I have just started to read Glennon Doyle’s new memoir “Untamed” (out today). With my own memoir coming out in a few months I am obviously intrigued by how other women write theirs. But with Ms. Doyle I am also always intrigued by her perspectives. That girl has made some tough choices in this life and has lived to not only tell her tales but thrive in them. At least now. It would appear that now, living her third memoir, she is finally untamed and very, very real.
As she thrives, I strive. I strive to be authentic, truthful, clear, brave and sensitive. Helpful, patient (damn, that’s a hard one) and vulnerable. Do I always get there? To those lofty destinations? Hell, no. But I strive.
I left this new book today (I’m the kind of girl who will abandon my life completely to read a good book in one sitting so I have learned to ration) after the chapter where the author teachers herself (and us) to “Be Still”. Yes, physically, but ultimately in the pursuit of mental stillness; a place to which we sink until we finally hear our inner voice. Our “Knowing”, she calls it. God, if you will.
I call it my Personal Cruise Director. Because this life is the one and only cruise I will ever take and if I am not available for advice and guidance from my cruise director, think of all the amazing highlights I might miss?
It’s not always easy accessing this inner PCD. There is a lot of distraction on a cruise ship. Some distractions we must attend (the life-jacket drill!) and some we choose to observe and/or participate in. Getting STILL can be a challenge.
But a worthwhile one. I realized today that I often write this blog after taking a bath. While luxuriating in those bubbles I get pretty quiet. I’m not washing my hair or shaving my legs or getting ready for the day ahead. I am calm. And quiet. And that is when these blogs formulate in my brain. That is when my PCD shows up. It’s never crowded in that bathtub. My PCD is always a welcome guest.
The other great takeaway (so far) from “Untamed” – most women face an immense challenge. This quest to become … well … untamed. Undomesticated. Untouched by society’s dictates and unrestricted in the choices we make. The choices we make to personalize this one and only cruise to our own authenticity. That exact authenticity that we can only come to know when we quiet all the other voices which, over the years, have drowned out the reality that is us. Or in my case, ME.
Which brings me to a story about my ex-husband that I have not (so far) included in my upcoming memoir. My book (The Potty-Mouthed Chef: How To Cheat, Eat and Be Happy) is not the story of a broken marriage. It is the story of a marriage that broke and my journey thereafter. But this little tale is somewhat significant in that, in hindsight, I realize it set the tone for our courtship, our marriage and our wedded life. It is a tale about the TAMING of Vickie.
We were still in the dating phase and we were at a wedding. All his friends. I may have met a couple a time or two but it was ALL his people. When the formalities ended one of his old (girl) friends swooped in and unceremoniously spirited my beloved away, off to reconnect with their old cronies. He glanced back over his shoulder sheepishly as she tugged on his sleeve and then went along. He WENT ALONG with HER leaving me standing there in a hotel ballroom full of people I did not know.
I truly don’t remember how long I stood. I’m pretty sure it felt like a billion years. What I do recall is he finally returned at which time I suggested we slip out to the lobby for a private drink. And so we did.
I was just a tiny bit (read: huge amount) irate. Pretty sure I blathered on for more than a tiny bit while he sat there stewing and fuming. Finally, when my blathering abated, dearly beloved said to me in the coldest tone imaginable, “I don’t need this shit.”
I froze. In fear. To this day I don’t really remember what happened next but those five words froze me in fear. Because he didn’t need this shit. He didn’t need MY shit. He didn’t need me dragging him away from his pals to point out what an inconsiderate jerk he was. He didn’t need it.
Untamed Vickie would have responded, “Neither do I.” Untamed Vickie would have quietly murmured, “I don’t need an inconsiderate jerk for a boyfriend. If you insist on being an inconsiderate jerk and you can’t even take ownership of and apologize for your inconsiderate jerkdom, I don’t need you in my life!”
That is what untamed Vickie would have said.
I, alas, was still quite tamed. And afraid that once again my BIG FAT MOUTH would cost me another relationship with another pretty fabulous (when he wasn’t a jerk) guy.
So I apologized. I apologized for making a mountain out of a molehill. I apologized for my insecurities and my rudeness and my “unacceptable” behaviour.
Sorry … what? What the fucking what?
I apologized for MY unacceptable behaviour.
I salvaged the situation AND the relationship.
Tamed. I was tamed. He tamed me good and plenty.
I don’t do that stuff anymore. You know why? It doesn’t work in the long run. You get tamed for an evening or a week or even fourteen years of marriage. But you never, ever, ever truly get housebroken. Because there was never anything broken in the first place. You were just YOU.
I don’t believe I am savage or uncivilized or even feral. What I am is aware. Mindful. Cognizant of my own truth and my own needs, desires, boundaries and even limitations. There is NO man, woman or child who can interfere with the legitimacy of MY cruise.
Now please don’t go confusing this conviction with selfishness. Trust me, one thing I know is that we all have two inner voices. 1. The Child. I want, I want, I want. 2. As Ms. Doyle says – The Knowing. I need.
The Knowing is what we need. To survive. To cruise the fuck out of this life.
So get still. BE still.
Your PCD is waiting.