Untamed by Glennon Doyle
UNTAMED by Glennon Doyle is my deeply personal story of discovering, fighting for, and claiming the great love of my life. here you can download free book in PDF also review the story.
Short Summary of the Book:
Two summers ago, my wife and I took our daughters to the
zoo. As we walked the grounds, we saw a sign advertising
the park’s big event: the Cheetah Run. We headed toward
the families scouting out their viewing spots and found an
empty stretch along the route. Our youngest, Amma, hopped
up on my wife’s shoulders for a better view.
A peppy blond zookeeper in a khaki vest appeared. She held
a megaphone and the leash of a yellow Labrador retriever. I
was confused. I don’t know much about animals, but if she
tried to convince my kids that this dog was a cheetah, I was
getting a Cheetah Run refund.
She began, “Welcome, everybody! You are about to meet our
resident cheetah, Tabitha. Do you think this is Tabitha?”
“Nooooo!” the kids yelled.
“This sweet Labrador is Minnie, Tabitha’s best friend. We
introduced them when Tabitha was a baby cheetah, and we
raised Minnie alongside Tabitha to help tame her. Whatever
Minnie does, Tabitha wants to do.”
The zookeeper motioned toward a parked jeep behind her. A
pink stuffed bunny was tied to the tailgate with a fraying
She asked, “Who has a Labrador at home?”
Little hands shot into the air.
“Whose Lab loves to play chase?”
“Mine!” the kids shouted.
“Well, Minnie loves to chase this bunny! So first, Minnie will
do the Cheetah Run while Tabitha watches to remember how
Then we’ll count down, I’ll open Tabitha’s cage, and she’ll
take off. At the end of the route, just a hundred meters that
way, there will be a delicious steak waiting for Tabitha.”
The zookeeper uncovered Tabitha’s cage and walked Minnie,
eager and panting, to the starting line. She signaled to the
jeep, and it took off. She released Minnie’s leash, and we all
watched a yellow Lab joyfully chase a dirty pink bunny. The
kids applauded earnestly. The adults wiped sweat from their
Finally it was time for Tabitha’s big moment. We counted
down in unison: “Five, four, three, two, one…” The zookeeper
slid open the cage door, and the bunny took off once again.
Tabitha bolted out, laser focused on the bunny, a spotted
blur. She crossed the finish line within seconds. The
zookeeper whistled and threw her a steak. Tabitha pinned it
to the ground with her oven-mitt paws, hunkered down in the
dirt, and chewed while the crowd clapped.
I didn’t clap. I felt queasy. The taming of Tabitha felt…
I watched Tabitha gnawing that steak in the zoo dirt and
thought: Day after day this wild animal chases dirty pink
bunnies down the well-worn, narrow path they cleared for
her. Never looking left or right. Never catching that damn
bunny, settling instead for a store-bought steak and the
distracted approval of sweaty strangers.
Obeying the zookeeper’s every command, just like Minnie,
the Lab she’s been trained to believe she is. Unaware that if
she remembered her wildness—just for a moment—she
could tear those zookeepers to shreds.
When Tabitha finished her steak, the zookeeper opened a
gate that led to a small fenced field. Tabitha walked through
and the gate closed behind her. The zookeeper picked up her
megaphone again and asked for questions. A young girl,
maybe nine years old, raised her hand and asked, “Isn’t
Tabitha sad? Doesn’t she miss the wild?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you,” the zookeeper said. “Can you
ask that again?”
The child’s mother said, louder, “She wants to know if
Tabitha misses the wild.”
The zookeeper smiled and said, “No. Tabitha was born here.
She doesn’t know any different. She’s never even seen the
wild. This is a good life for Tabitha. She’s much safer here
than she would be out in the wild.”
While the zookeeper began sharing facts about cheetahs
born into captivity, my older daughter, Tish, nudged me and
pointed to Tabitha.
There, in that field, away from Minnie and the zookeepers,
Tabitha’s posture had changed. Her head was high, and she
was stalking the periphery, tracing the boundaries the fence
created. Back and forth, back and forth, stopping only to
stare somewhere beyond the fence. It was like she was
remembering something. She looked regal. And a little scary.
Tish whispered to me, “Mommy. She turned wild again.”
I nodded at Tish and kept my eyes on Tabitha as she stalked.
I wished I could ask her, “What’s happening inside you right
I knew what she’d tell me. She’d say, “Something’s off about
my life. I feel restless and frustrated. I have this hunch that
everything was supposed to be more beautiful than this. I
imagine fenceless, wide-open savannas. I want to run and
hunt and kill. I want to sleep under an ink-black, silent sky
filled with stars. It’s all so real I can taste it. ”
Then she’d look back at the cage, the only home she’s ever
She’d look at the smiling zookeepers, the bored spectators,
and her panting, bouncing, begging best friend, the Lab.
