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.

 

Announcing my store, Charlie Pete!

It’s something I’ve thought about. It’s something I’d convinced myself I could never do…especially alone. Then I said, “Screw it. I’m doing it anyway!” Thus, my online store, Charlie Pete, was born!

You’ll notice that nearly everything comes in a range of sizes from 1 to 22 and S thru 3XL. This was important to me because I wanted my fellow thique sisters to feel just as fashionable, comfortable, and beautiful as those wonderful ladies who wear smaller sizes.

Charlie Pete was named after my dog and my dad. I don’t know why. I just liked the way it sounded. My dad’s handwriting is even incorporated into the logo. (Charlie’s autograph would have been but you know, he’s a dog, so there’s that.) Charlie Pete was made for those who love shopping without having to put on pants.

I invite you to please pop on over to CharliePete.com because your closet is hungry, feed its craving. Cheers to a new adventure and leaning into being uncomfortable! Holy shit. I’m a business owner?!

Unemployment & the Starbucks Bathroom

What does unemployment look like exactly? As I write this, I’m sitting at a Starbucks drinking an iced Americano (yes, it’s Winter and I still like my coffee cold, do not judge me.) I’m doing my best Carrie Bradshaw impersonation. I made sure to put on a decent outfit, do my makeup, grabbed my cute bag and rolled into “work.” Confession, I went to the closest Starbucks to my house because I feared that going any further would give me enough time to chicken out and head back home. What is up with that anyway? Oh. Right. That’s anxiety.

I got to Starbucks and scoped out the place for the perfect spot to sit. The sheer volume of thoughts and scenarios that raced through my head about where to park my behind is shameful. It wasn’t until I started typing away that I noticed I’m right next to the gosh dang bathroom. Gross. I’m having flashbacks of first grade when my teacher sat me by the bathroom and I vividly remember gagging each and every time a disgusting classmate would stroll out of there. My seat at Starbucks just isn’t going to work. This Starbucks isn’t going to work. I’m unemployed?! A freelancer?!?! Shit! Is this what life is now?!?!?!

::sigh:: Must keep it together. I’m in public after all. Ok. Focus. On what though?! Well, I suppose it’s time I file for unemployment. Is that even ok to talk about? I’m embarrassed because well, the world led me to believe I should be, but I also know I’ve made the right decisions that led me to this spot. Ok, what do I do? Where do I start? Google “unemployment.” ::face palm:: Another person just walked out of the bathroom and I pretty sure I can see the germs flying towards my face.

Google pulled up the site I needed in .02 seconds flat. All that hard work means I need to reward myself with a quick trip to Facebook. ::20 minutes later:: I shit you not, I just saw a man with a baby strapped to him walk out of the men’s bathroom. I give him credit. How the hell do you pee with a kid?! (Clearly I’m not a parent.) I guess he does have the advantage of being able to go while standing up.

Ok…focus Ellen…ugh. (But I wonder if he washed his hands.)

Well. That was easy enough. After filling out the unemployment stuff the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders. Now I have facts that I can base my future decisions on, particularly in the finance department. Whoa. My anxiety made it out to be WAY worse than reality. I probably…no…I would have saved myself a lot of bullshit had I done this 5 days ago instead of procrastinting. Think I’ll learn? Probably not. But hopefully there won’t be a next time.

Here we go again. This time a lady walks out of the bathroom. Pretty sure she recognized me. ::Deletes just in case she did and reads this.::

So what’s next? I don’t know. And I’m ok not knowing. Never in my life did I think I’d say that. I’ve lived by things I “should” be doing and while it brought me moments of happiness, I can’t say I was happy. I feel like a kid graduating high school. The world is my oyster (what an awful analogy though, seriously) and every route laid out in front of me will be an adventure. Now it’s just a matter of picking which adventure I want to go on. (An ode to my childhood love of the Goosebumps novels.)

Note to self: the amount of people using the Starbucks bathroom decreases dramatically after 10am. Thoughts and prayers to the employee that gets stuck having to clean up.