Birthday B.S.

My chest is on fire.
No one is going to show up.
I’m embarassed and ashamed.
I feel like the only person at the loser table in a high school cafeteria.

Birthdays have always been a little bit uncomfortable and weird for me but this year, I have more anxiety and stress than I ever have before.

When I was little, my mom threw a few really awesome parties for me and my friends to celebrate. When I turned 7, I distinctly remember forcing everyone to sit in a circle in the living room and watch me dance. I had a blast but was definitely offended when a few kids who just wanted to run around left my performance early.

In high school, birthdays weren’t a super huge deal, but my friend group had a tradition of going to dinner and splitting the bill for the birthday person’s meal. In college, we partied and decorated each other’s dorms rooms and partied some more.

Now I’m a full grown adult literally crying about my birthday.
I HATE planning, I’m afraid no one really cares about me enough to show up, and I think of fun ideas too late to make them happen.

And to be blunt, I’ve noticed that people in L.A. have a hard time showing up for each other. People are busy, yes, but I think it’s more a social anxiety thing.
or commitment issues.

Whatever it is, it’s a fear that is more important than friends.

It’s been a real struggle finding people that are consistent, and real and that show up.

Last year for my birthday, I went on a hike with my roommates because no one showed up, except for the guy that had a crush on me who brought me flowers (He’s my boyfriend now). I once had a house warming party that started at 7pm but people didn’t show up until 10pm. Same thing happened to my friend a few weeks ago.

So I was going to lay low because I know it’s hard to gather people together. It truly takes a lot of work – especially 3 days beforehand.

So this year I thought about just using it for a self-reflection/Spa day or something. BUT then people said “You should do something fun!” “Don’t be alone!! Be with your friends!”

UGH the truth is that I DO want to be with people. I don’t need to be treated like a queen or anything but I want to feel loved by people that I love. (In a tangible way) So I came up with an idea to go sailing for sunset. I’d only need 5 people to join me.

I started extending invites.

And I started getting replies…
Most of them are out of town this weekend.
Some have work and can’t make the sailing time.
Some said they needed rest and weren’t interested in going out.

Only one said “YES!!” (My roommate)

I worked through a list of 15ish people and everyone said “Sounds fun but sorry I can’t!”

And that sucks.

I don’t care what your excuse is – all of them were valid and understandable – but it still hurts to be rejected.

It takes vulnerability and courage to extend an invitation, so it still hurts to hear an “I’m too tired” from people you care about and want to celebrate with.

On top of that, the sailing cruise got booked. I was scrambling to find a new time – messaging the captain to find out another option but that stressed me out.
What’s the point if no one can join me anyway?

So I give up.

Instead I’m frustrated, banging my fingers on a damn keyboard and feeling all the feelings that I WANTED TO AVOID by just taking the day for myself.

….Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on it. Celebrate on another day, what’s the big deal? I definitely want to do dinner and maybe a small house party when people are back in town next week, but I believe that there should be something to celebrate the day of. Something small, filled with joy.

Some people say they don’t care about birthdays and I kind of wish I could be like them…But I think “not caring” just a defense mechanism.

I think someone who doesn’t care about birthdays is someone who used to care a lot about birthdays but doesn’t anymore because they got nail files & hand sanitizer for their sweet sixteen (true story).

And I admit my aversion to birthday celebrations has hindered me for showing up for others. And that’s shitty. And if I haven’t shown up for you because of my own fears, I’m sorry. I want to be a better friend.

I want to show up for people because that, to me, means the most.

So on Friday, April 5th, don’t just tell me “happy birthday” – show up for someone you care about. Bring someone lunch, buy someone flowers, give the people you love a hug. Congratulate people on their wins, sit with people in their pain, stop rescheduling the coffee date and just commit.

On April 5th, I want you to SHOW THE FUCK UP.
That’s what I want for my birthday.

Let’s Get Waxed

I laid on the waxing table with my knees spread, trying to keep my tears hidden under the fluorescent lights.

“Why are you doing this to me?” I heard…

I first got body hair around 11 or 12 years old.

I didn’t really notice it until one day in gym class, my friends and I sat in a row with our legs out in front of us. We were observing the stubble on our shins. Some of my friends had dark stubble, some had softer stubble, some barely had any, and others, like me – hadn’t shaved at all.

“If you ever feel like shaving your legs, don’t,” my mom told me a year or so prior to my friends leg hair competition in gym class, “let me know and we will get you waxed instead so you don’t get stubble like me.” Her legs were kind of prickly like some of my friends.

So later that afternoon, when I got home from school, we made an appointment. The idea is that waxing over time destroys the hair follicle and actually makes the hair stop growing or grow lighter. The next time my friends and I compared legs, I won the smoothest.

“They’re so soft!!” They exclaimed. “Did it hurt?”

“Not really” I lied. 

The first time I got my bikini line waxed was summer after high school. My friend invited me on a cruise with her family and neither of us wanted to worry about shaving in a tiny cabin bathroom and I didn’t want to irritate my skin shaving every day. Bumps and stubble along a bikini line are not cute… I remembered from that day in middle school that stubble = ugly.

I’ve been waxing since – even though I hate going to the appoints because as you can imagine, having hair ripped from your genitals in chunks fucking hurts.

BUT I was conditioned to HATE my body hair. And I’ve learned how to breathe through the pain of the strip. (Literally, you do breathwork to minimize the pain you feel – it doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me!)

So last week, my 1034th time (or something like that) at European Wax Center, I walked in confidently, made friends with the front desk girl & chatted a bit with my specialist as she did my eyebrows and waxed my lips.

It was my first night back in like 2 or 3 months. Which is a LOOONGGG time since I normally go every 3 weeks. In that time I’ve been doing a lot of work emotionally and spiritually and also A LOT of traveling & moving around.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been here” I warned her.

“Hey there’s nothing wrong will all natural” She pulled the first strip and my chin started to quiver.

I managed to hold myself together long enough to pay and walk out to the parking lot before I totally lost it. The cries that came out of me sounded like they belonged to a scared 10 year old girl. My whole face was wet & each inhale was sharp and I thought I might work myself into a panic attack in the parking lot.

Then I heard it again, “Why would you do this to me?”

Recently I had been learning a lot about “the inner child”. It’s this idea that everyone at their core is this little boy or little girl that wants to play, be creative, explore and be loved. However, as we grow up we tell ourselves “no I don’t have time I have to work” or “no I can’t do that I have other responsibilities to take care of.” Denying our selves of the freedom and exploration we crave makes us miserable. I had just started to learn the ways that I shut myself down when this happened.

Over the last 2 or 3 months, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to accept more love for myself and embracing this childlike side of me.

For the first time, I heard little Annabelle speak to me, “Why would you do this to me?”
I didn’t know what it meant.

I just knew that for the first time, getting waxed felt like I was being punished.
I felt like I had been tricked or lied to.

The truth is, every time I look in the mirror I have to practice gratitude for the body I have and what my body allows me to do – otherwise, I get stuck in a self-loathing pit of doom and the insecurity leaks into everything. And if you want to know the things that adult Annabelle does not have time for, it’s self-loathing and insecurity.

My only explanation for this meltdown is that by after almost 3 months of practicing gratitude for my body JUST the way it is, I rid myself of the insecurity I had about my body hair, and then suddenly, I was back in the waxing room, submitting myself to a world of pain to get rid of a part of me I had grown to accept. 

I started waxing because I wanted to be pretty. 
I wanted to be confident.
I wanted to be desirable.

It was something I did because I felt ugly and part of me, I think, accepted it as punishment or penance for existing the way I was made.

Over the past few months, I’ve learned that body hair isn’t really that big of a deal. That a zillion years of evolution left body hair for protection, for warmth, and for comfort.

Over the past few months, I realized that personally, I don’t really care if I have body hair or not.

For the record, I don’t blame my mom for making my first wax appointment, she was preparing her daughter to live a culture that would be cruel to her for keeping her body hair. She was trying to make it easier for me to live in this world.

The sad part about this story is that I still feel like it’s something I have to hide. I know my culture doesn’t like to see women with body hair. And I don’t know if I’m brave enough to shock people with my hair yet.

I hope one day we will raise our daughters to embrace and celebrate themselves and each other. The way they are, the way they were made. And That they take ownership over their own bodies and only remove or alter hair because they want to, not because they feel like they HAVE TO.

WTF Is Self-Care?

Written April 17, 2018

Tonight I had dinner with one of my lovely friends at this DELICIOUS Pizza place in NoHo (That’s short for North Hollywood). I was super stoked when I found out they had a vegan pizza option… The last time I had pizza it really hurt my stomach.

