Feb 262013

Why do you tell these things? Why do you share the most intimate details of your heart and soul? Why do artists, writers, bloggers, DO THAT?

It’s gotta be for attention. You’re a narcissist. Neurotic. Exhibitionist. Publicity whore.

(This “publicity whore” is a new dagger being wielded-  a shiny, sharp one. Why do women, ever, ever, ever want to call each other whores? Baffling.)



Maybe. Maybe we are those things.

Or maybe it’s this:


In everyday life, on the news, at play dates and coffee dates and real dates and PTA meetings and even at church – we discuss the details. Details like politics and religion and diets and money and  home decor and jobs and other people’s personalities. I don’t know why I’m wired this way –  I often wish I wasn’t – but discussing these details makes me want to stick forks into my differently sized eyeballs.

I think a lot of folks have this eye-fork problem when discussing details, and I have a theory about why that is. I think it’s because discussing the details  – the surface stuff  that we are allowed to discuss in real life – makes us feel lonely. Different. Not quite understood. Because for each person, the surface stuff is different. We all have different details, different jobs, money situations, religions, politics, family dynamics, pasts, goals, talents, homes, and personalities.

Since these details about us are different, when we discuss only these things we feel, at our core, different from other people.  Lonely.

She has it so much easier, better, bigger. At home, at work, in her own skin. I am alone. I am different.

But from spending hours every day reading letters from women all over the world, I have learned that our essentials are the same. Maybe not our details, but our essentials.

We are not, at our core, different from other people. We’re not. We are all one.

We all feel hope and pain and agony and triumph and loneliness and fear. We all lose love and friends and our minds and our religions from time to time. We all cry and laugh and hate and love fiercely. We are each a dueling mix of good and bad. We are each so, so terrified and so wickedly brave. As Whitman says- We are human, we are big. We contain multitudes.

The details make us people, but the essentials make us human. And when we share the deep stuff, the real stuff, the hidden stuff- we learn that the details are just hurdles we must get past in order to get to the essentials, in order to get to that place of vulnerability, that truthiest place where we learn that at our cores, We Are The Same.

And knowing that makes us less lonely. And feeling less lonely makes us braver. And brave people make a better, more beautiful world.

I write about these deep, hidden, essential things because I want to feel less lonely and I want others to feel less lonely, too. I write because I want to be brave and I want others to be brave, too.

I write because it’s my little, big way of making the world more beautiful.








Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  240 Responses to “Publicity Whore”

  1. This is actually a great A to Z on how to establish a strong online presence! Terrific info, quite newbie-friendly, comprehensive and thorough!

  2. All I can say is, “Wow!” You hit the nail on the head with this one.

  3. Without sharing, we miss opportunities to connect. <—- that couldn't be more true.

    Loooove this post. Yours was the first blog I read. EVER. and only 1 of three that I continue to follow. Because it makes me feel less alone in the world of women, the world of mom's.

    You've shown me that it's okay to share, to feel the way I do and look for real women who will appreciate and share with me, too. Because of you, because of HERE, I've found better, more real friends who support me and make me feel much, much, much less alone in this world.

    Thank you for you. Thank you for this.

  4. “You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.”
    ~ Anne Lamott

    I agree with Ms. Lamott

  5. […] out there.  I was struck when I stumbled upon my greatest fear: Will people accuse me of being a Publicity Whore?  This very question is what has kept me from going public with my story for so […]

  6. I am still digesting this post and who called you these names and ended with publicity whore. I just cannot fathom it except for they have a dark heart that has not had light shed on it yet to set them free. Has this person never read a self-help book or a book where people write their biography or books about people who walked down a dark path and found their way? Does this person not realize that one persons “mess” will help, even SAVE another life? I better stop here. This person is completely unreasonable and a jerk. I’m sorry. I wish them love. They might never change. They are obviously full of hatred and a narcisist themself. I’d hate to see the books on their shelves.

    Love you Glennon. Haters gonna hate.

  7. Go with what’s in your heart. You are impacting more than you know. XOXOXO

  8. […] before her post “Don’t Carpe Diem” went viral. This week she wrote a piece titled “Or Maybe It’s This” that really spoke to me about some of the challenges of living your life out in the open. I […]

  9. This blog really resonates. I am just beginning my journey as a writer. By that I mean I have decided not to care if people accuse me of being a publicity whore. I know that I’m not, and that is all that matters. God gave me a voice and a great story, and I feel called to share it. Deciding to follow through on my calling was as scary as cliff diving. Now I feel more alive than ever having found the strength to jump.
    My book is set to release in March. I’m putting all of me out there. If only one person feels less alone as a result of my REAL experiences raising my twin toddlers, then I will be one happy author.
    Carry on, Warrior.

  10. Eye love you Glennon

  11. […] a Katherine, a Marcia, a Jesus, everyone looking for a hand to grab and hold, a point of light, a soul to touch and be touched by? Hm. I think maybe it is. Share this:FacebookGoogle […]

  12. Amen sista friend. My blog is little …so little. But I say being candid is real life. It takes guts. Keep it up.

  13. I ask myself, how many times can this one woman hit the nail on the head and write out my heart, verbatim? I’m a baby blogger, writing out my heart and I hadn’t been able to articulate this to anyone yet. You’ve done so beautifully. Because sharing the essentials makes us real, makes us human, makes this journey worthwhile. Thank you.

  14. g, i love u so much. so, so, so much. (as much as strangers can love each other! ha :) )

    thank u for being u and for loving this brutiful world with so much power, strength, and joy. u have rocked my world and challenge me to be my best. thank u for being an absolute treasure by sharing ur life with the world. u really, really rock my socks!l

    love love love to u and ur amazing fam. cannot wait to meet u and for our worlds to collide. altho i guess they already have as soon as i entered momastery. you r a godsend.

    warmest hugs and hugs and sunshine!!!! <3

  15. Oh my gosh, I am so glad that you see that comment as strengthening. Because I really don’t know if you can know how much your openness and sharing means to some of us?

    The other day I felt like the “weird one” at my son’s ballet class — he is the sweetest most “normal” kid you’ll ever meet but — and? — he loves ballet. But I’m in this town where everyone wears the same uniform and social comparison is a bloodsport and I felt like the weirdo. NOT just because I was the mom of the lone boy, but I was just describing how all the other moms spend the entire time talking about their home renovations / decorations. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s bad, but it’s exhausting when it’s ALLLLLLL the time.

    I just felt so lonely. Am I the only one who reads books here? Am I the only one who doesn’t have blonde hair? Is anyone else here imperfect in some way?

    You give me strength. Thank you so much.

    • Amy –
      I can SO relate! I don’t feel like other moms at all! They all just seem so “fancy” and pretty and talk about stuff that I just really don’t find important. I often feel like “less” than them and I hate it! Jen

  16. oh my goodness, I loved this. it is in the most vulnerable relationships – the most difficult, honest and open – that there is the greatest safety – the greatest depth…your honesty and open-ness is a rebuke to me…and an inspiration. thank you for how you share your life.

  17. Dear God,
    please send a few “G”s to my neighborhood.

    Thank you Glennon for rolling away your stone.


  18. As I journey through my own recovery, I am constantly reminded of the saying, “You are only as sick as your secrets.” I spent a lot of years hiding my struggles. I thought I wasn’t “normal.” I thought I was crazy. I couldn’t risk anyone finding out that I was less than perfect.

    But the more I share and open up, the better, the freer I feel. We all have a right to be who we are and not have to hide our vulnerable and sometimes not-so-pretty sides. In fact, it’s when we share the truth about ourselves and our struggles that we begin to gift others the courage to no longer hide themselves. By liberating ourselves, we help liberate others.

    What you do here is amazing and genuine and sometimes the only REAL some of us get all day!

  19. Do you know about the onion theory in communications? It states that as we talk to people, we’re all like onions … with lots of layers. We start by talking about that outside layer, and then we remove it and go to the next layer, and the more we get to know each other the deeper (and smeller!) we go into the onion. I venture to state that’s why we cry when we get there … it’s so big and overpowering and, well, smelly.

    What you described is all about onions. 😉

  20. If you are a publicity whore then I’d like to know who your pimp is……You take the bravest of all things and be vulnerable. SO BRAVE! Mean people suck and feel very brave behind their computers. I guess it makes them feel uncomfortable that they cannot be this brave, thus strike out at others. I am too learning how to deal with being a target and it sucks. Anyone who steps out to lead catches the first arrow.

  21. Thank you for speaking truth, Glennon. I hope more people start listening…

  22. There’s nothing like knowing you’re not alone. Thanks for this reminder, G

  23. Why do people who don’t want to share the intimate details of their hearts and souls read things that share intimate details of others hearts and souls and then complain about them? I have been really ANGRY about the people who have been so critical of you lately. Especially of those people who OBVIOUSLY don’t read your blog on a regular basis and are directed to it for the sole purpose of criticism. It makes me crazy!!!!! Aren’t we all just trying to do the best that we can? You have given so many of us hope and love that sustains us when our intimate details are TOO MUCH. If that’s a problem for anybody, he or she has the option to leave the blog alone. What you have done and allowed the rest of us to do for each other, eclipses any criticism out there. With more love than you can imagine….

  24. Craziness. The night before you posted this I was talking to my husband before bed. I had gone to the library to check out a few of the books you had on your favorites. I was explaining that most of my favorite books were on your lists, so I figured I would probably like the others. Then I started talking about your most recent blog and what is going on with your family. I stopped myself, and realized I sounded obsessed. I even said to my husband, “why am I so into this blog?” And then I explained that I love your writing because you are so ‘real.’ And the people that read you and comment to you are also real.

    I am a pretty intense person emotionally and have to keep it under wraps in my professional setting, but also way too often in my personal life. I often feel surrounded by people who just won’t go very deep and seem uncomfortable if I do. And so I explained to my husband that knowing you are out there and that all of the other monkees are too, made me feel less lonely.

    Until I read your post today, I thought it was kind of sad that a blog from someone I have never met would make me feel less lonely. But, now I realize that it is the reason a lot of people read you – it helps to keep us grounded and feel human.

    Thank you!

    • R….have you read the book Quiet? Would you please do me a favor and order it today? It is helping me understand myself. There is a whole world of us there… Folks who feel most connected not at a party but lost in a song, movie, book, blog…it’s normal and beautiful andante even what art is for.
      Love you.

      • I meant ” and maybe even what art is for”. Sorry, on my phone in the target parking lot eating a veggie wrap and hiding from the rain.
        Like margaritaville but way suckier.

        • I will definitely look for it – thank you! your two replies made me tear up and laugh out loud in that order. FYI, I went to a margaritaville in Mexico once and it was hot and sweaty, so it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

          For the record, I rarely watch movies, because I have to give them my full attention. I have left movie theaters and not been able to speak for hours (and have had people ask me if I was the one they heard crying). But, I do LOVE real-life deepness too. Sometimes when I am having a real, deep conversation with someone, I start to literally shudder and can’t stop because I am so moved by the trust and love I am sharing with another person. That sounds corny, but I know you will understand.

          Again, thanks for what you do – it means the world.

          • I totally understand the movie thing. I took my teenage daughter to Les Mis. I cried a lot. She does not cry often at all. She said, ‘Mom, you know this isn’t a true story, right?’ and I said, “but sadness is real. and life is hard is real. and people suffering is real.” to which she said, “sheesh, if you are going to cry about that, you will never stop.”
            true dat.
            I agree with the quote, ‘crying is a sign that we are alive’ because it saves me.

      • I Just finished “Quiet” and thought of you. As a total introvert it was so nice to see it written down so we can understand ourselves better and help other who are more extroverted to understand there are other ways of being in the world, neither is “better than” or “worse than” but each provides something essential to the world and neither should feel bad about who/how they are. Good reading for extroverts too!

        • Shannon.
          I really, really feel like this book is causing a major shift in me, Like, a shift BACK to who I really am. It just reinforces my hunch that I should stop trying to be better (better is so relative) and just be myself.


