Pop Culture

Viola Davis gets candid about forgiving her abusive father

“Forgiveness is not pretty … it is not a Thursday-night lineup on ABC."

viola davis memoir

Viola Davis regards forgiving her father as her legacy.

While discussing her new memoir “Finding Me” with People magazine, Viola Davis hinted at one of the book’s main themes: the power of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is loosely defined as releasing resentment toward those who have harmed us. Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with how healing it can be. But what does forgiveness actually look like? What does it feel like? What do we do once we have forgiven?

During the interview, Davis shared a lot about her childhood: growing up in poverty, enduring bullying and even having an abusive parent.

Davis witnessed her father, Dan, regularly beat her mother Mae Alice during their 48 years of marriage.


However, before dying of pancreatic cancer in 2006, something changed within him. "My mom said he apologized to her every single day. Every single day, he rubbed her feet.”

And in that act of absolution between her parents, Davis realized that “forgiveness is not pretty … life is not a Thursday-night lineup on ABC. It is messy.”

Indeed, forgiveness does not equate to a fairytale ending. It doesn’t guarantee an end to pain. And it rarely happens effortlessly, or even quickly. It takes work, which can be seen as further unfairness.

Accepting the messiness allowed Davis to accept both realities. “He did hurt me then, but love and forgiveness can operate on the same plane as anger."

Davis chose to see her father not as a villain, but as a human, flawed and imperfect but also willing and loving. She chose to embrace it all with empathy.

“My dad loved me. I saw it. I felt it. I received it, and I took it,” Davis told People. “For me, that’s a much better gift and less of a burden than going through my entire life carrying that big, heavy weight of who he used to be and what he used to be and what he used to do.

“That’s my legacy: forgiving my dad,” she added.

Forgiveness is just as much about what we gain as what we give up. By shedding our identity as victim, life can once again be a series of choices. And in the process, we remember that now—in the present moment—we are free to make our own decisions. For those suffering from childhood trauma and seeking to break toxic generational patterns, this can be an invaluable gift.

"It's given me an extraordinary sense of compassion. It's reconciling that young girl in me and healing from the past—and finding home."

Davis, now happily married for nearly 20 years, has learned to cherish every part of her journey.

"I count it all as joy. I do. All of those things happened to me, but I own it. And it's a part of who I am."

Power and strength are attributes the award-winning actress is often associated with in her work, but after hearing her life story, it sounds like these qualities were also learned and developed through daunting challenges.

It takes courage to forgive, but as Davis exemplifies, it can fortify our spirit in profound ways. We might not all go on to star on the stage and screen, but perhaps we can all stand to live our own lives a bit more untethered.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less

Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less