Monday, February 13, 2012

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

When I saw the headline I gasped.  Whitney Houston dead.  I was surprised not so much by her death, but by my shock.  C'mon, I mean who was surprised....really?  Sad. Yes. But we all knew she hadn't lived the healthiest lifestyle (i.e. "crack is whack" moment, everything we saw on the reality show "hell to the no") for years.  Of course we were all hoping for a comeback, but my shock at her death surprised me.

People talk about the soundtrack of their lives or songs that remind them of their childhood or teenage years.  For a lot of us, that was Whitney.  Right when I started thinking about boys as more than just friends "How Will I Know" was my anthem.  The summer I started wearing a bikini to the pool and thinking I was pretty cute "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was playing on my pink jam box.

I was a nervous teenager wondering what "we're at war" was all about when Whitney sang "The Star Spangled Banner" at the SuperBowl.  I daydreamed about going to the Olympics or winning anything as I listened to "One Moment In Time."

In college, her movie and soundtrack for The Bodyguard came out.  After years of trying to figure out my complicated relationship with my mother, Whitney's powerful version of "I Will Always Love You" became my anthem.  While most of my friends were using it as their anthem for a lost love or bad breakup, it helped me create boundaries (at least a few) and let go (at least a little)of my mother all those years ago.

I'm sure I'm not alone.  As we think about all the memories we have associated with Whitney's music, it all comes rushing back.  I'm not surprised she died.  But I sure am sad.  Sad for her and her family.  Sad that she had demons.  Sad that her demons will be analyzed for weeks in the media, but five million prescriptions will still be handed over to addicts everywhere celebrities and non-celebrities alike.  Sad because people will talk about the enablers and place blame on people for a couple weeks and then forget. 

But people won't forget the songs and the memories.  

As I think about her life, I think about my past.  I think about sweet memories and some tough ones.  And some fun ones.  

One of my favorite things to do to blow off steam used to be to crank up Whitney's song "It's Not Right, But It's Okay" and lip sync, yes in my kitchen.  You should try it, in honor of Whitney and all the moments that she sang for the soundtrack of our lives.  I'm going to do it today for sure.

(I've even written about how Whitney songs have impacted my current life--like this time I Believe The Children Are Our Future and It's So Not the Worst and Crack is Whack.)

Beautiful version of "How Will I Know."

Jennifer Hudson's amazing tribute to Whitney on last night's Grammy Awards.

Last video, I promise.  Great Whitney performance from The Preacher's Wife.

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