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38. (S2E2) Stupid Will Kill You, Scary Will Not with Taylor Stilwell
Episode 3813th January 2022 • FINE is a 4-Letter Word • Lori Saitz
00:00:00 00:44:35

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My guest this week is Taylor Stilwell. In this episode, we’re talking about standing in your truth, even when it hurts or isn’t popular. She just finished writing her first book, called How to Kill Your Ex-Husband and Not Get Caught. It’s about surviving divorce, co-parenting with a jackass, and loving all of it. And that basically sums up the rest of our conversation. Listen for the details of how she did it, because they are pretty remarkable and there are a lot of lessons to apply here.

The book writing is Taylor’s side gig. By day she turns tedious corporate policies into comical, yet appropriate documents.

When not doing either of those two activities, Taylor is living the good life in San Francisco with her wife, Stephanie, while she waits for her son to become a successful chef and support her in a manner in which she has never been accustomed. She also spends her time looking for the perfect pancake at local cafes, arguing over toothpaste squeeze techniques with Stephanie, and surfing with her ex-husband (it looks like she didn't kill him after all!). She also says she’s on a one-woman mission to find the line between not enough and too much coffee.

Taylor’s hype song is Lose Yourself by Eminem. Listen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR1ECf4sEpw

https://therealtaylorstilwell.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/taylor-stilwell/

https://www.facebook.com/taylorstilwellauthor

https://www.instagram.com/taylorstilwellauthor/

You know how I share the key takeaways at the end of each episode? We’re in to Season 2 now and at the end of Season 1 a few weeks ago, I put together an overview show, as well as a PDF document of the key takeaways from the entire season. You can get that PDF of ALL the key takeaways for free by going to ZenRabbit.com/2021takeaways.

Transcripts

Lori Saitz:

Hello, and welcome to Fine is a 4-Letter Word. My

Lori Saitz:

guest today is Taylor Stilwell. Welcome to the show. Taylor.

Taylor Stilwell:

Thank you glad to be here.

Lori Saitz:

Well, I'm glad to have you. Let's start with my

Lori Saitz:

first question, which is always, what were the values and beliefs

Lori Saitz:

you were raised with that influenced you as you were

Lori Saitz:

growing up?

Taylor Stilwell:

Wow, you swing for the bleachers right out of

Taylor Stilwell:

the gate. You know, okay, so they were, they were fantastic

Taylor Stilwell:

values, what I did with them was a little wonky. But the values I

Taylor Stilwell:

was raised with was a strong connection to God, we went to

Taylor Stilwell:

church in my house, you know, that was a big one. Family was

Taylor Stilwell:

really, really important. So, and I don't mean, just the, like

Taylor Stilwell:

the family, my mom and dad and my siblings, but you know, the

Taylor Stilwell:

connection to cousins to aunts, and uncles and grandparents. And

Taylor Stilwell:

that still a big value. And the other one was really, you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

I don't know if we call it integrity, per se, but it was

Taylor Stilwell:

standing your truth. And so it was, um, you know, don't lie,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, be who you are. And, and, you know, my mom, which was

Taylor Stilwell:

this, you know, I'm still grateful to this one is that was

Taylor Stilwell:

raised in Texas, and she was really into women can do

Taylor Stilwell:

whatever men can do, and maybe not better, but differently,

Taylor Stilwell:

where it's just as good. And it she wasn't someone who was, you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, maybe she burned bras, I don't know, but not she wasn't

Taylor Stilwell:

like this aggro feminist running around the house. It was just

Taylor Stilwell:

like, hey, if you want to go play baseball, pick up a bat.

Taylor Stilwell:

That kind of thing. It wasn't, it was really a more subtle way

Taylor Stilwell:

of introducing femininity into our house and combined with

Taylor Stilwell:

feminism.

Lori Saitz:

As you said, it's more of that theory of be who

Lori Saitz:

you are. If you want to play baseball, then go play baseball,

Lori Saitz:

or if you want to go to dance, then do that. Yeah, then. Yeah.

Lori Saitz:

And were you said you're raised in the south as well?

Taylor Stilwell:

Yes, I was raised in mostly Houston.

Lori Saitz:

Okay. All right. And so then as you were growing up,

Lori Saitz:

how did did you those values influence you as you became a

Lori Saitz:

young adult as you ventured out into the world on your own?

Taylor Stilwell:

So they, they really were fantastic. Because,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, at 18 When it was time to leave for college? It wasn't,

Taylor Stilwell:

it was just like, get out and go do it. You know, because I'd

Taylor Stilwell:

been raised for 18 years. Just be strong. Do this, do this, do

Taylor Stilwell:

this. Oh, you know, I was five and the roller coaster at the

Taylor Stilwell:

theme park scared the shit out of me. And I was like, Nah, I

Taylor Stilwell:

don't want to ride it. And my mom basically drugged me on to

Taylor Stilwell:

the thing when I wasn't tall enough had me stand on my toes

Taylor Stilwell:

and said suck it up. You're writing this right now? Oh, I

Taylor Stilwell:

don't know, you know, apparently was really different back then.

Taylor Stilwell:

But yes, it was through this ride. That was really, it was

Taylor Stilwell:

not a kid ride. And it was like, Look, do scary shit, because

Taylor Stilwell:

it's probably not gonna kill you. It's the stupid shit that

Taylor Stilwell:

will kill you. So in my own way, I felt pretty prepared to go

Taylor Stilwell:

live in the world. So I took a lot.

