How to STFU and Believe in Yourself Again: A Manifesto

Every moment you stay hidden in the shadows is a moment you’re stealing from the world. .png

Somewhere along the way, you let the world tell you who are and who you are not.

There was a moment when someone screamed in your face that you weren’t good enough — that who you are at your core is innately wrong.

So, you covered that “imperfection” up with self-deprecating humor, makeup, obsessive diets and hard-core workouts, and a schedule that was filled, and yet, you weren’t fulfilled.

The hoops just got bigger and bigger and eventually, you weren’t living a life, but rather just jumping from one thing to another.

You believed the lie that if you really did what you were made to do, if you stepped into the authenticity of you, people would run.

You’re too much.

Not enough.

Too fat.

Too skinny.

Not pretty enough.

Just a pretty face.

A tomboy.

So aggressive.

Too passive.

Too talkative.

Too quiet.

Not the marrying kind. 

Only the marrying kind.

A terrible mother.

Just a mother.

A slut.

A prude.

Career-obsessed.

Not good with numbers.

A book-worm.

Too demanding.

A showboat.

A wallflower.

You’re told these things over and over again that you start to believe it.

It’s judgements of others that keeps us still and scared to pursue the dreams we were meant to chase. You stay stuck because of a handful of instances where someone decided to tell you about yourself, and you believed it.

Other people must know your value, your worth, your potential, right?

Wrong, darling. You are so very wrong.

You have walled yourself off from your true self because it’s easier to go along with what the world wants to make you believe you are.

It’s easier to stop:

  • Striving for more than mediocre

  • Trusting the voice within

  • Reaching for the “impossible” dream

  • Believing that you’re meant for a specific purpose

  • Getting your hopes up

But in the all too famous words of Marianne Williamson,

“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, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as 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.”

Every moment you stay hidden in the shadows is a moment you’re stealing from the world. 

So, step forward and claim the space that was made for you.

Push back on the names the world has given and create a new name for yourself.

Leave behind the people holding you back — the ones who are afraid to see you succeed. 

Let love in by loving yourself first. 

Treat yourself with the same kindness you would someone you love.

Imagine the little you — the one who was carefree and confident in who you were with no filter because you didn’t know you should be anything else — and hold onto that feeling.

Release the apologies and excuses that have built up over the years and claim responsibility for yourself.

Take a step towards freedom by — speaking up in a meeting when you normally wouldn’t, telling someone no when you feel like you should say yes, or not trying to fix other people’s burdens.

If there is something you hate about your life, change it or find a way to work with it until you can change it.

You only have one chance in this life, so you better be living the life you want instead of the life other people believe you should live. 

And if people don’t like it, keep it moving.

They weren’t your people anyway.



The Imperfect Guide to Self-Love

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I thought I loved myself. 

Good grief, I mean, I have a tattoo on my wrist that says, “Be someone you love.” 

I feel comfortable with who I am and often say, you either love me or hate me. There’s really no in-between. The people who get me know:

  • My facial expressions are worth more than anything I could say

  • Calling out awkward situations or comments makes me comfortable

  • Swear words bring me great joy

  • Self-reflection and improvement are my favorite past-times 

  • It can take me a minute to crack my shell open with new people, but once I do, I’m your ride or die

  • I will most likely leave any bar or party with a new friend or two

These are just a few things that makeup “Amanda”, but it’s the tiny things that create what you love about someone. 

So, if you don’t love those things about yourself, how could anyone else?

But if I’m being honest with myself, the last few years, I’ve doubted myself, my worth, my ability to be loved.

It would come in small waves though from:

  • Overthinking situations where absolutely nothing was happening, and then I end up hurting my own feelings

  • Too much time scrolling and lurking people on the internet who don’t impact my day to day

  • Playing other people’s games and not taking up space for my own

Let’s be real. We all know when we’re not our best. 

I can feel the energy shift when I’m not journaling, meditating, creating or spending time on the yoga mat or with people who light me up. 

When I’m not investing in myself, everything goes to hell. Quickly.

