Taylor Way Talks

Dawn Taylor

Have you realized yet how little is actually talked about? Truth bomb time! Join Dawn and her guests as they have honest open conversations about the shit we wish we had been told, the things nobody wants to talk about or are too scared to talk about. Feel seen, heard, understood and not alone while learning some hands on strategies for your own life

07 - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Spousal Caregiving with Melissa Miller
Yesterday
07 - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Spousal Caregiving with Melissa Miller
CW: Spouse with epilepsy / chronic illness and medical emergencyDawn Taylor invites guest Melissa Miller, a former Certified Nursing Assistant, to the show to talk about her new life now as a stay-at-home mom and full-time caregiver to her husband. Melissa shares the two year journey she’s been on and why she’s passionate about opening discussions on this subject. Melissa and her husband were both relatively young when he had his first seizure in 2020 and since then his epilepsy has intensified, leading to more and more seizures. Melissa is now his full-time caregiver as well as stay-at-home mom to their three year old daughter. She talks frankly about the impact of such a sudden and life-changing illness on her life and her family, and sheds light on the reality of caregiver burnout. Dawn, whose own husband has chronic illness and has required her to be a full-time caregiver in the past, can relate and together, she and Melissa explore the feelings that come the new role, how it affects your relationship with your spouse, and how to identify the signs of burnout before you’re in the grips of it. Melissa has firm advice about needing to still connect with the person you were before you were the caregiver for a sense of wellness.About Melissa Miller:Melissa Miller is a former Certified Nursing Assistant. She worked primarily in long term care facilities before she had to transition to being a full time Stay At Home Mom and Caregiver for her husband, Darryl, and daughter, Linda. Melissa is now passionate about taking what she has learned over the last two years to help other younger moms/spousal caregivers through the ups and downs of their journeys.Resources Mentioned in This Episode:10 x 10 Devotional Series“The Twelve Week Year” by Brian P. Moran and Michael LenningtonAn Update on Melissa’s husband, Darryl:"We are still working on finding the right dose of XCopri medication for him to stabilize him so we can start the testing process to see if he is a good candidate for the laser ablation surgery."— Dawn Taylor - The Taylor Way: website | facebook | instagram | linkedinMelissa Miller: website | instagram | facebook | tiktok__TranscriptDawn Taylor  00:09Hey, hey, hey, welcome to Taylor Talks. Today I have the honor of talking to Melissa. She is a former certified nursing assistant. She worked primarily in long term care, before she had to transition to being a full time stay at home mom and caregiver for her husband. So she's now really passionate about talking about what she's learned over the last two years, and she really wants to help other younger moms and spousal caregivers through the ups and downs of their journeys. But today we're here to talk about how hard it is to be your spouse's caregiver. What goes with that? And why do we not support these people more? Or why are we not talking about this more? So in typical Dawn fashion, we're gonna dive right in. Dawn Taylor  00:54Hey, Melissa, Hey, I am so glad you're here. Melissa Miller  00:57Thank you for having me. It's an honor to be here and a privilege to meet another spousal caregiver. It's like I'm two years in and now I'm starting to find people coming out of the woodwork that are touching on the subject that I teach about. So this is a treat for me. It's really a treat. Dawn Taylor  01:13Oh, I'm so glad you're here. So one of the things Melissa and I have in common is I have a spouse who's had some major health issues over the last - well we've been together 26 years, married 22 - and right now, I'm not having to be a caregiver. But he still has the health issues. And at times I've had to be the caregiver and to deal with that. And for myself, I know I felt so alone, I felt so unseen, unheard. And this is where I want to dive into this today. So Melissa, tell us a little bit about your story. Melissa Miller  01:47So our journey started two years ago, my husband was actually finally diagnosed two years ago, actually, as of this month. He was diagnosed with epilepsy officially in July of 2020. But our journey began in December of 2019, when my husband had his first seizure, and it wasn't like you see on movies where they're thrashing and convulsing, you know, and foaming at the mouth. It was just a simple, we woke up at 4:30 in the morning to change our daughter's diaper, she was almost one, I stepped out of the room to do something, came back to just help to see where he was at, if he needed help with anything while he was finishing up. He had a weird glazed look over his face and he just passed out. I asked him right before he passed out, are you okay? He got three words out, I don't know, and crashed. Thinking with my healthcare background, I was thinking oh, it's just, he's, you know, he was in his early 50s. So okay, parenting with a almost one year old is different than when you're in your 20s. So I thought maybe he's just exhausted from being a parent again to a small child, working 40 plus hours a week, and so maybe it's just a chemical imbalance and exhaustion. I never thought it would be epilepsy and seizure disorder. And my journey of transition didn't kick in until about May of 2020 when my husband's epilepsy really kicked in. Again, we didn't have an official diagnosis, but his seizure activity had skyrocketed. He went from having three in the span of three months, he had one in December of 2019, one in January of 2020, and then one in March of 2020. April, something just clicked, that was his first month that he had 10 to 20 plus seizures a month, it was so bad. We blew through our first doctor, our first medication, and then we were transitioning to a specialist. And that's when I started to realize, you know what, this may not work anymore, I cannot afford to be outside the home anymore because my husband needs care when he has a seizure, because it is causing damage to his brain. And it's very important that he gets medication, is observed for safety, and obviously, with us having a one year old at the time, she can get into God knows what and she can't call 911 or do the triage things that I need to do to take care of my husband. So that's what started my journey to being a spousal caregiver and stay at home mother full time. Dawn Taylor  04:02Wow. So aside from the chaos of this, and the shift of life, and everything else that went on, how terrifying. Melissa Miller  04:09It was very terrifying, because here's the thing, I do have a - like you said - I have a 15 year background as a certified nursing assistant, and I'm thankful for that training. But in that span of that career, I never had a patient that really had a seizure disorder, or specifically epilepsy. So for the first six months, I was nose diving into as much information as I could to know how to take care of my husband with this illness. And unfortunately, epilepsy is one of those chronic illnesses that is misunderstood. It's dealing with the brain, there's not a lot of research and funding yet, it's pretty much, treatment is pretty much you're just basically throwing spaghetti at the wall because you're dealing with someone's individualistic brain. And so there's 40 drugs on the market right now for for dealing with epilepsy and seizure disorders. But I guarantee you, if you have 40 people in the room, they'll all be on a different medication, all have a different reaction to the drugs, all be on a different dosage and treatment, and some it may not work altogether. And so they either go to another drug, they might look at a seizure device placement, or even looking at surgery like we're in the season of looking at now. So it's not a cure. It's an illness that never goes away. Certain disorders are something that is with you for the rest of your life, it might go quiet for a while, kind of think of like a volcano, it might go dormant, but it can be triggered again, and then it can skyrocket again. So it never goes away. So the damage to your brain is permanent, there's no treatment to fix the damage. All there is is trying to stabilize, prevent more subsequent damage at this point. So it's a long haul disease, my husband will have it for the rest of his life. And I will be caregiving for him for the rest of it. Dawn Taylor  05:54So here's the part nobody talks about. And I remember, at a point in my life, when I was the caregiver of my spouse, is there was a lot of like, Oh, it must be so nice that you can take care of your husband, you can do those things. And for me, there was a big identity loss. I went from being his wife, his lover, his best friend, his, you know, fill in the blanks, to his nurse, his caregiver, his... and still manage work and life and everything else and emotions and that became super, super hard. Is that massive loss of identity. How have you dealt with that? Melissa Miller  06:32I struggled because I did, especially from a career standpoint, I mean, think about it. Well, even as a mom, let's backtrack, let's pull back a little bit. So I had always associated and planned on being a working outside the home mom, because financially speaking with where we live and the jobs that my husband and I have, we don't have the capacity financially for me to be a stay at home mom. Now we talked about it, but there was just no way that we would survive with how rent is, utilities, you know, and gas. Dawn Taylor  06:59Cause, where do you live? Melissa Miller  07:00We live in Idaho, we live in southern Idaho. And yeah, there was no way. I worked as a certified nursing assistant. And it was, you know, I could make a decent living, but it wasn't like, we couldn't just live off one income more than another. My husband worked in our gas station, I worked as a CNA, there was no way that we were going to be able to just live on one income. So we planned on just working opposite shifts to also alleviate the need for childcare. Because let's face it, where we live childcare can be as much as a rent or mortgage payment in a month, depending on where you go, how many kids you have to be in childcare, it's expensive. So that was another thing. And we didn't want to be the type of parents that just totally impacted our families, as much as they wanted to help, they have their own lives. And so, and we do have family that are impacted by some nasty health issues as well. So we were sensitive to that at the season of life and we became parents. So that's what was my identity, is I was going to be in healthcare, I loved my career in health care, I was going to be a working mom. And that's what we thought the norm was going to be. I never for a million years thought I would be transitioned to being a stay at home mom, building a business, and shifting a whole new career in of itself. And also, like you said, filling in the gaps, not just being a mom, a wife, a lover, a best friend, but also being a caregiver. And sooner than expected, here's the thing, we anticipate caring for our spouse, or excuse me, for our parents and grandparents because of the age gap. That's something that's expected. And once our spouses hit 65 and above, statistically, that's when health problems do kick in, body starts to break down, and then there is more subsequent health issues. Typically. Typically, we don't anticipate on caring for our spouses when we're in our prime, my husband was only 53 when he got sick. I was 34 - 34-35 excuse me - and we had a one year old. So we weren't anticipating needing to care for each other in that sense when we still had our daughter to raise for the next 18 years at home. You know, we anticipate those health issues kicking in with our significant other after the kids are grown, when we're older and grayer, and you anticipate those things. You don't anticipate an unexpected illness or injury, especially a chronic illness with no medical history to hit you. But if it can happen to me, it can happen to somebody else. Dawn Taylor  09:23So in that, what were some of the resources you used or, like, the things that you could dive into that kind of saved you in those moments. Like I know for myself, one of the things I did was I'd go swimming lanes with all the seniors, I'd go swim with the elderly women at the pool, just as an escape like at five o'clock in the morning when he was still sleeping in. Like those are the things that I would do, or books or music or different escapes that I had. What is it that you do on a regular basis to keep yourself more grounded in this? Melissa Miller  10:00I will say back then the girl that you see now, talking now, I'm a lot more emphasis on personal, on whole body self care, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self care now for myself. But I didn't in the beginning. Okay, so here's the thing. In the beginning, I didn't go to those escapisms. The first year, I burned out hard because I did not practice whole body self care. I skipped wellness visits, I was just totally in mom mode. And plus, we were dealing with the pandemic, we were shut down. Dawn Taylor  10:28Oh, totally. Melissa Miller  10:29Yeah. So we were not only dealing with this big change to our family, and shifting and several layers in of itself. We were dealing with being isolated from our families and shutting down and isolated because we were both, obviously, still working or trying to work. In the beginning of 2020, before my husband's health really defined, my husband was being exposed to the public working in the gas station. I was working healthcare as a CNA, with my patients. So yeah, it was crazy. And I didn't have those self, before all this happened my favorite escapisms would be to watch some TV, I definitely love to knit, I love to journal, love to read books. I wasn't practicing that in 2020. The girl that you see now, I am. Those are some of my favorite escapisms: reading books, listening to worship music, knitting, those are the things that feed my soul and feed my mind and my body. But back then I wasn't doing that. And that is so critical and pivotal, because what happened with me specifically, is I have hypothyroidism, and I get a lot of bad gut attacks from that. And by the tail end of 2020, I started having worse attacks than normal, and I put off going to see the doctor, which was the worst thing that I could have done. Because by the time we hit spring of 2021, I was so sick. And I'd had enough, I finally said okay, I gotta go see the doctor. And because I hadn't been keeping up on my wellness visits, and I'd just put it off for so long, it did take a long time to get me diagnosed. I didn't get my diagnosis of IBS until December of 2021. And it took four doctors and two procedures. So I was sick the whole year. And since January of this year, I'm just getting back into it. I've had one flare-up episode since then. But other than that I've done better since I've been, you know, obviously really limited my diet to avoid trigger foods, and I'm on medication, and there were some other things that we caught to when I'm on this health, on this journey to figure out last year what was going on, we found I was deficient in some other things, too. So it's been a journey. And now I'm very intentional with making sure I spend my time with the Lord, making sure I drink enough water and get enough sleep, and try to get 15 or 20 minutes of movement in a day when I can, you know, in some way, shape, or form. So those are the escapisms I definitely utilize now. But in the beginning, you don't think about that you're just, you're totally tunnel vision on your scared because you don't want to lose your spouse or your partner, you're overwhelmed with what this diagnosis means. I mean, especially for those, I can understand how even just medically sound people who, or excuse me, people who are not medically sound - like I am with having a 15 year career in healthcare, which I'm thankful for - for the average person like yourself, it's scary, right? You hear the word diagnosis, and you have no idea what that means. And maybe even if you are medically sound, you might be scared. Like I said, I never was expertise or trained to handle this type of illness that my husband has. So it was like I was back in med school again, the first six months when I was trying to dive in and then just feeling so frustrated when I couldn't find a lot of information. Well I mean, I could I couldn't, but just knowing that it's chronic, there's still so much that we don't know about it. And that's it's not curable, it's only manageable. So that's not very helpful or very encouraging. You hope to find a cure and go back to your baseline, you know, going back to work, going back to the normal and the life that you thought, rug was totally pulled out from underneath us when this happened. And it's the norm now for the rest of our lives and for our family, and it's impacted our, you know, and we're gonna go there. So you know, for sure it impacts your intimacy with your loved one because meds or procedures, it changes their mood, their libido, and even just your communication. Because think about it, for men, they're fixers, they want to provide, they want to work. So for my husband, it's been so hard for me as his wife, to see his masculinity get taken away from him to some degree, or be impacted, if you will, like he can't work 40 plus hours a week anymore because he has to keep his stress down, because that stress, not enough sleep, and missing his meds are triggers for his illness. And then he can't drive because we never know when an attack is going to happen. We don't want to get hurt or kill somebody. So that's hard. So his independence of being able to strive and go to, like, run to the store to get a gallon of milk. He can't do that. He can't be home alone with our daughter anymore. So that's hard. I mean, he's a wonderful father. And he just adores our daughter, our little girl. He's an incredible father. But that, but even just that small thing of being able to just go out alone with our daughter, he can't do that anymore. What if he has a seizure by himself? And our daughter is now three, or three and a half, but she's still small. She doesn't know what to do. So when something like this happens with your spouse, it doesn't just impact you financially. It impacts how you parent, it impacts all levels of your relationship, your communication, you know, and it's more on the mom. I want to say it, to call that out right now, it does put more on the mom to some degree, because since my husband can't drive I do all the driving, since my husband can't, if my husband has an attack he's down for the rest of the day, because he takes medicine that doesn't make him sleepy, but also just physically speaking, for those of you who aren't in the headspace of seizures or epilepsy is, when you go through a seizure, it's like you've run a 26 mile marathon. He can't recover from that overnight, so you'd have to sleep it off and then you'd have to have medication to help prevent and stabilize and prevent another subsequent seizure. So it knocks him out. So, for example, my husband has seizure right now, I'd be dropping this call, running, giving him his medication, triaging him, and then calling in for his work, and then he's down for the day and I'm in mom mode for the rest of day, I'll take care of our daughter, because he can't do it. He needs to rest. So it impacts you a ton. And this is the ucky stuff that is underneath the service as caregivers, spousal caregivers, excuse me, that we don't touch on. Dawn Taylor  16:38I don't know if you know this, my day job is a trauma specialist. And I often talk to clients about this: a spouse will often lash out at a spouse when they feel emasculated, when they feel like their ground has been shook underneath them, when they're losing control over something they can't fix, right? Because we're their safe person, we are their safe person. And I know my husband, and we've talked a lot, like him and I, about me talking about his story. And I even wrote about it in my book a bit. But when he would get so sick, he'd get so angry. And it was like he needed to lash out at something and he couldn't lash out at the disease. He couldn't lash out at those things. So it was me, right, I became his scapegoat for that attack. And thankfully, like praise the Lord, he's not always like that, or I wouldn't be married, let's be honest. But that's a big shift is dealing with that. Is that something you've had to deal with? Melissa Miller  17:40Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. My husband definitely has been more moody, not because he's trying to. But he's been angry. He's been angry he can't work 40 hours a week, he's angry he can't drive anymore, he's angry he can't be doing things on the whim by himself without making sure he has medication, his phone, or an adult close by to be able to triage him if something goes down. That's a tough way to live. And he's only 55. Can you imagine? You know, and again, going back to that piece, as a father, as a husband, as a lover, as my best friend, that rug, this illness has robbed him of so much. And the fact that we didn't have any warning, you know, for seizure disorders and epilepsy, there's 20 to 30% of the population that with no medical history as a child, which is lots of times how it's caught, or in your family history, like if you did have a relative that had it, you know, it could potentially come down the pipeline. But there's that subsequent amount of the population that will get it without no apparent reason. And that's where my husband falls. So can you imagine getting hit with something like that unexpectedly, and just having it rob you of the rest of your life to some degree. I mean obviously that's not a healthy way to live. We're trying to choose to live in hope and grace and, you know, give a good life and still have a good marriage and a good life for our daughter. Don't get us wrong, don't get me wrong, but still, it hits you, you get angry at God, you get angry that this happened to you, you ask those questions of why, which is normal. Okay, we're human beings. We have, we're human beings, we have emotions. So we're supposed to feel angry, we're supposed to feel ticked off, we're supposed to have those questions of why. But the problem is in our culture, is that we don't, since we don't talk about it, we don't develop safe zones for people to share about this. Because for their mental health, or their emotional health, their physical health, or their spiritual health, they need to talk about this. You have to have a safe place to talk about this. And what really ticked me off when I started my journey is I could find stuff for stay at home moms, but it was more directed at stay at home moms who had made that financial decision with their spouse prior to getting married that they were gonna stay home and take care of their kids because their spouse made a big job, made good money at their job. And no disrespect if they choose that, God bless them. Dawn Taylor  19:54But that's not your situation. Melissa Miller  19:55That's not my situation. Again, on the caregiving side, I could find stuff that was more directed at the person who maybe had the illness or older people, like, you know, for your, like your parents and your grandparents, or maybe a special needs child, something like that. But it wasn't for me with being, you know, with having a one year old, quitting my job cold turkey to prioritize my family for safety, not just in terms of me wanting to be a little selfish and make sure I was the one that didn't miss anything, that I was here for my little girl, that I was here for every subsequent episode that my husband goes through, and every medical appointment, but also just thinking with my medical brain, we were in the pandemic, there was no vaccine yet. I'm like, I'm sorry, I don't want strangers in my house. And we have this going on, I do not want to risk exposing my family to other health issues. So there was that piece of it. Yeah. But how do you navigate that if you don't have support? Hello, we're human beings with emotions that need to have a safe outlet for those emotions. But then on the other flip side of that, we need to have support for people that can actually say it and call it out and go like, I got you. I've been through that situation. But we don't have that. That's the whole problem. Dawn Taylor  21:04And there's no, I remember someone one time they were like, how are you doing? You know that voice, right? Melissa Miller  21:12You know it, you call it out, you know it. Dawn Taylor  21:14Right? You're just like, really? Melissa Miller  21:17It's like, you're really gonna go there? Sometimes as, yeah, sometimes as caregivers the thing we need the most is just a place to let go and vent. Dawn Taylor  21:25100% And I remember it going awful. Melissa Miller  21:28We need to vent. We need to just have a place to sweat it out and be honest and not put up our front of saying, oh, yeah, I'm happy, I'm fine, I got it all put together. We don't. Dawn Taylor  21:38Thank you. Melissa Miller  21:41And it's okay to call up the crap. I'm calling it out right now. That is not okay. This is really tough stuff that we deal with as spousal caregivers. And if, whoever's listening on this podcast right now, if you are going through that situation, you are safe. It's okay for you to say it. You know, so, I don't know, I don't know how Dawn interacts with her podcast, but leave a comment, email us, whatever. Dawn Taylor  22:05Oh, 100%. Melissa Miller  22:06Let us know, okay? It's okay. I'm calling it out. If people have been telling you to shut up about it, or they haven't been listening, that is bull, you're safe. We got you. We've been through it. That's why we're here. That's why my whole business exists is because I was not okay with seeing myself, or knowing too, that other younger moms who are also navigating being just new moms for the first time, and dealing with caring for a spouse unexpectedly for the rest of their marriage, without support without resources. Hello! And is not medically sound and has the blessing of a healthcare background, and is overwhelmed and frustrated with the lack of research and information or just even being overwhelmed and scared by the big medical terminology that's out there that's being thrown at them as they're in there sitting through their spouses illness, medical appointments, and they have no clue what that means. That's not okay. I'm calling it out. That is not okay. And Dawn exists because she's not okay with it either. So guys, listen, listen to us, if you are scared, if you are overwhelmed, if you are feeling like there's nobody else on God's green earth that is dealing with the situation, that is not the case. We are here. We want to support you. And it's okay to reach out for support. That is one of the principal things I teach about, is building your support network. It is critical to how you survive. Okay? Yeah, and I'm not talking about this medical support. I'm talking about emotional, mental, and spiritual support. Dawn Taylor  23:45So with that, let's give the listeners some tips on that. Okay. So number one, what are some signs of burnout that they can look for it? Because I know for myself, it was, you and I both know that that amount of stress that amount of burnout can cause disease in our bodies, can cause all kinds of health issues, can cause all kinds of problems, right? So you need to catch it farther in advance. Another thing that I often talk about is I've had burnout so many times in my life, I don't recover fast anymore. Like the first time you burn out, you're like, 'oh, yeah, no, that was okay. Like it was bad. But I got there and I got out of it. And I'm okay now'. But what are some signs of burnout that we could tell people to go like, 'Hey, this is when you need to start actually really paying attention to this'. Melissa Miller  24:27Okay. Get ready. Buckle up, everybody. All right. So, signs of burnout, I would definitely be paying attention to, both with your spouse but more importantly you as the caregiver, will be definitely some physical signs for a start and emotional signs. So if you don't have health problems, but you're starting to feel sick and you just kept getting chronically sick, that would be a red flag. If you're not being able to cope mentally, maybe it's time to go see a counselor or a therapist. There's nothing wrong with that. And you might have chemical unbalance, like I went through a bout of depression in my early 20s, and we found out my thyroid was out of whack. And when your thyroid is out of whack, it never permanently goes back. So I'm on medication for the rest of my life to keep myself there, because it is a part of your immune system as well, for those of you who aren't medically aware, so that is important. So if you feel off, if you feel exhausted, even though you've maybe slept for seven hours, you're eating, you're drinking, and you still feel tired, exhausted, sick, you could be burnout. So definitely make a wellness visit with your medical provider. And if you need professional help, like you're just not being able to cope, you're just super duper emotional uncontrollably, are angry or anxious, it probably might be a good idea to see a counselor or a therapist, because here's the thing, counselors and therapists are awesome, because they have other resources, they have other, they're trained to deal with other coping techniques. And also, I know it might sound cliche, and there's a lot of stigma around it which your girls not happy about, but medication, okay? Medication, if it helps you be able to cope so you can show up as the mom and the wife and the caregiver that you need to be, I'd much rather you'd be on a small dose of Lorazepam or Trazadone, or whatever the case may be that is appropriate for you so you're not so anxious, you're not so emotionally overwhelmed, so you can focus and show up and do the things that you need to do on a day to day basis to take care of your spouse, take care of your children. I want you to do it. Maybe it's, maybe if you're feeling just super duper angry spiritually, and you're just angry at the Lord, I would recommend talking with your pastor or your leader of faith and maybe even just plugging back into your congregation. One of the big things that I've been doing is really being intentional with my own with my own journey, is getting back and spending time with the Lord. And I've been going through an awesome, it's called "10 by 10", it's a daily devotional, you do five minutes where you listen to this little training by these amazing women. They're a duo - Erin and Andrea - they teach spiritual wholeness from a Christian standpoint. And then there's questions, reflection questions. And so with me, since I love prompt journaling, it's perfect. So I spend 5 to 10 minutes journaling. But that's me. So what works for you with managing your mind and your soul? And you don't have to be spiritually sound in the Lord. If you believe something different, maybe spend, set your timer for 10 minutes or 5 minutes, and just listen to some quiet music to kind of just calm your mind, calm your soul, or meditate. Or maybe it's reading an educational, inspirational book to help you with dealing with your mindset. "The 12 Week Year" is a good one. I've read that one more from my mindset, for my coaching, and my business. But also going through it, it is also good for for translating into your personal life too. So there's really, so tap into resources like that. Okay? And then the big one, if you're just feeling really super isolated and alone, the thing there would be to definitely tap into resources like this, whether it's podcasts, look on Spotify or Apple, there's tons of support resources on topics. So Google 'caregiving'. I have so many on my phone, I need to catch up. But there's lots of good resources for caregiver podcasts out there now, more than anything, or even support groups. Now, speaking for what I know what my situation, when I looked at Facebook, Facebook is a good resource for support groups. I know you have to be online, but think about it, as a caregiver we're home full time, we're busy, we may not be able to get out of the house. So I want you to leverage, I would rather you leverage online resources then not at all. So look at caregiving, maybe plug in your spouse's illness because that has been good. For me, Instagram has actually been a good segue because there's a lot of people talking about epilepsy. And so that's been really good for me to kind of learn some things about dealing with my husband's illness. But that might not be the case for you. So look at Facebook, look in your church or your community for a community support group, even if it's just moms, if you can't get something for both, be okay with maybe plugging yourself in one or the other. Maybe it's a moms group at your church or your community center, or a an actual caregiving epilepsy - I'm just plugging and speaking to what I know to translate here - maybe an epilepsy support group or something. Or like here in the state of Idaho, there is a few things that happen occasionally, like for epilepsy, so maybe plug yourself in there and your loved one too. So they can surround themselves, excuse me, with people who are dealing with that same situation. Because, you know, if your spouse is dealing with that same thing, other people are dealing with it. But just listen to your baseline. What is your baseline physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and if something feels out, off and out of whack, I want you to do something about it. Even if it's just a few minutes a day. Dawn Taylor  25:13Well I'm not, there's so much shame attached to it. And I think even in just like the self help world in general, and this is the conversation I had with a friend last week was, there's this idea of like you always need to like do more, do more, do more, do more, do more, do more, or else you're a failure. Right? You and I both see this. But even just that, I often will talk to people and go, hey, you know what? There's days - I'll never forget my grandma and I having a conversation when my grandpa had cancer, and she was dealing with taking care of him - and she was like, 'Dawn, how do you do this?' And I said, 'What do you mean?' And she's like, 'How do you get through your days?' And I said, 'Oh, Grandma', I said, 'some days, I set an alarm for an hour and when that alarm goes off, I'm like dancing, excited, because I survived an hour.' Because that's all I could do. And I said, 'But some days, Grandma', I said, 'I literally count to 60'. And I think, 'I made it through 60 seconds, I can make it through another 60 seconds.' Melissa Miller  29:45That's fine. Yeah. Dawn Taylor  29:49And that was, it was really sweet because that my grandpa's funeral, I went over and I gave her a hug. And she just started quietly counting in my ear. And I just started laughing, and I was like 'You just did 10 seconds, you can do another 10'. Melissa Miller  30:58Exactly. Dawn Taylor  30:59And I think that's part of even what I wanted to put out there today in talking to you was, there's no shame attached to it. There's no shame attached to the fact that your diet's not perfect, and your self care's not perfect, and all these things aren't perfect, and you're struggling in your marriage, and you're struggling in all these areas of your life. Because you know what, we weren't raised to think this is what was gonna happen. We weren't-- Melissa Miller  31:21We weren't prepared for it! Dawn Taylor  31:22How to deal with it. We're also not taught how to grieve. And there's so much grieving that has to happen in these situations, because-- Melissa Miller  31:30Absolutely. Dawn Taylor  31:31We're grieving the loss of the spouse we thought we were going to have, we're grieving the loss of the life we thought we were going to have, we're grieving the story, the story we had created as to what our future was going to look like. And in that, when you can actually find grieving resources on how does your grieving this, reach out, I'll help you! But when you can look at those pieces of it, the things that nobody else even realizes are going on behind the scenes. It's so important to find your safe people, find your people to go, 'Hey, you know what, I'm really struggling right now.' And then the other piece of it is, if your spouse has an illness where they get better, or they do go into remission, or they do have a long period of time where they're not, quote/unquote, sick, where you're having to triage every day, there's this interesting loss of identity of 'But I'm a caregiver'. How do I allow them, almost, in a way, to step into their own power, to be strong, to do all those things? Because it's like, no, no, this is my job. This is my identity. This is who I am. Can you speak to that at all in your own world of how you separate those different identities for yourself? Melissa Miller  32:42You know, this is a very interesting question, because on the business side I went through a big shift with this too. So it's kind of interesting how this all kind of percolates and goes around. Definitely, as a caregiver, you still have to, I would say - this is the part of the self care I think is really important - because listen, and not saying... you need to still be in touch with the girl you are prior to your spouse's illness. Okay. Yes, you're a mom. Yes, you're a wife. Yes, you're a caregiver. But you also are the one who - I'll speak to I know - I still love to knit. Okay, I'm just getting back into that, actually started getting back into it this month, I'm making an intent to get back into knitting, because that's a passion that lights me up. That's who I am. That's something I love. And I'm trying to reconnect that with my past life. But I really haven't knit in the last two years much, since my husband got sick. So I'm getting back into that. So I'm finding joy in that because it's something to do for others. Because when I knit, it's usually to make something for someone. And so taking that energy of being able to knit with just relaxing, but it's also joyful, because I'm doing something for someone else, I'm getting off myself, and serving and giving to someone else. So find, but that might, that's obviously going to look different for others. So for those of you who are listening, what is a way you can connect to the girl that you were prior to your spouses getting sick? Okay? Dawn Taylor  34:07Or the guy you were if you're the husband taking care of your wife. Melissa Miller  34:11Yes, absolutely. Either way, either way, whether you're the spouse we're talking to, you're the husband taking care of your sick wife or your the wife taking care of your sick husband, what are some passions that really set you on fire prior to when your spouse got sick? And maybe they've fallen by the wayside? Because that is a way to heal with coming back to your identity of who you are. Like I said, yes, you're a caregiver. Yes, you're a husband or a wife, or a mom or a father. And those are important roles, and yes, we'll have those for the rest of our lives. But you are also a beautiful human being that God has created that has talents and has gifts, okay? And maybe in the season of caregiving you are right now, you can't volunteer and you volunteered before but you can't do that all the time anymore because you are at home. But maybe for self care to get yourself out of the house, maybe make arrangements once a month, that you can have a day where you spend like two hours outside the home, being able to serve at a non-profit or charity. Maybe it's just getting back into weekly activities at church where you volunteer once a week on a Wednesday night program or a Sunday morning service or something. Maybe it's going back, to start picking up where the pieces left off and finishing that career, maybe it's finish getting back into maybe just doing, if you can't do it all at once, maybe it is just maybe for one quarter, three months out of the year, maybe it's just for one quarter. Starting to take, you do one class online to work towards that end goal of a career or certification or something that you wanted, those dreams still matter. Okay? Because they are who you are. Not everyone's meant to be a podcaster like Dawn, or a mentor and a coach and a business entrepreneur like I am. That's the outlet I've chosen to start over. And I'm okay with that. But that's obviously not for everybody. And so I want you to tap into like, what might, I want you to think about what lights you up? What can you do to reconnect with the person you were prior to your spouse's illness? And how can you keep chipping away at that on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis, a yearly basis, for moving forward in the long term and maintaining that identity? Because that is part of who you are. And there is no shame around it. Yes, in seasons of caregiving, we do, the caregiving overtakes everything. I would say 2020 was all caregiving. I was just totally focused on caring for my husband and trying to educate myself and just know what the heck to do. Okay, and I'm still in a season right now. We're looking for surgery now. So I'm in a new season of learning and educating and being able to be available for my husband. Okay, and we are dealing with extra seizures right now as he is transitioning on to a new drug. So I am in a crazy caregiving season. But this time I'm going in where I'm practicing whole body self care, I'm drinking the water, I'm doing my 15 minutes of movement, I'm doing my devotionals in the morning and my morning and evening journaling. I'm reconnecting with those hobbies that I love. And here's the thing, self care, whole body self care does not have to take hours. And reconnecting with that identity and healing, it doesn't have to be hours a day. And the journey of healing and navigating this journey, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Dawn Taylor  37:27It's a long term thing. Melissa Miller  37:28It's a long term haul. And so if you don't have the support that you need on the back end, for lack of a better expression, from besides the medical team, but someone that's in your corner helping you spiritually, emotionally, and mentally and that you're also just being your advocate and prior in prioritizing your physical health, you are going to burn out harder than you can say spit. It's going to be so hard to try to cope - because I learned the hard way, this was me in all of 2020. I was sick. I was sick, I was trying to take care of my husband, I was trying to run my business. And I was raising a two year old. Hello. That's a heck of a lot to deal with. That's a heck of a lot to deal with. Linda. Linda. Okay, hang on. Dawn Taylor  38:11Okay, it's not cutting this out. Her daughter just came running and she went running to her husband. So we'll see what's going on. Dawn Taylor  38:24So Melissa has had to go deal with her husband and some health stuff going on there. So we are going to... oh, here she comes. Melissa Miller  38:34 Sorry, I had to get, my husband had a seizure, so... Dawn Taylor  38:38No, it's okay. Is everything going to be alright? Do you need to go? Melissa Miller  38:41Yeah, I think I need to go because he's, I've got him in bed but I need to start making some phone calls. So I better... Dawn Taylor  38:47No, not even a question. We are going to put some, I'm gonna send Melissa - just for the viewers, listeners sorry - I'm gonna send a list of questions to Melissa. Just a few other things that she can answer. They're gonna be in the show notes as well as a fun giveaway for you guys and some resources. Melissa, we are sending all of our love and prayers to your husband and for your journey. Listeners, welcome to the reality of being a home caregiver. Melissa Miller  39:11Yeah, my daughter came in here cause she said 'pain, pain' because she's verbally delayed a little bit because of the pandemic. We have her speech, but she's verbally sound enough she can tell me when something's going on. So she was out there in the living room with her dad. And she came in and said 'pain, pain'. I dropped everything and I ran, and he was in a seizure. So that's where I was. So, reality of caregiving. That's the reality right there in a nutshell. Dawn Taylor  39:20That's what I figured, go take care of your husband and we'll talk to you soon. Dawn Taylor  39:26Thank you so much for listening to this podcast today. Guys, it's a hard one, having been a caregiver myself over the years, it's definitely an emotional one. And you guys got to witness in real time what happened. So please, if you enjoy this podcast, first of all, thank you so much for listening. Seriously. It means the world to me. If you enjoy the podcast, please check out the show notes. Leave comments. If you have any questions or anything, I'd love to connect with you. But also, if you'd be willing, leave a review with Apple or Spotify podcasts. Thank you so much for hanging out with me and Melissa today and we'll also give you an update in the show notes as to how he's doing. Talk to you guys next week.