          • Me too. At 38 years old, while reading that book, I cried those deep painful tears of realization… that I have NEVER lived life fully as myself. I have always had to change something to feel I could even remotely “fit” into the world around me. Now, I see my 6 year old son starting to do that too… he actually said to me when I asked why he doesn’t like school “because I can’t be myself there.” WOW. From a six year old boy… the words that hit home. Somewhere I learned I couldn’t be myself and be accepted so I stopped being myself and buried her… but she’s STILL THERE! and now that I’ve read Quiet, she is ripping down the walls saying to hell with this! I’ve got to live my life or I will never ever know what it felt like to really be alive. I don’t want to apologize anymore. I don’t want to feel guilty for being too emotional, too intense, too affected by my surroundings all the time. I just need to find my own place to go back to where I can recharge myself and be me. And believe me… when my child says he can’t be himself, this mama bear is about to make some changes!

  25. Glennon,
    In a world where so many people are telling us we (women) aren’t doing enough (climb the corporate ladder! Have babies! Wait, don’t have babies because you’ll set your career back! Work harder! maintain a better house!) you tell us not only are we doing enough, we are doing it well and are beautiful and loved. You are a light in the world – the fact the other people prefer the darkness is not your problem. I might not post often but your posts have helped me live a better, more honest life and I am thankful to you! Keep doing what your doing, girl.

  26. I have no problem with blogs like this where you are clearly trying to connect and feel less lonely.

    I do have a problem with certain bloggers who are just exploiting their kids and families in order to make more and more money off of advertisers and are so narcissistic they need constant praise. Dooce (Heather Armstrong) comes to mind as does Kelle Hampton. These women, to me, are just repulsive and blog only to fulfill their own egos and their bank accounts it seems.

    • Dearest Jane,

      I think someday soon Im going to take some time to write to you about Kelle…to tell you all about what a special, giving, loving, selfless friend she is to me and so many others. Kelle writes and photographs because she can’t not write and photograph. It’s who she is. And the reason she photographs her children is because they are the most beautiful things in her life. So she can’t not.
      I’m not sure what I’d have done here in Florida without her. She gave me herself and her family and her Heidi when I showed up on her doorstep with nothing to offer but a really sad story. She’s taken care of me. Not for publicity, not for any other reason other than that’s who Kelle is. She can’t not take care of a woman who needs a friend.

      I know that it’s hard because screens separate us but Jane, if you met Kelle, you would like her. You might even love her. I do.

      Peace and hope and friendship…

      • Thanks for “sticking up” for Kelle. I don’t know either one of you, but love what you both write about – for totally different reasons, audiences and life situations. Does that make sense? LOL does to me!

    • I do NOT want to criticize anyone for their work or passion or anything but I wanted to say that I thought of dooce after reading this post, too. But not because I think she’s horrible, just because I started reading her precisely BECAUSE she was so real. I was so awed by her honesty and openness and fearlessness. I actually feel like she’s taken a lot of the criticism and that’s why her posts now are mostly about doing homework and funny stories and not the deep, dark truths she used to post. I loved that dooce and I miss her very much — and it’s probably a large part of why I am so drawn here now….

  27. My instinct is to hide my feelings and emotions, even from myself. I “coped” for many years this way… but it was when I found myself hurting those I loved and not knowing exactly why that I was forced to delve deeper. I had to learn how to be open and transparent in order to find the problem – and also to heal. Since then I have become a champion of transparency.
    Hiding our struggles and emotions is the enemy. It destroys us and alienates us from others. But it is how so many cope with the pains of life… and when you are transparent, it can feel very threatening to those who cope. They hate it and try to shut it down.
    When we choose not to cope… when we choose to expose to the light of day what is hidden within… it can be scary, it can be hard. It forces us to face and feel the pain. But in so doing we also begin our journey to healing.

  28. Beautifully said… thank you. My husband and I were discussing this very subject last night… my trying to help him understand why relationships with those who refuse to, or cannot be, real are so very difficult. I’m pretty sure I frighten him a bit with my “realness” :))) In fact, I’m fairly certain fear is at the core of all those who would criticize your willingness to be transparent. It is, indeed, a difficult concept but oh so freeing when you finally get there. Thank you, thank you for your beautiful transparency.

