Listener’s Discretion Advised:
The following episode contains conversations touching on suicide, eating disorders, and/or references to other mental health disorders that may act as triggers. Continue at your own discretion.

Combat veteran and suicide survivor, Sheridan Taylor, chronicles the anguish and rage he experienced in the darkest depths of despair. He shares the process and triumph of fighting his way out after a lifetime enduring pain and discovering love. Sheridan shares his unique perspective on the power of hope and how to heal the mental health crisis plaguing our world today.

What’s up everybody and welcome back to the Author Hour podcast. I’m your host, Hussein Al-Baiaty and in this episode, I’m very excited to be joined by the author, Sheridan Taylor, in his debut book called, Not Okay? Okay: A Roadmap Back from the Brink. Let’s jump into it.

All right everyone. So I’m here with Sheridan Taylor who is going to tell us about a roadmap back from the brink. I’m super excited about this episode because in these episodes, we try to go deep into stories around these amazing authors who have something incredible to offer the world and you know, something really exciting just happened to Sheridan about an hour ago or so.

He just received his books in his hand and we’re just sitting here, you know, feeling excited, laughing, talking about how much of a huge milestone this is in life. What a huge accomplishment. Congratulations to you, Taylor.

Sheridan Taylor: Oh, thanks brother man, thank you.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Thank you for coming on the show. I’m really excited.

Sheridan Taylor: No, I’m terrified. You know, Hussein? I’m terrified, let’s roll with this.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Well, there’s two ways to approach a roller coaster, right?

Sheridan Taylor: Right. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: It’s either you’re terrified or you’re excited so I like that we’re both going on this journey together like that, that’s funny. So let’s start by giving our listeners just an idea of your personal background and sort of who you are as a person and an author and how you came to writing this book. So let’s give a little background.

Sheridan Taylor: Okay, for all listeners, just so you know, trigger warning. I am a giant trigger. I wrote the book by accident. What was happening is as I was struggling to come back from suicide attempt, I’m just going to call it attempt, actually, I didn’t attempt. I know what the front sight of my 45 feels like on the roof of my mouth but I never actually tried to go through with it because the whole time, remember that TV show from the 80s with Steve Urkel in it? Maybe you don’t.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Oh yeah man, Urkel.

A Rollercoaster Called Life

Sheridan Taylor: Steve Urkel’s voice in the back of my head going, “Uh, statistics show that children who grew up without a father are less successful in life, uh…” So this, you know, while most of my brain is like screaming like, you got to check out to save your baby from turning into you, there’s Steve Urkel in the back of my mind saving my life, saying, “No man, no, no, you can’t do it because statistics show that if you do, your kid will follow you and you need to be there” so…

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Wow, man, that is powerful bro.

Sheridan Taylor: I put the gun down and I picked the phone up and I called this therapist who like just like two weeks prior, I had been so mean and rude to because I was so lost in my pain and fear and I asked for help. So that began the journey and as I began this couple of years long journey towards stability and then eventually, mental—fairly mental healthy well-being. 

I was putting things on social media about my struggles, some of them, I took to because they were just insane rants. I was writing letters to people who were young officers and other veterans who I was corresponding with about our struggles, I was giving them like, just, basic rundowns on the science behind trauma and why we react the way we react, and how we can kind of find our way out of it.

As I learned something from this therapy group or that session or this book, I would include that and spread it out to other people; sometimes on social media usually or to emails and letters and I was also, I was writing emails, at first to my older son. He was two years older than my younger son, for them to read when they were older, right? They have accounts, they’re four and six, so they’re not reading them now. 

But there was letters, there was emails I was writing to them about how to not turn out like me, how to not be struggling the way I was struggling, and then at some point, they just kind of—everything all kind of came together because everybody had been saying to me for years, “You should write a book” and I was just blowing them off, right? Like that’s not who I am, that’s not me, right? 

That’s other people, better people, like smart people, not me. My wife and my neighbor lady who was one of the most intelligent bibliophiles I’ve ever met, were both just, “Yeah, write a book” so I did. I did not argue with both of them.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Right and so going through that process of deciding to write a book about this journey in life you have [these] incredible sets of experiences that would go into darkness, right? They’re dipped in despair, they’re dipped into all these things.

