Untamed isn’t just any memoir. It’s the third memoir by Glennon Doyle, a spiritual leader, blogger, speaker, and activist. And Glennon is in her early 40s – does someone in her early 40s really need to be putting out her third memoir?
I firmly believe that every woman who is awake to her experiences deserves at least three memoirs. After all, a memoir is but a snapshot of our lives as it currently is, through the lens of how we currently see it, in the midst of our becoming process. We currently read memoirs as a compilation of stories and lessons learned. By reading each as a period or exclamation point where a comma or ellipses should be, we’re missing out on the overall evolution, process, and transformation of a human who is, if she is still alive, still evolving, becoming, and transforming.
When we read a memoir for the snapshot of life that it is, we honor the ongoing process of becoming, and in this case, of untaming. We all, each and every one of us, is a work in constant progress. We deserve to share the experience, share our learnings, and share our processes, without feeling like we need to achieve a certain state before our story is ready to hear and be told. To wait until our story has a neat and tidy bow on it assumes that life is linear, that there is a moment in time in which we will have arrived, and that the bow will never unravel. The best memoirs I’ve read – including this one – are clear to acknowledge that the story is still being written and honors the experiences of the person thus far while recognizing that there’s more to come.
Beyond the idea that we’re still, at every moment, writing the next chapter in our memoirs, we need to acknowledge that the way we see our lives and the events in our lives naturally evolves as the way we make sense of the world changes. As we mature, so do our interpretations of ourselves and our lives. As we gain distance, we gain perspective, and like returning to journals of decades past, we’re likely to interpret and reinterpret with newfound wisdom, deeper understanding, and to see ourselves as a dynamic character in an ever evolving world. As we look back, we’re able to remove ourselves from the immediate feelings that shape our vision, to recognize our assumptions, motivations, and the latent hopes, fears and dreams that we couldn’t, at that point, see.
And we deserve to see this evolution process in ourselves and others. We deserve to acknowledge our lives and stories and hard-earned wisdoms just as they are, right now. We also deserve to allow ourselves and each other the right to grow and learn and change our minds and to be seen again and again in the process. We deserve to be heard and heard again during the evolution and our friends, family, and strangers deserve to see the process, rather than holding out until we can see the perfect final draft.
When we read memoirs just to see that it’ll all turn out ok, we are, in fact, missing the point. When we are awake to our experiences, in the midst of our overall evolution, we make sense of them as best we’re able and we’ll make sense of them again and again if we’re able to continue evolving and learning about ourselves.
So, to Glennon, Michelle, Roxane, Lara, Cheryl, Liz, and all the women I so greatly and dearly admire who share their stories with the world, please: end your story with an ellipses, and keep ‘em coming.