Today we had the amazing opportunity to interview Taylor Nolan, a mental health. counselor, animal lover and an amazing podcast host ("Lets Talk About It")! Following Taylor on Instagram and tuning in to her podcast has inspired us to find more self-love and to speak up about mental health. We love the conversations this interview evoked at our WearMe Pro headquarters. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did!
Congratulations on your podcast! What inspired you to start it? What are your favorite topics to dive into on "Let's Talk About It"?
Thank you! Listening to podcasts like Dear Sugars, Relationship Alive, and On Being, inspired me to start Let’s Talk About It. My mom likes to joke that I came out of the womb talking, but I wouldn’t doubt it! I wanted to use my platform on Instagram to have important and uncomfortable conversations, but 15 second Instagram stories just don’t cut it for some topics, so a podcast seemed like the obvious next step. I love diving into topics like sex and relationships because there are so many layers of messaging we receive in society and growing up that needs to be unpacked, and because we are NOT ALONE at all in what we experience in those areas. I also LOVE when guests are ready to go deep into their blind spots, childhood traumas, and major life reflections.
Photo credit: @taymocha
We know that taking away stigma from around mental health is important to you. What are some challenges you have faced with this?
Helping take away the stigma around mental health is so important to me and I think it should be for everyone because it literally impacts all of us. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced with this is when I’m vulnerable with my own struggles but am judged for being a licensed mental health counselor. We have this twisted notion that we are either someone who needs help or who gives help and when someone shows both we judge and shame. When really, we are all both of those things. We can help others and we can also seek help. I think the only way to reduce the stigma is to take away the silence that gives it power. Sharing our stories and showing up as our authentic selves (whatever that looks like) is how we reduce that stigma, so we can’t pick and choose who is “okay” to do that. There has to be some level of acceptance that we are all flawed in some ways, because when we give people this picture perfect image, we often respond with rejection when they share their struggles and that only gives power to the stigma. So yeah, we all just need to TALK ABOUT IT ;)
3. With such a big Instagram following, how do you find balance with social media?
Oh boy, this is a hard one! It’s been a tricky road understanding and seeing my social media as a business. The boundaries around work and personal life got really murky for awhile there. I limit my amount of time on social media now and am often only super active 3-4 days a week. There used to be such this pressure to have this AMAZING content on a daily basis and if I didn’t, then “Omg what would people think of me? What would happen to my engagement? How would life go on?!” And honestly, it doesn’t matter that much. When I started noticing I wasn’t actually present in my experiences I knew something needed to change. Many of my experiences I don’t share on social media, and I practice self-compassion in not judging myself for this. Yes, it is my business, but I can’t let that take me away from my other businesses and my personal life. It can be a dark black hole and all encompassing, so you have to remember you have the control as to how much power you give it in your life. During those 3-4 days a week I’ll try to spend a few hours responding to comments, messages, and engaging with friends, but then I set down my phone for the next hour and call a friend or go for a walk….balance :)
Photo credit: @taymocha
With all that you have going on in your life, what are your favorite ways to practice self-care?
My favorite ways to practice self-care are spending time with the things I value most. I try to manage these things on both a daily and weekly basis to ensure I’m taking care of and fueling my emotional energy. Food is a big part of that, so things like spending a few hours in my balcony garden are incredibly therapeutic for me, going to my farmer’s market every Sunday and supporting my local farmers, and making my meals and sharing them with friends and family. Animals are also a big part of my self-care, sometimes on a stressful day, I will literally just lay down on the couch for an hour with my cat, Lilly, and listen to her purr as she lays on top of me…its incredibly calming and great alone time! Exercise is a tricky one, cause I’m not always in the mood for it, haha, but I love to rollerblade and play tennis so I try to do those at least once a week. I don’t like going to gyms, so I try to find activities that not only give me exercise but that allow me to play and get back in touch with that side of my personality. My last piece of self-care I’ll touch on is communication; staying in touch with my friends and family is so important to my overall wellbeing, and I’ll include therapy in this. Giving my emotional energy to my network of social support and receiving their emotional energy is crucial to me feeling connected and well.
Photo credit: @taymocha
You often talk about feeling comfortable in your skin, what has helped you the most on that journey?
These questions are amazing! I grew up feeling really uncomfortable in my skin. Being half black and half white, I’ve received so many confusing, outrageous, negative, and mixed messages about who I am. Going on The Bachelor and just being bombarded with messages on the internet and my daily life about who I was because of these little clips was another layer of that. Just being in my mid-twenties and reflecting on my past traumas has to lead to some really uncomfortable moments in my skin. I’ll honestly say that what has helped me the most on this journey is talking about it, and I’m not trying to be cheesy! If, for example, I felt like I was ugly because I was biracial and told I should go pick cotton and I’m black so no one likes me, I stopped keeping that to myself. In this example, I received this message as a 12-year-old, a really vulnerable stage of my life, and it stayed with me for YEARS. When I finally gave voice to it, with friends and in therapy, it stopped having this power over me and it honestly sounded kind of silly. I was so scared to ever say the things that my inner voice was telling me, that it would make these things even truer or that other people would validate it and I’d feel worse. To my surprise, that uncomfortable moment was just temporary and I had to remind myself that I’m strong and resilient AF. Once this had a voice and was out of me, I was then actually able to start peeling back those layers and literally started changing my self-talk to come to terms with those messages and rewrite how I actually felt about myself, rather than just believing and allowing other people to tell me how I should feel about myself and what my worth was.
6. We find our inspiration in traveling, what do you think about traveling? What destination are you dreaming to visit?
I LOVE traveling but I used to HATE traveling. I used to have incredibly bad anxiety when it came to traveling and always thought the worst was going to happen. I really disliked the idea of leaving my comfort zone. In the last 3 years, I’ve really pushed myself to get outside of that comfort zone and have, at months, literally lived out of suitcases. Part of what I love about traveling is that it is literally the physical manifestation of getting outside of your comfort zone. I find that sometimes people try to use travel as a way to avoid and run away from things that feel too hard to deal with at home, but it always follows you. So I think travel allows you an opportunity to see those difficult things manifest in different ways, and perhaps they even feel easier to handle in a new setting. One thing I’ve really grown to enjoy about traveling is the opportunity to explore, be curious, and learn. I love exploring what other cultures experience and live, and finding myself in new situations making lasting memories. I’ve been dreaming of visiting Italy, specifically Sorrento, because my great-great-grandmother was shipped over to New Jersey from there for an arranged marriage where she then started my family. I’d love to go explore the culture and dream of what her life could have been like there.