So tell me about, sort of you know, those components that led you to putting that gun in your mouth. I mean, that’s—let’s be honest, we live in a very—to most people, kind of difficult world right now. Maybe you know, especially in the last like, five years, you know?

If you ask some people, they’re optimistic, they’re positive along their lives. Around two, for me man, I was—I didn’t even know I was depressed but like, for like two years after my father passed, it was hard, man. It was really hard.

So you know, it got me thinking about all those people who didn’t have a dad. What made the shift for me was thinking about the times that I did have with him, the lessons that I did learn, and then, when I was finally able to like, sit down and write a book, it was more like a thank you-love letter to my father, you know? In a way, right?

It was a long journey, right? To get to that mindset because for a while I was angry. I was angry, I was enraged, I was frustrated…

Sheridan Taylor: Outraged.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Because he died…exactly man, and I know you talk about that in your book. So take me there for a moment, take me to that rage a little bit.

Sheridan Taylor: So we’ll back all the way up. So I was born at a very young age. I am 51 years old, I was born 1970 in Northern Alberta. Not in the best socially economic status but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. That was why I was so confused later in life as to why I was the way I was because to me, things weren’t that bad but there were stuff that was happening, right? 

I’m the product of intergenerational trauma. My family, generations of combat veterans, and indigenousness. You’re just steeping in depression and anxiety and anger and rage and self-loathing. You’re literally born into it and it’s been that way for generations in my family, all right? And then, so up until, in the 70s and earlier, what did you do about that? Well, you drink. That’s what you did, you drank. That’s how you fixed it. 

Strangely enough, alcohol almost never fixes anything. I was probably battling depression and anxiety my entire life. I was born into it, right? I was steeping cortisol in my mother’s womb when I was conceived. And my parents aren’t bad people, don’t get me wrong, I’m not vilifying them. They did the best they could with what they had. I’m grateful for them, right? And their parents, the same and so on. 

No matter how far about you go, no one was deliberately trying to mess it up for their kids but that’s just how things went. I decided at four, I was going to be a soldier and a cop but I didn’t have the self-confidence and self-esteem to enlist until I was about 24 and then I joined the army, I went to Bosnia a couple of times and Afghanistan a couple of times.

I got pretty badly banged up, messed up, some spine damage and some knee stuff and I had no idea what’s in my brain. So I got medically released in 2012 and I joined corrections. I became a corrections officer and I worked for about a dozen years now. Well, I’ve been retired now for a year and change from the jails.

I worked for about a decade two of the most violent national security facilities in Canada and the first five, six years just, I was just wallowing in the ugliness that is prison life, on both sides of the bars but at the same time, I enlisted. I married my first wife who was also battling mental illness. So you add anxiety and depression to anxiety and depression, you know, it kind of pouring slew water into the sewer. 

You’re not getting Avian, right? You’re not drinking that stuff. So our first few years were explosive, they were gas on fire and then things got really wonderful for almost two decades man, like we were two broken people and but our broken pieces fit, right? Like they fit and they made a whole, you know?

We were broken in just the right pieces then when we got together, we got all the rough stuff sorted out, everything melded and we became one being. Things were magical and wonderful for almost 20 years and then one of the broken pieces didn’t fit anymore and her demons came for her again and I wasn’t strong enough to fight hers off while fighting mine anymore and hers took her. 

It took her two years but she starved to death and in that time, around the same time, she was beginning to really starve herself to death with her eating disorder. I was transitioning from the Army with permanent spine damage, completely insane and then going to the jail where I was reveling in being like I was a monster and then, two years after that, like I said, yeah, took her two years when she died — and two years, you know, I wake up and I’d be kind of scared like, should I reach for her? Like, am I going to touch my wife or her corpse this morning, you know?

Going to work, coming like eight hours, that’s eight hours man. Am I coming back to my wife or her corpse, right? Like, every time I left the house, you know? So I tell you what, it makes you say “I love you” a lot because you got to make sure the last thing she hears is that, right? And then, one morning, I was down the hall and she was late for an appointment, so I went to check on her and she was dead. 

