I went to go work out at the gym last Saturday when I heard the news. How tragic. Whitney Houston’s death hit me differently somehow. Maybe because I was on the treadmill while the new people were trying to get information outside the Beverly Hilton. I couldn’t help but think that it was drug related. Whitney had just completed a movie where she probably had to stay more sober. She was also going to attend the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Her death stopped all that. She probably never thought that she wouldn’t make it to the Grammy’s the next day.
I really never thought much about the personal life of Whitney Houston. I only really thought about her great talent, her music that would stick with me for days – her public life. We take for granted that musicians, actors, and “famous” people may give up their private lives for the sake of their career. I am not just talking about tabloids and photos. I am saying that they may not feel like they have a personal life. Their public life has taken over. Addiction may be an unfortunate way to feel a “private” life, a “secret” life where they can “be themselves” and do things that they know the world would not be proud of. There is a certain denial (unawareness) we the fans have towards the famous as we watch them die from addiction. Do we intervene and have an intervention that would say, we love you, we love your talents, but we can not contribute to watching you dies from this disease. If addiction and rehab are mentions it comes across as shaming. The addictive artist then respond by having to defend themselves.
We are too used to the tabloid exposing and shaming they entry into treatment.
We don’t really think about what the personal life of stars must be. I mean, really be like. Do they really ever feel like the have a private life. Does there talent compell them. Is there a sacrifice of one’s personal life when one is successful? I am not just talking about the media crowding in. I am talking about how does one live a normal life when you are that successful. Each of us may have a calling or mission of some sort. But most of us is not that talented or driven to succeed as only a few. Those few seem to struggle so.
Great talent, a world that adores you and great strength seems to be of no help for one who struggles with addiction. It is quite sad that there isn’t a way to make someone stop taking drugs. This is a disease that can only be arrested by the person themself. One has to ask what caused this? Was the pressure too much? Was her talent part of the problem? Think of the adoring fans. To leave that behind, what would that be like? Once you have the much popularity, then what? Can you just live a normal life like everyone else or are you compelled to succeed? It the addiction to drugs to balance out the success?
This news makes me all the more committed to try to be part of the solution in people’s lives who struggle with addiction. It make me consider about the balance between our private lives and our public selves. May God have mercy on Whitney and on us all.