Why COVID-19 is the last thing on my mind

Photos of Ellen Tailor and her dad throughout the years

Life has stopped yet continued to move on all at the same time.

This isn’t a story about how I’m living my best life, enjoying quarantine and getting a ton of stuff done. You have no idea how much I wish I was bored. Instead, this is a post to remind you that while a lot of the world is on hold, life is still happening despite a worldwide pandemic.

For months, the universe, signs, or God (which is who I credit this all to) had been giving me every indication that I needed a shift in my life. It was impossible to ignore. I let go of control and let God take me where He needed me. My cup was empty and at the beginning of March I made the trek from Seattle back home to Michigan to replenish.

Since I was driving back from (at the time) one of the country’s COVID-19 hot spots, I decided I’d wait to reunite with all of my friends to ensure I wasn’t sick.

But not even a week after I got back, my dad, who lives alone, wasn’t answering his phone. This was unlike him so I decided to stop by. When he opened the door, the first thing I saw was the right side of his face drooping. My dad was having a stroke.

We quickly got in the car and headed to the ER. My mind was racing. Was this really happening? I was distracted as I drove and realized it when a guy cut me off and flipped us the bird. If only he’d known how his delay was so insignificant compared to what life was about to deal our family.

Once we got to the ER parking lot we were met by a police officer and a nurse in full protective gear. I explained this wasn’t COVID-19 related and they allowed me to drive to the entrance. There, another officer put my dad in a wheelchair and brought him inside. I wasn’t able to see my dad for almost a week after that.

I felt helpless. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t be next to him. I couldn’t be in the same room or even the same floor. The closest I got was the hospital lobby. Doctors had asked if I’d bring his glasses. I also brought a picture of us he’d had on his nightstand. I never wanted him to question why I wasn’t there. And luckily, he didn’t.

The family photo my dad was able to have in the hospital

Dad remembers everything up until he had the stroke. He understood he wasn’t allowed visitors because of COVID-19. What he didn’t know was what happened to him.

The biggest setback my father has remains with his cognition. Physically he’ll be ok. But mentally I wonder if he’ll ever be able to fully recover and if he does, it’s going to take months if not longer.

I’ve taken on a new job title. Caregiver.

There was no doubt I was going to take care of my dad. Not only because there was no one else to do it (he’s single and my sister still has her job in Seattle) but because that’s what our family does. Despite my cup being empty, I was going to lean on Him to give me strength.

I’d had a vulnerable conversation with one of my nearest and dearest. A friend whose Faith has brought him through so many highs and lows. And during our conversation, he reminded me a couple of things. 1) That while things that are happening might not be our fault, they are our problem. And 2) that sometimes you have to be selfless in order to be selfish. There will come a time where I can be selfish but now wasn’t it.

As I hung up the phone, I got out of the car to pick up my dad from the rehab facility. In the windows, patients had put up signs of encouragement for the medical staff.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

No one, absolutely no one, will convince me that this wasn’t a literal sign from God and confirmation that He had listened to our conversation.

Dad’s been home for exactly one week. We’re hoping he’ll be able to regain his ability to live the independent life he had before but I’m cautiously optimistic. What’s the saying? Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

So what does that mean for me and my future? Who knows. Everything is on hold. As is the rest of the world. In the meantime, we’re going to keep taking it day-by-day here. And while I don’t wish a pandemic or COVID-19 on anyone, I can appreciate that at least the world is also pausing like I am. We’re forced to reevaluate and reassess. To test ourselves, our patience, our drive, tenacity and Faith.

So forgive me for being MIA. Life happened. And for the first time in months, I can admit, 100%, that I have no control and that I am not worried about how it’ll all turn out because, like my dad always says, “Oλα θα πάνε καλά.” Everything will be ok.

Why I (Temporarily) Retired

After spending the last 13 years in morning radio & television, I needed a break. My cup is empty. And while I considered quietly disappearing, I’ve shared my entire life with the world for so long and you’ve supported me through all of it. I needed to explain why I decided to (temporarily) retire.

Is this what normal people do?

Yesterday was my last day which makes today my first day. My first day to sleep past 3:45am…or maybe not.

What do normal people do in the morning? Make coffee? Watch the news? Maybe they workout?

After 13 years (that’s almost 4000 days!) of waking up before the rest of the world, getting used to this whole “normal” person schedule thing is going to take a while, but we’ll get there.

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So I did a thing…

It took 30 years of hard work to make it here. To achieve my dream. But that’s the thing about dreams. They’re infinite.

Perhaps it’s selfish to think that I could accomplish more than one dream in this lifetime but as many of you know, I’m a gambling woman. The best bet I’ve ever made was on myself and I’m doing it again.

Thank you to the amazing news director who hired me and saw my potential long before I did. Thank you to the general manager that let me quietly sneak out of the building so as to avoid all of the sappy goodbyes. Thank you to all of my co-workers at Q13NEWS who taught me that anything is possible with teamwork.

For almost 13 years the alarm has gone off at too-damn-early AM and I loved every second of it. Both radio and television are amazing platforms that aren’t going away anytime soon. I feel so thankful to have earned the right to work in, and be successful in, both industries. And who knows, maybe I’ll be back.

For now, I’m betting it all on me.

I gained it all back

This isn’t a “Transformation Tuesday” post or a “Weight Loss Wednesday” one either. It’s an “I Gained It All Back (insert day of the week here)” post.

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. What a cliche sentence that oh-so-many of us have written, said or simply thought about over and over again. The latest chapter in my saga began about a year and a half ago.

I was unexpectedly thrust into a new position at my then job. My first justification to begin a weight loss endorsement was for job security. Oh, and losing weight was another obvious plus. The program worked. Low carb. Low fat. The people coaching me were nice. However, I was facing an uncertain future.

