Jewel took the decision to mend the bond with her father only after he took the journey down the road of healing himself.
Singer and songwriter Jewel was just 6 years old when she began her musical career. As she played and sang with her parents, singer-songwriters Atz Kilcher and Lenedra Carroll, on stage, she became more confident about her talents. Even after the divorce of her parents, Jewel continued traveling with her father who taught her how to yodel, a singing technique that became her specialty.
However, her childhood wasn't as happy as everyone would perceive looking at the way she handled herself. Popularly known as Jewel, the singer was born Jewel Kilcher. Opening up to People about her abusive childhood the singer revealed, "My mom [Lenedra Carroll] left when I was 8 years old, and my dad took over raising me and my brothers at that age."
"My dad had really bad PTSD [from serving in the Vietnam war], but those words weren’t really known at the time. He tried to drink to handle the anxiety, and he became abusive." Jewel grew up in Homer, Alaska. It's only later that she realized that her father was repeating a circle, the circle of abuse he suffered as a child himself.
"As much as we have a genetic inheritance, we have an emotional inheritance. My dad was also raised in a wildly abusive home. I had a way better go of it than he did when he was young, but it still wasn’t good." Tired of all the day-to-day suffering, the singer who was 15 years old at the time, moved away from her family to live by herself in a cabin.
"I started paying rent and working a couple jobs in town, hitchhiking to work," she revealed. "It felt good. My dad and I had a difficult relationship, and I thought, 'I could live in a cabin by myself or I could live in a cabin with a guy that isn't that nice to me. So, why not go live in a cabin by myself?'"
Recalling the time, she told Forbes magazine, "I knew when I moved out at 15 that statistically girls like me end up repeating the cycle we were raised by. Statistically, I should have ended up on drugs, in an abusive relationship, or on a pole somewhere. I did not want to be a statistic. So I looked at the idea of nature versus nurture, and thought - if I received poor nurture as a child, could I re-nurture myself and get to know my actual nature? My life goal at that moment became to learn how to avoid being a human full of holes, but a whole human instead."
The singer was homeless for a while as well when she moved to San Diego, California, to live with her mum. Jewel spent her time living in a van while she tried to make her career. However, the now 46-year-old singer divulged that she learned from her experiences and decided that she wouldn't hold a grudge against her father. "I was determined to heal: to let go, move on and figure out how I could be the one who changed those habits."
She added that the mindfulness practices helped her break the cycle she had imagined at the very beginning for herself. Recalling the day she decided to change, she said, "One day, I was shoving this dress down my baggy Levi 501 jeans and thought, 'I’m going to end up in jail or dead. Then I remembered this quote by Buddha: 'Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.' I thought, maybe I could turn my life around one thought at a time."
73-year-old Kilcher, who is the star of Discovery’s Alaska: The Last Frontier, reconciled his relationship with his daughter years after he went down the journey of healing of his own in his 60s. "He got sober and did this amazing inner work. It's a profound transformation. We have a really authentic, great relationship now, but it’s because he did his work, and I did my work."
The Who Will Save Your Soul singer, a mom to 9-year-old son Kase whom she had with ex-husband Ty Murray, is "very proud" of what she's become as a person. "It's nice to look back at this 25 years of ups and downs and see where I'm at," she said. "I'm comfortable, and I feel like I made good on my promise to try and be a happy whole human."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Christopher Polk