She had some thoughts…
1. Everyone keeps saying that Whitney Houston’s voice was ravaged by drugs, but I don’t think that’s 100% true. Part of it was age; even the most well-trained opera singers retire or completely change the roles they sing in their 40s because the soprano register gets harder and harder to access. I wonder if that was part of her troubles, watching her gift seemingly slip away even when she was clean, unable to make peace with all she could still accomplish with a diminished vocal range, even with an unfathomable range of hard-won experience to draw on to power her performances.
2. I am reading Catching Fire, the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy. It’s difficult to read because it all seems so possible to me as the gap between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen and “the Capital”—our politicians, our bankers—seems not to care. And given that for so many of our poverty-stricken young people, irrespective of race, their only way out is to join the military, don’t we already have our own version of tesserae, of the Hunger Games?
3. I should be used to my body’s betrayals by now—the petulant lungs, the uterine fibroids gorging themselves on my blood as if the uterus decided to get me pregnant on its own. But still, it surprises me when this body breaks down, takes me a beat too long to accept an afternoon on the couch while I wait for this too to pass.
4. What struck me most when I heard the news of Whitney’s death was that she was only six years older than I am. I’ve lost two friends from high school in the last two years, and I nearly died myself six years ago, but still, in the first few seconds of hearing about a death, it seems unreal that people my age die.
5. God’s timing is the best timing, even in innocuous ways like making you catch the elevator to go home sick from work a half-hour later than you thought you would because there’s someone on that elevator that needs to connect with you around facing the same health issues.
6. Sometimes I think, “Oh, next year, I’ll finally be able to decide to let go of having natural children. At 43, it just won’t be that difficult to close that door, especially if I’m still unmarried.”
7. It’s amazing to me how much we have to lie to ourselves sometimes just to get to the next moment.
8. I wrote a lot of angry poems last year, so-called political poems. (I say so-called because I do believe every poem is political simply because of the act of choosing to speak out loud, but people usually mean “concerned with politics”when they say “political,” don’t they?) It was soul-wearying to be that angry and that creative at the same time.
9. That’s no excuse to stop being angry. Or creative.
10. Sometimes I get very very scared to speak out loud.