On The Passing of An Icon

Those of you who have been following my writings/rantings know that I’m not a big fan of pop music. So, I decided while the rest of the world is watching the Grammys, I’d write out some thoughts I had on the passing of one of music’s greats (and a woman whose talent I admired very much – sans autotune), Whitney Houston.  She was a true artist who could do things with a song that nobody else could. She was a brilliant mix of talent and passion, and it came through in everything she sang.

Here’s a video of her in one of her better times, singing a song with a beautiful message that we can all learn from.

I wanted to write about her, however, for another reason. Since her passing, the internet has been exploding with everyone’s two cents about it. I’ve heard everything from “Rest in Peace” and “How tragic” to “I’m not surprised” and “Why are we wasting our grief on a crack whore?”.

A penny for MY thoughts? So glad you asked.

I have many thoughts. I’m not surprised. While I’m very sad that she died before her time, I’ve seen firsthand how addiction and mental illness can steal people’s lives away, both literally and figuratively. It’s hard not to wonder every time the phone rings if something has happened to someone I love.  I do not agree, however, that grief is wasted on a “crack whore”. This woman was ill. Her addiction was a symptom of a larger problem.

I know eating disorders and addiction are two different things, but I feel like they stem from the same root. Things happen in a person’s life that are painful and out of their control. They find something that makes them feel like they’re taking their power back: pain on THEIR terms, a set of rules/behaviors that seem to make order out of chaos, and an escape from their pain. I found my escape and control through starvation, Whitney through drugs.

It’s hard at any time to find the stability and courage to be willing to let go of that control. I know I couldn’t have done it if I’d kept living my life in the public eye (on a small scale for me, of course). People in “the business”, no matter how successful you are, will use you for whatever they think they can get from you to further their own careers. It’s hard to trust anyone in that situation. And the world is so fickle . . . I’ve had people asking me for my autograph after a show one day, then treating me like shit the next when I’m waiting on their table. I can’t even imagine what it was like for Whitney on such a large scale.

I hope she finds the peace in death that she didn’t seem able to in life, and I hope her memory gets some peace from those who speak without understanding. Thank you for the music, Whitney.

 

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