Authors: Shania Twain
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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Copyright © 2011 by Shania Twain
This work is a memoir. It reflects my present recollections of experiences over a period of years. Certain names and identifying characteristics have been changed.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Atria Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
First Atria Books hardcover edition May 2011
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
From this moment on / Shania Twain.—1st Atria Books hardcover ed.
1. Twain, Shania. 2. Country musicians—Canada—Biography. I. Title.
ML420.T953A3 2011 782.421642092—dc22
ISBN 978-1-4516-2076-4 (ebook)
We all have our share of secrets and dirty laundry, but for me personally, I feel that the sooner I learn to relax and laugh about them, the sooner I can enjoy the relief that comes with that liberation and release. I see writing this book as a process of washing my laundry and hanging it out in the sun and fresh air to dry. A sort of emotional cleansing.
I read a quote by a woman who said she’d never write a book as a vow to take her secrets with her to her grave, but I found her thinking to be rather dramatic; after all, how many secrets can one person have? Is she implying that her whole life is a secret? How could anyone already living a full, adult life not have something worth writing about that would be of interest and possibly meaningful to someone else? Surely, if you’ve lived a life worthy of inspiring even one other person, you could do that and still maintain a healthy, personal, private boundary. In the end, maybe it’s simply more a question of whether you
to write a book or not.
Expressing the joy and pain in my life through writing has forced
me to read the good and the bad with my eyes wide open, letting the pages become a mirror reflecting a self-portrait in bold black and white. It’s been both challenging and incredibly liberating. I spent quite a bit of time discussing the pages of my life with many friends and family during the process of writing this book, in a more open way than ever before. In an atmosphere similar to sitting around a campfire, we found ourselves reminiscing, exchanging stories, and sharing from the heart as we reflected together. For my sister Carrie and I especially, it’s been a particularly bonding experience gathering around our memories. The campfire spirit of laughing and singing from deep down, sharing freely and honestly, feeling safe to join in around our circle of comfort and trust.
With this book, I hope readers also feel the community spirit of the campfire and the urge to participate from the heart. To laugh and cry along with the pages, feeling that we are all around the same campfire.
I read this once about fire, and it rings so true to me: “Fire can give wings of courage, compassion, and devotion. Fire is obstinate and heady and absolutely not subtle. It is seen as the force burning inside us, giving us an iron willpower to go for our goals, bestowing upon us the passion to do it with all of ourselves, resulting in the honor and freedom to do it without backstabbing and with an open face.”
My life has had its ups and downs, but there is always more than one side to a person’s story. The flip side of those challenges—the joys and positive swings, the pleasures that came like the good along with the bad—are a promise of inevitable contrast, necessary to maintaining the delicate component of balance.
I believe deeply that everything is relative. We need the bad to appreciate the good, and vice versa. We need something unexpected to happen in order for us to realize that everything else was expected. It’s in our relation to those things that we are able to decide how we feel and the level of intensity of those feelings. Such is relativity. There’s no getting off life’s roller coaster once it’s rolling, so you might
as well try to understand it as best you can so you might flow with the curves and actually enjoy the ride. In my life, there have been sharp turns and unexpected falls; what I thought were my “life’s most embarrassing moments,” or things that I thought would kill me once, I can, in some cases, now reflect upon with a grin. I now find it therapeutic to share some of the experiences, and find it rewarding when they hold value in the life of someone else as well.
Albert Einstein wrote in his
“I do, in fact, believe that it is a good thing to show those who are striving alongside of us how our own striving and searching appears in retrospect.” I read this passage after I’d finished writing this book, and it perfectly expresses my own feelings about sharing my life story.
The process of writing it all down forced me to revisit a lot of times and places from my past, as well as relive a tidal wave of emotions. Memories can be like nightmares. Some people fight them, but others might feel that the only way out of the nightmare is to freeze and remain frozen. I remind myself regularly of how grateful I am for the self-survival exercise of brushing and combing through my thoughts and memories. The endless fingering through thousands of what, at times, seemed to be hair roots for lice eggs clinging to each strand for dear life, trying to hang on long enough so they get the chance to hatch and infest my head like creepy, crawly nightmares. Once they hatch, everything has to be stripped down and either thrown away or washed over and over again. I’ve heard that putting all your laundry outside overnight in the middle of winter works to kill the cycle of reproduction of these unwelcome nightmares, but what about thoughts and emotions? What do you do with them when they start keeping you up at night and nesting in the roots of your very sanity? Sticking them outside for the night in the middle of winter would only turn you into an ice cube, a frozen block so cold you might never be warm again. This is what happens sometimes to hearts so broken and minds so haunted they don’t know what to do. They can’t find the strength to labor over washing and rinsing and washing and rinsing again, till all the nightmares are cleaned out.