Creating from the Darkness…My 2 Cents On the Life and Death of Amy Winehouse

Hello everyone! I know I’ve been MIA lately in blog world. Time is a rare commodity these days!  I think the news of Amy Winehouse’s death last weekend sparked something in me. I remember everyone talking about how “different” she was when she first came onto the US music scene. And I know what a difficult badge that word “different” is to wear sometimes.

I’ve been hearing the same comments I always hear when a celebrity dies “way too young”…especially when it applies to musicians abusing drugs and alcohol. Heck I’ve made some of those comments myself in the past. “Such a waste”. Some comments from fans are full of disappointment and sadness. Other comments come from anger and frustration. “She had everything….why didn’t she get help?”  Unfortunately I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone when the news of Winehouse’s death was announced Saturday. We’ve witnessed her behavior and watched her spiraling. The thing is none of us can know what was going on with her on the inside… but as an artist I can say that a lot of us creative folk are “broken” in one way or another. Many of us create in order to release whatever it is we are dealing with inside. Some of us have found a way to effectively channel our emotions into our art. But many never quite figure it out or are suffering too much or are carrying too many burdens to ever get through it.

What’s ironic is….once we are “discovered” and our art is put out there, people start wanting more of it and idolizing the artist. Suddenly we are supposed to be “perfect”. Now our pain, our release, our weakness becomes sought after. Now we have to keep doing it. We spent our lives being perceived as “different” and perhaps set apart in a bad way. Ridiculed and ostracized because we saw the world from a unique perspective. “Different” was a bad thing. And now we are being applauded for that which once caused us pain. We have to keep finding a way to make more art that people want. And remember sometimes we are creating from a dark place..the same place from which we were once trying to escape. Now we have to keep going back. Amy herself said it helped her to be “whacked out” in order to create.  I believe that’s how she put it. 

Once you add the celebrity status, the demanding schedules, the constant media attention, the rumors, the spotlight on all of your “faults”….well I can guarantee that no one is exempt from the possibility of breaking under the pressure. It’s very easy to say that you would never turn to drugs. You would never be that self destructive. You could never be like Amy.  And let me ask…are you saying that while holding a cocktail in your hand after a rough day at the 9 to 5?  What if one day that cocktail wasn’t enough to relax you after a rough day?  Yeah okay, maybe it’s not the exact same thing…but maybe that’s just because you’ve never experienced that kind of darkness.  It starts small.  It escalates.  It spirals.  The greater the pain the stronger the drug needed to calm it.

A lot of drug addicts and alcoholics are also suffering from clinical depression but were never properly diagnosed early in life.  They start self medicating and they don’t even really know why.  They need to drown the pain, put the demons to sleep for a while..pass out.  Because feeling nothing is better than the pain they are going through.  I’m not saying that this was the case with Amy or any celebrity we see spiraling out of control.  I’m just saying that you never know what’s truly going on.  You never know the depths of the pain they might be going through.  And if you don’t know that kind of darkness maybe you should be grateful intead of judgmental.

As an artist I can only pray it never gets that dark for me.  As a mom I can only pray I never have to experience what Amy’s mom is going through.  I pray I never have to watch my child self destruct and be unable to reach him.  And if despite my efforts and my prayers I still experience these things, I can only hope you will know that there is more going on inside than what meets the eye.  And I hope you will look at me and my family with compassion instead of judgement. 

Until next time….

Much love and light…

Janice B.

2 thoughts on “Creating from the Darkness…My 2 Cents On the Life and Death of Amy Winehouse”

  1. My God, Janice – you put the exact feelings I had in excellent words when hearing some of the responses to her passing! I recall a conversation with a friend, who commented along the lines of “everyone could see that coming” – and I went completely off at him! Because it triggered my anger over people apparently resorting to being judgemental instead of compassionate! How about simply feeling for her instead of dismissing her with being judgemental? Since when did an artist stop being a human being FIRST? Like you said, her use of drugs might have been her way of self-medicating. Now, I can already hear the wise guys going “Why didn’t she get help?” There is a very simple answer, and it’s plain to read and hear for anyone with ears and a heart (especially the line “I just, ooh, I just need a friend”..):

    “Rehab”

    They tried to make me go to rehab but I said ‘no, no, no’
    Yes I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know know know
    I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine
    He’s tried to make me go to rehab but I won’t go go go

    I’d rather be at home with ray
    I ain’t got seventy days
    Cause there’s nothing
    There’s nothing you can teach me
    That I can’t learn from Mr Hathaway

    I didn’t get a lot in class
    But I know it don’t come in a shot glass

    They tried to make me go to rehab but I said ‘no, no, no’
    Yes I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know know know
    I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine
    He’s tried to make me go to rehab but I won’t go go go

    The man said ‘why do you think you here’
    I said ‘I got no idea
    I’m gonna, I’m gonna lose my baby
    so I always keep a bottle near’
    He said ‘I just think you’re depressed,
    this me, yeah baby, and the rest’

    They tried to make me go to rehab but I said ‘no, no, no’
    Yes I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know know know

    I don’t ever wanna drink again
    I just ooh I just need a friend
    I’m not gonna spend ten weeks
    have everyone think I’m on the mend

    It’s not just my pride
    It’s just ’til these tears have dried

    They tried to make me go to rehab but I said ‘no, no, no’
    Yes I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know know know
    I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine
    He’s tried to make me go to rehab but I won’t go go go

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  2. Hey Wes! Thanks for the input. I understand a lot of people’s anger toward addicts, etc. I’ve been in those shoes before….it’s frustrating when you keep trying to help someone and they won’t help themselves. When their actions affect your whole family. It’s never just the addict who suffers. But I think that a lot of people don’t consider the underlying issues involved. They only see someone being reckless at that moment or only see what the media wants us to see and they cast judgement from that. I guess my blog was just to point out that any of us could take the wrong path if the burden was heavy enough. You just never know.

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