Whitney Houston: A Legend, The Tragedy, An Epidemic
As I am sure we ALL know by now, that a Legend, a Star, a Beautiful Soul in this World has transitioned. Ironically, I came to know this in my office in preparation for an event I was co-producing for Madly In Love With Me Day.
This story is controversial on a number of levels. I love Whitney and always have. It’s interesting because in conversation I’ve heard comments such as “she is an example of a woman who did not love herself” or “she lived out of integrity”. Maybe these statements are true.
But for me, it just doesn’t resonate. There is a tinge of judgment and even dismissive(ness) to the comments. Dismissive of a fellow woman, human, a legendary star that impacted millions, and to a struggle that many Americans face daily. I’ll admit it was a dilemma for a moment.
In my heart I just wanted to celebrate and honor this beautiful woman and her soul. Though, these comments surfaced a question for me, “Am I celebrating something that is counter to what I believe and try to live?”
Yes, she did have a long time battle with Drugs.
Yes, she was a wife and mother who loved her family and would do go to battle for them.
Yes, she was a powerful, talented woman that accepted her gift and shared it with the world.
Yes, she had an inner light that shined bright to everyone who saw her.
Yes, she allowed the light to be dimmed by choices she made.
Yes, to many, she is one of the greatest talents this world has ever known.
I was deeply touched by Wendy Williams’s tribute and dedication to Whitney,which raised an important societal issue. Though they had a long time tension (stemming from a radio interview Whitney Houston had with Wendy Williams), Wendy shared, her own story of battling drug addiction and standing on a corner in the Bronx waiting for drugs. She also shared her unrealized dream of meeting Whitney later in life as spokeswomen of Say No, a movement fighting violence against women and girls.
When I first heard of her death, I thought of my mother. I grew up hearing Whitney in the car on the way to school and in the house during weekend cleaning. Her voice touched and penetrated my soul. On Facebook, my Aunt shared how she remembered me at 3 or 4, singing Whitney to the top of my lungs; every time she saw me. She sang lyrics that made me wonder about life and dream of something beyond what I knew. (I’m sure it was the Greatest Love of All!) For some reason, it made the world seem like such a bigger place.
See it as you may. In my eyes, Whitney was a bright light on this planet and impacted me. The question is, “how?” How could something like this happen to such a beautiful soul? Then I think of people like Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and countless others.
I wonder, “Where are we as a world and a community?” How are we supporting our creative souls? How are we holding each other accountable? How are we creating this world where we feel safe to Just Be ourselves? Some mornings I wake up, roll over and my only prayer is for the courage to be me, completely me, without any inhibitions.
People with drug addictions aren’t the only ones who are escaping; we all have ways of escaping. I personally can get lost in thought about something minute that doesn’t even matter. Some people escape in TV, food, work. Addiction is a form of escapism and a symptom of a society in pain; one calling out, crying out for healing.
Without placing blame or judgment, I ask, “How is it possible for the creative souls in this world to feel so alone and desperate that they turn to drugs, addiction, and even suicide?” When a pattern, a continued pattern like this occurs it is an epidemic, and something we all need to look at. Look at, not in an effort of judgment and dismissal, but of growth and transformation; from the inside out, creating a world where this does not occur.
As I look in the mirror at myself, I wonder, as a society can we make a commitment to truly giving up judgment? Is that possible; a world without judging but instead more love and compassion? It may be naïve of me or overly optimistic, but I have an inkling that this feeling tone can create the space and energy for the healing we are all shouting out for…Maybe, just maybe.
With Love and Condolences,