Kerry Washington’s “Thicker than Water” Shares a Story of Self-Discovery and Strong Family Bonds

Kerry Washington’s “Thicker than Water” Shares a Story of Self-Discovery and Strong Family Bonds 

Alexandra Blockton 

Imagine growing up as an only child. Despite having loving parents, there’s always been a desire to share love with siblings. Think about living through traumatic experiences and overcoming challenges without a brother or sister to rely on. How would that make you feel? Actor, author, advocate and trailblazer Kerry Washington was that only child. In her book, “Thicker than Water,” she shares how her identity surfaced from her childhood. Washington wrote, “I had the vague notion that something about me was unacceptable or unlovable,” despite her parents’ effort to support her goals in life no matter what she had to overcome.  

Striving for excellence is beneficial when focusing on school. On the contrary, living with doubt and feeling that something is off can cause many distractions. Still, Washington seems to have had a great start in life. She learned to keep pushing forward without doubting herself.  

In addition, Washington explains that her challenges “were opportunities to move closer to myself, not some version of me born out of perfectionism and people-pleasing and being the good girl, but a version rooted in authenticity and the courage to be my true self, even as I grappled with knowing less about where that true self came from.” The encouragement and guidance from her mentors made Washington feel reassured about pursuing her goals. That’s what she put forth throughout her career journey.  

However, someone can only go so long without knowing the truth. By surprise, Washington’s parents revealed that her father was not her biological father, that he couldn’t have children. Her conception was planned, and they knew that her surrogate father was out there somewhere. Still, it hurt his soul when Washington’s mother delivered the news. Apparently, Washinton’s parents agreed to keep the situation a secret, intending for her to discover the truth in a letter after their passing. She was shocked, but quickly began asking her mother many questions. Washington’s mother didn’t have any information on him. Over this time, their relationship as a family had shifted. Washington took the news in delight when she noticed the look on her father’s face. She told him, “No matter what, you will always be my father.” Although it took some time, she reassured her father of their bond as a family and began to understand why she didn’t grow up with siblings.  

This is a life-changing event to overcome. Washington was able to accept the truth with a genuine heart. Washington herself is now a mother and a wife. She now understands what it’s like to be a mother, creating more compassion for her mother’s struggle with Washington’s identity. Throughout college and her acting career, Washington often struggled to know herself. Now she feels like she has received closure after so long. This situation brought her closer to her parents, loving and cherishing them wholeheartedly, still believing she has a father who will always be her true father.  

Life later took a turn for Washington’s acting career. She was extremely excited when Oprah Winfrey spoke with her about her journey and inner life. Winfrey interviewed Washinton about her new TV series “OWN,” to premiere on Oprah’s Next Chapter network. “She was coming to talk about the work, and about my characters, Olivia Pope on Scandal, and Broomhilda von Shaft in Django Unchained, which would soon be released,” Washington explained.  

Finally, what caught my attention while reading was Washington’s identity transformation and how her hard work shined a light in her life. After many years of doubting herself, Washington found closure in herself and the courage to accept the life-changing information her parents revealed. She now knows who she is and is ready to move forward.  



About Alexandra Blockton

Alexandra is pursuing an Associate Degree in general studies as a Transfer Student. After Fall 2023, she will transfer to a 4-year university to major in Psychology.
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