Anyway, as we were sitting out on the patio with glasses of wine in our hand and suddenly the phrase “self-care” came up.

Galit said, “I feel more feminine lately when I’m doing a little bit of self-care, like this week I went to get my nails done, and that not necessarily what everyone wants to do, but I know it makes me feel good.”

And then it hit me.
“Self-care” has become this buzzword that means candlelit bubble baths and expensive massages.
And I’m realizing that’s NOT what self-care is.

REAL self-care is being able to tune into how your mind, body & soul, are feeling, and then knowing what things they need in order to function happily and balanced.

REAL self-care is knowing WHAT you need when you need it.

I saw an Instagram post of a bullet journal that said “Self-care list” and it was broken up into sections. “Heart, Mind, Body, Soul.

It annoyed me because it looked like there were just random things written in each category that didn’t really have anything to do with.

Just like self-care was the moment I chose to have a vegan pizza instead of regular because I knew that regular would make me feel sick and I wanted to take care of my body, not hurt it.

Self-care should feel rejuvenating and bring you back to center & balance. If that means spending time at a spa, or with friends, or eating vegan pizza so be it! And if it changes from day to day, that’s cool too, as long as you know what YOU need, do it!.

I decided I wanted to share some of my self-care lists so that you can see that not all self-care looks the same. And who knows, maybe it will give you some new ideas! At the very least, I hope this share will prove the fact that self-care can change from day to day.

In the morning I try to do what I call “Preventative work”. These are things I try very hard to do every day when I wake up because they are automatically balancing for me and keep me from going into a slump. Lately, I’ve noticed that if I hit a slump, it’s usually because I’m not making the time to care for myself in these ways…

  • Stay away from the phone! Especially in the morning. This has been nearly impossible for me lately. I think I need to get an alarm clock that’s not my phone.
  • Journaling I started doing this when I was working through The Artists Way. The challenge during that time was to get 3 pages written every morning. It was an excellent practice. Writing has always been my way of processing things, so I’ve kept up with it and it’s helped a lot! It’s nice to have a place to dump all my thoughts without any judgment. 
  • Workout This is one of the hardest things to get back into if I get out of the habit. But starting off my day with sweat is awesome and always gives me energy. Lately, it’s been inspiring me to write too!
    • 10 Push-ups Before I started working out regularly, I used to do 10 push-ups every morning. I did it because I hated push-ups and I knew that if I could get through those 10, I could tackle anything that day might throw at me. It was more a workout for my mind in a sense.
  • Having Breakfast Time For some people, this just means eat something before you go out the door. Usually, that’s what this means for me too, but if I have time, I like to sit with my breakfast and challenge myself to be present while I eat and stay off my phone
  • Putting on Face Lotion I always feel refreshed after I put lotion on – I do it before bed too. I don’t really know why I love it, but I do, and my skin feels like a baby’s butt 24/7
  • Water My Plants I love my plants. Having something to take care of and watch grow is really cool. To me, it’s soothing to tend to them.
  • Meditate I hated meditating but recently I finally had a breakthrough and figured out how to do it! I use this time to reconnect with God. It’s always between 3-7 minutes. 🙂
  • Drink Water I think my plants and I have a lot in common. I notice that when I drink water RIGHT when I wake up, I automatically have more energy. I stand and little taller and feel a little brighter, just like a flower 🙂

So most of my daily stuff is in the morning, but then I also have things I try to do weekly to stay grounded and connected.

  • Go to Church I really feel when I start disconnecting from my faith & spirituality. Going to church reminds me of my truth and the abundant love that exists for me. 
  • Meet up with a Friend I tend to isolate myself with work really easily so I have to make a conscious effort to spend time with people that I love!

What I do when I’m in a slump, to get out of the slump and also find comfort in the slump:

  • Affirmations I have affirmation cards I used to read to 
  • Gratitude Lists I still like to do this when I’m not sad, but if I start sinking into a slump, this is the first thing I go to. It helps tremendously
  • I go to bed early I don’t get mad at myself for wanting to stay in and take it easy. 
  • Buy a blanket Going to Target and getting the softest blanket to curl up in when I’m sad is always amazing.
  • Daily Reflection Sheets I created these sheets that I print off and complete daily for at least a week when I’m struggling or feeling overwhelmed. It helps you identify and focus on only the things that will help you grow and succeed. I recently made them available online. Check it out!

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.