Monday, July 25, 2011

Driving with their eyes closed (by Jennifer Hoffman)

"My first thought, when I heard that Amy Winehouse had died, was how sad that such a gifted powerful woman was no longer here and that her death would impact us as much as her life did. Many people will look at her short life and think of her as another hopeless addict, too messed up to take control of her life but that is not what she was. Amy was part of a generation whose purpose is to show us our pain and dysfunction, which they often do by mirroring it themselves. If she made people uncomfortable, or if her music touched us deeply it was because her life, addictions and pain were, in some way, ours too.
It is easy to judge people like Amy Winehouse, and the thousands of other gifted young people we know who appear to waste their lives and their talents. We think 'if I had a gift like that I would make better use of it' or 'if I had that ability I wouldn't be wasting my time and energy on drugs and alcohol.' We love, hate, criticize and judge them because they are such great mirrors of us and our pain. We love them because we can connect and relate to them; we hate them because they remind us of our pain and weakness. And we judge and criticize them because they speak a truth we are afraid to hear.
They seem to be 'driving with their eyes closed', crashing into the walls of society with no regard for themselves. I believe they are highly empathic and can't tell the difference between our pain and theirs, so they take it all in. Everything hurts, all of the time, and drugs and alcohol numb the pain. They try to fix the world by showing us our darkness and dim their own light in the process. They do not know that the easier way is to shine their light brightly but they are too afraid that we will get the wrong impression, so they become a caricature of their truth and hope that by inspiring us to pity and cry with them, that we will get the message.
It is not easy to be part of this transitional generation who have come to change the world and who are so talented that we hold them to a higher standard. So when they try to connect with us through our humanity, by mirroring our pain, we think they are just being stupid. But the situation is much more complicated than that and we, although we don't realize it, are blessed by their life, no matter how short it is, as well as by their passing. One day we will no longer need these kinds of teachers and we can celebrate them, their talent, empathy, gifts and their lives in happier ways."

Jennifer Hoffman



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