Stories have a magical way of transcending our minds into a realm of the unknown with different emotions. In today’s writing, I hope to honour one of the most assertive and powerful female characters I have seen on television (on Netflix, at least). Viola Davis is arguably the most engaging female actor in the film industry, and it is no surprise that Time Magazine named Viola Davis one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Her versatility in astounding techniques, as well as her ability to elicit strong emotions from her audience, makes her one of the best actors of this generation.
Finding Me is a story about Davis’ pursuit of aggressively attaining her liberation from a world that she could no longer obey. She found herself in the middle of some extreme emotions at the age of 28 (which apparently is the age of awakening for females) and it is through her breakthrough and finding her voice that she attained most of the life-changing tools that have made her the prolific actor she is today. She unquestionably inspires a sense of feminism and unbridled feminine power with her portrayal in How to Get Away With Murder and became the first black woman to win an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony for acting.
In her memoir, she discusses the darkest moments of her childhood and her realisation of the importance of listening to her inner child — the inner Viola Davis, who has much to say about the nuances of life that helped shape her character into a magnetic actor. It traces her adversities and hardships in healing through trauma and unhealed wounds. In her words, she says:
“In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever. This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is a path that I took to find my purpose but also my voice in a world that didn’t always see me.”
“As I wrote “Finding Me”, my eyes were open to the truth of how our stories are often not given close examination. We are forced to reinvent them to fit into a crazy, competitive, judgemental world. So, I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get some form of self-love. For anyone who needs to be reminded that only radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be yourself can give birth to a life worth living.”
In my personal reflection upon watching Netflix’s show, Oprah + Viola: A Netflix Special Event, with Davis being interviewed by Winfrey to find out more about her memoir, Finding Me, Davis appears to resonate with a graceful expression of honesty and strength while speaking out on her darkest moments with tenacity and honour of her adversities.
When I come across a day that poses a succession of questions to me that I am unable to address, I lean on one of Davis’ powerful quotes — “Do not live someone else’s life and someone else’s idea of what womanhood is. Womanhood is you. Womanhood is everything that’s inside of you.”
Finding Me, a Memoir is available now at Kinokuniya Bookstores.
Feature image: Huy Doan/Netflix