The promise of spring follows the gentle breeze cascading through my open window. One cannot ignore all the renewal brimming with fresh life slowly emerging from the frozen landscape after months of being hidden from the sun. It’s a gentle reminder of endings and beginnings.
I find myself unmoved for the first time in 50 years.
While the echoes of children’s laughter find their way towards me upon the warming rays reflecting off the glass, all I feel inside, deeply, is the fact that I’d give anything to be able to just disappear.
As I write this, there’s a warm dog snoozing upon my left foot. As gentle a creature as God ever created, and all I can think is how deeply I long for that comfort to evaporate with the Winter’s melting ice.
I’ve been peering inwards, and trying to re-discover a sense of purpose. It’s been so long since I’ve truly felt any connection to the goodness in the world. All I see and feel are dark clouds that ebb towards me, macerating what little joy I once had as I find myself slowly being enveloped.
In my search for truth, I’m noting that I’m utterly paralyzed with fear. At this late stage of the game, what is left for me. All I see is my fading into nothingness.
“I’ll go back to black”. I so completely understand this lyric now.
Amy Winehouse has been a companion these last few days. In taking stock of my own angst, I decided to let her in. She is as tragic a figure as I’ve ever known of. So, in exploring her lyrics, I also decided to explore who she was.
Sometimes Netflix gets it right.
Her documentary really lit a corridor into who she was, and what she became. But more importantly, it told the viewer “WHY”, pulling no punches while it let the audience really witness the slow suffocation of one of the greatest musical flames in recorded history.
This girl was no Judy Garland, despite the drugs.
There, at the beginning, was this deeply talented yet tortured spirit; one that could have used a bit of direction from two very incapable parents. During her journey, their lack of discipline started this fragile spirit down a path she was doomed to walk. No one, not her record company, her managers, agents, parents or friends, had ever kicked her in the ass. And believe me, she sorely needed it.
Amy was raw talent and emotion. She was also an artist, with an artist’s soul. Now, I might be flattering myself with my own lack of reality, but I’d like to think that I also possess an artist’s soul. In admitting to that, I completely understood her slide into oblivion. She needed the one thing no one could give to her, strength.
Her own parents failed her. Her husband and lovers failed her. Her friends tried, but also failed her. Ultimately, she failed herself as a result.
Her gift became her curse.
It broke my heart watching this highly sensitive thoroughbred being torn to pieces by the press, the paparazzi, eventually by her promoters; lastly by her own father. She, quite literally, could trust no one, especially herself.
I saw so many parallels between Amy and myself. Now, while I have a much better support system in place, I literally felt the pain she was in watching this. I completely understood her need to escape, that urge to disappear. Most deer in the headlights don’t see the gun pointed at them. She wasn’t that lucky.
I’m lucky. I have people who have the backbone to tell me I get it wrong.
It’s sad, however, that at this point in my life, I’ve been so beaten down by grief and failure that I simply can’t figure out how to pull my own self out of this destructive vortex I’ve allowed myself to be sucked into.
I wish I could give Amy a huge bear hug and let her know she wasn’t alone, even though that’s the one thing she craved above all else.
Amy left this world a broken girl. But she also left her legacy. Out of that tiny body of work, “Back to Black” will forever be heralded as her masterpiece. It’s right up there with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” or Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells”.
So…the question is: how will I leave this earth.
Well, if I was to take my last breath tomorrow, would I have left any sort of legacy to my family and friends, outside of being a cautionary tale on how not to live?
Writing…it’s my voice, my emotion, imagination, perceptions and sometimes my truths. At times, it’s also my myth.
I was raised to be honest. I don’t always get that right. But, as a person with a modicum of skill with a keyboard, I am extraordinarily truthful, sometimes to the point of mauling the spirits of other people.
I don’t want to be that person. I truly don’t.
So, while I reflect during my self-imposed online exile, I’m going to try to learn from Amy’s mistakes. What I’ve witnessed through her ugly road to oblivion can be used as a tool; one that can hopefully help me recover from my own murky darkness.
I want to feel the Spring. I want to appreciate a furry heartbeat snoring on my foot. I want to find my inner child again; and let him know it’s all good. I want to tell him he can come out to play once again.
It’s fix it or just finish it time. Here’s to hoping I soon figure this all out.