I snapped, man. I was riding the ragged edge of that point there, I was barely hanging on but at that point, everything went away. They’re gone forever man, they’re locked away in my amygdala man, you know what I mean? They’re just gone.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: That’s a lot to endure my brother, that’s a lot and the thing that comes to my mind is when I hear stories like this, you know, I’m reminded again of my remarkable father when we were stuck in that refugee camp. Growing up Muslim, we don’t drink, right?

And I think that was a blessing because instead of drinking, he prayed. He prayed a lot, right? And I’m so grateful for that because he always reminded me and he’s like, “Not only do you go through hard times but other people too” right? He’s like, “Not only are we suffering but look around you. Everyone here is suffering.”

And so, you know, how do you remain strong? It is that, you got to believe, there is something so strong within you that you’re able to overcome, right? And it’s through that belief that you build these insane amounts of resilience, right? And, for me, when I hear stories like yours, right? Because you don’t know. 

Because honestly, growing up in that camp, any one day, any one of my siblings could have died and I could have woken up to my mother — you know what I mean? And luckily, somehow, some way brother… like I mean, there was bombs being dropped on our home, right?

Like, we survived a war and that   So to me, when I hear stories like yours, I feel pure empathy but also, a sense of remarkable strength because here we are talking about it. You know it’s like, how did we get here? Here we are talking about it. There’s something about our human innate will. You talked about your kids, right? 

You had a reason to keep going and I think that was it for my father too, because he could have easily given up, right? I think for him, it was seeing us and he’s like, “I got to show them strength,” because I came into the tent a few times when my father was crying, you know? And my mother—because how could you not, you know? 

We’re in the middle of the desert like you’re literally about to die at any point but that for me was strength. I saw his vulnerability, he’s a hero but he’s also human and that’s what I see in you, man, because times like these and stories like these help define who you would ultimately become. 

How you derive your decisions. Man, so that’s—first of all, sorry to hear about your loss in that way but things kind of take a turn, like, you kind of keep going. Tell me about that transformation. How did you take this pain and turn it into something?

The Transformation

Sheridan Taylor: Okay, well, before I do that, what you said about your father and him needing to taking care of you and your siblings, that’s 100% man. So like, part of what — we’ll get to this in a second but to a friend of mine who will never hear this or read my book but sit down and shame because he just doesn’t do that, his name is Cornel Green and he’s one of the deepest, wisest man on the face of this planet.

One day, I was just walking by and I was like, lost in anxiety and panic and fear and trauma and hiding it all behind meanness, right? Hiding it all through that tough guy exterior and he didn’t even look up from his Bible. He’s a devout Christian and he didn’t even look up his Bible, he just knew. He just felt that pain walking by and he didn’t look up and this deep, dark James Earl Jones voice of his, right?

He goes, “You know, children are angels sent to save us from ourselves, boy.” Man, like, I froze in place and I didn’t know what to do or where to go because he just pulled out all my everything, right? All my fear. So yeah, so you’re right. Your dad, he drew his strength from you.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Obviously, you don’t realize these things until way later in life. Pretty much long after they pass, you’re like, “Oh, man, like, wow” and I had a beautiful relationship with my father and mother.

Sheridan Taylor: I’m glad and I’m grateful for you.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, no, I’m very grateful and I think that bond and that trauma, you know, dictates certain things, right? He was an artist and all those good things. So tell me a little bit about again, that transformation. 

About how do you take, for our listeners out there, the people that are struggling with their own things, struggling to whether keep the lights on or move forward or thinking about writing a book or thinking about moving on with a relationship or whatever it may be.

What can they learn from the transformation you decided to make? What was that work that you had to go do to now, sort of, in a way, save yourself?

Sheridan Taylor: I had to put down a bunch of shit that wasn’t of any use to me or anybody on this planet. We’re all carrying it and we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t bother, it isn’t ours. We don’t need it and I had to pick up some stuff that I had been—not pick it up, I was born with it. I just had to pull it out and start to use it.

