Did you happen to read Glennon Doyle’s recent book, Untamed? While I have been familiar with Doyle through the years, I never got around to reading any of her other books. She popped up in my consciousness through authors I am keenly interested in – Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown and of course, Oprah. If Oprah likes you, you are gold, right? But somewhere between the time I discovered her and sort of knew who and what she was about (life struggles included anorexia, alcoholism, drug addiction and unplanned motherhood to name a few) to her writing the book Untamed, she seemed to have undergone a complete shift in thinking.
I am skeptical of people who change so dramatically but there is something about Glennon Doyle that appeals to me. Her raw honesty, her ability to connect with the imperfect in all of us and how she talks about how it’s okay to transform your lifelong ingrained ideas about who you were taught to be in order to fit into our generally accepted society. It’s OK to change your mind, to open your mind, to shift and change who you are and where you’re going.
Neither of my parents went to college but they knew it was something important and they wanted their kids to achieve what they did not. But that didn’t mean they wanted us to go too far outside the traditional family model we grew up with. My mother wanted me to be a nurse or a teacher, a supporting role in my future family where the husband would lead and be the bread winner and where I would cook and clean and care for my family as she did. But as I grew into my twenties and thirties without subscribing to the college/marriage/kids formula of life, I could see her ideas about what it meant to be an independent woman in the world shift, and I knew she was proud of me no matter what.
But back to Doyle and Untamed. This book, which I devoured in two sittings in the early days of COVID quarantine, was a pivitol read. I laughed and sobbed, spoke aloud to myself (YES!) like a crazy woman and followed her as she jumped through different life stages and the important lessons each one taught her and how she unraveled her old life and built it into something new and whole. And maybe most importantly paving a new way for her entire family to live wholeheartedly (including her mom). I immediately bought a copy for my sisters to read.
The analogy of Untamed comes from Glennon’s visit to the zoo with her daughter to see a cheetah perform for a crowd. The cheetah was raised alongside a retriever and tamed to immitate the dog as she chased a stuffed bunny behind a truck. A wild animal, tamed for the entertainment of a crowd. Like her book did for me, this broke something inside of her and forced her to look at the world in a different way. It forced her to ask – why are we taming cheetah’s?