But even with those things in my life, I believe that loving ourselves is an ever-evolving process. You’ll hit plateaus and need to reevaluate what’s working and what’s not.

Just like loving someone else — sometimes you need to take it to another level

The Inner Awakening

I knew I was living life in sleep mode.

I could feel that I wasn’t connected to myself and the people around me fully.

How?

Because I’ve felt that magic and aliveness before.

It would be vibrant and magical leaving me with the feeling that anything was possible. A trip to the coffee shop was lovely. Time with friends felt colorful and heart-healing. My mood wasn’t dependent on other people because I was finding the joy and gratitude in every moment.

Then just as I was enjoying my life, someone (let’s be real, a guy) would come along and screw it up. He would be into my wild spirit, dreams and run away with my feelings. 

He would make plans for the future and make me believe that this was it.

And it never was. He’d disappear with only his occasional likes on the internet remaining. That thief ruptured my world and couldn’t even call me back. WTF.

As hurt as I was that this seemed to happen over and over, I had to ask myself a question:

How fragile are you that one person can alter your entire world?

Sure. Getting your heart stomped on will change you, but why is it we give someone else so much power over how we feel about ourselves?

Why can’t we stand on our own and know our worth with or without someone?

Well, sometimes you need someone else to show you who you truly are.

I believe in soulmates. I honestly believe that there is someone out there looking for me and that I’ll know it when the two of us collide. 

That’s who I thought he was. 

The moment he stepped into the room, I felt more myself than I had in so long. No words had to be spoken — we just got each other. He looked at me as if everything I said was captivating and even the things that seemed like they should be deterrents, were sealing the deal.

I was sure all the people around us could sense the tension between us. There was this little piece of me that was saying, “This must be it.”

Like clockwork, an evening of drinks and playful banter led to a cosmic conversation about soulmates. 

And then, just as I was assuming he would talk about whatever was happening between us, he confessed that he had just found his forever love.

It was kismet. The stars had aligned at the perfect time for them. Everything was as it was meant to be.

And then there was me. 

It’s funny when non-single friends ask me why I’m not dating someone. Occasionally, I’ll hear something about “needing to be more open” or “you have to put yourself out there”.

Hey, MOFO. First, singleness is not a disease, and any solo person I know who wants a relationship is most likely flinging themselves at any glimmer of hope possible.

If you want to be with one person, you can’t fit with all the people.

I know this intuitively. But it still feels like a dagger to the heart when, yet again, you discover that the person in front of you is not who you’re supposed to be with. 

Tears welled up in my eyes as the conversation went on because a tiny voice inside of me said, “Maybe, this isn’t meant to happen for you.”

The next morning, another thought appeared — why did this one bother me so much?

We barely knew each other, and it’s a little silly to fall into someone so quickly.

And then there was this:

Meeting him reminded me that my heart wasn’t made of stone.

All the feelings and sensations that came up when we met surprised me because it had been SO long since I’d felt anything similar to that. 

To quote The Oh Hellos:

Hello, my old heart

How have you been?

Are you still there inside my chest?

I’ve been so worried, you’ve been so still

Barely beating at all

What a cruel joke to feel those things again to only have them disappear.

But unlike the times before when a spark would ignite something in me and then leave when someone would throw a wrecking ball into my heart, this one shattered the mediocre dreamland I had been in.

Apparently, that’s what soulmates do

It’s said that soulmates can be friends, family members or romantic partners. The one thing they all have in common is they’re meant to teach and enlighten you about what’s missing in your life. 

You find each other as an awakening to the life you haven’t been living fully.

Now, I always imagined that my soulmate would be my forever person (and for me, I will continue to think of it that way), but there’s a debate about that too. There’s a difference between a soulmate, twin flame, and life partner according to relationship and spiritual experts. 

Regardless of what he was or wasn’t, the intensity of us faded immediately after that night. It was as if I had dreamed the entire thing up. Because this was never supposed to be about a man.

And for the first time in a long time, I was awake.

