The Singer – Not The Song

“Wow, I cannot believe this is happening.” She gazed at her reflection and smiled. Good fortune had been shining upon her for the last several years, but this particular one was a coup. For her to have reached this level, went beyond her wildest dreams.

She thought about her greatest gift and instrument and was pleased she had nurtured it with rest.

As she turned away from the mirror, she readied herself for this next step. She was hovering around thirty years old and reflected on her life. As she smiled at the successes bestowed on her, she suddenly felt uneasy and had a flash. “Oh no,” she whispered. It had been many months, and she thought these nightmarish memories had receded once and for all.

The Past Can Plague

The familiar humming began, a sweet sound increasing in volume as it often did when visiting her. The melodic voice was inescapable, luring her deep to that place she feared, a place toward annihilation. Tightness in her chest began to spread like wildfire. She experienced the stillness of the night returning her to that time of long ago. The darkness felt suffocating, and her breathing almost stopped.

As she journeyed along the bridge of time, she arrived at a place of seven years of age. Immediately, an apparition came out of the shadows continuing with that melodic tune. The beaming face that came into focus was glassy-eyed, and the hums became mixed with a soft, slurring voice. “Sweety, you know I love you. Come closer.” The siren began singing in a way reminiscent of her other aunts.

As always, confusion took over. A tentative comfort began to emerge, hoping against hope that this time would be different, more like days past. She prayed for soothing hands and lips and hugs of safety and protection. As she relaxed, a shift took place, the gentle hands morphed into tentacles and delicate kisses contorted into a venomous tongue, both violently invading her sacred parts.

Sweat was now pouring down her back as she hyperventilated, looking for a way to ground herself and bring her back. She grabbed onto the dressing table, feeling the hard structure and running her hand along the smooth grain. She stomped her foot hard, and soon the images and feelings began dissipating. A knock at the door completed a return to the present.

“Yes?” She called out. “Two minutes, Miss before we begin.” She smiled gratefully and responded with, “Thank you so much.” As she steadied herself, she dabbed her face with powder and took a towel to wipe her back. Indulging in a healthy sip of water, she shook her head and looked back at the mirror.

Countering Demons of the Past

The seeds of doubt began to sow as she could hear the siren proclaiming, ”You are nothing without me, and these get-togethers are our secret. You better not tell a soul. Otherwise, the family will view you as evil, shunning you forever. Your mother, aunts, and everyone else will know that you were the cause of all of this happening.” This time, she fought away the tears and yelled, “No!” She leaned in and stared defiantly in the mirror with her shoulders back and her head high, remembering the words of her therapist. “You are unique like the stars in the sky, the trees on the ground. You have a gift, and even though others may have one also, yours is like no other. Use it in a way that reminds you and everyone else that it is genuinely the singer and not the song.”

Yes, the therapist was correct. The self-soothing words warded off the feelings of inadequacy. She felt calm and was grateful that she was able to return to being centered and free of paralyzing anxiety. Also, she knew that the only revenge for this unfairness in life was living a successful one in whatever form that was.

Although outwardly, the discovery of her gifts elevated her to the halls of great fame and fortune, internal mending would be necessary all of the days of her life. Sometimes she doubted herself and questioned the validity of her memories. When she would awake in the morning, daily routines continued as if nothing out of the ordinary happened in the night. The therapist would gently remind her that this was not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse, reassuring her that she was not losing her mind.

Reminding her of her uniqueness, she steadied herself and briefly closed her eyes. She imagined the way she would sing the song. She heard another version of it by a male singer. Yes, it was an excellent rendition with a country twang, but she wanted to deliver it as if it was written only for her. Maybe it was. No matter, she hoped the composer, the great country singer, and songwriter would be pleased.

