Book Review: “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle

There’s no other way to begin this review than to start out by saying that this book has changed my life. Not in the Oh! I’m so motivated type of way. But instead in the way that has stirred my soul and gently rocked my bones. It has changed my life because I have soaked up all of it.

I started reading this book right after I moved cities by myself during a pandemic. The timing of this was certainly not on accident. I had this beautiful book tucked away on my shelf for about a month after a friend had insisted I borrow it. I figured I would need these words the most right after my move. I was right.

I’m fiercely independent. Anyone who knows me can tell you that. But sometimes it’s nice to just be held. Sometimes it’s nice to hear the words, “I know you’re trying to take on so much by yourself. But you don’t have to do that. You can surrender sometimes.” This was what “Untamed” did for me.

The book starts out with a beautiful metaphor: a cheetah running around in a zoo. Although this particular cheetah was born in this zoo, Doyle can’t help but notice how this cheetah senses there is more to the world then the same ten miles she’s galloped her entire life. “Wasn’t it supposed to be more beautiful than this?” she asks.

So right there, right in the introduction, Doyle reminds us that we’re all cheetahs and that we’ve all been trapped – in our bodies, our minds, our assigned societal roles, our ways of thinking, etc.

In the following chapters, Doyle reminds us that we can do hard things, but we must never abandon ourselves. We must never put anyone ahead of our own wellbeing – no matter how comfortable that option may seem in the moment. We must stay true to our Knowing. We must look within ourselves for answers. We must trust our intuitions and our gut feelings.

Doyle claims that in the past 18 years, she has learned two things.

  1. She can feel everything and she can survive.
  2. She can use the pain to become.

As I read these words, wrapped in my blanket on my couch, book in one hand, coffee cup in another, I realized how precious each of my experiences are and how, with the right mindset, I can use these days of loneliness and uncertainty to mold the present and the future that I want for myself. It won’t be easy, things rarely are, but it will be worth.

It’s important to take a good look in the mirror every once in a while. Not the way you look at yourself while you’re getting dressed or putting on makeup. Not the way you look at your thighs or sunspots or chin hairs. Not that way. I mean you need to look dead into your own eyes – at your real self. You need to make sure there are no lies there. You need to make sure the eyes in the mirror are the eyes of a woman you respect.”

I am untamed because, no matter the cost, I trust myself and I will always put my well being above everything else.

I am untamed because I will allow myself to feel all the feelings – the good, the bad, the ugly, the anxiety, the joy. I want it all. I want the full human experience. No matter how uncomfortable this makes the outside world. No matter how uncomfortable I feel in certain moments. Give me the feelings.

I am untamed because I will take my pain and my discomfort and my sadness and I will put it towards creating something beautiful and wonderful.

I am untamed because I will not conform to society’s standards that tell me – a woman – to be quiet, or agreeable, or pleasant, or small.

I am untamed because I will no longer allow myself to live in any sort of cage.

I am untamed because I have realized that I am a damn cheetah.

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