Untamed – Letting loose your inner cheetah!

Untamed - Letting loose your inner cheetah!
| 4 Minute Read |

NEVER has a book been recommended to me by so many people – Untamed by Glennon Doyle. This is one of those books it seemed EVERYONE was talking about when released. Of course, I had to read it.

Cheetah shoesI got quite interested when I read the dedication at the front of Untamed, “For every woman resurrecting herself”. After coming out of from a big chunk of your life and through the wringer of divorce, it can feel like a resurrection – or the very least a rediscovery.  So I was hopeful that there would be some helpful insights and experiences.

At first, I didn’t fully understand the book’s opening story about a cheetah living in captivity, but as I read on the metaphor of a cage and the as yet ‘unlived’ version of life outside, really made sense.

We told a story about Tabitha, a cheetah brought up in captivity. When the zookeeper was asked if Tabitha missed the wild she replied, “No, she doesn’t know any different. She’s never even seen the wild. This is a good life for Tabitha.”

“She doesn’t know any different”… if you don’t have a comparison – Glennon imagined the cheetah might say, “I should be grateful. I have a good enough life here. It’s crazy to long for what doesn’t even exist”. As powerful as I know gratitude to be, it is possible in some circumstances for it to become a bit of a cage. I say that as someone who, for the best part of two decades, “didn’t know any different”.

I’m not going to suggest for a moment that this book will give you lots of easy answers, but it will most definitely challenge you to ask yourself some pretty difficult questions. Being really honest about my reading experience – I didn’t find it easy. At times it felt as though the writing was running at the pace of a cheetah in the wild. If you’re looking for a neatly packaged, clearly signposted life map, this is not for you. If you want an authentic and very raw window into human pain and the messiness of life – dig in!

Part of my struggle as I started to read this book was that I didn’t know the author’s voice. It was such a personal story – but I didn’t know the person. It helped me to listen to the audiobook, and this may be the first time I’ve actually listened to and read the same book in parallel!

I have a very different life experience from Glennon Doyle. We ALL have our own experiences. So although I didn’t necessarily relate to the life she had lived, I could absolutely relate to the feeling of being caged. I suspect it is a feeling shared by far more of us than we care to admit. Because we know we “should be grateful”.

There was a very powerful question this book had me reflect on again. How much of your life is your idea? I realised several years ago that a great deal of my life wasn’t “my idea”. I captured this in my TEDxTalk, the notion of life looking much better on paper than how your lived experience felt. This question also helped me see that the more my life was “my idea”, the happier and more energised I was becoming.

My 18-year-old selfThe line in the book which made me smile was,

“My spark was always inside me, smouldering”

That’s when I realised that hints of being untamed had begun to emerge for me last summer. When I finally had the chance to take a holiday with my “Inverness Girls” (we’ve known each other since we were 16). As we relived the laughter and nonsense of our teenage selves, this wonderful group of ladies helped me realise that my wild and fun 18-year-old self was still in there … deeply buried, but still there.

I’m not sure it’s possible to fully capture the power of this book, I think the impact will come from different parts of it depending on where you are in your life. The passage that properly gave me goosebumps was: “Then I built a life of my own. I did it by resurrecting the very parts of myself I was trained to mistrust, hide and abandon in order to keep others comfortable”.

It strikes me as funny now that just after that girls holiday last year and the rediscovery of my 18-year-old self I treated myself to a pair of “I’ll buy whatever the hell I want shoes” … and they were cheetah pattern!

I reckon I’d been itching to be untamed for quite some time – I wonder, do you have an inner cheetah just waiting to let loose?

Next Steps

We have an exclusive Behind the Hashtag community on Facebook, if you’d like to join the discussions click here.
For those who want to go deep, here is a great reading guide from Glennon Doyle.
If you want to hear a discussion on the book I loved this Brené Brown podcast.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *