This is the other part I really don't get about celebrity death commentary- the people who want to minimize the "importance" of a celebrity dying by comparing it to all the countless people/ children/ soldiers who die everyday. I have so many problems with this approach.
First of all, if the point you are trying to make is that all human life should be valued, then how can you base that argument on comparing one life to another? Second, I feel like these people feel very virtuous for trying to "keep things in perspective" or something like that but that, to me, is not even a viable or sustainable perspective to have. If the argument is that the celebrity does not deserve grieving any more than the nameless daily deaths, well, then we can choose to grieve for no one or everyone. Either choice is not practical, not realistic, and not in our human nature.
And finally it drives me absolutely nuts that people can't just give credit where credit is due. Yes, it is heartbreaking to think of the children dying and suffering every day all over the world. But unless I am going to take that on, make it personal (and - gasp!- do something about it) then frankly, it has not affected me. Yes I am acutely aware of how lucky I am for this to be the case, and yes I realize how cold that might sound, but I for one, am being honest. The homeless person that died today had no impact on my life (none that I know of anyway) whereas Michael Jackson provided endless inspiration, comfort, motivation, delight, and even bonding between me and my brothers, who must have analyzed every single dancer in "Smooth Criminal" about a hundred times. Michael Jackson inspired and affected millions of people. Whitney Houston did the same. Why is it a problem to some people that we relish that and celebrate them for it and mourn our collective loss? The same reason I don't grieve for your uncle's death whereas I will grieve for my own uncle's death is the same reason I feel no shame in grieving for a celebrity who has touched my life and not grieving for people I have no connection to.
And besides, compassion for one does not have to come at the expense of the other. My heart is big enough for it all. Is yours?
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Not sure whats wrong with people..... not sure how we all became so callous, so removed from compassion it seems..... relative anonymity of the internet hasn't helped our civil discourse, I don't think....
I'm just thinking about Whitney Houston and her death and there are so many elements that grab me about it, and celebrity deaths in general. Any commentary that is less than kind toward someone who has died , I mean especially someone you don't even know, seems so cruel. So many people are quick to point out that she was a drug addict. Which is fine. No one is asking anyone to feel sorry for her, but to blame an addict is to miss the point. We don't have any idea what she was up against throughout her life. We don't have any idea the toll fame takes on your sense of well-being, although we should all be able to admit that it must, that the way we treat celebrities must be perverse in some way, for the tragedy to repeat itself over and over.
At the end of the day, I am all about personal responsibility. But Id like us to stop pretending that the way we treat eachother is inconsequential. The same public that feel celebrities owe us explanations and apologies for their behavior, the same public that actually buys magazines with headlines like "stars without makeup" or "guess whose cellulite this is" , the same public who throws adulation and condemnation around as if these people mean something personal to us
are the same public that draws satisfaction from the final tsk tsk.
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I feel like I have to be diligent, fierce, and consistently on point in protecting my son from being fed the misgivings, fears, and judgements us adults have all become so attached to. I see it from every corner, even within our family, from people who love him and want only the best for him.... still they impose on him their strict limitations, their unobserved shortcomings, their own lack of self awareness mutated into some distorted forms of concern and caution...... Essentially people want him to be what they want
him to be. I want him to be who he is. Which basically means I want him to be free to discover what that means. I want him to like what he likes and want what he wants and feel what he feels without questioning what that "means" about him or what that means to the rest of us or how that fits into society.... And I don't mean this as some philosophical rhetoric that I plan on discussing with him one day to make him 'think about'.By then, the foundation has been laid. This is an active engagement on my part, an actual duty requiring constant awareness, presence, thought, discussions NOW, tact, and compassion. You don't even realize how narrow minded, prejudiced, and afraid we all are until you become a buffer between those thoughts and a developing mind. It makes me feel kind of hopeless in general but that much more determined when it comes to my children.
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If this picture makes you feel a sense of balance exists in the world..... you're crazy!
