Choose Yourself with Tara Alan | Episode 10

Choose Yourself with Tara Alan | Episode 10

In this Episode Kimber and Tara talk about the relationships that change us, the adventures that shape us, and the life that can be ours if we are brave enough to choose it.

Listen to Tara's story about how she went on several epic adventures, navigated an open marriage, and eventually discovered how to live her most authentic life.

To book a session with her, use this link and the code BAD SELF for $50 off!

Follow Tara on instagram @stardustlifecoaching

Notes from Tara: 

My brief description of what my coaching can look like comes from the teachings of the magical @themarthabeck . The quote about "we are all stardust and stories" comes from @erinmorgenstern I have infinite respect and admiration for @glennondoyle and @molly.wizenberg

For guest bios, episode transcripts or to leave a review, please visit:

Follow Kimber on instagram @justbeyourbadself





For more extensive show notes, resources, and transcripts, please visit


Choose Yourself with Tara Alan


[00:00:00] Intro

Kimber: Welcome back to the just beer bad self podcast, where we're learning to let go of perfection. Step into authenticity and show up for the world by showing up for ourselves. I'm your host, Kimber Dutton. And today I'll be talking to intuitive life coach, Tara Alan.

Before we jump in. I just want to thank you for listening, for subscribing, for reviewing and for sharing this podcast with your friends and family.

This podcast has been getting an average of 150 downloads a week, ranking us in the top 25% of all podcasts within just two months of the airing of our first episode. That is all due to you, fabulous people. So thank you so much. And please keep sharing. It's the best way you can support the podcast. And it is so appreciated.

And with that, I'll introduce today's guest. Tara is a creative life coach specializing in deep transformation, coming out, and radical life transitions. After discovering her queerness in her mid thirties, she summoned the courage to change her entire life from rock bottom on up. Now she's committed to helping others recognize that it's never too late to step into the story of their dreams.

Today, we'll be talking about relationships that change us, respecting the authenticity of others and choosing to honor ourselves by living our most authentic life.

[00:01:29] Welcome

Kimber: Tara. I'm so excited to have you on the podcast today.

Tara: hi, Kimber. Thank you. I am super excited to be here.

Kimber: So let's have you introduce yourself, maybe just touch on what you do.

Tara: Okay.

Kimber: And then, I want to hear your story. I've heard bits and pieces, and I want the whole shipping in detail because I think it's such a cool, fascinating story.

Tara: Sure. Okay. So what I do, I do many things, but my favorite thing is that I am a life coach and I, I think I have resisted that for a long time, because I think it can sound kind of goobery or people think it's sort of cheesy or weird or something. But I, I love it. And to me, it's the closest thing to magic.

I just think that when you can help people. See patterns that they've had in their lives, maybe their entire lives and then something shifts. And they're able to move past that. I think it's the most magical thing ever. So life coach, I don't know, life coach good witch.

Kimber: Yes.

Tara: that all, all of that sort of thing.

And then I have other hats that I wear too. I wrote a cookbook and do camp cooking stuff, but my main passion is life coach.

Kimber: And your cookbook that that's going to play a little bit in your story, right?

Tara: Yes. Yes. It will.

[00:03:02] Tara's Story

Kimber: So we'll, so we'll come back to that. Okay. I don't know where you want to start this story. I don't know if it starts . One day Tara was born, or if you want to start a little bit later, you decide the best starting point and let's jump into it.

Tara: sounds good. Let's see, where can we start? So I guess growing up, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I had about 50 things I wanted to do. I wanted to be a dolphin trainer. I wanted to be one of those people that works at historic sites and wears the old timey clothes and makes apple butter and stuff. And I, I wanted to be a party planner and I even got party planner. Business cards with my dad. But I guess this is all to say that I've always been sort of multi-passionate, but I've always been really good at talking to people and diving into the heart of things.

So I had this sort of artsy trajectory. I went to college, I had a lot of amazing friends in college. I was always this really creative artsy spirit. And then I came back home after college and was doing online dating. And I met this person who ended up being my husband for a long time.

[00:04:24] Tyler and the Epic Biketrip

Tara: And I'd never met anyone like him. And. It was sort of getting sucked into this world I'd never experienced of big dreams and big goals. He had a house and a car and went on motorcycle trips and to these really big adventurous things. We ended up dating for, I don't know, a couple months when he asked if I wanted to sell everything I own and go biking around the world with him.

And I did

Kimber: You were only dating for how long when he asked you this?

Tara: not very long, a couple months.

Kimber: Wow.

Tara: So it was a whole big learning experience. I was not a bicyclist. I was not a camper. I had camped, maybe twice ever. And it became this whole epic thing that we did together and it was hard and we learned a lot and it was a big part of my life. I was able to rise to the occasion of doing this really, really hard thing, even though it wasn't something that I initially loved, but it was this hard thing that I did eventually fall in love with it and did a lot of cooking on the road. I had a camp stove and I would make stuff every night and it was amazing. And we blogged about the whole thing blogged about the whole trip, took photos of the whole thing.

Kimber: What year was that that you did this?

Tara: That was 2009 to 2011 and then got home and had a lot of , re-entry difficulty.

[00:06:01] Homesteading

Tara: This is hard to figure out what you want to do after you've done something so big and so specific for so long. But I'd always wanted to start a homestead, go live off the land. And Tyler got on board with that dream and because he's very good at making stuff happen, made it happen. And we got land and it, and at the time it felt a very long process. It felt we were looking for land forever and it was just , I don't know, less than a year.

And we were already moved on to the next big adventure. And we did that for a long time. Moved to Vermont, fell in love with Vermont and the, the rural aspect of everything. We, we lived in a camper for two years while we were building other stuff. We were building a workshop, we're building a cottage.

We were working with our bare hands, building these things and making all kinds of friends and connections. And it was a whole, it was a whole big, full life that we were building. And we were doing it for several years and I don't know, as we kept going, everything started to change a little bit. And so it was just so hard.

It was so hard, but not in a way that had daily. Payoff. When we were on our bicycle trip, it was super hard, but every day we'd meet people and they'd be so happy and so generous and we'd get to have these experiences and on our land, it was just the two of us most of the time. And even though we'd already lived in a tent for two years we were living in a camper doing winter in Vermont.

It was, it was hard. And suddenly it became super expensive to try to do all the things that we were doing. And it just became almost this, this albatross, almost this never ending pile of work and things to be done and added a lot of stress to everything.

Kimber: And you were blogging all of this as well. Right? Where you making a living through blogging about it.

Tara: No, not at all. It was never a money-making thing ever. But, Tyler was doing computer stuff and had this consulting business and was getting more and more successful. But it was a hard position to be in because we needed at least one of us to be working on the land all the time. And Tyler was earning income and I was working on land and also trying to do this cookbook thing, but there was just so much that got intertwined.

I think that it was just hard to unravel. I think there are some experiences in our lives that are almost pressure chambers how diamonds are made. I actually don't really know how diamonds are made. There's something involving pressure.

There's, there's a whole lot of pressure. And then this diamond pops out. That's the abridged version. You can google that later. I think having kids can be one of those deeply intensely transformative experiences where people go in as certain people and this intense experience changes them.

And sometimes you pop out and everything's still great and amazing. And sometimes who you become through that experience can be a polarizing thing or it can bring you closer together or can have any number of effects, but it's this super intense time and that will change a person.

And I think our bike trip was this super intense time that changed us in a way that brought us closer together. And our homesteading project was this super intense time that ultimately helped us discover who we actually are and what we actually want in life. And we ended up eventually going separate ways for multiple reasons.

, it was just one of those super intense experiences that changes you. , that's, that's part of the story.

Kimber: at some point in all of that, you and Tyler got married, right?

Tara: Yes.

Kimber: Okay.

Tara: So we started calling each other married while we were on the bike trip. And then when we got home, we officially got married, which was a sweet little thing where we biked to the courthouse and it was very cute. And we had, I had a peony and a little black dress with pockets. We biked to the courthouse and got married.

And that was something that had been really important to me at the time and , I don't think that was important at all to Tyler. But we did it. And so we were together for 11 ish years. What a hell of an 11 years? We've had so many, so many adventures and Tyler and I still talk all the time.

And I just think that we would not have been able to become the people we are without the other. There's just no way, talk about intense experiences that change you. The two Of us together. People call us a power couple, we did a lot together.

We were very visible and had all these adventures and, and we changed each other. And I think made each other better people. , but everything changed pretty dramatically. , I don't know how to, I dunno how to pick apart those changes, but can I tell you one story?

Kimber: of course.

[00:11:51] The Twinge

Tara: Okay. All right. So this was in 2016 and I was super into food and food blogs.

And this woman that I followed Molly Weisenberger was in Burke. I don't know how you say it. She had kind of stopped posting for a long time, but she had a husband and a daughter and she lived, I think in, Seattle or something. And she came out of the woodwork one day with this blog post about how in her mid thirties, she had basically her sexuality had shifted and a lot of things in her life had changed.

I think at this point she was divorced. But still co-parenting their child and she was not fully in love with this person. And. If they had this photo, it was one of those photo booth photos. And it was Molly and this person who is maybe non-binary or just more androgynous.

And they were so happy, their happiness just radiated through their eyeballs. They were sparkling and glowing. And I saw that and I was just , like, oh shit.

Kimber: Hmm.

Tara: It hit me like a punch to the gut. It was not, it was not , oh, yay. Look at you, go good job. how empowered you are so good. Oh, and I couldn't follow her after that. , I didn't follow her on Instagram anymore. I didn't follow her on her website because it was so scary for me to look at that photo and be like, oh God, I want that. I've never seen a photo like that, that struck me that photo did.

And I couldn't stop thinking about it ever after that. And I think that kind of visibility is such a powerful thing because even though it can be scary to be that vulnerable, I'm sure it was a pretty intense experience for Molly to post that. But I just think about the ripple effect we can have by being vulnerable and fully ourselves.

And just her posting that photo. It scared the shit out of me because part of me knew part of me knew that that was what I wanted. That, that sparkliness that absolutely radiant sparkliness was what I wanted. And even the shape of their relationship. I'm just like oh God. And it was this kind of intense time for me.

And I talked to Tyler about it, who was always like super supportive and amazing. And Tyler was like, oh, well, you know,, that's fine. You should just go date women. , just go do it. I'm like we are married. That is not what you do. We're married. , no, I could never do that. it's done.

My fate is written. We have chosen this thing. We are doing this thing and no, I'm not gonna just go date women and also be married to you. And also do all this stuff. , no, I can't do that. But it was really sweet that Tyler was so supportive. And I just, I couldn't forget about it.

But it was interesting because I already knew that I was kind of maybe sort of interested in women years prior I was dating somebody else and I can't even remember what led up to this. I was dating a man and I can't even remember what led up to this, but I eventually came out to my mom.

Kimber: Hmm,

Tara: mom, I think I'm BI. And she was like, oh, thank God. I thought you were going to tell me you were pregnant. So, you can't really get much better than that as far as a supportive family, really. So, but it was a go ahead.

Kimber: I was going to ask. So when you saw that picture, that Molly posted of her and her partner and that feeling of, I don't know, heartbreak or just, I want that for myself and I don't have that, was part of that a knowing that you couldn't have that with Tyler, or you couldn't have that with a man, or was it not that thought out in that much detail?

Tara: I don't think it was thought out in that much detail?

, it was almost like I have chosen a path. It is my life and I can't imagine choosing something else, but it was almost this heartbreak of, I don't know, the road not taken or I should have pursued my curiosity about this before getting married

Kimber: because now it's too late.

That's not an option for me.

Tara: Exactly. Exactly. . And it's funny, it's a tricky thing to talk about the sparkliness and stuff and, and think about, well, I couldn't have had that in my marriage because , we were great. Tyler and I were great. And we were this amazing. Partnership, we have this amazing partnership and we had our years of sparkle and stuff.

It was pretty great, but, but still it was different. It was, I don't know how to describe it really. Maybe that I dunno. I think part of it had to do actually with just growing up, being an older person, knowing myself more than I had years prior. It's such a weird thing and it's hard to describe how you can have this great partnership and amazing marriage and have all these thousands upon thousands of memories and photos of these epic adventures.

And. Also simultaneously come to the realization that maybe there is something else out there for me that feels more true to myself.

Kimber: There's a Buddhist story that I love that talks about building a raft to get across the river. And the saying is , you don't need to carry the raft on your back. In other words, you build these rafts to get across the river. Once you're across the river, they helped you get there, but then they just kind of weigh you down as you keep going.

That's what came to mind as you're talking is this relationship you had with Tyler was good. And you changed each other and you made amazing memories and you had a good relationship, but during that relationship, you were also both changing and becoming different people and needing different things.

And it sounds like there came a point where it was time to take the raft off your back and move on to the next phase of your journey.

Tara: for sure. And throughout this process, eventually come to The clarity that , I can't be that raft for Tyler either. Tyler's got his own journey and I've got mine and this constant need for adventure to me is utter exhaustion. We did the bike trip.

I learned to love it. , let's go on another bike trip, but that's not what it was at all. It was , let's, what's the next thing. What's the next thing after that, what's the next thing after that and coming to the realization that , I'm not this person for Tyler and Tyler needs to like go off and experience new things constantly all the time and have an amazing time doing it.

[00:19:34] Questioning Everything and Navigating an open marriage

Tara: And I'm much more settled and we can just let each other be the humans that we are. But let me go back a little bit, because a lot happened between in that time that , since I had that , oh shit time. And then when we eventually decided to, I say part ways, but it was just do different things with our lives.