  29. Those who are critical of your sharing and opening up are likely that way because they are uncomfortable with their own essences. If someone is living through a truth which we both share but she/he is unwilling to own, it is hard to hear that truth exposed. Critics are often harshest on themselves but unwilling to look in a mirror. For those of us in a different place, your work gives voice to our own suffering which can’t yet find its own voice. It makes us understand that we’re not alone and that the experience of the human condition is remarkably similar from one person to the next. As a child, I thought everyone else’s family was perfect. I’ve come to learn that we all have our own stuff and must hold each other up and not judge. What I would have given for your words when I was a teenager. Thanks for reaching through the darkness, shining light and lessening loneliness.

  30. Glennon,
    Thank you for sharing your truths. It helps the rest of us be just a little braver each time that we speak our truths. I have shared your blog with so many people. Thank you for writing what is so often in my heart and mind.

  31. Oh one more thing…. In complete synchronicity, which I always find so amazing and serendipitous, I ran across this just after I read your post.

    “True love is embracing our dark impulses, our imperfections, our mistakes and our heartache. That is when one reconnects and experiences the love that is truly the answer.” –
    Debbie Ford

    I think you are so brave. I have written some of my “truthiest truth” but I’m too scared to put it out there. I’m afraid of all those names you get called. :-)

    Hugs and thank you for being you.

  32. Thank you Glennon for sharing the real stuff. It has made a difference in my life, and made me a little more brave, a little more ready to share my own shadows. I truly believe that addressing what we hide from the rest of the world is the only way to heal ourselves, and the only way to change the world. People’s “uncomfortability” with the raw and the real is their own mechanism to hide – that’s okay – that’s their journey – but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing yours. It is making a difference. A big, huge, ginourmous difference.

    • Have to ditto this too. One day I’ll be brave enough to write but for now, you all say what I feel and think better than I can. Thank ALL of you monkees. I am not alone anymore.

  33. Remember what Brené Brown (quoting T Roosevelt)… It’s not the critic that counts. You are in the arena and even though you’re a little covered with blood and mud and tears, you are inspiring the hell out of me. Thank you for sharing the real stuff – I am sick of the details.

  34. Hi Monkees,
    Just wanted to share this book with you all to help wherever it can….

    The 5 Love Languages

    Amazing how everyone needs to experience love in very different ways….

    Boo to those that do not understand how Glennon is speaking her language with humans that understand and also speak her language.

    This book might just change your whole relationship with any child, teenager, spouse, best friend or neighbour… couldn’t put it down.

    and G, congrats on the beautiful new site, look and endevour that you have taken on with such grace and humour! we got your back 😉

  35. Kelle read that Nouwen quote to me today when I was in a tailspin this morning. Love it and love your words. Particularly: The details make us people, but the essentials make us human.


  36. What I’ve found interesting when trying to live out loud in the same way you do, Glennon, is that it’s not just that the world at large doesn’t want us to reveal our innermost fears and shames and loneliness. The world also doesn’t want us to reveal our overwhelming love and appreciation sometimes.

    Many of my well-meaning colleagues have accused me of “gushing,” and tell me to tone it down. When I am thankful to a person, or appreciate something about them, I tend to express it. And that has led to people shutting me off, which admittedly has hurt terribly in some cases. Why don’t they want to hear praise? Why don’t they want to hear appreciation? Whatever the reason, I also don’t want them to feel uncomfortable – so then feel guilty on top of rejected.

    Maybe it’s because people can’t deal with a whole load of another person’s feelings on top of their own. Maybe there really is a limit to how much we can deal with our own and others’ emotions. Then it would make sense that, to be considerate to others, we keep our own feelings hidden much of the time.

  37. thank you for your strength, bravery, courageousness and love- know that this mama in MN feels a lot less lonely because of you- so forget those comments and cruel statements- love wins.

  38. Beautiful.

  39. I just want to know where you were when I was younger, raising kids and worrying that I wasn’t perfect enough? You are LIGHT, dear girl…you are our collective voice and don’t you dare let anyone shout you down with their fear…because that’s all it is…it’s fear. Be bold. Lead the way…we are right behind you :)

  40. I had to share parts of my story with my new Pastor today — which started us down a conversation path that ended up setting up an opportunity for me to be of service to other people.

    Without sharing, we miss opportunities to connect.

    Thank you.

  41. This is one of my favorite post you have written so incredibly true!! thanks!

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