The world of celebrities has lately seen a trail of wasteful deaths: Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and most recently Whitney Houston. People of phenomenal abilities, gifted with remarkable skills and good fortune with the power to draw and keep the attention of enraptured fans for decades...and then get knocked-out by the blow of stardom. Towering personalities, shrunken. Weakness overshadowed accomplishments, checked off easily in numbers, strings of consecutive no 1's, Grammy's, sold records. In the end, they couldn't be saved from themselves. Pure God-given wealth, trashed. Conveniently, there is always someone or something to blame. Whitney Houston's ill-fated marriage to Bobby Brown and descent into drugs, Amy Winehouse's hapless addiction to alcohol and drugs, Michael Jackson's...can't even a keep track of his apologies, and drugs.
It is enviable that some people are born to be effortlessly good at things. Born with the gift of beauty, unusual intelligence or skill. The especially genetically favoured! Are the rest sitting on their hands waiting for brilliance to kick in? Are cliffs being blocked off in a rush, to keep them from jumping off when they realise it won't? I'm referring to the stars of average existences that find a preternatural ability to forge on, the real stars of life.
The kind who hold the trusting hands of their dying child through the last year of her life. Knowing she will never go to school, never learn to swim, never fall in love, never feel a first kiss. Knowing she can never know. So they keep her smiling, playing, singing, while they watch her fade. Doing their crying in the rain.
Of the kind who throw on their business suits and stilettos, splash on the mascara, slap on the smile and head right back to the corporate grind, only hours after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The show goes on, the living continues while there is life. You feel your way along an unfamiliar path. Improvising, adapting because there are children to raise and bills to be paid.
And of the kind who left home on a happy holiday, to return as only half the couple and person they were. Ashes in place of what should be a person. Picking up the pieces and dropping them again, practicing till you learn to hold it together. Because you go on. Not out of a lack of options. Out of choice.
Choosing not to succumb to the temptation of self-pitying weakness. Choosing to generate outstanding grit.
I hereby declare myself an ardent fan, of real stars.