Taylor's Take on The Bachelor Wedding Photo Shoot

Listen to my podcast, Taylor's Take, on SoundCloud, where I reflect on my journal entires and provide commentary on The Bachelor. 


Always a Bridesmaid...

The second episode of The Bachelor featured two group dates and a one on one date.  My name was on the first group date card and we did a bridal shoot with Nick.  In "Taylor's Take" I will share with you portions of my journal entires from this date.  I haven't looked at my journals since I wrote them, so creating this has been really interesting.  Sharing this with you is partly a way for me to be experience vulnerability in putting my thoughts out there and furthering my processing of this experience, but it also allows me to show you more of who I am and gives you a peak into where I was at during this time.  


Pre-date

I'm feeling a little out of place.  I'm on the first group date today, which kind of makes me nervous.  This is really happening, already.  I'm still trying to recover from the first night!  I just have to kind of jump in and put my big girl pants on.  I think I'm starting to feel like I stick out a little in this group of girls, I'm starting to notice our differences.  I'm not super high energy and I'm not like incredibly excited.  We will see how it goes.  I felt confident in Nick and I's connection last night and I hope I continue to.  I need to make sure I continue to be my authentic self and show myself in the time I do get.  Even though I'm not super excited about this date like the other girls I think that it is okay.  I am staying true to myself.  I'm a little different when it comes to this stuff and I like me, even though it can be different sometimes. You do you, boo boo. 


Post-Date

I don't even think there are enough pages or time to write how I'm feeling about today's date.  The first group date is in the books.  It is difficult to not compare out to other girls, and to not change my perception of what I think he is looking for in a partner.  Like, really dude? I feel deep down that I could be a good match with Nick.  I feel strongly that other girls here are not.  I have to have faith in the dating process and that Nick will sort these things out in time. I'll learn more about him throughout the process and be able make my own decisions.  I feel confident that I'm not going home at the end of this week.  I think our connection is there.  I like that Nick said I'm intriguing.  It is crazy to think this was literally only the first day.  

 It is frustrating feeling like Nick is going after things/qualities in a girl that I don't find right him.  But that is my opinion.  I feel like I have to give Corinne some credit for going after what she wants, but I also feel like there is a more balanced way you can go about it.  I can also go after what I want in a way that is authentic to me, and I did.  I'm slightly nervous that I didn't get to kiss Nick again at the end of the day.  Our kiss during the photoshoot felt very intimate and I was pretty emotional and nervous about it.  I wasn't expecting to kiss on the first group date, like I literally just met the dude.  I have some worries that we didn't get to kiss again, but also am somewhat happy about it because he had literally kissed everyone at that point, and that feels pretty gross to me.  I'm trying to stay focused on the connection and relationship that we are creating but it is pretty fucking difficult to do that with a bunch of other girls' thoughts/opnions/feelings about the whole thing.  It is all up in your face all the time.  I definitely needed this time process and check in with myself.  This first group date was no fucking joke.  Shit was intense and this is a pretty stressful environment.  I just hope our connection continues to grow and I feel more confident in us every week.  What a long day. 

Taylor's Take on The Bachelor Premiere

TaylorNolanBachelor

Listen to my podcast, Taylor's Take, on SoundCloud, where I reflect on my journal entires and provide commentary on The Bachelor. 


Will You Accept This Rose?

The first night is in the books! I had the pleasure of sharing this episode with family and friends who held a beautiful viewing party for me.  One thing that was really important to me going on The Bachelor was to share my experience and who I am, and to be open to this level of exposure and vulnerability.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received from the people in my community.  It takes a lot of courage to put your life on pause and put yourself out there in such a crazy experience where, let's be honest, the odds are stacked against you.  Watching this episode, I felt proud of every woman who took a chance and stepped out of a limo.  