06 - Raised by a Narcissist and How to Heal with Carling Middlestead
12-09-2022
06 - Raised by a Narcissist and How to Heal with Carling Middlestead
Dawn Taylor invites guest Carling Middlestead, producer and co-host of I Did Not Sign Up For This podcast, onto the show to talk about grief. Specifically they discuss the complicated process of grieving the loss of a parent who wasn’t your superhero, who wasn’t ideal. What is that grief like and how do you navigate it? Carling shares how she recently lost her father to a type of acute leukemia and the complicated feelings that brought up. Grieving the loss of a father who was narcissistic and dismissive of her growing up, one whom others found charming and generous, left her with much to process. She explains how she sat with her dad in his last weeks, how she saw the man he was with others, and how she works to reconcile that.Dawn explains how her mother died suddenly in a car crash and how the complexity of their relationship made navigating her grieving difficult. She also saw how her mother was an amazing person to others which did not echo her own experience. Dawn and Carling discuss what it means to hold space for someone facing loss, what the loss feels like, and steps they take to address the complicated process of healing.About Carling Middlestead:Carling (she/her) is the producer and co-host of the I Did Not Sign Up For This Podcast.  A proud member of the lgbtq+ community, dedicated aunt and step parent, and completely obsessed with her five dogs.Her endless curiosity about the world around her allows her to connect with people and dive deep into any conversation, always willing to have her own beliefs and views challenged while challenging the way others may look at things.Carling lives by the motto "Do your best until you know better, and then do better".Resources Mentioned in This Episode:I Did Not Sign Up For This podcast“The Five Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts” by Gary D. Chapman5 Love Languages online quiz3 things to do when someone you know is grieving:Check in on them oftenGo with the flow of their grief (if they want to laugh and have fun, or if they want to hide in blankets and cry)Sitting in silence with them is powerful.Carling’s favourite podcasts are:The DailyOffice LadiesI Did Not Sign Up For This (lol shameless plug!)Anything by Wondery— Dawn Taylor - The Taylor Way: website | facebook | instagram | linkedinCarling Middlestead - I Did Not Sign Up For This Podcast - Producer and  Host: website | instagram | facebook | linkedin | tiktok Transcript:Dawn Taylor  00:09Hey, hey, hey, welcome to the Taylor Talks podcast. This week, I am so honored to have the amazing Carling on this show. Carling Middlestead is the producer and co-host of I Did Not Sign Up For This podcast, a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, dedicated aunt and step parent, and just an all around rock star. We are gonna deep dive into a really interesting topic that might be a bit triggering for people but it has to do with a dad and a death and a whole lot of fun stuff. So I challenge you to stick around. We're gonna do a fun giveaway at the end. And I can't wait to hear what you think of this podcast. Dawn Taylor  00:53Carling what would you love the world to start talking about? Carling Middlestead  00:58Oh boy, I want the world to talk more about grieving your parent that wasn't your superhero, that wasn't as amazing as everybody thinks. Dawn Taylor  01:11Right. So before we started recording this, we were chatting about this because I also wanted to parent in a similar situation, right? Where everybody else had them on a pedestal, it was amazing, it was beautiful, it was all of these things. And that wasn't the person I knew. That wasn't the person I had been raised by. So let's start with your childhood. What was your dad like? Talk to us about your dad. Carling Middlestead  01:36Yeah, my dad was funny, charismatic, outgoing, charming, the center of attention. You know, he was a narcissist and a businessman and a banker. And, you know, I think he wore many different hats. And I think lastly he was a father. Dawn Taylor  01:56Narcissist. That's a hard one. Carling Middlestead  01:58Yeah, you know, when I look back through his family I'm like, oh, my grandpa was a narcissist. Oh, you know, his brothers are narcissists. And yeah, it just ran in that family. Dawn Taylor  02:12So what was it like being raised by him? Carling Middlestead  02:14He wasn't very present in my life. It's really interesting, because I have an older sister, who's just not quite three years older. So you would think that we would have quite parallel experiences. But it was very different. He, my sister, the sun rose and set with my sister. And, you know, he even joked, like the family joke, that she was the golden child. And like, where did that leave me then? I was, you know, the opposite of that. And, you know, I can think even in home movies, I can look back and see, you know, where it's like the 80s and he's got his camcorder, and he's, you know, talking to my sister about something and then I teetle into frame and he shoos me away really quickly. And we have video evidence of the favoritism. And my dad was a woodworker, he was a very skilled artistic woodworker. And he, you know, he created - one of the examples - he created this incredible, I think it was oak box, like a memory box, or like a trunk for my sister. And he had it gold plated. And it said, like 'To Danica Love Dad', and the date and all this stuff. And I think maybe she was 16, so you know, I was just a couple years younger than that. And I was begging my dad to make me something. And I asked for a bench for my room, just like a simple bench so I could put my stuffed animals on it or something. And he didn't do it, he didn't do it, he didn't do it. And then finally, my mom one day was like, 'You need to get in that garage and, like, don't come out until you've made something for Carling'. And he like used some scrap wood, like it was just sort of put together it wasn't, you know, this craftsman piece of furniture that maybe he would have made for my sister. You know, and that was just like, for some reason that I will never know, my sister could do no wrong. And, you know, that in me developed somebody who was just always trying to get his approval and always trying to get his attention. And, you know, I just wanted to make him proud. And I just always fell short of it. Dawn Taylor  04:28Isn't that wild how those actions, like you can look back on it, and it just creates the biggest feeling of resentment. But also it's just pure rejection. Right? Which then like plays out in the rest of our lives, but let me tell ya... Carling Middlestead  04:46I mean, yeah, I would I would go on that later to - I'm a lesbian - but I would marry a man who is exactly like my father. And he ended up being abusive and horrible and, you know, closed that chapter on my life but yeah, like I was just seeking something from somebody that I never got from my father. And, you know, even maybe on his deathbed I got it. I don't know. But yeah, it's tough. Dawn Taylor  05:14So talk about the end when he got sick. Can I ask what he died of? Carling Middlestead  05:20Yeah, he had like a rare form. It was like acute leukemia, basically. And there was a slight chance that he might be qualified for like a bone marrow transplant. But they found a match and that was fine but he was so sick he wouldn't have survived the chemo required to do before. You know, he ended up passing before, you know, that process even started. Yeah, so he had, you know, his health had kind of been deteriorating for maybe, like, maybe a year not quite. And they couldn't quite figure out why. And he was always getting blood transfusions. And I had been working really hard on establishing boundaries within our relationship. And so I don't think I was very invested in what he was going through, and you know, what his experience was. And I think that came across probably to his wife and him and her family that I was quite cold. And then when he finally went into the hospital, they were allowed, you're allowed to visitors, so he picked his wife. And then he named me. And I was shocked. Because, like, I automatically I was like, oh, it'd be my sister. Like, that would make the most sense. And even, you know, in the hospital, he was like, you know, I thought about your sister. But, you know, she's so busy with the kids and her career and like, it was sort of this passive, like, he didn't consider my stepkids or my partner or my career or, but I was like, oh, okay. I'm your person, you know, so I sat with him every day for two weeks in the hospital, until he ended up getting moved to hospice. And then I sat with him every day at hospice. He was only in hospice for about five days before he passed away. Dawn Taylor  07:06Oh wow. So it was fast. Carling Middlestead  07:08Like very fast. Yeah. Yeah. Dawn Taylor  07:11How does your sister deal with not being the chosen one at the end? Carling Middlestead  07:16I think my sister is very, maybe similar to my dad. Like, I don't think she took it as negative on her. I think she was, I'm the emotionally stable, I'm the, you know, steadfast, hard working, can get through anything kid because I had to be. Carling Middlestead  07:36Yeah. And so, you know, I think I kept my sister really updated, but she was also really emotional. And I don't think her, you know, crumbling into a pile on the floor in the hospital room would have served anybody. And I think she recognized that, my dad recognized that, so I was sort of the messenger, you know, until he could go to hospice, and then everybody could visit him. But even then, like, her visits were pretty short. She's quite religious. So they were very sort of like religious focused, praying. Yeah, it was almost like, it was almost like she was there for her to say goodbye to her dad. And I was there to hold space and be witness to him passing over to the next thing, whatever you believe in. Yeah. Dawn Taylor  07:36Like, protection mechanism. Dawn Taylor  08:24So in that time, so this person who was rejected, you ignored you, pushed you away your entire life, how hard was it to sit there day after day after day? Because there's this interesting thing that no one talks about is you can love someone and hate them at the same time. Carling Middlestead  08:42Yeah, I don't think I-- Dawn Taylor  08:44I'm not saying you hated him. Do you know what I mean? But like you can feel like a super positive and super negative emotion towards someone at the exact same time. Carling Middlestead  08:53Yeah. And what was really interesting was I had, because I had sort of drawn these boundaries with him where, you know, I wouldn't give him much detail about my life because it wouldn't faze him or he would dismiss it or criticize it. And I wouldn't, you know, I wasn't that involved in his life. And I would really, you know, have to be in the right frame of mind to visit with him before he got sick. And so, suddenly being with him every day for those three weeks, it was really interesting because I got to see who he was to so many people. I posted on Facebook with his permission that he was in the hospital and not doing well. And the people that came out of the woodworks to share stories about how he went out on a limb for them, advocated for them, you know, did a favor for them, gave his last whatever to them. And the people that came and visited him in hospice from his family doctor who cried with him, to, you know, like colleagues, and it was it was just so... I was like, Who? Who is this man to these people that I never got to have? That was never my experience with him. And so it was really interesting to sort of see, you know, I found myself feeling more sad for other people that they were losing him than I was sad for myself. I'm genuinely upset that my, I don't know, aunt or my grandma was there, his mom who's in her 90s, and I can't imagine watching my kid die. Like, that's not the way it should be, you know. And so I really found myself grieving for other people and being sad for other people for who they were losing, but not necessarily me for who I was losing. Dawn Taylor  10:39Okay, so we chatted about that a little bit before we got on here. And I know I had revealed to you that when my mum passed away, we had a really hard relationship. And one of the hardest things for me when she died, was this massive shame. It was 100% attached to the fact that I felt gratitude for the fact she had died. I can't believe I'm gonna say that on here. I did write about it in my book. So people have heard it before. But it was it was a thing, right? Because there were so many parts of my life that were so hard because of her and the same boundaries that had put into place, dealing with all of that. And she died in a car accident, it was very sudden, there was no chance of a goodbye. But the night before she died, we'd had a really bad conversation. Carling Middlestead  11:30Oh, wow. Dawn Taylor  11:31Where she told me she was going to divorce my dad, she was going to walk away, she just couldn't handle having a sick husband. He had been in a logging accident, there were complications after, and she was like, 'Nope, I'm going to just leave him and this is going to happen'. And I remember like one of the - I did say I love you at the end of the call. But our last conversation, I was like if you leave dad because he was in a logging accident, you're dead to me. Because I can't respect you anymore. And that's disgusting. And that was our last conversation. And she passed away the next morning on her way to work. And even in that, like, there's the grief of knowing that she was gone and I would never have her again, right? But a grief of like, I'll never get to know the mom I wanted to know. That was a huge piece of it. And I remember when I did her eulogy at her funeral, saying to my husband after, I really wish I had known the person that all of those people knew. Right? That my siblings knew, that her grandkids knew, that her friends and family and everybody else knew, because she was a perfect stranger to me in that way. And it felt like I was reading a eulogy for a stranger. Because that wasn't my experience. And it was hard. I don't know about you, did you find it hard with, like, the sympathy and the pity that came from people? And it's like, I didn't know that person. Carling Middlestead  13:03Yeah. And I think people, you know, just assume that your dad is your superhero, your dad is your rock, your dad is your guiding light, you know. I even looked up like quotes about dead dads and daughters. And, you know, I was like, no, none of this resonates with me because I didn't feel that. And so to do his eulogy, and his obituary, you know, I really wanted to, for him, you know, I didn't wish him ill will. I didn't hope he died. It, you know, it was just this like, weird, it was a balancing act of honoring who he was for all of these people and still leaving room for myself to feel like oh, like, Why? Why did I ever get that? Dawn Taylor  13:49What was the biggest thing that came out of that for you? Like the person who you wished you had known? Carling Middlestead  13:54Yeah, I think it's left me, no, it's left my inner child - I can distinctly tell the difference - it's left my inner child wondering, like, what was so wrong with me as a little kid? Because I look at little kids and I'm like, how can you favor one or the other? You know, I don't have my own biological kids. But I have nieces and nephews and and stepkids and I can't imagine doing things that would make them feel bad like that, you know? But I guess I'm not a narcissist is what my therapist always reminds me. So I wouldn't get it, you know? So that's probably a good thing. But, you know, the fact that I found myself advocating for this man who never advocated for me in my darkest time of need, and, you know, I was caring for and being tender with this man who was never caring and tender towards me. And it was, yeah, it was like a choice that I made, you know, I suppose I could have chosen to not, and to maybe reestablish a boundary. But I really felt like, that's not me, I would have I think regretted it more, maybe putting a big boundary up than not. But it sort of left me with this, what am I grieving? Who am I grieving? Dawn Taylor  15:26Oh, for sure. So what are some tips that you would have for our listener on how to grieve in a situation like that? Carling Middlestead  15:34I think, give yourself space. And I think I, you know, I talk a lot lately about sort of, like holding space for things. And I'm very good at filling space with all the things that keep me distracted from feeling certain things. But, you know, some days, I'm, like, really mad at him. And some days, I'm really sad for him. And some days, you know, I think just sort of like honoring the emotion that you're feeling in that moment or day and not expecting that you should be feeling a certain way. But just letting yourself like, live through that feeling. Because I think too often people think it's like, you know, however many stages of grief, it's not linear. And it's not, you know, it's somebody once told me grief is like a tiny ball in a box that's always bouncing. And at first, the box is really small and so every time that ball bounces and hits a side, it hurts. You know, and there are some days where my box is really big, and the ball barely bounces, and I don't even think about it. And then other days things happen and it feels like every single thing I do, I'm reminded about the fact that my dad is dead. Dawn Taylor  16:47One of my favorites is always like waves on the ocean. Right? And I use it with clients all the time, as, like when you first walk in, it just tickles your toes, right? And that's when you're in denial stages and stuff. But then you walk in, and you hit that point where it can like knock you on your butt. And the water's really intense. But that seventh wave comes and just plows you over. You have to push through the hard part, and you might be diving into those waves and fighting to get through them. But then all of a sudden, you get far enough out into the ocean, and all of a sudden it's just these beautiful giant swells. Right. Yeah? Carling Middlestead  17:27Yeah, that's a good analogy. Dawn Taylor  17:29And sometimes we just have that seventh wave day with those moments. So one of the hard parts of... so losing your dad, the person you didn't know he was, and now there's all these, like, almost character traits and stories out there about him of who he was. Do you struggle to believe that that's who he was? Carling Middlestead  17:52No, I think wholeheartedly that's a piece of who he was. I think being a narcissist, you know, he was very charming. And I don't know that, I think there was maybe an intention behind everything. He was very calculated and-- Dawn Taylor  18:08 -- incredibly calculated. Carling Middlestead  18:09Yeah, he was married six times. And I think it's because he was very good at being charming, but not very good at being himself long enough. Or maybe his true self would come out, I don't know. So I think, I choose, I'm actively choosing to enjoy those stories. Because that is that person's experience. And I am not going to go to that person and be like, well, that was actually a lie. That was their truth, that was their experience. And I think I could have very easily chosen to become really bitter and mad that I didn't get that, you know, I'm sad that I didn't get that piece of him. And I, you know, work with that. But I find myself choosing to appreciate those stories. And I think he wasn't married to this current wife very long, they were only married for three years, and so I also feel this sort of like she didn't, I think, you know, if you look at the movies and parents are married for 50 years, and then one of them dies, all of your memories still live in that home, that other parent, that other, you know, but like for her, they were only married three years. And I don't really know her or her family very well. But they had him high up on this pedestal. And they were sort of his, their memories with him are much different than his fifth wife or his fourth wife or all of these things. And so it's really seeking out the people that had these memories of him and just choosing to appreciate them rather than being bitter about them. Dawn Taylor  19:48Which is a really phenomenal way to look at it. Carling Middlestead  19:50Yeah, yeah, it's hard, but... Dawn Taylor  19:53Oh, it is, it's very hard. One of the things for me is as I was healing, and I would hear things about how she thought about me or felt about me or ,you know, just different things of my life. I was doing a big healing journey about eight months after she had, my mother, passed away. And I kept wanting, like, honest answers from people. I'd be like, no, no, I actually want to know what she thought of this, and I actually want to know what she said about me, and I, like, I need you to just take her off the pedestal for a second and have a brutally honest conversation with me, because this is part of my healing. Carling Middlestead  20:27Were you surprised? Dawn Taylor  20:28Not overly surprised. I was surprised at how they couldn't admit anything. Like just denied it. And I was like, but you know that this happened, like you were there. Like, you were in the room when she said this, I know that you know this. And they'd be like, no, that couldn't be what happened. Carling Middlestead  20:51It's like you were being gaslit by grief. Dawn Taylor  20:53I felt like I was so being gaslit by grief. Because nobody would open up. Nobody would be honest with me. Nobody would actually talk about it. And I was like, no, no, you can keep her on a pedestal - and I've always been open about the fact that my mom was an outstanding human, just not to me. So I was like, it doesn't take away from her amazingness if you tell me how she really was about me. And it was finally my mom's best friend, right from my childhood, that I phoned her in tears one day, and I was like, I just need to know her different. And I need to know what she said in your long conversations. And I need to know what her thoughts were on situations that went down in my life and on traumas that I had dealt with. And I said, I know this is really, really a hard ask, but would you be okay with me asking you and honestly answering these questions. And it's been really interesting, because she did. I finally had found somebody who was like, no, no, I can see the good and the bad in her. Right? Like, I experienced it, I saw it, I will be open with you about it. And it was so healing for me to have those answers. Dawn Taylor  21:01It was probably really validating, right. To have somebody witness? Yeah. Dawn Taylor  22:07Right? But it's been cool now, because her and I have stayed really close. I just got back from visiting her in northern BC a few weeks ago. And to this day, she's one of the only people that will even talk about my mom. Like, nobody even talks, it's the weirdest thing. Carling Middlestead  22:23Yeah, that's interesting. Dawn Taylor  22:25Yeah. And I've heard that a few times lately, that in grief people just stop talking. They don't... it's like, the pictures get put away, and the stories get put away, and they no longer discuss that person. It's like, no, they're dead, they're gone. Over. Where I'm like, no, no, like, she's still part of our lives. That was my mom. Right? Have you gone there? I know it's been fairly recent for you. But have you witnessed any of that in your own family? Carling Middlestead  22:57I - not so much the not talking. I thought it was interesting how many people, you know, sort of come out of the woodworks and say, we're going to have to keep in touch, we're going to have, and then after the funeral nobody keeps in touch and nobody reaches out, which I think is okay. Like, I don't want to sort of have these contrived relationships with people just for the sake of keeping my dad's memory alive. But I think, yeah, I find myself, what I didn't expect, I find myself like thinking, oh, I should pick up the phone and call him. And when he was alive, I worked so hard not to do that, because I was trying so hard to hold a boundary, because I always ended up disappointed in the outcome of seeking his approval. Or, you know, trying to have a conversation about anything to do with me. And, you know, like, I just got a new job. And this morning, I was like, shoot I really just have this urge, I like get choked up thinking about it, to just call him and tell him. And I posted something on Facebook and people, I was kind of snarky about it in my head, because people were like, oh, he would have been so proud of you. And I was like-- Dawn Taylor  22:58No, he wouldn't. Carling Middlestead  23:06I don't know that he would have or if he was he wouldn't tell me. You know, like, you know, he would have looked for a way to brag about it, to show that he was such a good father, because he had a daughter who just got this job, you know, not look at my daughter but look at me, the father of this daughter. And so I was sort of like, Oh, I really want to call him and I was sort of laughing because I probably would have been crying anyway, because I would have called and the conversation wouldn't have gone the way that I hoped and I wouldn't gotten his approval the way that I wanted. And then I'd be just as upset as not being able to call him because he's dead. You know, like, it's-- Dawn Taylor  24:48So true. It's so true. One of the things that someone told me years after my mom died was, create in your head the mom you wish she had been. Like take the best parts of who she was and write that down and rewrite the description of who your mom is. To, like, recreate that story of who she is, and then talk to her. And so one of the things I did for a long time was I had a journal, and it was like a two way journal in my head of, like, this is me writing her letters, but not getting the flack of what her reaction would have been. So even now, sometimes I'll be like, Mom, you'd be so proud of me, you'll never believe what I did today. Right? And I'll just like, write it out, or I'll speak it out. And be like, yeah, I did. Or, like, if you could see how this person has turned out, you'd be shocked. But even, like, as my nieces and nephews have graduated or are getting married or going to school, I'd be like, Mom, you would have been in the front row at that wedding, like, just crying and beaming at your beautiful granddaughter. And it's allowed me to - people listening are probably like, what? - but it's allowed me to almost recreate the story of me and my mom. In an interesting way, right? So it's like, no, no, no, she's still actually part of my life in a weird way. But I've recreated what that would look like. And it's, it gives me this really cool sense of still getting that 'you did good, kid' kind of feel, like that affirmation that you are looking for the whole time. Carling Middlestead  26:24Yeah, that's interesting. I would, in my first instinct, thinking of myself doing that, is I would get maybe, like, salty about it. Because that wasn't the truth. You know what I mean? Like, I'm giving him the benefit of-- Dawn Taylor  26:40Oh, I wrote, I wrote nasty letters in there. Con't think in my healing journey, I have not gotten real pissed at her. Carling Middlestead  26:50Yeah. Yeah, I know one time in the hospital, he said he was sorry for not being a better father. And I remember just being like, what do I even say to that? Like, he doesn't know what that means. He doesn't know. He just, I think, recognized that we didn't have as good of a relationship, as maybe he hoped. But I don't even think he knew what it was that didn't make him a good father. And so I was like, 'It's okay.' But I don't know, what do you say to somebody on their deathbed who apologizes for-- Dawn Taylor  27:24I refuse your apology? Carling Middlestead  27:26Yeah. Like, I'll think about it. I don't know. Dawn Taylor  27:30I'll you know next week. Not totally sure how I feel about it. No, it is a super interesting one. What are the best words of advice you've been given in the few months you've had? What are the best words of advice you've been given around grieving? Because that is something we're not taught how to do. Carling Middlestead  27:48Yeah, people think that, I don't know, people just think that grief is like linear, or, you know, now that they're dead you don't talk about it. And it's probably best just not to bring it up. But I think just, like, the best piece of advice was just sort of like honor - you know, like I said earlier - honor how you're feeling in any moment, you know, on the first Father's Day, I wasn't sure how I'd feel. And my partner lost her dad when she was a teenager. And so we joke that we're part of the dead dad club. And, you know, and we ended up, we had to go to the dump so we had, like, a truck full of stuff. And we were like, figures we'd have to do this, our dads are dead. You know, and we just, we really brought this sense of humor about it. And after everything, we'd be like, well, our dads are dead. And that really, I think, got me through that day, because we were finding a lot of humor in it. And then, you know, there were other days where out of the blue, because it was a Tuesday, well, I was really sad and crying and a song would come on and I am I never cried, you know, I just didn't want to cry, didn't want to draw attention, but I'm like, letting myself cry and letting myself feel sad. Dawn Taylor  29:01Good for you. Carling Middlestead  29:02Yeah, and it's really hard. It's hard, it's not just as easy as just letting out the emotion that you're feeling. But it's okay to laugh about it sometimes. And it's okay to cry about it sometimes. And I think it's okay to admit that you didn't have, like, I think my sister's posted a lot about like, my dad was my hero. And I am who I am because of him. And I think that's her truth. But like, I'm not going to post that, I'm not going to post these big sappy memorial posts on Facebook or Instagram or anything. And that's okay. I think I was maybe like, Oh, should I write something, should I... but I was like, no, I'm not going to fake grieve him. Dawn Taylor  29:03That's not authentic. Carling Middlestead  29:07Yeah, yeah. It didn't feel authentic. And, you know, I don't think people... I would wonder how many people I see posting about the death of a parent, how true it is when they sort of glorify this person after their death, because it maybe wasn't that great. And that's okay. Dawn Taylor  30:04But we feel like we should. Right? Like we should glorify it, and we should go there. One other thing I would say about grieving as, like you said, everyone comes out of the woodwork at first, there's all the things. Right? But if you genuinely - not that if you don't, you don't care if you don't do this - but everybody's there for the first six weeks. You get a lot of attention and a lot of love and a lot of everything for six weeks. Show up at the six week mark. Right? Like, that's when you need to show up for your friend. Or for your family member, is when everybody else, it seems like everyone else has moved on, life has continued, you're just getting over almost the shock of it all and dealing with the aftermath of things. And all of a sudden, you sit back and you're like, holy, I just lost how many weeks of my life and not in a bad way. But like, I'm just now at this point where it's like, holy now I have to figure this out. Yeah, it was. It's a very lonely feeling. Carling Middlestead  31:06Yeah, it's yeah, it's really lonely. And I think people just think to themselves, like, oh, I don't... I don't know. Like, it's like people have good intentions. And I don't think those people were lying when they said let's keep in touch. I think you know, their intentions were probably really great. But I think people should consider reaching out on those anniversaries. The first birthday, the first Father's Day, the first, my first birthday, what's that going to be like? Yeah, and just I think, just because I don't post that I'm sobbing and sad every day. Doesn't mean that it wouldn't be nice for somebody just to reach out and check in. Dawn Taylor  31:47100%. I know I thought after I was like, never again, will I when someone dies, go, 'Oh, my goodness, yes, we need to get together.' Right? Like, ever. It's like, I am so sorry. Done, and bring the person up. Bring the person up. Ask questions. I love when someone is like, tell me about your mom. What was she like? And I can laugh about how crazy she she was, and I can laugh about all the funny stuff. But my mom was - like I said - she was an outstanding human. Just not to me. Right? So she taught me so much about loving people, and hospitality, and like gardening and the love of laughter and all of these things that she taught me so much in her life, right? And I can take those, I can take those and be so grateful for them. So even to this day, when someone is like, what was your mom like? I'm like, let me show you a photo. Let's have an honest conversation about what she was like, and experience her together. And I think that that's something people forget is yes, we lost them, and yes, it's hard. But there's nothing worse than forgetting them. Carling Middlestead  33:00Yeah, I think people get uncomfortable with grief. And especially if they're not super close to somebody, they don't know how to sort of, like, hold that space for them. Dawn Taylor  33:11Oh, 100% 100%. Right? They don't they don't know how to hold that space for them. So we talked earlier about just like, holding space, what does that mean for you? For someone to hold space for you, what does that mean? How do they, like, literally what does someone do? Because this is a term that gets used, and I always joke about like hating the self-help industry for that. Because there's all these like vague, weird terms and concepts, but no one actually tells you, like, what to literally do? How does somebody hold space for someone in grieving? Carling Middlestead  