Elyse: I’ll Never Get Used to This
You might know Elyse Myers from her viral video about buying 100 tacos on a first date. That TikTok led to a Cinderella story of overnight fame, where she quickly became a household name. But the taco tale is only the tip of the iceberg. Elyse gives Stephanie the never-before-seen look at her path to becoming who she is today — from moving overseas to leaving a church that didn’t practice what it preached. Her life has evolved almost too many times to count, and she talks with Stephanie about what she hopes will stay the same.
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Elyse Myers, Stephanie Wittels Wachs
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 01:13
I would usually wake up at four, make a video and then be done by like six ish and I pump I would pump right what I was going to write, you know, breast pump. And then I would go film it, edit it and then come up by like six and that was my morning and then I would do the kids stuff and the husband stuff and then I would go to work and that was my real job.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 01:33
It’s the fall of 2021. At least Myers is a fledgling Social Media Creator. She has a full time tech job during the day. But carves out a little time every morning, very early in the morning to make Tik Tok videos just for fun. Then one morning, out of nowhere, she went a little rogue. She told a long, bizarre personal story and made it into a video, you know, push the envelope a little bit.
Elyse Myers 02:05
And I remember coming up and it was like 10:10am. And it was laid out and was like How long have I been down here in my basement? Like what happened? I blacked out. And then like about an hour later, I’m working like my job. And Jonas was like, have you seen the video recently? And I’m like, I don’t know. What do you mean? Like you should look at it. And it was like get a million views. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, like, no.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 02:42
This is LAST DAY, a show about the moments that change us. I’m your host Stephanie Wittels Wachs. Today, the story of a story accidentally turning your entire world upside down when you least expect it. And when you need it most. Long before TikTok before the iPhone back when the internet was something that made your home landline sound like it had a demon living inside it. Elyse was a kid growing up in Southern California. She had three siblings, but they were all much older than she was. and the world around her didn’t make the most sense. So she found ways early on to help navigate it.
Elyse Myers 03:32
I was really like I love telling stories. I was very anxious. And so the back and forth of conversation was really scary for me. And so I really thrived in like, let’s sit down and let me tell you with 550 minute story, you know, and I love doing that. I was really musical and really creative. And I was a horrible student. I’ve always been a horrible student. I have never gotten good grades. I just can’t sit in a classroom. So I never did great in school. Yeah, that was kind of me as a kid.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 04:02
Did it bug you that you weren’t great in school? Are we just like this is me everyone take me as I am.
Elyse Myers 04:08
Oh, it bugged me so much. I like you. I’m a perfectionist. And I personally really thrive in knowing I can accomplish something and when I feel like I can’t, it really pisses me off because I’m like, I have the like, how hard could it be gene where I’m like, if someone else can do it, then I can do it. And I didn’t know at the time like I had raging ADHD and dyslexia. And that pretty much disqualified me from any standard traditional learning. And I was the last of four kids. And when I came into the mix, my parents were not together and it was just a it was like from the moment I was born. It was kind of chaos already. I just was born into it. And so like there was no one was like, she’s not learning. Well, I wonder how we can fix this. It was like, let’s I was just not talking to Hi. So my dyslexia diagnosis was not on like the top of the list there. I always kind of just felt like I didn’t. I wasn’t doing it the way I should have been doing it. But no one was like, You need to be smarter. I just wanted to be the best I possibly could. And I felt like anytime I wasn’t that I was kind of failing.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 05:13
Yeah, and the story I mean, if you’re a storyteller to the story you’re telling yourself about yourself is yeah, it’s not a great one.
Elyse Myers 05:21
It’s not great. No, it’s it’s pretty negative.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 05:25
Not when you would tell about anyone else that you loved, for
Elyse Myers 05:28
No, not even when you’d say out loud. I, I would remember like feeling so horrible about myself. And like, I would let it slip out of my mouth. And my brothers would just be like, the fuck, like, how does like a set like a nine year old feel that way about herself. It’s horrible. It was just, anyways, a lot of trauma.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 05:47
You’ve come to the right place. When you thought about being a grown up, what did you want to be like? Did you have aspirations for being something when you grew up?
Elyse Myers 06:05
Oh, my God, every answer is going to be I’m so sorry.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 06:13
First of all, these answers are not sad. They are the real shit is what they are. And that’s what everybody’s fucking answers are. But a lot of people aren’t brave enough to say the truth.
Elyse Myers 06:22
Okay, good. My dream when I was a little kid, my dream was to live in one place longer than four days. So I had to go back and forth between my parents house. Like what since I was born, I was basically born into like, every other Thursday to Tuesday, and then on the off weeks, a Wednesday night date with my dad, like, that was a schedule I lived by. And I had this like dream as a kid that I would live in an apartment by myself with like, all my clothes in a closet, and I would like never lose anything. And it was like, I just I couldn’t even imagine it. It was like the craziest thing because my brothers all got that because they were so much older that they did the visitation schedule. But then that schedule was really for me who was super young and couldn’t make that decision. And so I like saw my brothers do it. And I would just feel like I’m like, how did you evade this like, system? How did you like, how did you get out of this? Right, and I just yeah, that the dream was to be steady and physically like in a place. And because I think everything was shifting so much. You can’t dream when you don’t feel like safe, you know, you can’t stay on imagine anything outside of that stability. So that very foundational, like stability was really the dream for a really long time.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 07:42
For Elyse, a key part of this picture of stability is one day becoming a parent herself. But not just a parent, a parent who’s part of a strong and stable family unit. She envisions a life that looks very, very different than her own.
