LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Author, blogger, spiritual guide Glennon Doyle has something to tell all you women out there - yep, all of you right now trying to put that brave face on a terrible situation, juggling home life with all the other expectations placed on you as the world - let's face it - seems like it's falling apart.
GLENNON DOYLE: I think every woman on Earth needs to lower her expectations for herself exponentially at this point. We are not trying to be amazing. We are just trying to make it through the day.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Her new book is called "Untamed," and the idea came to her after she watched a cheetah at a safari park she was at with her daughters.
So I want to start by asking you about that cheetah story. Tell me what happened.
DOYLE: Well, you know, I had always - I had a simmering discontent inside of myself about my marriage, about my family, about my world, about my work. And I was looking for a metaphor for it. And I was at a safari park with my family, and we went to the cheetah run. And the zookeeper came out, holding the leash of a lab. And she said, is this the cheetah? And all the kids said no. And she said, you're right. This is Minnie (ph) the lab. We raised Minnie alongside Tabitha (ph) the cheetah in order to tame her. And then we watched Tabitha chase a dirty pink bunny.
And I just watched that cheetah and thought, oh, if a cheetah can be tamed to forget who she is, to forget her wild, to forget her majesty, to forget her power and spend her entire life chasing dirty pink bunnies, then so can a woman.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to talk a little bit about your own journey because you spent a big portion of your life married to a man. You have three kids. Did it feel like something wasn't right back then?
DOYLE: It did. I mean, I - well, what I would say is that I had a bad marriage to a good man. You know, I had the kind of marriage that women are trained to be grateful for, right?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What does that mean?
DOYLE: Well, it just means that I think over and over again, there's sort of a gaslighting of women. It's everywhere. It's - every time we admit that we want more, we're told we should just be grateful for what you have - should just be grateful. It's the first story I ever learned about women, like the story of Eve. Like, if you want more and you go for it, you will destroy yourself and the world.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. And you write that when you met your current partner Abby and she walked into your life, something inside of you came back to life. Why do you think you had to suppress that for so long?
DOYLE: All I know is that when I met Abby, there was a voice inside of me that I finally recognized as my own. And meeting her was - you know, and following my love for her was a turning point in my life, but not just because I chose her. It was because I finally honored myself. And I think that's what I'm trying to get at at this book, which is this idea that we can let go of the expectations and shoulds (ph) and supposed-tos (ph) that the world gives us and just honor who we actually are and have always been.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, what does honoring oneself look like? For you, it was finding the bravery to leave a marriage that wasn't satisfying and find a different relationship with someone that you loved. How does someone actually find their voice and understand what it is that's going to make them happy?
DOYLE: One of the reasons it is so hard to find our inner voice is because the voices outside of us are so loud because we have - be - over time, we have lived more and more of an exterior life, right? We are always looking at our phones. We are always listening to the TV. We are always listening to outer voices. And so one of the things that changed my life is a practice of spending a few minutes a day just with no other voices.
I do not think that everyone needs to leave their husband and marry a female Olympian, although I highly recommend it. But what I do think is that everyone needs to practice honoring that inner voice. So that's what I'm talking about when I say not abandoning yourself - is to say the brave thing and just let the outer worlds rearrange themselves because of you bringing yourself to it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But it's so hard - right? - to do something that means you might not be liked. I mean, so many women are policed over their behavior, their tone. And it's hard to buck that in a society that still imposes harsh penalties.
DOYLE: It's traumatic, actually, to constantly be trying to honor yourself and be punished for it. And stepping out of line as women will have a consequence - right? - and that consequence is they will try to put you back in your place. They will shame you. But not honoring yourself also has a consequence. The result of that is that you slowly lose yourself. You slowly abandon yourself, and you slowly die.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We should also say, though, that for some women, it's very hard to make that choice for socioeconomic reasons, for all sorts of reasons. It is a hard thing for certain women to do.
DOYLE: Absolutely. That is right. I had a hell of a lot of privilege that a lot of women don't. And so what I would say is that we are responsible for using whatever power we have in whatever situation we are in to not abandon ourselves.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, this obviously is pertinent to this particular moment because all of a sudden, women all across the world, not just all across this country, find themselves having to deal with extraordinary circumstances. How are you dealing with it?
DOYLE: (Laughter) I'll tell you what, Lulu. This is a hell of a lot too much family togetherness for me. That's what I would say right now.
DOYLE: I think everything in moderation...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, that makes me feel better.
DOYLE: Oh, Lord. I mean, I just really, really - what I'm saying to my people is we just lower our expectations right now, right? Our children are not going to learn what they would have learned in school. You know what they'll learn? They will learn that sometimes things are completely out of our control. And in the end, what matters is how we take care of ourselves and each other.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Glennon Doyle is the author of "Untamed."
Thank you so very much.
DOYLE: Thank you so much.
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