Here we go!
I went back to re-read the first post I wrote about Rising Strong and feel that what I wrote then still applies now. Regarding "badassery:"
"I am completely in love with the term badassery. Each of us is displaying badassery by participating in this book club. We are taking a stand for ourselves and for our growth and continued emotional maturation. Maybe we don’t always make the best decision or the wisest choice in how we behave or in how we use our words, especially when our feelings are hurt. However, henceforth we will no longer blindly act out our hurt or inflict pain on others (or ourselves) (as unintentional as it sometimes is). At least, we’re going to try really hard not to! We are taking this time to work on becoming our best selves and for that, we fucking rock. And we should remind each other of our badassery every chance we get."
We are badasses. We are also goddamn cheetahs.
Now, we continue the journey with Untamed.
By a show of hands, can anyone relate to feeling like a caged cheetah? I know I can, especially around the words that came before: I should be grateful. I have a good life. It's crazy to long for what doesn't exist. Oh how I abhor "shoulding" all over myself. My personal favorite thought pattern that dates back to childhood is "the grass will be greener when. . ." When I grow up. . . When I'm thinner. . . When I finish x. . . When I achieve y. . . The problem was that as the years passed the ante kept getting upped. I kept trying to reach it and I kept achieving things, but the point when the green grass should have appeared just kept moving beyond my grasp. It was exhausting and unfulfilling.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the lessons I learned in childhood, ones like Glennon describes in "sparks." In fact, I'm writing a memoir about how I got the messages I got about being female in our society. What I was supposed to look and sound and behave like. It's complicated. My parents played a role, of course. As did the media and advertizing, and I fell right in line. I wanted what I was taught to want and never stopped to question any of it. Glennon expressed her rage through bulimia. I guess I expressed mine through eating. I was put on my first diet in sixth grade. Looking back, I don't remember myself as angry. Maybe sad and confused, but this is an example of the root of the problem: Even if I was angry, I wasn't allowed to express it. I see so clearly now how that played out then. I see it even with how I raised my own daughter, not because I wanted to but because of how I was conditioned. I wanted her to express all of her emotions, including rage but I didn't have the language to express that to her because I couldn't express it to myself. It would take me decades to learn how to identify and express emotions in myself and I still have so much more to learn. What a disservice was done to all of us (men and women)…being taught to tow the line.
I have my childhood diaries and plan to re-read passages from when I was ten years old to see if I can identify what changed. Does anyone have a specific memory of that period to share?
I appreciated Glennon's honesty in "tick marks." It couldn't have been easy to put out into the world that she cheated her way to Golden land. I can't help but wonder how cheating your way there changes the experience of being in golden land. I longed to be in golden land, too, as a kid. Who didn't? The beautiful kids were always beautiful, even with braces and '80s hair. I had braces and '80s hair but wasn't golden. ". . .our job is to judge ourselves against the standards they set." Ugh! Yes! But I want to know how we got that message. Osmosis? It's not like our parents said, "Go forth and judge yourself against the cute kids." But we did. Or, I did. Certainly, I think the majority of us can relate to appearances and learning that what most matters is how others feel about us. That's the moment. Whenever we had it. The moment we learned/thought that what others perceive of us matters most is the moment we stepped onto life's hamster wheel, and I, for one, can't wait to continue this learning journey with Glennon and all of you. For as much as I may have stopped my wheel from spinning, meaning, as much as I stopped running in place, I'm not convinced that I stepped off of it and into my great wildness beyond.
That's my two cents. What's yours?
Up next: Sue Schwartz