Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Untamed by Glennon Doyle. Untamed is a revealing and powerful memoir which explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others' expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.
We're like snow globes: We spend all of our time, energy, words, and money creating a flurry, trying not to know, making sure that the snow doesn't settle so we never have to face the fiery truth inside us - solid and unmoving.
Hell hath no fury like a memoirist whose husband just fucked up her story.
I'd let down my guard and trusted that the other characters in my story would act as they should and that my plot would unfold as I'd mapped it. I'd rendered my own future and my children vulnerable by ceding creative control to another character. What an idiot. Never again. I would take back full control, starting now. This was my story and my family, and I would decide how it ended. I'd take this shit I'd been handed, and I'd spin it into gold.
When I was a child, I felt what I needed to feel and I followed my gut and I planned only from my imagination. I was wild until I was tamed by shame. Until I started hiding and numbing my feelings for fear of being too much. Until I started deferring to others' advice instead of trusting my own intuition. Until I became convinced that my imagination was ridiculous and my desires were selfish. Until I surrendered myself to the cages of others' expectations, cultural mandates, and institutional allegiances. Until I buried who I was in order to become what I should be.
I learned that I'd never be free from pain but I could be free from the fear of pain, and that was enough.
I am here to keep becoming truer, more beautiful versions of myself again and again forever. To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution.
Consumer culture promises us that we can buy our way out of pain - that the reason we're sad and angry is not that being human hurts; it's because we don't have those countertops, her thighs, these jeans. This is a clever way to run an economy, but it is no way to run a life. Consuming keeps us distracted, busy, and numb. Numbness keeps us from becoming.
First the pain, then the waiting, then the rising. All of our suffering comes when we try to get to our resurrection without allowing ourselves to be crucified first.
Pain is not tragic. Pain is magic. Suffering is tragic. Suffering is what happens when we avoid pain and consequently miss our becoming.
When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.
I had an epiphany: It must be that should and shouldn't, right and wrong, good and bad - they're not wild. They're not real. They're just culturally constructed, artificial, ever-changing cages created to maintain institutions. It struck me that in every family, culture, or religion, ideas of right and wrong are the hot cattle prods, the barking sheepdogs that keep the masses in the herd. They are the bars that keep us caged. I decided that if I kept doing the "right" thing, I would spend my life following someone else's directions instead of my own. I didn't want to live my life without living my life. I wanted to make my own decision as a free woman, from my soul, not my training.
I have learned that if I want to rise, I have to sink first. I have to search for and depend upon the voice of inner wisdom instead of voices of outer approval. This saves me from living someone else's life. It also saves me a hell of a lot of time and energy.
I understand now that no one else in the world knows what I should do. The experts don't know, the ministers, the therapists, the magazines, the authors, my parents, my friends, they don't know. Not even the folks who love me the most. Because no one has ever lived or will ever live this life I am attempting to live, with my gifts and challenges and past and people. Every life is an unprecedented experiment. This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they've never been. There is no map. We are all pioneers.
There is a life meant for you that is truer than the one you're living. But in order to have it, you will have to forge it yourself. You will have to create on the outside what you are imagining on the inside. Only you can bring it forth. And it will cost you everything.
Imagination is not where we go to escape reality but where we go to remember it. Perhaps when we want to know the original plan for our lives, families, world, we should consult not what's in front of us but what's inside us. Imagination is how personal and worldwide revolutions begin.
Each of us was born to bring forth something that has never existed: a way of being, a family, an idea, art, a community-something brand-new. We are here to fully introduce ourselves, to impose ourselves and ideas and thoughts and dreams onto the world, leaving it changed forever by who we are and what we bring forth from our depths. So we cannot contort ourselves to fit into the visible order. We must unleash ourselves and watch the world reorder itself in front of our eyes.
There is no one way to live, love, raise children, arrange a family, run a school, a community, a nation. The norms were created by somebody, and each of us is somebody. We can make our own normal. We can throw out all the rules and write our own. We can build our lives from the inside out. We can stop asking what the world wants from us and instead ask ourselves what we want for our world. We can stop looking at what's in front of us long enough to discover what's inside us. We can remember and unleash the life-changing, relationship-changing, world-changing power of our own imagination. It might take us a lifetime. Luckily, a lifetime is exactly how long we have.
