She was a semi-tall, thin, gangly girl, with legs that seemed to go on forever. She had smooth light-brown skin and frizzy/curly black hair. She had a big smile with big [crooked] teeth. And she loved to sing. Then one day she saw the most beautiful woman on TV. She was tall and thin and had legs that seemed to go on forever. She had golden brown skin with thick, curly hair. She had a smile so brilliant it could light up a room. And she had a voice that could have only been the work of God. In an instant the girl had found her kindred spirit, her idol. She wanted to BE that pretty woman…not in a creepy obsessed way…but in a “Wow, I really admire you!” way. It was the first time the girl had really seen someone that sort of looked like her who sang the way she wished she could, and a bond was formed.
When I heard the news about Whitney Houston, I was immediately stunned and then completely heartbroken. But I couldn’t figure out why it hurt so badly. Why was I shedding tears over this woman I have never met? It wasn’t until I made a tearful, blubbery confession in the middle of my kitchen to my son that it started to make sense to me. Whether Whitney knew it or not, we had a relationship. Not only did she inspire me as a child, but over the years, her music continued to speak to me…to my heart. I was sad when Michael Jackson died…mostly sad for him because I felt like he had a tormented life and I wondered if he ever found peace. But, I was sad when Whitney died…because it was like I had lost an old, dear friend. I know every word to so many of her songs…and they all flood me with so much emotion. I never could and never will be able to sing like her…but when I need to belt out a song, she is who I turn to. No matter what I was feeling, she had a song that seemed to capture it. Her music would make up a good portion of my life’s soundtrack.
I don’t know what happened to her…I don’t know why she got so messed up. She was human. She was no better or worse than any of us. Her humanness was also what I loved about her (as opposed to MJ’s superhuman freakishness) and what helped me feel connected to her. I was saddened by the fact that it seemed like she could not get herself back together. It hurt my heart to hear they way her voice had changed after years of such hard living. I hope she is at peace now. Regardless of what her life was like, her superhuman talent was undeniable.
She was one of my top 5 favorite artists. She still is.
It made me wonder…who do the girls have to look up to today?