Here we go. . .

Here we go. . .

Untamed, week 1

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

  • 12 October 2020
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 140
  • Comments: 26
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26 comments on article "Here we go. . ."

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Susan Schwartz

10/15/2020 1:55 AM

OMG! I'm loving this book! My hand is up, Tracey, that yes, I have felt like a caged cheetah. I was put in a cage before I even got to Kindergarten. As Tracey knows, I had an older brother who was intellectually challenged. (Is that what it's called now? The name keeps changing over time...). He got the bulk of my parents' attention. From my toddler perspective, I figured he was favored because he was a boy. So, into the cage I went. I was definitely boxed in. I doubt I'll ever know why I was a tomboy from as far back as I can remember, but I feel that it's connected to how I saw my parents treat my brother.

By 1st or 2nd grade, I knew these things to be true:

1. David never got in trouble for being mean to me & my friends. "He can't help it," I was told. Meanwhile, he wasn't mean to the few kids that would play with him. And he certainly wasn't mean to my parents' friends or adults in the neighborhood.

2. No matter how much I complained or cried about how he treated me, my parents were not coming to my rescue.

3. Expressing joy in front of David for reasons such as getting an "A" on a test or getting invited to a classmate's birthday party was NOT okay. Boy, did I get the stink-eye when I forgot that my joy would hurt his feelings because his life experience was not as fun as mine.

I was trapped. My feelings didn't matter. My parents wouldn't help me. I was a cheetah that didn't know a way out. Didn't even occur to me to escape. No, and in this my parents were lucky. I tried to be the good girl, mainly in my school work. I wasn't such a goody-two-shoes at home, but I wasn't a terror, either.

David had a paranoid schizophrenic breakdown when he was15 years old. I was 11 and that's when the shit hit the fan like never before. One result of all those traumatic years was that I lost contact with my gut feelings. Not surprising since I taught early on not to express anger, sadness, frustration, joy... Another result is that my self-esteem was very low. I went off to college 400 miles away from home, assuming that being far away from home was the answer. But I was wrong. I didn't have good coping skills and anxiety that I'd had since I was a toddler roared to new levels.

It took decades to heal and feel whole. I had to learn coping skills and self-love. Now Glennon Doyle has me wondering if, while I'm in a great head space and not in a cage anymore, what parts of the grasslands, plains & forests have I yet to explore?


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Tracey Yokas

10/15/2020 4:56 PM

Ohhh how I love your last question there Sue...what parts of the grasslands and forests etc still need to be explored...Hmmm. I can't wait to find out what some of the answers are. I'm with you in the sense of wondering what parts need still to be explored and how to go about it. I'm sure she'll give some guidance in terms of what she did. I wonder what we may want to apply to ourselves?

I do know your story, but I thank you again for sharing it. Our origin stories never get old, and while we heal and learn how to cope and grown and change, I think our origin stories always still have a kind of hold on us..one we can never completely escape. How could we? They start forming as soon as we do. They are as much a part of us a green eyes and brown hair. It's the center of an onion with an innumerable amount of layers.

Thanks for joining us, Sue, and for the comment. Onward!


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Wendy

10/15/2020 11:28 AM

I LOVE THIS BOOK!

While I may not groove so much with the religious part - I can 1000% to Glennon and her ah-hah moment(s).

I actually called Tracey the morning I poured through 100 pages - actually called not texted - to Thank her for turning us on to Glennon Doyle.

We are all the result of years of training and social construct. Time to unleash and open the cage.


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Tracey Yokas

10/15/2020 4:58 PM

Yes, we sure are the result of years or training and conditioning Wendy. So glad you're on this journey with us and that you're relating to the material! You're way ahead of me, page count-wise..don't spill any bean! :)


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Susan Schwartz

10/15/2020 9:12 PM

Wendy, I had to restrain myself from reading ahead! If I did, it would be harder for me to comment on the posts as the weeks go by. And I am up next to spearhead... but after that, I don't know if I can resist reading ahead!


