Read an Excerpt
What I Cannot Change
I never knew the power of one song. Over the years, I've recorded hundreds of songs. I've put my heart into each of them in a different way. Some have been hits; others, not. You never know how or why a particular song catches on. It's always a mystery to me why certain songs seem to resonate more than others. That is, until I wrote "What I Cannot Change" with my dear friend and songwriter Darrell Brown (you'll hear more from him later). From the beginning I knew there was something special about this song; not just the lyrics but everything about the song. A song can become a hit in many more ways than just money and radio play. For me this song became a hit because I saw—through postings on my website—how the song inspired people to change their lives and reveal deep secrets and also helped them understand the things in life that they can—and cannot—change. Before sharing those stories with you in the rest of the book, first I'd like to share some of the ways this song has helped me grow as a person—both emotionally and spiritually. For me it's about becoming more transparent. Many of these stories and feelings I've never shared before with anyone. But so many of you have taken the time to share your stories with me on the "What I Cannot Change" website that I wanted to open my heart even more.
I grew up in the spotlight, where it can be hard for public perception to grow up along with you. Many people still picture me as the little girl who sang with a big voice on the song "Blue." In reality, there is so much more to me. I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. At agefive, I won my first talent contest, and at age seven my parents had me record my first independent album. By then my family and I had relocated to Garland, Texas. My parents knew how much I loved to sing and to entertain, and I got my first break performing on Johnnie High's Country Music Revue in Fort Worth, a popular show that features local artists and national acts. It wasn't long before I recorded my second album at the grand old age of eleven. That project featured the song "Blue" and caught the attention of legendary executive Mike Curb, who signed me to Curb Records. By thirteen, I had a national hit. The rest became history. My history. Along the way, the little girl with the big voice has matured into a young woman, married to the dearest person on earth and the love of my life, my husband, Dean Sheremet. We have been married seven years, and I am so thankful we met.
I admit it's not easy to lay my soul bare—for one person to get to know me, let alone the whole world. Yet there's also a beautiful, enlivening freedom in becoming transparent, to being vulnerable. It can be exhilarating and scary all at the same time. I know I'm definitely on the road to accepting myself for who I am. I'm learning to let that speak for itself, learning to love my real emotions and to let those emotions come across in my relationships, in my life, and in my music.
My early life was exciting. I knew I was raised with a lot of love from my parents, but I was also raised with lots of worry and fear: the worry about where money was going to come from, the worry about whether my song was doing well on the radio charts, and the worry about my family staying together.
That was my biggest worry. I constantly worried that my parents were going to split up. There were times when my parents would get into fights, and my father would come so close to walking out the door, and I would cry and scream for him not to.
They had tried for twelve years to have a baby and nothing ever happened. Then one day out of the blue, the answer to their prayers came when my mom found out she was pregnant. For my mom, I was a miracle child. Not only did she finally have a child of her own to love and care for, but my father was there by her side. In many ways, I guess I was the glue that kept my parents together. I still feel that the stress of their trying to conceive a child for so long put unwanted pressure on my parents' relationship, making them question even staying together. They did end up staying together for another fourteen years.
Growing up, I was taught to be the best at everything. Whether it was softball, piano, dancing, or singing, I had to be the best. I was taught that if I wasn't the best then why should I be doing this at all? In this way I felt I was robbed of a nurturing development—allowed to just be a kid and be able to make mistakes. Being raised in Texas added to the pressure. As a girl growing up in Texas, it seemed like every day I was judged on how pretty my hair was and how beautifully I dressed. Because of the gift of singing I was given, my family and friends showed me off in any way they could. Now that's not to say that as a child I didn't like that kind of attention—I did. I loved to sing; but looking back I can tell you it was very overwhelming at times.What I Cannot Change. Copyright (c) by LeAnn Rimes . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.