Authors: Miley Cyrus
Copyright © 2009 by Smiley Miley, Inc.
“Bottom of the Ocean”
(Tim James/Antonina Armato/Miley Ray Cyrus)
© 2008 Seven Summits Music obo Itself, In The Mouth Of The Wolf
Publishing and Tondolea Lane Music Publishing (BMI)/Antonina Songs
All Rights Reserved Used by Permission
All insert photos are courtesy of the Cyrus family, Jason Morey, and Terry Chupak.
All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher.
For information address Disney • Hyperion Books,
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10011-5690.
First Disney • Hyperion paperback edition, 2009
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Printed in the United States of America
Book design by Roberta Pressel
Photos on pages 13, 81, and 185 by Andrew Macpherson
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file.
ISBN 978-1-4231-3478-7 (pbk. ed.)
Also available in hardcover ISBN 978-1-4231-1992-0 (hc. ed.)
t’s weird to be doing an introduction to an introduction. But since this is the first time my book will be in paperback, it seems as good a time as any to do a little refreshing.
The other day I heard someone say, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I don’t remember who said it, or if they were older or younger or in the middle, but the line hit me and made me think. Sort of like when you see a truly beautiful sunset and it just settles in the back of your mind, makes you wonder about all the sunsets you’ve seen before.
(I am in love with sunsets right now!)
I don’t want my youth to be wasted. The miles are zooming by and I know that if I don’t slow down, I’ll miss some of the best ones. That is part of what I loved so much about working on this book. Like I said,
Miles to Go
is one of those stopping points. Where I get to step back, take a breath, and count my blessings.
And yes, I have so much to be thankful for.
I told you I’m way into sunsets right now, and that is mostly because of Tybee Island, Georgia. It’s where we filmed
The Last Song
. The movie is based on a Nicholas Sparks
(Love his work!)
book and Veronica “Ronnie” Miller, the character I play, could not be any more different from Hannah Montana. I loved the challenge.
The movie is magic. But so is Tybee Island. I’m pretty sure the island actually has some kind of magic calming ability. From the moment I got there, I was so happy. I’d sit on the deck of the house we rented with my mom and drink tea and just look out at the water. I loved playing guitar out on that deck, watching the dolphins and just getting back to
. I hated to leave. When I did, I cried for days straight.
(I'll get to that later!)
My mom kept telling me that I was lucky, because I had had the chance to experience something so magical and amazing that would live on in the movie and in the friendships I made.
(Love you, cast and crew!)
It took a while, but then I came around, and now I know what she said is true.
I wouldn’t have figured that all out, though, if I hadn’t stopped to let the emotions soak in. I’m trying hard to keep these memories close to my heart. I want to be able to pull them out on a rainy day, just like I can pull this book out years from now and remember. Like I said, I don’t want my youth wasted and I don’t want it forgotten.
Of course, there are some things I would LIKE to forget. Who doesn’t have a moment they would like to erase?
(You know you do!)
I don’t mean to complain and I’m not trying to play the sympathy card—but when you are in the spotlight, people like to make sure you never forget the bad moments. There are a lot of haters out there. Dad always tells me I need to grow thick skin and not care what people say, but it’s pretty hard. I like to say what’s on my mind. I like to do what I want to do. It’s all part of being a kid, and my parents and friends want me to be a kid as much as I can. But sometimes people like to say hurtful things. Tell me I’m pretending to be deep. And I guess maybe I am growing a thicker skin, because I’m starting to realize that I can’t please everyone. I’m lucky I have the opportunities I have. I thank God every day for them.
Now I have another one of those markers to plant.
This is at a new point in my life, and things are totally changing. But like the sunsets I saw on Tybee Island, the miles I’ve already gone are going to stay with me.
kay, this is gonna sound like a weird place to start, but I think a lot about my hands. I was born left-handed. My dad is also a lefty, but he’s absolutely convinced that I’m right-handed. I think it’s because he has always said lefties have to “learn the world backwards,” and I know he has had a hard time finding a left-handed guitar every now and then. . . . Whatever the reason, from the time I started to write, he had me use my right hand. It worked. In the rest of my life I’m left-handed, but I do write with my right hand. So if you don’t like my handwriting—talk to my dad.