Elyse Myers 08:03
I just dreamed of, like, I say this all the love of my heart too. If my memory here’s this, like she I love her. But I also like I dreamed of giving my family and my kids everything we didn’t get. And so that’s like, I’m sure that’s hard for you know her at some point to hear, but it’s like, it’s just the reality. Like she didn’t want that for us either. And we didn’t and so my dad didn’t die there. But it happened and we were the byproduct of that hurt. And so people would ask me when I was a kid, like what do you want to be when you grew up? And I would say a mom, like, I would say I want to be a stay at home mom, I was like a little girl that like carried around a baby doll was like this is my my daughter. Like it was like that was what I wanted to be. I really, really wanted to have a family that like, was everything to me. And I thought you know, when I was a little kid that was like that was being a mom and that was being a stay at home mom. And that was it. Like if my whole life wasn’t that it would fall apart.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 08:57
Unfortunately, the chaos and uncertainty that she’s experiencing and her own family environment doesn’t exactly make it easy to start forming new relationships. But when she gets older and dating and boys come into the picture, it certainly doesn’t stop her from trying.
Elyse Myers 09:15
I was like a serial dater. I like I think I just always craved that, like, someone needed me or like wanted me around. So I always kind of had someone around that I was either talking to or liked. And that was kind of what I did. And the actual relationship aspect of it was like terrified me because I was like, No, the closer you get to me, I’m gonna run away from you. So like really if like, if you push it you’re gone. And so I really I kept people at like an arm’s length and and then there was like a couple relationships that were like this like we didn’t date but you just like ripped me apart in every way emotionally. And it was like those like, hadn’t noticed that there are a few you know, relationships that were just like very pivotal in me kind of having like a man It’ll break down in my life of like, I’m not lovable, you know, all of those things. So, yeah, always had someone around but could not commit because I didn’t I never wanted what happened to me as a kid and like, what I watched my parents go through, I never wanted to go through that. And so I just figured, like, it’s probably going to happen. So I might as well just like not, like let anybody like modally.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 10:20
The stakes were so high. So the highest you being like, I cannot create more trauma for a new generation. Oh, I like this person. It’s like, I can’t it’s gonna go.
Elyse Myers 10:33
I really was like, I don’t know if I’ll ever get like, married and have kids like I wanted, it was like this, like weird, like, half of me was like, it will happen and it’s gonna be amazing. And the other half was like, it’s never gonna happen. Like, what are you kidding yourself. And so that was really the place I was in. When I met. Jonas was like, I was really really, really like ground beef emotionally.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 10:52
When Elyse meets Jonas, her now husband, he’s in slightly better emotional shape than ground beef. But weirdly, the meeting does happen at a deli. It’s 2015. And at this time, Elyse is attending a Christian college in Australia, which is not at all where she thought she’d end up since originally, she had been checking out music programs. But now here they are, to American kids from very different parts of the country, randomly crossing paths in an Australian grocery store.
Elyse Myers 11:25
We met at a meat counter. And he was his friend, friend. And I was my friend’s friend and my our friends were friends. So we didn’t know each other. And we started talking and like, I just remember thinking, like, he was like, this girl is like the most amazing person I’ve ever met, like eye contact. And I’m thinking like, I love that he wears his pajamas to the grocery store. And that was like the end of my thought, because I had a boyfriend like, so I was I’ve never been somebody that’s like, cheater or like, I thought that’s not how my brain really works. And so I was like, this is a person that looks comfortable. This is awesome. And so they they walked away. And he said to his friend, or his friend said to him, like, jeez, why don’t you just marry her already? And, and he goes, maybe I will. And he walked away, looked it up that I was in a relationship. And Jonas has no, I would never pursue anyone that was dating somebody. So he just was like, done, you know? So I walked away, and I was like, let me get that pounder roast beef now, because I really want to eat this, this roast beef. And um, and then we like he would occasionally comment on stuff because we were in the same year at school, but like, different campuses, but we never like talked, I was like, oh, yeah, that’s the guy that calls me counter. And then I broke up with my boyfriend. And I was like, connect him. I see Jonas. I hope he knows I’m single. So I wrote this whole blog post in hopes that he would know I was single, because he said one time that he had seen my blog or someone said, he said, I don’t know. But I was like, if it’s out there, maybe he’ll Yeah, I don’t know. And I posted it on my Facebook because I knew we were Facebook friends. So he was like, making love this strategy. Yeah, it was very, like seventh grade. Yeah. And, and also, like, I don’t know why I’m doing this, because we’re not even from the same state like, No, it was like, so illogical. And like every part of my brain was like, this makes no sense. But I was like, do it anyways.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 13:19
Jonas does not pick up on her cryptic blog posts, bread crumbs. But he does find out that she’s single through the grapevine. And this is great timing, because their program abroad, which culminates in a big conference is coming to an end. It’s kind of an hour never.
