Glennon Doyle says she lost her spark when she was about ten years old. It is around that age that children generally learn that there are rules: feelings we are allowed to express, things we should believe in, people we should love, behaviours we should adopt, and a very specific type of life to aim for. At first, we struggle to adapt to this cage of expectations, but we tend to get used to it sooner or later. The author wanted to become the good girl people expected her to be, so she chose a body, a personality, and a sexual preference so small, and so mainstream, that it all became extremely difficult to live up to. This is what she believes triggered her bulimia.
In the book, Glennon Doyle recalls many episodes from her childhood that had an impact on her. She remembers when her catechism teacher taught her that suffering in the world was caused by Eve, for eating the apple and not knowing her place. A more recent episode she recalls is when her couple's therapist tried to convince her to stay with her husband even after he had cheated on her,
When she went into her children's bathroom one day, she noticed that her son's shampoo bottle was covered in big, bold letters, while the girls' one had a series of handwritten adjectives on it such as "seductive", "pure", and " light". This is when she realised that, in the twenty-first century, boys are still taught to be big, aggressive, disgusted by anything that evokes femininity; they are taught that they should conquer women and the world, and that they certainly should not dare to show their vulnerability. Women, for their part, are taught to be small, quiet, cute, passive, and desirable enough to be conquered by a man.
Glennon Doyle also talks about the time when her teenage son was watching television with his friends in the living room, and when she went in to ask them if they wanted a snack, all the boys said yes without giving it a second thought, while the girls looked at each other, then at her, and said, “no thanks.” This made her think, once again, about the difference between men and women: men know what they want and ask for it, whereas women often tend to look for the answers outside themselves.