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Tara Schuster: Buy Yourself the Lilies and Glow in the Dark (ep. 548)

Tara Schuster

John O’Leary welcomes Tara Schuster, author of Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies and Glow in the F*cking Dark to the Live Inspired Podcast.

After a chaotic childhood, Tara Schuster hustled to appear glamorous, successful and well-adjusted on paper by earning an Ivy League education and securing the role of Vice President at Comedy Central. In her first bestselling book Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies, Tara recounts her years-long journey of re-parenting herself through simple daily rituals.

When Tara lost her job, the one on which she had staked her entire adult identity, she found her harshest childhood traumas resurfacing as she battled severe depression amidst the isolating pandemic.

Today, Tara shares her journey to reclaiming her agency by healing her deepest wounds and how you too can shine even in bleak circumstances.

With actionable advice for taking charge of your emotional health, this conversation with help you find true resilience.

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SHOW NOTES:

  • Through a series of “boom and bust” cycles, Tara felt physically and psychologically unsafe from the complex trauma of her childhood.
  • Must be me: Feeling worthless, Tara hustled for worth externally and fixated on being successful in her education and eventually career.
  • Seeking emotional stability, Tara read memoirs as if they’re self-help to take meaning from the lives of Nora Ephron, Steve Martin, Glennon Doyle and Cheryl Strayed and apply to her own.
  • “You’re allowed to treat yourself well and in fact, treating yourself well is the way toward strength.”
  • While her first book Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies is about reacting to trauma, Tara’s latest book Glow in the F*cking Dark is about reclaiming your most essential self and reclaiming your agency to live the life that you most want through practical steps.
  • When Tara overheard a father assure his children that they’d be safe on their canyoneering adventure, she began to understand how her childhood was contradictory.
  • “When we don’t feel safe, we are the tiniest, little figurine in a Russian nesting doll: Protected but a prisoner at the heart of all the shells we’ve built around ourselves.”
  • Little picture person: Instead of looking at the daunting big picture of journaling every day, Tara began the Morning Pages practice shared by Julia Cameron.
  • How do I feel today? Using an emotions wheel to recognize and label feelings will make you feel better.
  • “I was so fixated on achieving some level of perfection that I was missing out on one of the greatest gifts of meditation: Quiet time by myself.”
  • “We cannot overwhelm our way into healing.”
  • “My goal is not to find love. My goal is not to be abandoned.”
  • When learning to love herself with the lights on, Tara choses to honor the part of her body that she was struggling with most.
  • “You’re invited to give the things you never got.”
  • Get a copy of Tara Schuster’s Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies here and Glow in the F*cking Dark here.

Did you enjoy hearing how Tara overcame an unconventional childhood in today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with Bonnie Gray. Growing up as the Chinese American daughter of a mail-order bride and a busboy in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Bonnie’s childhood was far from idyllic. This conversation is a reminder that in boldly owning, embracing and celebrating our stories, we are gifted the chance to live authentically and breathe life and possibility into others. Listen to Bonnie Gray on ep. 412.

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TARA SCHUSTER'S LIVE INSPIRED 7

  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Laughed a lot more which I’m actively working on.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My Chanel bag because what it symbolizes.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Author Nora Ephron.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. For my playwriting teacher Paula Vogel, who is also a Pulitzer Prize winning artist, told me, “you need to take yourself seriously.”
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Chill out.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. She made people feel seen and comfortable in her presence.