Elyse Myers 13:36
Between March and June, he hears that I’m single, somehow, and he starts texting me. And the first message I get from him is loose terminal block. And I was like, what? And then he says, oh, sorry, I was I was sending that to myself. So I would remember it for later. But really, he just was like, I have no idea what to talk to her about. I’m going to just send her random phrases. So that like she thinks that I’m doing something important with my life. And I don’t have time to talk to her, but I will accidentally send her this. It’s like, like, we were like […]
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 14:06
The strategy with one another is so deranged, both of them are all in with middle school first crush level enthusiasm. And yet, neither of them has any idea how to express those feelings to each other. But there’s clearly an undeniable thing between them, maybe even that strong, unbreakable, formidable, stable kind of connection that Elyse had been dreaming about.
Elyse Myers 14:38
So then the last day of conference, we didn’t get to hang out and I am saying my goodbyes to everybody because this is like third year last end, like end of the year kind of thing. Once conference is over. Everyone leaves the country and goes back to their respective states countries like no one sees each other again, it’s like the weirdest feeling when you become close with people that are like you’re from Brazil. Like I’m never gonna see you again.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 15:00
Summer camp like.
Elyse Myers 15:04
So I like I hugged him and I was like, bye forever and I just I literally said bye forever and I left. And then he tells me, I miss conference crush two days later and I was like, I don’t think we should be talking this much. We’re never going to be together like this is you’re really lovely, but like this is pointless. You know? He was sounds good. Actually. My neighbor bought you a ticket to Kansas for a week if you want to come never spent any time with him and his family like in his family’s house? And I said no. And then my mom’s like, just go to Kansas. Oh my god. And I was like, Okay, I went to Kansas. I told him, Don’t kiss me. You’re not I’m not your girlfriend. Don’t you dare put your lips on my lips. And he’s like, Okay, second day, and we’re kissing third day. I’m like, I love you. This is a literal Hallmark movie, like what the fuck is happening? Anyways, I leave and then we’re engaged like six months later. We’re back. Elyse and Jonas are in their early 20s. They’re in love, they move in together. And like any young couple, they start making plans only they’ve got more to consider than their own wants and needs. And no, it’s not a baby yet.
Elyse Myers 18:22
We were really active in a church at the time when we like got together. And so our life was pretty set out for us whether we felt like it was right or not. And so kind of this like weird, unspoken understanding when we got engaged and married because where we were at the time was like, we want to be in church. And so that was like the basis of everything we did. And it was really the third person in our relationship from when we met until two years ago. And like, it was this very, like toxic dynamic that we were fighting against, because we thought it was like the right thing. So the expectation was, like, you know, we would serve at church, every waking moment we had our weekends were not ours. We it didn’t matter. Like what our what we said to each other was like we’d be home at this time. If church needed us there, you know, later, then it it trumped it, you know, it’s like it was like there was no accountability in terms of like, how like boundaries with church, they didn’t exist. And so that was like the undercurrent of our relationship. And it was really hard. We got married and then next month like week, four weeks after we were married. Jonas got offered a position at a church here that we both served at in we had brought this ministry at this church to this like really thriving point, and we were doing music and we were doing students and the two of us together were equally sharing that those responsibilities in it, like tripled in size and it was like the smallest campus and it was thriving, and the main campus was like Whatever you’re doing there, we want you to come do it here, you know. And I was like, amazing. And I felt so much purpose like doing this with my favorite person, it was like, it was like, This is what it should be, you know. And it was because we were able to do it the way we wanted to do it. Because we were like in this satellite canvas where no one really visited, it didn’t really matter to anyone. And it was healthy. And then Jonas got offered the position to lead the big campus. And I didn’t get anything with it. And we fought for me to try and get some type of like leadership with him. And it was basically like, no, Elyse can’t lead because women are allowed to lead over men.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 20:37
If this is setting off your feminist alarm bells, I feel you. But at this time, it’s important to note that the church is their entire world. It’s where they spend all their time. It’s who they spend that time with. And, importantly, it is what pays the bills. So while Jonas continues to climb up the ranks, Elyse realizes she needs to create some distance. So she decides to look for a job outside the church.
Elyse Myers 21:06
I started in 2019, I took my first class online to drop out of college, and it was skillcrush, which is like designed specifically to get women into tech. And I took this like, one course on web development. And I was like, I’m gonna do that first my life. And I immediately got a client. And it was amazing. And it was just like sweet, sweet woman in California who worked with like, rehabbing older patients with like, their body. And like that she did work out, she was like a trainer. And I made her website for her. And after that, I was like, okay, I can do this. And it was just a slow Stepping Stone From 2019 to 2020. And then COVID hit, and my business just exploded, because then everything was online, right? I had never been more busy in my life than then that year, like, it was like, I was so fulfilled by that stuff. Like, I felt like this is everything I want to do. It’s the analytical part of me. It’s like the mundane tasks, things that I love writing code, it was the creative, I got to design. I got to like, like, consult people in their business and like help them make decisions from the foundation of their business that like helped people. And like, I got to decide whether someone was like, right for me, and I could say no, and it was this control that I never had over my job in my life. Because I’d been like a server and hospitality and, you know, all that, like, I’d never felt like I mattered in a job, you know.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 22:30
And guess what, during this incredibly busy and fulfilling time at work, during the wild times of COVID, something else happens, at least gets pregnant, and has her first child, August. Finally, she’s a mom. Only. Things don’t feel the way she thought they would feel when she was carting around the baby doll as a child. In fact, in some ways, it’s darker than anything she’s lived through, up until now. When do you start to sense that this isn’t like what you thought it was gonna be like.
Elyse Myers 23:08
The moment we brought him home from the hospital, we walked in. So Jonas got stayed home with me. He didn’t have get any paid leave, he had to take unpaid, like sick days to stay home. So he was home over the weekend and took like, a few like two days, and then he was back at work. And so we didn’t even get like, any time. And I was right in the trenches, like alone doing it. And it was like my second day, home with August, where Jonas was gone, where I think I just texted Jonas and I was like, I need you to come home. Because I am afraid of like, what I’m going to do to me not to August, but like, I just had the, the craziest and most vivid, like, thoughts come through my mind that were not me. It was like someone had like, plugged this like chip into my head. And they were like, controlling my thoughts. And I was able to understand that that wasn’t how I felt. But it didn’t matter because I would act on them anyways, like my brain was going to fulfill that thought regardless. And it was just this very weird, very fucked up, like, illogical, but then logical fight that was happening all the time. And like, it was, it was pretty immediate. And I would, I could voice that I was not doing good. But I have not done good a lot in my life around Jonas. And so that didn’t mean the same thing for both of us. And it wasn’t until I started to really get out of it. That, like, I couldn’t even express that. I was like, I didn’t want to live anymore. And Jonas was like, when did you feel that way? And I was like, I just thought you knew that like, and he’s like, how would I know that? You know, and, and so it was immediate, and it was really heavy and it was just never ending. And it sucked because it was like I would look at Jonas. And I’m like, You didn’t change like it. I just felt so mad. I was like, your life changed, but you didn’t like and I was like, I want to be in your position where you just get to then have this baby and your body didn’t have to like, make it like I was so jealous. And I would get so angry. It was like, this rage like and it was really a lot in it. It took a solid like year to even really be able to process it.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 25:35
So lonely, postpartum depression is just like, I don’t remember being that lonely ever. Like being in the middle of the night feeding a baby. And being so sad. And your husband’s fucking sleeping. And you’re like, No, in hell. I mean, it was it’s, yeah. And I remember going to the doctor at my six week postpartum visit and like, they give you this stupid fucking iPad test that’s like, oh, yeah.
Elyse Myers 26:03
Do you have Yeah.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 26:04
And my doctor looked at me like, Oh, my God, like, you look, you started, like, jump off a building. I’m like, yeah, I fucking am.
Elyse Myers 26:11
I lie completely on that test. I was like, they’re gonna take my son away from me. If I was honest, they would take my son away from me. But I lied, because I knew it wasn’t real, didn’t it? But I shouldn’t have like, yeah, I should have told the truth because I could have gotten help. I could have been put on medication nation, but like, yeah, I genuinely was like, if I say any of this out loud, yeah, I am going to be like childless. It was so scary.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 26:38
During this dark and incredibly lonely. Our Elyse does have a gentle habit that she practices, she opens up her phone and goes on social media, which helps her feel a little less isolated.
Elyse Myers 26:52
When Instagram stories started becoming a thing, I really felt like that was a way for me to feel less alone is like I I’ve always been introverted and I don’t like opening up to people. So stories was this weird way where I could be myself but not in front of anybody else in person, but virtually like in front of everybody, you know? And it was like it was like this I could like justify it as like it’s all good. I’m not didn’t No one can see it. And I so I could like be funny and like talk like that. And so you know, tick tock And Like Video Content started becoming more prominent and I watched so much of it when I was like it locked down and then you know, depression it was like I just the scrolling was like, great to just know my mind shut everything off. So thank God. Oh, my God. Yeah, so So I was so in it, that I, it naturally just kind of became where I was like, I’m just gonna do the same thing I used to do on stories where I just like, open up my phone and I start talking.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 27:47
At first making these videos is a fun hobby. And it starts very simple. This little video of August, saying Mama is the first to get a little traction due in part of course, because he is adorable. But over time, Elisa, storytelling and personality begin to take center stage, she’s coming into herself or more accurately back into herself after the disorienting and debilitating experience that is postpartum depression. That very, very, very, very, very lonely time where you forget that you are an individual apart from this tiny little baby who doesn’t sleep and needs to eat constantly. Making videos helps Elyse remember who she really is deep down and who she is, is funny.
