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Glennon Doyle Calls it, "The Ache"

And I've never related so something so much.

By Melissa SteussyPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 3 min read
Quote from Glennon Doyle-Untamed

This encapsulates it all for me right now:

“Today has been hard.

Some of us—in this very sisterhood—are losing people they cannot live without, and cannot say goodbye to.

The first chapter I wrote for Untamed was not the prologue- it was Aches. Aches is the touch tree of the book. My ache is the touch tree of my life. I spent most of my life running from the deep ache inside me—numbing it ignoring it denying deflecting it—because I thought if I let it rise up it would kill me.

Then one day, I held my grandmother Alice’s hand as she lay dying and the ache became too strong to resist. After forty years, I fully surrendered. I just let it take me. And it didn’t kill me. I brought me to life. The ache is love.

I live in the ache these days. If you live there too, just know: we are there together. The ache is the meeting place of the brave. It’s the touch tree of all of humanity. When we’re there, we are not lost: we are found.

Things have never been harder—and I have never felt softer—or loved you all more.” 4/4/2020 (Glennon Doyle/Facebook Link to the original post below.)


I drove around listening to Glennon Doyle's podcast and an episode about Resting in the rubble together earlier today. Of course, I can't listen to one episode without tears falling and today was no exception.

And I had to tear up when she described the ache. She said that the holidays can accentuate it and I feel that.

I am struggling big time. She talked about us seeking some form of nostalgia at this time of year and for most of us, it's something we've never yet experienced, just something we are hoping to. We hope things will improve, we hope babies will be fed and the people at Walmart can spend time with their families and not have to work too late on Christmas Eve or Black Friday. Our expectations are high and we hope our loved ones will pull through. We hope the special dish we bring will be good enough or that people will rave about how good it is. We hope we look skinnier than last year and that no one will bring up our divorce.

We hope our outfit is on point and that our hair and make-up looks professionally done. We hope it's not awkward when we open another gift we neither need nor like. We participate in the forced giving and blow out our bank account to buy something that grown-ass people could go buy them damn selves in the "spirit of giving."

I do feel an ache each year about how I wish things could be. An ache about how fleeting our little ones are and how old (and young) people will die, not knowing really how long we have with anyone.

There is the ache of missing someone gone too soon. The ache of the magic being long since forgotten. The ache about the Christmas story really being turned commercial and the ache of the anticipation turned to disappointment once again.

It's not magical for me anymore and hasn't been for some time now. You can Bah-Humbug all you want and I will join right in with you. I am the Grinch of Christmas now. I miss days in the past when everything was fun and less stressful. When adulting wasn't so hard.

When we start to outlive people that should still be here to celebrate it feels heavy and sad. I have a hard time not seeing my own demise and trying to put so much pressure on each interaction and moment that I end up being a true joy-kill.

I can't loosen up. I feel the ache and it's not a dull ache. It is a throbbing ache.

Thank you, once again Glennon for defining it for me.


About the Creator

Melissa Steussy

Author of Let Your Privates Breathe-Breaking the Cycle of Addiction and Family Dysfunction. Available at The Black Hat Press:

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