Much is made of “balance”. Im pretty sure we all think about it, strive for it, and maybe even get a taste of it in those rare moments that your work is done, the dishes are done, the oil got changed, fresh sheets are on the bed, the fridge is stocked, you enjoyed a leisurely hot shower, laughed with a good friend, and nobody around you is in crisis….. like I said….rare. I have had a mild obsession with balance (counterintuitive concept right there, huh?). Not an active conscious obsession, but when I take account of the way I live, my tendencies, my habitual thoughts…… its pretty obvious to me that striving for balance has been a defining factor in my choices and my personality, and therefore my path in life thus far. Which is not a ‘bad’ thing, of course, I can think of a lot more potentially destructive motivators.
HOWEVER I had a revelation last spring that I have been contemplating ever since. I often have moments of great clarity while seeing live music…… something about it gives me space to think, or feel in an uncluttered way is probably more accurate. Anyway, I was at my brothers senior recital and he was playing a really beautiful epic marimba piece and its not like the topic of balance had been nagging at me (not consciously, anyway) but there it was – in a flash----- Balance is not possible! Not in the way we think it is, anyway. What makes us think that we can attain balance? Because we see the natural world as a system of perfect balance, right? Down to our own bodies, we are healthy when everything is in balance. Nature has its own perfect systems of keeping balance from night turning to day to the natural food chain to precipitation and evaporation….. this is what we think anyway, right? But that’s like looking at earth from space and thinking how peaceful it all is. BIG PICTURE. And I think yes, in the overall scheme of things balance exists and is possible… in the BIG PICTURE.
The reality of our world, our bodies, our lives, is constant chaos. We are still alive because cells are constantly growing to replace the ones that are constantly dying. The animal kingdom maintains balance as a WHOLE but there is violence and struggle for survival in every creature of every species, everywhere, every day. Someone in the pack wasn’t fast enough, or cunning enough, and is sacrificed to the predator. Of all the ants that make an anthill an efficient and successful home, or all the bees in a beehive, some of them will die, but this does not compromise the whole. They all work to survive, without leisure, without the concept of leisure. In our own bodies, we are constantly fighting off invaders, intruders, and toxins just to maintain a basic level of health. When you get down to it, nothing is ever “in” balance. Everything is working very hard
to balance itself out from moment to moment. This moment is pain, the next moment should be without pain. This moment is hunger, the next moment should be no hunger. This moment is discomfort, the next moment should be no discomfort. This moment is near death, the next moment should restore life. This momentis
death, the next moment, life goes on. In our human world, these facts and events are wrought with emotion and turbulence. It is only our minds that don’t “get” this and seem to actually work against our acceptance maybe even enjoyment of the chaos - the flow and vibrations of being alive. We make a 'problem' of the things that we feel need to be balanced out - our hunger, our pile of laundry, our sadness, our indecisions, our life, our death. We have such highs and lows, emotionally, especially with the major players (disease, death, birth, big decisions and big changes) It makes us feel as though our worlds are turned upside down, thrown into orbit..... yet we always come out on the other side (or not - the ultimate balancer). When will we know that its just not possible or realistic to expect balance from moment to moment? But in the big picture, if we can step outside of our ‘selves’ for a moment, we will see that, in fact there is, and has always been, (and always will be) a perfect balance. It will just not be apparent, or even tangible, and it certainly won't ever be obvious NOW. .... and learning to thrive within the chaos, embrace it even, is the way to achieve peace.....which is what we mean by balance anyway, isn’t it?
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I find that I don’t like talking a lot about my plans, or what I am going to do, or how I plan to achieve my goals, etc etc just cause the more Im talking about it, the less Im doing about it, it seems. So on that note, Im not going to go into some long analysis about having not kept up with my blog, my site, my “career”….. what I will say is that I used to write alllllll the time- write songs, write letters, write journals…. and lately I can barely find time to write a check. But I am realizing, in a very real way, how important it is to feed that side of myself – the artist, the thinker, the girl who used to love having all night long to just be awake and be alone and write things and make things in quietude and solitude and the vast landscape of my own imagination…. My reality may be much less “ideal” now, much less romantic, and much less accommodating, but everything I am working so hard for now, as a mother, a partner, a person, and an artist, will all be in vain if I am not taking care of my own needs and allowing myself a few indulgent pleasures along the way…. even if my definition of indulgent these days is 20 minutes of enough mental space to write a blog post now and again. …….
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