Elyse Myers 28:41
One of them that really, I really remember making was. It was too one of them was why I roll my sleeves up. So I double roll my like, my sweatshirts. And it was because sweatshirt was hung that way and cottoned on and I really thought it was like this takes it from being a sweatshirt to like I could wear this on a runway like I have never seen a sweatshirt it looks so chic. And I never have worn my sweatshirts. Like I’ve never changed it. So I remembered, like talking about that. And people just really resonated with that. And it’s funny and I was like man, college is a good time to start sharing stories about college. And then I shared another where I was talking about how the way I process time. So with my ADHD like I wake up at 415 It’s basically 430 So it’s basically five o’clock and so you know, like that kind of like how I press and psycho so there’s no point in going back to bed because it’s basically eight, so I’ll just eat breakfast now. And and that was one that I was like, Okay, I could feel in that. That one where I was like, Oh, I’m funny. Like I forgot I used to be funny. It was like I and I was saying something that I knew other people would relate to. And that was like, really this moment where I I wasn’t so sad that I couldn’t see things the way other people saw them. It was, it’s really hard to explain, like, No, I get that. Yeah, it was really powerful for me. It was like, I was aware that there were things happening outside of me too. It was like for the first time the my energy expanded a little bit further than the shell of my body. It was like this energy that was like, aware of people too. And I was like, oh, yeah, people exist. They want to see Yeah, it was really interesting. So that was, that was a really cool moment for me.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 30:31
Social media is a place she can be herself, even the messiest parts. And aside from the brief time she spends in the mornings, recording and editing videos, life is pretty messy. Motherhood is not easy, breezy, and she can’t shake that there’s essentially no place for her in the church community. So as Jonas is asked to take on more and more at the church, she’s left feeling more and more alone. This all comes to a head one year on Easter. Like many other days, Jonas has to work again. And Elyse is left alone with August, again.
Elyse Myers 31:14
And I post a photo of me crying on Easter. And I was like, this was what Easter looked like for me. And like, I wanted the people at church to understand like, how can you tell me that your family is your most important ministry? And then not allow the people that are being paid on staff to be with their family? Like, why are we here? What is What are you doing? And that was the tipping point for Jonas of like he wanted to stay. He wanted to try and make it healthy. He felt like it was his job to not quit, but it was like then at home was just falling apart. And I moved to Nebraska for Jonas, you know, we stayed for Jonas, his job. His family is here. And I live close to his family. And I’ve gave up a lot of my life for him. And I was just, I was just craving like a little bit of that back and it felt like I got lost in it. And he left and it was like him quitting was like this huge, like emotional investment into us. And he’s like, the next 10 years are the years of Elyse like, whatever you want to do, I will follow you if you want to move if you want to, like sell everything and go into a camp or like whatever you want to do. I will move to California with your family like whatever. And I said like, Okay, I believe that you are saying that you mean it.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 32:37
This is a huge turning point for Elyse and her family. Once Jonas steps down from the church, he really truly extricate himself. At least his web design business is busy as ever, so she can support them both. And Jonas becomes the most excited stay at home dad there ever was, at least his mental health that’s improving to the three of them are healthy and together, which becomes their new family motto. Elyse also gets to hold on to that time she’s been spending making videos, which little does she know, is about to become something much, much bigger.
Elyse Myers 33:19
For the first time in my life, I had the margin to be creative. That wasn’t for my job. And that is when everybody met me online. And it’s like it really was the next 10 years of Elyse, it was wild.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 34:32
We’re back. It’s October 2021. And Elyse and her family are coming into the life they’d been hoping to build. She’s working a job she absolutely loves. Her husband is the primary caretaker of their adorable little boy. And Elyse has dedicated time for her practice of making and posting funny videos. So one day, absolutely high on creative freedom. Elyse decides to try something a little different. She’s going to make a longer video than usual, because she’s feeling called and inspired to share a kooky personal story from her life. The taco story.\
Elyse Myers 35:45
So what’s funny is everyone in my real life had already heard this story because it like actually happened. And it was like the one story when you’re going around in a circle of like, tell me something funny that happened to you. This was the story, I’d tell because it’s just so crazy. But if you know me in real life, this is the least wild thing I could have shared online. So I didn’t, I just didn’t expect it to be a big deal. Like, and I was doing stories every morning, like my account was trying to gain traction. I think the day I posted that video, I was at 75,000 followers. And I remember that because the day before Jonas was like, Hey, you’re kind of getting close to 100,000 followers, like, do you want to do anything fun to celebrate? Like, that’s a really cool thing. And I genuinely was like, I, I love you so much that you want to celebrate me like I could not care less like I like and I don’t mean that to be rude. It’s just like, that was just a byproduct of me making things that made me laugh. So I didn’t I didn’t understand. Right? Yeah, it wasn’t like an analytics. Like, let’s like, do this at this time with this hash. Like I did not understand that at all. And so I was like, yeah, maybe like, I don’t know. And so I posted that video. And it was the first three minute video I’d ever made. And I kept getting cut off because I would film an app and like, and it kept cutting me off. And I so I had to reek retell that story like seven times to try and fit it in. That’s why I’m talking so fast and the story, because I had so much to say, what’s the worst first date I’ve ever been on? I’m so glad you asked. I’m gonna tell you right now.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 37:11
The video at least records is her recounting a date she went on 10 years ago, a date that was super weird from the start.
