“I’m loved, I’m valued, and I’m capable of achieving balance in my life. I can learn to eat well. I can exercise. I can express gratitude for the simple act of being able to breathe in and breathe out. I can move away from darkness and depression to light and hope. I can be happy with who I am, not what I should be, or what I might have been, or what someone tells me I must be. I am me, the true me; you are you, the true you'”and that’s good. That’s beautiful. That’s enough.”
From the time Janet Jackson was a child she was the darling of the Jackson family. Living in the shadow of her famous brothers the Jackson 5, Janet turned out to be the reining star that eventually conquered not only the music world (she has sold over 100 million albums worldwide), but television and motion pictures. In her tell all autobiography “True You,” she takes us on an emotional and often painful journey through her life, struggles with weight, depression, self-esteem, and most recently the tragic and untimely death of her brother Michael. I suppose it’s always a shock to read that one so beautiful on the outside has deep emotional issues on the inside. I mean, aren’t entertainers supposed to be picture perfect, above all the self doubt and everyday problems? One would think so. But the truth of the matter is, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we’re all human, no matter how famous, how beautiful, or how big the bank account.
I was touched by Janet’s book and read it in a day. It is a relatively easy read and flows extremely well. Even through the tougher subjects of abuse and isolation, Janet has a way of conveying her thoughts and emotions so effortlessly that I actually began to feel it myself. That’s what a good book, idea or movie is supposed to do. Pull you into the story, the character, so much so that you can relate and bring those events into your own consciousness. Is the book a total downer? No, certainly not; especially when you already know the outcome and see the light at the end of the tunnel through the authors own eyes. It is an extraordinary journey for the writer and reader. Knowing the Jackson story the way we all do (most of us grew up with the entire family) this is version we didn’t know. It does tug at the heartstrings, especially if you’re a fan or someone who has gone through much of the same events and turmoil. Of course we all have had self-esteem issues. Some of us still do today, including body image, not skinny enough, not pretty enough, etc. If you haven’t or never had, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Her weight issue has always been a huge part of her life. Starting as early as when she played Penny on the TV show ‘ËœGood Times,’ at the age of ten . Enter the yo-yo dieting syndrome. Imagine being that young and told you’re too heavy or have developed too early and was forced to tape your breasts down. Ridiculous even by today’s standards. Does it still happen? Of course it does. Just tune into the reality TV shows that feature young children. Talk about therapy patients when they turn adolescents. Her candor and courage in these pages is to be commended. Just goes to show you even those who seem to have everything may have pieces missing and more to lose. All that is dark will come into light. There is a segment in the book with Janet’s nutritionist, David Allen. He unveils recipes and lifestyle changes that helped Janet transform into the incredible fit shape she is in today. It is not only food for the body, but for the mind and spirit as well.
Of course there are the chapters about her family, father and Michael. The talks about the abuse as a child that still haunts her today. She deals candidly with the mixed emotions she has in regards to her father Joseph and painfully recounts the sudden death of Michael. Her recollections of them growing up together are tender and humorous, wonderful memories to hold. Surprisingly to note that even Michael was not above teasing his little sister about her weight. Those remarks have travel with Janet all of her life and will remain. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. There is no bitter without the sweet. Her rise to superstardom is a testament to her talent, drive, ambition, the woman she is today. Still beautiful on the outside, even more importantly, just as radiant on the inside. “True You,” is the best Ms. Jackson has to offer.
Janet Jackson Discography:
2009 Number Ones
2006 20 Y.O.
2004 Damita Joe
2001 All For You
1997 Velvet Rope
1995 Design Of A Decade 1986-1996
1989 Rhythm Nation 1814
1982 Janet Jackson
2010 For Colored Girls
2010 Why Did I Get Married Too?
2007 Why Did I Get Married?
2000 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
1993 Poetic Justice
1984-1985 Fame (TV series)
1980-1984 Diff’rent Strokes (TV series)
1979 A New Kind of Family (TV series)
1977-1979 Good Times (TV series)