From This Moment On: Shania Twain's Amazing Life Story
Shania Twain's life story could be a tale of tragedy and woe. She never really knew her real father. Growing up, she witnessed her mom being abused by her step-dad. And there was never enough money---not for rent, not for winter boots, and sometimes, not even for food. As a child, men attempted to abuse her, and as she grew, she often had to fight off their advances (even those, once, of her stepfather.) She had to work hard just to survive, joining a tree-cutting crew when she was just sixteen. Then, when she was twenty-two years old, both of her parents were killed in a horrific truck accident, leaving her alone and in charge of her brothers and sisters. Their first home together, after the accident, did not even have running water or functioning toilets. Even after Shania reaches mega-success as a country music star, she is dealt a devastating blow---she learns her music-producer husband is having an affair with her assistant and close friend. Her marriage is over.
Despite all of this, From This Moment On is not a tale of woe. It is a tale of triumph over tragedy.
Shania Twain was born Eileen Edwards to Sharon, a woman who had a troubled link to abusive partners. Sharon was once beaten so badly her own mother did not recognize her. When Shania was four, her mother married Jerry Twain. Although he was only in his twenties, he adopted and provided for Shania and her siblings. He and Sharon, though, had a twisted relationship strained by constant financial stress. Shania often witnessed Jerry beating Sharon to the point that Shania feared he would kill her. Their household was one of disorder and chaos with frequent moves and constant tension. Shania dreamed of being part of a "roast beef" family---a family where there was a peaceful atmosphere and good-smelling dinners provided each night.
Shania loved to sing and her mother Sharon recognized her gift right away, pushing Shania to perform at every opportunity. By age 10, Shania was giving guitar lessons, and at age eleven she rode alone on a train to a performance. Sharon became addicted to Shania's success, longing for and desperately needing it, although never living to see it.
When things are at their worst between Sharon and Jerry, it is Shania who packs the kids and their possessions into the car and demands that her depressed mother leave. They end up in a shelter, and although Shania enjoys the relief that the shelter brings, she fears for the future. Shania goes on to get her first boyfriend and a job at McDonald's. Eventually, though, as was their pattern, Sharon and Jerry get back together. Soon, Shania would join her dad in the Canadian bush with a tree crew. She is the only female and just sixteen years old but would become the crew leader. Her parents then get their own tree business and Shania continues, off and on, with her singing career. When her parents spilt again, it is the teen-aged Shania who helps to support her mother.
After her parents' death, Shania continues her singing career to support the family. When her big break comes (an advance of $20,000 from a record company to move to Nashville) things begin to change. Although she encounters some sleazy characters who try to take advantage of her, Shania relies on her work ethic and tough exterior to get her through with her integrity intact. She soon meets and then marries Mutt Lange, her song-writing and producing partner, her songs become mega hits and she becomes an international star. Shania and Mutt eventually move to Swizerland and have a son, Eja. It seems she has the idyllic life, until Shania learns of her husband's affair. She is broken, but not defeated. She ends up falling in love with and marrying Frederick, the husband of her friend who broke up her marriage.
The name "Shania" means "on my way"--a perfect description for Eileen Edwards. She is a woman who believes "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." She has the ability to reflect on situations and find the good in them, no matter how tragic. Shania refuses to chastise her parents for their failings, and instead honors the good in them. She does not let life's injustices get her down, but instead accepts that she'll have to work a little harder to achieve the results she is looking for. She appreciates each good thing in her life yet advises to expect life to be cruel. She believes that success belongs "to anyone willing to earn it, and who has the talent and the ability to be there." She says she has a new goal to "wake up each day aware of this amazing journey I'm on and make the most of it." Inspirational words, especially from someone who has been through so much.
At the close of From This Moment On, Shania is in her beautiful, peaceful home, making a delicious meal for her husband and son, just like a "roast beef family" that she used to dream about.
Shania Twain, by sharing her story, can give anyone hope that despite any circumstances, you can have the life you want, if you are willing to have the right attitude and you are willing to work at it, from this moment on.