Struggling to Find My Space Again

When a character in a movie has a moment of “aha”, things seem to fall into place easily, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Not to say that my epiphany didn’t leave me feeling motivated and free, but when you’ve been caged up for so long, freedom can be scary.

I also felt guilty. Looking at the last couple of years, where I had phoned some things in — career, relationships, fitness — and wondering why I wasted so much time. 

Other people may not have noticed, but I did. I still went through a lot of the motions with all the above, but I didn’t truly feel alive. 

Part of that “wasting” looked like chasing.

Going after what other people suggested. Jumping through hoops to make things work for other people because I was tired of fighting. Shrinking myself because taking up space led me to become “dormant”. 

I had been burned pretty badly by some situations where the true me was “too much” for some people, so I stupidly retreated and tried to blend in. But what I was really doing was chipping away at my soul.

There’s a myth that strong people are never afraid nor do they doubt themselves.

But as the saying goes, “Check on your strong friend.”

People don’t like to hear that things aren’t great. They love to offer advice and tell you how things will turn, how you need to keep going, and why everything happens for a reason. 

What a lot of people don’t do is listen. 

I’m not exempt from this, but I also hate how you’re talking to someone and all you can see is them waiting to respond.

Some people won’t have the reactions you want, and you learn or re-learn quickly safe people are and who they are not.

I wish during that time, I would have just listened to Amanda more.

That’s the one thing I felt the most with the guilt of “wasted time”: WTF was I doing listening to other people so much? My intuition is my greatest strength, so I should use it. But first, I had to show up.

Not Your Basic Self-Love Ish

I believe you’ll find what you’re looking for if your vibrations are right — the energy you put out is the energy you’ll receive. And woah, had the energy shifted. 

I’m not going to say it was full-blown Alchemist vibes of “the universe conspiring to help me achieve what I want”  just yet, but it was pretty freaking close.

And I tapped into the essence of who I am again. The me that felt buried under disappointment and expectations. An invisible force had lifted, and I wasn’t afraid to be seen. 

It happened in a few ways, and some of them, were a long time coming. 

Like listener says in their song, ‘Wooden Heart’, “Everything falls apart at the exact same time it all comes together perfectly.”

Without even realizing it, I put myself back together again in 3 steps.

  1. Reestablishing Boundaries

People do what works until something doesn’t anymore. My therapist told me a while ago that I hit that place, and there was really no stepping back.

One of the first things she mentioned was boundaries, and it has since been my rallying cry for anyone who feels like they’ve lost control over their lives. You feel as though you have to play everyone else’s game to keep the peace, be the “nice, cool one” or because you’re afraid that standing up to someone will mean they’ll leave. 

But drawing lines between ourselves and someone else is the only way we can thrive.

Dr. Henry Cloud explains it as:

Boundaries help us keep the good in and the bad out. Setting boundaries inevitably involves taking responsibility for your choices. You are the one who makes them. You are the one who must live with their consequences. And you are the one who may be keeping yourself from making the choices you could be happy with.

I had to look at some relationships where I felt that I was constantly giving, but never receiving or even where “my allegiance was mandatory”. You decide how much time, if any, you’ll spend with people. No one needs to live in a state of constantly trying to gain approval. 

And boundaries can also look like:

  • Not working while on vacation because “catching up, so you don’t have so much to come back to” is a myth. People will survive without you for a week or so.

  • Setting times to check social media, so you don’t get sucked down a comparison rabbit hole. Or if you realize it’s affecting your mental health, deleting apps altogether.

  • Keeping time for yourself and not bailing just because someone else believes what they have going on is more important.

  • Saying no without needing an excuse. You don’t have to be mean, but you also don’t have to have a reason you can’t do something.

  • Knowing that someone else’s happiness is not your responsibility

Not everyone likes it when you create that space, but if they really care about you, they’ll come to understand. 

2. Making My Own Plans

I don’t know what it is about being single, but couples assume that you have no plans and will just be so excited to tag along. 

There’s an assumption that because you’re solo, you’re not making plans for the holidays or randomly throughout the year. You’re the “one they can count on” to make the trek across the country in December or the one who’ll be around when they randomly want to stop in your city. 