Lori Saitz:

Okay. All right. And when we were talking before the

Lori Saitz:

show, when we did our pre show chat, you told me about an

Lori Saitz:

incident that happened when you were nine years old. Do you want

Lori Saitz:

to share that with my audience? Because I think it was it. That

Lori Saitz:

was another thing that helped shape how you thought it was

Lori Saitz:

involving Olivia Newton. John

Taylor Stilwell:

was gonna say can you remind me which one

Taylor Stilwell:

because there was a couple. Okay. Yeah, the one was dressed

Taylor Stilwell:

as a bag of chips. Okay, so,

Lori Saitz:

Olivia, wait, that sounds interesting, too. Not

Lori Saitz:

quite as

Taylor Stilwell:

interesting. But so the Olivia Newton John

Taylor Stilwell:

thing was she was like my idol. She was my first concert. I went

Taylor Stilwell:

to you know, it was on a school night. And I was just over the

Taylor Stilwell:

moon in love with her. I thought she was the coolest thing ever.

Taylor Stilwell:

And so, you know, then, you know, I go to school and I'm

Taylor Stilwell:

telling the kids I went to the concert like the night before,

Taylor Stilwell:

and some girl in the bathroom made a comment that that that's

Taylor Stilwell:

gross because Olivia Newton John was bisexual. And did I know how

Taylor Stilwell:

gross that was? And first of all, did I even know what that

Taylor Stilwell:

meant? And I didn't even really understand what that was in

Taylor Stilwell:

fourth grade. But I was quickly told, but I was also told by the

Taylor Stilwell:

same girls that Olivia Newton John was going to go to hell

Taylor Stilwell:

because she liked women and in how gross that was. and just a

Taylor Stilwell:

bad thing. And so they leave the bathroom giggling and I'm in the

Taylor Stilwell:

bathroom just devastated because my idols clear, I guess

Taylor Stilwell:

bisexual, and that's a bad thing. And I didn't know any of

Taylor Stilwell:

that. And it really, it really shaped a lot of who I was. And,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, and I just went home busted and didn't know how to

Taylor Stilwell:

how to process that or what to do with it. So I was just kept

Taylor Stilwell:

it to myself.

Lori Saitz:

I brought it up, because it is such a contrast to

Lori Saitz:

what you said the values and beliefs you were raised were

Lori Saitz:

with were as far as be who you are. And don't be ashamed of

Lori Saitz:

that. And then they were, then you know, your peers are telling

Lori Saitz:

you that this person was a bad person or was going to hell,

Lori Saitz:

because she was being who she was. And that wasn't okay.

Taylor Stilwell:

Yeah. And I think it's really interesting

Taylor Stilwell:

when, like, inside the walls of my home, here's what I'm being

Taylor Stilwell:

taught and trying to live it, which that was not my experience

Taylor Stilwell:

of how a lot of people were being raised around me, there

Taylor Stilwell:

was a lot of judgment, a lot of you know, I heard the words

Taylor Stilwell:

going to help kids throw that around a lot over the simplest

Taylor Stilwell:

things. And that's a scary thought as a 10 year old that

Taylor Stilwell:

that's where your eternity for nothing, you know, really. And

Taylor Stilwell:

so it's when you've got a big system at play. It's, it's hard,

Taylor Stilwell:

because the people, you know, that we're raising me and that,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, the ones that love you and are guiding you through the

Taylor Stilwell:

world. They're a little different than a lot of the

Taylor Stilwell:

world around us. And so the, you know, that's what you hear. And

Taylor Stilwell:

especially when you get a little bit older, and us as a teenager,

Taylor Stilwell:

and you start listening to your peers, who are probably idiots,

Taylor Stilwell:

they love you, they love you, but they're idiots and when

Taylor Stilwell:

their values of their families are different than my parents, I

Taylor Stilwell:

mean, I think my parents are really, were really progressive

Taylor Stilwell:

and what they taught my family. But it's hard to combat the

Taylor Stilwell:

system at large.

Lori Saitz:

It's right, because and it's interesting what our

Lori Saitz:

minds at that age, absorb, and process and then carry with us

Lori Saitz:

forever. They you know, we get programmed, and then those

Lori Saitz:

thoughts just run on a loop. And we never question where they

Lori Saitz:

came from, or whether they're serving us or not. So how did

Lori Saitz:

that as you got older than you know, you had kind of a dual

Lori Saitz:

fighting? thoughts going through your head or programming to say?

Taylor Stilwell:

I think so. I mean, I think we all do to some

Taylor Stilwell:

extent, for sure, for sure. You know, it was um it's one of

Taylor Stilwell:

those things where I didn't know what to do with it. So I made up

Taylor Stilwell:

a story about it. And then let me just push it down as far as I

Taylor Stilwell:

can and act like I didn't hear it. And let's start listening to

Taylor Stilwell:

other music that maybe is not Olivia Newton John, or drying a

Taylor Stilwell:

moustache of Olivia Newton John on my grease album cover. Like,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, but But of course, John Travolta is great. All of

Taylor Stilwell:

those things. So I think, yeah, was it the best way of nine or

Taylor Stilwell:

10 year old could? So I mean, that's all I could do. And I

Taylor Stilwell:

think that's what I did with a lot of things. And again, they

Taylor Stilwell:

start with the values I've taught was taught was one thing

Taylor Stilwell:

and then the story I put on them. So it was a little

Taylor Stilwell:

different.

Lori Saitz:

Because exactly

Taylor Stilwell:

nine year old, you know, didn't want to hear

Taylor Stilwell:

that they're the person that they idolize is going to hell.

Taylor Stilwell:

And I certainly didn't want to be the person that behaved in a

Taylor Stilwell:

way that would get them to hell.

