img Untamed Sue

Untamed book club

Right there on page 93 – Glennon writes that although on the surface, her life was good.

She was a do-gooder for others (wife , mom, community, work). Because her ‘training’ and taming told her that “a woman isn’t allowed to do well unless she also does good”.  That’s me.

She was so good that she was also exhausted, anxious, and lost. She “assumed that because I wasn’t good enough yet; I just had to try a little harder."

Well dammit, I’m tired of being good. I’m so tired. I’m tired of being tired. After years of advocating for every-friggin-one else, I’m only gonna give a shit about me. (not really, but if’s fun to think about)

I’ve got to figure out what my Ache is…trust my Knowing. After I figure out what that might be.

Because I too have learned that “dealing with the dropped shoe is less paralyzing than waiting for that shoe to drop.” (p.84)

As I commented previously, I grew up very close to my Dad. He was really my first therapist, if you will. While my Mom was out being a do-gooder with her Venn diagram circles of friends – I sat home and watched Laugh In, Mary Tyler Moore, and Bob Newhart with my Daddy. And we talked for hours. Whether intentional or not, he instilled in me this pessimistic view of the world. “Why set your goals too high, when the letdown will be that much greater?”  

And – I’m paraphrasing, because neither my brother or sister ever got that vibe from him.

But that’s really what shaped me – the implied cautiousness. Cautious about being open about myself. Dip your toe, don’t dive off the high board. I try not to raise my kids with the same negativity, but I am a Part of All that I have met…and can’t undo who I am. I can only be intentional about my words and recognize when (not if) my Ache is showing.  

And then, when Glennon writes about meeting Liz – and how while she really liked her she was all (p 102) “attempting to be her friend would be like intentionally writing a bad check." That Glennon didn’t ascribe to the standard "friendship maintenance rules." That got me thinking that my Mom was a Liz. I’m a Glennon. My Dad told me that I would be lucky if I was his age and could count my really really close friends on one hand, those “Lizzes” who will unconditionally BE your Liz; Who offer a new meaning of friendship. While I think I’m a better friend than Glennon claims she isn’t, I wonder if I've got a handful of Lizzes or just five fingers.


Oh and I wouldn’t mind a Beach house too.


  1. Wendy, I think it is so sweet that you grew up close to your dad, and that you two could talk for hours. How sad that even with that connection, you were instilled with a cautiousness to not set the bar too high. I wonder what your dad's motivation was. In his own way, I think he was trying to prevent his little girl from getting hurt, not realizing there was a cost with his scenario as well.

    It was important to my parents that I'd go to college and I don't remember ever not wanting to go. But otherwise, my parents didn't discourage or encourage my goals. I believe they felt I was capable of achieving whatever I set out to do.

    Sorry, ladies, I want to contribute more but I'm having a hard time thinking at the moment. My 93 year old dad has been in the hospital for a week. I think he'll be ok. Still, he has a ways to go before he can go home.

  2. I loved this post, Wendy, and it made me think about my relationship with my Mum and Dad (who have both passed away). At different points in my life (and my sister would agree) I was closer to my Dad, and once I became a Mom, I was closer to my mother. My Dad had an Army & Navy business and worked 6 days a week; during the holidays, he worked every day. We were an extremely close and supportive family. My mother was philanthropic and community service was important to her, my grandmother (who lived with us), and me. I never thought of my mother as a “do-gooder” because she never made it a “thing” – it was something that gave her great pleasure, and some of her friends volunteered in the same organizations. I followed in her footsteps during high school, and was a candy striper in the hospital ER. It came from a belief that when you do for others, it makes us feel good. Plus there was no judgment about helping others…and it wasn’t to the point of exhaustion.

    I appreciated at a young age how enlightened my parents were – my sister and I weren’t raised with “shoulds,” but my bother, two years older than I had to carry my books home for me during elementary school. Back then, no one used knapsacks – just a thick rubber strap that wound around heavy textbooks. I was small and my brother was stronger than me, but it wasn’t fair to him, who had his own books to lug down the long hill from school. The one and only gender “should” was that my sister and I had to set the table and clear dinner dishes. My brother got to work in my Dad’s store when he was 9. And working in my Dad’s Army & Navy Supply was the only place in which my father wouldn’t allow me to work. “Not a good environment for girls”. I later had dreams of taking it over and turning it into an LLBean – but my Dad felt (he was a bit crazy) that I could be the CEO of Sears if I wanted to?! (Of course I didn’t).

    I do remember several of my close female friends from high school were treated differently than their brothers (the kings). One of my closest friends, back then, wasn’t allowed to apply to Ivy League schools – but her brother could go to Cornell. In my house, academic achievement was important, but my brother, sister, and I could attend the school of our choice, based on where we were accepted.

    I also think that many parents raise their kids in “implied cautiousness” from a fearful older generation. My husband’s family certainly did. His parents, quiet, mild-mannered people, were a generation older than mine. They experienced the poverty, social mores after WWII, and they wanted their sons to have more financially stable, traditional careers – a financial fear that never left their mindsets, no matter how successful his parents became. I called it their “poverty mentality” imprinted in their soul with permanent marker. Don’t cause waves, or risk losing your job– don’t rock the boat, be grateful for what you have. I remember after we got married, and my job covered my husband’s medical insurance (previously his folks paid for it), his mother said, “Are you sure, dear? After all, women lose their jobs.”

    Finally, I’m certain, Wendy, you don’t have just five fingers, but I, too, always heard if you have just a few close friends in your life – you’re a wealthy person. I do believe this to be true.

  3. My Dad passed away last year at 91, and was spunky, generous, and present until the day before he died. We became extraordinaly close (3000 miles away) after my bother died, two years ago. I would have loved another 60 years with my Dad. I'm sending you wishes for his recovery, and for you both to manage this with peace and ease.

  4. Thanks for taking the time, Sue, to share with us with all you have going on. I think I had the same expectations from my parents…grow up, go to college, do what you want. So there was not the cautiousness put on me that Wendy had, but I go back to those stories, the little ways I was taught not to trust myself and therefore not to trust my knowing. That kind of things leaks out of us all over the place when we're growing up..onto all our other relationships. Of course we can't help but to repeat some of that with our kids even if we're knowing and doing better. Interesting stuff.

    And please update us when you can about how your dad is doing. We’re all thinking about you and sending love.

  5. Lordy-Y! Again, so much material here to sink our teeth into. As I said in my comment to Sue, different than you, Wendy, I wasn't taught that sort of cautiousness from my parents. But I definitely didn't learn how to trust my knowing and as Glennon points out, I developed skewed meanings to the word "brave." I love how she unpacks the word on pg 105, first and foremost that brave means living from the inside out! Yes! And our braveness cannot be judged by people on the outside! Yes! Just writing this down here makes me feel anxious. The last sentence of the last of these 6 vignettes is Burn It Down. Holy Fuck. I'm only speaking for myself here, but man. That, in and of itself, scares the shit out of me. It's a lot of responsibility! I know we each do this in our own way, but still. What would burning it down look and feel like. I hope she will go into more detail about this. I'm sure she will. Because when the noise of the world is getting ever louder and more chaotic, making time to be quiet, sink down deep, and listen to our knowing is getting harder and harder, not easier. I guess that is also where a big part of the work comes in..managing life so we can do the inside work…the outside part comes later.

    What a gift in the section “terms.” If we are strong enough to give it to ourselves and each other this new definition of friendship where we don’t negotiate by withholding and are not subject to disappointment! Oh…how much inner work that takes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m trying to live these principals in other parts of my life, too, and it is NOT EASY..It’s not easy to constantly have to check my ego and remind myself what I’m clinging too and how that clinging is hurting me. Constantly reminding myself to let go of outcomes, of my former way of facing the world from a place of scarcity. This new way of being and of being friends is not for sissies! Liz’s poem is a radical departure from all I knew before about how to “be” with people. I want it. I want it a lot more, but I know I am going to have to earn it..not the old meaning of “earn”..but the new one of doing the work from the inside out. In the long run, I think this becomes less work..when we know ourselves and trust ourselves and have good boundaries we don’t get caught up in all the drama. What a relief that will be…when it happens.

    And I don’t know about you guys, but I can sure relate to many if not most of the items on Glennon’s list on page 120-121 from women telling her over the years what we want. Reading this list made me so sad. And sort of mad. Why shouldn’t we want..and get these things. Isn’t this what life is all about? Oh the sacrifices we’ve made. I’m not sure I want the responsibility of transforming civilization…but most of the rest of the stuff she talks about: You bet your ass I want all of it!

  6. Oh how I'm loving reading these stories you're sharing Faithe! It's just so fascinating to learn more about how each of us was raised and what we think and feel about it now, the sense we can make of things that maybe didn't make sense then. I can see your brother in my mind's eye carrying your books for you…so sweet. And the way you and your sister set the table, and yet all of you were encouraged to follow your dreams in terms of going to school etc. I appreciate your comments about implied cautiousness. I get it. My dad was the WWII generation, meaning he was young and lived through the depression and then went off and fought in the war and I totally get what you're saying. I'm trying to recall how that played out specifically in my home…which is, I think my dad went in the other direction. Because they had so little when he was young and he fought in a world war and got out alive he wanted to enjoy life and consequences be damned. He bought things we couldn't afford, and had a joie de vivre that at times rubbed my mom the wrong way because we didn't have much to waste back then. His health wasn't good and she ended up going back to work and I think she resented that he didn't take those sorts of things more seriously. Many, many complicated layers to think about and work through in terms of what we were shown and taught when we were growing up and then the choices we made or didn't make and the things we didn't even know we were doing or not doing! Not sure that makes sense, but am loving all this thinking! Lol…

  7. Thanks, Wendy, for sharing. It brought memories back to my child hood. I was the oldest of three siblings. Myself, my brother and my sister. My father didn’t have high expectations for me. He said “Why don’t you just get married and be a secretary.” So that’s what I did. My brother was the favored one. He was a really good baseball player so lots of attention went his way. I remember asking my mom if she loved my brother more then me. She said yes. WOW! My sister was quiet. She just went along with the party. So, I went to therapy, my brother moved far away because he couldn’t handle the pressure from my parents and my sister is quiet. I think sometimes there is a stigma associated with “Going to therapy”, but I’m glad I went. I love when Glennon talks about being brave. “Brave means living from the inside out. Brave means, in every uncertain moment, turning inward, feeling for the knowing, and speaking it out loud. That’s what I had to do in therapy. It took awhile but the 3 of us have become friends. I did do more than become a secretary, I graduated from college and my kids came to my graduation which I think inspired them to go.
    I want to thank all of you for sharing your stories.