She’d sigh and say, “I should be grateful. I have a good
enough life here. It’s crazy to long for what doesn’t even
Tabitha. You are not crazy.
You are a goddamn cheetah.
Four years ago, married to the father of my three children, I
fell in love with a woman.
Much later, I watched that woman drive away from my home
to meet with my parents and share her plan to propose to
me. She thought I didn’t know what was happening that
Sunday morning, but I knew.
When I heard her car return, I settled into the couch, opened
a book, and tried to slow my pulse. She walked through the
door and directly toward me, bent down, kissed my
forehead. She pushed my hair aside and took a deep breath
of my neck, like she always does.
Then she stood up and disappeared into the bedroom. I
walked to the kitchen to pour some coffee for her, and when
I turned around, she was right there in front of me, down on
one knee, holding a ring. Her eyes were certain and
pleading, wide and laser focused, sky blue, bottomless.
“I couldn’t wait,” she said. “I just could not wait another
Later, in bed, I laid my head on her chest while we talked
about her morning. She’d told my parents, “I love your
daughter and grandchildren like I’ve never loved before. I’ve
spent my entire life searching and preparing myself for
them. I promise you that I will love and protect them
forever.” My mother’s lip quivered with fear and courage as
she said, “Abby. I have not seen my daughter this alive since
she was ten years old.”
Much else was said that morning, but that first response
from my mother jumped out at me like a sentence in a novel
begging to be underlined:
I have not seen my daughter this alive since she was ten
My mother watched the spark in my eyes fade during my
tenth year on Earth. Now, thirty years later, she was
witnessing the return of that spark. In the past few months,
my entire posture had changed. I looked regal to her. And a
After that day, I began to ask myself: Where did my spark go
at ten? How had I lost myself?
I’ve done my research and learned this: Ten is when we learn
how to be good girls and real boys. Ten is when children
begin to hide who they are in order to become what the
world expects them to be. Right around ten is when we begin
to internalize our formal taming.
Ten is when the world sat me down, told me to be quiet, and
pointed toward my cages:
These are the feelings you are allowed to express.
This is how a woman should act.
This is the body you must strive for.
These are the things you will believe.
These are the people you can love.
Those are the people you should fear.
This is the kind of life you are supposed to want.
Make yourself fit. You’ll be uncomfortable at first, but don’t
worry —eventually you’ll forget you’re caged. Soon this will
just feel like: life.
I wanted to be a good girl, so I tried to control myself. I chose
a personality, a body, a faith, and a sexuality so tiny I had to
hold my breath to fit myself inside. Then I promptly became
When I became a good girl, I also became a bulimic. None of
us can hold our breath all the time. Bulimia was where I
exhaled. It was where I refused to comply, indulged my
hunger, and expressed my fury. I became animalistic during
my daily binges. Then I’d drape myself over the toilet and
purge because a good girl must stay very small to fit inside
her cages. She must leave no outward evidence of her
hunger. Good girls aren’t hungry, furious, or wild. All of the
things that make a woman human are a good girl’s dirty
Back then, I suspected that my bulimia meant that I was
crazy. In high school, I did a stint in a mental hospital and my
suspicion was confirmed.
I understand myself differently now.
I was just a caged girl made for wide-open skies.
I wasn’t crazy. I was a goddamn cheetah.
When I saw Abby, I remembered my wild. I wanted her, and
it was the first time I wanted something beyond what I had
been trained to want. I loved her, and it was the first time I
loved someone beyond those I had been expected to love.
Creating a life with her was the first original idea I’d ever had
and the first decision I made as a free woman. After thirty
years of contorting myself to fit inside someone else’s idea
of love, I finally had a love that fit—custom made for me, by
me. I’d finally asked myself what I wanted instead of what
the world wanted from me. I felt alive. I’d tasted freedom,
and I wanted more.
I looked hard at my faith, my friendships, my work, my
sexuality, my entire life and asked: How much of this was my
idea? Do I truly want any of this, or is this what I was
conditioned to want? Which of my beliefs are of my own
creation and which were programmed into me? How much of
who I’ve become is inherent, and how much was just
inherited? How much of the way I look and speak and
behave is just how other people have trained me to look and
speak and behave?
How many of the things I’ve spent my life chasing are just
dirty pink bunnies? Who was I before I became who the world
told me to be?
Over time, I walked away from my cages. I slowly built a new
marriage, a new faith, a new worldview, a new purpose, a
new family, and a new identity by design instead of the default.
From my imagination instead of my indoctrination. From my
wild instead of from my training.
What follows are stories about how I got caged—and how I
Iam ten years old, and I’m sitting in a small room in the back
of Nativity Catholic Church with twenty other kids. I am at
CCD, where my parents send me on Wednesday nights to
learn about God. Our CCD teacher is my classmate’s mom. I
do not remember her name, but I do remember that she
keeps telling us that she is an accountant during the day. Her
family needed service hours, so she volunteered to work in
the gift shop. Instead, the church assigned her to room 423,
fifth-grade CCD. So now—on Wednesdays between 6:30 and
—she teaches children about God.
She asks us to sit on the carpet in front of her chair, because
she is going to explain to us how God made people. I hurry to
get a spot in front. I am very curious about how and why I
was made. I notice that our teacher does not have a Bible or
any other books in her lap. She is going to speak from
memory. I am impressed.
“God made Adam and put him in a beautiful garden. Adam
was God’s favorite creation, so He told Adam that his only
jobs were to be happy, rule over the garden, and name the
animals. Adam’s life was almost perfect. Except that he got
lonely and stressed. He wanted some company and help
naming the animals. So he told God that he wanted a
companion and a helper. One night, God helped Adam give
birth to Eve. From inside Adam’s body, a woman was born.
That is why she is called woman. Because women came from
the womb of man. Womb—man.”
I am so amazed that I forget to raise my hand.
“Wait. Adam gave birth to Eve? But don’t people come from
women’s bodies? Shouldn’t boys be called woman? Shouldn’t
all people be called woman?”
My teacher says, “Raise your hand, Glennon.”
I raise my hand. She motions for me to put it back down. The
boy sitting to my left rolls his eyes at me.
Our teacher goes on.
“Adam and Eve were happy, and everything stayed perfect
for a while.
“But then God said there was one tree they couldn’t eat
from: the Tree of Knowledge. Even though it was the only
thing that Eve wasn’t allowed to want, she wanted an apple
from that tree anyway. So one day, she got hungry, picked
the apple off the tree, and took a bite. Then she tricked
Adam into taking a bite, too. As soon as Adam bit into the
apple, Eve and Adam felt shame for the first time and tried
to hide from God. But God sees everything, so God knew.
God banished Adam and Eve from the garden. Then He
cursed them and their future children, and for the first time,
suffering existed on the earth. This is why we still suffer
today, because Eve’s original sin is inside of all of us. That
sin is wanting to know more than we are supposed to know,
wanting more instead of being grateful for what we have,
and doing what we want to do instead of what we should
That was some careful accounting. I had no further
My husband and I began working with a therapist after he
admitted that he had been sleeping with other women. Now
we save up our problems throughout the week and take
them to her on Tuesday evenings. When friends ask me if
she’s any good, I say, “I guess so. I mean, we’re still
Today I’ve asked to see her alone. I’m tired and jittery
because I spent all night silently rehearsing how to tell her
what I’m about to tell her.
I sit quietly in my chair, hands folded in my lap. She sits
upright in the chair across from me. She wears a crisp white
pantsuit, sensible heels, no makeup. A wooden bookshelf
crowded with textbooks and framed degrees climbs the wall
behind her like a bean stalk. Her pen is poised above a
leather notebook in her lap, ready to pin me down in black
and white. I remind myself: Speak calmly and confidently,
Glennon, like a grown-up.
“I have something important to tell you. I’ve fallen in love. I
am wildly in love. Her name is Abby.”
My therapist’s mouth falls open, just enough for me to notice
She says nothing for an eternal moment. Then she breathes
very deeply and says, “Okay.”
She pauses, starts again. “Glennon, you know that whatever
this is —it’s not real. These feelings are not real. Whatever
future you’re imagining here: That’s not real, either. This is
nothing but a dangerous distraction. It won’t end well. It has
I start to say, “You don’t understand. This is different.” But
then I think about all the people who have sat in this chair
and insisted: This is different.
If she won’t let me have Abby, I need to make my case, at
least, for never again having my husband.
“I cannot sleep with him again,” I say. “You know how hard
I’ve tried. Sometimes I think I’ve forgiven. But then he climbs
on top of me, and I hate him again. It’s been years and I
don’t want to be difficult, so I close my eyes and try to float
away until it’s over. But then I accidentally land back inside
my body, and what I land in is white-hot fiery rage. It’s like: I
try to go dead inside but there is always a little life left in
me, and that life makes sex unbearable. I can’t be alive
during sex, but I can’t get dead enough, either, so there’s no
solution. I just—I don’t want to do it anymore.”
I am furious that tears come, but they do. I am begging now.
Two women. One white suit. Six framed degrees. One open
notebook. One pen, poised.
Then: “Glennon, have you tried just giving him blow jobs
Many women find blow jobs to be less intimate.”