Here is how I see Ms. Houston – a woman who was raised with every advantage, embarked upon a stellar career, and threw it all away. It is the classic Poor Little Rich Girl story. Excuse me if I am not empathetic.
I was chided for feeling this way. I was told that I didn’t understand mental illness or addiction.
I do understand. More than you will ever know, and I know women who weren’t given half of her advantage who survive day-to-day under the specter of mental illness, and do so a damn sight better than Ms. Houston. This does not make one person weak or another strong, it makes one person a survivor and another a casualty.
And don’t tell me your life was changed because of some Whitney Houston song. No, it wasn’t. She didn’t sing anything particularly earth-shattering. She was a pop singer with an amazing voice, she did not create world peace.
Here is my main problem, famous people die and suddenly all of the horrible things they have done are gone. Whitney Houston will be remembered for this great talent, not a woman who self-destructed. Coach Paterno will be remembered as a great Penn State coach, not as a man who left a man on staff after he was exposed as a pedophile. (Don’t, not for one fucking second, tell me “He didn’t know” or “He did all he could” I will drag you out and call you a liar).
I don’t believe in fame or celebrity. I don’t allow that crap into my home. Every one is measured by the kind of life they lived, good or bad – and just because you are famous or talented doesn’t mean all that is wiped away before your body is cold.
We all fight demons, some of us are more successful than others. Whitney Houston, by all accounts died in a bathtub, drunk and/or high, nearly broke, her voice a mere shadow of what it was – I see nothing here to celebrate or honor.
People are not their mistakes, they are their character. Good or bad, we are complicated humans. Death is sad, Ms. Houston was a mother, daughter, friend and idol to many. Ms. Houston deserves a memorial and private burial by her family, but she does not deserve to be treated like a hero.
My God, when did we start celebrating addicts?!?
The same day that Whitney Houston died two little boys in Washington State were buried. Two little boys who never got a chance to live because they were killed by their father. The same father that may have killed their mother a couple of years ago. What a great time to open up dialogue about mental illness, protecting kids, spousal abuse, and other sad topics.
But we aren’t doing that. Nope, we are a listening to “I Will Always Love You” on repeat.
I weep for our society.