I had to recognize certain truths that we just don’t as a society, right? So yeah, about six-or-so months after my first wife’s funeral, this young woman comes into my life and she takes the whole thing over and she keeps me from killing myself that first time just by existing, right?

Giving me the sense of value, of worth, of purpose, and then she gave me a son in due time and in the way those things sort of happen. So my son was the catalyst for all the change and that I needed to do everything different for him than had been done for me. I needed to learn how to do everything differently.

I had to learn how to be a dad and I had to be alive to do that and I had be a different person. The reason why and the how, like it’s all the same thing. It’s all because, it’s all due to and as a result of connection. Mental illness, no matter what form it may take, you know like depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, I got them all.

All of that stuff, what it tries to do is make us isolate and pull back from everybody all the time, all around us and we tell ourselves, those of us with self-esteem issues that they’re leaving us because we’re not worthy of them. We don’t deserve love, right? Well, that’s a whole bunch of horse shit just so you know, in case you were wondering. 

I had this human that I had in fact created. I was completely responsible for this living being and I had to be around until he’s at least 18 and didn’t need me anymore. So I put some serious work in and that meant I had to change the way I did everything and that meant I had to confront the way I looked at myself in the world.

I had to be brave for the first time in my life. Staring at AK muzzle, staring at muzzle blasts, taking down airplanes, I got — and I hate heights, right? Like none of us were brave. I wasn’t being brave because I wasn’t scared, I didn’t care, right? I wasn’t scared, right?

But seeing this baby that I had made, that needed me to take care of it and raise it to become a man and a good man, a better man than me, well that, that connection that I had with that infant, he wasn’t making a connection, he didn’t know he was. He was but he had no idea what that meant. That is what propelled me forward to seek further connection. 

That’s where I found the courage to be strong, where I found the courage to be vulnerable, that took incredible strength, man, to find a therapist and then start being open and honest with everybody around me to the point where I wrote a fucking book but that’s what did it. 

I needed to save myself, I had to be there for my baby, I had to be there for my baby mama, my wife, I had to be there, so I had to, for the first time in my life, right? I had to be brave. Marching into those sounds, marching sounds with guns, I was not brave, I wasn’t scared at that. Going into a prison fight isn’t scary, I am not scared to get hurt. Besides, I am fiercer and stronger and more ferocious than anybody on earth man, right? 

So I am not scared of anybody, anywhere, anytime. I am scared of everything all the time, right? But I had to actually be brave and I had to be strong. I had to be strong enough to admit that I am not strong enough alone, right? I had to be strong enough to face the fact that nobody, nobody is strong enough alone. That is not the way the world works, it is not the way humans work. 

We’re not meant to be alone, we’re not meant to be alone, man. Whether you think you’re a pack animal or a herd animal, you are a human being and you need humans and I wouldn’t let myself admit that because that’s when I get hurt and if I let enough humans get close enough to me, my woman is going to realize that I am a worthless piece of shit. I can’t let that happen, right? 

What happens when my son grows up and learns that fact? So I had to get strong and I had to be brave. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: It is a different kind of strength, it is a different kind of courage. It’s really emotional and mental because I feel like, obviously up to this point, your physical, “I could do anything” right? I am superhuman, I could take a bullet, I could do this, I could take a beating, whatever, right? Or I could beat someone else, whatever but this type of strength is infinite. 

It’s deep, it is deep within and it resides. It is an infinite tank, right? That resilience has shaped you into now like the courage is different, is wisdom. You have to impart with a different type of energy with your unborn and for the sake of the other person that is taking care of your newborn and so that beauty in the sense of like, “You know, I’ve been thinking about this differently and now I am going to live from this other sort of newfound energy” right? You had to go deep in the dark mental caves if you will and there resides all that goal. 

Sheridan Taylor: True story, man. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Right and that’s what it sounds like to me man, which is extremely powerful for those of us that have struggled with trauma, that have struggled with self-worth, that have struggled with our identities. You know, I have passed down trauma from colonization, you know what I’m saying? I have anger from my grandfather. 

