Clare Davidson

Writing without compromise

The icons who have left us

Karen_CarpenterMy mum tagged me in a Facebook post this morning, which was noting that it's been 30 years to the day that Karen Carpenter died.

I'm too young to have been a fan of the Carpenters whilst Karen was still alive, but at some point in my teens I heard her voice and instantly fell in love. I'm pretty sure my first introduction to their music was watching the film about her life and death.

Her life was short. Her talent great. Her death an utter tragedy.

I'm no stranger to body image issues. I've spent a lot of my life feeling miserable about my weight and the way I look. I remember one evening, when I was in high school, being at a friend's house. We were saying what feature we would want, if we could trade with another member in our friendship group. Everyone said they wanted my nose. To this day, it's about the only part of my face that I'm truly happy with, but I probably wouldn't be if that conversation had never taken place. However no matter how unhappy I've felt about myself, I couldn't ever damage my body to such an extent that I would sign my own death warrant.

Karen Carpenter struggled with body image for too much of her life. She struggled with anorexia and bulimia and didn't get the help and support she needed to get better. To love herself. Ultimately, the damage she did to her body led to heart failure. The only solace is that her music lives on and her voice has been immortalised and maybe, just maybe, her story will prevent another person from dying from these diseases.

heath-ledgerJust as I hope Heath Ledger's death will prevent someone else from abusing prescription drugs. Or the deaths of River Phoenix and Cory Monteith will prevent someone else from taking illegal substances, in search of a temporary high.

Each of these people were icons in life. Their deaths shocked their fans, present and future. Hopefully, their deaths are not meaningless. Look to the icons who have left us prematurely and learn from their mistakes. Respect them by not repeating them. You are worth too much to throw your life away. You are special. You are unique. You are amazing.

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On 05/02/2016 Jennette said: Oh yes. Such a great and beautiful post! Love how you concluded it. I first discovered Karen Carpenter the same way. Through the film about her life and death. Although, my parents had one of their albums already.

On 05/02/2016 Clare Davidson said: It was a very good film. I'll never forget the shot of the young Karen on roller-skates beside the gurney with her older self on. Thanks for commenting x

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