Before and after the first night I spent time grounding myself and focusing in on how this experience would challenge me and what I wanted out of it.  Being without phone, internet, or social support I spent a lot of time journaling these thoughts and feelings...and now I would like to share them with you

Seattle Facebooth 

Seattle Facebooth 


Today is the day.  I'm about to have the weirdest first date of my life. Be your authentic self.  Taylor, you're wonderful.  I'm feeling somewhat okay about all of this.  I've handed over control and am having faith in this process, not necessarily of the show, but of life.  I am going to trust this experience and myself.  I will be myself, I will dig deep, I will be vulnerable, and I will dare greatly.  I'm really excited for this journey.  I have to get comfortable in the unknown.  I don't know how things will turn out and it is totally out of my control.  This is such a new, different, weird, and unique experience.  I'm excited about what I'll learn throughout this process and how I'll be challenged.  It is definitely scary and I'm nervous, but I know it will all be good in the end, and I'm having faith in that.  

This is so much to take in, but it feels so good to finally be here.  I'm going to really take advantage of my time here and be present with each moment.  I have to let go of the fear of uncertainty and gain the strength to believe in what i cannot see...which is literally this ENTIRE experience. I am ready to have someone to share my love with and I'm ready to accept someone else's love.  

I've reached a point in my life where I know I am enough just as I am.  I've done the internal work to truly believe that I am enough.  I want a partner that will feel the same way, not only about me but also about himself.  I want the confidence I'm feeling now to follow me throughout this experience, even when shit gets really hard.  I hope that I do actually like him.  I hope he likes me too.        

                       
It would be incredibly fucking insane if he and I actually connected and established a real relationship together.  


What a fucking trip.  I think I have to remain open-minded, authentic, and vulnerable.  I have to stay true to my thoughts and feelings, and be open with them.  I will be assertive in my pursuit for creating a relationship with him...given that I actually like him

Oh my god.  Are you kidding me?  Salad dressing all over my dress.  I'm literally about to go down and meet the girls and get in the limo.  Jesus Christ, Taylor.  You're a hot fucking mess.  Of course this would happen.  Maybe this is actually a blessing in disguise, like time will pass and then I will actually have something legitimate to worry about.  Less than a few hours until I met Nick.  Ah! 

I Accepted the Rose

Did last night really happen?  That literally all feels like a dream.  I feel like we had a good connection.  Nick was very handsome and a little nervous.  I was so tripped up by how everything he was saying in his speeches were all things I had been talking about before coming here.  We both get into this weird zone when we talk and just kind of get lost in our thoughts.  Watching him do it was very attractive and I really liked his brain and face.  I feel like I did a good job with the girls, some were freaking out about time and I tried to be helpful where I could.  It was sad to see some of the girls loose confidence and compare themselves to each other.  I had a feeling it would be happen but it was another thing to actually experience.  After talking with Nick I felt good and had a good sense that I wasn't going home.  I didn't let seeing his connections with other girls make me question the connection that we had.  I know I won't feel like that every week so it felt good to have that confidence and security.  I'm going to keep the mindset that I had coming into this, that I want him explore his connections with other women.  We are all wonderful women and I hope he gets time to explore his connections with all of us, that is how this works.  Now that I've met Nick, I'm feeling even more great and thankful about having this opportunity.  It is pretty fucking insane, but I want to have fun with it and I want to dig deep, be vulnerable, and dare greatly. 

Volunteering at Mary's Place with Runway to Freedom

Girl's Day at Mary's Place

This was my first experience volunteering at a shelter (for humans) and it certainly won’t be my last.  I was invited to participate in this girl’s day at Mary's Place through organizers and volunteers at Runway to Freedom.  We bonded with the girls and women at the shelter through doing their make up and nails, decorating cookies, and getting in the holiday spirit. 


Empowering homeless women, children, and families to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community
— Mary's Place

Connect within your community

My favorite part of the day was speaking with different women and children about their stories.  This is why I love being a counselor and volunteering because I get to connect with people from totally different walks of life.  Volunteering to help people who are in need is so rewarding because we feel a sense of connection with those we are helping, which enhances our human experience with one another.  

I connected with the younger girls on the simplest of levels: social media.  We talked about texting, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.  We bonded over make up, expressing ourselves through clothing, and a bit of shared sassiness.  

I felt incredibly uncool talking with one girl, 16yrs old, who speaks Chinese and is learning Mandarin, plays multiple sports, is the eldest of six siblings, and is on her path to applying for scholarships for college.  I felt humbled painting the nails of a woman who traveled here from Trinidad with her special needs son.  These are just two of the women I had the opportunity to talk to.