  8. Thank you, Faithe. My dad was in good shape for his age until just over a week ago. We are in a wait & see mode right now. I appreciate you kind words.

  9. Thank you, Tracey, for your support, as always. <3

    As for my parents and the college issue, there is a twist to the story. Yes, my parents trusted me to make good decisions and succeed in this world. While that's wonderful, what wasn't obvious to me back then was why they didn't feel the need to worry about me. Because of my older brother's mental & intellectual issues, they had been focused on him my entire life. I grew up being, for the most part, a "good girl." I wanted to please my parents. I wanted to please my teachers. Because I did fine in school, had friends and wasn't a trouble-maker, my parents felt their energy was best spent on my brother. But by the time I went away to college, I hadn't gathered all the emotional tools I needed to become a healthy young adult. While my parents raised me physically, I raised myself emotionally – with therapy, wonderful friends, a wonderful husband, Brene Brown and a strong desire to be my best self. I used to look at myself as a victim of my childhood, but now I see myself as more than a survivor. I have led an epic journey from being a sad girl (who sometimes wished she'd never been born) to becoming a woman who embraces life. It's been quite the transformation and this journey is not over!

  10. Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us, Lisa. Your mom's comment all this time later is like a knife to the heart. What an inspiration you are for taking good care of yourself and getting the help you needed. As one, meaning me, who has gone to A LOT of therapy, I know exactly how powerful and profound a process it is. I can't recommend it enough. In fact, I think all humans should be required to go for a period of time, like the countries who make everyone join the military. How "bad" can it be for all of us to understand ourselves better?!?! And the image of your kids seeing you graduate from college!!!!! That is EVERYTHING!! What an amazing mom you are to be leading the way by example. Thank you again for sharing! I'm glad you and your siblings have found and worked toward a path of being friends.

  11. Wendy, thank you for sharing your memories of your parents and how it connected to Glennon's stories of being "good" and brave. I loved your post! I am really close to my dad too and so very grateful for our relationship.
    I can relate to the cautiousness, both as a daughter and as a mother. As parents we want to protect our kids from going through all the hard stuff and maybe playing it safe is one way we can do that. But it is a double edged sword, and so important to recognize when that fear or ache may be sneaking in to our interactions with our loved ones.

    I love what Glennon said about bravery. I had NEVER thought about it like that. I always thought of being brave as being out there, being bold, being loud, being daring. But being brave is trusting yourself and not letting external pressure affect you. I loved the juxtaposition of her two daughters with their different personalities and reactions to piercing their ears. Both were brave even though the outcome was completely opposite.

    But the pages that made me furiously underline and murmur "Yes!" while reading were Glennon's description of our society's control of women, from diet culture to politics to motherhood. The fact that the "epitome of womanhood is to lose one's self completely." Wow. Yuck.

    I must confess that I didn't get to read this section until this morning and with the election results in and our first female vice president on the horizon, I got really fired up. There is hope. But we have to stop "being good" and trying to control ourselves. We need to trust ourselves and take this world by storm!

  12. I love this, Lisa! After the way you and your siblings were raised, it’s so awesome that you broke out of the cage and have a relationship based on who you are, rather than who got what from your parents. That takes strength, forgiveness, and “living from the inside out”.

  13. Goosebumps today. We have a Vice President who lives from her “knowing”. The narrative has cracked and we can all choose to continue this momentum, chipping away at these cages and write our own narratives that come from our “knowing”.

  14. Oh Sue- you are so lucky to still have your Dad. He's a fighter and isn't 'done' living yet. Praying for him and you!

  15. So much to absorb here ladies: But I am too giddy to focus. I promise I will come back to respond to each of you!

  16. Okay – I've had a moment to recover from my giddiness. For the first time in months, no years – when someone asks me "How are you?", my answer is NOT "Terrified".

    I appreciate all of your comments to my summation of the vignettes.

    I certainly don't feel brave for overcoming nothing. What I mean by that is unlike so many of you, I had no traumatic experience, no great inequities , was raised with lots of privilege and knew it. So I guess I feel guilty for being part of group seeking bravery.

  17. Lisa, what your Dad said to you – "get married and become a secretary" ? I laugh because my Dad would say "Don't get married until you're 30" and my Mom (from whom I get the Vegas gene) really thought I'd be a great cocktail waitress or card dealer. Not because of some great skill, but because I was 'slim' and would fit into the uniform. She was only somewhat joking.

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