Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PHYLLIS HYMAN living all alone

When I was a young woman growing up, I used to enjoy the soulful musical styling of the late Phyllis Hyman. I liked her passionate delivery and could feel emotion in her voice. I could identify with the struggles she sang about and felt connected to her.  She had a very powerful voice. I was introduced to her music at the height of her career. She was not a favorite artist of mine, I just happened to appreciate and enjoy the strength of her music. Her life made a lasting impact on my own when she tragically committed suicide.

My talents are in visual art and not in music. I can't sing my way out of a paper bag! However, music to me is one of the most powerful means of communication. You can move a stone heart to tears with a song, and Phyllis Hyman's voice had that kind of power to me. It is no wonder her untimely death baffled me. At that time I struggled with understanding how someone so beautiful, talented and successful could take their own life.  My belief structure challenges that option as well.

What is different in me today is life experience.  I have seen firsthand the pain humans endure through witnessing a death of a child, lost love, betrayal, slander, physical and mental abuse, being taken for granted and the like.  I connect with the hurting world.  I too have been hurt beyond my borders. I can empathize with a hurting soul. However, suicide is so final. There is no coming back. Internal struggles are intense and obviously for some to painful to endure. Why do some handle these situations with relative ease while others remain tortured souls?

Today I am still painfully affected when I hear about a suicide. Many questions remain unanswered. My main inquiry is if there was anything that could have been done to prevent a suicide?  I have had people tell me they think I am beautiful, talented and show success in my life choices. I have been told I am a strong person, one who has it all together. How one looks at oneself not always lines up with popular opinion. I think about how I looked at Phyllis Hyman with all her positive attributes and yet she was tortured enough to desire to end it all instantly. Tomorrow held no promise or hope for her. The rising sun brought no renewal. She wrote in her suicide note just hours before her scheduled performance at the Apollo Theater, that she was "tired." We never know how someones' internal struggle is destroying them. The outward appearance does not always match the internal. Do we even have vision to detect the subtle difference?

How do we become better stewards in the area of tending to the people around us? Do we ask the right questions? Do we become more involved in people lives? Notice humanity more? Have deeper conversations? All of this swirls around in my head as I wrestle with my own hurts. No one knows to ask me anything. I appear "put together".  There doesn't seem to be a definitive answer to any of these questions. We seem to always fall short when trying to understand how to prevent suicide.

So I fall back and think to myself, the answer for me lies in LOVE. To show love in my walk, no matter how small. The choice is mine to render love in all I do. Even as simple as making the person at Dunkin Donuts laugh at an unexpected joke, to kissing and hugging up on my children showering them with affection and approval. I honestly believe we can change the world through loving acts. I may not know how to get to the person silently and secretly writing their suicide note, but maybe, just maybe my display of outward love to my fellow man will give someone hope for a better tomorrow and influence them to put the pen down.

1 comment:

  1. I met her once in a small wing bar on Ave A and 12th street called Atomic Wings. The owner was a friend of hers and I use to go there and chill. I sat on a bar stool with her next to me and we ate wings and carrots and celery sticks with blue cheese dressing, she was beautiful and her personality was so refreshing and funny.
    We talked and laughed and shared weight issues. Lol. She Phyllis, had me for life as a fan and I wished a friend.
    I cried like I had lost my best friend that day. I was in New Orlean for the Essences Jazz Festival, I just couldn't understand the action or the thought process behind her actions and I still don't!?๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜žHowever I prayed for her and others with that sad demon inside their souls and for me to try not to feel that heavy weight on my on heart and accept my self love, no matter what! Amen..๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’•