There are so many things that have built up within me but it is my opportunity, my job, my responsibility to figure out a way to unravel that so that I can live with it but I can live with it peacefully, you know what I’m saying? I think that’s what I’m hearing from you right now is that you have to live with these things, you’ve made a treaty, a peace treaty so that you can continue to live but the other part of you is deeper wisdom, right? 

In order to pass down something new, something beautiful so that your amazing new kid and wife can dwell in that space as opposed to the space before, which is just, man, that’s profound bro.

Parenthood and The Power of Love

Sheridan Taylor: That’s the way it happens, the darker I got, the lonelier I got. I spent years actually where I never left my house. I left the house, me and my dog, we ran for our 5K in 19 minutes and that was it. I didn’t know how to use a bank card, I didn’t know what that was, I can’t pump my gas, right? I never left the house but now, I just started this point where I start learning to be honest with myself and compassionate with myself. 

I start being truly empathetic and compassionate like I joined the Army and became a peace officer and did all of those things for other people because I wanted to be of service to help others, right? But I didn’t really have an understanding of real empathy and compassion and the power behind all of that and honesty and integrity. I realized that you know what? I want to keep my kid from being — living the struggles I lived with. 

I got to change the way I do everything because our children, they don’t do what we tell them, they do what we show them, you know what I’m saying? 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Oh wow, so powerful, yes.

Sheridan Taylor: It doesn’t matter what I tell you to do, you’re going to do what I do, right? I start asking myself, “You know what? How am I going to change it? How do I fix this?” Well, shit son, I guess I got to show him how to be what I want him to be. So then I started asking myself, “Okay, what would I want Trace to do now if he were an adult in this situation and what do I want to do now?” and then I started faking that stuff. 

I started becoming the man or pretending to be the man I want for my son Trace to become and then one day, you fake anything hard enough it becomes a habit. You are not fake anymore, you know? 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, you just live from it, yeah. 

Sheridan Taylor: So that’s what I’m doing and I started being honest like I always tried to be honest and I said the more honest I became with my struggles with everyone around me, the more connections I began to establish with people because everybody’s hurting, right? Everybody is hurting someway, somehow, right? It doesn’t matter what we think the cause is, pain is pain, right? 

There’s no tier system to it, there is no you win because you hurt more in this way than I do like we’re all losing if we all hurt but if I show you I’m hurting and I just let you hurt with me and I hurt with you. We just sit there and we just share a little pain, “Well, I take some of yours, you take some of mine” your way is less to me than mine does, so we’re winning, right? So I just started sharing pain and I started sharing things I’ve learned and how to cope with it. 

I started establishing these real connections with my first — is these young junior officers and letting you know, the tough grizzled old veteran, right? Then it just kind of grows and the next thing I know, I’m sharing my pain with inmates, right? The enemy, sitting in a cell and it used to be I would walk into a cell and it’s go time man, put your hands up because I’m here for one reason and one reason only. 

Like you’ve crossed some lines and we’re going to do some stuff about that and which just makes everybody worse in a way. Here’s a little secret to the world: violence never really solves anything for the better in the long run. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. 

Sheridan Taylor: Weird, right? But I know, it’s just like Buddha said that and Jesus said that like all of these people said that and no one listened. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Muhammad said that, bro, everybody said that.

Sheridan Taylor: Muhammad said that, right? Like Muhammad said that, right? The greater Jihad, right? You know but…

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Right. Well you know, what you said about the job, right? You know I learned that at a very young age after 9/11. My dad said, “Look, the biggest war you have is the one with yourself.”

Sheridan Taylor: That’s what he said, right? 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: That’s the ultimate Jihad. 

Sheridan Taylor: That’s the greater Jihad, right? They won the battle, what city it was but they defeated the smaller enemy, right? And now, they got to get back to work against the greater enemy, you know? Our souls, right? 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Exactly, the one with ourselves, yeah. 

Sheridan Taylor: You know, all the great men and women in history has said the same damn thing and we don’t listen. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: We don’t listen. We got to experience it though and then it is a realization that we have to come to, right? That’s what you said earlier, you said that you couldn’t say anything that will teach your kids something, you have to live it out and I think for us, it’s like, you know we’ve been told a bunch of things. Unless we live it out, that’s when we learn the most. It’s like, “Oh, okay. This makes way more sense” and you start to live from there. So powerful, so profound. 

Sheridan Taylor: Yes, I’m learning to live all of this like every goal. Let’s go back a few years and I am learning that the more I fake being this person I want to be, the more at peace I am and the happier everybody is. I just have to work a little harder on sharing stuff and I have this — I have to know why. I need to know why behind everything, if something interests me, I need to know why. 

Why is my brain doing this? Why did I go to this dark place? Why do I respond that way? Why am I like why-why-why? So I’ve gathered the knowledge as going to like group therapy sessions from like the Veterans Transition Network and Wounded Warriors Canada and I am going to individual therapy with my therapist and doing all of these stuff and it’s all why and reading and reading and reading and studying. 

Someone like one therapist will say something about this and so I –why — and I got to read about that. I collect trauma shrinks now, man, I got like 17 of them in my phonebook, you know? 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. You know what though, man? That’s so powerful, that is such a huge part of your transformation because there is this quote in Quran about Prophet Mohammed ( SAW) A Hadith of Rasul (SAW you know, very young age. He said “Man ‘arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa Rabbahu” which is, [rough translation] “when you know yourself, you’ll know me”* — talking about the Most High, right? That’s the thing, it’s like the Most High is embedded in all of us but you can’t not ask questions.

You certainly have to know why and so you seeking your reason, it is understanding yourself further and because you have never really given yourself permission to do that in the past, now it’s like tenfold, right? That urge to just want to know who and why you are the way that you are, so that you can then resolve further when that question goes out the door, you come to peace with it. 

You have a resolve and so now that you know why, you’re calm, you’re collected, right? You are like that friend of yours who his why is in reading the Bible and now, he doesn’t need to even ask. He feels people, the energy, right? 

He just feels it and so you doing those kinds of things, you’re molding yourself to be a person who feels the energy of others in which why you wrote the book because now you’re going to put this energy out in the world and people are going to gravitate to that story, relate and start to develop themselves, which I just love and appreciate, man. 

This is the biggest reason I joined Scribe, wrote my book and now I work with Scribe is there is this thing in my faith about seeking knowledge, right? It is about understanding yourself through the world, right? It is this constant mirror reflection, right? If you can surround yourself by remarkable people who are honest about who they are, the troubles they’ve gone through, the darkness and the light, you can see yourself in them, right? 

You can see yourself in nature, you can see yourself in animals and that’s how you create this idea of the oneness, the unity, right? That everything is technically and spiritually and metaphysically connected and when you have that, you understand the power that resides within and if you can work from there, you can share from there, which is why your book is so important to our world. 

You know, there is the House of Wisdom in Baghdad that was like the Harvard of the ancient world. 

Sheridan Taylor: Dude, all the wisdom of ancient Rome disappeared from Europe but it lived on in the Caliphate and it came back to Europe. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, you see? You know the stories, man and so for me, like being with people such as yourself, reading, being around books, all of these things sort of make me live from that place, this ancient bloodline of mine. I always tell people like I think somewhere down the line, my great-great-great-great grandfather was like the liberate, you know what I’m saying? Which is why I love this work so much. 

Man, your book is going to be amazing, it is going to be so impactful. I’m sure it has helped you in more ways than you probably can count. So tell me about that real quick, tell me about if there is like one thing someone can pull away from your book, your story, what would you hope that it is or what would you want them to take away from that book? 

Sheridan Taylor: That they are not alone. That they are not alone, that no one walks this world alone. They’re not — I used to word this incorrectly, I saved. I saved lives. That’s not true, that is not what I did. I didn’t do that. I showed, I have showed a dozen humans one-on-one how to save their life because they were where I was. I have showed and then it happens all the time, everywhere I go now. I walk around and I just meet people who need to hear something I got to say. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yes, oh, that is the ultimate living from purpose, right? 