Connecting with the women and children at this event was grounding.  I left the shelter thinking about the next time I can go back.  There are so many ways you can help, whether it is through donating money, clothing, food, resources, or your time.  Every person matters, regardless of socioeconomic status, sexual or gender identity, education, mental health, race, etc.

Your help does make a difference.  

Every act of kindness & moment of connection does have an impact.


Question for thought:

  • How was an organization or person been there for you when you needed help?  

ABC's The Bachelor Announcement

Hello, Bachelor Nation!

I'm pretty excited to finally be able to share publicly that I will be on the 21st season of ABC's The Bachelor with Nick Viall.  I mean, how could I have said no this opportunity?

Given Nick Viall's controversial time on the Bachelor franchise, there will be so much to talk about this season.  I will be sharing with you my reflections after each episode (which I can't wait to watch!) and hope to have many discussions with many people about them.  I love discussing and analyzing relationships and social dynamics, hence why I've been a fan of the show.  

The opportunity to be on ABC's The Bachelor came up after I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with my Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  I was preparing to start my private practice, Counseling Ordinary Courage, when it became clear I was going to do the show.  It didn’t feel right for me to start building therapeutic relationships with clients and then to up and leave for an undetermined period of time, so I decided to put my practice on hold and to push myself outside of my comfort zone. 

The timing of this opportunity was pretty perfect.  I had completed my academics at an early age and had been on a straight path since high school of pursuing psychology and a career as a counselor.  Now, if my practice was already up and running I was doubtful I would have taken this opportunity.  So this felt like good timing to do something a little unconventional, out of my field, and totally terrifying!

Entering this experience actually seemed to be in alignment with the things I was focusing on in my life, as far as vulnerability, authenticity, connection, and dating.  I thought to myself, what better way to challenge yourself in being vulnerable than to go date a stranger on national TV?! Talk about a vulnerability hangover (thank you Brené Brown for this perfect phrase).  I was open and ready to challenge myself in a unique experience, to learn more about relationship dynamics, and to hopefully find love.

All of these areas of focus were definitely challenged throughout this experience.  You can watch my journey Monday nights at 8|7c on ABC, starting January 2nd.  Be sure to keep up with my blog as I’ll be recapping, processing, and reflecting throughout the show! 


Question for Thought:

  • What experience have you gained the most self-reflection from?


 

Founding Counseling Ordinary Courage

Counseling Ordinary Courage, LLC.

Taylor Nolan, MS, NCC, LMHCA

I can't believe I'm saying this but I officially have my own private practice.  All of the pieces are finally in place and I'm ready to start.  When I reflect back on the last few years there have been so many life transitions and accomplishments leading up to this. I often find myself minimizing these events in my life but I realize it is actually okay to be proud of yourself. And I am proud of myself for starting this new chapter.  

Eastlake, WA Office

Eastlake, WA Office

Getting my business license was an emotional moment for me.  I took a moment to really put this achievement in perspective.  I was raised by a single mom, and I am the first person in my family to go to college--let alone get a master's degree and start a small business.  In a weird sense I felt proud of my parents, my achievements are also their achievements.  I wouldn't be in the place I am without the support of my mom or my stepfather.

This transition brings up many emotions, some of which are: excited, vulnerable, proud, and nervous.  Starting a business, creating something and putting it out there in the world, is one of the most vulnerable things you can do.  It brings up this inherent fear of failure, for example, “What if no one buys my soaps?” 


"Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change"
-Brené Brown

To combat these fears and this vulnerability I take a few things into consideration.  First, you’ve been courageous! You have taken a chance.  You wouldn’t have known the possible outcome of success or failure if you hadn’t tried in the first place.  Second, what even is failure?  This partially depends on your goals, but I also believe that there actually is no such thing.  From every conflict or “failure” you learn something, you still gain an experience, and you can still continue to strive for success…so can you really fail? No. (Perhaps this is too much rationalizing of fear, but hey it makes sense to me!)  

Also, the concept of uncertainty in starting a new journey can be an absolute whirlwind.  But, that is actually the beauty of life.  We don't know what is going to happen, or what is going to be.  We can try to plan for it, but we don't always have control over it.  So what do we do? Lean into the discomfort, and have faith to believe in what is uncertain.

Through this process of self-talk I can ground myself.  It is okay to start a new journey and not know the outcome, it is uncomfortable, but you'll be alright regardless.  The uncertainty, anxiety, nervousness, or vulnerability in doing something different or new is alright to feel.  Once I can gain acceptance of these feelings, I'm then able to actually experience the excitement of creating a business and the change it will bring within our society.  My passion for counseling lies in empowering people to pursue the things they are passionate about and find meaning in, so here I am,  pursuing mine.


Question for thought:

  • What thoughts and feelings go through your mind when starting a new journey?


Supporting Runway To Freedom 7

Runway to Freedom 7

I was dishonest. I was disconnected.  In a single moment I realized I was denying my story.  All my inner voice could say in that moment was "Oh, shit. It's me too."  

Recently, I attended a fashion event to raise awareness for domestic violence (DV).  Runway to Freedom is on it's seventh year of having a fashionable yet community focused show.  The money raised during the event was donated to Mary's Place, a local non-profit in Seattle, WA with a focus on empowering homeless women, children, and families.  Before the fashion show started we heard from survivors of DV.  It was a privilege and honor to hear their stories.   

One of the models at this event is good friend of mine, Lenisa.  She is a model, dancer, fitness coach, and a DV survivor.  Watching her walk this runway, modeling for a cause that was personal to her, was especially empowering and uplifting.  

Photo by: Sam Lewis

Photo by: Sam Lewis


Model: LEnisa Careaga/Photo by: Kyle Keterson

Model: LEnisa Careaga/Photo by: Kyle Keterson

At first it is emotional and mental abuse. The name calling, shaming, belittling, accusing. But it doesn’t last long until it is normal for him to choke me...
— Lenisa Careaga

My "Oh Shit" Moment

The host of the event asked the audience members to stand up if they were a survivor of domestic violence.  People rose.  I sat.  She then asked for people to stand if they have ever known anyone who has been in a domestically violent relationship.  I rose.  She made the point that almost everyone in the room has been impacted by this cause. 

It is pretty common for women (or men) who have experienced abusive relationships to not consider themselves victims or survivors of domestic violence, hence why they often stay in these relationships.  In my social and professional life I encourage people to embrace and own their stories, even when it is uncomfortable or painful.  

Photo by: Sam Lewis

Photo by: Sam Lewis

When I looked around the room at the people who stood up to having been in a DV relationship, I felt proud for them.  When I stood up I thought about the people I've helped get out of DV relationships and their stories, I felt proud to be a part of their story.  When I sat down...I felt disconnected.  I realized I was disassociating myself and my experiences from this cause, I was distancing myself from this label.  I was falling subject to the same thing I've helped other women through...the "I wasn't hit or anything so I wasn't abused, it wasn't a big deal, I don't have bruises, I'm not that woman."  

My first relationship was abusive and to this day I minimize that.  But guess what? Emotional abuse is abuse.  Verbal abuse is abuse.  Physical abuse is abuse.  Abuse is domestic violence. Looking back I wish I would have stood up.  Identifying as a survivor does not define who are you, it is just one piece of you.  His or her abuse to you does not confine who will be.  I know this because I'm a much stronger, smarter, happier person today than I was when I was in that relationship.  I've gone on to accomplish and achieve so much, even with that DV experience.  

Had I stood up, I would have felt a strong sense of connection with every other person in that room.  I would have felt proud of myself for owning my story.  Instead, I felt shameful, hidden, and disconnected.  I wasn't ready to be vulnerable.  I wasn't ready to be real with myself.  I wasn't ready to own this painful and uncomfortable part of my story.  So I turned inward to process this, I talked about it, and now I've shared it with you.  Now I can be real with myself, have self-compassion, and be confident in my story. 

 Lesson=learned. Insight=gained.  Next time, I will stand up.


Video Directed by A.K. Romero
Please take a moment to check out 2016's annual "Runway to Freedom 7" fashion show presented by Lauren Grinnell to support survivors of domestic violence and help reach out to those in need. To see how you can help please find us at www.runwayofreedom.org!


Questions for thought:

  • Has there been a moment for you where you've caught yourself realizing you're rejecting your story?  What did you do to own it?
  • How has DV impacted your life or someone you know?