My contract was up, I knew I’d get renewed, but the specifics were not at all what I was expecting. With three months left on my deal, I made the decision to amicably leave after my contract finished. With that, my weight loss had stalled.

I couldn’t tell them (the weight loss endorsement company) why. I couldn’t tell them about my stress. I couldn’t share with them that my entire world was about to change and that I needed their help, and wanted their help, more than ever because if I did, it’d affect the business relationship they had with my employer.

Why not just tell them? Well, remember the word “amicable?” I wanted to keep the split between me and my job that way. I also had three months left of income that I needed to collect since I wasn’t sure where my next paycheck would come from. Money talks. Or in this case, money made me not talk.

Ultimately the weight loss program put me on a somewhat suspension. They wouldn’t coach me or help until I could produce results. I believe they could have helped me navigate this stress if I was able to share my circumstances. But that’s a moot point now.

I was determined to, at the bare minimum, keep the weight off I had lost. I was down 30 pounds. I felt great on the outside. I looked the best I had in years but inside I felt the worst.

 

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By the grace of God my next opportunity came in television. Thank you Jesus for allowing me to lose this weight because it’s TV and duh, looks matter. So at this point I’m transitioning into a career that’s even more in the spotlight and puts an emphasis on my outside appearance. All of these changes meant I needed new clothes but I couldn’t afford them and I made do with what I had. Things were going great. I didn’t lose anymore weight but I wasn’t gaining. I was steady.

Then my home was flooded. A pipe burst between my condo unit and the one above mine. It was a slow leak that ultimately gutted my place and mold consumed my walk-in closet and all of it’s contents. Everything was gone.

What they had said would be a 6-8 week evacuation has turned into a 7 month (and still on going as of this writing) ordeal. I left my place with nothing but my dog and a small suitcase. I didn’t know the level of destruction at the time. (The details of the rebuilding process are a completely different story and one for another day.)

I was renting a room from a co-worker. I had nothing of mine. And I wouldn’t get reimbursed from insurance until I was able to make it back into my home. Well if I thought I was broke before, I really was now.

The weight started to come back. My life was a disaster so I convinced myself that I deserved a cheeseburger. Ok, lots of cheeseburgers. My life looked nothing like it did just a few months before. My hair color went from blonde to brunette. I changed careers. Didn’t have my clothes. Didn’t have the same body. Didn’t even have the same bed to sleep in or toilet to shit in. I leaned on cheeseburgers. They were cheap and they made me feel good.

I convinced myself I could get back on track. That didn’t happen. The new track I was on provided me a bigger waistline, a lot less sleep, and took a big toll on my mental health.

I don’t share this story for sympathy because I’ll be fine. People have it way worse than I do. I woke up on the right side of the dirt and for that I am thankful. I share this story because 1) I want to forgive myself and move on and 2) I want to show that while things may seem great, happy and better than ever on social media, they might not be in real life.

I’m too scared to get back on the scale. I know I’ve gained the weight back and possibly even more based on how my clothes fit. The waist to muffin top ratio has increased as has the bra band to back fat ratio.

A year ago, I was the most confident in my physical appearance but my world was a mess. Today I’ve got a handle on this amazing new career. A position that I never thought I’d get. One that I thought I was too fat, old, or simply not good enough for. One that I’m actually pretty dang good at! Outside I’m not where I want to be. But damn, despite the on going chaos, life is good!

Wait. Let’s be honest. Life’s not good every single moment of everyday. No. But overall. God is good and has blessed me. He has put tribulations in my life not to break me but to prove to myself that I can, with His help, be better than I ever thought or imagined I could be.

As I sit here at Starbucks writing this, with my jeans digging into the aforementioned muffin top, I can’t help but think that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, looking exactly how I’m supposed to look, on the the exact path I’m supposed to be on.

There are a lot of questions. Everything from will I lose this weight forever or will I yo-yo for life? Will I ever get into my condo? How long will the amazing career last? Will I ever find love? Have babies? Grow my business? Hell, will I start to consistently blog on this site?! Phew…that was a lot. And that just scratches the surface. But the answer I have today is I’m thankful. I can’t fix everything. It’s not my job. I leave my anxieties at God’s feet and live for today.

At the end of these kinds of posts comes some type of promise or motivational quote. That’s not happening here. There’s not a stereotypical happy ending because this isn’t the end. This is a part of my story. One that’s real. One that I know others can relate to.

No one on this earth has all the answers. We’re not supposed to. Just know, you aren’t the only one. I can’t promise it’ll get better. I can share my story, my worries, my fears and anxieties in hopes that you will cut yourself some slack and know that it’s OK to not be OK. I’m not saying to flaunt the muffin top or back fat or whatever it is that you’re physically insecure about (if you want to, hey go for it!) but what I am encouraging you to do is appreciate life for what it is. Perfectly imperfect.

WATCH: Life After 30 with Estelle Mae

I’ve always heard about the so-called “switch” that goes off when someone turns 30. My friend, and personal-growth YouTuber, Estelle Mae invited me to share my perspective on what’s been, in my opinion, one of the best things to ever happen.

What else comes along with turning 30? We discuss the sense of urgency to find a purpose and to only bring things into your life that bring you joy. Other topics we cover…

-You weed out the people in your life that aren’t bringing you joy
– You care more about comfort rather than freezing your cute butt off at a concert 😉
– You are never going to be where you think you’re going to be when you hit 30
– Things we regret not doing in our 20s like spending more time with friends and family and less time working
– You suddenly don’t really give a shit what people think about you
– You prioritize what is important to you in life
– At the end of your life, what do you want to be remembered by?

Are you looking to learn more about yourself and ways to explore self growth? Subscribe to Estelle’s YouTube channel HERE.