Unlock Your True Self: A Review of Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Originally published at the literary site: Pens and Words on 2/19/21
Perhaps no other book has taken center stage as much as Untamed has in 2020. Untamed debuted as Doyle’s third memoir and spent a total of 10 weeks on the Best Sellers List. The world was more than ready to read this book during the year that we were cracked open in unimaginable ways. Well done, Glennon; you launched your book with great intention, and the world greeted Untamed as a life raft for the wild waters of 2020.
About Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Released 3/10/2020, at the very start of the pandemic and published by Penguin Random House. This book has 333 pages and can be found in the Memoir section of your favorite book store or on Amazon, or directly at Untamed.
As is typical of Doyle’s writing, she shares personal stories from the heart. This book will be helpful for adults of all backgrounds. It is a philosophical read covering huge topics such as gender stereotyping, mental health, religion, and racism. She received criticism from the Christian community for marrying a woman and for publicizing it so shamelessly. I am a woman who devours Brené Brown’s books and is fascinated by her research on shame and the harmful effects. Therefore, I praise Doyle for sharing her coming out story in such a beautifully descriptive way. She examined her life thoroughly, and that process uncovered rules upon rules that society inflicted upon her. If you want a push to start living your life to the fullest, this is the read that may very well inspire you.
Before Untamed, Glennon was known as the Christian Mommy Blogger. The book that preceded Untamed was Love Warrior, which chronicled the beginning and end of her marriage to a man, her addiction to drugs and alcohol, and sixteen years of living as a bulimic.
Untamed takes a very different turn, telling the story of her new life with her new love: Abby Wambach. Wambach is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and is in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Doyle shares how she met Abby Wambach and how her passion for Abby unleashed the old Glennon, buried since she was ten years old.
“Suddenly, a woman is standing where nothingness used to be. She takes up the entire doorway, the entire room, the entire universe…She stands still there for a moment, taking inventory of the room. I stare at her and take inventory of my entire life.”
She describes her awakening in this statement, which captures the essence of the book in one paragraph. There is a life before Abby and a life after Abby. Hopefully, every adult has had a moment like this. Maybe we were too busy to notice it as profoundly as Doyle describes here. But there was a moment that changed us. A time that captured our attention so brilliantly that we couldn’t deny its power. Abby was the catalyst for Glennon to make considerable changes in her life.
“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 lost myself when I learned how to please.”
As a writer, I know that the process of allowing your creative self to express your art will automatically come with the power to crack you open. Doyle began her Christian Mommy Blog, Momastery, in 2013. She was already an accomplished writer and a best-selling author before this meeting of her future wife. Yet, her life was still being led by pleasing. She pleased her husband, her family, and the church over herself. She was living the life she thought was good. A life she thought she was supposed to live. Doyle tamped down her imagination and, with that, her intuition at age 10. For sixteen years, she numbed herself with drugs and alcohol to be led into submission of a life that kept her bound to the rules.
“When we let ourselves feel, our inner self transforms. When we act upon our knowing and imagination, our outer worlds transform. Living from the worlds within us will change our outer worlds.”
I describe this process as waking up. Paying attention to what our heart speaks and then doing something about it. Anything. The act of doing brings incantation. Sometimes, it takes years of feeling and knowing and maybe even journaling these musings before acting upon the messages. Taking action, even just one tiny little action will move us forward into the unknown of living a creative life. And I am here to tell you, living a creative life is scary and messy and the best fucking life I could ever imagine possible. And I will never go back to a tamed life. Ever again.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Writer, Editor, Author, and CEO @ Walden Writes For Women
Professional Matchmaker & Co-Owner @ Roots Matchmaking
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