Sheridan Taylor: Yes man and then I didn’t choose it and I don’t want to deal with it because it is not making any fucking money but dude, the rewards I get. I just have a conversation like two days ago with this lady in the drug store, man, like she is carrying the wrong energy. I don’t know what it is about her body language, about her eyes, like everything. The eyes are a little too narrow, you know? 

They are moving a little too quick but her shoulders are a little too hunched. She is a little too tense in the wrong places, you know? She’s just carrying all the wrong energy. So I just like, “Okay, well you know what?” I mean, you can tell in her look and you can’t see me, I’m at the bigger end of average. I’m six foot about 200 pounds and I am covered in over-compensating tough guy tattoos, right? 

I’ve got all the scary tattoos on me and stuff, right? All the things that say, “Ooh a bad man” right? I am not the most approachable-looking individual but I have learned that if I actually just let my compassion lead, if I let my concern for somebody else lead, go first, then they’re not scared of me, of my physical appearance no matter how I may look. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: You carry a different energy. 

Sheridan Taylor: True, you know? So when I let the care lead, send that ahead of me first, you know? Just let them know like just without saying a word, body language, just you know like, just lets you know that, “You know what? I don’t know who you are but I give a shit. I really care about you right now.”

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I love that. I love the love that you sort of dipped yourself into and now have come out and realized that you know, it is beyond your exterior. It is really more about your interior and you impact and you know, I hate to use the word infectious but you know, you’re—

Sheridan Taylor: It is what it is, man, you know? It’s the right word. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, it’s like infectious. Yeah, it’s like you—

Sheridan Taylor: It is, it is contagious, man. Love is contagious. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, I love that, yeah.

Sheridan Taylor: Love is contagious. People don’t understand that you have to actually have to be at a point.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: You got to love yourself first. You got to understand yourself first and I think that’s where you had to go. You had to go really understand yourself and love yourself before that then can translate to others, right? And that is a very beautiful place to operate from. Sheridan, I learned so much today man. 

I am excited for your book and I kind of, like I said, I kind of browse through it to kind of get ready for our interview but I am just insanely excited to dive into it and learn more about you, your story, your compassion. I know that’s going to help me grow through my past traumas as well. It’s been an absolute pleasure. I’m so excited about what you’re doing. 

I know it is going to evolve into something so great in our world and it is so needed especially right now. So the book is called, Not Okay? Okay.: A Roadmap from the Brink. Besides checking out the book, where can people find you? 

Sheridan Taylor: Scribe set me up with a website, other than that like I hadn’t really ever given any thought to what I’m going to do, how to be accessible because I just thought I’d write a book and then I disappear back into the woodwork and I got hide in the tree line like I used to do, right? But now suddenly the world is coming out like the local bookstore is coming after me — how did they found out what my—what—the world is coming at my door like I don’t know what to do about this man. I want to go hide but I can’t because I—

Hussein Al-Baiaty: No, this is not the place to go hide. I think it is a time in it of itself is a challenge, you know? So would it be or where are we going? 

Sheridan Taylor: I think it’s called

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I think more people are going to be wanting to not just access you but they’re going to be wanting to access that story of yours to help themselves grow. I think that’s what’s important. I think you’re living from purpose and slowly but surely man, the world is going to know and understand like how they can become better people through their own traumas, through their own stories that they’ve gone through and you’re a catalyst to that. 

I’m grateful to have met you today and I hope to continue our conversation in the future, brother, and I hope this won’t be your last book. I have a feeling that somewhere, there is another book inside of you that will further help others. 

Sheridan Taylor: Dude, I got two more. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: There you go. 

Sheridan Taylor: I got two more manuscripts written. I just don’t know how like if this book does well enough, that it helps enough people, that they wanted more, I got the rest of it laying there. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Well, thank you so much for joining me today Sheridan. I appreciate you, your story. You exude love and appreciation, so again, thank you for your service. Thank you for sacrificing what you needed to in order to ensure that you raise the next generation in a beautiful way, that is very commendable. I am humbled today by interviewing you today. So thanks again, Sheridan. 

Sheridan Taylor: Thank you, Hussein, thank you. 

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, absolutely a pleasure.

  • Derived from the Quran, Surah 50 Al Qaf, Verse 16:

    “It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.”