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Kelly Alblinger

10/15/2020 3:51 PM

I can't say for sure whether or not I feel like a caged cheetah. Certainly, I have felt constrained many times in life to be the good girl and to not call out some drunken asshole for inappropriate behavior. I chafe at the thought of me, in my first "real" full-time job, being pinned up against a wall in front of co-workers while being pawed by the boss, a man old enough to have been my grandfather. I didn't go to work the next day, didn't even call in sick, and I felt guilty! I should have decked him, but instead, I attempted to maintain my professional demeanor. For me, that was a clear demonstration that society had failed the young women of my generation in profound ways.

Glennon's experience with golden land made me wonder if that's where "imposter syndrome" comes from. I've suffered from imposter syndrome most of my life, and I've turned down a lot of opportunities and denied my talents for decades because of it. When I was in school academics came easy for me (except for math. Ugh-don't get me started on that!) I didn't have to try very hard for good grades, and I had a very wide social network. I would not classify myself as "golden" however. It was more like second-tier popularity; "silver" if you will. I was well-known and liked by almost everyone, but I lacked that cool factor that would have catapulted me into the golden circle. Even so, I recognized that just being me - all of me, with my big personality and hearty laugh and smarticles - was too much for most people to handle. Somehow, just being myself was a threat to others, so I learned how to rein it in, and how to play smaller than I truly was. Then I began to question whether I deserved to enjoy my successes because I didn't have to work as hard for them as my friends did. Then I began to feel guilty for using my God-given talent to create success for myself.

It's literally taken me until my mid-50s to discover that those "rules" are bullshit. While my parents never discouraged me, they also didn't truly encourage me to grab hold of my dreams and not let go. On the one hand it feels like a lot of wasted years getting to the person I am now, but on the other hand, I realize I had to gain a lot of life experience to arrive at this place. As I embark upon this career of being a "real" writer, I still have twinges of imposter syndrome. But then I remind myself that people are paying me actual dollars to write the stories that they can't write for themselves, so that makes me legit. I'm still waiting for that publishing house stamp of approval, which in all practicality is ridiculous, since I'm already doing what I love. But doing what you love and being able to make a living doing it are two different things, and I think that's the piece I'm lacking. Once that piece is in place, I think I'll be able to give up the imposter guilt for good.


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Tracey Yokas

10/15/2020 5:04 PM

That's a great question, Kelly, about imposter syndrome. God. How many of us can relate to that? I know I can. It seems to be the other side of the coin of good girls being quiet and not making a fuss etc. If we step outside the mold, we feel like an imposter because we were already set up to feel that way. Even as I type this I'm not convinced and I know there's so much more to it..but everything starts somewhere.

If we're basing ourselves on the perceptions of others, which we can't know, we're measuring ourselves against a variable..a variable we can't achieve because we don't even know what it is!

Hmmmmmm.

Anyway, I can relate to what you say about silver land. I was there, too, in school. My group wasn't the popular kids but it was big and we had a great time...yet, there was that yearning there for it to be more or different. Maybe that's just me--the grass will be greener once. . . Once what? good question.

I'm excited to hear more along the way about your writing journey and the journey to being able to let for of the imposter guilt for food. Thanks for you comment!


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Susan Schwartz

10/15/2020 9:51 PM

Kelly, I hear you! I'm in my late 50's. It seems we didn't grow up at a time when parents encouraged daughters to have lofty goals. Our mothers were typically self-described as "housewives." Maybe they started working directly after graduating high school, but only until they got married. Or maybe, like my mom, they were teachers who quit working when the baby came along. (Well, my mom was actually told by the elementary school principal to go on maternity leave when she started showing!) Anyway, maybe our parents didn't see the wave of amazing, educated and goal-oriented women that would rise from the days when nursing, teaching, secretarial work or a "housewife" were the standard choices for women.

The extra-curricular classes I got sent to were ones my mom wanted me to take, as opposed to what I would have chosen. Fortunately, my mother was very artistic and sent me to art classes. That I loved. We did, however, fight a lot over the idea of me taking ballet classes. She so wanted to see me twirl around in a frilly tutu... and remember, I was a tomboy. I would much rather play tag or drag a magnet through the dirt in the sandbox, collecting flecks of iron. It was a long, drawn-out fight, and I am grateful I won that one.

Fast forward a generation, and there I was, asking my 2 kids what kind of classes or lessons they felt seemed fun. I was open to all possibilities. Good thing neither one asked for skydiving lessons!

And even though some men have been crude and inappropriate since time began, sex and our bodies were not common discussions points for many of us back then. Many of us were not taught about good touch/bad touch, or what to do about bad touching. I was molested several times by the gardener in our apartment complex when I was about 4 or 5 years old. Those were the days when young kids could run around the neighborhood without parental supervision... I had no frame of reference for dealing with what was happening to me. I also didn't tell my parents because this creep told me it was our little secret. But, I knew what he was doing to me was not okay, and I decided to just leave a wide berth between us.

I hope that the daughters & sons we ourselves have raised were given the tools we didn't get when we needed them. Not having those tools as a child probably explains a lot as to why it takes some of us until our 40's or 50's to "come into our own."


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Kelly

10/16/2020 12:40 AM

Oh Susan, amen!

My son recently turned 21, that magical age when POSSIBILITY is yours for the taking!

I wish I would have grabbed the reins as he is doing. As I type this statement I realize the deep, soul-churning truth of that. And I further realize that the angst I feel about him brazenly grabbing life by the horns is JEALOUSY. I am absolutely jealous that my child has the guts to do what I could not. It’s shameful to admit that I’m not simply envious. I absolutely want to deny him the same privilege that I was denied. It’s not fair that he gets to do it and I didn’t. Damn, my middle-class middle school roots are showing! I just time warped back to 12 years old.

But maybe it’s not all bad for me. Because somewhere deep inside I had the wisdom to allow him to “do you”. I didn’t force him onto the path that I thought his life should look like. I wanted him to play team sports - he wanted to skateboard. In retrospect that was awesome because I didn’t spend a lot of cash on uniforms or team busses and I didn’t have to sit in the soggy wet grass at 7 am on weekend mornings cheering on his team. Instead I drove him and his friends to every skatepark in So CA ( you’d be surprised how many there are) and ate a lot of late-night Krispy Kreme donuts. Not sure if that was a benefit or a drawback.

My point is that I realized that he needed to follow his wild and I let it happen. And I’m glad that I did. I still don’t have him convinced that the world will bend to his will if he keeps his room clean and loads his dishes in the dishwasher (I may never fully sell those concepts) but aside from the angst that comes from learning how to be an adult, he is happy. He is following his bliss and pursuing all things automotive related. That’s not what I would have chosen for him, but it’s not my life. I just need to stay in my own lane and do my own thing now that I’ve allowed myself the freedom to do it!

This has been a great therapy session, as I’ve just realized that I’ve evolved. It never occurred to my mother to encourage me to follow my passion, and I never considered anything but that for my child. So I AM paying attention to and honoring my instincts after all. Yay me! That’s a win for everyone.


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Tracey Yokas

10/16/2020 5:31 PM

Wow Kelly. I love this story you're sharing here about your son. I don't think it's shameful that we moms can be jealous of our kids. I've been jealous of my daughter in the past. One of the reasons I'm writing my memoir is because I am sick and tired of us moms feeling bad for telling our truths..it has to stop! We are as human as every human and encompass all that goes into that. I, like you and Sue, encouraged my daughter, at least I think I did, to do what she wanted regarding sports and extras..and we did pay for those uniforms..you'd be surprised how much a bathing suit can cost! And we sat by pool sides and soccer fields freezing our butts off. But..I was far from perfect in the respects of being able to say "fuck society!" Go be yourself! There was always that tug to try to make it all make sense, and I'm not sure it can. Anyway..thanks for sharing this story!


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Susan Schwartz

10/17/2020 12:53 AM

Yes, Kelly, YAY you!

I love how you expressed letting your son choose his own path. I can relate to how choosing that path is their decision, and not necessarily what we'd choose for them. While I didn't know what my passion was until halfway through college, my kids both knew theirs well before they entered high school. My 28 year old daughter is an astrologist. She has a website, runs online classes and mentors clients. I am amazed at her dedication and business sense. I have to fess up about me thinking this interest of hers would be a passing fad. When she started to look into what colleges she would apply to (for a Bachelor's Degree), her mind was intent on studying astrology... so I said, "There is no astrology major at UCLA! You can't study that in college!" Her reply: "What's makes UCLA the standard?"

She would end up getting a liberal arts education, and actually studied astrology as part of her Master's Degree philosophy curriculum (from an accredited school!). It was her path, and if things didn't go as well as they have, she would have had to make a detour. Like you wrote, I, too, realized that she "needed to follow [her] wild and I let it happen."