You don’t have a “family to support”, so why can’t you come to this wedding in a remote location? Don’t you work from home and have a lot of free time?

I used to be afraid that being single would mean I’d turn into a super selfish person who’d never be able to let someone else in. But it’s been the opposite.

My “vacations” are pretty much always family-centered. I love my family dearly, but my entire calendar can’t revolve around family gatherings just because it’s easier for me to come to everyone else. 

And sadly, so many “girls' trips” never happen, no matter how many times you say, “No seriously. We’re going to do this.” 

So, I started putting things on my radar and calendar.

I’d been wanting to go to a yoga retreat for awhile, but thought it would be too expensive or something outside of my reach. Turns out, there’s an incredible yoga center within a day’s drive. Sweet.

As someone who has moved around the country by myself more times than seems possible, I have never taken a solo trip. There are places I’ve wanted to go for awhile, but kept putting it off. But I made a list of destinations perfect for traveling by myself and found some travel companies for the uno traveler.

From there, I mapped out some goals I had for myself that have nothing to do with anyone else — financial and otherwise. Just refocusing on the things I want helped me realign to my core. 

I’m not playing someone’s game; I’m running my own.

3. Tapping Into My Hidden Goddess

You know when things have just been good, and you’re feeling yourself?

Well, I hadn’t connected to that side for a minute, so I forgot how good it felt.

 But DAMN. It feels hella good.

The game-changer for me was discovering the gem of a gal, Layla Martin. I found her through the recommendation of a recommendation of another life coach, right around the time that I was leaning into the energy shift. Something good was brewing, but I didn’t know what.

Layla is the founder of the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality. Oh, yes. I went there.

Beyond teaching the art of tantra, Layla believes “that every single part of us is worthy of love”. And she teaches this through removing emotional and psychological blocks keeping you confined from living freely — in and outside of the bedroom. 

So many of us are afraid of digging into that part of us because of past traumas, stereotypes or because we don’t even know that element of ourselves exists.

But it does. And it’s just waiting to be ignited. 

Around the time I found Layla, I went on a date with a guy who seemed to check off a lot of boxes. It seemed to be “a match made in heaven”. Not going to lie. I liked him.

BUT, I realized pretty quickly though that he was qualifying me the entire night. He was quick to mention his multiple properties and investments and how every date is a job interview. Cool story, bro. 

Maybe another me would have felt the need to perform or show this person I just met that I’m “worthy” of his time and attention. 

This me though, just sat back even more and decided that I wasn’t jumping through hoops for fucking anyone who I just met. 

The cycle was broken. The fear I had of being in a strong place and a guy messing it up, had somehow come full circle. I was sitting in a place of power — not metaphorical or theoretical — an actual place where I could feel my power. It was stable and easy. 

It’s still a process of learning this “self-love” ish, but if you’re not learning, you’re not growing. And if you’re not growing, you’re going to stay exactly where you are. 


Because as Brené Brown said,

“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”

So, I’ll just keep walking, if you don’t mind.

The Are We There Yet Episode

nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should be..png

Another season is officially wrapped, and this one comes with some real reflection on where Babe Cave goes next.

It’s that phase where you’ve done a bit, but aren’t quite “there” yet. If anyone even knows what “there” means or where it is.

When I started Babe Cave, I didn’t know what the next step was, but I trusted that my intuition would get me there—-that somehow, the path would unfold for me, and it has.

But I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been impatient.

After so long, you expect something to happen—-your website to wildly be selling your products, finally getting that promotion, the love of your life walking up to you in the grocery store, or being financially free to take a three month sabbatical.

And while things are happening, it may not be the things you hoped for—-the points of recognition that let you know you’ve “made it”.

Been there? Hate that feeling?

Sit next to me, friend because you’re in good company.

This Season 2 finale is chocked full of exploring:

  • whether or not we’ll ever feel like we’ve crossed a finish line

  • Julia Child’s 8+ year journey of creating her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and how every step and delay was necessary for her success

  • the magic of waiting aka marinating

    We’ve made it this far. Might as well keep going.