I've seen what happens out in the world and inside our relationships when women stay numb, obedient, quiet, and small. Selfless women make for an efficient society but not a beautiful, true, or just one. When women lose themselves, the world loses its way. We do not need more selfless women. What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world's expectations that they are full of nothing but themselves.
I am a human being, meant to be in perpetual becoming. If I am living bravely, my entire life will become a million deaths and rebirths. My goal is not to remain the same but to live in such a way that each day, year, moment, relationship, conversation, and crisis is the material I use to become a truer, more beautiful version of myself. The goal is to surrender, constantly, who I just was in order to become who this next moment calls me to be.
Rebellion is as much of a cage as obedience is. They both mean living in reaction to someone else's way instead of forging your own. Freedom is not being for or against an ideal, but creating your own existence from scratch.
If you are uncomfortable - in deep pain, angry, yearning, confused - you don't have a problem, you have a life. Being human is not hard because you're doing it wrong, it's hard because you're doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.
Everywhere I looked in Paris, I found proof that leaders come and go, buildings are built and fall, revolutions begin and end; nothing - no matter how grand - lasts. Paris says: We are here for such a short time. We might as well sit down for a long while with some good coffee, company, and bread. Here, there is more time to be human, maybe because there has been more time to learn how.
If you keep living with confidence, the rest of your life will unfold exactly as it is meant to. It won't always be comfortable. Some will recognize your brave; others won't. Some will understand and like you; others won't. But the way others respond to your confidence is not your business. Your business is to stay loyal to you.
I am not a good friend. I have never been capable of or willing to commit to the maintenance that the rules of friendship dictate. I cannot remember birthdays. I do not want to meet for coffee. I will not host the baby shower. I won't text back because it's an eternal game of Ping-Pong, the texting. It never ends. I inevitably disappoint friends, so after enough of that, I decided I would stop trying. I don't want to live in constant debt. This is okay with me. I have a sister and children and a dog. One cannot have it all.
Your body is nature, and nature is pure. I know that's hard for you to accept because you have been at war with your body for so long. You think your body is bad, but it is not. It's wise. Your body will tell you things your mind will talk you out of. Your body is telling you what direction life is in. Try trusting it.
It's important to take a good look at yourself every once in a while. Not the way you look at yourself while you're getting dressed or putting on makeup. Not the way you look at your thighs or sunspots or chin hairs. Not that way. I mean you need to look dead into your own eyes - at your real self. You need to make sure there are no lies there. You need to make sure the eyes in the mirror are the eyes of a woman you respect.
We don't control the turbulence or tragedy that happens to our families. The plot of our lives is largely out of our control. We decide only the response of the main character. We decide whether we will be the one who jumps ship or the one who stays and leads.
Listen closely: Parent is no longer a noun - those days are done. Parent is now a verb, something you do ceaselessly. Think of the verb parent as synonymous with protect, shield, hover, deflect, fix, plan, and obsess. Parenting will require all of you; please parent with your mind, body, and soul. Parenting is your new religion, within which you will find salvation. This child is your savior. Convert or be damned. We will wait while you cancel all other life endeavors. Thank you.
You are a human being, and your birthright is to remain fully human. So you get to be everything: loud quiet bold smart careful impulsive creative joyful big angry curious ravenous ambitious. You are allowed to take up space on this earth with your feelings, your ideas, your body. You do not need to shrink. You do not need to hide any part of yourself, ever.
I don't give a rat's ass how much respect you earn for yourself out in the world if you are not showing respect to the people inside your home. If you don't get that right, nothing you do out there will matter much.
Listen. Every time you're given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.
Trying to learn about sex from porn is like trying to learn about the mountains by sniffing one of those air fresheners they sell at the gas station. When you finally get to the real mountains and breathe in that pure, wild air - you might be confused. You might wish it smelled like that fake, manufactured air-freshener version.
Privilege is being born on third base. Ignorant privilege is thinking you're there because you hit a triple. Malicious privilege is complaining that those starving outside the ballpark aren't waiting patiently enough.
I do not adjust myself to please the world. I am myself wherever I am, and I let the world adjust.
I'm a grown-ass woman now and I do what the fuck I want. I mean this with deep respect and love - and with the desire that you, too, will do what the fuck you want with your own singular precious life.
In America, there are not two kinds of people, racists and nonracists. There are three kinds of people: those poisoned by racism and actively choosing to spread it; those poisoned by racism and actively trying to detox; and those poisoned by racism who deny its very existence inside them.