My 31 year old son quit college after 2 years to try making it as an actor. It's been a wild ride of auditions, call backs, good gigs, great gigs, disappointments and frustrations. Plus some new ventures like writing, directing and producing. But a tough life. Since February, he started teaching acting classes part-time for extra income, which converted to online classes in March, of course. Now he's making a steady income (finally!) with a pool of his own clients. He enjoys the work and thinks this will be his career now. I know he'll continue to write, hoping to get a series concept of his on TV someday.

My gut told me not to put my kids in cages when it came to their career choices. Still, part of me just wanted to say, "Study to become an engineer, an accountant, a computer scientist, etc... Get a degree with which you will be able to easily get a job." But I knew demanding that would be bad for our relationship and it wasn't my choice to make.

As we have new experiences with our children, we have to figure out our own paths in response to their choices. Our lives are intertwined. Hopefully we all grow in healthy ways, even though times can be rocky.


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Faithe Raphael

10/15/2020 5:58 PM

I’m reminded of a Jules Feiffer cartoon in which he says, “I grew up to have my father’s looks, speech patterns,posture, opinions, and my mother’s contempt for my father.”

I think in varying degrees we all suffer from critical self-judgement and not feeling good enough—as Glennon describes imposter syndrome. Most of us walk around in a veil of unconsciousness until we face a crisis or a misery beyond what we can handle to begin to awaken and see that we can make choices— and to consider how these choices affect us, our friends, children, spouses. As Glennon demonstrates, we have to lean into the pain To see that living someone else’s life, rules from people we don’t even know is terrifying. It strips us of our own identity, a chance to discover who we are, what kind of person do we want to be. We never have a chance to become if we fulfill some else’s idea of who we should be.


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Tracey Yokas

10/16/2020 5:35 PM

Yes Faithe! Exactly. We can't become if we're busy fulfilling someone else's idea of who we should be. The really insidious part, to your point, is how much it takes to wake up to the fact we're even doing that! And it was sure true for me that I had to face challenges to "wake up." I wonder if people can wake up without those challenges? It hasn't seemed to work that way in my family. I remember you telling me about migraines when you were young, and trying to manage the pain. How young were you? That was one way you got launched to waking up, right? Do you ever wonder how you might be different if you hadn't had that experience at a young age?


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Faithe

10/17/2020 3:25 PM

Tracey—you are spot on. My cluster headaches began when I was nine years old. No one could see or feel the excruciating pain in my head on the outside. Neurologists prescribed the strongest and most addictive RXs—but really, they all failed me. I was frightened, misunderstood, and worst of all I felt as if I was being punished. My mother never experienced a headache—let alone the crippling pain of a cluster headache. These random, repeated episodes further sequestered me (in my mind) from my mother’s compassion and love. Little was understood about Cluster headaches in the ‘60s, and by age 16, most doctors treated me like a pill-popping dramatic cry baby. Ultimately, the last neurologist I saw dumped me for patients “who really needed his help”. However he suggested I go to the U Mass Medical Center & make an appointment with Jon Kabat-Zinn.

My CH (today known as suicide headaches) forced me to fight to breathe, to find anything to mitigate the torturous pain just to have the chance of a typical high school life. Perhaps these cluster headaches were my wild (but I certainly didn’t understand what they would teach me then).

By senior year, I often had to leave school early, and my headaches were as time-consuming as an after school activity.

Western medicine didn’t serve me, so I had an atypical openness to non-traditional medication, and eastern practices: from LSD to floating in an isolation tank, TM, Qigong, and currently, insight meditation practice is a daily part of my life.

My Cage was my brain—which, at times, sucked up my soul. As a result, I was somewhat immune to societal norms. Some of those “expectations” weren’t a part of my consciousness; I was consumed by snatching chunks of time to enjoy my teenage years, haunted by the shadow of dodging these unpredictable catastrophic episodes.


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Susan Schwartz

10/17/2020 5:05 PM

Oh, wow, Faithe! I am so sorry you've had cluster headaches for so long. I get so mad when I hear that doctors don't take patients seriously, who assume the patient is faking or exaggerating. I am glad you were open to non-traditional methods to deal with your pain. I hope they have served you very well.