Elyse Myers 37:19
I drive 45 minutes to his house. He’s standing outside of that he walks up to my car and he goes, I’ve lost my keys. Can you drive us there? Should I have just left him right there and gone home? Yes, did I? Absolutely not.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 37:29
The story is wild. It doesn’t sound real. It kind of sounds like a dream you’d have or a story a seven year old would tell their parents.
Elyse Myers 37:41
He gets in and starts giving me turn by turn directions, he could have been leading me to an abandoned warehouse and he still would have been like, left at this stop sign. We end up at a Taco Bell. Which is fine.We get to the speaker and he just leans over and goes I would like 100 hardshell. Tacos. Thank you.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 37:59
As Elyse says, it’s a story her friends had heard before. Plus, it’s long. She wonders if it’s even interesting. So she breaks form from what she’d normally do and starts overlaying emojis on the screen to sort of illustrate the events as she describes them.
Elyse Myers 38:16
So yeah, so I added more animations that I usually did, because I was like, if I have any chance, and someone watching this, it’s not going to be from what I’m saying. That’s for sure. It’s like too long. So I made it. And I remember it, it took me longer than normal. So I would usually wake up at four, make a video, and then be done by like six ish, and I pump I would pump right what I was gonna write, you know, breast pump. And then I would go film it, edit it, and then come up by like six. And that was my morning. And then I would do the kids stuff and the husband stuff. And then I would go to work. And that was my real job. And I remember coming up and it was like 10:10am and it was laid out and was like How long have I been down here in my basement? Like what happened? I blacked out. Jonas? Yeah, Jonas was like playing with August in this little like baby prison we made like he was really like, ultra large, like play pins, people involved in my best purchase we ever made for. Jonas was like laying down in it and August was crawling all around him. And he goes, how’d it go? I was like, every time I posted a video, he’d asked how to go. And I’m like, It’s okay. I was like, it’s too long. I was like, literally, no one’s gonna watch it. And every time I posted a video, he’d be like, let me see. So he’d sit and we watched a video together and then he’d get his phone out. Comment on it and like, it is so cute. And like, you’re the best. And yeah, and I remembered him. Him watching it. And he goes, This is the craziest story. Like, he’s like, people are just gonna, like not believe this. And I was like, I don’t care. Like, yeah, not their life. Right. And, and then, uh, like about an hour later, I’m working like my job. And Jonas, like, was like, have you seen the video recently? And I’m like, I don’t know. What do you mean? Like you should look Got it. And it was like in a million views. And then I had like somebody from a news anchor in Paris, reach out to me and be like, Hey, this is circulating in Paris, would you mind if we shared it? And I was just like, I do mind. I do mind. Like, no, thank you. Thank you so much, but no, thank you. And within a day, that next day, we were up to like, it went from 75 and Jonas 1000 followers, and Jonas goes, remember how you were gonna do something fun for 100? You might need to pick something for 300 now, because it’s changed a little bit. And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Like, no, no, no. And I had a wiki page made of me of like, who is Elyse Myers. And it’s like, my, my pregnancy photos and things. They just post on my Instagram. And like, a random net worth, someone calculated me in our dress. And I was like, like reporters asking, like, the insider magazine asking me and I was like, I just looked at Jonas, I start crying, because I am so sorry. Like, I’m so sorry that I have put our family in, like, any kind of spotlight. Like, we were just trying to detox from the spotlight we had been in in a small town vibes, like church world, you know, for the last three years. And I just went and was like, Hey, everybody. And millions of people, like, come over and watch our family. And it was like, we kept saying that it’s gonna go away. And I was like, not quitting in my job. And he and I was like, it’s gonna go away. And he’s like, if it doesn’t, that’s okay. Like, that’s alright. And it’s gonna go away, it has to go away, like, I can’t do this, like, I needed to go away. And it never went away. And I, I slowly was like, I’m gonna act like that video never happened. I’m not going to talk about it again. I like I made a few follow ups. But then I was like, If anyone really wants to get to know who I am, it’s going to be outside of this video. And people can fall off if they want to, that’s totally fine. And I just carried on and I kept telling stories, like I usually would, and it never slowed down. In fact, it just exponentially kept ramping up more and more. And I had to quit my job at some point.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 42:11
At what point do you say, Now I will quit my job that I understand. To build a new career on tick tock. I know how to process what is web development? Yeah, I as a human, this is such a new medium, like Yeah, thinking I’m gonna now quit my job to become a full time content creator. I’m not only that, but I’m gonna bet on myself, right? Somebody who has anxiety and does things scared, like, yeah, that just seems like so fucking much to sort of, like, navigate.
