My name is Tylar, but most people call me Ty. I’m a creative advertising professional by day, a podcast host by night and a writer on the weekends. I have absolutely no filter and an exceptionally juvenile sense of humor – both useful traits for cutting through the bullshit and telling it like it is. Currently, I’m living in hot-as-fuck, sunny South Florida with Bula, my nine-year-old bulldog-boxer rescue pup who I’m convinced is my real soulmate.
I’m five-foot-seven weighing in at around 140 pounds (if I haven’t eaten pizza for three days straight) and seem to have a talent for crossing state lines. I’ve been told I look like Jennifer Aniston, Julianne Hough, and Hayden Panettiere, among others I’m not quite sure I agree with.
I’ve also been involved in a whole lot of grade-A fuckery. Oh, the shit we do for “love”.
It’s a Saturday morning at a little café by the beach, not far from where I live. I’ve been single and loving life for over eight months now, focusing only on myself, my own journey, and my own happiness.
I can’t deny that a small part of me wishes a gorgeous Paul-Walker-looking surfer guy will walk up to my table. He’ll cast a shadow over me; and, in true Hollywood style, I’ll turn to gaze up into his impossibly handsome face. Our eyes will meet, and bam – I’ll fall, hard. Of course, he’s your typical player type, so we’ll spend months on an emotional rollercoaster before some ultimatum pushes him to confess his love. The tears will all be worth it when he tells me I’m the most beautiful girl in the world, inside and out, and we sail off into the sunset together to live happily ever after… right?
The fuck? That’s such bullshit. Like a Katherine Heigl movie. Or that mushy Save the Best for Last bullshit #1 hit Vanessa Williams had back in the 90’s.
Ugh. I’ve been waiting over thirty minutes for a refill of coffee in my fancy glass. Being by yourself at a café in Florida is like being a homeless person – not many people acknowledge you, because they think you don’t have much to offer. The happy groups of tourists ordering brunch and drinking mimosas, or the “family that drinks together” hangover parties, around me are getting plenty of service. The staff are smiling, excusing their reaching over the table to refill drinks from bright glass pitchers, while I sit here with an empty cup.
Even a quick trip to the bathroom goes south quickly. When I report that the place’s only female toilet is overflowing, the waitress’ expression makes it clear she couldn’t give less of a shit. And, with my lack of coffee evidently still at the bottom of the servers’ priority list, I decide to leave – without paying $4.00 for the drink or leaving a tip, something exceptionally unusual for me.
I find a seat at a restaurant just a block away from the Shitty Service Café; and, since it’s now noon, I order a mimosa at the bar. Swarms of people around me are drinking beer and watching college football.
I pull out my laptop, take a sip of my favorite cocktail, and start to write a prologue.
Everything that’s happened in my life to get me to this point is, frankly, just fucked up. Don’t get me wrong: I take responsibility for a lot of the things that have gone wrong. I’m pretty self-aware, and I’m always working to be a better version of myself. But this moment – right here, right now, when I sit down to write it all out? Even thinking about it makes me shit-scared. And I am not one to shy away from a great shit story.
As I put pen to paper (or, well, pixel to screen), I’m praying for strength, guidance, discipline, and motivation. I’m cognizant about making choices that’ll keep me on a happy track, so that life continues to get better for me. I’ve worked tirelessly for over thirty years to overcome adversity, accept myself for who I am, and evolve into a self-loving person who acts on her core beliefs.
Learning to care for and love myself, in the same way that I care for and love others, is the hardest thing I have ever done. It’s also been the most fulfilling, rewarding experience of my entire life.
We don’t always act on our core beliefs – the ones we hold fast to and know to be true. Instead, we’re prone to letting their more impetuous twins take hold of our minds. You know those thoughts you have, instantly, when you feel triggered? Say, if your boyfriend usually calls to say goodnight when you aren’t together, but this one time, he doesn’t? Your first, impulsive thought might be: He’s cheating on me. You might even go into panic mode.
