For the first time ever, Lily Collins shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She’s learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.
I don’t tend to follow Collins or her films, but I love reading memoirs and essays, so I decided to give this one a go. And for the most part it did not disappoint. These essays cover a wide range of topics, from art, tattoos and Hollywood to eating disorders (battling with anorexia and bulimia), abusive relationships, self-love and acceptance, the connection and closeness between mother-daughter relationships, the complexity of father-daughter relationships, and a whole lot more.
But the one thing that stood out most about Unfiltered was how Collins laid her cards on the table and didn’t hold back in addressing her past and present. I learned a lot about her character through the wisdom she imparted in this book. With quotes such as:
“My mom was the one who finally encouraged me to speak with a very dear friend who had been in this same kind of relationship years before. We sat for a couple of hours and talked about our shared experiences, and at the end he looked at me so powerfully and said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” With that simple statement—originally coined by Maya Angelou—it all clicked.”
“Forgiving myself is just as important as forgiving others.”
“It starts with me. In order to accept the love I deserve from someone else, I must truly believe that I am worthy of it. And I am. And I’ll never let anyone tell me differently.”
I loved the essay on “WE ACCEPT THE LOVE WE THINK WE DESERVE” because I’d just researched that quote last night and found my favorite post that explains it so well:
And then this piece about her mom:
“I remember feeling so guilty as a teenager if I had plans on the weekend because I didn’t want to leave her alone. If I left, what would she do? She never put that pressure on me; it was something I put on myself. I think this dynamic is common in mother-daughter relationships as complex and close as ours. I felt this innate sense of responsibility to protect her from loneliness, much like her instincts to protect me.”
This resonated so strongly with me.
“They are the proof that sharing our stories is key. It doesn’t matter where we’re from, what we look like, how old we are, or who we love—we all deserve to talk and connect. We all deserve to feel part of something greater. Because we are.”
But with all that I loved, the swiftness of this book made it difficult to fully connect with the author. Since a lot felt brushed over and rushed, we didn’t fully get to dive into Collins’s thoughts and feelings. There were only handful of essays where I actually felt something more, like when she talked about her eating disorders, accepting herself and coming of age. Her intellect, charm, and heart felt finally palpable and there. But then towards the end, it would once again feel so hurried that I’d loose the emotional bond created in that moment. It reminded me a lot of Alexandra Elle’s poetry collection, Words from a Wanderer.
However, on a more positive note, I was appreciative of the amount of photographs scattered throughout the book: