I turned 36 last month and actually love growing older as I feel like I simply keep expanding, learning, growing, getting to know myself better and better. For the most part, I still feel young and like I have SO much still ahead of me. I wake up excited for another day, full of deep gratitude for my life and all that I get to experience, share, hold, cherish. That said, old Annie with all of her baggage, showed up full force a few days after my birthday, and I found myself stuck in victim-mode, wanting to curl up and hide.

“You are still at this place in your life?! Living alone (no partner), living paycheck-to-paycheck, battling injuries and unable to run as much as you want to, holding onto extra weight?! What’s wrong with you?”

What I notice is, that when she shows up and overpowers my thoughts and feelings, those intense, cruel messages embed in my body and a huge clamp lands on my heart. I then feel so trapped by my own mind… sad, angry, frustrated, beaten down. Amazing how mean we can be to ourselves. Reality is that this energy directly leads to self-sabotage even more. I still turn to sugar once and awhile to soothe, numb, comfort, which inherently impacts how I am as a mom, health coach, teacher, friend. I feel more irritable, less present, more controlling, and then, I end up in a heap on the kitchen floor by the end of the night, pounding the cold tiles with my fists and sobbing. My critic says, “You are a mess.”


During these moments, I feel so utterly alone and yearn to be held. To be able to come downstairs, after tucking my kids in, to a loving partner who opens up his arms – no words – and simply holds me because he wants to. Tenderness, safety, compassion, unconditional love.

I know of the incredible importance of continuing to give this same sacred love to myself and yet, sometimes I am just SO tired of “being strong” and doing it all alone. I am also simultaneously aware that there are many people out there who do have a partner and yet who may feel this deep loneliness even still. I know I did.

5 years ago I felt more alone than ever as my marriage was crumbling. I had to make the hardest decision of my life which was to leave my husband in order to breathe life back into myself so that I could have strength, energy, and greater love for my 2 kids. The oxygen mask – give to yourself first so that you can show up with more present-mindfulness and vitality for others.

For the longest time, I accommodated. I shrunk to make more room for others, pleased, “stayed strong,” pushed my own feelings aside because they weren’t as important (and because I was terrified). My spirit died. At least that is what my closest family members and friends told me. My husband fell into a deep depression and I had lost him. My heart hurt and I felt like I had failed. I couldn’t ignite his light. I couldn’t bring him back and make it all okay anymore.

So, I left with our kids. I was told by some along with my inner critic, that I abandoned my partner. How could you??!!! And yet, how could I not leave? I had abandoned myself for so long and I needed to wake up, survive and revive so that I could be the best mom and version of me as possible. We had to let go in order to find love for ourselves again and be the best parents for our kids.

People who didn’t know me that well, who didn’t know what I was going through, told me that I looked better than ever. (I had lost 10lbs rapidly due to stress). I felt confused because, on one hand, I loved the way I looked – leaner than I had been in a long time, and yet, my strength was gone, my face looked tense and exhausted, my solar plexus in knots, my heart pained.

With time, and intense ups and downs, incredible healing took place. And 5 years later, my former husband and I are in the best place we’ve ever been in. We have forgiven one another and carry tremendous strength and love as co-parents, which I am forever grateful for. Jack and Sadie are truly incredible beings – so resilient, bright, compassionate, loving.

In my moments of still feeling stuck and like I haven’t done much, I reflect and remember that holy shit, Annie… you have done SO much. I stepped out with courage, love, faith, necessity and gave myself oxygen again so that I could enliven my spirit and show up for my kids and myself in the now.


I am 10lbs heavier now, actually more like 15. The number on the scale still bothers me at moments and I find myself desiring to be 128 again and yet, why?! Why would I want to be 10lbs ago when I was at the most stressed out point in my life? I am strong, full of light, and vitality. I am not perfect, and yes, may have a few extra pounds of unwanted weight from my sugar binges or due to my inability to run over the last year, and yet, I am healthy, my kids are healthy, my former husband is healthy. I release the number, the scale. What is most important is how I feel from the inside-out – clear, free, alive, joyous. My body represents strength and softness, power and gentleness… and I am deeply grateful for all of it.

Like all of us, I desire to be seen for who I am – all of me, and appreciated, even the raw crumbled me on the floor; I want to be held and cherished, as well as hold and cherish. I open myself up even more to the give and take, the beautiful loving dance of life, practicing asking for what I need and not hiding in my shame anymore. This is me. Who I am at my core. I am scared yet courageous, sometimes tired yet always passionate, excited, trusting, alive with spirit… I am setting myself free. And I land in liberation and presence even more as I share deeper vulnerability.

I share so openly because the truth is everyone has their own struggles, vulnerability, shame, stories, no matter what age, size, shape, gender, profession, background. Let go of assumptions and judgment, of shame and darkness. Speak your truth, share your story, ask for support. Travel beyond your comfort zone and dive deeper into your relationship with your higher self and Divine Spirit. When we open ourselves up to this sacred connection through deeper mindfulness, meditation, self-love practices, the loneliness and feeling like a “victim” dissipate and we remember that we are surrounded, always, with ever-flowing support and love from the Universe as well as from our family and closest friends.

Here’s to loving ourselves wholly and appreciating the wholeness of others with deep tenderness and strength. I wish to share from my heart and shine my light so that I guide you to do the same. You ARE brilliant and beautiful just as you are!

With Deep Love, Light, Gratitude & Power, Annie

Annie Wagoner