Elyse Myers 42:50
Well, to be honest, it half of it was me trying to look at the details of it. Because I did web development for a long time, while doing content creation. It was not like an immediate switch of like, taco video happened, like, eff it, I’m gonna go into this now I’m famous, like, I held on to my old life as long as I fucking could. Because, like, how irresponsible would that have been for me, like, this is how I felt like, how irresponsible to leave this, like, huge career I have built that I am now hiring people to help me it’s like, I own this thing that’s bigger than me. Like, I’m not just gonna abandon it. So it was the taco video happened in October. And I was doing web development until February of the next year. And I was pushing as hard as I could to keep it. And it got to the point where it was getting hard to be with clients because they knew who I was. And there was a very weird imbalance of information and of closeness and of power, where I was sharing personal stories of my life. And then going into meetings where I had to be this person that was like, the boss and like, yeah, it’s like it was not conducive to running a very healthy like thriving business. And it was in terms of like, how much people wanted to work with me. But then it was like, I don’t know whether you want to work with me because of who I am. Or if you really need a website, like I would get website inquiries on my website, hundreds a day of just random people that saw my site, and we’re like, Are you the taco girl? And it was just, it got to be this thing where I was like, I don’t know how I’m gonna do this. And so I remembered having a conversation with one of my clients who was a longtime client of mine. It was like this unspoken thing where we no one talked about it like the real like base clients I had that I had for a long time. No one said anything. And finally, like, one day, I’m talking to him and I had mentioned that I was like, I think I maybe want to transition and I was using the excuse of wanting to transition to stay home for my my son. And I was like, I think I just want to transition and be home a little bit more with my family. And he’s like, okay, it wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you’re famous, what?
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 45:02
Meanwhile, her big leap of faith is immediately starting to pay off with opportunity after opportunity, including one with a particularly esteemed podcast company. It’s us, it’s our podcast company. In 2022. Elyse signed on to host a new podcast here at limonada called Funny Cuz It’s True. Now this timeline is blowing my absolute fucking mind out of my head.
Elyse Myers 45:29
I was still web developing when we were like having those conversations dude.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 45:34
Yeah, cuz you you started doing the podcast in that summer, right like that summer is when we started working on it. Holy shit, lady. Yeah.
Elyse Myers 45:45
Yeah, it’s it happened very, very fast.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 45:48
God, I haven’t fast because I remember so vividly. When I met you the first time I was like, oh my god, I’m like dying that I’m meeting you because I’m such a fan. But you literally just like hit the scene.
Elyse Myers 46:00
I was like, barely here. I even barely knew who I was. It was like people. I think that when Pete by the time I came around, people thought I had been doing this for so much longer. So sometimes people can take my lack of like understanding or my nervousness as like this stick of like, she just thinks it’s like relatable to be like nerd and like, I am literally doing this in real time in front of you, like you are seeing all of my first time things like everything I am doing for the first time. So it’s like my first time on a set was audible, asking me to act in this like whole thing as me like, and then the next time on set was like recreating on NBC Studios, like an episode of the office I wrote. And then the next time I’m on set was with Lance best. Like, it was like, it was an Intel commercial. I’m like, No, I am more confused. And that you are what’s happening right now.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 46:53
I know what set is you guys, like I know, walked on and you’re like, oh, okay, there’s cameras. There’s, like, this is all wow.
Elyse Myers 47:02
I had to be drunk to have my first interview with Caitlin Mephisto on the podcast. But like Buzz like, yeah, the losses are like champagne. I wish I was so scared like, this is I am using things in my life that I have in me that work great when I’m alone, but like, are not seasoned and like worked out to be done in front of other people. And it’s like, just trying to realize, like, these are the gifts that I’ve had, that I’ve been preparing for my whole life that everything I’ve done has led me to this. And I’m grateful. But it’s like doing it in front of millions of people at in real time is so scary. And then to hear any negative feedback from it is like, I want to die. Like I genuinely like, yeah, it’s a level of like, pain that I can’t explain when I’m like I’m giving you everything of me is honestly as I possibly can. And by the way, one of my biggest fears is like being misunderstood or not believed because my whole childhood was basically me sharing stories to my family and then being like, that didn’t happen that way. And I’m like, well, it was told to me that way. Like you don’t I mean, like, my whole childhood is just like that. So I am like honesty and like and like and transparency is so important to me that any if anyone is like she’s lying about a story or like, that was half the feedback of the talk. That video was like, This is the craziest story like this is such a lie fabricated. This is the least crazy thing that I could have told you today. Like you would be you would not even want to like be around anymore. If I told you all the crazy things that have happened in my life like this is literally nothing is about dates. Like all right. Elyse light. This is like this is like beta Elyse like free version on the app like in app purchases like available like oh my god, yeah.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 48:51
Nowadays, Elyse Myers is a household name. In fact, she is my shortcut. When I get cornered with that classic small talk question of what do you do? I’m like, I run a podcast company. And then they look at me like they don’t know what I’m saying. And then I say you know Elyse Meyers and then they light up and then I say we make her podcast.
Elyse Myers 49:11
I like can’t go out in public without people knowing who I am exactly. I’m like, people like the shock it but not that sorry that Kate Moss was like, I’m so important. No, I’m trying to say is like, when people look at me, they like, go completely pale. And they’re like, Are you the person on the internet? And I just say my name is Elyse. And they’re just like, Yeah, that one like that’s the one that’s the one and I’m just like, I just don’t think I will ever get used to this. This is so crazy of like, we yeah, It’s wild.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 49:45
It is wild. It’s really it is objectively bananas, the whole thing. And it doesn’t it doesn’t seem like it happens like your story is one of those true, like you are and I’m an anonymous mother. Young mother living in Nebraska.
