And not too long after that, I watched a program called “Amy Winehouse: A Last Goodbye.”
I wasn’t a huge fan while she was alive, mostly because I can’t listen to music while I am writing, and I am writing most hours while I’m awake, and earning rent money wins out over my playlist about 100 percent of the time.
But on the rare occasions when I did hear her songs, I thought she was fabulous.
Now that I’ve watched this particular documentary, I am aware there are a number of other Amy Winehouse documentaries as well. Maybe that is why this one seemed somewhat bare of the kind of intimate photos, video footage and even soundtrack selections I would have expected for a film called “A Last Goodbye.”
It mostly featured interviews with a handful of reporters who apparently interviewed Amy and her parents rather regularly while she was with us.
But I get off-topic.
Two things stood out about this documentary:
- First, it was incredibly compassionate towards Amy, her parents and her ex-husband, with whom she apparently had the most inextricable kind of star-crossed soulmate connection.
- And second, it was so clear that Amy Winehouse was a person who was addicted to….well, everything. She was addicted to music, to songwriting, to performing, to her ex, to alcohol, to drugs, to self-harm, to pretty much anything that came her way.
In other words, she didn’t come here to do things “right” or play it safe or be a grown-up or any of the things I’ve worried about my whole life to date.
From what I could see, she came here to LIVE. To do that, she wanted to feel – and yet she didn’t want to feel. She wanted everything, except when she wanted nothing to swallow her up and leave her in peace. Her life had no middle ground, but was lived in an ongoing series of extremes.
As such, her inner addict was on 24/7, constantly jonesing, constantly begging, constantly needing, and there were no acceptable substitutes for whatever-it-was she needed in that particular moment.
I wrote to my mentor after viewing “A Last Goodbye” and mentioned my impressions of watching a woman who loved so much that when her ex went to prison and she thought she would never see him again, she likened the feeling to death.
In fact, near the end Winehouse supposedly told a reporter (about her ex): “he is the only one who can save me now.”
As the film tells it, she told her ex that she was afraid they would never be together again. He laughed and replied that of course they would be together again – they loved each other.
And she said it wasn’t funny and she felt like she was going to die.
To me, that is what it has felt like all these years as my inner addict has tried to grasp onto this, and that, and them, and then something else, dissolving into desperation every time I don’t get my way, or a relationship falls apart, or someone leaves me.
Now, I think that awful, horrible, soul-sinking feeling has been me experiencing my inner addict dying.
I think she has died again, and again, and again over the years. She has died in so many different ways. She has more lives than the stray cats yowling outside my window at night and yet some day, one day, I know she will have to die for good.
I’m also pretty excited about it.
My mentor responded to my thoughts by telling me that every time my inner addict starts to die, in the past I have blamed myself for those feelings, thinking it was something I was doing wrong or a part of my illness I could never get rid of, or just me being broken and beyond repair yet again.
But I now suspect that all along it was just the inner addict, relating in her own way to the outside world, grasping and greedy and begging and needy and dying a little more each time she didn’t get her way and couldn’t get her needs met.
And every time she dies again, a little bit more of the real me comes back to life.
It occurs to me that, in the most unexpected twist, this makes Amy Winehouse one of my mentors – and a very influential one at that. Because of her story, I now have a better understanding of my own.
Thank you, Amy. Rest in Peace.
Today’s Takeaway: What is your take on those moments in life when something goes south and something in you just falls completely apart because of it? Do you have a theory about what is going on? Is it healthy or unhealthy? Do you relate to it as a positive thing – a forward step – or a step back?