Lori Saitz:

Yeah, so let's skip ahead to your adulthood. Right.

Lori Saitz:

So cuz yeah, nine year olds do that stuff. And like you said,

Lori Saitz:

They're idiots. So I mean, really, would you like at this

Lori Saitz:

point when we look back and go I wouldn't listen to a nine year

Lori Saitz:

old telling me like that wouldn't Yeah,

Taylor Stilwell:

I do I listen to a nine year olds heart,

Taylor Stilwell:

right? Because I think they have cool hearts. If you can throw

Taylor Stilwell:

away the muck of what's been put on them by their their system.

Lori Saitz:

Right, right. Right. So okay, so you grow up you go

Lori Saitz:

off to school, you get to a place in your life where

Lori Saitz:

everything's fine everything cuz I mean, the the name of the show

Lori Saitz:

is Fine is a 4-Letter Word. So you know, we got to go there.

Lori Saitz:

Yeah, where where everything was fine. wasn't at all tell us

Lori Saitz:

about that

Taylor Stilwell:

was just awful. And it was more you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

growing up through, you know, just growing up, I heard I heard

Taylor Stilwell:

stuff and we'll I'm going to stick with sexuality because

Taylor Stilwell:

that's kind of where this started and going. There's a lot

Taylor Stilwell:

that happened that we could focus on but I'm gonna go at

Taylor Stilwell:

sexuality. And in high school, there were a couple of girls

Taylor Stilwell:

that you know, I guess were gay. Imagine where they ostracized

Taylor Stilwell:

and rumors went around about them all of that thing. And so

Taylor Stilwell:

for me, it's not something I was even willing to look at in

Taylor Stilwell:

myself. Because I saw the before I was kind of even ready to

Taylor Stilwell:

explore that I saw things happening in the world I saw in

Taylor Stilwell:

my small world. And I was like, God, it just was so unappealing.

Taylor Stilwell:

And so why would you do that? And it was, it was all

Taylor Stilwell:

unconscious, every bit of this was unconscious. And, you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

so it's like, okay, this is what you do after high school, you go

Taylor Stilwell:

to college, you get a degree, you study what you want, and

Taylor Stilwell:

then you get a job in the real world. And then you get married,

Taylor Stilwell:

and you have your children, and you have Sunday dinners with

Taylor Stilwell:

your family. And it's not that that's a bad life at all. But it

Taylor Stilwell:

really is fine. It's a fine life. It's just what was its

Taylor Stilwell:

what was what I saw people around me doing what I saw what

Taylor Stilwell:

a good girl did, what good girls do, and I just wasn't good. And

Taylor Stilwell:

I wanted to be good so badly. So

Lori Saitz:

I'm sure you were still good. It just wasn't that

Lori Saitz:

definition of good.

Taylor Stilwell:

That definition that I had put on what, what do

Taylor Stilwell:

good girls do? And to be, you know, respectable? Right? And

Lori Saitz:

yeah, yeah. You know, that's how it went. So you

Lori Saitz:

follow those rules

Taylor Stilwell:

that I put on myself? Really, no one put them

Taylor Stilwell:

on me. That's the kicker. I did it. And I follow them. Yeah,

Lori Saitz:

I think when we look back, we all really did it to

Lori Saitz:

ourselves, whatever that was, like, we absorb that

Lori Saitz:

information, and trans translated it to mean, x. And

Lori Saitz:

then we acted on it and did those things. Like it's our,

Lori Saitz:

everything's our personal responsibility, once you get to

Lori Saitz:

be an adult totally

Taylor Stilwell:

is and it looks like when I in hindsight, and

Taylor Stilwell:

like, the church I went to was, again, pretty darn liberal. And,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, the youth minister was fantastic. And I love him to

Taylor Stilwell:

this day, and he did not like preach what a lot of the other

Taylor Stilwell:

people I heard were saying yet, again, for whatever reason, the

Taylor Stilwell:

the, the mass voices were louder.

Lori Saitz:

I, you know, the negative comes in louder and

Lori Saitz:

stronger. I'm guessing because we as animals, as you know,

Lori Saitz:

evolutionary things that we needed to protect ourselves from

Lori Saitz:

the dangers, so we pay more attention to the negative than

Lori Saitz:

to the positive. Sure, put more weight on the negative, just as

Lori Saitz:

a protection.

Taylor Stilwell:

That's a really good point. Yeah. So

Lori Saitz:

and, and to now we have to stop and analyze that

Lori Saitz:

we're doing that in order to correct it. Yes. Or, or counter

Lori Saitz:

it. Now that we're aware of it? Yeah, yeah.

Taylor Stilwell:

Yeah. And I'm going on and, you know, after

Taylor Stilwell:

college, went to grad school, and after grad school, got a job

Taylor Stilwell:

and just, you know, but absolutely one of those, you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, nuggets of the universe met the man that would become my

Taylor Stilwell:

husband and and he was just such a perfect fit for where I was at

Taylor Stilwell:

the time then so, you know, and he's a good person. So, you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, he just folded right in to exactly what life should look

Taylor Stilwell:

like. So, but he had just enough fuckery and shenanigans in him

Taylor Stilwell:

that he appealed to me. Just just in it was that also was

Taylor Stilwell:

subtle, but it was enough to be really attracted to him because

Taylor Stilwell:

he fit the mold but he kind of broke it too.

Lori Saitz:

So yeah, okay, so he checked all the boxes

Taylor Stilwell:

he did check all the boxes, you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

successful good looking lived in California. So you know, but did

Taylor Stilwell:

have it he to heck came with the value of a connection to God and

Taylor Stilwell:

family and spirituality and all and you know, so it was really

Taylor Stilwell:

interesting that our values lined up, but I don't I think me

Taylor Stilwell:

looking at and living my truth might, it might be in my core,

Taylor Stilwell:

I'm someone who likes to go really deep into myself. And not

Taylor Stilwell:

everybody does that. So I don't I'm not sure that at least we

Taylor Stilwell:

lined up on but at the time when I met him I didn't need him to.

Taylor Stilwell:

I liked him however, it was on the surface,

Lori Saitz:

right? As we grow and mature, we learn more about

Lori Saitz:

ourselves and not everybody comes along on that journey. So

Lori Saitz:

that's that's what makes it so difficult because you want them

Lori Saitz:

to but you can't force them to

Taylor Stilwell:

write and I was that was so sad to me for such a

Taylor Stilwell:

long time and because and how I saw it was if you know I guess

Taylor Stilwell:

I'm going up the stairs and growing up He has no desire to

Taylor Stilwell:

follow me. And that's devastating. But I think the

Taylor Stilwell:

truth was, it was a fork in the road really more than me. I went

Taylor Stilwell:

one way and he went another, instead of, you know, I think

Taylor Stilwell:

that's a much more gentle way of looking at it than I did when we

Taylor Stilwell:

were, you know, going through a divorce. You know, when we're

Taylor Stilwell:

going through a divorce, he won't evolve. And now, you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

with, again, insight, I'm like, No, I think it was just a fork

Taylor Stilwell:

in the road where he went one way and I went another.

Lori Saitz:

When you're at that place, though, it's almost like

Lori Saitz:

you again, have that protectionism mechanism for

Lori Saitz:

yourself. So you crafted in your mind as he won't grow with me.

Lori Saitz:

Right? Right. Because, right, because you're trying to also

Lori Saitz:

justify your reason for not staying in.

Taylor Stilwell:

If I say it that way. That's in my mind.

Taylor Stilwell:

Exactly. That's reason for divorce. And then it's the

Taylor Stilwell:

reason I'm not the asshole. Right, just needed to not be the

Taylor Stilwell:

asshole, you know, again, but

Lori Saitz:

it just was what it was. Yeah, cuz you're the one

Lori Saitz:

who chose to leave. Right?

Taylor Stilwell:

I am the one who chose to leave. And I. Yeah,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, and I think that's, you know, I write about this in

Taylor Stilwell:

my book, I think that both people choose to leave. Because

Taylor Stilwell:

when you're at an impasse, and you say, hey, let's figure out

Taylor Stilwell:

how do we walk through this impasse, and someone says, No,

Taylor Stilwell:

there's nothing to walk through. I think that's their own way of

Taylor Stilwell:

choosing not to stay. Hmm, I think when there's a divorce. So

Taylor Stilwell:

I think both people chose to leave the marriage, but someone

Taylor Stilwell:

has to say the words, I want a divorce. And that's it like

Taylor Stilwell:

that, right there. It was interesting, because we're

Taylor Stilwell:

talking about fine. You know, I was so you know, fine. In the

Taylor Stilwell:

latter part of my marriage, it's fine, we're good. It's fine.

Taylor Stilwell:

Look at this. I'm respectable. And it wasn't obviously, and I

Taylor Stilwell:

think that's what you get it on your show. But when I said I

Taylor Stilwell:

want to divorce, I finally felt something. That wasn't fine. It

Taylor Stilwell:

felt a lot of things. Yeah. And it's interesting. Again, the

Taylor Stilwell:

irony is that you have to say, I want a divorce, because that was

Taylor Stilwell:

the biggest truth and lie ever told, nobody wants a divorce.

Taylor Stilwell:

Nobody,

Lori Saitz:

no, no one wants this.

Taylor Stilwell:

But what I, you know, the truth would be, I want

Taylor Stilwell:

a marriage that works differently, or I want this, and

Taylor Stilwell:

I'm not getting it. So you know, someone has to say it. So I said

Taylor Stilwell:

it.

Lori Saitz:

Yeah, it's so difficult. You know, a lot of

Lori Saitz:

times people focus on if the other person says, it's not

Lori Saitz:

working for me, and I want out that the person who's left

Lori Saitz:

behind is I don't want to call it victim, it's not victim, but

Lori Saitz:

that there's more sympathy for that person.

Taylor Stilwell:

Was there ever was there ever. So and,

Lori Saitz:

and it's just as difficult if not more, I don't

Lori Saitz:

know, I'm in I was in the same position you were in terms of

Lori Saitz:

being the one to proactively say, this isn't working, and

Lori Saitz:

step away. So I guess I'd really don't have we can't necessarily

Lori Saitz:

compare the sympathy levels. But But I think traditionally,

Lori Saitz:

there's more sympathy for the person who's left than the

Lori Saitz:

person who's leaving.

Taylor Stilwell:

That was certainly my experience. And

Taylor Stilwell:

imagine saying, I'm leaving him. Oh, and by the way, I'm gay.

