have control over the way we chose to communicate with each other and our surroundings.

And as a Com major I know that everything I say, do, feel, not say, not do, ignore, accept, (basically my very existence) COMMUNICATES SOMETHING. So I want to make sure that I communicate a positive message.

Take a second to think about what being Human means for you. In what ways your personal investment in your own humanity make the world a better place?

“Nothing is more creative… nor destructive… than a brilliant mind with a purpose.”

– Dan Brown