Thursday, June 06, 2013

You've Got to Watch This.

So, do you know about TED Talks? Well, in case you've been living under a rock in recent years and have missed it, TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design" and it is an international grouping of conferences that uses the tagline "ideas worth spreading."

TED Talks are, as the TED Talk website says, "riveting talks by remarkable people." They are available for viewing online, for free, and are often broadcast on NPR. They are indeed riveting.

One of my favorite writers, Glennon Doyle Melton of, recently did a TED Talk. If you're a mom, you likely already know about Glennon, the post that made her famous ("Don't Carpe Diem"), and the book that grew out of that post and out of Momastery, Carry On, Warrior. (I'm on my second read-through, and I laugh and cry through the entire thing. Mostly cry, but in a good way, if that makes any sense. See below.)

I won't tell Glennon's story here. She does that in her TED Talk, and in her book. Suffice it to say that from word one, I knew Glennon was a soul sister. She describes herself as born extra-sensitive, with an unstoppable tendency to feel things in a heightened way, so that her emotions--positive and negative--were always super-intense. (She remains so as an adult, of course, by the way. Temperament is the unchangeable core of one's being.)

She'd go out into the world and its moments of discomfort and awkwardness and pain--just normal parts of life--felt extra harsh, as if she was missing a layer of skin that everyone else seemed to have. Her reactions were always "extreme," and as a child she was constantly made to feel like her emotions were too much, told that she was too dramatic or touchy or prone to hyperbole. She was given the message that she wasn't supposed to react the way she reacted, or feel the things she felt in the amounts she felt them.

But that was how she was, and life--as Glennon puts it--is both beautiful and brutal; it's brutiful. But it wasn't for 20 years, after a LOT of drama and trauma and self-destruction and then redemption--that Glennon learned that it was okay to feel her feelings and that the brutiful-ness of life wouldn't kill her.

And perhaps even more important, that by being brave enough to speak and write honestly about what is hard for her--including motherhood, mamas--and about how imperfect and struggling she is, she can help others. She calls herself "a shameless truth-teller." And doing that has saved her.

I have the same born-this-way temperament as Glennon. I have a feeling we'd be fast friends. I've been called all those things my entire life. I've been told that I need to calm down, stop over-reacting, quit being so dramatic, live life on an even keel, and not be so affected by so many things.  I've been told more times than I can count (not by you who love me, friends, but by plenty of other random people out there in the world) that the way I feel, write, or talk about mothering-life here on this blog or there in my book is bad or wrong--or just too much.

That's OK. I strive to be a shameless truth-teller, too, when it comes to putting words to the brutiful nature of life as a mom. There are lots of beautiful parts. There are lots of brutal parts. You can take me or leave me when I give voice to them all.

Glennon's TED Talk is excellent. It will grab you and keep you riveted for 17 minutes. I want you to go here and watch it now. And then when I have more time and space, I'm going to come back here and tell you about something brutiful that you might like to read and experience as I have--a children's book that my daughters and I encountered in different ways and that really rocked our hearts and souls--for me, in a typically deep and intense and heart-aching way. So stay tuned. It will be worth it.

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