Taylor Stilwell:

Because so then, the natural conclusion is, well, oh, my God,

Taylor Stilwell:

that poor man, he married a lesbian, right? You know, and he

Taylor Stilwell:

didn't stand a chance. And the truth is, I am gay. And I stand

Taylor Stilwell:

by that that is the truth, I will stand in forever. I will

Taylor Stilwell:

also say it is quite possible as a gay woman, I might have been

Taylor Stilwell:

able to stay married to him. Because I, at one point, I did

Taylor Stilwell:

love him so much. And I think that sometimes, you know, Carl

Taylor Stilwell:

Jung says we fall in love from the waist up. So yeah, I think

Taylor Stilwell:

that in a different world, I could have stayed with him. So

Taylor Stilwell:

the sexuality was not what ended that marriage. But since you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, in getting to know myself, and I think I think being in an

Taylor Stilwell:

intimate relationship with someone is a great way to get to

Taylor Stilwell:

know who you are, because you've got a mirror in front of you 24

Taylor Stilwell:

hours a day, showing you who you are, and so I certainly got to

Taylor Stilwell:

know who I was. And, you know, I think there's a truth and

Taylor Stilwell:

getting to know that going in really looking at could I Stay

Taylor Stilwell:

in the marriage. And I was like, you know, hey, I, I'm actually

Taylor Stilwell:

willing to try. I said, knowing this because there was a number

Taylor Stilwell:

of years where I was very sexually attracted to this man.

Taylor Stilwell:

And it worked. And so, you know, I was like, I would like to try

Taylor Stilwell:

that to find that place again and see is it findable? And you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, but that means we'd have the other issues are still here.

Taylor Stilwell:

There's this big ball of issues that has nothing to do with

Taylor Stilwell:

that, that we need to work through. And when you're told

Taylor Stilwell:

Will, those aren't issues? No, your sexuality is the issue,

Taylor Stilwell:

there's nothing to work through, that doesn't leave you much of a

Taylor Stilwell:

choice. So really, it wasn't right or left with much of a

Taylor Stilwell:

choice. So

Lori Saitz:

there's only so much compromise, of course,

Lori Saitz:

relationships involve compromise, but when it involves

Lori Saitz:

compromising who you are at your core, we're and again, not

Lori Saitz:

talking about the sexuality piece at all, but involving your

Lori Saitz:

values, your what you stand for what you want from your life,

Lori Saitz:

then that square, you can't continue that kind of copper,

Lori Saitz:

that would have put me

Taylor Stilwell:

back being fine, right? Just yeah, I would

Taylor Stilwell:

have been fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. You know, when you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

for me, if I stayed in that place, I would have been

Taylor Stilwell:

probably highly suicidal. And that's a strong word. But that's

Taylor Stilwell:

it was just such a, again, subtle level of misery that I

Taylor Stilwell:

didn't share with anyone, because I just had so much

Taylor Stilwell:

shame. Like, it's just I had so much shame around, you know, not

Taylor Stilwell:

not being what I should have been.

Lori Saitz:

There are a lot of people in those shoes in the

Lori Saitz:

past, and still today. So you sharing this is beautiful,

Lori Saitz:

because it helps other people know that they're not alone. And

Lori Saitz:

that this doesn't have to be the way it stays. That's how it was

Lori Saitz:

yesterday, that doesn't mean that has to be how it is

Lori Saitz:

tomorrow.

Taylor Stilwell:

Absolutely. And like going through a divorce,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, and again, you know, I wasn't the popular one in it.

Taylor Stilwell:

And I had people, some people that supported me, but it's just

Taylor Stilwell:

it's, you know, the whole family structure falls apart in laws

Taylor Stilwell:

from both sides and, and the ideas they had and you are

Taylor Stilwell:

crushing. Not only like to be out of that position, I was

Taylor Stilwell:

crushing so many people's dreams. And that is a very

Taylor Stilwell:

fucked up chivvy place to be. And so it really was like, you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, what, why would I hurt so many people just to stand in my

Taylor Stilwell:

truth. And then I was like, Well, I was first of all taught

Taylor Stilwell:

to and second of all, I had a baby at that point. I'm like,

Taylor Stilwell:

what kind of parent am I going to be? If I stay somewhere,

Taylor Stilwell:

that's not a fit for me? Because that's what I'm teaching him to

Taylor Stilwell:

do. I'm saying, right, you stay to make other people happy. And

Taylor Stilwell:

that is not what I wanted to teach him. And so you know, the

Taylor Stilwell:

couple of years after my divorce were the hardest. Just, I still

Taylor Stilwell:

kind of pat myself on the back for making it out of those

Taylor Stilwell:

without being bitter or resentful. Or any of the things

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, it was so close to breaking me but it but it didn't

Taylor Stilwell:

didn't I think in humanity, we all have that one little thread,

Taylor Stilwell:

we can just hold on to it. Just you know, it does end up okay on

Taylor Stilwell:

the other side. And it did and it took a lot of work and a lot

Taylor Stilwell:

of a lot of what would one of my dear friends Debbie Ford would

Taylor Stilwell:

call bathroom floor moments. I think Liz Gilbert refers to

Taylor Stilwell:

where you were just on your bathroom floor wailing and you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, all the all the orifices have stuff coming out you

Taylor Stilwell:

there's just there's not there's tears. There's spit. It's not.

Taylor Stilwell:

Right. It's the growl, like, where someone is probably gonna

Taylor Stilwell:

call the cops because there's some serial killer next door.

Taylor Stilwell:

And you're like, No, it's just I'm going through a you know, a

Taylor Stilwell:

divorce, which is a death with no pie.

Lori Saitz:

And I know why.

Taylor Stilwell:

Well, when someone dies, they bring you a

Taylor Stilwell:

pie, a divorce. No, you were just sitting there alone. And

Taylor Stilwell:

so, you know, after all of that, it took some time putting it

Taylor Stilwell:

together. And what I will say is, you know, I'm now 18 years,

Taylor Stilwell:

19 years on the other side of this, and it took a lot of work

Taylor Stilwell:

on a lot of people's parts. Mine mostly, I'll be really honest,

Taylor Stilwell:

but a lot of people played into it. Where you know, I am you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, I'm I will say that I just I still love my husband so

Taylor Stilwell:

dearly. Are we best friends in the world? We're not, but if I

Taylor Stilwell:

texted him right now it's of God. I'm having a crappy week.

