Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good Enough

I admit it. I watched the Whitney Houston funeral Saturday afternoon. I even hit record in case I missed something. I'm not sure what drove me to turn it on. Probably the same thing that has driven me to watch other televised memorials. A morbid curiosity to uncover how a life filled with so much potential could end so soon. Or perhaps just the writer in me that never tires of story, true or fiction.

In any case there I found myself. Lying on the couch with a cup of coffee tuned to CNN.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was surprised that Kevin Costner was invited to speak. What surprised me even more was the depth of what he said and the clues he gave to what went wrong.

Whitney, he told us, was worried about being good enough. Which upon first hearing makes me laugh. Inarguably she had one of the most legendary voices of our time. How could she not know that she was good enough? How could she even worry about it?

But she did. With all of her fame and her celebrity status she worried about the same things we all do. Doubt and fear transcend race and socio-economic status as does that question of being good enough.

Smart enough, thin enough, fast enough, strong enough, talented enough,  lovable enough, to be deserving.  The prize could be the record contract, the book deal, the guy, you fill in the blank.

Her fears of being enough seemed to lead her to a dependence on alcohol and drugs as a way of coping and that led to her untimely death. For many of us, our fears of being good enough lead us to not even try for our prize.

We all saw her genius and talent, yet she worried it wasn't enough. Maybe in her reflection we can see our own.


Colette Martin said...

There really is something to be said for being the underdog. I think those on top feel an incessant pressure to stay on top (or ahead, or the best). Can you imagine what it's like to see young singers being compared to you, or being told they could be the next you? Especially when the thing you do is affected by age it has to be incredibly hard. My two cents...

Unknown said...

That is a good two cents!

Liane said...

My goodness! I think it is true that we seldom see ourselves the way others see us from the outside. It is hard to believe about Whitney (going "What the..?"), but I've been learning lately how little I know for not having walked too many miles in others' shoes. I was humbled by that realization, but in the same way I am encouraged and feel a sense of "I'm not alone". It also stirs up in me that I don't want to think like that about myself, and I have been struggling with it for a long time. I think I have many talents and I dream about using them, and others tell me how talented I am, but I struggle with confidence - with perfection - with meeting the expectation and being good enough. With all my heart I would love to overcome that! Sometimes I wonder who this woman (I) would be if I didn't have any baggage and hang-ups - but whole; what I would be capable of and what a meaningful life I could live. I've decided to work towards finding that out.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Kevin Costner gave a perfect eulogy. He even made Bobbi Christina and her grandmother smile with his stories, and he had good insight into Whitney's insecurities. However, I think that her problems may have been a bit deeper than the pressure to live up to early hype. Thanks for the post.