    Welcome to The Are We There Yet Episode.


The Reincarnated Book Tour: A Reading by Yours Truly

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We’re wrapping up the Reincarnated Book Tour with a reading from Chapter 1 of Reincarnated: How lost dreams, jobs and loves set me free by yours truly.

Of all of the selections I could have chosen, I wanted to leave you with a pivotal moment, early in my journey. When I first moved to L.A., I knew that it was my place—-the putting roots down, chase my passion, find my people and saying vows in a steeple kind of place. No matter what did or did not happen, I was staying.

But that’s not true for everyone, and so many of us create artificial timelines for life, love and happiness and hurting ourselves in the process.

Maybe, the path doesn’t turn out how you thought it would when you started out, but no matter where you, that’s exactly where you should be.

Welcome darling, to The Reincarnated Book Tour: A Reading by Yours Truly

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The Reincarnated Book Tour with Sasha A. Ali

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I’m calling in reinforcements for this episode of the Reincarnated book tour with the first guest of Babe Cave, actress and comedian, Sasha A. Ali.

The first read for a lot of my work, Sasha’s truth is that breath of fresh air whether you want it or not, but the one you desperately need.

This casual conversation leads to some deep places as we share the:

  • power of knowing you suck and how essential honesty is when giving feedback

  • curse of being a loud audience member who your friends count on

  • lie we weren’t “actors” even after moving to L.A.

  • reason why we’re terrible at cold call networking and how we don’t care

Welcome to the Reincarnated Book Tour with Sasha A. Ali Episode.

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The Reincarnated Book Tour Q&A with Moi

It's not perfect, but I just wanted it out there....for you..png

It’s time for me to answer all of your questions around Reincarnated: How lost dreams, jobs and loves set me free.

If I was doing a traditional book tour, there would be a Q&A at the end where people could ask the nitty and gritty, or they would just snag it on Amazon. But that’s not how this girl rolls.

Any time that I’ve told someone about my book, they have the same questions:

  • What’s it really about?

  • How long did it take to write?

  • Where can I get it?

I’m keeping it short and sweet this week, as I share how I came to write this particular story, why I chose to self-publish and future plans for this book.

Welcome to The Reincarnated Book Tour Q&A with Moi.

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The Reincarnated Book Tour: 3 Things with Ann Taylor Pittman

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When I decided that I wanted to have a virtual book tour for Reincarnated: How lost dreams, jobs and loves set me free, one of my first thoughts was, “I have to have Ann Taylor Pittman on the show.”

Ann and I worked together at Cooking Light, her as an Executive Editor and I as a fellow. Something about Ann’s generous spirit made it easy to gravitate towards, even with her big title. I don’t know how it started, probably because I would deliver her mail, but I would often go into her office to tell some crazy story or to just vent.

When my contract wasn’t renewed at Time Inc., she was one of the first people I told. After the print side of the magazine folded, her Instagram bio read, “Currently, working on Plan B.” As someone who was so much the heart and soul of a singular publication, I knew I wanted her to share her story with the Babe Cave community.

That is until technology really was not on our side. After two separate occasions to record interviews, which had audio mysteriously cut out entirely, recorded what wasn’t supposed to be recorded, didn’t record when it clearly said it was recording, and then files didn’t save all together through a web-based recording site that will remain nameless.

I’m going to be honest, I felt defeated and embarrassed that I had spent so much of Ann’s incredibly precious time on something that wouldn’t bear any fruit. Ann joked that this just meant that she probably shouldn’t be on my episode.

AU CONTRAIRE.

If nothing else, this made me even more determined to share Ann’s story. So, I chose the tidbits and larger pieces that made me fall in love with this magazine veteran, cookbook author and James Beard award-winning writer all over again.

We’ll dive into the importance of starting at the bottom and working your way to the top, how one phrase from an elementary kid sent Ann halfway around the world, and the passionate commitment that comes from serving a dedicated readership for 20 years.