Choose another life track, however you want to say it. it was a hard time because everything was so expensive. The homestead was expensive to try to do the things we want to do. And a lot of all of that financial pressure was on Tyler because Tyler's job was able to be done from anywhere.

And if I got a job somewhere, then we wouldn't be able to go anywhere and do all these big adventure, this whole negative feedback loop of , okay, well then I can't contribute. Cause I really will need a job to contribute. So it was a crappy feedback loop to be in.

But eventually we had this really intense summer which was 2018 where we just started to basically question everything our happiness, what we wanted. And Tyler, I don't want to say came out cause that's not the right wording at all. It was sort of stumbled to the realization that he was maybe polyamorous, maybe wanted an open marriage.

Didn't really have the words to talk about it. And so that summer we dived into it hardcore, but basically this idea that we can love multiple people, that we can have different kinds of relationships that are still equally valid, that just look different. And , there's a vast spectrum of humans in the world and human experience.

And he wanted to experience more of that. So given my 2016 experience one might say that I was happy or excited about this, but this was not at all something that I was happy or excited about. It was devastating. It was the hardest time of my life. And I was heartbroken utterly and completely heartbroken because while I could see logically it made so much sense for Tyler, I could see this, I could see Tyler coming alive actually after a long period of just being sort of drained and blocked.

And , I could see it made total sense. And so I was really torn and conflicted because my heart was breaking for myself. And my sense of what a marriage should look like. What a marriage should be. Utterly devastated and simultaneously just really excited for Tyler and wanting Tyler to be happy and succeed.

And so I think at the time I called it it's a line from a Paul Simon song, but it's, these are the days of miracle and wonder and don't cry, baby don't cry. But it was like, you know, just ripped, open, just felt utterly cracked apart. And that there is devastation in that way of being in that raw place.

And there's also magic in that raw place because you're so vulnerable. It was just like so vulnerable and there's no choice, but to well I say, there's no choice. I made the choice to fully feel everything and to explore this idea, even though I hated it, even though it felt awful, even though it felt like the worst possible thing but I actually sort of a mystical kind of experience, but I actually heard a voice that was not my voice or not my speaking voice, who knows what it was, but it said, if you do this, you will reap miracles beyond your wildest, imagining that was the voice.

And so I made the choice to, to be open to it, to not just be , well, fuck this. I hate you. We're done, get out of my life, whatever. I, I made the very difficult choice to stay open and it was a really heartbreaking and magical summer. In a lot of ways. We did a lot of reading together every morning.

We read all these books about polyamory and I would just throw them across the room of the little cottage that we lived in. But I learned so much and I, I mean, we were talking about, , various ways of being queer, we were talking about marriage. We were talking about what relationships should be and look .

And, and so as hard as it was, we were both really open and vulnerable and there and there, I said, there's magic in that. And so. For a little while. We got closer than we had been in a long time, because we're able to talk about all this stuff. And it was a wild time, super wacky. We had been planting gardens on our homestead and , , full on in this track of doing the homestead .

And, and also simultaneously at this time, seeing about seeing other people and seeing what that looked , like, seeing what that felt , like, and Tyler was happy as a clam, , just utterly happy as a clam. And it makes sense. , it makes sense for him in that context, it was. It's kind of, it was just cute.

It was just utterly thrilled and playful and all of these things that I hadn't seen in a really long time. , and meanwhile, I was also heartbroken and devastated, but I made the big brave, bold move, which in retrospect seems not a big deal at all, but that's not where I was at the time I made a profile and OkCupid and then I, , made the vulnerable decision to state to the world that I was open to dating women.

And it was, , my chance to do that. And I really, I really think, I wish I could say that I was just such a strong bad-ass that I would have gotten to this place on my own. But , I, I don't know that I would have, I don't know that I would have I without this adventures in having an open marriage land.

I don't, I don't know that I would have, cause I was so ingrained in these beliefs that we're just seeped in, or just seeped in these ideas of what marriage should be, of what partnerships should be, what a husband should be , what a wife should be . And I couldn't with Tyler was very good at storing up the pot and sticking a flag in the sand and be , like, we're going to do something different.

And so without that, proactive opening, I don't know that I would have found the personal power to do that. To like be open to dating women. So I'm so grateful. I'm so thankful that we had that time together, where we both learned so much about ourselves. And I'm so grateful that we were both supportive of the other to explore that.

And I'm so grateful for Tyler's , oh, we're going to crack this open. , let's do it because I don't know that I would have gotten there.

Kimber: The most amazing thing to me is that you guys were able to, I don't personally know very many relationships that can hold that space for each other, to still be in a relationship to still trust each other, and to give each other permission to explore in that way. That's pretty incredible.