33:48Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, starting with when my dad was in the hospital and hospice, holding space for him - which a lot of people I realized couldn't do - was just sitting in the room with him. You don't have to say anything, you don't have to talk, you don't have to be doing anything. It's just literally sitting there so that they're not alone while they die. And there were so many people that would come in and I was blown away that they couldn't help but talk to every single person in the room that was sitting there to make sure there was always somebody talking, when I think it was actually more just about sitting there and just letting, dying is a not great process, and I think you just don't want to be alone. And then I think for people that are grieving, holding space is meeting them where they're at. My best friend lost her husband three years ago, and so holding space in the early days was, like, one day she would literally be laughing about something and so I would laugh too, and then the next day she would be so angry. And so I would be angry with her or facilitate the thing that she was angry about. And it's just sort of like not trying to fix or not trying to take somebody from one state of mind to another. And if I'm just crying because I'm sad, that's okay. You, like your job is not to stop me from crying. Your job is to just let me cry, hand me a Kleenex, and then when I start laughing - because I'll probably start laughing in a few minutes - pick up there and, you know, start laughing with me. But yeah, I think people too often want to, like, 'Oh, somebody's crying, I should hug them', or leave and let them cry alone. Rather than just like, just sit with them. It's okay if somebody's crying. They need to, it's therapeutic. Dawn Taylor  35:36It's actually really healthy. Carling Middlestead  35:37It's really cleansing. I can't believe I'm saying that because I was the one that never cried. But now I just cry at everything. Dawn Taylor  35:45Not a bad thing. One other thing I would add to that is show up in different ways. So it doesn't mean, don't buy flowers, con't send a deli platter in the first week. Like, none of that matters. None of that matters. Hire like a house cleaner to show up three weeks later, when they're in the depths of their grief, and their toilets need to be scrubbed. Do things like that. Just like super basic, super basic fundamental things. Go to their house and fold their laundry. Invite yourself over for coffee sometimes. And look around and really just be like, okay, how can I love on them even more right now? Carling Middlestead  36:30Yeah. And, I think, keep inviting them out, right? Dawn Taylor  36:34Oh, even like, if they say no 100 times. Carling Middlestead  36:37Yeah. Invite them every time. Dawn Taylor  36:38Invite them every time, even if you know you're gonna get a no, because you don't know the time that they're gonna be like, 'Yeah, I need out'. Right? And then they have that escape. Carling Middlestead  36:47Yeah, I laugh, I can be really prickly when I'm emotional. And it's probably a self defense mechanism. But I just, I value so much the people that know me enough to just, like, love me even when I'm extra prickly. Because maybe my grief comes out in that my anxiety is making me really upset at the, I can hear the fan in the other room, or the way the dishes are clinking in the dishwasher when it's running. Just love me through that because it's stemming from grief or it's stemming from... and I just value those people in my life that get that side of me. Dawn Taylor  37:24Isn't that amazing? I know I, if I'm grieving or if I'm having a bad day, don't touch me. Like, do not hug me. Do not touch me. Like that, and I've been that way since I was a little kid. Like if I need a hug, I'll be like, 'Can you hug me?' Yeah, I am, I'm like that where, even my husband he cracks me up, because like something bad will happen. And even like, when my grandma passed away, he looks to me and he's like, 'Do you need a hug?' And I was like, not yet. Carling Middlestead  37:58Like not right now. Dawn Taylor  38:01So he sat beside me while I sobbed on the couch. And then I was like, 'Okay, I need a hug'. He's like, okay, but it's part of grieving I find is really like, it's not what you need. It's what do they need? Carling Middlestead  38:16Yes. And knowing their love language, I think. Dawn Taylor  38:18Oh my gosh, yeah. Carling Middlestead  38:20Between friends, between... my best friend, her love language is gifts. And, you know, and so she always buys me a mug. And I laugh because like that is the last part of my love language is gift receiving. But, like, that's how she shows me her love. And I want to, you know, whatever it is, that may not match up. But yeah, it's like knowing what that person needs and like doing it. Dawn Taylor  38:42Totally. So for anyone who doesn't know love languages, Gary Chapman, Dr. Gary Chapman, wrote this incredible book. I don't even know how long ago, like in the 90s. Carling Middlestead  38:52A long time ago, yeah. Dawn Taylor  38:53Super, super long time ago, called "The Five Love Languages". And it's all on the five different ways that people give and receive love. There's actually a free online quiz at 5LoveLanguages.com and one on how people fight and how they forgive, which are super interesting. If you haven't done those, they're's super cool. So thank you, Carling, so much for hanging out today. And for diving into this topic and discussing this. I'm sure people will have questions. If you do, check the show notes because we're going to have information there. We're going to do some sort of fun giveaway for you there as well. And for how you can get a hold of Carling and listen to her podcast. But to end every show we do just like a four silly questions thing. Just fun. We get some good answers. And they're just silly. Just silly speed questions. So, first one, what do you spend a silly amount of money on? Carling Middlestead  39:49Starbucks. Dawn Taylor  39:50What is your drink order of choice? Carling Middlestead  39:52Just an Americana with cream. No, so not the most expensive one. But like the simplest thing I could make at home for a quarter of the price. Dawn Taylor  40:02I was gonna say, it's not even a fancy one. Carling Middlestead  40:04I know, it's not even fancy. It's like $3 at Starbucks, but I could probably make it for 25 cents in my house. Dawn Taylor  40:11Oh that is so funny. What is the thrill of the Starbucks, then? Carling Middlestead  40:14Yeah, I think it's just habit. It's like the habit I can't break. If there's a drive thru, I'm just going to go through it and get a coffee. Yeah. I'd be rich without it. Dawn Taylor  40:25What would your guess be on how much you spend there in a year? Carling Middlestead  40:29Oh, Lord. I think I probably spend like $25 a week on it. Dawn Taylor  40:34Oh that's not the worst I've heard. Carling Middlestead  40:36I mean, considering it's like literally the cheapest coffee. You know, I'll just get like a brewed coffee even just with cream. Dawn Taylor  40:43That's amazing. I had one client who averaged 3 to $5000 a month. Oh no, like two meals a day, multiple drinks, buying for other people. Carling Middlestead  40:54That's very validating. I feel very, like, oh, it's not so bad. Dawn Taylor  40:57Oh, no, it was atrocious. Carling Middlestead  40:59That's insane. Dawn Taylor  41:00Yeah, it was out of control. It was fully out of control. But really funny. What's your secret guilty pleasure way to decompress at the end of the day or on a day off? Carling Middlestead  41:11I think Tik Tok. Dawn Taylor  41:13Oh, watch or post? Carling Middlestead  41:15Just watching. It stresses me out when I have to post to Tik Tok. My co-host is very into making Tik Toks. And I'm like, oh God, I get so stressed out. Dawn Taylor  41:25Oh, that is so funny. Do you have a favorite thing to watch? Like, are you all about the cooking or the decorating? Or the sexy cowboys? I'm not even on, I don't even watch Tik Tok. But this is what I've been told is amazing. Carling Middlestead  41:37Yeah, you kind of get into an algorithm. No, I think mine are like, oddly, it's probably not relaxing. But like 911 calls. Like they'll post like the transcript of 911 calls. And sometimes it's like somebody admitting they murdered their family. And somehow I find that decompressing. Dawn Taylor  41:55That is amazing. Carling Middlestead  41:56I can't explain it. Dawn Taylor  41:58One of mine is blaring Sounds of Silence by Disturbed, like to where it vibrates through my entire body in my car. So I get it. There's something about it. What is a purchase of $100 or less that has most positively impacted your life in the last little bit? Carling Middlestead  42:18$100 or less that has positively... what have I purchased? Well, it was $99 that, it's like one of those Theraguns? It's like a massage gun. Dawn Taylor  42:29Yes. Is it amazing? Carling Middlestead  42:31Oh, it's, yeah. Like, because when your tight muscles, like I'm always so tense, because I just operate on this high anxiety level. And it is so nice, deep tissue massage. Dawn Taylor  42:44Okay, good to know. I might be shopping. This is gonna get expensive doing this podcast. Because every time I'm like, 'Oh, I think I might want that'. And what is an unusual habit? Or some weirdly absurd thing that you love? Carling Middlestead  42:59Habit or weirdly absurd thing that I love? Carling Middlestead  43:04I, gosh, what do I... a weirdly absurd thing...? Dawn Taylor  43:08Like I obsessively play Lego every day. Carling Middlestead  43:11Oh, like with physical Legos? Dawn Taylor  43:14Oh, like I have a larger collection than probably anybody I know. Carling Middlestead  43:17That's very interesting. Dawn Taylor  43:19Like I have an entire room dedicated to Lego in my house. Carling Middlestead  43:23Wow. Dawn Taylor  43:26Like that's one of my weird habits. My absurd thing that I love. Carling Middlestead  43:30God I don't know if I really have like an absurd habit. I would have to, like, ask somebody. I listen to a lot of podcasts. That's like my, I’m just like, not into music that much. But like I laugh and cry with people who aren't even in the room with me. Dawn Taylor  43:50Yeah. That's amazing. I love that. I'm gonna have to get some podcast recommendations. Carling Middlestead  43:55Oh, yeah. Dawn Taylor  43:56Actually, I'm gonna get you to send us some we'll add them into the show notes for people. Carling Middlestead  44:00Oh, sure. Yeah. Dawn Taylor  44:01Of what they should be listening to. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, Carling, again for hanging out with us today and being so vulnerable and open about this. If you want to find Carling, again, check the show notes located at TaylorWay.ca, my website. And if you love the episode, please leave a review on Apple or Spotify podcasts. And we'll see you again soon.
05 - All Things Money and our Childhood Beliefs with Suzy Alcantara
29-08-2022
05 - All Things Money and our Childhood Beliefs with Suzy Alcantara
Dawn Taylor invites guest Suzy Alcantara, Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Reveal Wellness Studio, to the show to talk all about money. They discuss earning, blocks in how we view money, how we are formed by what we grew up with, how we work, and musings on the concept of retirement. Suzy shares how both of her parents worked full time when she was growing up and how the larger family who lived together - parents, her sister, her mother’s youngest brother and sister, and her grandfather - all worked, with the exception of her grandfather. She says that work ethic defining your value was innately ingrained at a young age, and money to support family became pivotal in her mind.Dawn and Suzy dissect how most of us have created our views on money based on how our parents and grandparents viewed money, the things they said about it, and how they dealt with budgets (or didn’t). Dawn and Suzy address the silence surrounding money, the reticence of parents to reveal exactly what household finances look like to their children. And they discuss why retirement is a scary prospect and where the concepts of 65 being the age of retirement and the necessity of a retirement plan actually come from.About Suzy Alcantara:Suzy Alcantara is a Registered Massage Therapist who is passionate about your healing journey and being your guide to your own personal transformation. Suzy has 17 years of experience as an RMT integrating various holistic modalities into her treatments. She loves integrating both western and eastern philosophies of medicine and overall body function. With her knowledge and experience she works intuitively to select modalities that work best for you and your nervous system.Aside from guiding her clients to the best version of themselves, Suzy also is inspired by facilitating the growth of amateur massage therapists by mentoring and empowering them to flourish at their best so they can create a positive impact in the world. Building conscious connections and creating community through her studio by hosting healing circles and Subconscious Imprinting Technique group healings lights up her soul.Suzy is a heart centered entrepreneur and owner of Reveal Wellness Studio. Her core values of support and leadership continue to thrive and flourish to build deep and meaningful relationships within the community.Resources Mentioned in This Episode:“Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv EkerBook with Suzy at Reveal Wellness StudioMikado Restaurant - Edmonton, AB— Dawn Taylor - The Taylor Way: website | facebook | instagram | linkedinSuzy Alcantara - Registered Massage Therapist / Owner at Reveal Wellness Studio: website | instagram Transcript:Dawn Taylor  00:09Hey, hey, welcome to another episode of The Taylor Talks. I'm your host, Dawn Taylor, and I am so excited to be here today, with the most amazing Suzy. She is the greatest massage therapist I have ever experienced in my entire life, and a mom and a business owner and a wife and all of the things. She's just an activist and a fighter for life. And she inspires me all the time. And in one of my massages, we realized that we have really intensely cool conversations that most people don't have. And we kept joking about it that we should just be recording my massage every time. And that that will make a podcast episode. But today, we are going to actually record one of them. She is here right now with me. So stick around, we're gonna also do a really cool giveaway at the end of it. There's gonna be some links for some books, some different things we're going to recommend. And I hope you really enjoy our conversation today on money and the power that it holds and shouldn't. Dawn Taylor  01:14Suzy! We did it, we finally made it, we're here. We're gonna record this crazy podcast. Suzy Alcantara  01:22Oh, my goodness. Dawn Taylor  01:23I am so glad you're here. Welcome. Suzy Alcantara  01:27Thank you. Thank you so much for that lovely, lovely introduction. I gotta say, yes. Like our appointments together just get so much inspiration and just really nitty gritty topics. And, you know, talking about this whole concept about money and money blocks, especially as business owners, I always find that sometimes it is, like, such a rocky foundation that no matter what is happening within your business, it seems to always come down to money. Like, why? I want to know why. Right? So we can dive into like our own money patterns. And the language that we give and the energy that we put around money. And as far as we want to, like, reap in all the rewards and all the abundance of life, somehow, for some reason, I guess in my mind, it always equates to not having enough. Dawn Taylor  02:24K. So this was this conversation we were having, right, was this fact that like, why is there never enough? Why do we get blocked? Why is it that we have these like limits on it? And it's cool, because guess what? No one talks money. Nobody talks about money. I have spent so many years frustrated because we hear what our parents said, right? We hear how they talked about money. And like you come from a Filipino culture, I come from like a Mennonite German culture, both of those it all equates to hard work. Suzy Alcantara  03:00Yeah. 100%. Hard work equals success, right? Dawn Taylor  03:04Oh, hard work is your worth, like your actions equal your worth, right? But I don't know about you, but like, my parents, my parents were amazing and horrible with money. And here's what I mean by that: my parents very openly talked about, like, how they gave 10% of their money away every single month, no matter what, even if they were scrambling and could hardly feed us. They always always always gave to charities, like that was huge for them. They were very, very giving in that way. They never took more than 10 years to pay off a house. So we got to be part of celebrations of them paying off houses growing up, or we'd go for like a fancy dinner and things like that, to celebrate the fact that there was no longer a mortgage payment, which I'm very aware of in the year 2022 that is not quite as feasible to do. But they always lived really well below their means so that they could do that. And my mom never worked. Like for a lot of my childhood my mom never worked. And she took care of things. But they also didn't talk budgeting. They didn't talk retirement. They didn't talk... like what people made an hour, how people function, how you set yourself up for success. They never talked about those things. There was like so much shame and, like, secrets around it. What about yours? What was your childhood like? Suzy Alcantara  04:29You know what, both my parents worked full time. My mom was a licensed practical nurse when she had immigrated from the Philippines and my dad, he graduated to be an optometrist in the Philippines and then immigrating - at separate times from my mom, so they met each other in Canada - couldn't practice, like he'd have to go back to school to practice as an optometrist in Canada. So he ended up working for like a large optometric or whatever that word is. Optometrist kind of like dispensary, like, that makes glasses and lenses and basically like, puts the glasses together, put the grade into lenses and what-not, makes glasses, right? So, and we lived the extended family household. So not only was it me and my mom, and my dad and my sister, my mom's youngest brother, youngest sister, and her dad also lived with us as well, everyone worked except for grandpa. So there was constantly this kind of, like, everyone, everyone had to work. But there was someone that was always home. But working was the foundation of, I want to say how our family functioned. Right, like, it's the way that our family flowed to do things. And from that, it was like very much the concept of I have to work because I have to make the money. And it was like, I have to work to make the money to support family. So if I'm taking that concept, like, into my family setting now, I can see how very much, like, deeply ingrained it is that it's if I don't work, how am I supporting my family? Even though I know there are so many ways to be a supportive mum, and, you know, womanly figure in the household without having to bring in the money, like just to even just nurture, right? But I can see how that pattern has already kind of like leaked into my family. And now as a business owner, and this is one of the things about being a business owner, too, it's like I have this concept and this idea of what a business owner is like. And I always saw freedom in that. But in actually living that, there is freedom and liberation in it. But it's this constant learning and growing. And then, yeah, it's what what are my thresholds with money? So? Dawn Taylor  07:06No, and I totally, I totally get it. So you were asking me prior to us hopping on the podcast, how I started breaking through that, to get out of that, you know, the ebb and flow and the money, the money hostage, if you want to call it that? Suzy Alcantara  07:26I'll put it in a concept of like a container. So let's say you do have this kind of belief system that if you make this much money, you'll be okay. Right? Let's say you get that corporate job and you're making, I don't know, what's a good amount of money these days to make? Dawn Taylor  07:42I don't know, $100,000. Suzy Alcantara  07:44$100,000, that's your container, that's your safety net, you'll feel safe in doing that. However, knowing that us as humans are always longing for some sort of like expansion, you begin to feel the threshold of that container of $100,000. And all of a sudden, you kind of just break your price point and just try and even make that a couple $1,000 more. But once you kind of go over that edge, there's this kind of, like, bounce back between, yes, you can have that $1,000 but we're going to send you $1,000 bill to pay. Where it's like how do you make that border expand to then encompass what you want to call in. Without it being so much of what comes in also comes out? Or maybe it's the concept of being safe or feeling okay with just having money in the first place? Dawn Taylor  08:40Well, isn't that part of it, though? So I've been reading this really interesting book, and listening to it on audiobook because that's how my brain works, and it's called “Secrets of a Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker. And someone has said, someone who I follow on Instagram who I have mad respect for, I mean, they don't know who I am, but someone had questioned her on one of those, like, ask me anything things, if there was any book you would recommend around finances, and getting ahead, what book would it be? And she's like, 100% this one. So I read it. And I'm almost done the book, but it's really interesting, because he goes through - and we'll have a link to it in the show notes, so you don't have to, like, stop what you're doing and write that down if people don't want to - but he goes into like the different areas of our life and how we have what we've heard, right, what we've been told about money? So the words that were spoken, like no, that's too expensive, or no, we can't afford that or wealthy people are all greedy, or, you know, money doesn't grow on trees, like all these statements and these words that we've heard our entire lives around money. But then there's the actions we saw. Right? So how did money go? And he talks about a story of how, like, I think it was his dad was a land developer, he would buy and he talks about how like his dad would buy that plot of land. And then everything was stressed, like money was all stressful. It was all angry, all stressful because he had bought this piece of land, and it was like, there's no money for anything, and he couldn't buy anything for anyone. But then all of a sudden, give it however many, you know, months/years later, he sells the land. Now he's flush with cash. And now he's like Mr. Generosity himself, right? And so how watching those patterns, we grow up thinking almost in that same way. And so as I've been unpacking this in my own life, right, and looking at the things that was said, is there's always been this pride to be poor in my family. Where it's like, not even that anyone is poor. Like they all make good money, but I remember the first time seeing - and I apologize if family's listening to this, and they're like, what? sorry, guys, but this is my perspective on this - but I remember the first time one of my aunts was wearing a pair of jeans that I had worn when I was 12. And I was in my, like, 30s. And she's like, do you remember buying these? Don't you wish you had kept them? And I was like, should you be proud that you're wearing like 25 years old pants? Right? Like, in my head, that was a really weird thing. Right? And the hoarding tendencies and they keep everything because everything has a value, and I spent money on that. And right, like, you can't get rid of anything. And it created in me this weird belief around money and almost like a desperation, like money has to feel desperate, right? And it has to feel hard. Like it can't easily flow, right? Money is the root of all evil. Pride goeth before the fall. Like these are the words that would flow through my brain. Well, then subconsciously, how do you... how do you break those rules that we have on money and what we're allowed to have and how much we can make and what retirement looks like, and when we retire and healthy amounts of income, when that's our belief in the background, right? Is that money is the root of all evil? Well, of course, we don't want to keep it because we don't want to be evil. Do you know what I mean? And, like, this is how our brains get wired. This is how our brains function. And then we wonder why we do this. And so, you know how you've heard over the years about, like, lottery winners, like they've only ever lived on 65,000 a year, and then they'll win like $50 million. Give them five years and they're back to $65,000 a year. Right? It's because of, like, what their money story is, it's because of what they believe they're allowed to have, what they believe they're allowed to make, their beliefs on what money even looks like. And so, I don't know, I keep having these conversations with people and doing this work on myself. Because I'm like, I don't want money to feel hard. I don't want it to feel desperate. I was talking to someone a few months ago, a client and she was having like, almost full blown panic attacks on like, I'm never gonna be able to retire. And she's, I think she's about 45, 45/47, and I said, 'Oh', and she goes, 'I need like $5 million to retire'. And I said, 'Where did you get the number from?' 'Well, that's just what my parents always said'. That was the number her parents said, and she's like, 'I do not know how I'll ever make $5 million to put in retirement'. And I phoned one of my friends who sells life insurance and does retirement plans and savings plans and stuff, and I said, 'Hey, what do you actually need to retire?' He was like, what? And I said, 'How much do you actually need?' So again, like we're talking in Canada, but he's like, if you have $800,000 in your retirement plan, you can have, like, seven I think it was like $7,000 a month for 35 years. Suzy Alcantara  09:26Wow. Dawn Taylor  11:19Right? And I was like, Huh, well, that's way more feasible. Which all of a sudden, like, if you break that down over an extended period of time, like, that becomes a way more feasible item to come up with and a number to create or to get, when you stop and think about it, right? Like your face when I said that, you were like, oh, that's not as bad as I thought. Suzy Alcantara  14:24I'm like, I didn't calculate. Dawn Taylor  14:27Like it's his job, right, but he was doing a plan for a client, but like, he had said that and I went, oh. And he goes, why? And I said, that's just so, like, why does noone talk about this? Why don't people talk about money or retirement or savings or any of these things? Suzy Alcantara  14:44I think there's a lot of fear wrapped around it as well. Right? For a personal concept in my mind, I don't have the concept of retirement. Like there's always going to be a passion and purpose in my heart that wants to be fulfilled and I hope that kind of just keeps on going, you know? And with that, I'm hoping there will be money that continues to come to me if I'm living in my purpose and being aligned with what I want to put out there into the universe. So, like we always say, money is energy. And that's where my mindset is at. But, you know, people do ask me like, do you plan on retiring? And it seems like such an old concept of, you know, having to save money and put money aside, but there's something within me that just doesn't align with that. And I'm just like, I want to keep on doing what I'm doing, maybe scaling back on the massage part, but continuing to kind of support whoever I want to, or whoever comes my way, through the means of what I develop in my business. Right? So yeah, it's such an interesting concept of even just like systems, like the systems that we have around money, like I question, is it even working for our demographic, you know, like being in our 40s? It's, like, the concept of equity, like home equity, and retirement, and saving for that? I don't know, like, that itself causes stress within me. So I'm like, I don't even want to think about it. Right? Dawn Taylor  16:22Okay, but here's where I would challenge you even on that one statement you made about retirement and not even going there. I used to think the same until I sat with it and was like, 'What am I scared of?' Like, what are my fears attached to this concept of retirement? Will I work till I'm 90? Yeah, probably. Like, my husband laughs all the time. He's like, I want to be retired by 55, and then you will work for another 40 years. Because you love what you do. And I was like, 'Oh, 100%'. Like, I will work until they like wheel me into a senior's home and I can't have enough visitors to coach, kind of idea, right? Like, I always joke about that. I have to, I was joking with one of my IV doctor, I was like, can we be in the same senior's home, because I'll probably still be getting IVs to keep up my health at that point to maintain my career. And he's like, can you imagine if we were all of the same seniors home, just, like, keeping each other going, right? We joke about it. But when it comes down to it, that's where like, the logical side of my brain always has to still step in and be, like, I can dream and I can put it out there. And I can think about it. I can, you know, whatever I want about what that could look like for retirement. But at the end of the day, what if something happens? What if I get sick? What if like, I still have to pay my bills, and I can't be a burden to the people around me, as much as I do have some nieces and nephews that I'm like, 'Oh, get ready, Aunty Dawn's coming for you'. When I get old, you're taking care of me because I don't have kids. And I mean, but in all seriousness, it's still that responsibility aspect, without it feeling like a burden. And I think that that's where it - and for people listening, like, please comment, like in the shownotes go comment, tell us how your thoughts are on this, and how you feel about it, and how you deal with it or if you have a big plan on it. I feel like we still have to be realistic, to have a retirement plan, and to know that we can take care of ourselves when we're old, like, it's our responsibility to take care of ourselves when we're old. Right? And to be able to pay our bills. But, like you, it becomes this like scary thing where it's like, I'm just gonna avoid. And then I'm gonna go super woo-woo on this and I'm gonna just manifest till I'm 100. Like, it'll work. I'm sure it'll work. And I think that it's a beautiful, easy way out, in a way. And at the same time, there's totally some truth and validity to it. It's also looking at it and going okay, what about this scares me? Or is it something where I can love myself and honor myself and respect myself enough to prepare for this? Right? To go there, to do that? Suzy Alcantara  19:20Yeah. 100% Dawn Taylor  19:22You're like, dammit. Suzy Alcantara  19:23I know. But there's so many ways to do it. Like is a retirement plan, does that mean like talking to a guy that just knows financial planning, or can have retirement plan be also investments in properties that make it really well, you know? Dawn Taylor  19:44I think it could be a combo, right, and that's where if you find the right person to work with you, for myself, like we've always had crazy sporadic income, we've always... it's the Irish joke that in how in was raised, when you're raised by farmers, or people that come from that demographic and generation, there's like a feast or famine. It's like crops are off the fields. We sold them yay, an abundance of money. Oh, we took all the cows to the market, right? Yay. An abundance of money, whatever it is. That passes down generation to generation of that mindset. So even, like, in my childhood, it was always like my dad's either working all the time, or it's break and he's home. Suzy Alcantara  20:29Yeah. And even in that time, too, it's like that feast or famine, it's kind of like, what do I need to let go of in order to make money? So if we take a look at that container, again, where it has that boundary of like, this is how much you want to make, but you want to make more, but there's this kind of, like, whenever I bring something in something also has to come out, feast or famine idea, still with that concept. Dawn Taylor  20:56But that's where, like, if you think about it, isn't that just the story we've created in our head from how we were raised? Suzy Alcantara  21:02Yeah, it's generational. Dawn Taylor  21:05Isn't it? And it's generational, like you and I've talked so much about this in terms of, like, watching our parents, and how they interacted with each other. And now we're doing the same with our spouses, because it's these trained behaviors. So when we sit down and look at it, where's the belief coming from? Where did the belief start that in order for you to go, like that you can't go above a certain number? Right? Where did the belief start? Where did that belief come from? It's like the bad things happen in threes. Like, what was spoken over us that these internal stories happened that made us believe that this is how life has to be? Suzy Alcantara  21:46Yeah, there's so much depth into that. Dawn Taylor  21:50But, like, even retirement itself. Okay, retirement as a concept. Retirement came from Germany in the war, when they were bringing up younger soldiers, and they needed to retire, quote/unquote, the old boys to make room for the new ones, because they weren't good anymore. But life expectancy was 67 so they retired them at 65 so that they could have a few years out of the war, and then they would just die. That's literally where it came from. It got brought to North America as this like weird number of 65. That's when we retire. That's as long as we work. Where when you dig into it, there's whole countries and cultures