Taylor Stilwell:

Would you meet me for a cup of coffee? There is a 99% some

Taylor Stilwell:

chance he'd say, absolutely God, what's going on? You know, or

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, we all still go surf together sometimes, like, Hey,

Taylor Stilwell:

you want to meet up and you surfing grab a burrito? Yeah,

Taylor Stilwell:

let's do it. You know, and, and it's just really amazing. And

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, he's remarried and he has other children and I'm

Taylor Stilwell:

remarried to a woman. And, and I feel like I'm not going to hell

Taylor Stilwell:

pretty sure about that. I think hell,

Lori Saitz:

I'm pretty sure I'm pretty sure I agree with you.

Lori Saitz:

I'm not I'm not pretty sure. I'm 100% Sure. And

Taylor Stilwell:

I think the hell was what I sat in, in that

Taylor Stilwell:

bathroom, you know, when thinking yeah, as hell. But

Lori Saitz:

that is my belief as well, that hell is not a place

Lori Saitz:

that you go to after this life. It is something that we create

Lori Saitz:

in this life. And we can move through it, you're not damn do

Lori Saitz:

they are for ever. And

Taylor Stilwell:

it's like, and I look at like we were during

Taylor Stilwell:

the pandemic. My wife's a photographer, so she has this

Taylor Stilwell:

ultra long sports lens. And so we we live, you know, in the San

Taylor Stilwell:

Francisco area, and we would go me, my son, who's now he was 19,

Taylor Stilwell:

my ex husband and his 1111 12 year old son, and not his

Taylor Stilwell:

current wife, she would come a time or two, she didn't come

Taylor Stilwell:

regularly because she was working through the pandemic.

Taylor Stilwell:

But we would all sit there and meet up. And this is when we

Taylor Stilwell:

meet up and surf and take my wife to pictures. And we'd

Taylor Stilwell:

switch surfboards and play around in it. I think this is

Taylor Stilwell:

the best thing is that one of the best conversations I've had

Taylor Stilwell:

is someone came up because it was regulars there and they

Taylor Stilwell:

said, question. They're like, You guys are clearly family. But

Taylor Stilwell:

I'm so confused. Are you sir? Oh, what? Why? I don't What do

Taylor Stilwell:

you mean? And they're like, who goes with who I'm like, Oh, I'm

Taylor Stilwell:

like, Okay, so that's my son out there on that surfboard. And I

Taylor Stilwell:

said, and that this little guy standing beside me who's not so

Taylor Stilwell:

little anymore, and I have my arm around his shoulder, I'm

Taylor Stilwell:

like, This is my ex husband's boy with his wife. And the

Taylor Stilwell:

handsome bald guy out there with the grim that won't quit is my

Taylor Stilwell:

ex husband and the lady with the long lens is my wife and we meet

Taylor Stilwell:

up in surf every day. And they were like, You guys are just

Taylor Stilwell:

this is the epitome of of the Modern Family.

Lori Saitz:

I was just gonna say that modern family and I

Taylor Stilwell:

just like I what I loved was that all they

Taylor Stilwell:

saw was a family and didn't know who was with who know, you stick

Taylor Stilwell:

around us for a week, it's gonna be very clear who goes with who.

Taylor Stilwell:

But in those minutes, you know, it was just so hard to tell

Taylor Stilwell:

because, you know, my wife, you know, plants, Big kisses, you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, on the cheek of my ex husband. And because he's bald,

Taylor Stilwell:

they have this conversation about have you done something

Taylor Stilwell:

different with your hair? You know, and it's just, you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

it's like, what a compliment that they couldn't tell. All

Taylor Stilwell:

they saw was a family that loved each other. And, yeah, it was

Taylor Stilwell:

not the couple that got divorced. That was not the

Taylor Stilwell:

couple that got divorced, you know, 1819 years ago.

Lori Saitz:

And that didn't just happen. So can you share a few

Lori Saitz:

of the techniques or the tools that you used to work through

Lori Saitz:

some things to get yourself to that point? Do you meditate, do

Lori Saitz:

you journal, obviously, you surf I'm sure that

Taylor Stilwell:

surfing is new. I started that during the

Taylor Stilwell:

pandemic. But I do that, okay, I meditate. I do journal. I tried

Taylor Stilwell:

to do yoga, you know, 25 years into it. I still can't do

Taylor Stilwell:

downward dog without falling over. But I try it. But I do.

Taylor Stilwell:

I'm a big proponent of therapy or whatever self help you need.

Taylor Stilwell:

Like self help books, there's always one I'm reading always.

Lori Saitz:

And what are you reading right now?

Taylor Stilwell:

I am rereading getting the love you want by

Taylor Stilwell:

Harville Hendricks because it's just it's got some good tips in

Taylor Stilwell:

it. And it's really about teaching yourself how to love

Taylor Stilwell:

yourself. And so I'm always like there's some connection to God

Taylor Stilwell:

that I'm always working on. Right now. I'm not much of a

Taylor Stilwell:

churchgoer. But I think there's value in church. But that's I'm

Taylor Stilwell:

not much of a churchgoer right now but I think there's that but

Taylor Stilwell:

the biggest thing that I went through when I was pregnant, I

Taylor Stilwell:

had every pregnancy scare you could have. And so, the fact

Taylor Stilwell:

that I got to have my son was he's just, I always look at him

Taylor Stilwell:

as my miracle and he is I tell people this he is my why, for

Taylor Stilwell:

everything. That's just so I look at what you know going

Taylor Stilwell:

through a divorce or you know redoing custody when he was five

Taylor Stilwell:

or three doing child support or whatever. It was always for him.

Taylor Stilwell:

What is in his best interest, not what's in mine, in which is

Taylor Stilwell:

why I left the marriage really what is in A way in my son's

Taylor Stilwell:

best interest, which inadvertently was me living a

Taylor Stilwell:

truth, but it was, you know, fighting, fighting with your

Taylor Stilwell:

your ex is never in your child's best interest. It's just not in

Taylor Stilwell:

my opinion. Now, that doesn't mean you do whatever they say or

Taylor Stilwell:

you tolerate abuse. I wasn't I'm not suggesting that. But there

Taylor Stilwell:

are ways to not fight. And so, you know, what I would do when

Taylor Stilwell:

he was three and didn't want to go to his dad's maybe was to and

Taylor Stilwell:

he would scream and pitch a fit. Because he didn't want to go and

Taylor Stilwell:

not because anything bad was areas just he had been around me

Taylor Stilwell:

that most of the time. I was right, right. What was familiar

Taylor Stilwell:

it was so I was like, Well, let me find a mother's day out for

Taylor Stilwell:

him even though I didn't need it. When we find a daycare for

Taylor Stilwell:

him on the day his dad, can he go to daycare two days a week.

Taylor Stilwell:

So his dad picks him up from daycare, because then there

Taylor Stilwell:

wasn't that goodbye that way. You know, when when he was, you

Taylor Stilwell:

know, five, and he would have problems and say, This is what

Taylor Stilwell:

happened at my dad's house. And, you know, I don't understand

Taylor Stilwell:

this, instead of saying, Well, that's because your dad's an

Taylor Stilwell:

asshole, or, you know, whatever. I would say, Oh, well, what do

Taylor Stilwell:

you think about that? And if you wanted it to go a different way,

Taylor Stilwell:

how would that look? Then I was like, Okay, so maybe you could

Taylor Stilwell:

imagine that, because imagination is really important.

Taylor Stilwell:

And I said, you know, and so it was really teaching him how to

Taylor Stilwell:

how to wander through life instead of, and my whole goal

Taylor Stilwell:

was to never talk bad about his dad ever, not once. And if we

Taylor Stilwell:

that's so powerful, disagreed with somebody with each other. I

Taylor Stilwell:

don't know what his dad did that, but I knew that, I would

Taylor Stilwell:

just say, you know, uh, you don't you're not, don't you ever

Taylor Stilwell:

fight with your friends at school and call them names. That

Taylor Stilwell:

doesn't mean you don't like them, but you fix it. And you

Taylor Stilwell:

say sorry, and you don't do it again, those kinds of things,

Taylor Stilwell:

that really, it was all teachable parenting moments

Taylor Stilwell:

through the whole thing. And my son loved drawing, and he was

Taylor Stilwell:

quite terrible at it, and still is. But I carried around

Taylor Stilwell:

pictures he drew and I wrote on the top of those pictures, this

Taylor Stilwell:

is why you do this. And that was like, when we were we were in

Taylor Stilwell:

court for gosh, a couple of years when he was older, redoing

Taylor Stilwell:

some custody stuff that was the cover of the binder, so that

Taylor Stilwell:

every time I had to go meet with the attorneys, I saw the reason.

Taylor Stilwell:

And you know, and then I would find someone that uh, you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

a trusted, you know, my my girlfriend at the time, who's my

Taylor Stilwell:

wife now, or a friend who I could go and say, That

Taylor Stilwell:

motherfucker, I hope he gets run over by a truck or all of those

Taylor Stilwell:

things, get it, get it out, where she wasn't in my house.

Taylor Stilwell:

And, you know, whatever. And it was really just really showing

Taylor Stilwell:

him that you it's your dad love him for who he is. I'm your mom

Taylor Stilwell:

love me for who I am. We're totally screwed up people some

Taylor Stilwell:

of the time and we make bad decisions. So, you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

whenever his dad would do something he didn't like, and he

Taylor Stilwell:

was mad at him, I tried to point out something that I had done in

Taylor Stilwell:

the past that he didn't like and how he and I had worked through

Taylor Stilwell:

it. So he just to show you can work through it with your dad.

Lori Saitz:

So that's such a higher level. Oh, of looking at

Lori Saitz:

things, it's so impressive that you were able to do that through

Lori Saitz:

what I'm sure was some painful places for you. And like you

Lori Saitz:

said, sharing it with friends or the therapists or whoever to not

Lori Saitz:

burden a child with that kind of thing.

Taylor Stilwell:

Well, it you it's not their cross to bear is

Taylor Stilwell:

right there cross to bear it is mine and his dad. So that's what

Taylor Stilwell:

we did. And it was really, you know, one of the one of the

Taylor Stilwell:

tricks that I found was to start telling my son's stories about

Taylor Stilwell:

his dad because he had no recollection of us ever

Taylor Stilwell:

together. And so, and I would find stories that I loved. And

Taylor Stilwell:

in doing that I really, in my own new unhealthy way fell in

Taylor Stilwell:

love with his dad all over again. And so the habits that

Taylor Stilwell:

were just good habits, it was, you know, I've heard somewhere I

Taylor Stilwell:

don't know what it is. But someone said once about

Taylor Stilwell:

behavior, like get your ass in the chair and your heart will

Taylor Stilwell:

follow. So what I did was I'm like, okay, I can do these

Taylor Stilwell:

things that are the right things to do, even though inside I'm

Taylor Stilwell:

spinning. But eventually I was like, let me tell you about How

Taylor Stilwell:

I Met Your Dad. And let me drive you to this, this cafe that I

Taylor Stilwell:

had your dad and I used to have breakfast and I'm going to order

Taylor Stilwell:

a meal for you. And I ordered it Nick is what's this. I'm like,

Taylor Stilwell:

this is your dad's favorite meal. And it was really

Taylor Stilwell:

introducing him to this side of his dad. He didn't know because

Taylor Stilwell:

it was the side with me. And what he saw was at once upon a

Taylor Stilwell:

time there were these two people that really loved each other

Taylor Stilwell:

that just really loved each other and so, and I was like he

Taylor Stilwell:

goes oh and when my What am i Dad do this and when did my dad

Taylor Stilwell:

do this and it was stories only I could tell because they were

Taylor Stilwell:

my Memories.

Lori Saitz:

Right, right. Oh, it was really me tear up here. I

Taylor Stilwell:

just loved it. And we still do it to this day

Taylor Stilwell:

when opportunity presents. And I'll be you know, because I'm in

Taylor Stilwell:

living in San Francisco now. And I lived with his dad in San

Taylor Stilwell:

Francisco. So sometimes, I kept all the old pictures. I wasn't

Taylor Stilwell:

someone who threw away the love letters in the pictures, I have

Taylor Stilwell:

them all. So sometimes if we're going to be late, if my son's in

Taylor Stilwell:

town, I'm like, Hey, you want to go? Grab, grab something to eat

Taylor Stilwell:

or go for a walk. I'll purposely take a picture where I know

Taylor Stilwell:

we're going to drive by and I'm like, Oh, hey, come here. Let me

Taylor Stilwell:

show you this picture. See, here's where this is your dad

Taylor Stilwell:

and I, at this beach that you and I are at now. And here's,

Taylor Stilwell:

you know, and he's like, you'll be like, but why is this

Taylor Stilwell:

happening? And I'm like, he was like, Why do you have like a big

Taylor Stilwell:

stain on your shirt? I'm like, Oh my gosh, because we were

Taylor Stilwell:

riding a scooter. And I thought I could drink coffee while I was

Taylor Stilwell:

riding a scooter. And it didn't fit. And it's just these stories

Taylor Stilwell:

that he now has. Because, you know, most kids, their parents

Taylor Stilwell:

get divorced when they're a little older. And so they have

Taylor Stilwell:

at least some memories. And he doesn't, but at least he has

Taylor Stilwell:

stories of memories.

Lori Saitz:

Yeah, that family history still exists through

Lori Saitz:

this story.

Taylor Stilwell:

Just because it happened. There was no Yeah. And

Taylor Stilwell:

that's the whole whole whole point of my book that I just

Taylor Stilwell:

recently wrote.

Lori Saitz:

It is all Yeah, what's that called?

Taylor Stilwell:

It's called How to kill your ex husband did not

Taylor Stilwell:

get caught?

Lori Saitz:

Yeah, it was

Taylor Stilwell:

just and it's, it's, it's a love story. It

Taylor Stilwell:

really is. It starts I think that, you know, when I was

Taylor Stilwell:

looking at all when I was going through the divorce and looking

Taylor Stilwell:

at all these books on the market, they're all about

Taylor Stilwell:

surviving after divorce thriving without, you know, whatever,

Taylor Stilwell:

joint custody with a jerk. And all, all of those can be

Taylor Stilwell:

helpful. But they all seem to miss the love story that started

Taylor Stilwell:

it. And so my book, Miss Riley, it is a love story to my son. So

Lori Saitz:

that is amazing. I really appreciate you being here

Lori Saitz:

and sharing your stories with us. Because I know that there

Lori Saitz:

are people listening who are going through similar things.

Lori Saitz:

And who can find strength and courage in your story. Thank

Lori Saitz:

you. Thank you have

Taylor Stilwell:

it. It's just getting out of fine to get it.

Lori Saitz:

Yeah. Before we close out, I have to ask you the

Lori Saitz:

the other question I asked every single one of my guests and that

Lori Saitz:

is what is your hype song?

Taylor Stilwell:

It's Eminem, Lose Yourself.

Lori Saitz:

It's nice Eminem.

Taylor Stilwell:

I mean, and I actually, that's a tool. I

Taylor Stilwell:

should have said, I listened to it at least five times a week.

Lori Saitz:

All right, well, we'll put a link to that song in

Lori Saitz:

the show notes. And if somebody wants to get in touch with you

Lori Saitz:

wants to get your book. How do they do that?

Taylor Stilwell:

So the book, I'm shopping publishers right

Taylor Stilwell:

now for the book. So but if they want to get in touch with me, I

Taylor Stilwell:

can give you that information for you to put in show notes.

Lori Saitz:

Does that help? I mean, um, are you are you on?

Lori Saitz:

Can they find you on social media? Where do you hang out?

Taylor Stilwell:

I do hang out on social media. And I have

Taylor Stilwell:

Facebook and Instagram, a website and it's just you know,

Taylor Stilwell:

author, they can look up author Taylor's Stilwell, and for

Taylor Stilwell:

Stilwell, it's one L in the still, two in the well.

Lori Saitz:

Okay, awesome. Yes, I will definitely put links in

Lori Saitz:

the show notes for all of your connection, cool areas as well.

Lori Saitz:

Thanks so much for joining me today Taylor, on Fine is a

Lori Saitz:

4-Letter Word. That's a pleasure. Thank you.

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