Inspiring Words from Inspiring People: Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda is a two-time Academy Award–winning actress, author, and political activist.

Inspiring Words from Inspiring People: Jane Fonda

Dear Jane,

What you don’t realize now is that your life will be a big wide circle passing through many dark periods when you will see no future for yourself, when you won’t know who you are, and you won’t feel anyone could possibly love you.

Right now you want to be a boy, preferably a Native American boy living in the wilderness and passing through it silently, invisibly, with stealth.

You will be sexually molested at seven, just as your mother was as a child. When you are twelve, your mother will take her life, and the bravery and spunk of your earlier years will seem to fall by the wayside.

You’ll come to feel that you have to be perfect—meaning thin and pretty and appealing and certainly not angry, a quote unquote “good girl”—if you want to be loved. Living inauthentically will lead you to various addictions that will dominate much of your life and energy.

Your parents are both self-involved, so you will grow up not really knowing what love feels like. What will come to pass is that, through a lot of hard work, you will realize that your parents did the best they could. You will learn to remember them with compassion and become your own person.

I wish I could explain to you that the painful things that will make your life challenging and get you in trouble are the things that will ultimately make you strong and compassionate.

Your biggest strength will be that you won’t give up, you won’t become cynical, you will become an activist. You will discover that doing this will give your life a meaning you don’t think possible. It will be your rent for life.

You are a late bloomer, so it won’t happen quickly, but your ability to be honest with yourself, your desire to make sense of it all, to learn from your mistakes, will permit you to blossom in life. A woman with courage, imagination, and resilience.

As I read this I am about to turn seventy-eight. And though I know you find this impossible to believe, this is the happiest I have ever been. It was all worth it, the good and the bad.

So don’t give up. I’m proud of you, because you will never settle for less than you think you can attain.