Truth or Dare?

408 days of loving more…

I pretty much remember all the “Truth or Dare” games I played in junior high school, shoot probably even before then. They were all the same. We sat in a dark room in a circle and all of us girls squealed out “not me, not me, YOU go first” while the boys watched us probably thinking, “Enough already, pick a dare!” And whenever it was my turn, I always pretended to hem and haw about which to do, a truth or a dare, when in reality, I always chose the same option: TRUTH.

Truth just always seemed so much easier to me when I was growing up. Dares were scary. Oooh…kiss a boy with my tongue! Oooh…prank call my crush and sing a love song. Oooh…run around the house screaming and angering the host family parents. Or at the older parties, gasp, oooh…take your shirt off! Um, no thank you. But, accepting a “truth?” Well truth was easy; all I had to do was give an answer. How hard can that be, right? Who do you like? When was your first kiss? Which actor do you want to marry? (For the record, it was always a toss up between Christian Slater and “Jake Ryan” from “16 Candles.”

Dare: Put a trashcan on your head and walk around bumping into walls.
Truth: Kids are stinkin’ adorable sometimes and this picture never gets old!

The way I saw it back then, I didn’t have to do anything for a truth but to say what was on my mind. A dare? Well a dare I actually had to push the envelope, I had to find courage and step out of my comfort zone. So yeah, no thanks to a dare.

But now, now I am older and wiser (ha!) Now, as I face more difficult emotional situations that require me to tell the truth in order to move forward, like managing one child’s anxiety and another child’s health scares, like figuring out how to balance mehood and motherhood, like dealing with the challenges marriage can bring, AND like admitting that I yell too much, I am realizing that truths are indeed dares.

In order for me to tell the truth, the REAL truth, I have to actually dare myself to step out of my comfort zone because telling the truth, the honest, no holds back, emotionally raw truth, is SCARY. Actually, it’s outright friggin’ more than scary. It’s petrifying and exhausting and paralyzing.  It means putting myself out there for criticism. It means admitting to things that I don’t necessarily really want to admit to. It means having to actually accept the truth and live with it once it has escaped my mouth and maybe even, gasp, deal with it.

Yes, truths are dares. They both take courage. So as I have aged and been faced with more truth telling my thought has pretty much been, “Yeah, no thanks to a truth…can I just kiss a boy instead please, pretty please?!”

But last January, as I saw the tears fall down my boys’ faces after I screamed a scream I’ll never forget, I knew it was time to stop hiding the truth. I knew it was time to dare myself to tell the truth about my yelling habits. I knew it was time to find the courage to change. It was as scary as scary can be because, well, starting The Orange Rhino Challenge wasn’t just daring myself to admit I had a yelling issue, but it was also daring myself to talk about a subject no one else dared to talk about. It wasn’t just daring myself to push myself harder than I wanted during challenging moments, but it was also daring myself to do something at which I might fail.

Starting The Orange Rhino Challenge was perhaps one of the biggest and best dares I have ever taken in my life. Up until last winter, I was pretty much risk adverse. I hardly ever stepped out of my comfort zone and yet, here I am, 400 something days of not yelling and I couldn’t be more happy that I stepped out of that comfort zone. Deciding to quit yelling and daring to tell the truth was scary but oh, was it freeing and oh has it helped me become a non-yeller. Someone said to me recently “The joy of saying the unspeakable, of saying the ugly and sometimes uncomfortable truth is that you can then label it, accept it, and begin to move forward.”

Yes. Yes. YES! This is the truth; I have lived this statement the past year and I know it to be true.

Telling the truth that I yelled too much took a huge weight off my shoulders. I no longer had to put all my energy into hiding my truth but I could begin to re-focus my energy on crafting a new truth. I could begin to develop the truth that “I yell less and love more one moment at a time.”

Telling the truth that I yelled too much helped me to finally say to myself, “ok, now that you have fin-a-friggin-ly identified the problem, you can create a plan to change and start working to resolve the yelling issue; you can finally go to bed without feeling guilty!”

And telling the truth that I yelled too much led me to the creation of The Orange Rhino Challenge which in turn led me to finding all of you, a supportive, non-judgmental community that has helped me move forward one day at a time.

That’s right. One. Day. At. A. Time.

Because even though I have gone over 400 days without yelling, every day is a new day with new potential to yell. Let’s face it; kids are awesome at giving us lots of opportunities to practice patience and not yelling! And so every day I remind myself about the truth I want to live, that I want to be a mom who parents with warmth and compassion and patience and understanding and love and of course all without the yelling. And every day I need to dare myself to live that truth and make it real.