She slowly opened the door and went out into the recording studio. Saying hello to everyone, she put her headphones on and tested the microphones. She looked up at the producer as he said, “Ms. Houston, we are ready when you are.” She nodded, and he counted down, “Five, four, three, two…” She breathed slowly and began creating what others would perceive as magic, “If I should stay, I will only be in your way. So I will go, but I know I will think of you every step of the way. And I will always love you…”

A Gift Like No Other

Whitney Houston was one of the most gifted singers of my generation. I can remember the first time I heard her. It was in the early 1980s when she sang her first hit, “Good Love.” Guinness World Records continues to cite her as the most awarded female artist of all time

In the early 1990s, she starred in her first and only major motion picture, “The Bodyguard.” Critics did not give her positive feedback for her acting. I thought she was delightful, however, and no one can ever forget her voice as she sang Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”

I often wondered what made her take such a self-destructive course a little later in life. Many blamed her husband for introducing her to the world of drugs. Perhaps, but I believe it was more or equally related to the sexual abuse she allegedly underwent by a female relative. Consequently, self-doubts plagued her all of her life. When I learned this, being in the profession, I thought to myself, “I should have known.”

Ms. Houston is now singing with the angels as she deserves. Her voice is like no other.

Many do not have a mellifluous voice bestowed on them like Ms. Houston, but we all have some kind of unique gifts. It is up to us for the taking. Life is like a song, but the singer determines the performance. The tune can change at any point in time.

Do You Believe You Can Change The Tune of Your Song?

What about you? Do you believe that you, the singer, can take an ordinary song and make it extraordinary? I certainly do, at any time, including surviving extreme conditions.

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Darlene Corbetthttps://darlenecorbett.com/
Darlene Corbett is a Speaker, Author, Licensed Therapist/Coach, and Podcaster and is known as the “UnStuck” expert. She has developed programs based on her experience and is hired by associations and corporations all over the country to share her expertise. Darlene is a high-content speaker with an engaging and energizing style. Darlene loves working with people and believes her foundation as a Therapist and Hypnotherapist validates her position that everyone has the capacity to get UnStuck. When it comes to her deep understanding of human behavior, communication and relationships, Darlene not only helps refurbish the house but steady the foundation. She has been quoted in Knox News, MSN.com, Bustle, and Best Life and has written many blogs and articles. Her book, Stop Depriving The World of You: A Guide for Getting Unstuck, was published by Sound Wisdom in November 2018. Darlene’s weekly podcast “Tap Into The Power of U,” is for men and women 40+ who wish to get unstuck. Darlene is a member of many associations and is an Approved Consultant with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Abby’s House in Worcester, MA. In her personal life, Darlene enjoys spending time with her husband, dogs, and close friends as well as crocheting, reading, staying fit and loving life. She thanks God every day for giving her the energy and excitement to continue to look forward to what is ahead.

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  1. Powerful story telling! Thank you Darlene. I am always fascinated by stories of people whom I admire. We always meet them when they are glorious. We never get to hear enough of the real story. How much self-doubt they faced, how many no’s they got. They prevail. I just watched Music of Silence telling the story of Bocelli whom I love. The same. Talent is there but only a few see it in them. Thanks for this. We all need it.

  2. Oh my goodness, Darlene, as someone who loved, loved, loved Whitney but didn’t really know that much about the woman behind the glorious voice, this was… so powerful and painful. You capture inner dialogue so beautifully. I don’t think I’ll ever play another Whitney song without thinking of this haunting piece.

    • Thank you, Kimberly, for your lovely comment. I appreciate it. Yes, sadly, Whitney Houston was tortured by self doubt which brought down that reckless path of no return. Once I learned about her abuse, it came together for me. She was terrific, and I am pleased for her she was able to use her gifts and share them with the world.💖

  3. Powerful writing and storytelling, Darlene. Life can be many songs; I suppose that is one of the reasons music can be an escape and a therapist. But, to your point, I do believe that how we choose to use our gifts is up to us. I’m so glad that you use yours to share your insight and perspective in such an engaging and creative way.

  4. Darlene — My wife has a magnet on our refrigerator that reads “No child is born a racist.” You can substitute so many words for “racist” like “No child is born a drug addict.” I am baffled at a response that uses “G-d” but fails to extend an ounce of compassion for what might have driven WH to use drugs. And to die using them.

