Oprah’s Book Club: Glennon Doyle

October 25, 2016

I’m sitting on the plane listening to a podcast (Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: Ep. 209: “Show Up Before You’re Ready” featuring Glennon Doyle Melton

I’m listening to her interview this woman, Glennon Doyle, who I’ve never heard of but HAVE heard of her book (Love Warrior: A Memoir), and I’m so overcome with… some kind of feeling.

It’s the feeling I get right before I perform a lip sync at my 30th birthday. It’s the feeling I get right before my field hockey coach puts me into the game to play varsity as a freshman. It’s the feeling I get right before the lights come up on a dark stage and I have the first line. That feeling is excitement. But there’s something else. The words that this woman is speaking is hitting so close to home that I could cry. I feel this lump in my throat as I realize that I can have everything I want, just by putting the truth out there, and I don’t have to defend it or worry about what everyone else thinks. I feel this intense freedom and need to write right now.

I don’t know how it’s possible but I somehow feel so connected to this wonderful woman, Glennon Doyle (I can’t seem to bring myself to call her just ‘Glennon’ or just ‘Doyle’). She explains, when talking about writing her blog, that she has a rule for herself: “All I had to do, was do what I promised myself, which is show up, put my butt in the chair, type the words, and press ‘post’. No matter what.”

Fuck yes. I love that.

She has one more rule:

“And the other rule for myself was, OK, put your stuff out there, but you are not going to babysit it. You’re not gonna follow it around, and like, make sure everybody likes it, and when somebody misunderstands it write back to that person and explain yourself, like, that’s not your job. Because so many people that I see quit this? They don’t quit because they’re not artists. They quit because they’re not lawyers. They don’t quit because they didn’t like making the thing; they quit because they can’t handle defending the thing. Which was never their job!”

It’s like she’s speaking right to me! There’s something else, too. It’s not confidence. It’s… like I don’t even have to try. All I have to do is what comes to me naturally, and the sky is the limit. I don’t know how else to describe it. Physically, I’m sweating a little. And my anxiety is starting to build so my neck is hurting more than it was 10 minutes ago. But I always feel anxious (duh) and again… I’m sitting on a plane (in the sky.. with no control over what happens to me up here).

I just got distracted by my excitement to see Stephen. I’m meeting him in Philly and it’s been over a month since I’ve seen him. And I just realized, in this moment, this feeling that Glennon Doyle is pulling out of me is not the feeling I get before the stage lights come on and it’s not the feeling I get before I step onto the field. It’s the feeling I get right before I see Stephen. And that excitement is one of love, and comfort, and support, and the simple joy of being present and in the moment with him.

The difference between these feelings, is fear. To some degree, I guess there always is a little fear when it comes to writing. But with my blog, as it is with Stephen, there is only good and positive and happiness on the other side. Those other things I’ve mentioned, have had a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, of not living up to my potential, of messing up, of just plain not being good enough. But when it comes to Stephen and when it comes to writing my blog, I don’t worry about that stuff. If I had a screenplay I was trying to sell, for sure, those feelings would come up. But I’m not trying to accomplish anything (concrete) with my blog. I just feel like I have to do it.

When I decided to start writing my blog again, it was for the purpose of my Etsy store (MagicalMerrySigns). I wanted to promote my new business. And according to Etsy, a blog is a good way to do that. But, as always, once I start writing, I quickly realize that the people who are actually reading my blog (mostly, extremely supportive friends) care much more about the personal stuff. The real shit, if you will. And the more I give of myself, the better response that I get. And also, the more connected I feel to people.

I have a “queue” of blog posts/ideas. After listening to this podcast with the beautiful Glennon Doyle, ALL I want to share, is the most personal, serious, real me that I can think of, and anything else just feels superficial. That’s not a good word. I don’t mean that. I would actually really like to write about that recent time that I decided to try rollerskating because I thought it would be easy and I was terribly wrong. But another part of me feels like I owe it to… people? myself? my audience? … the raw, true, real stuff that’s going through my mind and happening in my life.

I highly recommend listening to this podcast. I could quote the whole thing, that’s how good it is, but I will end with the same way Liz Gilbert ends the podcast.

Glennon Doyle leaves the audience with the following benediction (which I had to look up: the utterance or bestowing of a blessing, especially at the end of a religious service.)

Take it away, Ms. Glennon Doyle:

“I had this moment in my life when, 14 years ago, sitting on the bathroom floor, … and I’m holding this pregnancy test. And I’m looking at it and I’m thinking, OK, there is no worse candidate for motherhood than I am, right? There’s nobody on earth who is less prepared or less qualified to be a mother right now, and yet, still holding this freaking invitation.

“And I think about that every time I’m trying to make something new, every time I’m trying to decide whether I’m going to show up, because all of us are always on the bathroom floor, right? We’re always on the bathroom floor, we’re always holding some kind of invitation from the universe, and we are arguing with the invitation. We’re saying, ‘I’m not ready, I’m not good enough, I need to take another class, I need to lose 10 pounds, I need to do some more research, I need to be more like her, I need to listen to my Mom who said I could never do anything.’ We’re arguing and arguing and arguing. We are deeming ourselves unworthy of invitations instead of just trusting the inviter. Creativity doesn’t ask us to be ready first. It just finds us on the bathroom floor, hands us an invitation and says don’t wait till you’re ready. Just get up, and dance with me.”

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