And everyday I need to accept the truth that I am not perfect, but that I am trying my hardest and then dare myself to not just accept this fact, but really, truly embrace it and not let it ruin my day!

And everyday I need to accept the truth that I might be grumpy and close to yelling, and that when I am, that I need to then dare myself to forgive myself and let go.

And everyday I need to believe the truth that I can do this, that I can continue to dare myself each day to find the courage to keep finding all the energy, creativity, patience, empathy and love that is needed to not yell.

I can do this. One day at a time. One moment at a time.

And I double dare you to try with me 😉


In my life right now I have two big truths that I am trying to ignore, that I am too scared to fully admit, to fully talk about. Let me tell you this – they are eating me up. They are making it harder and harder to be the mom I want to be because they are weighing me down. As I reflect upon this blog post two things are clear to me. (1) The lessons learned from my journey to be a non-yeller are applicable to other aspects of my life too and (2) if I actually write about these two truths I am ignoring, if I dare myself to share them, well then I might just feel better and might just have an easier time at not yelling. Who is going to double dare me to share? Stay tuned….

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20 thoughts on “Truth or Dare?

  1. Found this blog yesterday afternoon by the grace of the holy spirit. ..I am a mom to 3 boys and have been an out of control yeller for 14 years. I hate that I’m figuring this out now but I am motivated to change. On day 2 today!!!

  2. I’m on day 4 of the challenge. I never felt like I yelled all the time, but I could feel myself yelling more and more each day and I never wanted to be like that. I’ve tried to head the advice of my mother’s that they have guilt and wished they had been kinder, to not let the little things get you upset. Day one started off trying to get me yelling, I was running late to drive for a preschool fieldtrip, only to get everyone in the car and find out they had left the lights on while “helping” me clean it out the day before and the battery was dead. I made my first goal to not yell for the day. I felt so great when I made it through, I thought maybe I can do this for a week and have that be my goal. I’ve felt happier in the last four days than I have in a long time. Thank you for the challenge, it has made me admit I was becoming a parent that I didn’t want to be. Bring it on 361 days.

  3. Alright, I take that dare!
    It’s been over a month. Today, my son yelled a lot, which was weird because ever since I stopped yelling, his tantrums have shortened and his anger has lessened considerably. But today he really did not feel patient with anyone.
    I’m glad I didn’t yell back. His yelling exhausted me, but not to the point that I gave up. Instead I hugged him and sympathized with how he felt impatient and wanted attention. He talked to me then and said he just never gets to talk when everyone else is talking, and he hates waiting for a turn. He did go back to being crazy and cranky and all that, but I felt so glad that he was able to tell me how he felt and at least have a moment of calmness when we could communicate.
    That’s all I personally needed to be able to maintain self-control and not yell back/make things worse.

    I appreciate that you admit things can still be hard even at 400+ days! Because kids are still kids, and like any human, they have bad days and crazy days too. I’m just trying not to be the CAUSE of their bad days! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for talking about things that people are afraid to admit or change. You are brave and encouraging and honest and humorous and vulnerable and strong all at the same time.

  5. I am on day 5 of my own Orange Rhino challenge….I am trying to create new habits in communicating with my kids, which is hard because I am/was such a yeller. When I started screaming so hard my throat hurt, (my first truth) it was a major wake up call. Then I came across your blog. I am listening to everything you say. Whatever you choose to share here I will read, but any “truths” you have owned, and are known within you are yours to learn from. Anything you choose to share here I will read and hopefully learn from, we are priveleged to see it but we are not “entitled” it. Your call. Thank you for being here.

  6. I double dare you because you’ve already done it once. So that will make it easier the 2nd and next time with the other big truths. As someone else said, I bet other people are hiding the same truths too and I am so on board with the idea that the reason we hide this stuff is because we think no-one else can possibly be as bad as us over whatever it is. We use this as a big stick to beat ourselves with – “bad mum”, “bad wife”, “bad daughter” etc.
    But as T.O.R. has already proved, yelling too much isn’t unique to just you. There are loads of us out here doing it and by taking the stand that you have and building this community, you’ve enabled so many woman to say “enough is enough”.
    I <3 you T.O.R.

  7. Love this post!! Still trying hard every day. Have had good days and bad days. This afternoon, not so good but starting each moment over. I will always “stay tuned”…XO

  8. I’m new to your blog, but LOVE it. I’ve struggled with yelling all of my parental life (I have an almost 19 and almost 17 year old – both boys). I’m trying so hard to do better with my 3 year old girl. Thank you for all that you’ve written – It’s helping me realize that I *CAN* change parenting habits and be a more peaceful parent.

    I’m up for a double dare!

  9. I actually told a truth today, one I did not want to just come out and say, because I knew it would hurt. Not me, someone very very close and dear to me, but she drives me freaking nuts. Its my mom. I am on the road to splitsville with my hubs and she wants me to move back home with her on the OTHER side of the country, with my (our) daughter in tow. She’s so pushy, she’s a force of nature. That’s not me, not to her anyway, I’m timid, I’m obedient. But today, I roared (not literally, yelling at my mom still is just terrifying for me) I gathered every single ounce of courage and pushed the fear of hurting her aside and I said it. Just like that. I don’t want to move back there. Her protest was instant, her reasons are valid but I also have those same benefits out here. As much as I would LOVE to move out of where I am at, I still would not move to where she is. It’s not home, this place is not home either, but my daughters father is here how could I ever break that relationship? My mom huffed in anger and hung up and quickly had her husband (married a year after I had married) call me and try to win her battle, again it did not work. I do not want to go out there, I appreciate the offer, I appreciate that you guys care but I do not wish to live there ever again. WHY? There is nothing there for me. It hurt to admit that, it sucked to tell my mom that and break her heart. I know that I want to move to a state much closer to her, but I do not wish to live by her. I’ve been searching a LOT for the truth, lately. The real truth not the one I try to tell myself must be it, I want the source of the fire, not just the flame. I am learning though that sometimes the source can be painful to admit.

    • Hi, Claire~ I’m just discovering this post long after it was written. But I wanted to share with you that I also have had a very hard time expressing my anger to my mother. Kudos to you for standing up for yourself. She needs to hear that you are your own person, that she doesn’t own you, and that you are not responsible for her issues (my takeaway from a family constellation workshop last weekend).

      It’s hard growing up. Wishing you all the best in your process.

  10. See, I was always the “dare” girl. That is bad to admit, but the TRUTH. I am happy to do something new and daring, but I’m having a hard time following through completely with the challenge. I find it too easy to slip and use the excuses. (I need to go back to that post about the excuses be gone.) But I do think that sitting down and being truthful with yourself is important. If you don’t want to share here, you have to at least admit it to yourself and possibly find another outlet for it. Thank you for all you do. I’m going to look at parenting as a truth or dare tomorrow and see if that helps.:)

  11. This is like a good book that I can’t put down and suddenly the author has decided that she’s going to stop the book in the middle and wait a year to publish the next book! 😉

    But for real: I dare you too, like so many after me will. Not because I’m curious (and I totally am) but because it seems like it would make you feel better (you said it yourself). But mostly because, maybe it’s something that I struggle with and it would be nice to hear someone else talk about it too. Maybe it will give someone out there someone to relate too, because you know (no matter how much you deny it) there is someone out there struggling just like you. So do it.

    Also, I didn’t comment before but i wanted to say (especially if you are going to reveal something truly personal) don’t disclose your real name. Keep your “T.O.R.” your Rhino facade, that way you can keep your kids and husband and yourself safe, there are a lot of weirdos out there. So unless you get an amazing book deal, and I totally see that happening btw (do it!), keep your real name to yourself. Not because we don’t like you or don’t care, but because you are allowed that, so hold on to it. 😉

  12. I double dare you. You started this blog to force yourself to be honest and look at the truth of your situation. If you are only looking at a partial truth you cannot fully understand the situation.

    And I can say that your most honest, difficult posts are your most powerful.

    You are a brave woman and I am proud of you!

    • 🙂 Hello Linda! Just thinking of you the other day. Hope you are well!!! And thank you. We’ll see 🙂

      • I am afraid to double dare you. Because I may be hiding from the same truths as well. And if you say it, I’ll have to admit to myself that I do it too. Because I yell A LOT. Im just like you. But my goal of making it through the evening didn’t even keep. :'( And I only have two boys. And only one of them is old enough to drive me bonkers. And he acts like a 3 year old because he IS a 3 year old! And I just don’t know if I have the physical energy or the emotional energy or the mental energy to come up with things to entertain my 3yo ball of energy while trying to soak up every baby moment my 5 month old breathes and coos and simultaneously entertaining the fact that I am a PERSON instead of a robot that is forced to do and give and be for every BOY in this house. After all, it’s hard trying to decipher the opposite gender even though girls are supposed to be the complicated ones. But maybe the GIRL in this family IS the one complicating everything…

        • wow -Stephanie, your final sentence really resonates with me… may be just what I needed to hear today. I’m the only girl in a house with 2 boys and a DH (so three boys, lol), and sometimes, it is me who complicates things, trying to be the one in control all the time is exhausting, especially when what my littles (5 and 6) want is for me to join in, not be in charge, with their play.

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