Your core belief, and what’s most likely the truth, is that he’s okay: he’s probably just busy, or he fell asleep, or his phone decided to try out for the diving championship in a toilet and is now packed away taking a relaxing rice bath. But you act out of sorts on that impetuous belief, your mind racing away with thoughts like: He has a laptop – he could send me a message through any social media platform. What is he doing? Is he ignoring me? Is his dick inside another woman? Is he lying dead in a ditch somewhere?
Maybe he is a douchebag who’s fucking someone else. It’s not in your control. We can beat ourselves up for making the “wrong” choice – in that case, for choosing a guy who turned out to be a cheater – but there’s no point in that. It’ll only cause you pain in the long term.
Our core beliefs get tainted and twisted with all the crap we go through in life. From childhood trauma to the hurt we receive from strangers, coworkers, partners, friends, even family. It can feel impossible to start over with a new set of beliefs and values, purely focused on yourself and your happiness, especially after you’ve had your heart, mind, trust, or even body completely broken.
But you have a choice: to act on the impetuous belief, or act on the core belief. When you challenge the impetuous belief, you can form a new, core belief. It’s much easier to obey once it’s identified, and you start acting on it more and more, thereby taking control of your life. Throughout this book, I’ll identify my own beliefs, actions, and most importantly, my challenges – new beliefs to counteract and change negative convictions – using my “BAC” model. Here’s an example, featuring a self-affirming principle around which I’ve rebuilt my life.
Belief: Love isn’t real unless it hurts you in some way.
Action: If you can change or “fix” someone, it will validate their love for you.
Challenge: No one who loves you will intentionally hurt you, period. You work hard enough in life, you don’t need to work on a person, too.
When bullshit beliefs like this take form as thoughts, I like to envision them as nothing more than snowflakes inside a snow globe. I shake the shit out of the damn thing, watch those false beliefs swirl around with no direction and no purpose, then throw it at a huge tree and watch the glass shatter into a million pieces. The snowflakes fall into a river running below the tree, floating those snowflakes away and dissolving them. I think of the tree as my core belief, with all its strength, growth, experience, and stability.
The same holds true with anything negative that enters your mind. Thoughts, feelings, fears, doubts… Picture that negative shit inside the globe, shake the fuck out of it, and toss it. Visualize this happening, and you will be amazed how quickly they leave you alone, creating room for positivity. For me, it magically just fucking works.
If you aren’t someone who was ever presented with obstacles, challenges, or “holy shit, what the fuck do I do?!” kind of choices like I was, then you might not have ever had to say “fuck you, watch this” to someone. And that’s great! Writing a book, based on my own experiences, that inspires other people to take action and control of their lives by fighting their toxic beliefs certainly wasn’t my childhood dream. I wanted to write television commercials and emotionally evoking ad campaigns, and create artistic masterpieces with paint, charcoal, paper, and a camera (which, fortunately, I get to do in my adult life!).
Up until recently, I always believed that I needed a man to validate me. True love was the only thing I craved and being loved was the only way I could feel valuable. My identity was defined by how another person felt about me. I’d spent my entire life trying to replace the love I never received from my biological father, but doing this only attracted men who were just like him: absent, non-committal, emotionally unavailable. The good guys didn’t stand a chance. I dismissed them all without a second thought, because there was no “work” to be done. I ended up equating “love” to pain, torture, and betrayal.
The people who say that they love you with words are supposed to show their love with actions, too – at least, 90%~ of the time. We all have moments when we fight, argue, say things we don’t mean, and make mistakes. But when it comes to the dealbreaker-type shit – I’m talking about lying, cheating, stealing, causing physical pain, and whatever else you’ve decided isn’t right for you in your love life – your partner should respect you enough to never, ever do those things.
If they don’t, well, they should be the fuckery that is… the past.
I promise you, you can live without them, no matter how vehemently they might insist otherwise. You can, and you will. Break the cycle, say “fuck you, watch this,” and go live your best life by yourself, for yourself.