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Faithe

10/21/2020 7:20 PM

You are so kind, Susan. I know meditation works. I had my last cluster headache in 1993, and have been committed to my daily meditation practice for the last five years.


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Tracey Yokas

10/18/2020 11:49 AM

Ditto what Sue said about the medical community..they're supposed to help people, not dismiss them! Anyway, how amazing that you got introduced to JKZ so early on! I'm not sure, but it seems like as a society we're at least on the way to accepting the benefits of mindfulness..what a service to our kids and their kids etc. I hope so.


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Kimberly Quinn-Colvin

10/16/2020 12:38 PM

TW: Suicide, Mental Health

I spent my first 30 years on this planet prowling my cage. I padded softly around the edges taking the treats and attention tossed my direction. All the while wondering why all the other cheetahs around me seemed so content. Why couldn't I be satisfied like them? Why did my life always feel vaguely wrong?

It fit me like a scratchy, lumpy sweater in a nauseating color that my grandma made and I had to pretend to adore in order not to hurt her feelings.

Two months before my 30th birthday, I blew up my cage. I didn't care that I risked blowing myself to an afterlife I didn't even believe in. I loaded the train with dynamite and fertilizer and sent it barreling at my life. I didn't even bother to get out of the way. All I knew was that I couldn't sustain my reality for one minute more.

After my suicide attempt, I spent a bit of time in a coma (actual, not metaphorical) and a lot more time in a locked psychiatric unit. Would you believe that it was the best thing that ever happened to me? I almost died and I came out the other side with clarity.

The cage around me was an emotionally and sexually abusive partner with a particular talent for gaslighting. It was an abusive mother who delighted in torturing me from 3,500 miles away and a family who either didn't care or was too scared to stand up to her. It was a stalled career and a graduate degree program. It was an eating disorder and self-harm habit designed to help me cope and obscure the bars around me.

I've never been much for half measures. So, I did the job right. I blew it up. And it turned out to be an amazing gift.

I started over. And I really mean that. I wiped the slate clean. I left my relationship. I disowned my family. I even legally changed my middle and last name as a promise to myself that I wasn't going back. I started dressing in whatever made me happy.

I started making art. Art was NOT ALLOWED in my family. The dumb kids made art. Smart kids, like me, were expected to take honors classes and be very, very serious all the time.

Looking back, I know exactly when my cage finally dissolved.

A week after being released from the hospital, I sat in my driveway with a palette of chalk and no real goal or purpose. I drew giant, warm sunrises over endless blue waters. My hands a rainbow of smeared color. Warm, gentle morning sun. I felt content.

Content was foreign. But it seemed like something I could get used to.

My soon-to-be-ex walked over and told me he didn't know why I was wasting my money on frivolous stuff like chalk. Inside, my cheetah gave a low warning growl. It was a rumble that didn't stop. I vibrated with it until the day I left.

In starting over cage-free, I let the little girl who never got to take art class start creating. She loves origami. I let the princess go shopping. She is fond of vintage style dresses and pink hair. I let the teenager fall in love. She married a man who smiles when she's covered in chalk or glue or paint. I let the middle-aged mom go badass. She joined a roller derby team after not being on skates since the early 90s.

Cage-free life isn't all rainbows and lollipops, of course. It came with hard choices and some heartbreak. But it feels right. I rely on my cheetah warning system to guide me. I listen when she growls and when she purrs.


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Tracey Yokas

10/16/2020 5:43 PM

Wow, Kimmi..just wow. I'm so grateful you're here...in every way. This comment is amazing. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your truth. I have an idea how hard you worked to get where you are today. And even from my limited vantage point, it's a sight to behold. I l can feel your strength coming from your words and right out of my computer! And YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! re art and creativity. It's our life blood. It's such a shame that we grow up and get convinced that creativity is useless or frivolous..what harm that does to our hearts and souls! Thank you for being here and for this comment. I can't wait to read what else all of us have to say about this important material!


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Susan Schwartz

10/17/2020 1:15 AM

Wow, Kimmi! What a story you have! I am so sorry there was so much pain and despair in your past. I am thankful you have made a much better life for yourself, that you've found joy and love. I'm glad you found art. I've never heard of parents "not allowing" their children to make art. That's terrible. I commend you for cutting ties with your family. That was a very brave action. We absolutely need to get away from toxic people, even if they are family members.

You are badass!


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Faithe

10/17/2020 3:46 PM

Kimmie, what a powerful and inspiring post! You are fierce and strong. You knew that you deserved a life that you chose—one which you defined, without support, or approval from anyone other than you! I’m so sorry for your painful journey, but so happy that you know who you are, and found your courage and truth.


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Melanie Speros

10/18/2020 9:02 PM

Wow.

I am in awe of all of the amazing comments and stories that have been shared by all of you. Thank you for your bravery and for sharing so much.

I think it is really interesting the connections you are making to your own struggles and motherhood, and how the two intertwine.

There will be more on this.

I must confess: I have already read this book. But I COULD NOT pass up an opportunity to reread and discuss with all of you. As I read it before, there were so many sections where I was beside myself because of how much it resonated with me. I am thrilled to be on this journey with you.

I must also confess: I am not a writer. I am a little intimidated by the way that you are all so talented and inspiring with your words. I am a little afraid to write my few, relatively simple thoughts. But if this book encouraged me in one way it is that my voice, however it comes out matters and I am courageously stepping forward and putting my thoughts on the internet (:o) to share with all of you.

I am 41 years old and the mother of 2. I am going through a major life transition at the moment and am just beginning to understand my own power. There are many lines in this book that jump out and grab me by the shoulders.

One of them: "I should be grateful. I have a good enough life here. It's crazy to long for what doesn't even exist. I'd say: Tabitha. You are not crazy. You are a goddamn cheetah."

This line sits with me often. I don't know why yet. I think it is because I am on the edge of learning all that my life can really be. And I didn't even know I didn't know that. I am not sure if that makes sense, but it does in my head. ;)

Another line from this first section that resonates:

"There I was, in the twenty-first century, when boys are still being taught that real men are...When girls are still being taught that real women must be..."

It is amazing, incredible, and alarming how prevalent these gender-biased messages are.

I definitely had these expectations in my head, growing up, becoming a wife, and a mother...how I was supposed to be.

I am so grateful that I am beginning to notice those messages and realize that they do not control or define who I am, or who my kids "should" be.

I am on a journey of noticing. Noticing our cages and the societal expectations we have put on ourselves is such an important first step. I will pay attention, look out, and imagine all that is here for me to explore.


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Tracey Yokas

10/20/2020 8:36 PM

Dearest Mel, I cannot tell you how happy I am that you're joining us in this space. You ARE a writer..you wrote words, right? And they are beautiful and true words and that's the most anyone could ask for. And your thoughts are most def NOT simple..there's nothing simple about you. You are as deep and complex a human as we are all, trying to figure her way onward. It's what we're here to do..and we're here to do it together! I LOVE THIS: I am on a journey of noticing! SOOO powerful. How many people do we all know who are sleepwalking through their life? Noticing is the first and MOST important step to being who we want, owning our true power. Thank you for sharing some of your story. I'm sure we're going to all learn a lot more about one another as we continue on this journey. You, at this very moment, are showing your children how to grow up so they can own their power in the way that they want to. Yes, these gender biases suck...and I so often feel..what can I do? But what we're doing here is something..waking each other up, seeing how these things play out in our own lives is a path to changing it for others. Thank you for being here! XO


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Faithe

10/21/2020 7:22 PM

Well said, Tracey!!


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Susan Schwartz

10/20/2020 7:59 PM

Melanie, I'm so happy you've joined us even though you've already read the book! This is the kind of book that one can learn new things from quite easily from repeated readings. There's so much meat in this that I think it bears reading twice! ha ha

I'm glad you shared your thoughts and a bit about your journey. This book club isn't for writers... it's for readers! I appreciate your courage. Your thoughts are not simple! They are powerful!

I was older than 41 when I first realized I wasn't living the life of the true me. I bet a lot of other women could say this, too. So, you are lucky that are are a bit ahead of the gang, so to speak. : )

I am happy that you are "noticing." It's the first step to understanding where we currently fit in the world, in our family life, in our work life, etc. When we begin to notice, we can start to make changes that bring us more contentment, more joy and closer to our truest selves. I am so glad you are on this journey with us! <3


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Tracey Yokas

10/20/2020 8:30 PM

WORD!

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