that don't have a concept of retirement. Like people are still working at 100/110. Like, literally, in villages, there's no retirement, like jobs might shift or change or whatever, but it's not even a concept. So then as a society, and this has always driven me crazy, is we're expected really, if you think about it, you graduate at 18, you might have your shit together, if you're lucky, by the time you're like 30, making a decent income, like your quote/unquote, adult income, right? Because then you're having kids, and you're buying houses and cars and doing all the things. So even if you were to start at 30, and put a ton of money aside every month, you have 35 years to save all the money you need for what the next 35 years. That's weird. But then you have like life circumstances and things that happen where you can't put that amount of money away, and it doesn't matter. It's, I'm not saying like, oh, well, if you just stop, right, the whole thing of like, just stop buying avocado toast and Starbucks and you could retire 10 years earlier. No, sometimes there's health issues, or there's massive traumas, or there's just situations that happen that make it so we don't, or we weren't taught, it's not a pattern. It's not a behavior, we have fears, whatever it is. But like this idea, and then I don't know about you, but I remember talking to a friend probably like six, seven years ago, and she was like, I'm way too close to 50, we have nothing in retirement. She's like, I don't know how we're going to cope. And so she was just shutting down. And I was like, okay, but at 40, like, and so I remember saying to her at that point, I was like 'So, but why do you have to hold to the 65 number?' What if you actually worked till 75? What if your magical number was like 81? Like 81 years old is the year I retire? Because like that's part of it, too, is we have all this like weird ass shame from society of like, no, but you have to be retired for 65. Suzy Alcantara  24:42And like, you can't work beyond 65. Dawn Taylor  24:45Right? And then you're like, old? It's like, wow, you're really old. I'm sorry. I have hung out this year with enough 70 year olds that have more energy than I do, that I'm like, I can't imagine not working at that age and having that much energy. Like they're so young in my brain now, when I see them and hang out with them, but I don't know, it's just a weird, it's a weird thing that no one talks about. Suzy Alcantara  25:12It is, it is. It's really, like you can just tell with like the expression on my face. Like there's so many things that are just happening in my head right now. Like, what about if and how? It's like scenarios, right? Yeah. Dawn Taylor  25:28Totally. And I know for us, like, one of the things that we started was just a little bit into an RRSP. Just a little bit. We started that years ago, just to be like, okay, we'll just start somewhere. But I'm also new. And I've talked about this having come from the background I come from in terms of like, health issues, not expecting to live past the age of 40. Like, all of these big things, in my brain I didn't think I'd still be alive. So, like, my husband and I have been having the conversation of like, yes, we have to pay off debt. And we're actively working on it. Yes, we need to save for retirement, and we're actively working on it. But we also kind of want to live semi retired until we die. Right? And for me, semi retired is still doing the things. It's still taking that vacation, it's still going to the random concerts, it's still taking chunks of time off, it's doing those things, but I refuse to almost like, die now to live later. Suzy Alcantara  26:33Yeah, exactly. Dawn Taylor  26:35But there has to be a happy medium. Suzy Alcantara  26:39Die doing all the things so then you can enjoy your life later? Yeah. Dawn Taylor  26:43When 50% of people died two years after retirement? Suzy Alcantara  26:47100%. That's when majority of the illnesses come in. Lose that purpose of not working. Dawn Taylor  26:56100% they do. So I think that's, like, part of my thing is I'm like if I just live semi retired, don't ever retire, that I could just live indefinitely. This is my brain lunch. Suzy Alcantara  27:10That's so true. I like that. I can agree with that. Dawn Taylor  27:20So what do you wish? So let's go into a different side of this. What do you wish your parents had talked to you about around this growing up? Suzy Alcantara  27:29Gosh, how to work with it, you know, and maybe pull back a little bit less, unlike that hustle type energy of having to catch up all the time. Catching up was never a concept that was verbally spoken, it was more of like the child that I was being able, like observing the fact that my parents worked full time jobs, they come home, I need to make sure that there's rice cooked, and had the table cleaned up so we can have a quick dinner. And then we would go to their part time jobs. And then I would go with them. So then I can just hang out with them. And that was my quality time that I had with my parents. And so even though we did it that way, what I saw was that we were able to, you know, my parents built a house in the north side of Edmonton in the 90s, which I knew was completely out of their price range. But because we had other family moving to the north side of Edmonton, they wanted to move along with them and create like a community and a new community. They bought a vehicle with a really pretty sweet downpayment. So their monthly payment wouldn't be so hefty on them. And then they had me and my sister through post secondary, and we're able to pay off their mortgage really fast. So it's like the concept of, you know, just even being able to observe of like, that's how much they put in. And this is, now they're like reaping the rewards of their lifestyle. So when it comes to the house that they have, and the concept that I have is like why don't you just downsize? There's so much pride in everything that they put into it because of working for it, that the attachment to it is so strong, they can't see life any other way. They just think that this is the way life is. Where, like I am noticing within myself that it's not what I agree with, like there's always going to be ebb and flow with what I believe lifestyle should be. And so I love being a renter. I don't want to own a home. I've done that three times. And I like having the flexibility and finding homes that then suit the needs of my family in that time. And even with that just trying to understand the concept of like home equity and is it a value that I carry? That's something that I want to live out and see, just with my husband and I coming to terms that it doesn't really match our values. Yeah. It's a really different concept of living. Like we, my husband and I, we do, we are pretty career driven. And so when it comes to where we were prior to having kids, our lives did revolve around work, and really finding that fit with companies that would jive with our lifestyle. And then once we had kids and got married, and things like that, we really started to, you know, put those family values of what we've seen with our families with buying a house throughout the years it just was a struggle for us. Even though we had that foundation of having that, like, post secondary job that was like meant to support us. So yeah, just even having the conversation with him, just like what what are our values with money? Like, how do we want to continue living this lifestyle, and since we are both career driven, and we have kids, now, the concept of like, keeping the house tidy, is just not where we want to spend our energy. So the concept of just having someone to support us by cleaning our home for us, and we support them, by paying them for that service is so much more of a higher value for us to keep on living the lifestyle that we want to to have the time with our kids, and the time, the quality time, with each other. Whereas that would be highly judged as only what rich people do within the Filipino community. Yeah, it's really interesting to kind of, like, take that different, I guess, like where your values are as far as like how you want to run a household, and then also kind of like, feel or lean into the judgment of, if I do this, then what will people say? Even though I know it doesn't matter? But it's there. I know it brews, you know. Dawn Taylor  27:52100%. Suzy Alcantara  30:11Yeah, and it works for us. Right? So it's very different, like I think, you know, coming from a family that was very into, like, hard work equals success. Like, there are bits and pieces of that, that we do take into our life. But we also take other bits and pieces that we never had growing up, and we've like, implemented that to just make it a little bit more expansive and flowy, I guess. Dawn Taylor  32:50Well, and I think that's, like when I look back at my childhood, logically - and I know I've had these conversations with some of my older nieces and nephews - it's like, let's talk what things actually cost. Like, I wish my parents would have sat us down and gone over the monthly budget like, this is what's coming in, this is what's going out, this is what things actually cost, right? This is how much we make. This is, if we want to do this activity, or we want to buy a boat, or we want to go to Disney or we want to go camping or whatever that is, like this is how many hours of work it's going to take to do that. Or what are other ways we could earn that money. Like I feel like that's, money is so secretive, even in households, that nobody talks about it, nobody discusses it, nobody knows what's going on with it. And then we're expected magically as adults to be able to figure that out. Suzy Alcantara  33:45Yeah. And I think there's a deep seated fear about that, too. You know, like my parents probably didn't, well not even probably, they never wanted us to realize that that we were struggling. So even though he didn't have to say it verbally, I felt it. Like now in hindsight, you know, like, looking back at my life now. It's just like, wow, was the love language, always an act of service between family members, the way they serve the community? And then look where I am at today in my business, right? It's like all acts of service. But that's one of the things too is just being even a parent is like you don't want to ever bring that fear, I guess, in my mind, of not having enough. But it's very easy. Like even though the language around that might not even be verbalized, kids will always feel the struggle. Dawn Taylor  34:44Well, but I think, and tell me if I'm wrong, but like I know growing up, my sister and brother and I will have conversations now, and I'll be like, no, Mom and Dad were fine. They were, like, they figured it out. But my sister will be like, no, they were flat-ass broke, and mum could hardly feed us, which is why she bought like 50 pound bags of onions and we had like fried onions with every single meal. And I'm like, I just thought she wasn't a creative cook. Suzy Alcantara  35:12Yeah, it's a different perception, I guess. Dawn Taylor  35:14Perception is so different for every single kid. But also like, if we know that kids are feeling what's going on, and we aren't telling them the story of what's going on, like, we're not giving them the details. Are they not then just creating their own story around it? Suzy Alcantara  35:34Yeah, exactly. And then they're going to create their own story about-- Dawn Taylor  35:37-- your parent. Totally, your parents may have never felt that they were actually struggling. They may have felt that they were thriving with what they had, and they were killing it. But on the outside, you watching felt the struggle so you then attached this meaning of struggle to what they were doing, which then plays into your adulthood of like, I can't work that much. I can't do those things. I can't ever have that. The house that then carries this weight of having to hustle that hard. Right? Do you see where like, all these beliefs just end up so intertwined? And I think that's where, like, we should be more honest about it. I was talking to - I know, I told you that I am like obsessed with going to concerts right now. The energy just calms me, right. I love the energy of it. So I'm like, if I can't live in downtown New York, I'm going to go to a lot of concerts to feel that intense energy of a big crowd of people. But I had texted a friend yesterday to see if she wanted to go to something with me. And we've had conversations about this. And she was like, honestly, she's like, done, everything's maxed right now. Financially, I'm struggling, like, I just can't. And I was like, thank you for being so honest about that. And showing up in that way, like, thank you for letting me know. Now how can I support you in that, which then allows me to not be like, 'Hey, let's go for lunch, hey, let's go for coffee', hey let's do all those things. Right. Another friend recently, they've struggled really hard over the last few years, and she's like, we're looking at bankruptcy. And we've been going to the food bank to feed our kids. And I'd invited her to go out for breakfast. And she was like, I just can't. And when she was honest and vulnerable with me, right, vulnerabilities are connections made. I was like, come over and let me feed you. Right, come to my home and let me love on you and feed you a home cooked meal. Like I would be honored to do that. Right? And I think that's where we need to open up, we need to talk to each other, because how many times have we gone out for the meal or done the thing that we can't afford, and we know we couldn't afford it, and we needed the money for something else. But we didn't want people to think we couldn't afford it or to think that we weren't successful. Right? And then we make really poor decisions sometimes. When if we were vulnerable about it, and we were just like, 'No, actually, I'm really struggling and I am like financially just not in a position to afford that right now.' It would be like, oh, let's go for a walk instead. Or let's do something else. Dawn Taylor  35:49It gives you more options. Yeah. 100%. Dawn Taylor  38:20It totally does. It totally gives us more options, but also to have conversations like we've had about, like, what does it look like to not own a home? What does it look like to do the work we do where we, like, our hearts are so involved, right? How do you charge for those things? Right? Like how to do those things. So for anyone listening, I think my biggest thing is if you have kids, talk to your kids, teach your kids, even if it's talking to them about like, hey, yeah, you know what we did get ourselves into some crazy debt, look what we did. But now how do we get ourselves out of it, and create that, like, these are skills your kids need to have. And the only reason there's gonna be fear attached to it is because we attach the fear to it. Where if instead, it's like, oh, oops. Suzy Alcantara  39:12Yeah, exactly. Dawn Taylor  39:13Like we're gonna recreate the story of what this means. How can we work as a family to overcome this? Right, I think that it would benefit so many people, but also within friend groups, right? I mean, find your safe people, find your people you can actually talk to about this, that you know aren't going to just judge you and laugh at you or just shut you down. Suzy Alcantara  39:34Exactly. What do you mean, you can't come out for dinner tonight? Dawn Taylor  39:40Right, but like to have those conversations with them, to be like, hey, this is where we're at. And this is what I'm working through. Right. Because there's amazing ways to still live and thrive in life and not be so scared of money. I think that if we are constantly scared of money, we're almost creating it being scared of us. Suzy Alcantara  40:00Oh, that's right. That feels right. Dawn Taylor  40:04So it's like if I'm so scared of money and facing it and facing what it could mean and how much I might need or want or desire or how to figure that out. Like, I'm teaching it I'm scared of it. Why is it ever going to approach me? So the more I sit with money, the more I - not literally, I'm not like Scrooge McDuck in my money pool - but the more I sit with it, and just go, 'Okay, what do I owe?' What do I need for retirement? What are my goals and dreams? What are some, you know, budget numbers I could put towards money for my future, like, what is it that I'm going to do out of love for myself or respect for my future for myself and my family, instead of fear and hatred of it? And how it was managed when I was a kid, it completely shifts my flow of how I look at it. Suzy Alcantara  40:58And even just diving into the patterns of, like, the language around money, the energy around money from childhood, you know, and it's like, you know, analyzing where you are at now with it, and being kind to yourself to just constantly morph and play with the idea of how do I create more of this, like, whether it's monetarily or even just the feeling of richness? Dawn Taylor  41:23Right? Yeah. And what that means, like some people are... we had friends, a million years ago, that they lived on next to nothing, like I think they literally made like, $18,000 a year as a family of four. I mean, this was a lot of years ago, but still, at no point did they feel poor. At no point did they come across that way or act that way. Like they lived, they lived, like they laughed, and games and music and life. And they had such a full abundant life within those numbers. And at no point would you have hung out with them and been like, wow, they make that little, like, it wasn't a thing. But it's all how we handle it and deal with it and react to it. Suzy Alcantara  42:16That's so true. Dawn Taylor  42:17And then the love we have for what we even have. I don't know if there's a cool exercise I heard somewhere where it was like, sometimes the money that comes in and the abundance that comes in and the wealth that comes in, doesn't come in expected ways. So we expect it to be a raise at work. We expect it to be, like, you know, the addition on the paycheck or things like that, where sometimes it's the fact that you drove up in a parking meter already had money in it. When's the last time you were like, thank you, and accepted that, like that matters. Like that stuff actually matters. Suzy Alcantara  42:54Be open to those opportunities. My mind would automatically be like, that's too good to be true. I don't want a ticket so let me just pay anyway. Dawn Taylor  43:07Right, so then just looking at that and being like, but is it too good to be true? Or is it actually just a beautiful gift right now? Right. So let's, I love this conversation, by the way. I love talking about these things, I think because I've been working through the shame around money in my own life. And what that means and not being scared of the numbers on the, you know, the balance sheet right now. That cuz I'm like, I can pay that off. It's gonna take a long time, but I can pay that off. Do you know what I mean? Like, I shouldn't even say a long time, like take that back. But it's now that I'm, like, starting to work through this stuff, I'm like, no, why are we all not having these conversations? But let's end with something totally just like silly, some rapid fire questions and just some fun stuff to get to know you better, Suzy. So, let's start with the first one. What is your favorite place you have ever traveled? Okay it's a hard one, give us like your top three, give us your top three. Suzy Alcantara  44:10It's gonna be Disneyland. 100%. Like as a child and like as an adult. I've only been there once as a kid. But being there as an adult without kids is a completely different ballgame and then being able to experience it with my kids is also amazing. Dawn Taylor  44:29That's amazing. Suzy Alcantara  44:30I love Disneyland. Yeah. Dawn Taylor  44:32Oh, that is so fun. We should go. Suzy Alcantara  44:36We should. Dawn Taylor  44:38Like, let's just figure out how to afford Disneyland this winter. Let's just go. How would you describe yourself in one sentence? And not just work, like personal, work, everything. Suzy Alcantara  44:51Personal, work, everything? Dawn Taylor  44:53How would you describe yourself in one sentence? Suzy Alcantara  44:56Good question. I would have enjoyed these like prior to this. Dawn Taylor  45:01I know, everybody says that! Suzy Alcantara  45:07In one sentence, can I just like throw some words out there? I would, I would throw out inspirational, badass, compassionate, and kind. Dawn Taylor  45:20I totally agree. You are by far all of those things. Suzy Alcantara  45:24Do yours, do yours. What's yours? Dawn Taylor  45:26Um, for the longest time, I've joked that when I die I want my gravestone to say Medical marvel, freak of nature, fucking awesome. I don't think that's too far off. Crazy passionate, really scrappy, kind? Yeah. Someone's biggest cheerleader. And weirdly disconnected. Suzy Alcantara  45:54Disconnected to be connected. Dawn Taylor  45:56Totally. Yeah. All right. What do you spend a silly amount of money on? Suzy Alcantara  46:02Food. It's food, like 100%. This is like part of the money story, right? Where it's just like, I can spend money on food, no problem. I won't, like, shy on getting the best cuts of meat if I'm going to cook a meal. Or, or, you know, the there's no holds on food. I love good food. Dawn Taylor  46:25Do you have, okay, so this woman made me pancit and lumpia and they were the best I've ever had. Like, she's an incredible cook. Suzy Alcantara  46:32I cannot take the credit for the lumpia because that is like my mom's jam. And even though I know the recipe, it's probably the amount of love and care that she puts into each and every one of those things. Like, my kids are like something's different. I'm like it's the same damn receipe! Dawn Taylor  46:53It's the love, it is the love. Suzy Alcantara  46:56It's the love. It's totally the love. Dawn Taylor  46:59Yeah, yeah. On that note, do you have a favorite restaurant? Okay, what are your like, your your couple favorites that everyone should try if they're in Edmonton? Suzy Alcantara  47:08Gosh, definitely The Keg. Like that's my place for, like, steak. Yeah. So I love The Keg. Cactus Club is really in and around that area too. If you want some sort of, like, more variety at a cheaper cost. And then for Japanese food, Kyoto, or not Kyoto, Mikado? Those are kind of like the top. Dawn Taylor  47:30You and I are going to have to eat out one day. Dawn Taylor  47:32What is your secret guilty pleasure way to decompress? Are you like The Housewives of Beverly Hills watcher? Do you puzzle or play Lego? Like what is your secret, like, little guilty pleasure thing you do? Suzy Alcantara  47:32Yes. Suzy Alcantara  47:49I will bathe. Like I love taking baths. And so I will bathe in complete darkness and maybe light like a couple of candles. But I do enjoy decompressing in that way. I'm still feeling like, you know, I feel like that's one of the parts of myself that I'm learning about. Because I can operate so fast and keep on going in that direction. But, you know, being in my 40s, it's like no really, really sink into the feeling of like, what it feels like to rest. Being like a massage therapist and being able to do that for other people, or at least be part of like in the journey of allowing somebody to reach that state of relaxation, so it's always a mirror to me as to what I can also do for myself. How do I reach that? I want what state they're in. How can I... like, I'm showing up as a support tool for that person to get to that point. But I'm like, I want to be able to do that for myself. So, you know, in this year of 2022, bathing, bath bombs, salts, like the whole nine yards, just like a nice dark tub is my decompression mode. Dawn Taylor  49:14Ok now I'm gonna... it's really gross out today, so I may have to have a hot bath tonight and try that exact thing with some candles. Suzy Alcantara  49:20Have a hot bath and then have a cold shower after. I did that yesterday. Dawn Taylor  49:26That might feel good or I'd be like so chilled. Great. Love it. Last one for today. What is one purchase of $100 or less that you've made recently that most positively impacted your life? Suzy Alcantara  49:42$100 or less? Dawn Taylor  49:45It's very specific but then for people that are like hey, wait, I want to buy something. Suzy Alcantara  49:52Why does it always go back to food? It's so funny. I'm like I bought food just under $100 and I made a fabulous meal out of it and It was fantastic. Dawn Taylor  50:02If that's your thing, that's amazing. Suzy Alcantara  50:06Gas was also under 100 bucks and that was really... it's lasting me quite a bit so I'm happy about that. Dawn Taylor  50:13Oh, you're so funny. Okay, I'll give a couple. It's blueberry season. And buying those at the farmers market has made me incredibly happy. Hilariously also food, I found a Keto baker at the bountiful farmers market that does the most outstanding baked goods that are keto. So that's been a big one. And "The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind", that book. Suzy Alcantara  50:38That's cool. I need to pick up that book. Dawn Taylor  50:41Really should. It's a good one. It's a really good one. So Suzy, thank you so much for being here today. Please check out the show notes at TheTaylorWay.ca where you can find links to everything, you can find like all the details, how to find Suzy, how to book a massage with Suzy. Yeah, that's right. You know you want to because she's amazing. But also if you did love this episode, please leave a review on Spotify or Apple where you listen to your podcast, it would be greatly appreciated. And I will see you back here in a couple of weeks. Talk to you soon.
04 - Ew Babies with Katie Dooley
15-08-2022
04 - Ew Babies with Katie Dooley
Dawn Taylor and guest Katie Dooley of Paper Lime Creative talk about children in today’s episode. More specifically, they talk about being child-free adults, either by choice or through infertility, and the various judgements they face from society at large over being child-free.Katie is child-free by choice and she describes her feelings towards children as “mostly ambivalence”. She didn’t realize it was truly an option not to have kids when she was younger, though, and she addresses this as something everyone should know. That not having kids is a choice you can make.While Dawn is child-free due to infertility - and she shares how she and her husband actively grieved their inability to have children - she and Katie discuss the many ways society chooses to judge or talk down to child-free adults, how medical professionals defer to one day wanting children in regards to medical decisions, and they share some of Katie’s curated list of 200 reasons not to have a baby. Tune in to find out why people might prefer not to have children and what not to say to friends who are on a path of infertility.About Katie Dooley:Katie Dooley is the Founder of Paper Lime Creative, a branding and design agency in Edmonton, AB. Her love of design and art took shape at a young age, and since then, she’s been soaking in as much knowledge about art, business, and design as she can.Resources Mentioned in This Episode:Reasons Not To Have A Baby PDF— Dawn Taylor - The Taylor Way: website | facebook | instagram | linkedinKatie Dooley - Founder/Brand Strategist at Paper Lime Creative: website | linkedin | instagram | facebook Transcript:Dawn Taylor  00:09Hey, hey hey, welcome to Taylor Talks. Today on the show, we are diving deep into the idea of are we allowed to hate children? But also the decision around not having kids, can't have kids, the judgments that come with it, and all of that other fun stuff. So our guest today is Miss Katie Dooley. She is the owner of Paper Lime Creative, a graphic design agency in Edmonton, Alberta. And we met through business but have created a really cool relationship, I'd say, around the fact that neither of us have children. So welcome Katie to the show, and stick around after for your free giveaway. Dawn Taylor  00:52So excited you're here! Katie Dooley  00:54Thanks for having me. Dawn Taylor  00:55So when I first started talking to you about starting this podcast, one of the conversations we had was, like, all the things that we wish we had known, right? Because you and I were kind of hashing this out. And I said, you know, like, we should have known that, like, you don't have to own a house. Or I wish I had known that you could not choose these specific jobs in life or, you know, all these different things. And one of the things you had said was you wish you had known it was an option to not have kids. Katie Dooley  01:23Totally. Dawn Taylor  01:23Tell me a bit about that. Katie Dooley  01:25Yeah, when we were brainstorming this and the hard conversations that people don't have was, yeah, nobody talks about that not having kids is an option. So even as, like, a little kid, who never played with baby dolls, who found them creepy, and continues to find them creepy, like I knew how many kids I wanted - I'm doing air quotes - and, like, I knew what I would name them. But I never really wanted them and I still don't. Dawn Taylor  01:53Right. So how did your parents deal with that? Because it's such a society thing, right? Like you grow old, you have your kids, you have grandkids, you die. There's this whole cycle of life that we have been, like, taught in our growing up years. Katie Dooley  02:09Totally. It's... different sets of parents have handled it differently. So my parents have been okay with it, as far as I know. Like, they just they know we don't want kids. And they've kind of, they haven't said anything otherwise. Just like, okay, we know you don't want kids. My husband's parents are divorced, his mom seems pretty cool with it. His dad keeps, like, hinting at it or pushing for it or like, little things like 'We'll pass this on to you when you have kids'. He said that once. And when we bought our house, he was like, 'How many bedrooms are there' and all our extra bedrooms are offices. So things like, little comments like that is mostly what we get from family. Dawn Taylor  02:53Right? So in our situation, we actually wanted kids desperately but couldn't have them. And for anyone listening who's like, anyone can have kids, you can adopt, you can have surrogates or whatever, you can't. It's not actually as easy as it sounds. Between my husband coming-- Katie Dooley  03:09I was gonna say if you're sickly, like Dawn's husband... Dawn Taylor  03:14If you've had a brain aneurysm, if you have Crohn's disease, some of these things that actually stop you from a lot of those options that you'd think, but also because we knew that a lot of our health issues were hereditary, we made the choice not to have kids for that reason. So I know that's something that you and I had, like, bonded over and connected over. But I want to dive into from both of our sides how that plays out with, like, siblings, how that plays out with friends, friend groups, this like weird perceived judgment that we get from people for not having kids. Katie Dooley  03:53Oh, totally the things that have been said to me, and I'm sure said to you as well, of, like, who's gonna look after you when you get older? Dawn Taylor  04:04Okay. My favorite response to that, by the way, is 'your kids because they're gonna like me more'. Katie Dooley  04:08Oh, I like that. Dawn Taylor  04:09That is my personal favorite response to that one, but keep going. Katie Dooley  04:12The extra million dollars that childless people retire with. That's what's gonna look after me when I'm older. You'll like your own kids, that's the big one I've heard before. Dawn Taylor  04:15All the time. Katie Dooley  04:16That seems like a really big gamble when you're someone who doesn't like kids. Dawn Taylor  04:30Gamble and hopefully I like this one. Katie Dooley  04:32Hopefully I like them. I don't know what I'm going to do if I don't. Yeah, those are kind of the two big ones off the top of my head that I get from, like, a why don't you want kids perspective? Dawn Taylor  04:44Well, you know what's weird is not being able to have kids, we get the same comments. There's this weird, like, because we couldn't have kids, we don't like kids. Like people attach those two together. And it's so strange because I'm, like, what I wanted kids We couldn't have them. Oh, that was another one - when I had someone go, 'Do you just not know how?' when I said we couldn't have kids. And I was like, actually, we'd love it if you would teach us Are you and your husband available tonight? We'd like to watch. Katie Dooley  05:17That's, when you told me that I use that as an excuse when people say when are you going to have kids, and I say 'When we learn how to'. I also, I have some other inappropriate, I have some other inappropriate ones, too. I don't know if you, what your podcast rating is but I have some... Okay. The other one I like is 'When we stop doing anal'. More like family appropriate one is 'When you stop asking.' That's a good one. Dawn Taylor  05:44I actually, in a fit of anger - and I mean, keep in mind there are some other emotions attached - it was the first Mother's Day after my mom had passed away so there was like a lot of grief going on. It was like she died in January, this is now May, Mother's Day already sucks. I can't be a mom. I can't have kids. And then I'm at a wedding, I'm at my cousin's wedding, with my mom's four sisters there. And you've seen them, they all look like clones of each other, right? So it was already like super emotionally hard. And people kept coming up and asking me which kids were mine. Because there were so many kids running around. And I finally snapped and I, like, I got really angry at this one poor lady. And I was like, 'None, I hate kids, I think they should all be murdered and tarred and feathered'. And she just kind of stared at me. It was like, okay, and turned around and walked away. And it spread fairly quick not to ask me. Gossip circles ran pretty strong that night. But it is, it's a whole thing. And I know being 10 years older than you, I remember talking to somebody when I was in my 