February 18, 2012

Going Home

It's easy to make fun of the dark places other people go when you're not the one going there.  It's easy to throw around expressions like "I must've been smoking crack when I said that!" and similar comments.  It's easy to think it's a choice to live that life, but it's not.

Today another family will lay someone to rest.  There will be singing and music and flowers.  People will wipe tears silently; others will sob with their whole bodies and hearts.  Maybe the sun will shine, and people will call that a sign.  Maybe it will rain torrents, and others will think that is a sign. Either way, everyone will try to make sense and find solace the way they find fitting.

What makes this difference is the person is Whitney Houston.  I remember listening to her briefly in middle school before I found other types of music.  Over the years I would revisit her..."Waiting to Exhale" was a favorite when my first marriage was crumbling.  I watched that movie and thought how grand it would be to breathe deeply without fear. I learned to respect her voice and the power she had behind it.

I hate that she was troubled and unhappy.  I hate that she battled this while trying to raise a child.  I hate that she couldn't see her own value.  But. I hate that she is getting a grand send-off with praises and jubilation while there are other drug addicts being laid to rest with scorn and disgust.

The "industry" as it likes to be called took her to great heights, but bailed on her when she wasn't the pretty princess anymore.  When the pictures surfaced of her disheveled, sweaty, and obviously struggling, she became the outcast.  It was Bobby's fault or some shit like that.  She was the butt of jokes and people quickly turned their backs on her.

Now, though, she is the princess again.  The media is primarily showing the nice pics, the ones from when they loved her.  Gone are the nasty, embarrassing ones.  "We love Whitney."  "She was our sister."  "She was one of us."  This is what I heard on the Grammys.  Really?  Where were all of those people when she was struggling?

It's easy to gloss over the dirty bits now that it's over.  It's easy to think the industry always supported her.  It's easy to forget the jokes that were made.  It's all easy now to alter our memories to make ourselves better.  But her life wasn't easy.  The life of an addict is never easy.  It's painful and hollow.  Empty.

This was my favorite Whitney song.  Why?  Because I love smart-assed of it.  It's not right, dumbass, but it's okay.  I'm gonna be fine; don't you worry.  I hope that's what she's singing right now.

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