The passing of Whitney Houston shook my piano a bit. I’ve been off-key since. Not for the obvious reasons: she was able to hold a note longer than most contemporary R&B singers’ careers and had the voice control of a Russian diplomat.
Accolades and intelligently crafted love songs to the side, Houston had a problem that reflected the plume-filled houses most of my friends inhabited.
This is personal. For years, when Whitney made the headlines, I would see a person I love dancing across her veins. As disheartened as I am about the passing of Whitney, I am just as concerned about how Bobby Christina is coping with the news. I immediately wonder, betwixt vice and prayer bead, where my response would fall if it were my parent who passed.
As a child who was born to a mother addicted to drugs, I found myself adopting coping mechanisms to ease the discomfort that came with her fluctuating presence. At the age of fourteen, I would feel my mother leave me in my sleep. Frequently waking up alone, I cursed the drug(s) that ushered her away from me and into dark allies and hallways.
Thanks to D.A.R.E. (drug abuse resistance education=un-swagged acronym) I lived an adolescent life of paranoia; every night bowing to my carpet, begging it to beckon my mother’s footsteps. I figured praying to something inanimate, yet tangible might work better than building a friendship with a deity who—although rumored to be a magnificent director—sold me a bootleg copy of a divine life.
The consistent shattering of promises to get clean and stay there, texturized my skin into a brillow pad. I had been pierced enough and grew to understand that with flesh like armor, very few things could get under my skin.
As the years progressed, I became weary chasing after my mother. Eventually I gave up questing and resorted to assuming the worst. I continued to wear my armor, just in case a coroner tried to side swipe me.
I wonder if Bobby Christina wore the same get-up. If so, did it protect her from being punctured after having heard the news of her mother’s passing?
Whatever the case, the weight of my iron suit is beginning to curve my spine. I would probably be better off wearing the advice I imagine myself giving to Bobby Christina: stretch my perception until it hurts. Rather than perceiving a difficult circumstance as a dead-end, pull it apart then reassemble it into a possibility. From the dust of defeat, excavate opportunities to strengthen emotional resiliency and spiritual perseverance.
Perhaps I could allow the news of Houston’s passing to break my heart open, let the love she often times sang of lubricate my skin and return it back to normal.