20s, and I'm saying your 20s are fine because not everyone's having kids. But when you hit your 30s everybody's having babies, like they are popping them out like puppies, like they're just like, all of the kids. It's okay at first because they still try to integrate you into it, and they try to bring you into those relationships, they try to remember you. But then as the kids start to get older, you get very forgotten because you don't have kids to play with their kids, you don't get invited on playdates to the park, and all of those things. Katie Dooley  07:21They're going to soccer practice and family vacations and, right? Their lives become far more chaotic than our lives ever will be. Which is fine by me. But yeah, absolutely. All of a sudden, there's no time for that social aspect. Dawn Taylor  07:36Right? And then when there is a social aspect, it has to involve kids. Right? And that makes sense, but have you started to realize that, like, I'm now in my 40s where people are... like, those kids from my 20s and 30s are now graduating. But now people are starting to have grandkids, right? So it's like hitting this, like, weird cycle again. And I don't think I realized how lonely that would be in a weird way. Like there is an odd loneliness to it. I don't know about you, but, like, I don't find that the years my nieces and nephews are here, Christmas is way more fun or things like that. But it's not like you have the regular birthdays or the regular Sunday dinners or the regular like, all those like family things that people have. Katie Dooley  08:18Yeah, I don't know if I'm quite there yet. Most of my friends are on, like, maybe their second kid and their first kid would be, you know, two or three. My one friend, she's on her fourth, and she's my age. Imagine. I can't imagine having four kids by 31 years old. But... that's too many. But yeah, absolutely, I can totally see in five years, ten years, it'll be totally different. Especially when the ones with one kid start to have two or three. And then their lives are just far too busy. It's easy now when they're babies, they are happy to put them in a crib and you can still do dinner. So not quite there yet. But I totally see how friend conversations have changed. We talk about kids a lot. Dawn Taylor  08:19Yeah. If you could see Katie's face right now, she's gagging. But that's an interesting facet for you too. Because, like, I still actually really like kids. Where you're actually, like, grossed out at kids. Katie Dooley  09:21I mean, it's mostly ambivalence. Dawn Taylor  09:24Is it though? Katie Dooley  09:24It depends on the age. Dawn Taylor  09:27I've seen you actually back up and, like, just about knock yourself out on a wall to get away from a child. Katie Dooley  09:32Totally. Like, I can't - this is gonna sound so bad - I can't handle, like, two year olds, where they can't form coherent sentences yet. And I distinctly remember, it was the first time I met your sister and your nieces and nephews, and I have no idea whose kid this was, but we were sitting in your sister's house and this little kid comes up to me holding a ball and goes 'ball'. I'm like, I don't, I don't know what you want from me. And he goes 'ball'. I'm like, yes, you're holding a ball. I don't know what you want from me. So yes, those are the children I recoil from. Kids start to get good about, like, 11/12, where you can joke with them and have full conversations and they can express their wants and needs. But yeah, it's mostly ambivalence, right? Like, we've had this conversation where I almost feign excitement for my friends when they tell me they're pregnant. Dawn Taylor  09:33I like the guilty look on your face. Katie Dooley  09:54I mean, I do, I feel bad because they're so excited. But it's just, like, not something I want for my life. So it's hard to, I don't know, it's hard for me to... maybe I'm a sociopath. You tell me, Coach Dawn. Dawn Taylor  10:40Let's dive into your mental health right now. Katie Dooley  10:42Right? I don't know, it's like - maybe this is a terrible analogy - but, like, car, people get excited about cars. I can't care less about what kind of car I drive, or what car you drive. And it's kind of the thing for kids and me. Like, I just, I don't have any interest in it. Dawn Taylor  10:59Do you get the weird facial expressions? And I think for me it slowed down a little bit now because I'm in my 40s, where the people that I'm talking to and I'm around are older, and so they're not thinking little kids as much. But I remember even, like, going out to like networking groups or doing different things, and that's just like an auto conversation for women, right? It's like, oh, how many kids do you have? It's like asking what color your hair is, like, it's just this auto question. And when I'd be like, 'Oh, I don't have any', the facial expressions on people. Like, this weird, like, oh, what's wrong with you? Or like this weird judgment? It was like, no, we, I always felt like I had to justify it with like, 'No, we can't have kids'. But then everyone goes into like, oh, well, what about adoption and what about fostering and what about a surrogate and what about IVF and what about... It's like, would you like to sit down and hear my entire sexual history and all of the reasons why we can and can't get have kids. Katie Dooley  12:00Very forward of you, sir. Dawn Taylor  12:02Right? Like, it always felt very, like, 'whoa'. But, I mean, I also dealt with it with a cousin. I had a cousin who was super, super close to me. And when we found out we couldn't have kids, she actually said to me, 'I don't know how to be your friend, because we don't have anything in common. I'm a mom, and you're not.' Katie Dooley  12:23That's so weird to me that people tie it so much into their identity. That, like, you can't even have a conversation about it anymore. You know, like, and when my friends are moms, like, I'm happy to sit and listen to their mom stories, as long as they're equally happy to listen to my not mom stories. And I think that's where the big shift is going to be. And I can kind of, I can, I don't empathize with your cousin where she can't sit down and listen to your non-mom stories. I don't know why someone couldn't. But if for whatever reason that's either uninteresting, or, be polite and ask about your friends and family's lives? Dawn Taylor  12:58But are you starting to find - and I mean in your friends, right, so keep in mind like the 10 year age difference, right, so we are in a very different age category in that way - but do you find even now, like, I remember my best friend Maya when she was having kids, we'd go like, months of talking. And all of a sudden, I'd be like, 'Oh, how are the kids?' And she'd start laughing. And she was like, 'Don't. Don't talk to me about my babies.' And I was like, 'What do you mean?' She's like, everybody just talks babies. You're like the one adult I talk to you that's like talking about life and travel and work and business and projects and excitement and everything other than. And I always found that really interesting, but then I also sometimes feel weird guilt because I very seldom ask about people's kids, because it's not even a thing. Like it's not even a forefront thought in my mind. Katie Dooley  13:51I would say it depends on the friend. So this friend with four kids, she's a full time mom. So part of me is like, I don't know what else to ask her about. Because I know all day she is looking after four kids, right? Like, you know, they go on family vacations and stuff, and we're we're catching up obviously that comes up, but... when your full time job is being a parent, and sometimes I feel bad I'm, like, I don't know what else to ask her. Other friends who, you know, still work full time or whatever, and have kids, I find that's a little easier. Or if they just have one kid so they still have some hobbies, but... Dawn Taylor  14:25They're still pretending they have a life outside of kids. Katie Dooley  14:28For now. And they can still pass off the kids to the other partner and get out for a night. Yeah, conversations definitely do change. Dawn Taylor  14:39Oh, they totally do. They totally do. So what are, like, the perks for you of not having kids? Katie Dooley  14:46Oh, man, I... some of this is also the perks of being a business owner, too. Is like, my schedule is my own. We bumped up this interview by two hours because we wanted to. And I went for a run beforehand. You know, I can disappear at a moment's notice, right? You and I got back from BC a week ago, week and a half ago. I don't have to, you know, run it by anyone, I don't have to find childcare. I said earlier, a financial advisor told me people without kids retire a million dollars richer. Dawn Taylor  15:18That is a crazy number. Katie Dooley  15:20I'm, like, you know, not anywhere near that yet. I'm almost 32. So I got 30 years, but, like, that's still a nice statistic. I don't know, I like that I can, you know, have all my hobbies and do all the things I like to do. And I'm sure parents would argue that they still can do all the things they like to do, and having kids and raising a family is one of the things they like to do. So, I don't know how different it is, but I like that I can not worry about childcare, packing kids into the car, having to buy a car seat every two years, or... Dawn Taylor  15:54However often it is. It's often. Katie Dooley  15:57Fun fact, for your audience - you know this - I used to work at Babies R Us. Dawn Taylor  16:02Which still kills me. Katie Dooley  16:04So I actually, like, know a surprisingly large amount about baby things. So that was a blast. Dawn Taylor  16:13Oh I bet. I bet. Katie Dooley  16:15I mean, you deal with adults. Dawn Taylor  16:17You're not dealing with kids, exactly. Not at Babies R Us. So growing up, thinking, like how many kids did you say you wanted as a kid? Katie Dooley  16:25Two. Probably because I grew up in a family with two kids. I have an older brother. Dawn Taylor  16:29What were you gonna name them? Katie Dooley  16:31For boys I liked Declan or Damien. And I always liked the name Maeve for a daughter. Dawn Taylor  16:37Oh, very cute. Katie Dooley  16:38Yeah. I just figure my next dog will get one of those names. Dawn Taylor  16:43They're your,  they're your little babies. They're your babies. So what point did you realize you didn't have to have kids? Katie Dooley  16:52It's funny, my best friend doesn't want kids either. And she was always very vocal, like, even from a young age that she didn't want kids, and that her mom was only ever gonna have grandkittens. And that's when I kind of realized, like, I actually have no interest in having kids either. So that, I mean, that's nice to have someone if you are a child-free person, to have other child-free people in your life so that it isn't so lonely or ostracizing. So yeah, that's when I started to realize that, like, no, I don't actually have any interest in this at all. And it was just sort of reaffirmed as friends got pregnant. Even when it was like totally appropriate, like people are married, I'd be like, 'Oh, you're too young to have a baby.' Dawn Taylor  17:39I've heard many a judgement out of your mouth. Katie Dooley  17:43Like even still, like, I'm like, 'Oh, you're 23 and pregnant. That's so young.' But it's not, like you would have had kids at 23 if you could have. Dawn Taylor  17:5021. Katie Dooley  17:51Right? Dawn Taylor  17:52Yeah. Katie Dooley  17:54Even now, when people are like 32 and they're like, 'We're pregnant', I'm like 'Oh was that an accident?'. So maybe I'm just never going to be ready to have a baby. That's because I'm still like I'm going too young to do that. Dawn Taylor  18:08Hey, so on that, that is one of the weirdest parts of growing up with no kids, is aging. It's such a weird - and you'll probably realize this over the next 10 years - is as you watch your friends kids get older, and you're like, how, how are you 16, because I have not aged 16 years. That's been one of the weirdest feelings is like... so for us, like, the majority of the people in our lives have multiple kids, our siblings all have kids, there's like we're the only ones without in our immediate families. And that couldn't, and it's wild, like when my first niece got married, I was like, 'She's five. Like, she cannot get married. She's five.' And it was like, no, no, Dawn, she's in her 20s. But then I had to admit that I had aged that much since. And that's always been a weird thing for my husband and I both, is we don't feel like we're aging because we don't have anything to measure it by. Right, there isn't that, like, little kid measurement where when you see a friend who's now having her fourth child, or those kids all of a sudden like 10, it's like but I remember when you were born. Like, how is that a thing? That has, for me, probably been one of the weirdest, is trying to figure that out. Katie Dooley  19:25Yeah, so this friend with four kids, we had coffee just the other day. So this is relevant. And so I was asking how many grandkids are in the family now, like for her parents? And she told me and I said, you know, what's the age gap? Because I remember like little kids running around at your wedding. Well, she was married 13 years ago. And she's like, yeah the oldest is 18 now, and I was like, I mean, I guess yeah, you were married. 13 years ago, she would have been five, but I was like, 'eighteen!' Dawn Taylor  19:53Right? Katie Dooley  19:55What? How is the oldest grandkid 18?. You're 18, we're 18! People listening to this are like, '32 year olds thinking they're 18', but... Dawn Taylor  20:05No but there's something about not aging in the same way. Because you don't have those milestones. It's not like, 'Oh, my kids are in kindergarten now'. And 'Oh, look at my kids are teenagers.' Katie Dooley  20:15In junior high, yeah. Learning to drive, there's nothing to-- Dawn Taylor  20:19-- there's no milestones. You just kind of age. Katie Dooley  20:22And it's probably even weirder, partially, being self employed, but even just regular employed, because everything just kind of blends into, there's no, like, July and August summer break, and a new year starts in September, right? All of a sudden, it's like, 'Oh, it's 2022. How did that happen?' Dawn Taylor  20:38Right? Because it's actually 2019. Right? But it does, it just blends and it flows so different. So for you and Bryant, your husband, is there, like, have you guys thought about what are our traditions going to be as we get older for holidays? And those sorts of things? Like, has that become a thing for you guys yet, where you're like, hey wait a sec, we don't really have our parents traditions anymore, but not having kids we don't have kid traditions. Like, we realized we were very traditionalist a couple years ago, and it really bothered me, because in the back of my mind, I'm like 'We need traditions, we have to have traditions'. And a lot of ours that we even had were tied to other people's kids, right? So from the food we'd eat at holidays, or like what we did for activities, that was tied to nieces and nephews. And now that they're getting older, and they're not coming around as often, and all these things are happening, we have felt a little bit rudderless. We're like, we don't have those things so now we're trying to, like, figure that out. Katie Dooley  21:41Interesting. I don't, I don't know when we'll get there. But it's going to be a bit because none of our siblings have kids yet. And Bryant's brother won't have kids. So if my brother has kids, I can see that starting to change things. But like now, we're still just the kids that show up at our parents house for Christmas. And we also kind of have that luxury of being super mobile. Like I remember being a kid, and, you know, my mom loved Christmas at home because she didn't have to schlep presents and kids across the province. Right, we were kind of the center that everyone came to, because my parents had two young kids. So we get to be the mobile ones and decide who we are going to visit and when we're going to visit, and drive around the province with no real concerns about anything except how much we're gonna eat. I think as a family, we entertain a lot, and some of the things we've done in the last couple years since getting a house I can see being like friend traditions. You know, we have a St. Patrick's Day party every year. And I usually do a birthday barbecue every year. And so I can see those being kind of our grounding moments as opposed to a big Christmas or Easter, which we will continue to do with our parents. Dawn Taylor  22:54Yeah, we're, like, I don't have parents anymore. Right? So on my side it's weird. And then Chad's parents are so far away and don't travel at all. And then I'm definitely allergic to their house because of their pets, so, like, I've never been to their house that they've been in now for I don't even know how many years. Like it's been forever. And so yeah, it's weird for us. Like, we don't have traditions. Katie Dooley  23:22You're a sandwich generation without bread. Dawn Taylor  23:25We really are. Katie Dooley  23:27We're the, we've got an open-faced sandwich so we're good. Dawn Taylor  23:30Right? So people that don't have kids. Okay, so a couple different categories here, is the people that are like holy cow, this is me, I don't want to have babies. What recommendations do you have to them? What red flags would you have for them on, like, if these are kind of your thoughts, you probably need to think twice about this. Like, do you have any thoughts on that? Katie Dooley  23:54On, like, intentionally choosing being child-free. Is that what you mean? I mean, I'm kind of of the opinion that if you have any doubts about having kids, you shouldn't have them. Because, you know this, nobody screws you up more than your parents. Dawn Taylor  24:12It's why I have a successful business. Katie Dooley  24:14Right? So, you know, I think if you have any doubts, you shouldn't have kids. Whether, you know, whether you don't think you could handle like a disability, or your kid being bullied, or anything like that. I think some of that's just like par for the course of being a parent. So if you don't think you can handle it, I wouldn't do it. If you like your sleep more than anything. Dawn Taylor  24:38See where I'd say yeah, but those are things you learn as a parent. Katie Dooley  24:41Totally, totally. But I think if you go into your pregnancy thinking it's all gonna be hunky dory, then you're in for a rough surprise. I think, because does that make more sense? Yeah. Oh, yeah, totally. Right, and you would learn how to work with any disabilities. Like, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm just saying, if you don't think you... like if that would be, like, a deal breaker for you, if you're not going to love your kid because of it. Don't do it. Dawn Taylor  25:16Right. And what about for advice for the person going like, No, I don't want kids. Now, how do I tell people? How do I date? How do I broach this topic with my parents? I mean, like, we couldn't have kids, our parents and families were very aware of that, they were aware of the health struggles, they were aware of like, I had to have a hysterectomy. Like they were very aware of that. Yet when my mom passed away, we still found bags of clothes in her closet for Dawn's kids that had been bought reasonably, like quite currently, and it was so devastating. Right? To be like, come on mom, like you still just could not grasp the fact that I was not having a baby. So like, what advice would you have for that person from your standpoint, right, of not wanting kids, of how to deal with that? Katie Dooley  26:07Whoo, that's a big question. Also, because we've been really lucky that most people have been pretty understanding. I, for dating, I think it should be up front, like, right away. Because some people really, really, really, really want kids. Dawn Taylor  26:21Most people, yeah. Katie Dooley  26:23And if you really, really, really don't want kids, like, it's just wasting everyone's time. And you're just setting yourself up for heartbreak. Dawn Taylor  26:31Oh, and, like, let's be honest, it's kind of an asshole move to do that to the other person. Katie Dooley  26:36On either side. Yeah. So, you know, it might be forward of you on your third date to be like, hey, by the way, I don't want kids, but because you're gonna love this, Dawn, because society... Dawn Taylor  26:50Oh that's a job I'm going to apply for. Katie Dooley  26:53Because the general consensus of people is that people want kids and women want kids, I would absolutely get that out of the way sooner than later. I mean, my strategy for families, just anytime someone asks when we're having kids, we just tell them we don't want kids. And we just kind of let them deal with it. Dawn Taylor  27:13Which isn't the worst. Katie Dooley  27:15I mean, I, like, we so much don't want kids. Like we've never even been on the fence about kids. There's nothing you could say to me that would convince me otherwise... like, it's just actually annoying. You know, like, it's not hurtful. It's not offensive. It's just annoying. So I guess part of that, I think, would depend on, you know, how I guess confident someone is with their decision to not have kids. But like I said, for us, it's there's no doubt in our minds, we do not want kids. So you can deal with your own emotions around that because I don't have any emotions around it. Dawn Taylor  27:54You're like no, I'm actually really okay with it. Katie Dooley  27:57I remember I was being a little sassy to a lady at work once. She's like, 'Well, why don't you have kids?' And I said, 'Why don't you have a snake?' And she says, 'Well, I don't like snakes.' And I was like, 'Well, I don't like kids'. She's like, 'Well, you'll learn to like your kids'. I was like, 'You'll learn to like a snake'. She's like, 'Snakes are gross'. Kids are gross! I don't, I don't, I don't know. You're not selling me on this, and I'm not selling you on the snake. Dawn Taylor  28:22That's probably not gonna happen either way. Katie Dooley  28:26Right? But that's my sort of emotional attachment to it all is, 'You want a cat, Dawn?' Dawn Taylor  28:33No, no. Katie Dooley  28:35You'll learn to like a cat. They're cute. Dawn Taylor  28:40No, no, no. No, it is so true. And from my standpoint, it's decide when and how you're going to tell people, right? Because everybody is gonna give you their medical opinion on how you can have a baby. Like we lost friends because they decided without talking to us that they wanted to be our surrogate, and have a baby for us, and presented that to us at dinner, in tears all excited to be our surrogates. And we were like, 'No, that's not what we want'. And like, they literally walked out of our lives over it because they were so offended we would turn down the offer. Katie Dooley  29:26Wow. Dawn Taylor  29:27Right? And we've dealt with so much of that where we actually, I remember my husband, due to medication he was on, the doctors that said we'd have to abort any baby if I got pregnant because it cause really severe birth defects. Like severe severe birth defects, not just a disability, like the baby wouldn't survive. So we made the decision for him to have a vasectomy, because we were like, that just, for us, that just made more sense and we felt more comfortable with that decision than having to go through the like maybe get pregnant thing and have to abort a baby, like that just didn't feel right for us. And it was really funny because I remember going back home to my parents for Christmas that year. And this had happened like seven, eight months earlier. And someone was like, 'Oh, we just want you to have a baby so bad'. It was a family member. And I said, well, like it really won't happen now. And they were like, 'What do you mean?' And I said, no, like, don't worry, like, we're okay. And we can't have kids and like, let's just leave it at that. And she, she put her hand on my arm, and she was like, 'I am praying that God will provide a miracle and you will get pregnant'. And I was like, 'Please don't'. And she was like, what? And I was like, just stop praying. And she's like, what? She was so offended. And I said, well, seeing as Chad had a vasectomy earlier this year, that would be like an absolute miracle, which means I'd end up divorced because there's no way he would not think that I had had an affair. I said, so by you praying for this miracle could land with me divorced. So if you could just stop. And you know what the best part is, not even their reaction to that. What? What do you mean he had a vasectomy, you didn't tell anyone. And it was like, were we supposed to put it in our Christmas letter? Like this weird health update. Katie Dooley  31:15And Mr. Taylor had his snipped. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Dawn Taylor  31:24Little photo smiling on the front, like-- Katie Dooley  31:28--  he's not smiling in that photo. Dawn Taylor  31:29No he wasn't. But it was so wild, the ownership of our medical situation, the ownership of our medical decisions that people felt they had. Katie Dooley  31:45I think sort of from a timing perspective, if you don't want kids, there's like key points in your life to be wary of. And that's when you get married and buy a house. Dawn Taylor  31:55Oh, because everyone's gonna ask. Katie Dooley  31:57But then also, when you're talking about the vasectomy, being 30. And wanting to, like, prevent pregnancy. It's amazing how bad the medical system is. Because I absolutely was like, we want, my husband wants a vasectomy, and my doctor was like, oh, but what if you want kids? I'm like, I don't want kids. Dawn Taylor  32:15We actually had a doctor say, but what if your next husband wants kids or your next wife, like, assuming we're gonna end up divorced and we're gonna, one of us will be remarried, and then the other person will? And we were like, no. Katie Dooley  32:30But I still don't want kids. Dawn Taylor  32:33Well it was like, but I still can't have kids. That was what was so wild, is that I was like, no, no, like, my body physically cannot carry a baby, right? It doesn't matter if I get married 10 more times, I will not be having a baby. And like, people can't grasp that. Katie Dooley  32:48And back to the dating conversation, even if - sorry babe - even if we were to get divorced, I wouldn't re-marry someone who wanted kids. I might. Sorry, Bryant, I might re-marry someone who had grown up children, if that was, but like I would never have kids and I would never want to raise kids. Like that would be like the closest to me being a parent that I got. If, like, I ended up with someone like divorce my husband - which isn't gonna happen. He's dying  right now. I divorced my husband and married someone with adult children, like that's as close as I would ever get. Dawn Taylor  33:31Well we've even found a shift now that we're in our 40s. It used to be very devastating. Like Mother's Day, Father's Day, were super hard for us, because we wanted kids, like we started trying the minute we got married, we were 20. Like, we were like, let's have babies, like we were so excited. But all of our friends had kids early. Like, that was part of our world. Right. And we desperately wanted that. And we have found an interesting shift as we've gotten older, where it's shifted from, like, we weren't able to have kids to like now even if we could magically today, which I mean, I don't have a uterus, and he had a vasectomy, so like, we're really not. But we wouldn't now if we had to decide because of our age, right? So I'm like, no, I don't want kids in my 60s. Like, I don't wanna be starting this at 42, 43, 44, like no no no. And so that's shifted where, and I mean maybe that's just because we've actually grieved. And for anyone listening who's had to go through this, and the infertility and all of that, reach out, seriously, reach out just to have an ear. Like I'm here for you, it's so hard and it's so brutal. But one of the biggest words of advice I would give you on that is like grieve it. Like I held the baby funeral for my kids. There were no guests, but I did, right? I named them. We wrote our dreams we had for them, like we hard grieved the fact that we couldn't have kids and for a lot of years, it was very difficult. And it has transitioned now to being easier. Where now I look at Mother's Day and Father's Day like Freedom Day. That's what I call them. Where it's like we celebrate that, we celebrate the good. But one of the reasons we could even do that is early days, I phoned a bunch of people I knew with kids and had them call me every time something horrible happened with their kids. So like, got sprayed the both with urine from a baby boy, or like their kid puked down the air vents in their house, or projectile vomit at the back of their head while driving (that was my brother), right? Like all of these different things. Like I actually had people reach out and tell me those horrible stories to make it easier for me to be grateful to not be a mom. So that ties into your list, girl, how big is your list? Katie Dooley  35:49I think we actually got to 200. Dawn Taylor  35:51So Miss Katie has a list in her phone. And what is your list? Katie Dooley  35:55Its reasons not to have kids. And this was created for the 'when are you going to have kids' question? And the reason I wanted it so long is that when people either say like, why don't you want kids? Or when are you having kids? I literally just like scroll through my phone for like a significant amount of time. Yep. Like it's really for the comedy factor. But the number one contributor is moms. Dawn Taylor  36:25So I do a giveaway with every single podcast. Like whether it's beautiful art, or a fun giveaway, or words, whatever it is. And I had an idea, and I haven't mentioned this to you. But what if we actually turned your 200 list into a fun graphic for people and did a giveaway on that? Katie Dooley  36:45Oh, I love that. Or we can give away a gift basket of some of these terrible things on number 184, Elf on the Shelf. Number 179, nasal aspirating. We could get a nasal aspirator. Dawn Taylor  37:03That is a good one. Katie Dooley  37:04Recently added, projectile sharting. Dawn Taylor  37:11And baby kids do that. Yes? Katie Dooley  37:14Yeah, the list goes on and on. You can't eat deli meat when you're pregnant. Dawn Taylor  37:19No, or soft cheeses. Katie Dooley  37:21Or sushi. Dawn Taylor  37:22Yeah, there's a bunch of stuff. So check out the show notes. If you want access to the infamous List of 200 Reasons Not to Have a Baby, in case you need a couple to add to your list. Hopefully this wasn't insensitive at all to people that are dealing with infertility. I've been there. I've totally been there. And I can laugh about it because I'm on the other side of it. But I've totally been there. So I'm here for you. But to end our fun little podcast today, I'm just going to ask you some like silly random questions. Katie Dooley  37:56Oh, perfect. Dawn Taylor  37:56So what is something that you spend a silly amount of money on in your life? Katie Dooley  38:01Oh, I don't know. I'm pretty, you know, I'm pretty pretty good with money. Dawn Taylor  38:07You are one of the best. Yep. Katie Dooley  38:09I am gonna say my dog is probably where I like impulse buy the most for sure. Dawn Taylor  38:16Yeah, I would agree to that. What is your secret guilty pleasure way to decompress at the end of the day? Katie Dooley  38:22It's a phone game called Merge Mansion. Sponsor me, Merge Mansion. It's like a decorating slash merge game. And I will play it anytime my brain is full. Dawn Taylor  38:35Okay, I might have to try that one out. What is a random purchase of $100 or less that has most positively impacted your life recently? Katie Dooley  38:45Ooooh, I'm like trying to think of things I bought. Dawn Taylor  38:49Or just spent money on. Katie Dooley  38:51You know what, I just paid myself my bonus recently so I just bought a lot of stuff. I bought a really funky piece of art that I'm excited to arrive. Dawn Taylor  38:59Oh nice. I was gonna say or your skincare. Katie Dooley  39:02That too. I haven't got it yet though. So... Dawn Taylor  39:05Oh, true. Very true. Katie Dooley  39:07I got a new wallet today but that was more than $100. Sorry I got a fossil wallet. Same style as yours. Yeah, super pretty. It's brown with all this embroidery on it. Yeah. Dawn Taylor  39:21They do amazing wallets. Katie Dooley  39:25So, while it's not $100 that is a recent purchase that is making a huge improvement in my life because I can zip it up. Dawn Taylor  39:34Your old one was very done. It was very done. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? Katie Dooley  39:43Oh, okay. I wish I had to prepare for these. Dawn Taylor  39:47It's not as much fun if you prepare. Katie Dooley  39:50That's true. An absurd thing that I love. You know, I love going to bed early. I'm gonna say that. I love, I will crawl into bed at like 8/830 and read for an hour. And that is like the best thing in the world. And it is a habit, and I'd say that's a habit, like I do that almost every night. Dawn Taylor  40:13You do. And it doesn't matter like what's going on or... Katie Dooley  40:17You know I mean we'll have the odd social night. Dawn Taylor  40:18We've traveled. We've traveled together. And it's definitely a struggle, because I do not need the amount of sleep you do. Katie Dooley  40:25Yeah. And I mean, what like, well, you know, I'm going out to a friend's on Friday night, so I won't read on Friday night. But like, four days out of seven in a week, I will be in bed reading, for sure. Dawn Taylor  40:39That is awesome. Well, for everybody listening. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. This was an absolute blast, Katie. And if you loved the episode, please share it with friends. leave a review on Apple or Spotify podcasts. And check out the show notes. So we're gonna link maybe some of Katie's purchases that she made recently if she's willing to share. And the super fun List of 200 items of Reasons Not to Have a Kid. Thank you so much. And we'll see you back here in a couple of weeks.
03 - Food Is Not The Devil with Renee Stribbell
15-08-2022
03 - Food Is Not The Devil with Renee Stribbell
Content Warning: Frank talk of eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia.Dawn Taylor welcomes Renee Stribbell to the podcast to shed light on disordered eating, body image, and how food is not the devil. Renee shares her very personal journey through binge eating disorder and how she has worked to overcome her trauma and struggles in order to see food as simply food.Renee realized in her late 20s that she likely had an eating disorder but looking back, she understands that her relationship with food had always been unhealthy. She suffered from binge eating disorder and though she attempted anorexia and bulimia to deal with her eating, she simply couldn’t release the comfort that food was to her. She discovered Overeaters Anonymous in 2010 and shares with Dawn the good and bad lessons she learned from them.Dawn and Renee revisit Renee’s decision to step away from Overeaters Anonymous after eleven years and why she needed to stop food having any control over her. They discuss how food itself does not contain emotion and is not the devil, and they detail the difficult but rewarding ways in which Renee regained her power over herself and her relationship with eating.About Renee Stribbell:Renee Stribbell has been in the financial industry since 1997. She began working for the Big Banks and in 2003 decided to go on her own and become a mortgage broker. She has never looked back!After over 22 years in the financial industry and assisting over 3000 clients, Renee considers herself an expert in mortgage lending. She takes pride in ensuring that each client that works with her is treated equally, regardless of their circumstances, and has a passion for educating and guiding each client through the mortgage process.Resources Mentioned In This Episode:Karen CarpenterOvereaters Anonymous— Dawn Taylor - The Taylor Way: website | facebook | instagram | linkedinRenee Stribbell - Broker/Owner at Your Mortgage Needs: website | linkedin Transcript:Dawn Taylor  00:09Good morning and welcome to the Taylor Talks Podcast. Today on the show, we have the amazing Renee Stribbell. She is a mom, a girlfriend, a business owner, a leader, she is so many things, but she also is a recovered addict. Today we're gonna dive into the topic of 'food is not the devil'. Sound like something you might need to hear? And after the show, please listen for instructions on where to find a super awesome giveaway. Dawn Taylor  00:41Oh my goodness, as you just heard, I am sitting with the incredible Renee Stribbell. And we know each other outside of just the podcast, we've done coaching together, some things like that. But you have a big one that when we were talking, you were like this - this is what people need to learn and what to talk about. Renee, what is the thing you wish people had talked about that you wish wasn't so shameful and a secret? Renee Stribbell  01:07Probably around food and that it's not a bad or a good thing? It's just a thing, right? Dawn Taylor  01:14Food is not the devil. Renee Stribbell  01:15It's not the devil. It's just... it's just a thing. Dawn Taylor  01:19Right, so let's dive into this. Because this is a big topic for a lot of people, is eating and food and diets and body image and self worth. And all of those things. And especially anybody who was raised like 70s / 80s / 90s with like the Kate Mosses of the world and this belief of what we had to look like. Man, I don't know a mom that wasn't in Weight Watchers or those tops classes or doing the, like, Jane Fonda aerobics, you know, Tuesday, Thursday mornings at 10am at the aqua center, right? Like, this is your childhood too. This is very much how we were raised. For you, where did your journey with food start and tell us a little bit about your story. Renee Stribbell  02:03Well, my journey with food actually started when I was quite young, I was seven years old, I was a bit pudgy, you know, I look back at pictures and I really wasn't, but, I mean, believed I was very, very pudgy. And, you know, I was kind of of the belief system - because that was the belief system that was generated - was if you were thin, you were happy. Right? If you're thin, your looks, if you looked good, if your hair was done, if you had a nice shapely body, if you had all this kind of stuff, then you're happy. And if you weren't, then you were unhappy, you know. And I think we began, dieting - I began dieting at that age, right? And it was just, I started to develop this relationship with food that was there was good food, and there was bad food. And if I ate food, therefore if I eat the bad food, therefore I was bad. But I really liked the bad food. I enjoyed it. It was tasty, you know, and then it turned into this thing where food became that comfort for me at a very young age. You know, I had big emotions, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I still do. I feel everything, and food was that thing that kind of just maybe settled me down a little bit and became a friend. It became that thing that I would use to just kind of get through those big times in my life, those big emotions. Right? So it started when I was seven and, you know, and then the shame started to build with it too. You know, because I would gain weight because I was eating, but I didn't want to stop eating because it was the only thing I had in my life that made me feel good even for short, tiny bits of time. And so as I got older, it's just the cycle, like you would, you're always on a diet, you're thinking about a diet, you're eating the foods on the diet and restricting, and then you're, you know, and then you're breaking the diet. You're cheating, which is a word-- Dawn Taylor  03:51 The worst word in diet history ever. Renee Stribbell  03:54I cheated. Oh my god, I'm so bad, you know, and then you get this shame cycle and it just builds and builds.  And one thing about an eating disorder, it's not something all of a sudden you just wake up and you have it. You know, it's built over time and you don't even realize - like, I didn't realize I had an actual eating disorder until I was well into my late 20s. You know, I just thought that I couldn't control myself, I couldn't lose weight. Like, I just couldn't lose weight. So it was one of those things where I didn't even realize that I had some unhealthy connections with food. Dawn Taylor  04:26Well and let's break it down a little bit more. So a few things even just what you said, like cheating. We are ingrained even in school, like, cheating is awful and bad and it's horrible, because it is, it goes against morally and ethically who we are as humans to cheat. So then when we incorporate that into an action or an activity, even in our eating... okay, so I'm having this day where I actually enjoy my food or I eat things I quote/unquote shouldn't, but now I've attached this horrible disgusting word to it, which just adds so much shame. Like, just like the shame you're attaching to food before you put it in your body, like that is so ridiculously unhealthy. But also going back, what was your parents' relationship like with food? Renee Stribbell  05:15You know, I can't really comment on my dad, because I never really noticed. But my mom was the same, she had, she had just a really unhealthy relationship with food. And she struggled with her weight. You know, she didn't want me to go through the same thing, right? Because kids, you know, when you're young, they kind of can be jerks. And they can be mean if you're overweight, and things like that, you know. Her intention was pure, she just, she didn't want me to go through that. And she struggled with it, too. So her relationship with food was very similar to what I was building, like a lot of shame around to it, there was good and bad. So you were bad if you ate this, and I think that's a really important distinction. It's not you shame yourself, if you eat a bad food, or you cheat, then you therefore are bad. Like, this is right at the core of who you are, you are a bad, bad person, if you do this. And that was a belief system that was ingrained in me at a very young age. And not just from my mom, but just from just everyone. That's just the way it was. Dawn Taylor  06:13Society as a whole. Renee Stribbell  06:15Right? Yeah, it was just, I didn't really, I was surrounded by people that had an unhealthy relationship with food and body image. Dawn Taylor  06:24Oh, 100%. So when did you realize that it was such a big issue? You talk about realizing you had, that you had an eating disorder in your late 20s. So for most people listening, they're probably thinking bulimia, anorexia, you know, they're thinking those ones, but you you had gone in the opposite direction. Renee Stribbell  06:46I had a binge eating disorder. And so I, the amount of volume of food that I could ingest in one period of time was, like, astronomical. But it was... so I probably should say that the reason that I had that is because I hated myself. And when I looked in the mirror, I just saw this fat, you know, and one of the things that people would always say to me, 'oh, you have such a pretty face'. Dawn Taylor  07:12Oh, isn't that the greatest backhanded compliment ever? Renee Stribbell  07:16And they'd say it in such a way with that, like, 'oh, I'm so sorry'. You know? Dawn Taylor  07:20Yeah, I've gotten that since the aneurysm. Right? Yeah. You're beautiful for a fat girl. Right? That's my personal favorite. I'm like, thank you? Renee Stribbell  07:30Yes. Thank you so much. Dawn Taylor  07:32Yeah, you hugged me and slapped me at the same time. Renee Stribbell  07:37So I got to the point where I'd look in the mirror and I never looked lower than my chin. Like, I would look at my face. And I'd never look at my body because I couldn't. When I looked at my body, I was disgusted. It was kind of a funny thing. Because when I looked at my body, and I discuss it, I tried. I remember watching the movie about Karen Carpenter and - The Carpenters - and she had anorexia nervosa. And most people would watch that movie and just be like, 'oh, my goodness'. I thought of it is the best diet in the universe. When I watched that movie, I was like, 'that's it'. Right? I'm gonna just not eat. And if I do eat, I'm gonna throw up. And so I was like, this is perfect. Because the bulimia, like, binge eating disorders, the difference really is binge eating is you still binge with bulimia, but you don't throw it up. You just eat it. Dawn Taylor  08:24You just just actually eat it. Renee Stribbell  08:25Yeah. And so I discovered that I wasn't really good. I didn't enjoy not eating. Because like, I couldn't do it. But then I was like, I love food so much. So I'm going to I'm going to binge and purge, and I didn't like purging. So then I kind of threw that out the window and I just binged. I could eat. I mean, my God, I remember... this is what triggered the whole thing. I was with my - I don't think I was married yet, I may have been I don't think I was - but I was with my husband at the time. And I had gone to my yet again Weight Watchers meeting, because I had been to every diet - I've done every diet imaginable. And I went to the meeting, and we're doing a little group session, we're talking, you know, just sharing. And I said, do you ever - I think about it now and no wonder people looked at me like I had 10 heads. But I said, 'do you ever go to the pantry and just open the door and stuff your face to the point that you're going to be sick, and then you be sick, and then you go back and eat more?' And all 40 people in the room looked at me like I had 10 heads. Right? And I was like, oh, this isn't normal. I thought it was normal. I thought this is what people did. And I just didn't have enough willpower to lose weight. That was the problem. It wasn't that I had an issue, I didn't think. So I went home and... I went home, I went to the pantry to begin to stuff my face. I stood there and I just started to cry. Because I just realized at that moment that what I was doing was not normal. And I said to my my husband at the time, I'm like, I wonder if like I've heard of 12 step programs. Do you think that there's a 12 step program for people like me? Because I said to him, I'm like, I think I have a problem with food. He's like, 'yeah', like he knew. But he just, I said, 'do you think that there's a program out there for me?', and that's what brought me to Overeaters Anonymous, OA. That was in 2010. And that's what brought me, I was like, 'oh, my goodness, I have problem with food', You know? Dawn Taylor  10:27Huge. And with that, there's often when there is - and we don't have to get into it - but often when there is, you know, an eating disorder, or a hatred of your body or hatred, there's usually a trauma attached to that, right? Where it's, something has happened. And it doesn't even have to be a huge thing. But something has happened. Right? That has caused us to view ourselves as not worthy or ugly or gross. I mean, for me, it was overhearing a conversation about talking about how curvy I was already at nine years old. And how it was a problem and how could my mum cover me better for when I was swimming with my cousin? Right? It wasn't even a huge trauma in the eyes of society. But that at that age already had imprinted so hard in my brain that my body was gross. Right. So with that, I know Overeaters Anonymous has been, it's an interesting topic for you. So let's let you guide where this goes. What happened with that, and your relationship with food after you joined OA? Renee Stribbell  11:43I went to my first meeting. And, I mean, OA is a 12 step program. So everybody's quite familiar with those. And Overeaters Anonymous does follow the Alcoholics Anonymous big book. To be honest with you, the first time I went to a meeting, I sat there, it didn't really say a word. But it actually was, it felt good, because the people in that room were saying what I was saying, they were experiencing what I was experiencing, and they were open about it. And some of them laughed about it. And it was just this like, okay, these people understand me, like, I didn't know I had an eating disorder. And then I went into that meeting. And I was like, and I already knew, and I was like, oh, boy, this is something that I knew. But now I'm like, oh, dear, this is something I have to look at. And then those people were like, 'yeah, we do the same things you do with food'. And it was like, I felt, for the first time in my life, I felt safe. And I felt heard. And I was like, I'm not alone. And it was, it was really, really good. And we, I was in OA for a bit and then I left and then I came back over a period of well it's 2022 so last year, I left OA for good, but it was 11 years. 11 years of my life was in and out of OA. We'll get to why I left in a bit. But what OA taught me for a really long time was that, you know, you can, you can work through a lot of this kind of stuff when you have support. There's a lot of great things that I learned from OA and there was a camaraderie and a community that that I had. It was mine. And I could be myself in those rooms. And I could say the ridiculous things I did around food, like buying a dozen doughnuts for my family and eating them before I even got home. You know, and then having supper, and, you know, things like that, and binge eating on chocolate bars and things like that. I could do that. And nobody was like, *gasp*, you know, it was just like, 'yeah, did that too'. Dawn Taylor  13:38Because they had been there. Renee Stribbell  13:39Yeah, yeah. So there was a lot of that. And I think it was built on that. And I relied on it quite a bit. And it did help me in a lot of ways, you know, and there's there's a lot of benefits inside of the 12 step program, because one of the things that it teaches you is number one to grow up and stop blaming everybody else for your problems. And right, like, yeah, so there was a lot of-- Dawn Taylor  14:01-- own your shit -- Renee Stribbell  14:02Keep your side of the street clean, all that kind of stuff, the 12 steps, the premise of it is fabulous. Now one of the things that - I might just jump a bit - is one of the things about an eating disorder or something like that, it encompasses your entire life. Every decision that you make, everything that you do, that is always in the background guiding you, right, because you have no self worth, you have no self esteem. You have no idea who you are, what you what you stand for. You get into relationships because you're trying to find somebody that can feed that insecure part of you, right. So the decisions that you make, the businesses you do, everything, it's all skewed by this. What happened was when I started, I put the food down and I started working the 12 steps, a lot of things came clear that I'd made some decisions in my life that I probably wouldn't have made if I wasn't heavily involved in the eating disorder and all of the mental stuff that goes with it. And so I had to make some tough decisions in my life and OA actually helped me through that. Right? Because I wasn't eating over it, I had to put the food down, and I had to actually face some of these things. Dawn Taylor  14:03Well, it was... you couldn't run from your emotions anymore. Renee Stribbell  15:11No. Dawn Taylor  15:12That's often the hardest, right? With addiction - and I see this every day with clients, right - is with addiction, when you're no longer participating in your addiction, you still have to find something to run away from your emotions with. Right? So either you have to actually sit and face what you were running from in the first place, or people often will just find a new addiction. Right? They'll just find something else to take their mind off of it, to drown out those emotions and the voices in their head, to still protect themselves. Because so much of the addiction, I believe it's just, it's a protective mechanism. Renee Stribbell  15:50Absolutely. Dawn Taylor  15:51You just happened to stumble upon that thing that calmed your brain for a second. Yours just happened to be food. Renee Stribbell  15:58It happened to be food, food was the primary thing. But let me tell you, I everything that I did in my life was to escape who I was, and who I... I didn't want to be me. I hated myself. I hated every part of me. I had no worth. So yeah, it was food, but let me tell you, I worked way too hard. I probably drank too much. You know, I did all of these things to excess. Everything was to excess. I shopped too much, I spent too much money, I did all that kind of stuff. But food was the primary one, for sure. That was the one. But when I started putting that stuff down, what do you think happened to the other stuff, I kind of went a little nutty for awhile. They just got real bad. But I was refusing to see that. And then, I mean, OA was great. I lost 120 pounds, I felt good. So I used to - and I'll give you like - near the end of my OA experience, one of the things is, you know, I'm addicted to sugar. And so one of, okay, so one of the things that they say, and it's common, is I'm powerless over food and my life is unmanageable. That's a standard thing, in OA, because you admit that you are powerless, and you need to get help, really, and find a higher power to help you through this. Right? And some people it's God, some people it's universe, some people, you know, whatever it is. So find this, basically, it's just ask for help is really what it means. And surrender and trust that, you know, you just you can't control this thing. So that's the belief system that I believed, was for the rest of my life I will be powerless over food and my life will be unmanageable if I ingest the addictive foods that cause me to be powerless, or engage in binge eating behavior or anything like that. So I... it was so deeply ingrained in me that I couldn't see, like I was a compulsive eater, I was an overeater, I was going to be that for the rest of my life. And food, ironically, became the most powerful thing in my life. Because I gave it power when I was a kid. But when I put it down, I gave it more power. And I had no idea that that's what I was doing. Because when you say you are powerless over something, you mean that it has power over you, it controls every facet of you. And when I realized that, thanks to your help, I was like, oh crap. I've given food everything. I got to the point where I had to text my foods everyday to a sponsor, I could not deviate from what I had indicated. If I did, I had to text them and give them a very good reason as to why. And I would go to, I would come visit my boyfriend and I would bring a grocery store with me. Like I would bring all of the food that I had to eat because I had to weigh and measure and record and report everything that went in my mouth. Dawn Taylor  18:52Well, and food that was actually making you physically ill. Renee Stribbell  18:56It was, it was healthy food. Dawn Taylor  18:57Like you literally, it was healthy food, but you remember the day that I was like, what if you just didn't? And you were like, what? And I'm like, it's physically making you ill to eat what you're having to eat. And you're like, but this is what they told me I have to eat to stay healthy. Renee Stribbell  19:12Yeah, I was physically sick, like, and my stomach was in pain all the time. And like my digestive system was a disaster. And so, you know, but I was losing weight. I felt great. And you know, one of the things that OA did teach me is once I lost 120 pounds, I finally went, I can lose weight. I can lose weight. I convinced myself for years that I just, I couldn't, I wasn't capable of... but that taught me that I could. I know what I need to do, just not to that extreme. But it was like, do you know what it's like to go to somebody's house and bring a grocery store, or go to somebody's house and they've made you dinner and you have to say no? Or you want to plan a vacation but you're terrified because you do not know what the restaurants are in Mexico and you don't know how you're going to eat there. And the stress that it causes for the people around... but I had accepted that that was what I was going to have to do to remain sane. Right, like that's what we're taught. And another thing is, is when you're in OA, part of this little club, and normal people just don't understand. So you kind of get in your little, your little bubble, with people that get you, nobody else gets you and they don't even understand. You know, what else I found out is I taught my son. And this is probably one of the biggest things that shifted for me, was I had taught my son that I had some allergy to food, that I was different than other people, and I created.... Here's a funny thing, I went to OA to stop having an eating disorder but I think I actually created one. But I taught my son that I was, there was something that was wrong with me. Does that mean that maybe I taught him that he thought maybe something was wrong with him too? You, when I was talking to you, I was celebrating my one year, it was 2021. And I had actually, I had lost the 120 pounds and I had booked my tummy tuck surgery, because I wanted to get rid of all the excess skin, because I loved my body. I just didn't love the extra skin. Which, by the way, that's not how it works. You either love it all or you don't, it's just the way it is. So I booked that, celebrated my one year, and I was talking to you on the day that it was my one year of abstinence. So clean and sober, essentially, is what it means. By abstinence, I followed this great measured food plan for a year, lost the weight, and I was celebrating. You posed a question to me, and it rocked my entire world. And by this time, you and I had been working together what a year, by this point? Dawn Taylor  21:28No, not even It wasn't very long at that point. No. Renee Stribbell  21:33And you said to me, like you know that OA doesn't own your recovery. And I looked at you. And you shattered me, you shattered everything. And you were like, you did it. That's yours, not them. I sat there and I didn't even, I didn't even know... because I attribute, because I think - you're, correct me if I'm wrong - I was talking about how OA saved my life. She was like no they didn't. Dawn Taylor  21:56No, it was like, you did. You did the work. Renee Stribbell  21:59Yeah. And I was like, nope, nope, couldn't have done it myself. I, you know, and all this kind of stuff. And it shattered me. It eventually got to a couple of well, not even that long. We talked about me leaving OA. And then one day I was like I'm done. April 1 I was done. You know, a month later. Dawn Taylor  22:15Yes. I remember that day when I said that. And the the flood of emotions that came across your face from like, rage, to fear, to more rage. Excited and back to rage, like you were, like, yeah, it definitely shattered you in that moment. But the conversation that happened after was what if you actually owned your own recovery? What if you took charge of it? And what if you stopped identifying as a compulsive binge eater and stopped identifying as all those things so that you stopped creating it? Renee Stribbell  22:51Yes. I didn't know how to handle that when you said that. I just didn't. Yeah, I didn't. And it basically, it shocked me. But I think partly it hit me so hard and shocked me so much, because you were right. You were right. And I just, I knew that. I knew that. But I didn't know what to do with it. There was a tiny eensy weensy glimmer of hope that maybe I could be normal. I couldn't, I couldn't see how I was gonna get there. I had no idea how I was gonna get there. But I knew that I had you. And-- Dawn Taylor  23:28You're like I can call you, and be like, what the hell? Renee Stribbell  23:30What is going on, right? So I get emotional about this. But it just rocked me to the core because I believed that I was just going to be a binge eater or compulsive eater for the rest of my life. That's just the way it was. And then we made the decision to leave OA, I was terrified. And it was really funny because I called my sponsor, and told her, and I said, I've made the decision to go my own way, I'm leaving OA. She was just like, this not going to work, essentially, was the general message. Like you're going to fail and you're going to eat again and you're going to get fat and you're going to, you know, all this kind of stuff - was essentially the message that was given to me. Because that's what we believe. When somebody leaves the program, we kind of like, 'oh, dear, they're back out'. They're back out there. They're eating again. You know, when you when you talk to somebody, a lot of times when you call in, or you talk to somebody in the program, like how's your food, like usually first questions, you know, how's food, eating? How's your abstinence? You know, like, it's not like, how are you, like how you doing? Right? It's a really interesting thing. And when I left OA, it's kind of like, like a really bad divorce at first. Because you're just like, anger, you're like angry, and then you're trying to figure out what the problem is. When you've been programmed for that long to believe certain things, to break that programming is really hard, psychologically and emotionally. You're very lost on who you are. I was so lost. I just, I was so lost. I didn't know and I was angry. Because I felt that OA took so much from me, they took 10 years of my life. You know, where would I have been if I didn't go there? And I was really, really angry for a long time. And then we, you and I did some exercises around food and I remember I was talking to you one day, and I think we're just talking about, like, I really wanted nachos and cheese or something. I can't remember where it was. Dawn Taylor  25:20You wanted chips and salsa. You wanted chips and salsa, you were like, but I can't, that's bad. Renee Stribbell  25:25That's bad. And it's not at my mealtime. Like, I can't have snacks. And you were like, go get one. And I was like... Dawn Taylor  25:33I remember that. Renee Stribbell  25:35And if anybody's listening to this, and resonates with this, is you think about it, like I think about it now and I can laugh about it, but let me tell you in that moment, it was the scariest thing that I had to do. Because I had believed 150% with every fiber of my being, that if I ate that chip, one chip, if I ate that chip, then my life would fall apart. That I would unravel. That I would lose it all. Dawn Taylor  26:03Well, you've been taught, though, that then you broke your abstinence. And then you lost your recovery from eating that one chip. And remember that's when we had talked about what is food? What is it? Food doesn't hold emotion. It doesn't hold any of that. It's just food. Like, it's not the devil. It is a singular potato chip. But when we've been raised, where emotion is so attached to food... food is not in the emotion... like emotions aren't in the food. Emotions are attached to the food. Right? We're like, we know that at birthdays, we have cake. Right? We know that like at all of the celebratory times in our lives, all of these things, we reward ourselves with that we eat when we're sad, we eat when we're happy, we eat when we're grieving, we eat when we're celebrating, like... it does, it becomes a whole thing. Where food doesn't actually have emotion. It's just food. Renee Stribbell  27:03Just food. Dawn Taylor  27:04Right. And I know that was the exercise that we had gone through that day was, it was like look at the chip, like what does it feel? Like what are all the emotions coming up? And then we faced them. So talk about that and how we did that? Renee Stribbell  27:17You made me look up...  I just, I don't want to minimize it. Dawn Taylor  27:21No, it sounds totally silly thinking about it. But in that moment, it was so big for you in that moment. Renee Stribbell  27:29And I'm looking at the chip in the salsa, and you're like, okay, what... I'm like, it's just it's a chip, it's... and you made me describe it and things like that. And I really wanted it, I wanted the chips and salsa, and I looked at the chip and it represented to me failure. It represented a break in my abstinence. It represented that if who I was as a person, I was, I was making a decision, I was defying... I was defying because I was bad. I was cheating. I was... Dawn Taylor  28:01Those words. Renee Stribbell  28:02Oh God, you know, and I was just a failure. And I was just worthless. And I'm destroying what I built. I know I'm looking down because I'm pretending I'm looking at the chip that, you know, because I had it sitting right here. Actually, I was in this room he did not room. And so I had it sitting right here and all of this flood of emotions came. And you were like, okay, let's... you eat the chip. And I couldn't... I did. And then I I took a bite and I broke down. I completely broke down. Everything just came flooding about all of the things that I have just wrecked everything, I have just destroyed everything that I've tried so hard to to do. And I tasted it. I remember I don't remember the taste of the chip. It was good. But I don't remember, I just remember what it symbolized. And at that moment, I was terrified. Absolutely terrified of what I've done. And how many times did I say to you, I should go back to OA. I just, it was like, it was like going back to an abusive marriage. It was just like, I just had to go back. I just didn't know. I had absolutely no faith in myself. Right? It was just a frickin chip. But at that time it was my life, it symbolized my life. Dawn Taylor  29:22And facing the emotions that you had attached to it. That it was like, okay, so these are the emotions that you've been running from, now, how do we deal with those? Right? To heal that and take the emotions off of the food so the food can actually just be the medicine that fuels your body. And that's it. It doesn't have to be, like we keep coming back to this, but like, food isn't the devil. Renee Stribbell  29:46No, no. Dawn Taylor  29:47Food is a double edged sword, is what it is. It can be amazing and beautiful and it can feed you and nourish you and give you energy and keep you going. But if we attach a horrible meaning to it... Renee Stribbell  30:01It can just, it controls you. Dawn Taylor  30:03It controls you and destroys you. So we went through a whole lot of work. Right? And looking back at, you know, what had gone on, the relationship of food, all those things. I remember one time, and I know you've given me permission to share some stuff, right? Renee Stribbell  30:25No, go ahead. Dawn Taylor  30:26We had gone to a farmers market together. And we'd been working through so much of, like, the emotion towards food and the anger towards it and the hatred of it. And I said, 'okay, so let's test it, and see what happens'. And we went to a farmers market and a really good one with, like, amazing baking and all the cheat foods, right? And as we walked around, every time you'd be like, 'oh, that I'm not allowed that', I'd be like, 'okay, let's buy it'. And I don't want to know how many hundreds of dollars we spent on food that day at the farmers market. But we took it back to my office. And we sat and looked at it. And I was like, take a bite. And one by one  - do you remember that? And we went item by item and there was no emotion left. And you could eat like one little bite and you were like, that's enough. Renee Stribbell  31:25Yeah. Dawn Taylor  31:26Right? You, at no point did you need to binge it, right? And we even tested with, like, we put a bunch of it even in your room. Like you took it home with you and had it and threw it out however many days later, because you were like, it doesn't hold the power anymore. Like, I could take a bite and be okay with it. Because it wasn't in charge of me, I was in charge of it. Renee Stribbell  31:51Yes, yeah, that was huge. That was that was life changing, really. I got to the point where I actually saw what I, like, the gifts that I did receive from OA, because there was a lot of gifts. I finally was able to let go the anger that I had attached to it. Dawn Taylor  32:06Oh, there were so many gifts. Renee Stribbell  32:08Oh, so many gifts. But what I learned was, is OA, when I was starting out, and I was so deep into it, and I was just so broken around it, I didn't know what to do, OA did. Going to OA probably shifted and saved my life at that moment. And gave me tools and also taught me that I actually was capable. Once I realized that it was me doing it, you know, but one of the things that I feel that, you know, it can only take you so far. And I think there's a difference between living and having a life, and I think I was surviving. And I was living. But was I truly loving and living my life to the fullest of my capabilities? No, I was not. And food still had more control over me in OA than it did before. Because it was the only focus, that I focused so much on my behaviors around food, and what I ate and when I ate, and all that kind of stuff, so yeah, it became a really big focus of my life. I fully live now, but I wasn't fully living then. But I had to do the hard work. Dawn Taylor  33:14You did have to do the hard work. Renee Stribbell  33:16Go through all the traumas. Gosh. Dawn Taylor  33:21Heal some pain! Renee Stribbell  33:23Heal the pain and go back to the reasons why I used food. But I had to go all the way back, all the way back to those times. And it was like, okay, this is the reason, this is the attachment. This is how I developed an attachment with food. And this is why I have the attachment. And one of the things in 12 step programs, what they talk about, and I'll say OA mainly because I haven't really attended the other ones, is how you got here really doesn't matter. Like, and I think what they're saying is, you know, like, it's nobody's fault that you're here, but how you get there actually really, really matters if you want to truly heal. And it's not about blame. It's not about saying my parents weren't good enough, they didn't raise me right, or they didn't love me, or whatever. It's nothing to do with that. It's how did I get to the point where I'm making the decisions that I'm making? And how can I let go and forgive and just love, and go through compassion, and things like that so that it no longer drives my decisions. And that's healing and that's beautiful. Dawn Taylor  34:27Oh, and yeah, it's been really cool to be part of your journey with that. So for somebody else listening that is like, whoa. Okay, so I don't maybe I don't binge eat, maybe I'm not even like fully anorexic, maybe I'm not whatever. But I have a really unhealthy relationship with food. What is one piece of advice or a glimmer of hope or something that you could give them? Renee Stribbell  34:52If I had to say something, is number one, you're not alone. You know, there's so many of us and we need to talk about it more. And we need to not be ashamed about it. Dawn Taylor  35:01I don't know very many people that don't have an unhealthy relationship with food. Renee Stribbell  35:05And I think it's okay just to talk about it and let go of the shame around it, because shame will keep you eating. Shame will keep you in that space. But you're okay, you can handle more than you think you can. And eating whatever it is that day to take away the pain, maybe that's what you need right now, but it doesn't mean that you're going to need it forever. And one day, you're going to be able to actually face life and go through life and go through hardship and pain and sadness and happiness and all of the emotions, without having to suppress those. Because all emotions are valid, being sad, being happy, being angry, being lonely, all of them are valid, and you have every right to feel them. Give yourself permission to do that. Because when we eat, or we do something like that, we're trying to tamp that part of us down. And food isn't a friend. It may be for the time, like I can honestly say there are moments in my life, that food probably did save my life. I needed it at that time. Because I probably wouldn't be here today if I wasn't eating. So I think it's just... forgive yourself, give yourself some love. Don't, you don't need to feel shame around it. But if you're not liking the way you feel when you eat, if you find that that's what you turn to when things happen in your life, then maybe at a time when you're ready, that you can let it go. And it's completely possible to do. But be prepared to do some work. It's not like the easiest thing in the world to do. But if you're ready, there's people that can help you. There's Dawn that can help you, you're not alone. Geez, if you message me, I'll talke to you. Dawn Taylor  36:47Right, but it's possible - and I think that that's the thing that people just believe. Like, it's really hard not to believe - and I know you and I have both been there - that we're too broken. Right? That we're too broken to get help or we're too hurt. And it's like, no. Renee Stribbell  37:03No, no, sweetheart, not at all. Dawn Taylor  37:05Not at all. There's always hope. There's always hope. Right? So to finish this off, thank you so much for sharing and being so vulnerable and talking about it, because yes, we need to. We need to talk about food. We need to talk about shame. We need... I mean, this is the whole point of this podcast, right? Is let's have the hard conversations and normalize them. Let's add humanity to them and normalize them. So let's do just some like rapid fire, just quick, silly questions that, I don't know, I love.... I love these things. What is something in your life that you spend a silly amount of money on? Renee Stribbell  37:43Oh geez, coffee cups. I love coffee cups, and I spend a ridiculous... and then I have too many. Dawn Taylor  37:52Yeah, yeah. Renee Stribbell  37:53But I actually pick a coffee cup depending on my mood that day. So I need a variety because some days I'm not.... Dawn Taylor  37:58Friend was over for coffee the other day and I have a bit of a bougie coffee setup going on, you've seen it. And I was like, what kind of, what's your mug style today? And she looked at me and she's like, 'oh, you get me'. Do you need one then like this, or angled like this, or you can hold with your hand like this? And she's like, 'oh, you're hilarious'. And I was like, it's a thing. I totally get this. I love that. What's your secret guilty pleasure way to decompress? Renee Stribbell  38:32I don't know if it's guilty... I'm not gonna say that one. Dawn Taylor  38:38You can, man. It's a rated R podcast. Renee Stribbell  38:43Let's just, okay. I'm a very sexual person. Okay, yeah. I ride my horse, dance in the kitchen by myself. Dawn Taylor  38:58I love you. Um, what purchase of $100 or less that you have made recently has most positively impacted your life? Renee Stribbell  39:07Geez, you're really getting good on these ones, hey? There's a book called The High Five Journal and it's written by Mel Robbins. And I love it. I write it in every day. Yeah. So, yeah I really like it. Dawn Taylor  39:23And what is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? Renee Stribbell  39:27Absurd, unusual habit? I don't know. I... that's a good question. Absurd thing that I love. Well-- Dawn Taylor  39:35Or like an unusual habit you have. Renee Stribbell  39:38You'd have to ask my boyfriend that question. I don't even know. I don't know. My son would probably... Oh, being inappropriate. Yeah, I think it's a habit because it just happens. I don't really have a filter and then I say something inappropriate. And I think it's hilarious, but not everybody does. Dawn Taylor  39:56You remind me of a twelve year old boy. Renee Stribbell  39:58Yeah. Right? Mom! Yes. Dawn Taylor  40:03That is awesome. Renee, thank you so much for being here. You are such a rock star and have fought so hard to get here. And I hope that this conversation hit somebody in the feels, that somebody learned something from it, or just looks at their meal a little different next time they go to look at it. But also if they know someone who has an eating disorder, that they'll have a different level of love and grace for them. An understanding of what it is that they're going through. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Please, please, please reach out to, I mean, OA, to either of us. All the contact information is in the show notes. There's also going to be really fun giveaway, little freebie for you, if you go to the show notes and click the link. Please listen wherever you hang out with your podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, on Spotify, or iTunes, wherever they are. And we'll see you again here in a couple of weeks. Dawn Taylor  41:06Thank you so much for hanging out with Renee and I today. I don't know about you, but it definitely made me look at food different and even at some eating disorder struggles in my own past. I hope that you are walking away from it with a few fun takeaways, maybe some deep conversations you need to have with yourself or others, and that you're around again in two weeks for our next episode. Check out the show notes located at TheTaylorWay.ca for your free fun download. I promise it's worth it. And for more information on Renee and how to find her.
