A New Chapter


It's been quiet here on the blog. In the four and a half years since I started blogging, I've never missed more than a day of posting. Until last week. I've had some major upheavals in my life recently, and I'd like to share them with you here in small, measured doses. I'm reexamining everything: my values, my way of life, even what this blog means to me and the types of things I'd like to talk about.

New bed

To start. This month I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. That top photo is everything I brought with me. I could have packed more but I chose not to. In my thirty years on earth I've never lived by myself. Never been financially independent, never spent extended periods of time alone, never trusted my ability even to take care of my most basic needs.

Out the window

When I arrived in LA, I stayed with my dear friends Kevin and Danielle. It took me a week to start apartment hunting. Once I found a place, it took me another week to move my belongings from my car into the house. Another week to start sleeping in the new place. The reason for my delay? I feel afraid all the time. My fear spans the spectrum from having to buy the $0.99 shampoo all the way to not being good enough. Will my hair be less clean, shiny, bouncy? And good enough for what? For whom? I get paralyzed in a whirling, eddying thought-pool of terror. Yet every once in a while I have a glimpse not of fearlessness, but of confidence that I can push through the fear. Because really, what option does any of us have but to keep going? To lie in our beds on the first wake-up in a near-empty house. To see the light through the window. To know that we will make it because to make it, to put one foot in front of the other, every moment of every day, that is the only way there is.          

P.S. The lovely Melissa Loves shared this Georgia O'Keefe quote with me this morning: "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life–and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." What quotes keep you pushing through the fear? Images: 1, 3. Me 2. The Why We Love Photography–We moved the mattress in on Thanksgiving day. Of course I had to try it out for size! :)

  • http://www.ournaturalheritage.org Caitlin

    Girl, you got so much talent you will be fine!
    I’m excited to follow along on your next adventure – I’m sure that once in awhile, some days will be scary or sad, but I admit I’m slightly jealous of your clean slate :)

  • http://www.SecretsofaBelle.com Hannah B.

    This summer I spent the 1st stretch of time by myself when my husband went to NYC for 4.5 months for an internship. Quiet times are hard, but you’re stronger than you think. And this introspection that’s happening right now will change your life forever for the better… I just know it!
    xo* ~Hannah B.

  • http://www.glittersgold.com Emily

    I think it should be mandatory for everyone to live by themselves for, at the very least, a few months. It will certainly be scary at first, but you’ll learn so much. Enjoy this adventure! x

  • http://www.brooklynsupper.net/ Elizabeth

    I love this post. I started my fall with big dreams, but slowly, the everyday blah of life has picked them apart. I feel a little like I need a clean slate. Your changes are inspiring and I’m really looking forward to whatever’s in store.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mylatestexcuse Mylatestexcuse

    It looks like your new place gets great light! When you feel scared about what’s next, those beautimous windows could be a gentle reminder of the lovely bits of sun that make life (even the unknown parts) warm and bright.

  • http://couldawouldapica.blogspot.com andrea nicole

    i love this post. and i share many (MANY) of those same thoughts and thought patterns. just want you to know how inspirational you are to a whole mess of people. hang in there on your transition.

  • http://cupcakesforbreakfast.com Nikki Rappaport

    What an honest post. I think you’re going to find some great things out of this fresh start. It’s an amazing feeling to know you can do things on your own even if you don’t want to. Can’t wait to see how this new adventure inspires you!

  • http://www.jamiehousedesign.com Jamie

    i feel you girl, it’s like i could have written this post. same reason i haven’t posted a blog in months. different, but same feelings. the time i spent living by myself in my tiny apartment was the best, i loved it. you will too. i’m not sure how to beat the fear, it feels paralyzing sometimes. just be easy on yourself.

  • http://bgjournals.com/ mary @ B&Gjournals

    first of all, can’t believe you have always posted everyday on your blog, that is so impressive. secondly, i love that you limited yourself to what would fit in your car–the ability to let yourself have clean slates, to start a new is exciting, inspiring and courageous. and a little bit of anxiety or fear along the way just makes you human. so glad i’ve recently found your blog and excited to see you build new chapters in LA.

  • http://www.prettyhautemess.com Cori Magee

    Congrats on your big move and best of luck settling in. Keep moving forward, never doubt yourself! xo

  • http://ariannainteriors.blogspot.com Arianna

    What a touching post… I totally understand being scared but I truly admire the guts and determination it took you to move. Don’t think I could ever be so brave – for this alone you are going to do just fine and I think exciting things are definitely on the horizon for you x

  • http://drifterandthegypsy.com/ Micaela // Drifter & the Gypsy

    What a wonderfully honest post. I often feel the same way as you. Be brave. It’ll all work out in the end. I’m sure of that :)

  • http://tribulationsbretonnes.blogspot.fr/ Bénédicte

    Thi is so interesting to see how different people are in their life! I am used to live alone and I love it. However I am pretty sure I will be terrified at first when I will move in with someone (whoever he might be).
    I am positive you will learn a lot in this new chapter and find your new situation empowering, fulfilling and rewarding.

  • http://www.thursdaynightdinner.org Stephania

    I love this post. It’s not easy starting over and it’s a scary thing to face so much change at one time. But it can make all of the difference in the world and my life in infinitely better. Keep your head up!

  • http://www.r-ki-tekt.blogspot.com Kel Cadet

    The bravest is not the one that is able to scream the loudest, but able to hear the tiniest whisper from within and listen to it…even if the actions follow it disrupt that which is comfortable and familiar. -me
    You, love, are brave.

  • http://www.littlepaperplanes.com Kelly Lynn Jones

    I totally know the feelings you have right now and have been there not so long ago. So excited for you and your new move to LA. It is an amazing city. Best of luck and hope to see you in LA one of these days!

  • http://www.lesleymyrick.com Lesley Myrick

    We’re practically neighbors now, so if you ever need anything you know how to reach me. Proud of you for making such a bold change. xox

  • http://anniemcelwain.com Annie McElwain

    Living on your own is wonderful. It all works out neighbor.

  • http://www.ahouseinthehills.com sarah

    wishing you the very best in this new phase anne, i know you’ll kick ass!

  • http://www.thesweetestoccasion.com/ Cyd

    I understand. So completely and entirely. I understand with every fiber of my being and every fear that still exists quietly among the folds of my own heart. The tail end of 2011 and the majority of 2012 was the scariest period of my life. Finally I feel like I am coming out from under a cloud and feeling more like me than I have, well, ever. Fear can be paralyzing, but it can also be incredibly liberating. If I had let fear consume me I’d have stayed where I was doing what I was doing. But I believed in more and I believed in better and I believed in me. So I had to look fear in the face and push through to the other side. You’re not going to be ok. You’re going to be brilliant. Sending so many hugs your way! xoxoxo

  • http://denimandink.com Erin

    Thank you for the honest post. I think we forget that everyone goes through similar events in their lives when we see them online day in and day out. It’s nice to know we’re all human— self doubt and fear are what hold me back more times than I’d like to admit. I would have never known this about you until today without this post. You seem to always have it going on…so I have no doubt you will push on through and continue to do great things. Everything happens for a reason and makes us who we are!

  • http://www.love-styled.com Cynthia

    Girl! So proud of you! I can’t wait to talk to you three years from now, and read this post, and see how amazingly far you have come out of fear. Keep walking one foot in front of the other! xo

  • http://www.joannariedl.com Joanna

    Love you.

  • http://www.myfavoriteandmybest.com my favorite and my best- MFAMB to you

    you are growing.

  • mom

    The Best Is Yet To Come….

  • http://Www.yourpocketstylist.blogspot.com Erin Taylor

    Love you Anne! You are talented, beautiful and hilarious! You have and will continue to do the most amazing things in your life! BIG changes make for even bigger accomplishments! Plus if you get board you can make me bread he he he

  • http://identityofmylove.blogspot.com Nicole Henley

    Wow, you brought it all back for me. I remember that fear very well after I moved here from Colorado. And the equal parts of what felt like excited pseudo-confidence. Welcome to LA and I wish you the best. Embrace the small moments where you can almost see the future your building. And just enjoy every new thing about this experience. Eventually that all-consuming fear will become a whisper.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/d107775934963422989 D

    Remember — just “20 seconds of courage” will help you move onto the next step.

  • http://www.agirlwhomakes.com laura parke

    i admire your honesty, anne. it is scary to go out and do new things and depend on ourselves, but it’s also so rewarding. and you’ll most likely surprise and delight yourself in the wonder of what you’re capable of. cheers to new adventures!

  • http://www.seenandsaid.blogspot.com/ Jane Flanagan

    I’ve been alone and terrified for more than 15 years. I don’t know what to tell you, other than that you will come to love the fear in some ways and to overcome it in others and to identify yourself with it and to defy it. And it will be the making of you in ways you can’t fathom. And, you’re not really alone because look at all these comments. xx

  • http://www.thewishfulnals.com wishful nals

    thank you for your honesty. i’ve been in a similar space lately, and these words are so comforting to let twirl around in my head. thank you. keep on doing what you do best, and know that little by little, it will get better. for whatever it is worth, sending good vibes your way. xo

  • http://sbchic.com Kelly Oshiro

    Congrats Anne on making the leap and making a new life for yourself. As for literature, I loved Villette by Charlotte Bronte. Seriously some of the best writing about aloneness out there… “But afterwards, is there nothing more for me in life – no true home – nothing to be dearer to me than myself?”