Just to mess with my left-handed self a little more, I came across a book about calligraphy and started teaching myself to write Chinese characters. With my right hand. On a plane. I was flying a chartered jet from Los Angeles to New York. The flight was turbulent, the ink spilled at least twice, and I managed to get it all over myself, the paper, the seats of the plane, and, when I tried to clean up the mess, the bathroom. My mom was yelling at me for getting ink everywhere, but I was really into it.
is Greek for “beautiful writing.” Believe me, people, if the Greeks saw what I was doing they’d make up a new word for it. But I was immediately obsessed. I drew the characters for “love,” “luck,” “life,” and “knowledge” over and over again, first slowly and carefully like a kindergartner learning to write, then faster and better.
It’s a good thing the plane wasn’t equipped for skywriting, or I probably would have tried to convince the pilot to take a stab at the sign for “Rock on.” There’s got to be an ancient Chinese character for that, right?
Some people believe that your handwriting tells all your secrets—that the slants and loops and dots of a scribbled to-do list or a note passed in class reveal all there is to know about a person. It’s a cool idea, but really I think the only thing anyone can tell about me from my handwriting is that I’m supposed to be writing with my other hand. I do almost everything else—brush my hair, open doors, hold a fork, and carry the reins of my horses—with my left hand. And, you know, my Dad had a point—
I do think the world feels a little bit backward sometimes even when I’m trying to keep everything going in the right direction.
Maybe because I’ve felt so aware of them, I’ve always been superprotective of my hands. I know, I know: weird.
(You might be reading this word a lot in this book. Or at least thinking it.)
But I just feel as though my hands are important. My energy comes from them. Everything I do comes from them.
My right hand is for art. I use it to play guitar and to write. My left hand is for caring. For combing my little sister’s hair. For holding hands with friends. For comforting Sofie, my puppy, as we fall asleep. (And occasionally for slapping my brother Braison upside the head when he’s picking on me. I know— but everybody has their limits!)
I let both my hands wander freely on a piano, searching for the right notes. My hands steer my thoughts when I write in my journal. They riffle through my Bible, finding truths. The beat for a new song emerges as I drum on a tabletop. I feel my way through hard times. I want all I do to be artistic and loving. Who I am and what I say and whatever hope and joy I may spread—it all comes from my own two hands.
Am I right-handed? Am I left-handed? Am I neither? Am I a singer, or an actor? Am I a public person, or am I a private person? Why can’t I be all these things? I’m on TV. I’m writing a book. But I also love staying at home with my family. And I feel alone—in a good way—inside my head. Am I the person you know from television, photographs, even this book? Or are we all, each of us, more elusive, and harder to define? Who am I to say?
Most people know me as Hannah Montana, but Hannah is a television character. She’s fiction. Sure, I’ve put a lot of myself into her. I’ve tried to make her come to life. But that doesn’t make her real, and it doesn’t make her
. This is my very own book—my first chance to tell my own story in my own words. But to tell my story, I have to talk about Hannah. And that’s okay. Because I think that’s why people relate to both Hannah Montana and Miley Stewart—my alter egos on TV.
There are multiple sides to all of us. Who we are—and who we might be if we follow our dreams.
It seems like I’m always answering questions about myself: I do interviews on TV, radio, and for magazines; I talk to paparazzi and strangers on the street. Over and over I tell people (and so far it’s always true) that the tour’s going so great, the show is so much fun, and I’m so proud of my album. But nobody ever comes up to me and asks
, “Hey, how do you feel about your hands? How are they connected to your art? What do they mean to you?” This book is the place where I can explain and joke and muse and explore what’s truly important to me. I want to answer the questions I’m never asked. I want to let my guard down. I want to talk about what music means to me, and I want to show that my life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not like I’ve never been hurt or broken. I’ve felt pressured, unwanted, sad, bored, and lonely. And I’ve felt great joy and gratitude. I want to share who I really am—not the straight-edged, Photo-shopped, glossy girl who appears on magazine covers, but a Nashville-born middle child who loves Marilyn Monroe and hates vegetables and has always had some rather funny ideas about her own hands.
When I started working on this book I was fifteen, and I turned sixteen by the time I finished it. I’m pretty young to be writing about my life. But I’m considered pretty young for plenty of the things I do and enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with being young. Young people have lots of energy! We have lots to say. I’ve never had a shortage of thoughts, ideas, or opinions. I know I’m still near the beginning of my life. I’m having an incredible journey, and it’s going superfast. So I want to plant a mile marker right here—at this particular bend in the road—before its image starts to fade as I keep moving forward. I hope you can kick back and
enjoy the ridehang out with me for a while.
(Forget the cheesy driving metaphor.)