As I watched the expertly done Bob Marley documentary Marley, I was jarred a few times by the less-than-mellow presence of one of Bob’s daughters, Cedella. She was only thirteen years old when her father died, but her memories of being raised by him were vivid, and her reaction to certain concepts regarding him were palpable. It wasn’t just that she lacked the blissed-out Jamaican accent and gaze that her mother Rita and bother Ziggy displayed during interviews — Cedella seemed bitter.
Don’t get me wrong, this was my impression based on the way the film chose to portray both him and her, but some of the things Cedella Marley described as part of her childhood did not sound fun. Like many children of superstar artists her father wasn’t always there for her, which is always hard. Bob Marley was also quite a character — womanizing, as his son described him, “harsh,” and obstinate about his ways (these aren’t spoilers, I swear), so it’s no surprise that his daughter was affected by all of it. Cedella has gone on to be very successful in the music industry herself and has three children of her own. On paper her life is great and she is likely a great person to be around…so why does she still seem so angry with her father?
I’m not sure what it takes or how to get there without completely unraveling, but recognizing that the way you were raised had an impact on how you view the world today is essential, whether you can find a fix for it or not. And of course, I use the impression that the documentary gave of Cedella Marley as an example of something that is very widespread; it often seems that many people are walking through life still angry at a parent whose behavior impacted them for the worse and then acting that anger out on other people, which makes me cringe when it comes from perfectly self-aware folks in their 30s and 40s. Some even openly use their upbringing as an explanation for bad behavior, but at what point is an explanation just an excuse? They say that time heals all wounds, but when it comes to scars from childhood, when is it no longer acceptable to not have dealt with them?