    Anyway…your piece was beautifully written, and I personally loved your sentiment and question. “Can a singer take an ordinary song and make it extraordinary?” I don’t know how anyone can listen to her rendition of an ordinary song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_lCmBvYMRs and not respond with a resounding “Yes!” Every time I listen to it, the tears flow. What a gift.

    • Hi Jeff,
      Thank you! I was so taken aback by that comment that I decided it did not warrant a response. I could not agree more. To invoke God in the same sentence of such judgment speaks for itself.

      I appreciate your lovely comment. Being in the people business, you and I know that human suffering lurks in ways often heavily disguised. Despite her trauma, Whitney glorified us with her gifts which we have forever. Again, I appreciate your response. By the way, congratulations on being spotlighted this month. Well deserved!💖

  5. This is so touching and a truly powerful message. I was on the road for six years playing music and I am very familiar with the demons that are along for the journey. Thank you for sharing this amazing story.

  6. Darlene, Whitney Houston was a drug addict. As such I have nothing to say about her. I do not believe it is healthy to salute dead drug addicts no matter what their talent was. Life has its own music. Our lives depend on us to a large degree and to a greater degree is the path that comes from G-d.

  7. I loved (still love) Whitney Houston’s singing. What a beautiful, sad story about how important resilience can be when life throws many curve balls, Darlene. There’s something quite exceptionally courageous about any person who steps onto a stage and sings from their heart and soul. I get the chills every time I hear her music. I’m grateful she shared her gifts with all of us. Your story reminds me that we all came here to be creators-sometimes we can use our life energy and focus to create lives we love living every single moment. Our healings, transformations and ability to create a life well-lived in love and service becomes our gift to the world. May all people honor their gifts, talents, skills and unique creations. I believe this is why we are here on the planet! Thank you for this piece, my friend, for sharing your gifts!

  8. Tears! Warm and beautiful tears are the outcome of reading your exquisite piece my soulsister Darlene 💙🧚‍♀️💜

    Reconnecting with our inner talents is indeniably fantabulous and can benefit the whole world!

    Now, does this mean it could benefit the person? Yes, but it is very limited unfortunately… The fantabulous singer Whitney Houston is only one of millions of talented people who prove it…

    What is the most important part then? Re-connecting with the original great BEING after being armed with the highest levels of honesty, openness, bravery and consistency; so that we could destroy all the invasive conditioning crappy mental patterns, and heal the traumas deep emotional scars.

    When we realize we have ALL been granted some incredible gifts, namely the POWER OF CHOICE, the PRINCIPLES CENTER, and our 4 INTELLIGENCES, only then can we start the painful homework of re-inventing ourselves, in order to benefit FIRST ourselves and SECOND the universe 💎

      • Awww I believe every single person who is not a character-disturbed individual (those ones are excluded because thir GRANDIOSITY common pattern will always blind them) has ALL THE POWER to do so! It requires the 4 mandatory elements described above though! If I was able to bear with the huge pain of re-writing the program and do it after almost committing suicide, then ANYBODY can. I’m just more and more convinced that we do need to reach a point of NO RETURN to start it!

        More to the point, it’s definitely NOT possible for the whole world as I was loving to say (re-inventing the whole world from within).

        Now that I know about the character-disordered people, I became pragmatic and realistic!

        Still, I do believe there are so many kind-hearted people out there who were only vehiculated a f*cked up program and who could always re-write it and reconnect with their great being whenever they decide to pay the price!

  9. Brilliantly written Darlene and sadly so necessary. I didn’t know this about Whitney Houston. Her life then we could say was one of resilience and great courage and fortitude. Overcoming whatever life throws at us is something we all should be ready for, because all signs shows it can throw some very challenging times especially for children and they need protecting. Thank you for sharing this as I’m sure there is someone out there who needs to hear it.

    • Thank you, dear, Laurie! Yes, Whitney Houston, despite the demons she suffered from trauma managed to mesmerize us with her gorgeous voice, like no other. Her descent into darkness shows the aftereffects of the most egregious misuse of power, preying on a child. I salute her and honestly believe she is singing with the angels.💖

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