Go ahead and file this post under Self-Indulgent and Self-Absorbed...bear with me for just a second, though, please?
It was early 2007 when I began to drown in Amy Winehouse. Her voice, her achingly sad and ironic lyrics, her look, everything. Hook. Eyeliner. Sinker.
Emotionally and ultimately physically, I was in a black hole, which probably drew me into Amy's web even more. Someone understood and put it all into words. It felt warm and safe when I was surrounded by Amy's smoky voice. It wasn't safe, though. Amy was a modern-day, Billie Holiday in my eyes and I wanted to be smothered in the gardenia-scented heaviness of her pain so it could mingle with my own.
I make no secret of my struggles with depression, anorexia and addiction. This dark thunder cloud in my soul was manifested by the childhood sexual abuse I suffered, thus making chunks of my life nearly unbearable. I held it together the best I could, but then...I just couldn't anymore. Had it not been for some eye-opening therapy and the profound love from and for my husband, I don't know...I just don't know what would have happened.
Sadly, I personally know the pain of a mother seeing her own child struggle with addiction. The fear, anger, dread, and stomach-dropping emotional roller-coaster of raw nerves can't even begin to describe the waking-nightmare of the rage and despair that took up residency in my heart.
The point in all of my school-girl rambling here is that this young woman needed help. LOTS of help. Winning five Grammy Awards before you're 25? Accepting the awards via satellite because you're still in REHAB? I can't even imagine. This isn't so-called Good Girl, Taylor Swift we're talking about. (Oh, and tick -tock on that one.) Ugh. Oh, and lest we forget, Natalie Cole--who had quite a struggle with substance abuse in her own right--thought it would be awesome to criticize Amy's 2008 Grammy wins:
"I don't think she should have won. I think it sends a bad message to our young people who are trying to get into this business, the ones who are trying to do it right and really trying to keep themselves together," said Cole, 58. "We have to stop rewarding bad behavior.
Cole says: "I'm sorry. I think the girl is talented, gifted, but it's not right for her to be able to have her cake and eat it too. She needs to get herself together."
Happy and smug now, Miss Cole? I smelled your rotten, sour grapes back when you made that statement and the stench is still resonating from the compost pile.
I've read some really disturbing remarks regarding Amy's death. Yes, we can all pretty much assume she died of some sort of substance overdose. Her troubles with alcohol and drug addiction is fairly well documented in this age of the internet, unlike when Kurt Cobain also died (by his own hand) at the age of 27. The cruelty of some of the statements, (i.e. "She deserved to die!") are simply merciless and vulgar. If figures, too, that there is a tinge of sexism in the media, even in death. Whatever. Amy surrounded herself with some sketchy people, hangers-on...and her own demons, which turned into a deadly combination when mixed with fame, money and a proclivity to severe addiction.
"When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone."
I suggest you read all of Russell's Letter to Amy.
Rest in Peace sounds so trite...but I hope Amy is indeed at peace.
Written by: Diva Julia