  • http://blog.imbreannarose.com Bre

    Hey love,
    I saw the Georgia O’Keefe quote you posted on twitter earlier and definitely identified with it. I naturally, all my life, have had a LOT of anxiety. No matter what my situation is, good or bad, I seem to live in fear of all these tiny and large things. All the time.
    But that quote is SO right. I recently had a little epiphany moment and realized that these things define me and have helped get me where I am and where I will be. I push through each and every day. It’s a different drive than most people, but I think it’s a good thing in the end. We’ll be fine, always. :)

  • Jess

    “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
    ― Robert F. Kennedy
    You will be fine!!! Love you xxx

  • Erik

    You are amazing and LA will love you :)

  • http://www.smittenstudioonline.com sarah sherman samuel

    Congrats on the new space and conquering some fears while you are at it! So excited to have you in LA. What an exciting time for you. xo

  • http://www.avantgardedesign.blogspot.com robin pulsifer

    anne, you are talented, beautiful and positive in your thoughts and in your outlook. everyone has days where that goes out the window, but the fact that you can, like georgia o’keefe says, never let it stop you, then you will make it through anything my friend 😉
    i feel a post like this myself coming on i’ll tell ya! wish we could meet for coffee for crying out loud! oh, and i have a favorite quote on my blog, my motto, by ayn rand that says “the question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.” don’t let anything stop you. thinking of you girl!

  • http://www.stacylucierphotography.com Stacy

    Something I remind myself of often:
    “Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find some amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through obstruction.”
    – quote by William James

  • http://heart-of-light.blogspot.com Rachel (heart of light)

    Congrats on the big change, lady! You’ll thrive here.
    P.S. – Happy hour sometime?

  • http://www.happyinteriorblog.com Igor

    Don’t forget that fear is a natural feeling that also sharpens our senses and clears our vision! You will make it! We all went through such a phase! Hugs from Germany!

  • http://www.likefreshlaundry.com Natalie

    We miss you here in S.F.! Congrats on fighting through the fear. Sounds like you’re not letting it paralyze you from doing the things you think are best, which is more than most people can say. xx

  • http://www.acozykitchen.com Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen

    Learning how to be alone has been one of the hardest and scariest, most important things I’ve gone through in the last few years. Change is so uncomfortable but I kind of think that if you’re nice and open, it can yield some pretty awesome results. Holler! xo

  • http://www.thebedlamofbeefy.com Uncle Beefy

    With all these comments it’s clear that… you’re not alone and plenty of us are here rooting for you, Miss Anne. I’m right there with you on both counts. And, Melissa’s quote is one that I’ll be taking with me as well. Love and spectacular wishes being sent your way! xo UB :)

  • http://larkjoanna.blogspot.com Joanna

    Your authenticity and bravery are inspiring. Sending positive thoughts your way as you turn over a new leaf.
    P.S. A lot of us are transitioning, too. You’re not alone. Hang in there!

  • Cari

    I’ve never seen your blog until this very day and what a post to stumble upon. I am in a very similar situation and just last night decided to write/blog about it.
    I hope to read about your new life and it gives me hope for mine.

  • http://www.henryroad.com Paula

    Love the OKeefe quote! Good luck with your new adventure! I found LA to be very conducive to creating a new life! Paula

  • http://marjorymejia.com/category/writings/ Marjory

    Moving into a new home has a way of shifting one’s core foundation. Love the quote by Georgia O’Keefe. This one offers great insight:
    “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” ~ Pema Chodron
    Great fear, great courage. Breathe through it.. Beautiful honest post. All the best, Marjory

  • DJ

    Lean into it all, sister! You can do this…xoxo

  • http://irene-turner.com Irene Turner

    Hi Anne,
    Oh I’ve been where you are! Such big life changes and yes, it is scary. All I can tell you is when you do come out on the other side life will be soooooo awesome you won’t even believe it!
    I was 28 at the time I went through it, and now at 55 I can tell you,it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Here is the quote that helped me through my dark times, I hope it helps you and am sending you good luck hugs from Sebastopol!
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us: it’s in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
    – Nelson Mandela & Marianne Williamson

  • Kristen Westergaard

    I bet you’ve inspired a lot of people with this post. We live in a world that demands we share only our confidence and success- a demand that keeps us from sharing the truth of our lives with others. Thank you for a post proving that, even on the internet, there is more to talk about than what makes us look good.

  • http://www.heartofvintage.com Christina Hernandez

    Such a touching post that we can all relate to at one point in our life. Starting with a clean slate may be scary, but I think the excitement of discovering the unknown beats out the scary. You are the keeper of your own destiny.

  • http://exquisitebanana.com kayla @ exquisite banana

    While you’re wading through the tougher stuff in all of this, know that there are plenty of us thinking of you and sending positive, peaceful energy your way.

