Healing, Self-Discovery and Giving Yourself Freedom with Annabelle Evangeline
There's power in your story, especially when it's a hard one to share. Annabelle has been on a mission to use her story of healing and self-discovery to live a life of freedom while inspiring other leaders to do the same.
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Every Monday we feature a member of this community who embodies the LIVE A GREAT STORY spirit by pursuing their passions, making an impact and acting with courage and authenticity.
This week's member profile is with Annabelle Evangeline.
In this interview, we covered topics including:
- Healing and self-discovery
- The importance of journaling and morning pages
- "I'm Secure, Now What" podcast on the Love Intently podcast
Join LIVE A GREAT STORY to connect with dynamic people for engaging conversations about how to live a great story.
What's your current focus?
I'm always working on at least three things.
Right now it's being a restaurant owner, blogging about mental health, healing and self-discovery on my website Letters to My Little Sisters.
I also design worksheets that break down big ideas and create a structure for the mess that happens on the inside as we go through different waves of healing and growth.
How did you start writing on the topic of healing and self-discovery?
I was raped in college and the healing from that was really crazy. I tried some things that were not so good for me and tried some things that were great for me and the things that were great for me were dancing and writing.
And so that's where the blog started.
The more I shared my story of what I was struggling with and how I was healing, the more people reached out to connect with me on a similar journey.
I actually ended up writing a short workbook that uses creative writing and narrative to walk a survivor through their story and be able to own their own narrative a little bit better.
That was also the first life sheet I ever created.
Since then I've loved being able to connect with people and support people through these transition periods of life, which has been about six or seven years now.
You've done quite a bit in your early 20's, including college, moving to L.A. and traveling, what's been your journey for finding your story?
A lot of trial and error! A lot of moving around, a lot of checking in with myself.
In college, it was like pursuing dance almost full time. And then after college I moved to California because my mindset around dance became really toxic and I got to let it go for a little while.
So I moved California and pursued freelancing, piecing together different job opportunities.
But then my dad passed away and it brought me back to Texas to take over his restaurant.
So the path has been super windy. Lots of experiences, lots of travels sprinkled in there.
But really I think the key factor in most, if not all of my decisions is the amount of freedom I need to give myself. I have to have a lot of freedom and a lot of room to grow and be creative.
All along I've been really passionate about building my career around a lifestyle. I want to establish the life I want to live first, instead of finding a career and then adjusting my lifestyle... which is feels backwards in today's culture.
What practices do you focus on to keep you aligned with your story?
Journaling and writing has been pretty consistent. Not all of my writing is public, most of it's not.
But there's something called The Artist's Way and in there is a practice called Morning Pages.
The idea is to write three pages first thing in the morning, no matter what you feel like. If you don't know what to say, you write, "I am so annoyed I have to write three pages because I don't have anything to say."
And it helps unblock you as a writer, if that's the path you want to go on, but it also gives you permission to kind of dump out all the negativity that's happening in your mind, to just get it out of your brain.
It's also a place for gratitude to start your day grateful.
And then also developing a spiritual practice. Sometimes I won't write as much because I am meditating more. True balance is being able to give yourself what you need at that time. So there are days that I wake up and I'm like, "I should be writing today" but really what I need is to sit by the pool or to go for a run and work out.
And just allowing grace for, for the flow, for whatever you need.
Also therapy. Oh my God. Therapy. I go once a week.
What advice would you give the younger?
The young Annabelle was determined to prove people wrong and that's a great quality up to a certain point, but I think it becomes self-destructive.
So I would tell the younger Annabelle that she doesn't have to be perfect because she needs to honor herself.
When my dad died, I had a big realization that I was trying to prove people wrong through working being high achieving.
What I learned after my dad died was that it wasn't sustainable for me. It was a really toxic mindset that I put myself in. This perfectionism comes from a feeling of lack of self-worth and this belief that I have about myself that I need to prove something
So what I learned is that is the balance of resting and creating, creating without expectation, and that feminine energy is just as important as the high achieving goals that I want to set. Like there has to be balance there cause I was totally burning myself out.
I know our culture really celebrates burnout. It's kind of becoming trendy but it's not actually cool and it's not sustainable.
And if you're a person that's driven to make a big impact in the world, you need to learn how to balance that energy. You can't be burning out all the time.
What do you have coming up?
I'm in the middle of a rebrand. Yay. I have a new website coming up, which is awesome. I have a move coming up to Austin which is also awesome.
But mostly I'm working right now on the pilot group for a big sister program.
It's like one on one coaching calls that act kind of like an accountability buddy. It's designed to encourage and create leaders.
I have three amazing college-age women in that group right now and we are starting our first call is tomorrow night. The goal is for these young girls to be able to lead a group, leaders cultivating leadership skills so that they, in turn, can be leaders.
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