02 - Knowing When To Quit with Jessica Hoover
15-08-2022
02 - Knowing When To Quit with Jessica Hoover
Dawn Taylor welcomes photographer Jessica Hoover to the show to explore what it’s like to quit something and make a major life change. Moving through significant career transitions can incur judgment from yourself and people around you, so Jessica shares her story and advice with Dawn.Jessica shares how she struggled, at 17, to rise to the pressure of finding her one lifetime career. She discusses how she didn’t have a sense that she was allowed to fail or change her mind. When she did settle into a career as a Registered Nurse, after eight years she started to realize she wasn’t her best self, she was taking her frustrations and anxiety out on her family, and she knew it was time for a change.Jessica and Dawn explore exactly what those feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness look like. Jessica details what her red flags were and what she wanted to change about how she showed up for her family. They dig deep into the amount of work a transition really is but also lay open how it can be done sustainably and without sacrificing security. This episode is a key support for anyone feeling at odds with where they are, or itching to make a change but feeling afraid of making that choice.About Jessica Hoover:Jessica Hoover is a Mom of 2 spirited girls, a wife to her supportive husband of 13 years, and a photographer who loves authentic people, starry eyed dreamers and meaningful moments. You can usually find her in her gardens, on a hiking trail in the woods, or in her kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She was a Registered Nurse by trade for 8 years before shifting careers into fashion and accessories for 7 years, and is now happily settled into her true love of photography. — Dawn Taylor - The Taylor Way: website | facebook | instagram | linkedinJessica Hoover: website | instagram | facebook TranscriptDawn Taylor  00:09Good morning. Welcome to the Taylor Talk Podcast. Today, we have the amazing Jessica Hoover on the show. And we are gonna dive into what happens when you know you need to quit something. What happens when you've gone to school, you've done a degree, you've done all the right things, and society is looking at you, as if everything is perfect, and you know it's not. What do you do and what goes with that? So please stick around. We are so excited to have you here. And after the show, listen for instructions on where to find a super fun giveaway. Dawn Taylor  00:51Hey, hey, hey, welcome to Taylor Talks. And as you just heard, I'm hanging out today with Miss Jess. And she's the most amazing, outstanding human. She's one of those people that when you... like, we never see each other, and the second we see each other it's like, we, like besties from a million years ago. No time has passed, even if it's been years. So we're here today to talk about a really cool topic that - seriously, I know I say this every time - but we need to be talking about this. This seems to be something that's going on. So tell me a little bit about your story and what you think we need to be talking about. Jessica Hoover  01:31All right, well, thanks for having me on the podcast, Dawn. I'm so excited. So I thought something that I wish I had known pretty much my whole life is that it's okay to pivot. It's okay to shift careers. It's okay to fail at things. And it's okay-- Dawn Taylor  01:54Wait, we're allowed to fail? Weird. Jessica Hoover  01:58And it's okay to move on past what you originally thought you were going to do in life. And how, like, your journey is a journey. It's not like a destination point where you just sit there, you get there, and then you're like, 'This is it. I'm here. Done.' That's not how things work. So I wish I had known that from a very young age. And yeah, it has taken a lot of years to figure out my path. Dawn Taylor  02:24Right. So I'm gonna guess, based on, like, our ages and kind of our lives as they've played out over these years, is you were probably raised a lot like me, where, you know, your parents had the same jobs forever. It was very, like, I remember having this thought growing up like, 'Oh, wow, like the career I choose, I'm in that till I die.' Jessica Hoover  02:48Huge amount of pressure with, like, deciding when you're 17 years old, 18 years old, like, oh, my gosh, I have to decide now what I want to do for the rest of my life. Dawn Taylor  03:01Can you imagine if all of our major decisions are made at 17? Jessica Hoover  03:05It would not be great. Dawn Taylor  03:10So talk to me about your let's start at your childhood. Like, how are you raised? What was the pressure? Like, what was going on at that point that caused you to make the choices you did. Jessica Hoover  03:23Cool. Yeah, so I actually had a really lovely upbringing, I was very, very fortunate. I had two working parents, two very hardworking parents, my mom was a receptionist for the Health Region at the time. And my dad was a full time photographer. So I saw them hustle their butts, like, all the time. All the time. And they kind of stuck with their careers for as long as I was born to the time that they retired. And growing up, you know, we were taught to work hard and do the things, but do the things that you know you can do well. And what I mean when I say that is, it's okay to, like, shoot for a goal, but shoot for that goal knowing that you can attain it. Because if you shoot too high, there's a chance that you might fail. And not that my parents ever said that to me. And they were always very encouraging to me and I probably like put that on myself a lot of the time. But I always put myself, or gave myself a goal, and knowing that I could attain it. Knowing that I would hit it so that I wouldn't fail, so that I wouldn't feel like a failure. And I think when, you know, you go through high school and I was a straight A student and I, you know, really pushed myself, I knew like oh my gosh, okay, so I have really great grades, I have to do something with these grades. I have to go to university. I have to choose this amazing career that I know will, you know, sustain me and my future family. Like I'm thinking, like, way ahead in my life when I was 17 years old. Dawn Taylor  05:02So let's look at that for a second. Look at that belief even that like, 'but I got good grades, so I have to'. Like just that belief alone, that some magical letter or number on a piece of paper, is setting a totally different expectation for you. Like society has put a different expectation on you based on that. Jessica Hoover  05:27And that's just the culture that has been created in, like, our generation and moving forward, too. I see it with our kids too, right? And so I knew right away, I was like, I gotta do something. So I actually kind of floated through my first year university thinking that I was going to be a psychologist, and went to university that first year, hated it. Totally hated it. Like, okay, so this isn't for me. Great. Thanks, mom, dad, definitely just spent a lot of money on that first year. Then I decided, you know what, I think I need a little bit of time. Because I can't, I couldn't decide at that point. I knew, like, my friends were moving on to their second year, and I was like, 'This is not for me, I need to figure this out'. So I actually worked for a year. That was hard. Figuring out life and working, that also was not great. But it actually made me stronger in a lot of ways. Because you have to figure out things like budgets, and you're kind of just used to it, at minimum wage, which is not a lot. So I knew that I didn't want to do something minimum wage. But I also didn't want to spend all my years in school, is really what it came down to. So I actually took another program that was like, 'Hey, I'm really great at sports. I'm gonna go into PhysEd, the PhysEd program'. I love that, it makes me happy. I'm gonna do that. Sure, I could end up being a PhysEd teacher. So I took a year doing that, and then, yeah, not for me. Still struggling, still trying to, like, figure out life at, you know, 18/19 at this point. And my mom on a whim just said, 'Hey, there's a nursing program'. There's a nursing program out of our small town that we grew up in, if you want to come and take it, you can actually get your diploma or your degree, and you can come back home, it's safe here, calm, you don't have to pay rent anywhere. Dawn Taylor  07:28Safe, it is safe! Jessica Hoover  07:31So I actually did that. So I was like, okay, I can do, I could totally do this. So I moved back home. I actually went and got my nursing degree. So I did go to the U of A. Like, you do two years in this program, this rural program, and then you go to the U of A, and I did my nursing degree. And I really loved it. It was actually fantastic. It was a great community. It was a solid job. And I got a job right out of school. Right? There was no questions, it was safe. It was totally safe. And I was a nurse for eight years. And it was hard, very, very hard. And mentally and physically, like, challenging. Challenging isn't even a good word for it. It's more than challenging. It is hard. And I did like it. But I had babies. And I knew that, like, in my heart, something needed to change, because I did not want to miss Christmases and birthdays and weekends. And I was working night shift and all kinds of crazy things. So something needed to shift for me. And that was really scary. That was really, really scary. Because remember, I like safe. Dawn Taylor  08:45I was gonna say safe hit the goal. Right? And now at this point in, you were married at this point? Jessica Hoover  08:52Yep. Yeah, we were married. And we had two baby girls. And I was still working. So I had actually decreased my FTE a little bit. And I was still working and juggling like, mom life, and wife life, and nursing career and all the things, and I was like I am burning out. I cannot do all the things and be all the things to all the people all the time. Still feel that a lot. Dawn Taylor  09:15Right? So for somebody listening who's in that position where they're like, huh, maybe I'm in a career that I hate, maybe I'm in this position where I'm, like, I can't and I don't want this. I don't want this. What were some of your red flags? What were some of your... those moments where you were like, 'Oh, wow, this is not where I am meant to be'. Jessica Hoover  09:38Yeah, I totally had those red flags. I pushed them down for a long time. I would wake up in the morning knowing that I had a shift scheduled and I would start feeling that nausea. Like I was so nauseous in the morning when I knew I had to go to work in the morning. And honestly I did love, I loved my workplace, I loved what I did. But there was like physical things that started happening to my body that were pretty much begging me not to go to work, is really what it came down to. So I feel like there was a lot of anxiety around that, too. Where that's that nausea, I just was a Grumpy Bear. Oh, Grumpy Bear is probably a nice way to say it. Dawn Taylor  10:26That was a very kind way probably to say what's really going on. Jessica Hoover  10:31I did find that I was taking out my emotions, my frustrations, out on my family, and I really didn't like that. So I would have, like, little angry outbursts at the kids, and they weren't even really doing anything. They were being kids, or I'd be snapping with my husband or, you know, just little things that, really, that was not me, that is not me. And so those were my huge red flags right away. I was pretty miserable as a person. I was great at work, because I could hold it together, and I could be all the things for everybody at work and for my patients that I was caring for - because you can't really lose it as a nurse, or at least I didn't want to, right? Because they're in a very vulnerable state when they're in the hospital or when they're sick. So I would find, like, this was my safe zone at home. And that's when all of the emotions came out. Right? Dawn Taylor  11:25Well because they're your safe people. Jessica Hoover  11:27Exactly, exactly. Dawn Taylor  11:29Right? You know, you can lash out at them, and they're still gonna love you for the most part at the end of the day. Jessica Hoover  11:33Totally. There was a lot of guilt around that though, because my babies were babies. They were little, right? So I knew that something needed to shift career-wise. I was already like a quite low FTE, so I knew that I couldn't go-- Dawn Taylor  11:48So what is FTE for anyone listening? Jessica Hoover  11:49So full time equivalent, meaning, like, how many days and how many hours a week you were. Dawn Taylor  11:54Okay. Jessica Hoover  11:55So I was already less than part time, so I could go casual. So that was kind of my next step. So when we talk about like, you know, as things start to change, I was full time, then I dropped a little bit to halftime, and then I was a little bit less, I was getting happier, the less that I was in the hospital setting, the less I was a nurse. And so I could see this change in my attitude, in my physical health. And, like, it was like a light bulb went off. I was like, I need to do something else, I need to figure out how I can transition from nursing into something else. And at the time, was I like consciously thinking these things? Probably not. But I am a doer. And I, like, see opportunities, I'm gonna take it. So I actually started a home based business. This was a quite a few years ago when that was kind of all the rage for new moms. And it took off, it took off very quickly. And I did very, very well. And I replaced my nursing income. And so at that point, when I replaced my nursing income, I was like, okay, I can let this nursing thing go. But in the meantime, I was juggling my house, my, you know, being a wife, being a mom to two kids, and nursing, and my other new business in fashion. And it was a lot. So I had all these things, all the balls that I was juggling, and I knew that I had to drop at least one and it wasn't gonna be my family. And it was my nursing career. Dawn Taylor  13:32So with that, we talk, we say it like it was this easy thing to do. But you and I both know that the little voice in the back of our head is like 'What, no, there's structure, there's security, there's a pension', right? What were the voices in your head saying? What were the judgments that you were fearing? All of those things that would stop you from moving forward or slow it down or would be stopping somebody else? Jessica Hoover  14:03Yeah. That's a great question. Because I had grown up with that safety mentality, right? It took a lot of years before I gave up my nursing career and shifted into the fashion industry side of things that I was doing. It was always the fear that I would not be able to help contribute to the family. Thankfully, my husband is, he does very well at his career, so I did feel like we always had a little bit of a safety net. But for me personally, because I'd always been a go getter and super hard worker, it was really very scary to take that on. And it took, I kid you not, years of like self development, lots of work on me, reading like very inspiring books that, you know, gave me the tools in order to be able to move my business forward so that I had the confidence to say, okay, I can make this work without my nursing career. But prior to that, it was really scary. I do remember, back when I had decided, like, I was going to actually, I was still casual, but I knew that I needed so many - you need so many hours as a nurse over a five year period. And I was kind of getting to that point where I either had to pick up my, like, pick up my socks, and work full time to get my hours as a nurse, or I was just gonna let it go. And I sat my husband down. And I said, here's the thing, this is really scary, and I'm terrified to even say it. But I need you at this point in our relationship - and we have been married for 13 years, so that was, oh we were maybe five years in, something like that, so still fairly young in a marriage - said, like, I need you to support me, not financially, I mean, that's great. But I need you to support me mentally in this decision of mine. And I literally told him what it looks like. So when I'm feeling like, oh my gosh, what did I just do, major panic, he needs to just say, 'It's okay, you've got this'. And to have somebody so like, I feel so so so fortunate to have somebody who does that, for me. He is my support. He is my rock when I am wavering and freaking out, because that happens. But to have that, to have someone say, like, you've got this, even though I knew I had it. But you still waver. To have somebody say that to you is huge. To have that support. Dawn Taylor  16:42It's so massive. So I can already hear it in the voices of people in my world being like, yeah, must be nice. So here are the really important parts that I want to pick out of what you just said that someone can take is, number one, tell them what you need. Right? And it doesn't matter if it's a spouse, if it's your parent, if it's a close friend, if it's a mentor, if it's a coach, it doesn't matter. Actually lay it out for them, tell them what you need. In our house we often call those codewords. Where if I am feeling like I'm melting, right, where it's like mentally, emotionally, physically, like, I'm not handling life today, I can walk up to my husband and just look at him and say melting. And he immediately knows what to do. Jessica Hoover  17:29Because you laid out that plan, right? Dawn Taylor  17:32Totally, we've discussed it in advance, we've laid out the plan. So he knows, okay, in this moment, I'm going to ask these five questions. And based on the answers, will, you know, dictate the direction I'm gonna go in. Do that, like, that's so important. And I don't think people realize how important that is. It is, it's true, no matter how confident we are, no matter how much we know we can do something. I remember telling a friend one time, I was like, I need someone outside of my husband to just, like, if I have a really phenomenal moment or week or win in my life, that I could phone them and have them like congratulate me. And he's like, 'Oh, can I be that person for you?' And we were really tight, and I said, 'Yes'. And I said, 'This is exactly what you need to say'. And he was like, 'What?' And I said, 'You did good, kid'. And he laughed at me, and I was like, 'No, seriously, like, that is what I need to hear. Because I don't have parents. I need to hear that'. And he went, 'Okay'. And it was really cute. For years, I would phone him with my wins. And he always had this pause and he'd go, 'You did good, kid'. And it meant everything. Jessica Hoover  18:48And it's something so simple. And it doesn't have to be this big long, really anything. For my husband, I just said, like, you just have to say 'You got this'. Right? Dawn Taylor  19:00That's it, right? It's this like couple little words that can completely, mentally, emotionally change the trajectory of where you're going in a day. Jessica Hoover  19:09100%. But I think the key, like you said, is realizing what you need. And then asking for it. It doesn't have to be a spouse. It doesn't have to be a parent. They really can be anything. But saying like, this is what I need to hear. It's huge, huge. Dawn Taylor  19:30So even as a friend, right? As a friend, if you have someone in your life that is going for a big shift or a big transition or a big change, ask them that question. Like, when you're reacting like this, when you're having this day, when you're feeling like this, what do you need from me? What specifically can I do or say to help you get through it? Jessica Hoover  19:56Yeah. Yeah, super powerful, too, as as that person being your support, to say, How can I help? What? What do you need from me? Dawn Taylor  20:09Oh, it's so powerful. So, back to those judgments? Did you feel judgments from people around you? Did you, right? The safety net, the people around you that are like, what the hell are you doing you crazy person, you have a dream job and you have the best paycheck. Right? What were the judgments that you got? Jessica Hoover  20:33I heard it all, to be honest. And even now, like, I have transitioned from that fashion industry into photography, and even now I hear it from people. And whether I'm internalizing that a little bit different than how they're intending it, that's a totally different thing. But they ask me, like, how come you left nursing? How could you leave that? It's such a good job. It's a steady paycheck, it's all the things that you just said. And believe me, I feel it. I can totally feel it. But the one thing that gets me through those judgments, is knowing that I was an unhappy person. I was not okay, back then. I might have been, like, yeah, I'm pretty good at putting it on. Like, I am very good at outwardly projecting that I'm okay. But inside I'm melting. It's a very good word, that might be my word, too. But having the strength to realize like, who I am now, versus who I was then, their judgments to be honest, don't really faze me. I think it was Brene Brown, actually, at one of the conferences that I was at, she was talking about people's opinions that matter most. And it's not this grand scheme of the Instagram world, or the Facebook world, or necessarily your coworkers or whatever, people on the street, that's you melting, whatever, it doesn't matter. The people's opinions that matter most are usually the people that you can write on a one inch square piece of paper. So maybe it's your spouse, maybe it's your best friend, maybe it's your dog, like the limit of, or the number of, people that actually their opinions matter are so so small. And the rest are projecting their own insecurities, their own fears, on to you and your life. And I now realize that those judgments that, to this day I still get... because photography is like this, like it is not steady income by any means. It's a good roller coaster, great roller coaster, it's a lot of fun. But it's a happiness journey. And it's a true to me journey that I can like put those judgments aside and say like, you know, it was great at the time. And I grew a lot from all the pivots and all the changes in my career path. But to who I am today, I'm a lot prouder of this person than this person who used to put on a facade that she was okay. Dawn Taylor  23:18I think there's, right? Which makes me so happy, by the way. There's such a judgment on, like, but you're not doing what you should be. Or this was my expectation of you. Right? But also on the financial of, like, but that security but but but... and it's like but what is the cost of your actual happiness? I'm not talking in a fluffy way. I'm talking in a genuine, are you loving what you do? Are you enjoying when you get up in the morning and going to work? Is that something that's actually feeding your, like, feeding you in any way, shape, or form? And you know what, sometimes we have parts of our jobs that we hate, we have bad days, we might even have bad weeks, but overall, if you despise what you do, or if you're going home at the end of the day - and this is something I say often to clients - is like if you have to go home at the end of the day and have a stiff drink to erase your day so you can handle your night with your family? Jessica Hoover  24:27That's a red flag. Dawn Taylor  24:28What are you doing? Right, that is a huge red flag. Jessica Hoover  24:34Yeah. Yeah. And I think too, like, people do think that there's an easy transition. Like, oh, okay, I know I'm really unhappy. I need to do something else. Oh, I'll just quit and pick up a camera and go take some pictures and it'll all just fall into place. And there is a-- Dawn Taylor  24:53You mean, it doesn't? It's not that magical? Jessica Hoover  24:58It's not that magical, no! I do wish that that was that easy. And for some people, it probably is, but for such a tiny little portion of people that it's not a reflection of what kind of struggles and planning goes into place when you do shift careers. So like I said, when I was a nurse, I worked multiple jobs, right? Like I was doing my nursing and my fashion business. And when I transitioned into photography, I was doing my fashion business and photography at the same time, so that I always did have a little bit of a buffer. Because part of me, I'm sure, is that it's a safety thing, too, righ? Like, knowing who I am, I like having that little bit of safety. But there's also a component of, like, actually making a smart choice and following your heart at the same time. Because--- Dawn Taylor  25:55Thank you! Okay can we just say that again? Making a smart choice, like an actual responsible adult choice, and following your heart. Jessica Hoover  26:06Totally. And I think the two of them go hand in hand, sometimes we want our heart to lead more or brain to lead more. And this for me is the safety, and this for me is like the dream or adventurer side of things. But you have to meet in the middle in order for it to work properly. Because it's not great when you don't have income and you can't afford food or you can't afford rent or, you know, there has to be a happy medium between the dream and the reality and being able to marry those two, if that makes sense. Dawn Taylor  26:41Oh, absolutely, it does. It's so many people in my life over the years, myself included, I've had times where I've had 2, 3, 4 jobs, right? Figuring out what I want to do, building a business, doing different things. And I've owned multiple companies over the years. But it is, there's the piece where it's like no, no, I actually have to pay my bills. So as much as this might be fun, or this is what everybody else is doing, or this is the direction everything's going in, you don't see the behind the scenes. You don't. So when you're on Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter, like it doesn't matter, Snapchat, you don't actually see the hustle. And I know it's the hated word right now, but it's legit. You don't see what's actually going on behind the scenes of the processes, the procedures, the networking, the learning, the growth, the education, all of the parts and pieces that have gone into what you're seeing. Jessica Hoover  27:41Right. It's a very like, that's the digital side of things that we're living in right now. Right? Where you, it's a highlight reel. We hear that all the time, right? All the socials are highlight reels. Not very many people post real life. Sometimes we do. But not day to day, you don't see that, you know, I'm up editing... the photography side of things is so beautiful, and the photos look so great and the day looks amazing... And there I am sitting, like, bloodshot staring at my screen, trying-- Dawn Taylor  28:11-- editing for 85 hours and realizing you've got no good photos of a specific thing. So how do you make this work? Jessica Hoover  28:18So you don't see all the behind the scenes hours. And, you know, all like you said, the networking or the, you know, I've done tons of education in order to get to where I am and I'm not done. Like learning is a lifelong thing. You can never get to a one point in a career and say like, oh, I'm done. That's it. Oh, I start school again in a week, right? Yep, never ending so. But when you find something that you do love, it feels a lot less like work and you're excited. And you can feel that passion come back and it rolls through your entire life, not just in whatever you decide as a career. Right? You see it in your household. You see it in your friendships, you see it in all components of your life. And that's the part, the heart part, that you want to bring to the smart part of your life. Dawn Taylor  29:15Yes, I love that. So if you were to give somebody one piece of advice around this, around the transition, around these crazy beliefs that you have to be in the same job for 45 years, what would you tell them? Jessica Hoover  29:32I really think that it's okay to be a dreamer. Like don't be afraid to dream big dreams. That is not what I'm saying at all. Make a plan more than anything. If you're going to dream big dreams, make a plan and start with small steps. So if you've got something that your heart is calling you to do, put that down on paper. I am so old school. Write out your goals, write out your dreams, and then make a tangible plan. Because in order to shoot really, really big, high dreams and reach them, you have to have a step by step plan. And those steps are going to sometimes go up and down and you're gonna veer to the left, when you should have gotten right. They'll change. But if you have that plan in place, you'll figure out a way to get there, while it still make sense for your life, and to be a sustainable path to get there. Dawn Taylor  30:36Well, and as someone who's also done the massive career shift multiple times, I think part of it is like - an average person, I remember hearing one time an average person right now has five careers in their lifetime, like, not jobs, full careers in their lifetime. And hearing that, and that was a massive shift from like, my childhood where an average person had two, and just even hearing that made me be like, Oh, okay, I've got a couple left in me. Right? Like, it's okay. It's not a thing of failure. I've changed, I've shifted, I've grown. I'm not the person I was when I chose that career. Jessica Hoover  31:15Exactly. Dawn Taylor  31:16And that's okay. That's actually a really beautiful thing. Jessica Hoover  31:19100% our generation, I feel like our generation is shifting quite a bit more. And that's also such a beautiful thing. Learning to ebb and flow is hugely important. It's not just incredibly important. Dawn Taylor  31:36Okay, so to finish this off, let's do some rapid fire questions. If you could have a giant billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it be? Jessica Hoover  31:47Oh, my goodness. I would love one day to have one of my photos on it, doesn't matter what. I don't have a specific one. It doesn't matter where. Even it can be in Stony Plain where I live, it doesn't matter. It's totally fine. Just one of my photos on a giant billboard. I love it. I'd be so happy. Dawn Taylor  32:10So what's stopping you? Jessica Hoover  32:11It hasn't really been one of my goals at this point. Maybe I'll just write it on my goals. Dawn Taylor  32:19It'll be easiest thing ever. You just like phone and book it. Buy yourself a billboard. That's amazing. I love that. When you feel overwhelmed and focused, you've lost your focus temporarily, what is it you do to get yourself back? Jessica Hoover  32:39It's usually around education for me. So I'll find something, it can be... doesn't even have to necessarily be photography, for me. It can be something that is a hobby or something that I need - it's usually creativity. Actually, that's what it is. Dawn Taylor  32:56Fair enough, me too. Jessica Hoover  32:57I'll need to... I won't show you around my crazy office. But there's like a sewing machine over there. See, I've got a bust over here because I like to design things. That'd be a creative side of things. And it helps me just recenter who I am, and get back to what I need to be doing. Dawn Taylor  33:16It's about that side of your brain. It's what I find. What is something you spend a silly amount of money on? Jessica Hoover  33:25Right now camera gear, probably. It's a silly amount. It's a necessary amount though, but it's probably... actually, no, that's not true. Right now it's currently the garden. Gardening. We're building, we're building garden boxes, and we're literally having dirt delivered this morning. It is expensive to garden. It just is. At least getting started. Dawn Taylor  33:57What is your secret guilty pleasure way to decompress? Jessica Hoover  34:02Okay, I... this one's hard for me. But I think it's TikTok. I'm a scroller. I don't make a ton of TikToks. But I just, it's, I don't know. I like the funny cute animal ones. I can't stop. Just all the baby animals. Give me a box of kittens. That's all I really want. Dawn Taylor  34:26What purchase of $100 or less has made the biggest impact on your life in the last six months or in recent memory? Jessica Hoover  34:36Oh my gosh, that is quite the question. Dawn Taylor  34:40I mean, it could be something as simple as like a coffee cup that makes you smile every day. Mine was a $50 art class during alcohol ink pouring. And it has turned into like this massive hobby. Jessica Hoover  34:55I love plants. So hi would say probably my plants. I, if I have, this is just a tiny bitsy one on my mirror, too. They're all over my house and having that green, even in the middle of winter, when things are not green, having... it just, it's fresh life to me. So it's probably a plant. That's realistic. Dawn Taylor  35:25I mean, you can see my office is full of plants. Okay, last one, what is an unusual habit or some absurd thing that you love? Jessica Hoover  35:36Oh my gosh, these are hard questions. It's not really a habit. But I really love to do this. I love baking sourdough bread. It's not unusual, but I make bread almost every day. If not every second day. It's started like two years ago, a year, year and a half ago with pandemic bread, COVID bread. But I love it. It is actually something that I feel like from scratch, I am contributing to my family - and I do a lot of cooking from scratch, almost all of our cooking is from scratch - but I love being able to have the smell of fresh bread in the house. Even though I don't eat it. But my family loves it. And to be able to give that to my kids as not just like fresh bread, but as a memory that they'll have. Dawn Taylor  36:30That's awesome. That is awesome. I love it. Jess, thank you so much for hanging out with me today and for talking about this. If you are curious, want to know more about Jess, her businesses or photography, anything and everything she does, check out the show notes. Where can people find you? Where are you hanging out? Jessica Hoover  36:50Yeah, so I'm on Instagram a lot at Heart Gate Photography. Also on Facebook, and then my website, www.heartgatephotography.ca. Dawn Taylor  37:02Beautiful. So go check her out and give her some love. And maybe you'll just see her face on a billboard, or one of her photos on a billboard one day soon. Talk to you guys later. Jessica Hoover  37:13Thanks, Dawn. Dawn Taylor  37:14Thank you so much for hanging out with Jessica and I today. I hope that you have a few amazing takeaways you can maybe help yourself in making a decision in your life a little bit different, and are still here in two weeks for our next episode. Check out the show notes located at TheTaylorWay.ca for your free fun download. I promise it's worth it. And if you want to get a hold of Jessica, all of her info is in there as well. She's an amazing photographer. Subscribe now on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast. And if you love the show, it would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or review. Talk to you guys soon.