  • http://www.aubreyrd.com Jenny | Aubrey Road

    You’re very brave! Wishing you the best with everything.

  • http://www.decorartsnow.com Decor Arts Now

    Good Luck Anne.. stay strong!

  • http://showyoumineblog.com Trisha Jones

    Hi Anne,
    Thanks so much for writing this post… it has really taken a weight off. I am always scared about the consequences of even small decisions and feel like I#m going to fail before I have even begun. Its nice to know that everyone feels like this sometimes…
    We’re gonna be just fine. And as Caitlin said.. you are extremely talented, which anyone can see just from your blog.
    The move sounds like its going to be a great thing for you. Good luck!
    Trisha X

  • http://www.storefrontlife.com Kristen S

    The best things in life are those which scare us the most. They provoke change and new, and open our eyes to things we may have been closed to before. I am also starting on a new journey, one that I would not have chosen for myself, that I am scared and angry and sad about all at the same time, yet I know that I will be a stronger person for having come out the other side. Sometimes these unplanned detours can show us more than all our planned endeavors combined. I hope that you will find peace and reflection in your new beginning and that you find comfort in being alone, but not lonely.

  • Calij

    I truly understand the fear. Living alone can sometimes cause you to not move forward. Mine has less to do with living alone. I live in New Orleans. However, I’m particular about friends. I have few. Sometimes, I feel the need for more as I do right now. Still I push myself to move forward and you can do the same. When you feel like you can’t make it, keep going. Be determined to make it. This is my dose of medicine I’m sharing.

  • http://www.simplifiedbee.com cristin @ simplified bee

    I’m saddened you are in LA, but happy for your new beginning. I love your raw post. Change is scary and life has a way of bringing on change whether we want it or not. You will be stronger and better for it. And now, I will just have to have a lunch/dinner date with you in LA. :) Much love, Cristin

  • http://Www.blogcurator.blogspot.com Dervla @ The Curator

    Wow, what an incredible post! Although I’m sure you went through some tough times to get to here, I must admit I’m a little jealous of that clean slate. New city, new place, new life. Can’t wait to see what you do with it. You’re amazing and LA is lucky to have you.

  • http://maison21.blogspot.com maison21

    what a lovely post! and you seem pretty fearless to me.
    welcome to my pretty city! i hope you’ll let me help you find some cheap (yet stylish) furniture to help turn your new place into a new home.

  • http://www.vivianchen.com Viv

    Sending you lots of love Anne! :o) PS You will LOVE living alone.

  • http://thestyley.com Kate Seward

    Anne, I just read this post. When I tweeted you the other day, I had no idea that you were really starting from scratch, I had just heard that you’d left SF to start a full-time writing career. I really applaud your bravery, both in what you’re doing and in sharing your experiences on your blog.
    “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

  • http://www.artifactuprising.com Katie | Artifact Uprising

    what a beautiful chapter of YOU. love that Georgia O’Keefe quote and that photo is priceless. keep inspiring. the world needs it.
    a quote we love:
    “YOUR JOURNEY has molded you for the greater good. It was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now IS RIGHT ON TIME” Asha Tyson

  • http://www.erinwilsonstudios.com Erin Wilson

    It starts to get really good at this point. You wont’ regret it. :)
    ps. I popped over from a link posted by @ArtifactUprsng.

  • charlotte

    You’re so inspiring! I’m terrified all the time! I don’t know how to get un-terrified, but it doesn’t keep me from doing the things I want. I’ve lived in LA by myself for 7 months now. Let me know if you need a new friend!

  • http://www.bowsandsparrows.com erin aka bows & sparrows

    There’s a poem by Emily Dickinson called “Hope is the thing with feathers” that keeps me feeling positive when life throws me a curve ball.

  • chey

    I know exactly how you feel! Its actually nice to have validation that others have felt the same. Thank you for having the courage to share your fear, and know they have probably been very comforting and helpful to others that share the same fears.

  • http://www.ever-ours.com lydia {ever ours}

    recently going through something similar. but with a good support system (family and friends), we can get through anything. with every passing day, it’s been getting so much better. and i’m learning a lot about myself all over again. hang out soon..seriously.

  • http://itsjusthowiseethings.blogspot.com georgia

    anne. i wish i could give you a big hug. i don’t know quite what has gone on in your life, but i knew there must be something big when we last corresponded through fb. i could just tell by what you wrote. my goodness. you are good enough. you are one of the best of people i’ve never met. you are gold. not sure what life holds for you or what you’ve come through exactly, but you are kind of amazing, and i know that only amazing things will continue to come from you or at you. i’m glad i scrolled back enough to try to get a bigger picture of what has been going on with you. i pray that your life will hold so many blessings in this new year and new chapter. big big hugs to you. p.s. love that o’keefe quote so much! love you.