And I promise, that this will not be the last time you hear the words of Ann Taylor Pittman on Babe Cave. I owe her a bottle of bourbon and all of the thanks in the world.

Welcome to The Reincarnated Book Tour: 3 Things with Ann Taylor Pittman.

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The Reincarnated Book Tour with Jacque Osborn

Every day in my life, I should show up and be a person I want to be.-2.png

In case you missed it, I wrote a book , “Reincarnated: How lost dreams, jobs and loves set me free”. This is memoir came out of another book, which I still very much believe in, but I realized that this was the story I was always meant to tell; the journey I was always meant to share. And I knew that I wanted to share the stories of other women who helped me in my life and how they themselves have been reincarnated in their personal and professional lives.

So, I’m continuing The Reincarnated Book Tour with my oldest friend and fellow new business owner, Jacque Osborn.

We get deep into realizing that sometimes you’re the reason your job is terrible, the pressure and power of making it official with your business dreams and how to be inspired by others while staying original.

Welcome to The Reincarnated Book Tour with Jacque Osborn.

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The Reincarnated Book Tour with Allison Andres

I have the luck and the privilege to do the job that I do, and I also kind of have the freedom to implode things. I know I have the skill and the tenacity to rebuild it when the time is right..png

In case you missed it, I wrote a book , “Reincarnated: How lost dreams, jobs and loves set me free”. This is memoir came out of another book, which I still very much believe in, but I realized that this was the story I was always meant to tell; the journey I was always meant to share. And I knew that I wanted to share the stories of other women who helped me in my life and how they themselves have been reincarnated in their personal and professional lives.

So, I’m kicking off The Reincarnated Book Tour with my girl Allison Andres. We met when we were wee babes of just 17 and have been each other’s cheering sections through moves, weddings and little ones.

This chat had me nodding my head yes so many times, and I know that you’ll also be able to resonate with the feelings of imposter syndrome and how to find your true way when you’re already halfway down the path.

Join me for some quality time with Allison as she talks about quitting her corporate job to start her own photography business and the pivots that come with major life changes, how talent doesn’t correlate with success, and the power of connecting with clients to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Welcome to The Reincarnated Book Tour with Allison Andres.

Subscribe on iTunes and SoundCloud.



The Yes Episode

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If you want a change in your life, some new energy flowing, it’s probably time to say yes to something. It’s not about agreeing to do any and everything, but it is about allowing yourself some space to manifest some new magic.

This week, I’m getting real about the power of intention, why sometimes you have to play someone else’s game, and how to stop shutting ourselves off from the good stuff.

Welcome to The Yes Episode.

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The Regret Episode

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Maybe the biggest lie that someone could tell you is that you have time. You don’t have to start that project or business right now because there will always be tomorrow. There’s no need to take a leap of faith and go after what you really want. That’s just too scary.

But what if you keep wishing and pushing your true desires until tomorrow and the day after until there are no days left?

This week, I’m getting deep into the longing of life never fully lived, why we should learn from other people’s mistakes and how to move forward so we never look back.

Welcome to The Regret Episode.

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The Rejection Episode

It’s not that things magically happen when you’re persistent after so long, but you’re definitely increasing your chances.-2.png

I don’t know anyone who loves rejection.

It’s probably one of the biggest fears of most of us. Given the chance, we’d rather avoid putting ourselves out there than to risk any possibility that someone could say, “No thanks.”

But who ever got everything they wanted? And if those people exist (which deep down, we know at least one), they surely have some disconnect with reality because the world never told them no.

The problem with rejection is the power we give it. That’s not to say that it can’t rip your heart right out of your chest when someone breaks up with you or the job you would be a great match for goes to someone else. What I am saying is that when you hear no, at least you know that you were trying. When other people were just dreaming and wishing of doing things that are a little scary, you put yourself out there. There’s always a 50/50 chance that things could work in your favor, so why not see if you’re worth your salt——falling flat on your face or not. There’s only one way to find out.

That’s why I’m diving into the power of trying in the midst of self-doubt, why there’s no time like the present and the necessity of falling flat on your face.

Welcome to The Rejection Episode.

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