“I marvel at the honesty and pain. We’ve never brought to each other the heavy things we were meant to help each other carry. We’ve only introduced each other to our representatives, while our real selves tried to live life alone. We thought that was safer. We thought that this way our real selves wouldn’t get hurt. But it is clear that we are all hurting anyway. And we think we are alone. At our cores, we are our tender selves peeking out at the world of shiny representatives, so shame has been layered on top of our pain. We’re suffocating underneath all the layers.”
A picture of Glennon Doyle Melton at one of her events (from her blog Momastery.)
Wow! This memoir was absolutely stunning. Glennon Doyle Melton has not simply written her story, but rather used her experiences to create a manifesto about feminism, faith, marriage, self-love, forgiveness, and courage. This book is a call to action to men and women of the world: you are important, you are loved, you are worthy of wonderful things and you can choose to live an authentic life without fear.
Glennon’s memoir chronicles her struggles with depression, anxiety, and addiction with aching honesty and a vulnerability that is breath-taking. We are allowed to see inside the mind of a young girl whose disconnection with the world makes her feel, starting at age ten, alone and brokenhearted. Terrified at how different she believes she is, she seeks out first one self-sabotaging behavior (bulimia), after another (promiscuity), after another (drug and alcohol addiction), always searching for a way to be numb to the pain of living.
When an unexpected pregnancy and sudden marriage force her to get sober and adopt a healthier relationship with food, she assumes that she has– in becoming a mother and wife — insulated herself from the loneliness that has plagued her. Of her new marriage and baby she writes, “we are living so close to the surface of ourselves that it seems easy to touch each other. There is so much laughing and crying during the first year of our son’s life. The laughter and tears are each of us bursting through our own skin to get to one another.”
Soon, her self-loathing returns and she becomes disgusted that her new family and sobriety have not delivered her into a perfect life. When her health and then her marriage begin to deteriorate, she and her husband seek out a therapist. Rather than healing their marriage, the therapy session deals it a potential death blow…her husband confesses to decades of infidelity and Glennon throws him out.
In the grief and madness that follows, Glennon faces the darkest days she has ever known. Not only has she lost her husband, now she must make her way as a single mother. Always religious, she finds that her church and its members have turned their back on her for “giving up” on her husband and, as a result, she feels as if her faith has failed her too.
She cannot turn to addiction to numb herself, and so, she turns inward to find a way to heal herself and — perhaps — heal her marriage. With the help of a cast of mentors: a devoted sister and parents, a yoga instructor, a breathing coach, and a therapist; Glennon digs deep into her mental health issues and searches for ways to find peace with the challenges life has presented her.
What she finds is that she has lived for too long in the roles that others have chosen for her — by religious doctrine, gender norms, anti-woman businesses and marketers, sexual politics — have never been right for her. Now she decides, she will rebuild her entire life and her entire self, into exactly the person she wants to be and then she will seek out people to support rather than challenge her new choices.
The book documents — with gorgeous prose and raw, naked honesty — Glennon’s transformation from a woman controlled by her demons to a woman in charge of her life and her health. Now leading a generation of women in a revolution to discard old rules of who they should be and forge their own path to love, happiness, faith, and family. Stunning and not to be missed!
“We forget that our maker made us human, and so it’s okay — maybe exactly right — to be human. We are ashamed of the design of the one we claim to worship. So we sweep up our messes and hide our doubts, contradictions, anger and fear before showing ourselves to God, which is like putting on a fancy dress and makeup to prepare for an X-ray.”
Read Glennon’s blog and learn more about her and her work here: http://momastery.com/blog/