Is anyone following the Shania Twain series entitled "Why Not?" on Oprah Winfrey Network? While I haven't been a particular fan of Shania's over the years (though I've liked her well enough from afar), I recently watched three of these episodes, DVRd by my parents, and found them both interesting and frustrating.
Shania Twain is trying to heal from a bitter divorce and regain the ability to sing without restriction. Apparently, a painful betrayal by her former husband and best friend (they had an affair) wounded her to the point that she has been unable to perform for years. This program on OWN is about her efforts to do "whatever it takes" to heal, including interviewing people whose life experience might shed some light on hers: a woman who cheated with a best friend's husband, a woman whose best friend cheated with her husband, and a family of teenagers who lost their mother prematurely. She also asks Gladys Knight for counsel, attends the Golden Willow Retreat for some body (and soul) work, and consults with Dr. Gordon Livingston, an author and grief counselor. What she doesn't do nearly enough (and this is the part that frustrates me) is CRY. Instead, she stifles the expression of real feelings...time after time...with a forced laugh that becomes increasingly difficult to hear. No wonder she can't "release her voice," because she is choking down her feelings of sadness and rage big-time. Those tears Shania has never cried have to be blocking her golden throat with the biggest lump imaginable.
The thing is, this lovely woman is immensely likable. Ironically, that makes me sort of want to grab her by the shoulders and shake the sobs right out of her. And if I were her sister (who accompanies her on this journey), I would! As a viewer, however, all I can do is talk to the screen...which is immensely unsatisfying, especially to one who thinks she knows all the answers. (Yep, that'd be me, the know-it-all who wants to be her therapist!) I want to stop her every time she flits away from whatever she is really feeling and pull her back so she can grieve and grieve and grieve and grieve some more. And I want to tell her that all the skydiving and rock climbing in the world are not going to give her the courage she needs to perform again. The only courage she needs is the courage to cry it out before she tries to move on.
My impression of Shania Twain? She is a strong and admirable woman, one who held her own grief at bay in order to raise teenage siblings after their parents died in a car accident many years ago. But that was then, and this is now. Today, she needs to honor herself and her feelings enough to release them.
I hope she succeeds.
(Hey, maybe she already has! I haven't seen the rest of the series...)
PS. I love her new song, "Today is Your Day."
PPS. She still needs to write the other one...the sad one. Skipping steps on the grieving cycle never works.