01 - Drug of Choice with Kimberley Valerie
15-08-2022
01 - Drug of Choice with Kimberley Valerie
Content Warning: Direct discussions of childhood abuse and violence.Dawn Taylor welcomes Kimberley Valerie to the show to explore how early life trauma created Kimberley’s addiction to over-achieving. Dawn and Kimberley discuss the events, feelings, and deep denial that put Kimberley in a perfect storm of doing too much all the time as a way of coping.Kimberley’s childhood was filled with siblings she was parted from, a frequently absentee mom, physical violence, and extreme poverty. After she was beaten and placed in foster care, she received praise for good grades from the social worker who had helped her. She describes that moment as her first hit. It led to her chosen drug of achievement, recognition, over-work, and accolades.Kimberley and Dawn explore all the ways in which trauma leaves a lasting imprint on someone’s life. Kimberley shares her particular insight into how the addiction to always be going, achieving, earning, creating, and working can be just as toxic and destructive as drug or alcohol addiction. And she has advice for how to spot the same denial-based masking and trauma responses from forming in your own life.About Kimberley Valerie:Kimberley Valerie was born in chaos, poverty and abuse. After suffering a horrific beating by her mothers boyfriend at the age of thirteen, she was then placed in foster care, never to live with her family of origin again. Out of her own lived experience, combined with her professional training, she now mentors other high performance, driven individuals to write their own WEALTH AND LIFE EXPANSION story through personal development, growth, healing and serving.Credentials: Social Work, Certified Practitioner in S.I.T., NLP, Hypnotherapy, Life and Success Coach, TIME Techniques, and EFT.— Dawn Taylor - The Taylor Way: website | facebook | instagram | linkedinKimberley Valerie: website | instagram TranscriptDawn Taylor  00:09Hey, hey, hey, you're welcome to The Taylor Talk. Today we have the amazing Kimberley Valerie on the show. She is a true rags to riches story, but her journey was a little different than anyone else's. I mean, like most of us. But her drug of choice, not what you're thinking. Stick around as we dive into this amazing topic, and really get into the nitty-gritty of what got her where she is, what she learned, some warning signs for people maybe going through the same thing. I'm really excited for you to hear this episode, it was a blast to record. And after the show, listen for instructions on where to find a super fun giveaway. Hey, hey, hey, welcome to The Taylor Talk. I am so so honored to be sitting here with the beautiful Kim. And she is a wealth leadership mentor. You already just heard her amazing bio and who she is. So let's dive in. The drug of choice - and no, we're not talking about heroin. Kimberley Valerie  01:13It sure feels like it in my veins, though. I don't know. I've never done heroin. Thank you for having me. Yes, my drug of choice. I love this conversation. Dawn Taylor  01:24So we're here for hard topics, hard conversations. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Let's dive right in. So we.... in your bio and when we were chatting, your drug of choice was work. Kimberley Valerie  01:38Yes. Oh my gosh, I, you know, well, being a high achiever was a label somebody put on me, and then I grabbed it, but I loved achievements. I loved goals. I loved the pr... but I didn't connect all of that to anything destructive. I kind of, one of the phrases I use as I started to get - and I'll go backwards is to share some where it came from - but as I started to get this revelation, and this understanding, it was like, these were my trauma responses. I was fueled by trauma, and I was rewarded by society. And what was happening through the course of 30 years, is all of the accolades, all of the successes, all of the things that, you know, people look to do in their lives, all the things that motivated me, all that kind of stuff... it really was fueled by trauma. And as much as I did not want to acknowledge that. And the weird thing is because society rewards it with, you know, promotions, money, accolades, reputation, adoration, whatever, all that shit, it's, like, it's a positive thing, right? My trauma was not being lived out the way society typically sees it. It was not being lived out in a self destructive - it was self destructive, but it did not appear that way - so I wasn't involved.... And I haven't even had very many toxic relationships with family members, friends, or intimate partners, which is also very bizarre, right? Because usually, this is where you see trauma working itself out. Right? Dawn Taylor  03:18You mean you didn't fit in the mold of what a textbook said we should be? Kimberley Valerie  03:23Right. And this was the thing. So I lived my life, the majority of my life, with this, I would call it this disbelief. But it was a state of denial, like 100% denial, this is why I call it kind of a drug of choice. Because it was a choice, yes. But there's a denial phase, kind of the intervention, the healing, and then the awakening, kind of is all the different pieces. But of course, you don't see that till after. Dawn Taylor  03:52Oh never. We never see it till we're on the other side of it, right? Kimberley Valerie  03:56Right. Dawn Taylor  03:56Let's start with the trauma. Right? I don't think - I mean, as a trauma specialist, I see this every single day with clients, right - is the trauma responses that people are living in and how that dictates the decisions that they're making, what they're doing, it's like a giant filter over their lives that is affecting them, right? So I know you said you're going to, like, we're going to be vulnerable and dig here. So let's go to your childhood. Where did this all start? Kimberley Valerie  04:23So I was, you know, and that's the thing, right? And you kind of roll your eyes, it's like, oh yeah, childhood trauma. But, I mean, the reality is, whatever's going on in your life it starts in childhood, maybe even before, and carries over. So, as cliche as it is, I was born to a very young mom, I'm a twin, so we were her firstborn. She was 18 - 18 when she got pregnant, 19. By the time she was 22, I think there was 5 of us. And so we were born into an environment, and I was born, my siblings and I, all of us, were born into a very chaotic unstable home life to parents who were not prepared in any way, shape, or form to provide structure, security, stability, all that kind of stuff. So our beginning was very chaotic. We moved a lot. There was lots of addictions with my parents, domestic abuse, just all of that kind of feel, if you will, right? And I still, we still kind of say to my mom, every now and then, like, how did you move so much? Moving is expensive, and there was five of us, and we were poor. We were poor, dirt poor. Nobody worked, right? They all just lived off welfare back then, or whatever scam they could, you know, all that kind of stuff. But we moved a lot. So we didn't have a lot of stability. And then my mom... my father left, of course, that relationship didn't last long. And then my mom remarried. And the fellow she remarried was alcoholic as well, but what happened is my mom ended up leaving us, so five of us, well, four of us because one of our - one of my siblings was actually given away for adoption, like, you would give a kitten to a neighbor. Dawn Taylor  06:05Oh, wow. Kimberley Valerie  06:06Yeah. Like.... Dawn Taylor  06:08Because there's a whole different level of trauma, because there's fear of abandonment and rejection, and what if we're the next one? Kimberley Valerie  06:15There's, yeah, so there's five of us and then there's four. Then my mom leaves, she's, you know, she's struggling with all of her own shit, right? She has a father that died when she was young, yada, yada, she has her own story. She's struggling with addiction. She leaves and leaves us with my stepfather who, of course, now one of my siblings is his child. Okay, so he stays to take care of this little group of kids, little litter of kittens, but he's heartbroken because he's loved my mom, and he's an alcoholic, but he does have a job. So he spends his days working and his nights drinking because his wife left him with this, you know, gang or litter of kids. And he's heartbroken and he's, again, his own shit, right? And leaving the four of us to our own, yeah... Anyway, my sister, my younger sister she has, like, PTSD from our childhood, just from the siblings and having no parents. I say that kind of tongue in cheek, but it is very serious.  Anyway. So my mom returns about a year later. Now I'm about 12. My mom returns and when she returns, my stepfather leaves and my mom takes her rightful place as matriarch of the family. Now remember, you know, she's been kind of gone, both emotionally and physically, for quite some time. She shows back up and she brings this guy with her. And I'm 12 and I've been the mom. I've been, this is my gang now, these are my kids, right? And so she shows up and tries to exert her authority and right in the castle, and, of course, I'm 12/13 - well, I was 12 - and her boyfriend doesn't like me. And he... well, first he wants me to drug deal for him. I tell him to go pound sand, you know, there's all.... then he tries to make some sexual advances at me, I get a little physical with him, I tried to tell my mom, she doesn't believe any of it, you know, this relationship between him and I became very strained. The relationship between my mother and I was strained. And one night, in the middle of the night while I was sleeping - and this is a bit of a kind of trigger warning for anybody that's listening, because it is very graphic what I'm about to share, and I do share the graphics of it for a reason - so in the middle of the night, I was dead asleep with my sister and my brother. Now there was only three of us remained in my family home, because my other brother was a juvenile delinquent and was now in, you know, a youth detention center. So there's three of us were being in the home. And in the middle of the night, my mom's boyfriend, my mom and him had come back home, they had both been intoxicated, he dragged me out of bed in the middle of the night and beat me almost to death. And my sister and my brother were in the bedroom. My brother was trying to keep my sister quiet, so that... because she's younger, right, the one sister that was raised with us, she's five years younger. My mom was in the kitchen. The only two things that I remember.... so the piece about my brother keeping my sister quiet, that was what my siblings told me. I don't have any recollection of that. I had suffered severe head injuries so I was in a coma. My mother, after the fact, was the one to tell me that she saved my life by calling an ambulance. That's what actually saved my life in that moment. And so, as you can imagine, so I'm 13 years old, I have suffered severe head injuries from a severe beating, of course they're not gonna let me back home, right? Authorities, called them in the hospital... but they don't take my sister or my brother away, go figure. Just me. Dawn Taylor  09:39Gotta love the system. Kimberley Valerie  09:40Nobody goes to jail. Nobody gets charged. They just take me and put me in foster care. And that's really where, kind of, the heart of the trauma starts being born in an extremely chaotic environment, but the actual trauma of being dragged out of my sleep in the middle of the night, and then, of course, badly beaten. And my mum is still alive, she's 72 or something, she has dementia. And it was just a few weeks ago, I had asked her, I said, 'Mom' - because I've asked her this over the years, you know - 'what was your, what was going on for you when you're watching Bob, the guy, - sorry I shouldn't say, well it doesn't matter, I call him the monster - while you're watching him beat me up, like what? What was going through your mind?' And she said, 'Honestly, Kimberley, from the moment I brought him home, I knew he was going to kill you one day.' And she says this still in her 70s with dementia. And remember, she said that that's why she feels she saved my life that day. So do you see the perspective difference? She's thinking she saved my life. Because she said 'I knew in my gut that he was going to kill you'. And he did murder our neighbor, and went on to murder an old lady, like, he is a monster, like, hands down. So that's, you know, that's the kind of big trauma. So connecting that to my drug of choice, right? And so, that's my big T, that's one of the big Ts.... there's many things.... Dawn Taylor  11:01I was gonna say, when we, when we're raised with a childhood like that, I love - you and I both, like we've chatted before - when you have the level of trauma that some of us have had in our lives, we glaze things. Like we talk through things in the funniest way, like, 'oh, and then this happened, and then this happened'. And it's like, because it's so normal for us. Kimberley Valerie  11:26Yeah, but people were like *gasp*, and so I have come to now say 'I'm gonna, this is going to be a bit of a trigger warning, because I'm gonna get graphic about what happened'. And I don't do it for theatrics. I do it so that people really see or feel the context of what life was like. And even from my mom's perspective, right? Like, these are decisions that she has to live with her entire life. You know, I have to deal with the results of it. But she has to deal with the fact that she was responsible for us. And these are choices she made. And that, to me, you know, when I had my forgiveness moment with my mom in my 20s, like true true forgiveness, that's what probably broke my heart most. Right? I, you know, I have all my own shit to go through because of the result of these choices. But as a mother, she has to live with that. And so that's her ghost, right? Anyway. Dawn Taylor  12:21Can I just say, though, really quick - congrats on having that moment, and being able to see that perspective. Because that is one of the most powerful things ever when you've gone through trauma, is to be able to see the perspective of the other characters in the play. Kimberley Valerie  12:35Isn't that the truth, though? I still remember like it was yesterday. You know, the forgiveness and being able and that feeling in me, because up until that point in my 20s I was always mad at her for not being the mom that she should have been. Right? Dawn Taylor  12:52That you needed. Kimberley Valerie  12:53Right? Yeah, like even in the basics. Nevermind, you know, all the other, you know, all the other ways that glamorized what having a mom, you know, my best friend's mom, right? Like, she's the perfect mom cooking in the kitchen, whatever that was when I was a kid, you know, those things. Whatever my mom wasn't, you know, my girlfriend's mom was, and that's what I thought a mom should be, all those things. So anyway, the point being is so then I'm in care, foster care, and it's about a year in or whatever, and we go to court because you have to go to court every so often. This was my first hit. This is described as my first hit. Okay, so I'm in the courthouse, in the courtroom, and my social worker says to the judge, 'Oh, you know, this is Kim, whatever, blah, blah, blah, and look at her report card. She's such a great student, everybody, all the teachers'... she started going on about me to the judge. And I remember standing there awkward, like feeling really awkward, like, what are you doing? And because remember, my whole experience up till this time... and I also had a teenage experience right before I was beaten up, where, so part of my ethnic culture, I'm part Native Indian, and I lived on reserve, and there was a group of Native girls, teens, who physically looked Native, whereas I never did, I was always blond hair / blue eyed. They beat the shit out of me. So, like, probably maybe six months before the actual big... So I have these, I've had these experiences that I don't belong, you know, both with my family and my peers, and, you know, I don't want any attention on me because it has never been good. And so I'm standing in the courtroom feeling all, like, weird and awkward. And I say to my social worker, why are you saying that? Like kind of like, why are you saying that? And he says because the judge never, very rarely, does the judge get to see good things in the system. So then the judge starts commenting, right, giving me accolades, and then I remember literally feeling proud. Somebody in my life finally is acknowledging me for good things. Dawn Taylor  13:15They're seeing you. Kimberley Valerie  13:27Mmmhmm, and that's when the first hit. That was my first hit. Really, right? And so it started to climb from there. And the interesting thing was, is by the time I was 17, in grade 12, I was the most popular person at school. People, right? It was like, the more I was great at school and great socially, the more people attracted to me, and it was like, 'Oh, she's doing well,' it got associated with doing well. So even though I had ABC or come from XYZ, she's doing well. Dawn Taylor  15:31I was gonna say from zero to 14 was hell. But man, can I get an A plus on a report card. Kimberley Valerie  15:38Well, right. And so this became, and this just really followed me. Not - I wouldn't say deliberately or intentionally, because I had some crashes and burns as a young adult, you know, 17/18, and things like that - but I had that, like, I'm going to do that next thing that people don't think I can do, or I'm going to do that thing that's maybe... I mean, my first job as a young adult was at a bank. I mean, I came from places, my mom ripped off banks, right? So for me to work in a bank, I was like, 'This is prestigious'. And so this became, this became the MO. And it just... one thing after another. Dawn Taylor  16:16So with that drug of choice, because we are so raised this way... there's... but it's productive in all areas, right? So you have these, you have people on social media where it's like, 'Oh, I got a like, oh, I got a comment, oh, okay I'm good, my numbers, my whatever', right? Like, it's those hits. Kimberley Valerie  16:36Yeah, it literally is like an addiction, it's a little dopamine hit. Dawn Taylor  16:40It totally is. It's this wild dopamine hit. Oh, you lost weight. Oh, okay, now you have more worth, Oh, you did this, now you have more worth. Oh, you got a promotion, oh we're gonna celebrate you. Not for being an amazing human, not for volunteering or donating or just being a good person... Kimberley Valerie  16:59Just being, just because.... Dawn Taylor  17:01Just being... just being alive. Kimberley Valerie  17:02Just because you're human being, yeah. Dawn Taylor  17:05Right? And you've survived up until now. But it's, we're so attached to that. So when society is celebrating that so hard, and you're pushing so hard, so you went on to be a social worker, you went on to get all kinds of schooling and degrees and all these things? Kimberley Valerie  17:21Well, I was just gonna say, you know, I got married, and my husband had three kids, I had one, I got married. And I tackled our family like a business, my husband and I did, right? I mean, we have four kids, blended family, everybody's bringing their trauma into it. Everybody's got stuff - abandonment, all that, some of us are aware of it, you know, it's just a kind of mess. I spent 10 years committed to my family, and doing, you know, him and I sorting out who's gonna take care of what, while he was blazing his trail in his business, he took the financial burden on, right? Working 90/100 hours a week. I mean we were broke, we were broke as fuck, like, my daughter to this day at 36 is stuck in a money story from a situation we had when she was eight. Like, we were broke, broke, broke. I know, I have paid for her therapy on it, too, just so you know, because I caused it. But anyway, the point being is that I attack that. So for 10 years, I just immersed myself in motherhood, and being a great leader in our home, and working through my shit, because as we all know, kids bring up all of our traumas and triggers. That's where myself, that's where my personal growth started. Because you're forced to, at least I felt compelled to, react to this monster that was erupting in me because of my children's behavior. Like if they weren't behaving, or if their behavior triggered me, then I was like, 'Why am I behaving' you know. And so that's where my personal growth really started. And then by the time they became teens, preteens kind of, my son - his biological father passed away unexpectedly when he was very young - and so he started to go spend summers away with his dad's side of the family. My daughters were now preteen so they had their own life, and I found myself with no time, like, all kinds of time, and nothing to do because my.... and so this is when I went into social work. This is when I started to now jump into the field. I came from a place of trauma, I came from a social worker that helped me, this totally aligned. And this is really where the amazing, or the power of your subconscious, and the power of conditioning, creating the filter for which you view the world... this just blows me away. So I go into social work school, but I'm like, I'm not going to work in child welfare. No way, right? I grew up in that, I'm not working in it. But you have to do a stint in there as a student, at least back then, because a lot of the populations that you end up working with as a social worker, end up having some kind of interaction, quite likely with a government agency. So I go into this student practicum for six weeks. Dawn, it fits me like a glove. It is like I was born for the job. The bosses are like, 'Wow, you're a student? You belong here. We have a spot for you.' You see? This hit, bingo, right? You belong here. Look at how good you are. But the funny thing is, I felt it. I was like, I am fucking good at this. And I excelled in that environment for 15 years. I got promotions, I got accolades, I got reputation, I had great work relationships with colleagues, it was the time of my life. I felt unstoppable. Right? And people would be, like, you're really, you manage the stress well. Like they're associating, they don't see this destructive, externally destructive thing, so that in all of that there's something on the inside of me. Through all of these years, there's something on the inside of me, I would just, I used to run all the time. I am not, I do not have - for those that can't see me - I do not have a runner's body, quote/unquote. I mean, I know yes, we all do, because we all run. But I'm not, like, designed for running. I am designed for weightlifting, I am short and strong. And I used to run, I used to run all the time. And people would say, like, why - and I'm not even good at it, like I don't do it fast or anything like that - and people would say, 'Why do you run?' And this would be my answer - and as a trauma therapist, you'll get this right away - my answer, in my denial phase, of course, was 'it would be the only way I could actually remove the built up physiological energy that builds in me in a day'. That would be the only way that I could get rid of that. No matter that I was, you know, working full time, raising kids, doing all those other things, owning businesses, I still had to run in order to feel- Dawn Taylor  21:52- is it safe to say safe in your own head? Kimberley Valerie  21:55But I didn't know it was that. It was an order to sleep at night. But what I came to resolve... so right, so I still remember telling people that: 'Oh, I run because of the physiological energy that builds up in me in a day, it's the only way to spend it'. Dawn Taylor  22:09I need the release. Kimberley Valerie  22:10Yes. Dawn Taylor  22:11It's the only way for me to get that physical release. I hear it all the time. Kimberley Valerie  22:14Right. This is a trauma response. But I couldn't, I didn't know this. I lived in trauma, I worked in trauma, I was trauma informed, I had forgiven my mother, I was in relationship with all my family members, I was financially successful, relationally successful. Why would I think that I'm struggling with trauma or unmet needs? Dawn Taylor  22:36Okay, so here's where I'm gonna pause you. People listening to this, pay attention to this. It's not just the person with the eating disorder, it's not just the person who's attempting suicide, it's not just the person who's the closet alcoholic. It's not something that you can easily see from the outside. And the most trauma-informed people on the planet have no idea what is going on half the time with this. The trauma responses we have in our day to day life are so much bigger than we realize. Kimberley Valerie  23:05Like, and so when you said the word safe before - you said I ran to feel safe - this is the thing even now, today, many years later, the word safe to me does not.... I have no connection to the word feeling safe or unsafe. And I think that, for me, was where my denial was, I didn't connect with that word. I grew up in an environment that was constantly unsafe, but it became my normal. So I always felt safe. Dawn Taylor  23:34Oh, 100%. Kimberley Valerie  23:34Even though I experienced unsafe moments, I still had... this became my level of, my nervous system kind of adjusted its, like, alerts, right? Oh danger, danger. It was numb to it. So I didn't, I couldn't... I mean, I could sit in a room with gang members, and I'm taking their children, and they're threatening to kill me and I did not ever feel like I was in danger. You know what I mean? And I was just talking to my girlfriend yesterday about this. I said, that should be a clue that something's off. Like red flag. Like if I'm not feeling a sense of danger. So this was the discovery for me. So I'm in a place of denial, I'm coming up 50, I have it all basically, by the world standards, and even my own by then, right? I'm highly educated, very successful, I own a couple businesses. I've left now my career as a social worker. We're moving into the entrepreneurial space, my husband's been an entrepreneur our entire life. We travel when we want, where we want. I got, I think at that point, I have five grandchildren, like, I mean... Dawn Taylor  24:43You're killing it. Kimberley Valerie  24:44Yeah, right? Dawn Taylor  24:45In the views of anybody and everybody around you, you are killing it. Kimberley Valerie  24:49And all the while people like, you know, my bestie, a few, you know, hippies would say to me, like, you really should try meditation, and I'd be like, 'Yeah, fuck you'. I'd be like.... right? I don't understand what sitting still has to do with anything. I don't understand. And, you know, oh my gosh, its just so adorable when we're in the denial phase in some ways, right? Dawn Taylor  24:50It's my favorite. I see it every day, right? It's like, 'Oh, you're so cute. Just wait till you have your eye opening moment.' Kimberley Valerie  25:18Okay, so then I'm 50, something's off, I'm not feeling well, yada, yada, yada. I go - series of events with doctors naturopath, because I'm not really a western medicine kind of girl - and we find out that I have breast cancer. And so at 50 years old, I get diagnosed with breast cancer. And that fucking laid me up. Because now I, like, physically couldn't actually... I was training for an Ironman, running two businesses, traveling, I couldn't do any of it. Everything had to be... I had to, I mean, I spent 15 years in crisis management, so, you know, figuring out how to handle all those things was fine, but the fact that I couldn't actually do them was the problem. Because. Dawn Taylor  25:57So getting diagnosed with the cancer, having that moment, getting knocked on your ass, all of those pieces, where did your head go in that? Kimberley Valerie  26:05You know? At first, it wasn't a why me? I've never really got to like, 'Oh my God, why me?' I was like.... Dawn Taylor  26:13Well, you're not a victim. Kimberley Valerie  26:14Yeah, no. I can't be a victim. Dawn Taylor  26:17Well, no, that's like - and that's the thing a lot of people don't realize, is in that hyper level of control, to manage and handle your mental headspace when you've had that level of trauma, a lot of people, it's like a giant FUCK NO to being a victim, like they will not. Which is one of the reasons why it's so hard to slow down when we get sick, or stay down when those things happen, because there's almost like a transactional love aspect to it of, like, but I have to perform. I have to show up, I have to work this hard, I have to hit these deadlines. I have to have this much money in my bank account, hit these goals, whatever it is, to be worthy, to be enough, to be loved. Kimberley Valerie  27:01But at that point, I didn't even have that kind of connection to it. I didn't... I never ever thought I needed to have X amount of money or I needed to have this kind of love or attention. That's how much in denial I was. I didn't realize that I was pursuing-- Dawn Taylor  27:16--like superstar denial. So you got like A plus even in your denial. Kimberley Valerie  27:20I never thought of it like that. Like, I wasn't even, like, it wasn't.... this isn't my.... this is the thing is I've never even been like, 'Oh, I want I want a million dollars. I want $100, I want', you know this.... I never... Iron Mans, yes. Physical things would be more like specific goals. It would just be, like, 'Oh, I think that sounds cool to do. I'm gonna go try to do that', kind of thing. Right? And so it was like, I didn't even know that I was seeking it. That's what I mean. Like, that's how in denial I was. And when people were trying to tell me that I needed to slow down, connect with my breath, you know, things like that, I was like, 'You guys are all just jealous. You're just lazy.' You're just lazy. I'm just... you're just, you feel bad when you're around me because you're not doing so much, or whatever. And it was just, it was obtuse. I know that now, I see that now. But it was.... that's what happens when you're so in denial. Dawn Taylor  28:13You are everybody else walking around, right? Kimberley Valerie  28:16You're just so in denial. Dawn Taylor  28:17So many people. Kimberley Valerie  28:18Gosh, it's like I laugh every now and then. My best friend, she's like, 'Yeah, it was kind of like I could see the train wreck coming, but...' I tried everything I could to stop it. Anyway. So the process of going through treatment and recovery really fucks you up, as you know, you've been through your own hell and back with different health scares. And that really started to change things for me, slowly though. It wasn't... it wasn't an about face. And I remember one of my dear friends is a clinical social worker who specializes in trauma counseling, she was sitting with me after my mastectomy, and I remember saying, like, 'I don't understand, I don't understand, like, people go through cancer and have these a-ha moments', and they're all like, 'Oh, it's such a beautiful journey and blah, blah', and I'm like, I don't fucking get it, my life was great. I don't understand. What is gonna get better? And she's so patient and kind. And she's like, well, you know, everybody's journey is on a different track. Your a-ha moment might come later, it might, you know, different times... you know, very..... and I was like, 'Yeah, well, I need it now. Because, you know, kind of what's the lesson here?' Right? Because that's kind of how I lived most of those, any of those kinds of, like, rough patches that I went through over the years, you know, it's always like, 'Hey, what's the lesson', the pivot thing, right? What's the lesson? What do I need to learn so I can keep moving? I don't fit in shit for too long. Dawn Taylor  29:39I'm the same. Kimberley Valerie  29:41And then when I got diagnosed with cancer, the kids came over, everybody. I said, 'We got three days'. I still did that. Three days. We can live in this shit for three days, but then it's time to make a plan. Dawn Taylor  29:51My answer is 47 minutes. I'm going to have the world's biggest pity party. Like, I'm going to whine and cry and wail and probably in a hot bath with a bucket of ice cream, like, but like, I'm gonna set a timer, like 47 minutes. This is gonna be fucking dramatic. Kimberley Valerie  30:06I love it. So random. 47 minutes. Dawn Taylor  30:11It came out of a hard time one time, where my husband actually said to me, he was like, 'Okay, yes, this is happening, yes, this is horrible. But how long are you going to live in it for?' And I was like, 'As long as I want!' And he's like, well you're in a hot tub and the bath water is gonna get real cold soon. He's like, 'You have an hour, or something, or 15 minutes', and we ended up, like, negotiating and compromising on 47 minutes, and that has been the joke for 20 years. Kimberley Valerie  30:37That's beautiful. Mine was three days. Although I think 47 minutes is better because in three days when you're wallowing, you can spend a lot of money. You can spend a lot money. Dawn Taylor  30:46You can spend a lot of money-- Kimberley Valerie  30:47--eat a lot of carbs--- Dawn Taylor  30:48You can get.... and you can get real dark. Real dark. Like I've always said that to people, like Day One, I'm fine. Day Two of wallowing.... I'm like, oh boy... because if I hit day three, I'm out for a week. Kimberley Valerie  31:00Day three, I don't think I lasted, I think my daughter lasted three days, but I don't think I did. Because it was.... actually at one point my husband, he's like, 'Okay, I know this is, like, it's devastating for all of us, but we still have to pay the visa bill, you know that.' The online shopping for tools. .....So, yeah, even in that it was like so I can't sit shit. Anyway. So the trip through cancer has been five years, I'm coming up five years, but this is where the real learning came. It's over the course, and very slowly, of five years. And this is what started... as I started, okay, I gotta just back this up. My first appointment.... So as I went through cancer treatment, and tried to figure out what I can do to be healthy, right? To reduce, relapse, to reduce all of that, the reoccurrence, all that kind of stuff. I started to get into health and food, and I started to understand cellular energy, and the cells, of our actual physical body. So I went to see an acupuncture and I saw Vanessa - V, sorry - the urban witch. And first time I met her, and where I'm in a room and she says to me, she's doing all this stuff, whatever, and she goes, 'Tell me about why are you here'. And I said, 'Well, I just want to make sure all my cells are, like, as healthy as they can be, for, like, you know, reducing cancer'. Dawn Taylor  31:01Not doing this again. Kimberley Valerie  31:03I'm not doing this again. I gotta do what I can. And she said, 'Okay', and then she lies me down the table, she does some things, and she says, 'Tell me what happened when you were 13'. And I said, 'Oh', and I start to... this is what, 'Oh, I was beaten up, blah, blah, blah'. And she goes, 'No, no, no, tell me about your sister'. And nobody's ever known. Nobody's ever, like, talked or asked questions about the impact, okay, of that event when I was 13. And I said, 'Oh, well, what about her?' And she goes--- Dawn Taylor  32:47--well, because as a twin--- Kimberley Valerie  32:48Well my twin is my brother, but he's older. My sister that was raised with us, is five years younger, and she was my sidekick, right up until I was 13. And she said, 'Tell me what happened with her'. And I said, 'Oh, well, she stayed at my, she stayed with my mum and the monster', because I had said something about being beaten up, blah, blah, blah. And she goes, 'Hmm', and she goes like that. And in an instant, my unconscious mind opened something up to me that I never connected. So one of the things that happened when I was beaten up and recovered and in my foster home - and I knew the story because my sister and I had talked about the story over the years, but it was like periodically, because this stuff doesn't come up regularly - what had happened is when I was in my foster home, and I was fully recovered, I was terrified for my sister because I had been almost killed by this guy that was still in the home. I had actually gone to her school and stolen her and brought her to my foster home when I was 13. Of course you're not allowed to raise your siblings at 13. The police were called, she was returned home to my mom. So, I'm laying on the table, now I'm 50 - I'm laying on table at 51 - laying on the table and this random acupuncturist asked me what happened with my sister when I was 13. And in an instant my subconscious opened up to me. The reason why that job at Child Welfare fit me like a fucking glove, is because I needed to save my sister. I spent 15 years trying to complete that loop, trying to complete that pattern. But I was so unaware of it. It was so ingrained, and so part of the filter that I lived my life, that I didn't even... it was like the color of my skin, the color of my eyes, you don't even notice it. And in that moment when I had that - this acupuncturist had no idea okay, this was all going on inside my head, my subconscious, it was like I was ready, it was like I was finally ready to see how powerful our body absorbs information, creates our reality, and says then, 'This is how you made decisions through your whole life out of this lens'. And it was so powerful to be in that split second, not only because of the sister thing, so you can bet when I phoned her and told her that she was bawling. Because her and I have had many fights over the years. Have you ever doubted I loved you sissy? You need to know I spent my whole career trying to save you. You know what I mean. But that's why I was so good at that job. That's where I started to recognize it was because of the need from my trauma, right, it needed to complete that loop of saving my my sister. It needed to make sure she was safe, I was safe. Everything I did as an adult, or from a kid from that moment, to even now, my nervous system filters everything based on being a protective factor, right? Because... and so that was the skew. So that's how I saw the world. That's just... and then I realized, 'Wow, imagine what decisions I would have made in my life had that filter not been there, and I had a different filter.' And then I started to explore that even more and more. And so I started to unpack how my trauma affected me. And that's when I realized it's these unmet needs of being seen, of being safe, of being secure, valued, all those things that we get as children, those are the pillars to our developmental phases, right? All those things were missing. And, you know, other things were put in there. This became... that became the driver, my addiction, to fill all those unmet needs. And it's actually my nervous system. So this is what I connect with now. And this is what I really would like your listeners to really connect to - if the words stress and trauma aren't connecting for them, it's the nervous system regulation. When I started to think of my nervous system and regulating my nervous system, because my physical health was compromised, and one of the things that I learned is that your nervous system needs to recover in order for you to have health. Physically, right? And the only way to do that is to actually drop your energy, drop your guard, to actually let that nervous system - and you can't do that if your eyes are open, if your ears are always going,