Tara: It was intense. It was intense to simultaneously have each other's backs And also be , like, I can't believe you're doing this to me. I feel like you're like my husband and you are betraying me. it was a lot of feelings simultaneously, but, , I got to the point where , now I've come a long way, but there's such a vast array of experiences and shapes of living available.

And even though I was raised in a fairly, , liberal open-minded sort of household, even though I had lots of friends who were openly gay, even though by all account, I quote unquote, should have been able to figure this out long before I didn't. I wasn't able to, and I don't know if its all the Disney movies, I don't know if it's, , just straight up living in a patriarchal society.

I don't, I don't know what, but I didn't even have, I didn't even have to bear the brunt of a lot of overt patriarchal ideology. I wasn't at risk. I could talk to my mom. I wasn't at risk. My family wasn't going to like shun me if I came out. . And still, still even. So I think probably because of a lack of visibility, we just don't have, we just don't see an image of what can be possible.

We just have such a limited vision of what can be possible based on, , when we're kids and whatever we're showing the world we live in, we just have such a limited vision of what's possible. And what we were able to do during that summer is just crack open the vision of what's possible. And it went from a, , anything is possible sort of terrifying place to learning over the months and learning over the months and realizing more and more who I am.

[00:29:41] Tara finds her person

Tara: And I was , like, okay, I am actually a person who doesn't want an open marriage, but I was able to immerse myself for a long enough to sort of open my mind and, , shed the layers of societal expectations so that I could do what I needed to do. So I did the big, brave, bold thing of putting a profile on OkCupid and said I was open to women and I want to say it was not very long later that I was matched with my partner and I saw her photo.

And I was like that one. And we started talking, we started texting and you know how I said before I'd never met anyone like Tyler. This was like, I never met anyone like myself. We could see each other, on a deep level and we just started talking and it changed everything.

It changes everything, everything. And we had our first date and I was so nervous. You mean, I'm just supposed to drive to your door and knock on your door. You gotta be kidding me. I rode a scooter across the Sahara desert and I. Not that , I cannot knock on your door.

I cannot do it. But it was just a really magical thing. And we had our first date and we kissed and it was , I mean, it was , coming home. It was every single romantic movie explanation of how it feels to meet your person. It was , here we are , we're just us.

This is us. And this is how it's going to be , this is just how it's going to be you and I , we are going to be together. and it was magical.

Kimber: And is this also the first time you'd been with another woman

with her. Wow.

Tara: So I've gone on, well, I don't know, been with but I had been on a date with one woman prior to her.

Kimber: Is this the first time you kissed another woman? That's magic. That's cool.

Tara: it was magical and it's funny because it's, again with , when I came out, I didn't know my entire life that I was gay. I had no idea. I didn't, even when I came out to my mom, it wasn't , I thought I was BI. And growing up, I didn't have crushes on girls, , I just, it just, wasn't a thing.

I thought I was just , not that into sex. I was , asexual. I was just , it's just not a deal for me. , I don't know. I just don't see people and get attracted to them. That's just , not how I work. . I don't know. Maybe my sexuality is very specific. I don't know, but.

Kimber: Well, I was just today. So interesting. You bring this up. I was just today reading an article. That's talking about compulsory heterosexuality, especially when it, when it comes to women. Because there's just this line.

Compulsory heterosexuality is exactly what it sounds like being straight is something our culture tries to force on us. It affects people of every gender, but it's mostly been studies as something that affects women because compulsory heterosexuality easily ties in with the misogyny that causes women's sexualities and even identities to be defined by our relationships with men.

And it's just that's what we see everywhere. That's what we have permission to be. That's just how we're culturalized so even if you grow up with gay friends or lesbian friends, that's not the water we swim in.

Tara: Right. for sure. I remember I, so Tyler and I are good friends with this woman and she was going on a coming out journey of her own around the same time that Tyler and I were trying to figure out our marriage and stuff. And she and I hung out one night and we were watching this lesbian, romantic comedy.

And it was the first time that either of us had watched a lesbian, romantic comedy. I was , like, I didn't even know these existed. But I was also so bitter at the time, because I was going through all of that, open marriage stuff too. And I was , like, God damn it. Even lesbian, romantic comedies don't have what it looks like to have an open marriage that's not even visible. So it's simultaneously fun and liberating and also super frustrating because even that was not accurate to What was going on for me. But I just want to say that even though the open marriage thing and the polyamory thing was super hard for me personally, I was super clear that it really resonated with Tyler.

