Monday, March 30, 2020

"Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts On Life Unarmed" - Glennon Doyle

By the end of "Carry on, Warrior," I kind of felt like I was Glennon Doyle Melton's long lost brother, though I was probably institutionalized and always hoped she'd visit but instead she ended up writing this book that seemed to mirror my existence.

Okay, that was really weird. I'll admit it.

But, seriously. I have to admit that while Melton has been within my frame of reference for quite some time I'd never seriously considered picking up her book until recently. After all, I sort of figured I wasn't her target audience and she was another "mom" writer. I have nothing against "mom" writers, but I'm not a mom (or a dad) and it seems like most of the time these writers tend to target their writing toward females.

So, I'll admit it. I had this preconceived notion of her writing and figured I wouldn't connect to it.

However, I've always found her sort of fascinating and I even follow her on Twitter (I suck at boundaries, in case you're wondering). Still, I wasn't particularly interested in picking up a book and I'd never even visited Momastery.com.

Then, I can't deny that as the World Cup has gone on I've kinda sorta fallen in love with her Twitter presence. It has been a mixture of really funny and incredibly sincere. So, I looked up "Carry On, Warrior" and decided to see what it was all about.

"Okay," I said to myself, "Maybe, I'm wrong. Maybe this will connect."

What can I say? I loved every page of "Carry On, Warrior." I loved the honesty. I loved the vulnerability. I loved the humor. I loved the darkness. I loved the pain (not in a weird way). I loved the insecurities. I loved the confidence. I loved the sections that read like blog posts, while I also loved the reflections and affirmations and stories and testimonies.

I loved it all.

I laughed. I cried. I identified with smelly coughy guy and, yeah, that made me a little mad at Glennon but she redeemed herself by book's end.

I identified with a significant amount of the material in "Carry On, Warrior," a fact that surprised me yet evidence for me that she is able to take material that is largely targeted toward moms and women and make it universal.

I loved the section on the weird balance between confidence and humility, while I also really loved the fact that by book's end I felt like I got clear pictures of someone other than her from the book. I honestly felt like I better understood Craig, her kids, and especially her Sister.

I can't lie. I kinda love her Sister.

In a couple major ways, I have a similar writing style to Glennon's (except she actually sells books!). If you follow the flow of the book, it's as if she absolutely refuses to leave you in a negative or traumatized space. She periodically leaves breathing space in the structure of the book and the closing chapters bring you to a place of peace.

Again, I loved that.

I liked the raw truths, at times incredibly raw, yet the refusal to be immersed within that trauma. I almost felt like she was taking out these truths and taking a bubble bath with them.

Sorry, I'm being weird again.

There were so many chapters that resonated, some that felt like a direct connection and others that just existed within the same circumstantial realm in which I've lived and loved and healed.

As a writer who often delves within my own life experiences, I've at times experienced guilt over tone and language. "Carry On, Warrior" helped me process through that and let go of that guilt and shame.

"Carry On, Warrior" tackles difficult subjects with honesty, humor, tenderness, and grace. I appreciate acknowledgements of healing and of failure.

As someone who'd been somewhat offended by certain harsh, mean-spirited reviews of her writing (honest critiques don't bother me, even if negative), I loved that she addresses this openly and honestly and as lovingly as possible.

By the end of "Carry On, Warrior," I kind of felt like Melton was this kindred spirit in terms of truth-telling and literary style yet I felt inspired by her truths and even more motivated to continue telling my own. I guess I felt less alone as a weirdly honest, raw writer who still tries to be loving and kind.

It was like "Oh, cool. There must be others!"

In short, I loved "Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed." While the tonal shift in the section on marital struggles was a tad abrupt, I'm not sure it could have been handled any other way. You could feel Melton's grief in her words and you almost felt like she was processing even as she was writing. It felt very real.

"Carry On, Warrior," for me, feels like the "messy, beautiful" thing that Melton writes about so beautifully yet I felt like it was truly a journey of embracing it all while also completely owning it all.

Before I'd even finished "Carry On, Warrior," I knew that "Love Warrior" was on my agenda and, indeed, I picked it up at the bookstore so that there wouldn't be a delay.

Now, though, I can't wait for tomorrow night's World Cup championship. Glennon's going to be a blast. Then, on to "Love Warrior."

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