Updated: Mar 1
We are reveling in the chaos that is life this week and joining in on the conversation is Tara Schifksy, the woman behind the blog, Revel In The Chaos. From big life decisions, the choices we make in Motherhood, to tremendous loss and trauma, Tara opens up about it all.
⚠️*Tough Topics Are Discussed in our conversation including PTSD, Body Image, Disordered Eating, and Grief.*⚠️
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Conversation with Tara Schifsky
*Text has been edited for clarity
Calla: I'll be completely honest. I was telling Leanne I hadn't seen you since like, 2003 and that's insane. Tara Schifsky: Yes. Leanne: I feel like a lots happned since then. Tara Schifsky: There's a couple of things, yet I feel like I mean, 2000 Long time ago, right? But I don't feel that old. Jesus. Calla: I don't either. I don't either. That's so funny. So we were reading through your blog and stuff, and you had some major, major changes go on. But I want to kind of explore what you went to school for with teaching first, if you don't mind and how you kind of stepped away from that? Tara Schifsky: Sure, um, well, I guess to rewind a little bit. My first degree is in journalism, Mass Comm public relations. But when we graduated college was beginning of a recession, so I could not find a job, was not happy. Found something but it wasn't the right fit. So 2010 I quit my job went back to school to get my Master's in Education. It's one of the things I always wanted to do. So I thought hell with it, go with it. Bartended, going to school, Calla: That whole juggle. That's hard. Tara Schifsky: . Yeah. Yeah, um, you know, it took me it took me a really long time to get where I wanted to be as a teacher. But I always knew I didn't want to be in the classroom forever. I love working with kids. I love my students, my colleagues, but like, you wouldn't see me, you know, 60 years old in the classroom, Mrs. Schifsky, laying down the law, that wasn't going to be my jam. But I started my blog. And you know, it started out as a hobby. And the more I wrote and the more I thought about it, I just couldn't shake that. That was what I was supposed to do. My husband, Joe, and I were in a pretty good place lifewise and this summer, it just became an hour never opportunity to either jump ship, which I am glad I did. I mean, I do feel guilty about that some days. Leanne: You still do? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I you know, I get the question a lot like, oh, man, like "You left teaching like, oh, like, was it just too much for you?" Leanne: Too much. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I mean, if you ask any teacher right now, it's, Calla: Andyou were a middle school teacher too, right? Tara Schifsky: Yes. Leanne: I always tell people, you cannot pay me a million dollars to relive Middle School. There's no, there's no way. So for you to like, voluntarily go back and share that experience with like, hundreds of them. There's got to be like a special place in heaven. For a middle school teacher. Tara Schifsky: You know, middle schoolers. They're so weird. But I was actually going to be going back to the high school this year, which I was pretty excited about. I was all moved into my classroom and ready to go and then yeah, I just, I quit. And I have been working with some freelance clients for some copywriting stuff and writing my blog. And I sub a couple days a week just to kind of figure out this balance for this year. And I regret nothing because my, like, my mental space is I have more of it, I guess, you know, for my own family and for myself, and I think that's what it comes down to. Leanne: What was the catalyst for finally making the decision? Tara Schifsky: Well, the conversation with my husband went, Okay, so I really want to quit my job. And I had, you know, like, had a, b and c listed out of why I should he goes, alright, well, I'm gonna buy a new snowmobile and then he walked out the door. And I went, Okay, that seems pretty fair. And, and that was really it. We've been together for almost 21 years. That's how we roll. So yeah, that was really like the the leap and I had also landed my first actual paid client which was a big deal. It was just you know, reaffirming, like okay, I can I can do this. Calla: We're all about coincidences here. Things happen for a reason Tara Schifsky: Joe's always rolling his eyes at me because that's what it's supposed to be and he's like, Okay Leanne: No, I think that's what we're reading a book right now and it's all about there are no coincidences. Like there. It's the universe talking back to you. And kind of it talks about manifestation like you think of things and bring them to you. But also there's just the coming to you part, some people just blow it off like, oh, wow, what an ironic thing that happened and they just ignore it. But to think of it as something as like a sign for your life, It just makes life so much more magical, you know? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, and I've had you know, I've experienced quite a few things in my 37 years. And that's what I've just come to believe also like, this is, this is what I'm supposed to do. And these things are happening for a reason. And here I am chatting with you guys. Calla: When you went into quit with with teaching and stuff was that like really difficult to do? Tara Schifsky: Yes. I am, like a people pleaser, to the core. And so I had called and called, and they weren't calling me back and we were missing. And I was like, I just have to get this out. So I sent an email to one of the assistant principals first, like, this is what I'm doing why I'm doing this. Please call me back. And so yet they actually called me back while I was at school packing up my classroom. Calla: Oh, Wow. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. And it was a terrible, awkward conversation. And I'm surprised I didn't pass out. But I just, you know, laid out my reasons. And I had both kids with me. So like, they're running around. They're trying to you know, they want to go home. They're hungry. Calla: This is why! Tara Schifsky: Yes. Um, yeah, so I actually sub at the high school quite a bit. So it's, it's all good. It's fine. Calla: Where we went or a different one? Tara Schifsky: Stillwater. I have gone back to Tartan though. I've stopped there once and nothing has changed. You know, like, the rails, the circles the whole Calla: Yeah, I was telling Leanne, I was like, we didn't really get to, like, hang in the same because you were the cool people on on the wall raile and I wasn't. Tara Schifsky: I was like the take along, like still, like I think back to high school. And, you know, I was such a nerd, self proclaimed nerd. And school was so important to me. And not that it wasn't for anybody that I was friends with. But that was my priority. Like, that's what I could grasp on to. I never thought of myself that way. You know, I was NHS and Student Council, and it was all off school for me. Calla: That's awesome, I didn't know that. That is not at all what I thought. I'm shocked to hjear that to be completely honest. It's really, really cool. I had no idea. Leanne: What was it like to have, like the support from your husband just so automatically like that? Because you said you had plan? ABC and I read that in your blog, the conversation? I didn't realize like, I was like, Okay, this must be like the Cliff's Notes version like No, like that. That wasn't? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, he was on his way, walking out the door. And you know, and so I had been building this up in my head and going over every scenario possible, and every answer that he could possibly have. And so when he was like, Okay, I just just rolled with it. And then I stood in my kitchen, right? I'm now like, looking around, like, where else is real? Yeah. And I don't know if you know, was how important that was, to me. He's always been super supportive with all the crazy things I decided to do and life changes. And yeah, it was just another another thing that I was relieved of his support. Leanne: And then you mentioned earlier, kind of like, I don't want to say the haters, but maybe the people who are less supportive whether they mean to be or not kind of saying like, wow, like, Was it too much for you? You talked a little bit in your blog about outgrowing people? How did you manage that and decide like, Okay, this is someone who either doesn't understand, but I want to keep them close, or we just see things very differently. And I am going this way, and you're not coming with me? Tara Schifsky: Yeah. That's a tough one for me. Leanne: Because the people pleaser, I'm the same way. It's so hard. Tara Schifsky: And it's such a like, trauma response for me, and I like learn that, that it's just, it's ingrained in who I am. And so I do care what people think and that in the way like, oh, I you know, hope someone likes my shirt today. Just like I truly like, want, whatever I do to impact people in a positive way. And so any negative response from anyone, or like, the inkling that they were like, What are you doing? was hard for me to deal with and there were a couple situations where I was pretty hurt by it, which was, in response, like that blog post was pretty therapeutic, just like getting it all out there. And so for those people that I didn't have a direct answer to Read my thoughts. I didn't feel like I had to explain over and over again like why I made that choice for myself. Like when I was like, what about your pension? And I was like, what? Like, what about my pension? Like, oh, I'll figure it out like, there's so many barriers that were holding me back, like in education, like the whole system of education was one of them. I just, I didn't want to be a part of that anymore. Calla: I'm so curious about that. You said that there's like many things that drovea wedge between you and the Education system. I'd love to kind of hear what some of those were. Leanne: If you are comfortable sharing. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no, I am. It's just there are so many things, there's, you know, they, they want, they, I don't know who they are. But like, even like, from my administrators, like they're told what they need to tell us, right. And so they have these high expectations, and things that they want us to do in their classroom. But in the class, it's so different, you know, especially during the last couple years of a pandemic, these kids need so much more than, you know, talking about, I was a social studies teacher, like Minnesota history, or like the flower like I, the sixth graders, were learning about flour mills, and I was like these kids, like, they don't even like, I don't even know anything about the flour mills, why the hell did they need to know about this stuff. And that's the kind of teacher I was, and I'm very not type A and a lot of teachers are. So they're like rule followers, like, they do this by the book, and they're okay with that. But I did not fit in that box at all. And I was more about the relationships I built with my kids than when I was teaching them. Leanne: How much control do you have over your curriculum, and then versus, you know, going kind of off on your own path. And in figuring out what you actually want to drive home to the kids? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, there's a billion state standards that we have to follow, which is so boring. So you do it, and you do it in the most creative way possible. But you know, then they want all this, they talked about alignment with like the other schools in the district and with the state. Andeven this year, it's the control is getting more and more, and teachers have less and less freedom and what and what they choose to teach. There is some legislation going around right now like that teachers need to provide a full year of lesson plans, to the state. Leanne: Whoa. Tara Schifsky: And that if you want to vary that at any time, there's like a, like, you have to like five days before the lesson you have to like send in for a variance. Calla: Which is making it impossible. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I walked in my classroom, a some occasion anymore, not knowing what the hell I was teaching that day until I came in like, Okay, what do we do, alright, I got this, or an hour goes by, and I think, Oh, this isn't working, I need to, I need to do something different. And that's what makes a good teacher, like, you change on the fly, and you get towards what the kids need, not what they're telling you to teach, like, people at Department of Ed have never been in my classroom, you know? And I didn't feel any of it was a real indicator of what these kids knew, or who these kids were. So that's where the guilt comes in. Because I feel like me being a teacher, like part of my role was to be their advocate and like, what they need and so I felt more so like letting my students down and my kids down. So that's, that's the tough part. That's, that's the only thing that brings me back there. Yeah. Leanne: Well, it's kind of like, what you talk about now, like with your blog, and I did, actually I did want to know, did did the blog start after you stopped teaching or do you were you blogging before you finished teaching? Tara Schifsky: I was blogging before. Leanne: Okay. Tara Schifsky: It started it was when I was doing distance learning. So I was home all the time, and just had more time to just be in my own space. It really wasn't the plan until August of this last summer. And it was like okay, I'm doing this and it all just fell into place. Yeah, and that's a lot of your blog is about kind of like the the mom guilt that you feel not being able to get everything checked off the list and give all the attention to the kids that you want. Do you feel like that, like I guess the people pleasing part of you, and I'm asking selfishly because ask, right. I'm not a mom yet, but I do like I have clients and I feel guilty like, am I giving them the best that I can every day? Like, am I prepping as well as I should? Like, does that kind of transition into mom guilt? Like, is that more of a personality trait? Or does it just come with the job? You know what I mean? Calla: Comes with the job, I think. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I think it may be a combination of both. But, um, you know, that was what it also came down to is, I was either not enough for my students or not enough for my own kids. And in the end, like, my family comes first. I am trying to learn that I come first, that is a very hard thing to do for me. So this was a big, a big step. And it has allowed me more time to spend with my kids, you know, not come home and be completely burnt out and not want to do anything with them, or, you know, be just crabby. I was crabby all the time. And I'm not a crabby person. So, yeah, I felt a lot of mom guilt when I was at school, and working. But now that kind of reflects back to my students, you know, it's like, there's something sacrificed all the time. And I needed to figure out what was more important. Leanne: How do you guys deal with that? Calla: Well, I was gonna say for me, I know. I definitely I had guilt on both sides of it. I had guilt all around. It was a guilt cocktail, you know, and it still is, essentially, because now it's like, I walked through that where I was just home with my kids. But then I thought, like, gosh, I want to contribute more than just this. I love this. And I love the balance of being able to do this. There's still like, wants and dreams for me that I want to like go after. So like, how do I find the balance now on this end of it? That's kind of been my journey the last few years. And it's still just as hard as when you're deciding to quit and do something or commit just to your family or whatever. Moms are expected a lot of like, you know, there's lots of expectations there. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. And is your husband supportive? Calla: Totally. He's very similar to yours. He's just like, let's do it. Like go for it. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, like you're right or die. Like this is just yeah, this is what we're doing. Calla: Yeah. Thats shocking to accept to, cuz I'm like, holy crap. He believes in me. Now, I really have to do this. Like, buy me some time like to be completely honest. Tara Schifsky: And that's where like, your imposter syndrome comes in. I'm like, Whoa, like you. I do have to perform like, this isn't I'm not playing around anymore. Like I have to show up and show what I'm capable of even, you know, messaging with Calla coming on here. Like I wanted to throw up before. And I don't know why, you know, like, it's so freaking nervous. Like, what do I have to say? Like, why is what I have to say important? And so that is another thing. Like, I have to remind myself, and thank therapy for a lot of it like you likewhat I have to say is important. Calla: People need to hear this perspective, though. Like I do hear a lot of like, you talked about kind of going from family and kids first back to self first. But you know, before you have kids, I don't have any kids yet. And so it is self first for me. Like it's it's clients first and Clayton and everything, but it's easy for me to find the time to if I need to chill, I can chill. But I hear from a lot of moms and not even necessarily new moms. You make that transition, you have your baby and it's it's all about the baby all the time. And finding your way back to loving yourself again, and putting yourself first is really freaking hard for a lot of moms. And they don't want to talk about it because it feels selfish Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I think it's such a high expectation. And I never anticipated that. Of course my life is gonna change when I have kids but how it changed. I don't think I ever thought was possible. Leanne: You can't prepare. Tara Schifsky: You can't prepare. Leanne: That's what scares the shit out of me. Calla: Yeah, Leanne I feel like you have such an advantage because like you have learned to love yourself into your 30s. Like, I think I got married as an infant like I should not have been allowed to get married. Leanne: Child Bride? Calla: That wasn't my path. But I did find somebody. Tara reminds me. Similar of like your relationship with Joe. It's like you find somebody that is like your safe place. So they allow you to just kind of grow and be that steady for me. And that's what's allowed me to kind of step into now being able to let myself because I am supported by my husband, but I didn't have that before him at all. So I know, that deep dive. Tara Schifsky: I think yeah, I mean, at 37 Like, I'm just now figuring what I want to be when I grow up, you know? It's really what it comes down to. And just life experiences. You know, I talked about therapy and like my people pleasing being a trauma response. I've dealt with a lot in the last few years that's really impacted my mental health and really has, like, caused me to not love myself very much. And so that's hard, because then you have, I have two, a six year old and a two and a half year old. So like, any love that I have is like, thrown out, right? Like you get it, you get it, you get it. And then at the end of the day, like yes, I want to go to the gym. Yes, I want to take care of myself, but I'm too freakin tired man. Like, and I know, it's like, stereotypical mom talk, but it's so damn true. Leanne: And it's reality. It's a lot of moms reality. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. Yes. Leanne: So what does mean time look like for you? How do you recharge? You're like it doesn't. You get on a podcast and want to throw up... Tara Schifsky: Yeah, sitting in silence. Actually last night. Like kids, we have like a, like the kitchen is over here and there's like a sunroom sitting room. And it was outside. We have lots of windows. So it was really dark in the sunroom area. And Joe was in the kitchen with the kids. And he's like, "Wait, Tara, where'd you go?" and I was sitting in the recliner, like in the dark with a spoonful of peanut butter. Leanne: That's my girl! Tara Schifsky: I was like, I just need I just need to sit here in the dark in silence. No one talk to me. But besides that, I have a really great group of girlfriends that we all have kids around the same age. So a lot of times, it's just us getting together while our kids destroy our house, or writing for me like that's, that's my outlet for most things. And once upon a time, I used to really love to box and I'm trying to get back to that, too. Leanne: That'll let out some of that aggression for. You're like, I need something. I need to punch something. Calla: I have to say to to accredit. You and you're in your group of girlfriends, as somebody who's kind of seen a lot of the girls that you met, like, you know, when we were growing up that you guys are still friends to this day and still get together. It is one of the coolest things. I have wanted that for my life watching y'alls relationships unfold like from outside because it is really special what y'all have? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, and thanks because it's you know, we've all been on. Like, it's it is, it's weird. Like that we've all been friends for so long and really like there's no rifts, like, if anything, our group has gotten stronger. I'm really thankful for that, because I don't I don't think it's very common. Leanne: Super rare. Yeah, especially for women. I think, like, I don't want to say men don't change. That's not true. But like we seem to change a lot. And I think a lot of us are kind of people pleasing, especially in high school. And so sometimes who you were in high school isn't even who you actually are. And then you learn and you grow and you change and it's hard to maintain those relationships. I only have one friend from from high school, leftover. She's wonderful, but that's it. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. When I wasn't like I felt, you know, and despite like what how things were perceived, I never felt like in the end, I felt like I was like in this limbo of space between different groups of friends. And so like finally kind of figuring out who my people are, was really important to me. And they are. My girlfriends or my soulmates. I think you know what I mean? Like, sorry, Joe, like, I guess you are too but . Leanne: I've shared this before, but um, my so my grandma, she's like, very wise. She gives me the best advice and she always talks about how like our soulmates are like our classmates, and she believes in like reincarnation and stuff. She'll get really deep, but she's like, you know, we are born onto this earth and we have our group of soulmates who we help learn and grow together. And that like that, then you pass away in your next life like whoever was your best friend might be like your mom or You know, just like you switch roles, but you've got this group of souls who just, you're always learning and developing together and you feel that connection. And I just, I think you can't have multiple soulmates. I don't think that that's a bad thing. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, like you said, like, it's not coincidence. Like, these are people that I'm supposed to be with in my life. That's important. Leanne: Well, in in one of your blog posts you talked about, kind of like, and I'm curious about you to Cal. These are kind of questions for both of you as moms. This is like my, my pre mom therapy sessions so bare with me Calla: We'll do our best work. you ready, Tara? Tara Schifsky: Okay. Leanne: So you talk about like, you are full time mommy all day long. And your husband's at work. And he gets home and you pass the baton, you're like, Okay, I need some time. Like, is that? I guess it's different in every relationship. I'm sure some dads aren't as quick to, you know, pick up and be dad right when they get in the door. Is it rocky sometimes, like, because he's tired from work and you're tired from momming? And it's just like, No, everyone wants to take a nap at some point. Like, how do you manage it? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, you know, it is a point of contention sometimes. Because for Joe he does. He works in the construct construction industry. And so he's physically exhausted when he comes home. And he gets up at like, 3:30 in the morning to go to the gym before work. Leanne: Clayton does that too. I don't know. Like, I get annoyed every time his alarm goes off and like just go to bed. Tara Schifsky: Like I just went to bed two hours ago. What are you doing? Yeah, it is. But like, I you know, it's just like one of those little speed bumps that we just deal with if we're having an off day. And I think we sometimes aren't super great at like voicing what we need, like, okay, lik, instead of just saying like, I've had a really rough day with the kids, like, can you take them downstairs to play for a little bit? Just like, you know, like, Hey, you read my mind. You see this crappy look on my face. Calla: And they don't you literally have to tell them. Tara Schifsky: Oh, gosh, why haven't I learned that? Like, please take these kids downstairs? There's no, yeah, yeah, yes. Yeah. Calla: Take them before I kill anyone. Yeah. Texting, like just know what you're walking into. I'm tapping out, you know, you got 10 minutes. And then you're, you're tagged in. For sure. It's like that some days. And I think for me, like personally, it was harder for me when I felt like I didn't have anything else going on. Like that was always a big pull for me. Like, I didn't want to just be mom, I wanted to be the best mom, I could be. And for me, I thought that meant just being home with them all the time. But I still had that call to do more. And so once I finally started, like, putting myself back into the equation a little bit is really when we started to be able to like, balance that whole it wasn't so take the kids. I'm done. Does that make sense? Tara Schifsky: Yeah. Calla: Yeah. That's how it was for me. Leanne: I wonder too, like, does it become kind of like a routine? Like, you guys become more understanding with each other like, Hey, you're home? Can you just, like, take care of these kids for an hour while I do my own thing? And then we'll regroup or is it just day by day? It's different. Calla: Day by day. It's different, I think. Leanne: Yeah. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. I mean, that's why like, my blog is called revel in the chaos for, like many reasons, but that is one because there's just no, you know, I get we get into like a groove a little bit. It's like, okay, I want to make dinner. So like, get these tiny humans away from me. So I can do this in focus. And so there are some things that can be done unspoken, but most of times it's a shit show. Calla: It's true. It's true. Most of the time it is. It's just kind of it's it is chaos all the time. I do want to explore your name a little bit. How did you like finally say, this is what I'm calling it? Uh-Oh, there's a story. Tara Schifsky: I had I had several ideas and Revel in the Chaos. I actually have it tattooed on my leg. from really long time ago. And it was it's one of those like, my brother. I love them dearly is paying me to be like, "Oh, cool,Tara Revel in the chaos". That's what older brothers do right? Like, still to this day needs to pick on me. Because there's like there's a skull and flowers, you know, it's, it happened a while ago. And I have thought about actually getting it covered up because because people would say stupid things like that. Leanne: Don't ever cover it up. Tara Schifsky: No, these are honestly words that I live by. Yes, I get wrapped up in it. And yes, I you know, there's tough days and like I said, it's a shit show. But if I sit and kind of dwell on those things, that's not going to get me anywhere and so revel in the chaos just it's like rolling with the punches like take things as they come and figure it out. Yeah, and you know, kind of explains my, my parenting style. It explains a lot what goes on up here. So I have embraced it instead of wanting to cover up my tattoo. Leanne: What was the chaos that inspired the tattoo? Tara Schifsky: Oh, I just thought I was cool. I don't know. Calla: You are. Cool, Tara. You've always been cool. Tara Schifsky: I like that. I don't know why I like that. But no coincidences. It was meant to get that tattooed on my leg. Calla: Yeah, I was gonna become become your your business, essentially. That's so cool. And your business has unfolded into like other things, too. Like, it's become a boutique, it's blog. It's Can you talk a little bit about how that came to be? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, that like the boutique thing is just like a little side hustle. Cute clothes that I like, in if I get a percentage from people that shop my, my site. And so it's just as simple as that. That's a fun piece for me. And then freelance writing and trying to get some more clients is really I think I want to prove it to myself that like I am capable and that people want to see my work. In my long term goals to add to this weird bubble is I would like to start my own podcast, and I would like to write a book. Leanne: Huh, this is very interesting. Your goals align pretty perfectly. Tara Schifsky: Okay. Well, I have like, I have a small confession. Like, I know Calla said, I was like, with the popular girls on the rail, but I was always like, wanted to be like, Calla. Leanne: Oh my God say? Calla: That is like the most BS thing I have ever heard! Tara Schifsky: Yes. You're like, cool punk. didn't help that I had like the hugest crush on your brother - Calla: Who didn't? Leanne: Oh, my God. Frickin - Are we all the same person? Tara Schifsky: Yes. Yes. Oh, my God. Yeah. Calla: Well, I had so many guy friends that you were like the standard. They all liked you. And I was like, Yeah, go for it. But I knew they didn't stand a chance. But like, you were the one that they all talked about. . And I just like yeah, man, go for it. You always seem really cool to me. Tara Schifsky: And I never like that. Like, that's not it's funny, because that's not how I saw myself. Right? And it's just not at all. Calla: That is wild to me. That's blowing my mind right now. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. I've been talking about, I've been talking about this with my therapist a little bit. And I don't know if I mentioned it in one of my blog posts. But I did have a hard time, like fitting in, in my own head like people might have, like, place me in certain groups, but I didn't like any of those. Especially, I mean, starting in middle school. If I look at any of those pictures from seventh grade, every single one of my girlfriends is not every single one but majority are blond hair, blue eyes, you know, green eyes light skin, like stick skinny thin and here I am. Not any of those things. And that I am realizing is like a bigger piece of me than I ever really thought like so many of those like yeah, I just never felt like I fit in to that group. Right? I was like, the one. Like one of these things is not like the other and that was Tara. And that's what I always thought about in my, in my head and I know that none of my friends or anybody means it. Like when they say things like hmm, like the What are you? What are you? What do you mean? Like, you know, so then I felt like I had to defend who I am like, and just not no joke. Just two months ago, someone made some comment about being Asian, and I said I'm Asian. And he went, "No, you're not. You're not Asian." and I was like, blown away. It really hurt like just it was, it was too much. I didn't even know how to respond in that moment. It had been a while since I've dealt with a comment like that. So like that kind of brought some some feelings back of growing up and sometimes like people like, they don't mean it to be hurtful, but Leanne: They don't know your scars, right? Tara Schifsky: Yes. Calla: I think that's totally it. That's totally it. Leanne: It's amazing to how, like we're talking about high school. I mean, this is 20 years ago, Calla: Hey, shut your mouth. Shut your damn mouth. Leanne: It was just a little while back. But that stuff can really it can haunt you. And it's very insidious. You don't know that it's there until someone makes a comment. Like, No, you're not Asian, and then boom, it's just a feeling that just hits you. Like, where did that come from? Calla: Yeah. Tara Schifsky: Right. The fact that people have the privilege to say things like that, like with no repercussion, you know? Like, because I had no response. I didn't I was, I was speechless. I just yeah, Calla: Who are you to tell me who I am? Tara Schifsky: And I just kind of reverted to my shy people pleasing ways. Calla: Isn't it wild how we do that? We immediately go back to like that, like, hurt little kid. I do the same thing. Tara Schifsky: And, you know, I was so angry after thinking about it. And I still am. But like, I don't. Yeah, I don't know. It's a tough, tough place, but Leanne: Well, and then you kind of get mad for like, like, retroactively when you're going through it in your head again, you get mad at yourself for not sticking up for your for those feelings that you're feeling. But in the moment, it's just almost like you're frozen. Like you can only do your default. Tara Schifsky: Yes. And I think that too, like, and about a year ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD. And I'm learning that, like, so many things of how I respond are trauma responses, right? Like, it's just like, like, I need to stay in my bubble and keep myself safe. So I am not going to say anything back. It's not that I'm not witty or have smart things to say back. It's just like, I can't like you said, I'm frozen. Leanne: What made you comfortable with the decision to go to therapy? I know a lot of people don't want to go there. Tara Schifsky: I wish I would have done it so much sooner. Calla: Did you avoid it for a while? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I'm like, without like, without you guys being therapists. That's what I asked them. Like, this is therapeutic for me talking about these things. I actually, I originally went to the doctor seeking an ADHD eval, because like, my executive functioning sucks, like it's terrible. Which was also made teaching really tough. Like I was preaching to these kids, like, right in your planner and do all these things. And I can't even keep it together. Through that Calla: A lot of teachers like that, by the way, I would just like to say that I feel like that's like very common. Tara Schifsky: Good. Leanne: Well, not just teachers like that, like, obviously, you're gonna tell your kids to do what's best for them. All of the above, but like, nobody's perfect. Like, even in training. I'm like, you know, get your workouts in and get your steps and make sure you're eating well, and like, I judged myself on the days where I'm not doing that, because I'm like, Who am I to tell this person this when I'm not even doing it myself? Like, I think it's all over the board. You know? Nobody's perfect. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. And it's, it's, it's tough. So like, that piece is still there. But through that whole process. What it really came down to was a PTSD diagnosis, which is attributed to a lot of things. I've experienced a lot of loss starting. I mean, I don't want to say like normal like with grandparents, like I realized now that like there's some people that haven't experienced hardly any loss and I have been through a ton like really important people starting with a really good friend in our early 20s. To my dad, who passed away in 2016, from pancreatic cancer to my stepdad who took his own life in 2018. And then, my only first cousin on my mom's side, so he is more like a brother. He died in a tragic accident in 2020. And so it was like all these things were piling up and I like I had nowhere to go and my own head, like just nowhere. And so, yeah, it was. That's, that's how I ended up in therapy and I'm so glad I did. Like, it's, it's been a really tough journey, but one I'm happy to be going on. I feel like I feel like I'm cracked wide open, like a huge ball of nerves like exposed to everything now. And a lot of it has been more difficult. Like opening up about it. You know, it's... Calla: Girl. Yes. Tara Schifsky: So, yeah, it's been. It's been interesting. Um, but I wish, like trauma or not, I think everybody should go to therapy. Calla: What are some of the benefits though, that you've experienced from the type of therapy that you're doing? Is it talk therapy? Tara Schifsky: Yeah, Um, I guess I'm just gonna lay it all on here for you guys today. Calla: If you're comfortable. Tara Schifsky: I mean, this will be like, What if people listen to this, if especially even my own friends you know, I talked about how close I am. But a lot of people don't know these things about me. Calla: Yeah. Tara Schifsky: Um so I see two therapist one is EMDR Therapy. I haven't even quite like I've been seeing her for a year and we haven't even gotten to the point of actually doing EMDR Leanne: Whoa. Tara Schifsky: Because like, other things, keep, like, Calla: Rising up? Yeah. Tara Schifsky: Like we are on the right path, and then I experience more loss. And within that, I've also been diagnosed with an eating disorder. And I know I like it makes me just feel like a mess. You know, like, even saying that out loud. It's like, oh, yes, I have all these in my head still, like, I have all these things wrong with me that I'm trying to fix. And really, it's just, they've been around a while. Leanne: They become your coping mechenisms. That's how you can cope best. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. So I see her once a week and then I see eating disorder therapist once a week also. So it is a lot of coping mechanisms. It's a lot of like, getting myself back to neutral. So a lot of even just like breathing techniques. And just processing like I have realized I have not processed so many things that I've experienced in my life. Calla: We just keep moving. Yeah. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, and so that is like, the processing part of it is the painful part of it. Leanne: Oh, yeah. That's the ball of nerves that's exposed, right? Tara Schifsky: Yes. Leanne: But it's huge, that you're even open to share that, because that's already shows that you're a little detached from it, like you're on your path to healing, you know? Tara Schifsky: Yeah. And that is to like I, yeah, I can, you know, I can stop myself in my tracks a little bit, sort of going down some crazy rabbit hole, like a lot of it is like this constant worry that I have like, and I don't consider myself an anxious person. But like, you wouldn't ever see that on the outside, I'm pretty mellow laid back. But up here, it's just these ruminating thoughts that are that are constant. And it's getting off that, that that wheel because it's just a constant like kind of ticker in my mind. And same thing with, you know, having an eating disorder. It's not so much about my actions. And some of it is it's more about my thoughts like it's my thoughts about body image, and how often I think about it, and how often I think about food and whether it's good or bad, and just the just disordered thinking in general. But it's constant, like and so. Yeah, I don't even know where I was going with that. And I'm just like, Calla: No, it's so true. No, thank you so much. Like, first of all, like, honestly, I appreciate that. I know, when I was reading your, one of your blogs, and it was about body dysmorphia. I was like, wow, like, you are so transparent. And so, so, so, so transparent, and I was like, I could see a lot of my reflection too. And what you were saying, like when you walk by the mirror and like, you can see somebody and say like, Wow, they look great. They're feeling so well, but you couldn't say that about yourself, you know, and it's just that distorted imagery. Like, man, I can relate with that. And Leanne. I know from your history, I think he would say that you could to Leanne: Oh my god. Well, and I'm, yeah, I had an eating disorder for 17-18 years of my life. Um, but you said the exact word that sparked my healing and shift. Yeah, yeah, that was rumination. I mean, calla was tired of me. I just saying it over and over and over. Like, we were reading a book about technology and optimizing, like making sure you control the technology that control the technology doesn't control you and he went on On this chapter about rumination and your thoughts, and I was like, Holy shit, like, I realized before any binging episode any, you know, restricting it all started with ruminating down this this cycle of like, oh my god, I can't believe these pants fit like this today and then you know and it just cycles into you're not good enough like you should not eat you should you know or I'm tired of feeling this way I'm gonna fucking everything. And it all started with that word rumination and when I could pinpoint it, I literally would say like, realize it's happening and then be like, you're ruminating. And then I would try to shift into something else that was more positive. And that it that was the catalyst to get me into a healthier mind space to, to not have. I mean, I still have the thoughts, the thoughts come in, and they'll creep in. But it stops me before the behavior follows. You know what I mean? I'm so happy you're learning that about yourself. Like that's, that's enormous. Calla: Major Work. Tara Schifsky: Yeah. And it is hard because it's like, in I'm at the point right now still, I mean, this is relatively new. I mean, it's something I've known about myself, right, forever. Like, I can think back to, like, pre Middle School, like having thoughts about that. And that's a long freakin time. So. So like therapy and kind of working through this with both of my therapist is, like, I feel so again, exposed. I feel like I think about food. And I think about my body image more right now. Leanne: Because, you're aware. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I am just so much aware. But I can I can shift gears a little bit a lot quicker, I guess, than letting myself fall. Leanne: Yeah, and awarenesses it's the first real step. And I think to like, you'll be amazed, I don't know. Because having an eating disorder and not having kids, it took up so much mind space and energy. I don't know how you've been able to take care of little kids and still be dealing with this. Like, I think you're going to be amazed once that headspace frees up a little bit how much more bandwidth you actually have to like, take on life. Yeah, I think it's gonna change life changing for you. Tara Schifsky: That's what I that's what I hope like, that's because, like, my therapist asked me like, how, you know, how often do you think of these things you know? I said, it probably consumes at least 80% of my thoughts. Every day. It's like, I mean, it's it's constant. And it still is constant. You know, I think for a long time too, because I'm somebody that like my body image has fluctuated so much up and down. And so you know, like, in my head I keep going back to like, Oh, I press 150 pounds on like, I can get back to 150 pounds like I I know I can because I was that at one point, you know, so then it becomes these really, you know, disordered thoughts again, but then having a daughter especially like, I don't want that for her. Leanne: Yeah Calla: Right. That's a big one. They're big mirrors, they're big mirrors right up to everything and you're just like, yes frickin love yourself. I'm on my daughter about that all the time. Tara Schifsky: Seriously, you know, like in my son like well, he's just a weird little boy. Just Leanne: They're all weird. Tara Schifsky: He'll poke my stomach. He's like, Mom, why is it so squishy? Leanne: Oh, god. Tara Schifsky: Instead of being like, I'm just like that. I'm like, because you grew inside my stomach like you do this to me in the nicest way of like, yes, it is like it's a nice reminder like yes, I grew two humans and I have experienced a lot in my life that have has led me here so learning to love myself at any size. It seems I know it's possible and right now it still seems like a far stretch. But yeah, I'm glad I'm putting the work in for myself and for my for my daughter. Leanne: We talked to a girl her name's Erica Wiederlight. She she has a podcast I I've been recommending it to everyone because it's amazing. It's called Welcome to the leader life. And she talks all about self love and body positivity and relationships and sex. And she talked about how, like, the thought of loving her body was so far fetched to her like, like, I don't even like it. How am I going to love it. But she talked about instead focusing on respecting your body like what you just said you grew two human, healthy babies inside your body. And you wake up every day, and you take care of them. And like all these things that your body does for you, and she had to start there, and she does say she loves herself in her body now, but it had to start with a respect instead of a love, and I can relate more to that. In these stages. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, and I, I'm pretty sure I have said those exact words. Like I don't even like myself, like, how can I? How can I love myself like, and that's, it's, that's spot on. But the acceptance and I think I might play an acceptance part right now and working up to respecting, because I feel like I'm not quite there yet. Because I feel like if I respected my body, and you know what it's capable of, I wouldn't be as hard on myself as I am. Leanne: But that's also being hard on yourself, because you're in a certain place of healing, like you're going to therapy, Calla: And it's so many layers too. I guarantee there's women around you that act the same way. It just it's kind of seeps in, and you don't even realize like what's going on? Like, it's, there's so many factors. Tara Schifsky: There really are. Yeah. And I appreciate you guys talking to me about it, because it really has like, this the eating disorder piece. My husband knows. And two of my girlfriends, which like was huge work that you know, my therapists like it was a big deal. Like to open. But I would even before coming on was thinking about it. Like if it comes up if we talk about it, like I want to talk about it, because maybe a like I don't have to tell it the story or like my Calla: Just refer to the podcast episode. Yeah, there you go. Leanne: Send them a link. Calla: Like, honestly, thank you, though, for even just like going there with us because it it's so hard to navigate. And it's so isolating. And granted, there's lots of people out there who like go through this, but when you're in it, you know what I mean? Like, nobody else is gonna have your experience and in in just thank you seriously for just sharing that with us. Leanne: It's brave. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I feel like it. When I'm done with this. I feel like I'm either gonna drink a bottle of wine or just crash on the couch. Calla: Its exhausting. Oh, I know. I know. That was like the whole first season of this because like, every time like I would talk to somebody, it was just like a mirror back into my life. And I was just like, Oh, shit. I need to take a nap for two months. And then I'll come back to this and this kind of happening . Tara Schifsky: Feeling alls the feelings. Leanne: That's what I'm so curious about to especially being so vulnerable today. Like, now that you do have this blog and you are sharing your life publicly? How do you navigate what to be vulnerable but vulnerable about and share versus like what you really want to keep to yourself and keep private? Tara Schifsky: Mmm, that's a great question. I don't know, if I have like a strategy for that a lot of times, it's I just start writing and what comes out comes out. Which is actually I'm struggling a little bit with coming up with a new piece. I have also learned that I am a perfectionist, and that I never actually understood what a perfectionist was. Because like, in my head, it's like somebody that's like, organized and everything's good. But really, it's like, I am a mess most of the time because like, it's either I'm going to do it perfect. Or I'm not going to do it at all. And so coming up with this, like, next piece is like I want to talk I want to write about my mental health and eating disorder and but then I'm like, should that be a post? Or should go in my book? Should that go in my podcast? Like, really? Hold on? There's like, put it everywhere. Leanne: EVERYWHERE. Calla: Tell your story loud and often. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, and it's hard. So it's like, I just need to sit down and write like and just accept like that. Whatever comes out as is what is supposed to be because otherwise I'd be like, Well, no. The amount I type and delete is ridiculous. Just type delete, delete. And then and then I get nowhere so yeah. Leanne: Well, it is nice to hear that. We're not the only one struggling with that. It's a monster and I did hear like, I would say I'm a recovering perfectionist, but I don't think I'm even recovering yet. But I forgot where I got this. It was like perfectionism stems from that. Same thought of, I'm not good enough. Whatever I'm doing here is not enough. And so you keep trying to make it better until it's perfect, but this perfect doesn't exist. S Calla: Damnit Leanne, Keep your wisdom to yourself. Leanne: It wasn't mine. I can't take credit. It wasn't mine, I just found that. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, it isn't like, in when I had that it was just very, very recently that I had that little aha moment. I'm like, holy shit. Like, my whole life is contingent on this idea of perfectionism. I mean, even thinking about my eating disorder, it's, I have left this all or nothing mentality with everything, right? It's like, super restrictive, eating, binge, like, like, and even in the middle of therapy. I am so drawn to, like, the whole fasting fad, because again, it's like, all or nothing like Calla: You can control it. Tara Schifsky: Yes. And so I have to like, no, Tara, no, that is not like, specially like, it is not what you need to be doing right now. But I have to remind myself that because that is very much who I am. Leanne: I'm that way too. And I can tell you like, going back to the imposter syndrome, like, I tell my clients, like, it's not about the number on the scale, like, we're not going to talk about the 20 pounds, you want to lose, it's the behaviors that you're doing every day that are going to get you there. And it's always the people like me, that are all or nothing that will be perfect, what they're eating and come to every single workout for the first three, you know, three weeks to three months. And after that, they're just like, Ah, I can't like this is not sustainable. I can't do this anymore. And then they're off. And then they're on and then they're off. And then they're on, it's got to be like teeny tiny little changes that you barely notice that are a little uncomfortable. And you do those until they're part of your day. And then you add something else teeny tiny, and you just build and build a build. And that's not fun, and it's not sexy, and you can't sell it. But that's the only way it works. Calla: So true. Tara Schifsky: Yes, it Yes, it is. And but that is me like, like, let's do this crazy Bootcamp for you know, 10 weeks and track everything that you do all the things and then after, it's like, where's all the ice cream and you know? Leanne: Well you get a high from like, seeing this what you want to be, and then going full force towards it. But it's, we're humans, we're gonna mess up and the second you mess up, you go straight to the bottom. Like I failed, you know? And it's not it's not sustainable. It's it sucks. Tara Schifsky: That is me. That is what it is. Leanne: That is the majority of people. It is and it was the only reason it's not me anymore is because I've drilled it into my brain because I've said it so many times. I've seen it over and over. Like that's that literally it would be me if I wasn't in this profession. So thank God for that. But I totally understand like, it's, it's a personality trait and it's it's hard to break, but it is breakable. Tara Schifsky: Good. Leanne: I promise. Tara Schifsky: Work in progress. I feel like I just need like a name tag that says that. Leanne: That's your next tattoo. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, that's the other leg! Leanne: Caution! Calla: What does your best life look like for you? Tara Schifsky: I think it is. I think it is sharing my story. And I think I think that is the kind of the final piece to a lot of this. And so you know, writing about it, talking about it. And then you know, sharing it is my goal, you know, like I do, like I want to write a book and I want one person besides my mom to read it. You know? Calla: I can't even get my family to read my shit. So good luck. Tara Schifsky: Send it to my mom. Calla: I'll send it my all my friends Moms, they're super supportive. Tara Schifsky: Yes! Leanne: My mom read it guys. My mom will read it. Tara Schifsky: Thank you. Calla: Mine will too. She's gonna hate that but I said that. Leanne: Sorry, Joan. Tara Schifsky: Yeah, I think like building, building an empire building my legacy for myself and my kids and Joe, like, based on all the trauma that I've experienced in my life experiences like taking those things and doing a 180 with it and just getting to a better place you know? Leanne: It's perfect because like, that is Revel in the Chaos like life is change and like, just that name alone it that is what you're trying to do you know, everyday. Calla: Your doing it. Tara Schifsky: Like Yeah. Yeah. And then it's like, I have to remind me like, Okay, I am doing it. Like, I'm not just Calla: You're totally doing it. Tara you quit things that make sense, things that people work towards like their whole life, like you did that and you're doing it and you're amazing. It's so amazing. It's inspiring. Leanne: Even today, like sharing what you shared, like, yeah, it's uncomfortable and yeah, you're gonna get off and probably drink half a bottle of wine and sleep on the couch. And that's okay, too. Like, like it's Tara Schifsky: I have to pick up my kids first! Calla: Joe will be home, like we get it, you're gonna be in the dark with peanut butter wine, can you leave me alone? I think that's so relatable. And I think your blog is just only going to continue to grow. And I know like, for me personally, the hardest thing is sharing your experience and getting comfortable. Because I know for me, it's always like, what if nobody gets it? What if it's just like I do all this? And I think this is it, and then it just doesn't happen. I battle that daily. So just keep sharing, because it's awesome. And it's enjoyable, and you're doing it and it's really really good work. Tara Schifsky: Well, thank you and Calla, I can't wait to I don't know if it was your post the other day with like your post its Leanne: Yes! Her chapters! Tara Schifsky: I like nerded out about it. Like, oh, like went back to them to read like what does it Calla: See and I post that stuff and think no one's gonna care. But it's gonna be it's gonna be interesting. I'm looking at it right now. And it's just so special to see how everything comes together. And like, like I said, I've looked up to you for a very long time whether you knew it or not. And to have you here and just be so honest and say nice things back about me when I told Leanne before you get on I got the worst thing would be that she'd be like, I don't even know who you are. I felt like I was invisible. And you know, it's funny. It's just so funny how life works out and I'm just so thankful that you stopped by today. Tara Schifsky: In my head I have this like high school like I can picture you in high school with Leanne: Please tell us in detail what that picture is. I need to know like I could be wrong but like Calla: Oh god. I'm so nervous. Tara Schifsky: I was like yes, I want to wear my blink 182 shirt and my choker and my you know, but also, so that's like, Calla: You guys I'm still dressed the exact same. Tara Schifsky: Okay, so when when I first hopped on, Calla, no joke almost wore an identical outfit. It was like this camo jacket for my leather jacket. That was it. Leanne: She has that camo jacket as well by the way. Calla: I literally have not changed I have not changed at all. I probably should step it up again, my mom's so disappointed. Leanne: Sorry, Joan. We're just gonna call this episode sorry, Joan. Tara Schifsky: I love it. Sorry Mom. Calla: She used to throw away my clothes. Yes, I like to do my laundry and they just back. Tara Schifsky: Oh, my Yeah, no, I you know, I had some interesting wardrobe choices. Oh you know, like sometimes my hair is purple. Some felt like yeah, leave me alone. Yeah, tattoos nose Pierce. I don't know like, Calla: Going through it. Just leave me alone. Leanne: Did y'all go through the Gaucho phase? Calla: Pants? I totally had those. Leanne: Yeah, but you have the legs for them. Gauchos are supposed to be loose the whole way down I was tight on the thighs and then just billowed out from there. Tara Schifsky: Oh man Calla: I am curious though like It shocks me that you have to remember who I am. I'm like dead serious. Tara Schifsky: Like I could have just so I'm like way dorky because like I I really did, I wass like I want to be in their friend group. Calla: You are! Tara Schifsky: Yes, and I'm glad this is all coming full circles like we are more alike than a lot of people that I see on an everyday basis. Okay. I don't even know if I want to mention names. Calla: No, don't . Tara Schifsky: I'm like over here last year with you and you can say whatever you like about a ***** just because I wanted to say his name in three parts. Yeah. Like, that's like he could not just say his first name like Calla: Yeah, he was it. Tara Schifsky: And like in because Laura, and I used to be friends like in elementary school. So like, I just like I always like, I like I feel like I like feel like that's where I belong. Calla: I never knew that that we would have welcomed you open arms for sure. That's so funny, cuz I literally was supposed to talk to Laura yesterday. And we're supposed to talk after this. So she's gonna be so excited to hear about it. Tara Schifsky: Oh my god. Yeah. I remember going to Laura's house in elementary school. And she would like, I have no rhythm. And so she will set these dances. And then try to teach me to do these dances. And I'm like, Laura, like, I'm sorry. I have not your girl for this like, like, I'm not joining the talent show. Because like, I cannot do this. Practicing at her house. And I'm like, oh, no, not my jam. Calla: That's so Laura! So then she got me as the best friend. And I'm like, No, that's not. I'm not doing that. A lot of trouble on that house. Oh, my gosh. So funny. So, so funny. Well, Tara, thank you so much for hanging out with us today. I really do appreciate it. And I hope this is just the start of a new friendship for us because I I really am excited. Tara Schifsky: Yes. Thank you both for having me. I'm super grateful. And yes, if we were meant to befriends. Next time, though, at all. Like can I not be at my computer? I'll just come visit and Leanne: It's always better in person. Tara Schifsky: It's currently like, flurying out you know, it's a balmy 34 degrees. Calla: Oh, no, girl, you got to get in sunshine. Tara Schifsky: I know. Yes. But thank you guys so much. It's been it's it's been a great experience, and I'd love to chat again. Once I get my shit together. Calla: Oh, you don't need to have any shit together. You are more than welcome any time. Tara Schifsky: Thank you. Calla: We'll talk to you soon. Tara Schifsky: Thanks, guys. Leanne: Bye Transcribed by https://otter.ai