And I just want to be really clear that , like, it works for some people, it works for people and it is less about a structure and more about a heart orientation. And sometimes it can be about a structure too, but more about a heart orientation. And I thought it was something I could do I thought, , I'm going to put on my profile that, I'm happily married and I'm in an open marriage and I'm interested in women thought it was something I could do. And eventually I realized it was a heart orientation and that wasn't my heart orientation.

Kimber: What do you mean by that?

Tara: have you ever seen game of Thrones?

Kimber: No,

I'm sure a lot of people listening to this have.

Tara: All right. So there's, I'll try to give you backstory. Maybe it won't make sense either way is fine. So there's this character that everyone calls Hodor and you don't know why he's called Hodor. And then finally at the end of the whole show, you realize why it's because he had to , like, hold this door open and it got stuck in this loop of hold the door, hold the door, hold the door.

So then eventually the only thing he could say his whole whole door, some of that's the only word. So that's why people call himHodor, but he's holding this door open against all the, this might be totally wrong. This is what I remember. He's holding this door open with all of his might and it's trying to close this door is trying to close.

And he's holding it open with all of his might holding it against the forces of, I don't know, evil or something that are trying to rush in, or maybe he's whatever it is it has to do with holding the door. Either trying to protect the people that he loves or trying to hold it open to prevent evil from coming through.

But either way, it's this epic holding of a door with every ounce of his strength. And for me, the idea that I could see multiple people and have it be great in different ways and be super valid in different ways. A lot of people can do that. For me, it felt like holding the door. It felt , my, my heart doorway is a very monogamous heart doorway and trying to hold it open for these different relationships was exhausting and not sustainable.

And it was , like, we can love each other and we can be good, but we can't have the same relationship that we have before. For me, one person gets to be my person. And as much as some people can do that with multiple people. I just can't I just couldn't do it.

I couldn't have the same relationship with two people. I couldn't bare my soul to two different people. It was like, no, She is my person and now we are family, but , I love you and I want you to be happy and I want you to do the things that you want to do, but , I can't, I'm not the same now.

We've done this, pressure chamber of change and cracking apart. And I can't be that person for you anymore. , I'm just not, I have shifted this, circumstance has caused me to grow and change and I am no longer that person. So that was a really hard thing, especially. For Tyler who is capable of having all of these joyful, really exciting, intense experiences with people.

But I was trying to decide what to do because it got to the point where on our second date, we were Erin and I were talking about soulmates and Plato's halves. And, , she brought it up talking about Plato's Halves. And I was talking about how funny you should mention Plato's halves because ever since we met, the word soulmate fell into my mind, a falling leaf, a leaf falling from a tree and it settled in my mind and I can't get it out.

[00:38:24] Tara chooses herself

Tara: I don't want to get it out. It's just there. And so then it became, all right, how do we navigate life? How do we do this? I have this whole life, this whole track, this whole trajectory. I went from my life's path is set. My course is charted. There is nothing else for me. I've made my choices.

Anything else it's too late to having this magical, sparkly, beautiful experience with my partner, feeling like we are each other's soulmates and. There is no going back. How do we manage this? And I would visit her and then come back and it felt like a snake, trying to crawl into its old skin again.

And I, it started out small. And then, then the feeling got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger until it was so overwhelming that I couldn't ignore it. And I would have this experience of I could see in my mind's eye, two very different lives. And it's funny because I am so firmly now entrenched in my new life.

And it's just, it's funny to look back and see how it was once just a vision. It was just a vision and it was not a certainty at all. I almost didn't choose this life and that would have been. The tragedy of a lifetime. I don't even, I don't even want to think about it. It makes me want to cry.

I'm just so thankful that I chose this path because I would be in the cottage. And the two images I had in my mind were just me on the homestead on top of this hill, looking east, looking east towards where Aaron was and Tyler was off in somewhere with some other partner. And I was on this homestead by myself looking east.

And then the other vision I had of myself was on a bicycle with one pant leg rolled up and this funky haircut and cruising all around my new town, on my bike. And I was so happy in this vision. I couldn't stop smiling and this vision, and I had, I said, I had just funky hair and was rolled up jeans.

And I was tilling all around town. And I tried to keep my life and I tried to stay on the same track and I eventually couldn't do it. I couldn't do it. And now knowing what I know now being who I am now navigating my life as I am now, I cannot, I cannot fathom making any other choice because any other choice would have been a negation of myself.

It would have been killing off part of myself and settling for something that was. Less alive. And I think that as we're navigating our lives and we're trying to decide what we want to do, there's this sense of , well, we can't change or it's fine. Everything's fine. It's perfectly fine. And it's true.

