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Thank You, Fiona Apple

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Thank You, Fiona Apple Posted on November 23rd, 2012 in Musings.

This week, Fiona Apple penned a four-page, hand written letter explaining why she had to cancel the South American leg of her tour. Her 14-year-old pit bull, Janet, is making her transition and she needs to be there with her.

When I first heard about this letter, I rolled my eyes. I can be so judgmental (Ughhh!). But let’s rewind…

I feel strongly about honoring commitments and being a woman of my word. Personal responsibility and showing up for other people even when I don’t feel like it is important to me. I’m not a fan of self-indulgence because it feels selfish and narcissistic. Though I realize that I, of course, am guilty of these things, I always judge myself more harshly for it than I judge others. As a culture, we are very selfish and narcissistic, and I assumed that this letter was just another example of that. BUT I WAS SO WRONG.

This letter is so brave, the stuff of giants. What is so extraordinary about Fiona’s words and what touched me so deeply is her courage and her willingness to own her truth. To trust her gut and choose love ”that heart-wrenching mixed bag” and choose to be present in the face of heartbreak and joy, is truly amazing. I am always in awe of people who choose to be present for the reality of a true connection. To allow a being to be as important as Janet is to Fiona is a beautiful and powerful thing.

I often have internal battles about what I think I “should be doing” versus what I “want” to be doing. “Should” and “want” are complicated ideas to make sense of and unpack, and somewhere between those two things, if I look with a gentle curiosity, I find a God Space. Learning to honor myself, learning about true service, and finding that balance between responsibility and self-love “ultimately, learning how to LOVE!” have been hugely important in my becoming a woman.

And so, at first, I rolled my eyes at this letter, but it turns out that I had something to learn from Fiona. She reminded me about that beautiful, heart wrenching space that defines love and loss. It is – the God Space.

Being a human being is not easy, and it often feels so lonely, like we’re the only ones feeling the way we do. I am so grateful when I can see myself in someone else, when I am humbled by what I needed to hear, and when I am reminded that I am not alone.

I am so grateful to Fiona Apple for sharing her truth and her heart with us so beautifully and so honestly.

Some of the bits that shattered me… especially because I have a very dear canine angel in my life too:

She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.

She’s my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is.

I just can’t leave her now, please understand. If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.

Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to pick which socks to wear to bed, but this decision is instant. These are the choices we make, which define us. I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship.



  • Tajma

    This letter was heartbreaking and actually made me cry. Many people can’t fathom the idea of a human being mourning for an animal because they think it’s just an animal but that is so far from the truth. Your animal truly becomes a member of your family and I applaud Fiona for her dedication to her dying dog. I believe that Fiona’s fans will understand her pain right now and the fact that she needs to do this not only for her dog but for piece of mind as well.

  • Andrew

    If you ever bonded with a dog you will know what Fiona is talking about. When you do things for love it enriches you along the way.

  • Thank you for sharing this….

  • wow! Thank you Tracee & Fiona for your vulnerability & authenticity. Being human is not easy & it can be very lonely so when I read something like this I’m so grateful for honesty & just being plain raw! I am blessed today for reading this blog. I have a certain awareness I didn’t have yesterday. Thank you & I’m very sorry about your loved one.

  • Doggie Love

    I’m surprised you rolled your eyes at it at first. I got it immediately, knowing how true the love is for/from our angels in fur. Bless Fiona for sharing this….

    • Antwon Frederick Berry

      I can understand why Tracee may have rolled her eyes from hearing about the letter. But after reading it, anyone who understands true love (human, canine, feline, etc.) – will understand, appreciate, and respect Fiona’s . We are human and we all prejudge. Even the daughter of the most sickening diva on earth. Have a blessed day, DL.

  • Beautiful and truly how I’ve learned to live my life; follow my heart that is.

  • Karen

    I haven’t read the letter, but I recently did not go on a trip to Hong Kong because I’d just found out that my cat, Lybia, whose been my friend for seven years, has an inoperable, malignant tumor. I thought of 50 different things to tell the folks who were sending me there. Friends suggested I lie–or be very vague; definitely do NOT to mention the cat. I certainly didn’t want to be thought of as the ‘crazy cat lady,’ or ruin my business relationship. In the end, I told the truth: I just discovered my cat has this huge, fast growing tumor on her back, and I don’t think this is the time to leave her. (I had just returned from a trip, when I discovered the tumor.) I didn’t know whether my contact had a pet, or knew the depth of pet love. I don’t know whether she rolled her eyes and called me a crazy cat lady as soon as we hung up, or if she’d ever work with me again. All I know is that I told the truth, and knew pretty quickly that I made the right choice. Hong Kong ain’t goin nowhere, God willing. But my little Lybia? This was our time.

    • Antwon Frederick Berry

      love it!!!

  • I, too, have and continue to struggle with the “shoulds.” It’s really a terrible disease, but thankfully, curable. It is courageous, especially as a woman, to declare and act on that which we want instead of constantly bowing to what our friends, family, and society would have us believe is our obligation. May we learn from all the women who have given a middle finger to the shoulds and lived the kind of lives that radiate love, courage, and their true selves.

    • Oh, and thank you for your vulnerability, Tracee. Thank you for creating that space for authenticity and connection amidst and alongside that which is superficial (and lovely:).

  • Antwon Frederick Berry

    That’s what true love is all about. I share the same bond w/my two kitties, and I’m so feeling Fiona’s dedication. Just imagine the pain she would have had to endure if the unimaginable had happened to Janet while Fiona was off on tour. Beautiful, beautiful story.

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