I love sharing my life with a woman. I love how relentlessly we yearn to understand each other and how neither of us quits until we do. I love how we already do understand each other so well, because we are two women trying to free ourselves from the same cages. I love how our life together is one eternal conversation that we put on pause only to sleep.
When it comes to who my children are, I don't want to be an Expectations Parent. I don't want my kids striving to meet an arbitrary list of preconceived goals I have created for them. I want to be a Treasure Hunt Parent. I want to encourage my children to spend their lives digging, uncovering more and more about who they already are, and then sharing what they discover with those lucky enough to be trusted by them. When my child uncovers a gem inside and pulls it out for me to see, I want to widen my eyes and gasp and applaud.
I don't know if I call myself a Christian anymore. That label suggests certainty, and I have none. It suggests the desire to convert others, and that's the last thing I want to do. It suggests exclusive belonging, and I'm not sure I belong anywhere anymore. Part of me wants to peel that label off, set it down, and try to meet each person soul to soul, without any layers between us.
Often the internal voice telling us who God is and what God approves of is not God; it's our indoctrination. It's an echo of the voice of a teacher, a parent, a preacher - someone who has claimed to represent God to us. Many of those people have been well meaning, and others have only sought to control us. Either way, not a single one of them has been God's appointed spokesperson. Not a single one of them has more God in her than you do. There is no church that owns God. There is no religion that owns God. There are no gatekeepers. None of this is that easy. There is no outsourcing your faith. There is just you and God.
When choosing between something you Know and something other people taught you to believe, choose what you Know.
Good art originates not from the desire to show off but from the desire to show yourself. Good art always comes from our desperate desire to breathe, to be seen, to be loved. In everyday life, we are used to seeing only the shiny outer layer of folks. Art makes us less lonely because it always comes from the desperate center of the artist - and each of our centers is desperate. That's why good art is such a relief.
If you want to get jaded and numb, watch the news. If you want to stay human, read letters. When trying to understand humanity, seek out firsthand accounts.
Every philanthropist, if she is paying attention, eventually becomes an activist. If we do not, we risk becoming codependent with power - saving the system's victims while the system collects the profits, then pats us on the head for our service. We become injustice's foot soldiers.
I am a sensitive, introverted woman, which means that I love humanity but actual human beings are tricky for me. I love people but not in person. For example, I would die for you but not, like ... meet you for coffee.
We are like computers, and our beliefs are the software with which we're programmed. Often our beliefs are programmed into us without our knowledge by our culture, community, religion, and family. Even though we don't choose those subconscious programs, they run our lives. They control our decisions, perspectives, feelings, and interactions, so they determine our destiny. What we believe, we become. There is nothing more important than unearthing what we really believe to be true about ourselves and our world - and nothing unearths what we really believe faster than examining what pisses us off.
Grief shatters. If you let yourself shatter and then you put yourself back together, piece by piece, you wake up one day and realize that you have been completely reassembled. You are whole again, and strong, but you are suddenly a new shape, a new size. [...] When that kind of transformation happens, it becomes impossible to fit into your old conversations or relationships or patterns or thoughts or life anymore. You are like a snake trying to fit back into old, dead skin or a butterfly trying to crawl back into its cocoon. You look around and see everything freshly, with the new eyes you have earned for yourself. There is no going back.
Depression and anxiety are not feelings. Feelings return me to myself. Depression and anxiety are body snatchers that suck me out of myself so that I appear to be there but I'm really gone. Other people can still see me, but no one can feel me anymore - including me.
I think we are only bitter about other people's joy in direct proportion to our commitment to keep joy from ourselves. The more often I do things I want to do, the less bitter I am at people for doing what they want to do.
I am beginning to unlearn what I used to believe about control and love. Now I think that maybe control is not love. I think that control might actually be the opposite of love, because control leaves no room for trust - and maybe love without trust is not love at all.
When people encounter our family, their eyes get big and they say "Wow" - in one tone or another - because they haven't seen a family exactly like ours before. Our family is specific, because we are specific people. We did not use a blueprint created by someone else and then struggle to fit each of us inside. We create and re-create our family again and again - from the inside of each one of us - out. We will continue to do that forever, so each of us will always have room to grow and grow and still belong. That is what family is to me: where we are both held and free.