Ever since hearing about the death of Le Winehouse, I’ve been in a weird space. I adored Amy’s music. I’m a Frankophile, but Back to Black had some bangers as well. I mean, how could I not love an album that put “what kind of fuckery is this” into my daily lexicon? Frank though? From the Intro to the bonus track “Mr. Magic” is my shit. So I was completely gutted to log into FB & see RIP Amy Winehouse posts. The Internet stays killing folks off prematurely though, so initially I wrote it off. Then I went to the source by which I obtain most of my news lately to see if it was really true, Twitter. Sadly it was validated by several UK news outlets & all over my timeline. As Twitter is a monster during celebrity deaths, I decided to log off & stay out of that space for a while.
So I mosey back over to Facebook & see a post from one of my little cousin’s friends talking about how she has no sympathy for Amy Winehouse because she was nothing but a cracked out meth head or some such bullshit. I couldn’t even hold it in, I let her have it. I was incensed. How dare this highly privileged brat try to lord over someone else in judgement? The details of Amy’s death were not even public knowledge, yet she assumed that it was drug related. I found it especially jarring because this kid smokes more weed than Snoop. I wanted to say SO badly, what if you died from a bad blunt & people said “oh I have no sympathy for [name redacted] because all she did was smoke anyway. I’m not surprised that her death came from having one last smoke.” I couldn’t though because that was a bit extreme & I try not to emotionally respond to ignorance on a regular basis.
In time, I saw many posts (& tweets…I can’t stay away from the Twittas too long–I’m an addict, LOL) echoing the same sentiments of the aforementioned asshole. I was puzzled beyond belief. The amount of hypocritical, judgmental shit I was seeing spewn about Amy was disheartening. I couldn’t understand why people were so quick to condemn. Was she a drug addict? Absolutely. Do I think that the drug habit was a coping mechanism for something much darker? Absolutely. We all have our vices and engage in things that are unhealthy for us, so how can any of us condemn her soooo self-righteously?
Growing up in a family of addicts, I probably have a different view of addiction than most others. I know firsthand what it is like to be in a situation where you see someone harming his/herself and you can’t do anything about it. Because that person does not want your help. They are content in doing what they do in order to help them get by. To not have to face inner demons. To shut down all negative things & get this false sense of security from a controlled substance. Or alcohol. Or food. Or sex. Whatever their vice may be. Hell, I’m one step from being in AA myself. It’s a constantly struggle not to have just a taste to get through the day…week…shit, sometimes hour. It’s so easy to allow yourself to be comforted by something outside of yourself in order to “deal”. It’s easier to placate yourself with a drink, a puff, a snort, a bite, a stroke…just to get by.
Addiction is a real disease. It’s as harmful as cancer, AIDS, & any other life-threatening diseases you can think of. A lot of people discount it to be mainly mental, therefore easily curable. No ma’am & naw suh. It takes a lot to overcome addiction & lead a life free of those things that once shackled you. Again, speaking from personal experience with addicts. My father was an avid drug/alcohol user for a bit of my childhood. He got clean because of something I said to him when I was about 7 or so. I can’t remember the exact phrasing of whatever I said, but it was enough to get him to see the error of his ways & make a change. My father says that no one is a “former” addict. You’re just an addict in recovery–constantly. Those urges are always there, it’s just how one chooses to squelch/control them that determines the status of your addiction.
In undergrad I wrote a paper about my father’s life, detailing his addiction & I wish I still had a copy handy. We sat and talked candidly for a few hours about what lead to his addiction & his eventual recovery. I remember being shocked when learning about what drugs my dad did & for how long. I’m sure he could tell that I was shocked when I (normally a Chatty Cathy) remained silent for a large chunk of our conversation. The biggest takeaway I had from that conversation with my dad though is how tightly the demon of addiction can grab you & hold you in its clutches until you have the strength to let go. After the conversation, I’ve been on alert for things that make me feel too good w/o any aid from me. If I am seeking pleasure in things, yet receiving no enrichment from said things–I automatically am on guard. Like I said previously though, it is a struggle. It’s so much easier to submerge yourself in whatever to forget all the bullshit of your life and “feel good”. Nevermind the harsh reality you must face when it wears off, just relish the feeling while in the moment.
I’m rambling, so I need to cut this short. I’ve already revealed too much personal information. In short I want to say fuck you to any judgmental asshat who says Amy’s death was what she deserved. No one deserves to be riddled by demons so tough that they can only seek solace in substance. I pray that the Winehouse family finds peace in knowing that the music of Amy has enriched the lives of many & while she is no longer here in body, her spirit lives on.
“today my bird flew away…” RIP Amy. We barely knew you girl, but what we knew was both beauty & pain. I pray that you have found peace in the after-whereever.