How WIll I know (If she really loved me…)

Ok so this Whitney Houston thing has me wrecked.  Not because of Whitney.  Not really anyway.  I mean, I was born in 1977 and I have some really fabulous Whitney memories.  I remember I wanted her skin color because to me it was just so beautiful and flawless.  She was the first audio cassette I owned – ok I got hers and Lionel Richie on the same day 🙂  I remember sitting across from my grandmother and singing “One Moment in Time” and really believing Nana when she said I sang it better than Whitney.

I’m sure I will do a post on my views on addiction at some point, given that in my own right I struggle with addiction, but suffice it to say that what really angers me is when people act like the only addicts in the world worth caring about are dead celebrities.  My mother was an addict.  Do you know how many times I was scared that she would drown in the bathtub?  My mother was 47 when she died and we live maybe 45 minutes from where Whitney grew up.  Is her addiction more important than my mother’s?

This is a confusing time for me because I am simultaneously dealing with the idea of my mother as abuser.  The same little girl afraid of her mother drowning was the one who’s wrist she grabbed tight while she masturbated in the bathtub.  The same little girl checking for breath when she passed out was the same one who had to make it through the fog of cigarette smoke to deliver a fresh beer.  God, I can still smell that scent – sweat, sex, stale beer and cigarettes.  My stomach turns just thinking about it.  That distance from the door to the tub seems to be ten miles.  At one time I knew exactly how many tiles there were in that bathroom.  I would watch the paths of the condensation drops on the cans of Meister Brau.  Although my mother died in 2001 she remains fixed in my memory much as my memory of Whitney Houston – big hair, big shoulders, bright makeup – and a dead look behind the eyes.

One of the thoughts that comforted me in the months after my mother’s death was that she chose to go – to release me.

“Bittersweet memories

that is all I’m taking with me.

So, goodbye.

Please, don’t cry.

We both know I’m not what you, you need.”

Tonight I feel like I’m the one drowning in the bath tub.  I can’t quite get my thoughts straight and it’s an assault of feelings, sounds and smells.  I’ve been wanting to write something for days and I keep getting stuck.  I keep trying to comfort myself – with food, with music, with old friends.  I never quite get there.  It’s never quite enough.  Or I find myself getting sucked back 20+ years.  It’s Valentine’s Day and I should be celebrating my marriage, and instead I’m sitting here grateful that he’s absorbed in something.  All week I’ve been struggling, sleeping too much, irritable, restless.  And lashing out at people because they’re saddened by the death of an icon.  Then beating myself up for getting angry.  Even I have to laugh.

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