A chakra song tribute to Amy Winehouse for what would have been her 35th birthday. I’ve always loved her music so much, with her eclectic mix of soul, jazz, and rhythm and blues. She said, “I just wanted to write music that was emotional, that people could connect with.” What Is It About Men was a flash in the night when I first heard it, with so many striking parallels to my own life. I couldn’t help the first time to hit the pause button and sob, partly for her and in part for myself. Her horrible experiences in school, unhealthy relationships, and patterns of self-harm were obvious similarities, but it was also her visceral and deeply emotional relationship to music. I understood needing it as though it were a separate person, a constant companion. It therefore made sense to me that her dream was to play for small audiences in small jazz venues.
“My destructive side has grown a mile wide.” A reporter once wrote Amy Winehouse was a “victim of mental illness in a society that doesn’t understand or respond to mental illness with great effectiveness.” We all have a self-destruct button. If we say we don’t, we’re not admitting to being human. Some of us just hit that button often in our lives. The gap widens. The isolation deepens. Amy’s incredible talent was obvious and lives on in her song. But I know there is a way out of insurmountable pain, it’s a place that we can tap into our own talent: perhaps creative, perhaps athletic. We don’t really know until we make that first attempt. Amy spoke with an understanding of depression. She said lots of people suffer depression and many who suffer simply do not have an outlet: “I think it’s a musician thing, that’s why I write music.” Many of the best athletes, artists, and comics have known incredible pain. We have more strength than we realize. Indeed, it is our ability to suffer that leads to the incredible strength to endure.