, there wasn't anything wrong. During that intense time, we had a lot of arguments and stuff and it was not happy time, but overall the relationship was fine. We were good. We were a power couple, but ultimately I wasn't myself. Ultimately I learned that the person who is in that world wasn't myself. We had to crack apart to find each other to find ourselves again.

And I think that now I'm much more similar to the person I was when I was seven, I much more similar to the person I was who went to college and had all those friends in college and stuff now I am much more myself, but because I had this time and because I had this marriage and because we could work the way that we did and crack apart, I was me on this level.

And then, you know, did this whole big bike trip thing and all these things that weren't necessarily what people would have thought that Tara Allen would do. And then eventually we cracked apart. And I was me again, but just in a totally deeper way even more myself. The Tara that always was except now the, oh wait, actually I'm gay version. And I don't think I could have gotten there any other way. So.

Kimber: I just keep thinking of , is there, is there ever a situation where it is good to not choose yourself because in this conversation, the obvious answer is no, always choose yourself. Right. But a lot of people listening to this are thinking, , well, my situation is different. I have kids or that wouldn't be accepted in my culture or, or whatever.

Is there a point where it's in this case better to forget who you are and stay in the trenches.

Tara: I mean, it's so hard. Now , on the other side of it, I'm , like, well, what is your life worth to you? What is your power worth to you? What is your self worth to you? Because I think the world needs people who have come the fuck alive in order to make true change, but that's coming from where I am.

Now. That perspective is coming from where I am now having made the choice that I made. Would I be able to find happiness in my other life? Sure, absolutely. It was great. It was fine. We were happy. But knowing where I am now, I have no other words for what was then other than less happy and less alive, but I wouldn't have said that then, , I would have said that we were great.

Everything was fine. So it's really hard for me to say and from which perspective to say it from, and, and I don't ha , I didn't, we didn't have kids in our marriage, so , I can't speak to that, but I will say that I think, , I can't tell anyone else what to do. I don't know. I have no idea what anyone else should do with their lives.

And I don't as a coach, that's not what I do anyway. That's not my telling you, what you should do with your life is not at all what coaching is, but. I will say that I'm just so grateful for people like Glennon, Doyle, who model, what family can look , like, who model, what divorce can look , like, who model the fact that we can have family that doesn't look like a mom, a dad, and two kids, whatever.

We can have a more expanded version of family and we can reclaim what divorce means , and own it. You can be divorced and still love your ex. You can be divorced and still want your kids to grow up with this person. You can love your ex and still want them to remain a family.

And it can look like whatever is most empowering.

Kimber: One of my favorite Glennon Doyle quotes is when she says something about in our culture we've been taught that a broken family means divorce. But really a broken family is any family in which one of the members of that family has had to break themselves into pieces to fit into that structure, that family structure, and that she has this totally different than the typical family structure.

And they make it work. And they're a whole family with extra spouses and kids going back and forth and they make it work instead of labeling themselves as we're a broken family, because now they can all show up as their whole self.

Tara: I think that any union that necessitates the stifling of any of its members that's a broken marriage. , exactly, exactly what you just said. Exactly what you just said.

[00:46:49] Tara's Life Coaching

Kimber: So this is a good little segue into your coaching. So, what do you do with your clients? What are your methods? What is this magic you speak of?

Tara: Sure. Well, okay. So there's this quote that I love from this book I haven't even read, but it says we are all startups and stories. And I think that there's something so true about that. The stories part, the stories w w who are we really? Who are we really, are we the thoughts in our head? Are we the habits that we have that are created from the thoughts in our head and our emotions?

What even are we, I think that we are Stardust and stories. We have so many narratives going on in our head all the time. , oh, I can't do that because I'm not smart enough. Oh. That type of car is just not for me because everyone would hate me because rich people suck. All of those stories.

So what I do as a coach is a lot of listening And reflecting and really helping the client pull out these stories and we can look at them together and say, is this story worth keeping? Is this story accurate? Is this story true? Is it worth living by? And if not, how can we change it to create it into somethingthat is more empowering and it really depends on the client also. But it's a lot of listening and reflecting and almost creating space for someone , to go through thought processes on their own. Because if I come in and I'm , like, you know what you should do, I can see that you're really good at this.

You should do this thing. X, Y, and Z. And it's really, I think it's dishonoring to the person who knows their self, the best, and the most it's really dishonoring for someone else to kind of be like, you should do this. And so a lot of it is actually just allowing the space and with the, carefully chosen questions for someone to think through their own thought processes until they eventually get to the heart of themselves and the heart of truth, the heart of who they want to be and what stories they want to live. And, and sometimes I offer hunches, , , I have a hunch that this tell me where I'm wrong. Tell me you tell me. One of my coaching instructors says to use my ideas as the edge of a swimming pool that you can kick off of.

Don't just take my ideas as gospel, use these ideas to push off of and see where you go, see how it lands. How does it feel when I say this thing? So that's some of what I do. I also take people through visualization exercises where they can tap into their ideal life and their ideal scenario.

I also work with people. A lot who have resistance, we all have resistance, right? We all have, anytime we try to do something exciting or , like, I'm going to make this big, bold move. This resistance comes up and it's terrifying. And maybe it means that we actually don't do the thing that we want to do because we're so scared of this resistance coming up.

So one of my favorite things to do. Is to work with people to come up with an image for the resistance. And I say, come up with an image, but they're not really inventing it. You scratch the surface a tiny bit. And then right under the surface, boom, there's this image that just existed and not I'm making it up.

They're not trying to come up with it. It's just there. And sometimes it's a wall of storm cloud or a literal wall made out of brick or a it could be, oh gosh, I've had everything, a brake pedal all kinds of things. It's different for every person. And when people are able to access those images, it's so much easier to see the structure of your life and be , like, oh, that's what it is.

That's what it feels like. Now, can I change that? How can I use that? How can I see this differently? And I worked with someone who had a brake pedal and through our coaching session realized she had a gas pedal, , and this is decades of this connection with this brake pedal.

And it was so liberating for her. It changed her entire life in this , I think she came to this realization at minute 40 of our 60 minute session, but it's creating lasting intense transformation in a very short period of time or at least it can. So that's a little bit about

Kimber: And I bare testimony that you're an amazing coach cause you're my coach. So I've seen you work here magic. So it probably time to wrap things up. From all of this is there one key takeaway that you want to leave our listeners with?

[00:51:42] The Takeaway

Tara: I think that we have a baseline of fine that's just acceptable in our society. I think we have a baseline of okayness that nobody's going to question you on. No, one's going to say, oh gosh, you seem really unhappy right now. No, we have a baseline of okayness, but I think that that baseline needs to change because there is so much joy and passion and aliveness available to us that if we were to have access to all of that, then look back on that baseline we would say, "gosh, that's a kind of shitty baseline." I don't have an agenda. I can't tell anyone what to do. I don't know what people should do with their lives. I don't know how it feels when you've birthed children and now have this family situation. I have my own family situation, but it's different than this. I can't say what's best.

I just know that in our society, we have a baseline of okayness of exhaustion of kind of blah, kind of okay. But there is a world out there that is zinging with aliveness and those sparkles just like Molly and her partner, that kind of aliveness and radiating joy and whatever it is, I don't know.

Sparkliness magic, aliveness that is available. That is available and I personally think that should be the baseline. And I am so thankful that I was able to have the bravery enough to make that leap and anything I can do to help other people find the courage to take that step into the unknown, because it is totally unknown.

It's terrifying and scary. And , we don't know. We've had our baseline for so long. Maybe we don't have any examples in our life of people just bouncing off the walls with sparkles and radiating joy. Maybe we don't have that, but to take the leap of faith to, to know that it exists.

And I get to have that. I don't know if I like the word deserve because I think it's loaded in a lot of ways, but , I get to have that. I am a human being in this universe and I know. In my heart, even if I can't see it, I know in my heart that more is available to me and I get to have that. And I choose myself.

I am the only one who can choose myself. Somebody has to choose myself and I'm the only one who can do it. So I think I will leave you with that. I think that is the most important thing.

Kimber: That's beautiful.

[00:54:26] Outro

Kimber: To book a session with Tara, go to her website, or just use the link that I've included in the show notes. And for $25 off a session, you can use the code BAD SELF. cannot speak highly enough of her coaching.

Your invitation this week? Don't settle for your old baseline.

What is one thing you can incorporate into your life that will set a new ground zero? Maybe it's a small thing, like making your favorite, hot beverage every morning or setting a boundary. Maybe it's something huge, like making a change in your relationship or moving to someplace that feels more aligned with who you are.

Choose something that gives you at least a glimpse of that zingy, alive, feeling that Tara Talked about. If you enjoyed this podcast and want to leave a review, subscribe to the podcast or share it as always, you have my heart. That's it from me. Now, just be your bad self.

Tara AlanProfile Photo

Tara Alan

Life Coach

Tara is a creative life coach specializing in deep transformation, coming out, and radical life transitions. After discovering her queerness in her mid-thirties, she summoned the courage to change her entire life from rock bottom on up. Now, she's committed to helping others recognize that it's never too late to step into the story of their dreams.