Elyse Myers 50:02
Like look, yeah, middle of nowhere cornfields.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 50:05
Anonymous lady, right. Yeah. And, and then you’re like this internet sensation. And then I guess like, when you think about yourself, like your internal self, your truest Elyse inside? How has that changed? Like? Or has it because there’s this version of you before? I’m just gonna say the taco story for shorthand. Sure. And then there’s now and well, how do you think about those two people or versions of yourself.
Elyse Myers 50:35
I can tell you with complete honesty that they are the exact same person, like, and I know, that’s not like interesting, because you’re like, telling me a great before and after story. Like, genuinely, I have, I am so grateful that I like, have been able to just remain exactly who I am. And I think it’s because I had a family. And it because I had all these things that required me to be myself at the same time. But like, I am so dedicated to maintaining who I am almost to the detriment of everything I do. And my business and the people that work for me. And with me, like, I have had to say no to things that make no sense, no sense that people would dream of having in their inbox and like being offered. And it’s because it’s like, I don’t make decisions out of a place of desperation. And I’m not going to do something that I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t, I’m not gonna do something I wouldn’t pay to do like, and it’s been really a really hard thing to maintain when everything is really attractive and moves really fast. And you don’t have enough time to ask enough questions. And you feel like you’re holding people up. And the entertainment industry is just so quick. And it’s like, if you can’t get back to me in an hour, it’s gone. And it’s like, okay, then it’s gone. Like, I’m not the person that you are looking for it. You’re gonna hate working with me if that is what you expect. And like, it’s not even like a no, it’s like a you’re just not going to like this working relationship. And I can’t you would barf. If you saw what I said no to, which is not it’s only a testament of like, me wanting to stay healthy. It’s not like I’m amazing, like people want No, it’s like, I just want to stay healthy. And I cannot do this in 20 years, if I am burnt out in the first year, I just I fucking can’t, I can’t it’s not worth being a millionaire. It’s not worth being like busy. And like I just I want to be home, I want to be home. And I want my kids to have a healthy mom. And I want my husband to have a healthy friend and a healthy wife and I want to be healthy. And like, I’ve wanted that my whole life like we started this conversation of you like, what did you want to be when you grew up, and I said stable, and like, I wants to build I want stability. And so I’ve always been like value driven. But this is the first time in my life. That it’s it’s not reacting to chaos into like, trauma into like mess. It’s the first time my values have been like a choice for me.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 53:02
And considering that chaos is the environment that Elyse started in, it should come as no surprise that her ultimate goal of telling stories and making people laugh, is to help them get through hard things.
Elyse Myers 53:16
I will not sacrifice the stability for my family and for me and for doing this for the long haul. Because that’s going to be what allows me to help as many people as I possibly can. And I can’t do that if I’m not around in a year. And honestly building a team around me of people that will respect it and want that has been the hardest thing is like I can do that. But I need the people that are representing me and are going before me and having conversations before I’m ever in the room to also be that. And that’s really hard because I just like you can’t clone yourself. So you just have to make sure that everyone you’re surrounding yourself with is that and like that was why I did my podcast with you like was because you like sat and like the first meeting we had you just knew me like not me like you knew my videos. It was like I saw myself in you. And I was like you’re gonna protect me. And so yeah, that’s why I got that way.
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 54:08
And like covered in goosebumps. Nowadays, Elyse lives in Nebraska with more opportunities than she could ever imagine. When we spoke, she was about six months pregnant with her second child, which led to wonderful moments like this during our conversation.
Elyse Myers 54:30
This really was like, oh, excuse me, thought that pregnancy like, I gotta throw up or is it a verb? Sorry. We’re good. It’s just a verb. Yeah, so are they saying?
Stephanie Wittels Wachs 54:45
Elyse is truly an everyday icon? And sure, I’m biased, but I really just need everyone to know how glad I am every day that she hasn’t quit. She hasn’t stopped giving the world Hurley’s SNESs
Elyse Myers 55:02
I’m constantly in this battle of like if it if I didn’t see that it was making a difference in people’s lives and I didn’t see the fruit of it every single day, in the letters that I get sent in the conversations I have with people on the street, if I didn’t see that, no, I would not do this. Like this is really scary and it’s really hard. And it takes a lot from me and like I’m like the last person in the world that should have ever become famous because I hate being in front of a camera and I am the least competent person in the world. And so it’s like, why did this happen to me? That’s why.
There’s even more LAST DAY with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like an AMA with yours truly. AMA stands for Ask Me Anything in case you didn’t know. So just FYI and FYI means for your information. So subscribe now in Apple Podcasts. LAST DAY is a production of Lemonada Media. The show is produced by Kegan Zema, Aria Bracci, and Tiffany Bui. Our engineer is Brian Castillo. Music is by Hannis Brown. Steve Nelson is our Vice President of weekly content and production and Jackie Danziger is our Vice President of narrative content and production. Executive Producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer and me Stephanie Wittels Wachs. If you’d like what you heard today, we have three other seasons that you can check out. Have a story you’d like to share, head to bit.ly/lastdaystories, or click the link in the show notes to fill out our confidential Google Form. follow and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership. You can find us online at @LemonadaMedia and you can find me at @WittelStephanie. Thank you for listening, we will see you next week.