I’m Every Woman – More Than a Song
© Matthew Henry
Now that our book, I Am Every Woman is out for all to read, I’d like share something about a song title which is very similar and has touched the lives of many people.
Perhaps most famously, ‘I’m every woman’ was recorded by Whitney Houston for the 1992 movie The Bodyguard. The soundtrack also included Whitney’s take on Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ and was, at the time, the best-selling film soundtrack of all time.
“Whatever you want, whatever you need
Anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally
‘Cause I’m every woman
It’s all in me, it’s all in me”
The song ‘I’m every woman’ in addition to the above first verse, tells us that a woman can read people’s thoughts, cast spells, and ‘mix a special brew to start a fire inside of you.’ And that woman is able to appear any time ‘a man feels danger or fear.’ These words reveal a great belief in the power of women and their intuition. But all is not black or white. Women have their shadow work to do too and can at times be perceived as dangerous and feared as a result. And talking about starting a fire in another, what about the fires inside that seem to burn us up at times?
A Life of Paradoxes
One thing that I conclude having read all the intriguing stories of the book I Am Every Woman is that our lives tend to be so full of paradoxes. Each and every life story is unique and individual, and yet some themes seem to run through them all. Even if we may not be superstars, our lives are greatly shaped by our talents and sense of purpose, and by the relationships that we engage in – with others and ourselves.
Whitney was a superstar and a diva. Full of soul, she transcended all genres. Beautiful and talented, when she released her first album in 1985, she was only 21 but already a successful model. The record sold 25 million copies. By 1988 she had surpassed the Beatles record of consecutive number one hits, and her net worth was in the region of USD 44 million. She had a voice to die for, but also demons that dragged her down. It might just have been a belief in something larger than life that got her through, until it no longer did.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that Whitney discovered singing at the New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey. Her mother led the gospel choir there along with performing backup vocals for Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick (Whitney’s cousin) and Aretha Franklin (Whitney’s godmother). The church was also the place where Whitney felt herself ‘infused with the Holy Spirit’. A Leo, born in August, she believed in herself, that she could unleash thunder from her chest. When she was singing, she was having a conversation with God, releasing love into the universe, someone observed. She achieved massive fame, and yet or perhaps because of it, her life was plagued by drugs and toxic relationships.
Could it be that with all her talent and strength men perceived her to be a threat? Was she attracted to complicated R&B star Bobby Brown because she was sick of her sweet princess image? Would she have stayed if she didn’t feel the same pull towards self destruction as he was exhibiting? Whitney herself said that Bobby taught her to ‘be more free’, though many would object to her terming herself a ‘functioning junkie’. Oprah Winfrey once said that the drugs and drama were linked to a case of Whitney ‘making herself smaller so the man could be bigger.’ We may not have led lives even remotely alike that of Whitney but there may be traces that are similar, little bits to contemplate and learn from.
There were many ups and downs in Whitney’s life, and some of the stories sold to the press would further break her heart. A high point would have been getting baptized in the River Jordan, a low one participating in a reality show with Bobby which robbed her of any remaining dignity. Hard drugs, rehab, tabloids, and the loss of her voice, she finally divorced but ended up with another complicated man, this one, Ray J, famous for his sexual escapades. There was success again, her voice almost fully recovered, and audiences wowed, but trouble was never far away. Aged 48 she was found face down in the bathtub of a suite at the Beverly Hilton, dead.
Whitney was a multifaceted woman, and very spiritual. Apparently, on one of her last days she said, ‘I want to love like Jesus did; unconditionally.’ At the time of her death, leaving behind her daughter Bobbi Kristina, she was acting in the remake of a film – ‘Sparkle’. Back in 1996 the original movie inspired her to choose the path that she did, but it seems very fitting that her character says, at one point, ‘hasn’t my life been enough of a cautionary tale?’ Is this perhaps why we want to tell our stories? To share with others our common pitfalls, as well as that which may have led us to glory or happiness.
Actually, ‘I’m every woman’ had already been a hit on Chaka Khan’s 1978 debut solo album. Another ‘superwoman’ who also struggled with addiction, Chaka Khan is still around. She is now a teetotal vegan who runs a charity dedicated to autistic children; cigarettes have remained a vice, but she is still alive. Chaka Khan also had her ups and downs. She joined the Black Panthers at 14 but left as she realised, she wasn’t comfortable with keeping a gun. She fronted white funk band Rufus, being the ‘black chick’, but despite the success – many gold or platinum albums and chart hit singles – Khan felt she was being too controlled and struck out on her own, which was when she had an instant hit with ‘I’m every woman’.
Prodigiously and intuitively talented, Khan was not able to read music and yet she would arrange her own songs. But just like was the case with Whitney, behind the scenes her life was going haywire. Some would say that she is still around due to some key lifestyle traits. Khan herself has said that she would balance the drug use with baking her own bread, taking herbs, and fasting one week out of every month. In her mind, religiously sticking to these healthy habits was what kept her alive.
Taking a Peek Into the Lives of Others
Knowing the truth about the tumultuous lives of these two women who had huge success singing ‘I’m every woman’ (for better or worse) it is perhaps comforting to end with a note on the couple that wrote the song. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson specialized in romantic duets that demonstrate the power and comfort of true love. They wrote and sang about monogamous devotion and were the creators of some of Motown’s biggest hits. People who knew them or heard and watched them would remark that they ‘had magic’, their vocal interplay illustrating the passion of their life together.
Isn’t it fascinating, sometimes, to lose ourselves in the details of the lives of others?
The same goes for looking back and writing about our own lives. Even if the result only brings more questions, it can help us to move forward with greater clarity and love. The last chapter of I Am Every Woman offers hands on guidance for those interested in writing their own life journey. Are you ready to discover the transformational power of doing so?
Order your copy of I Am Every Woman here.
Writing teaches us a lot and helps us to see our own life’s shadows. It opens a new space within us. It makes our own star shine bright – even when it seems that we receive more questions than answers in the process.
Be your own star, until soon,
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More About the Author:
It was at the height of Claudia’s high-fly corporate career that she arrived at a turning point. A meeting in the forest of a spiritual community in the south of India presented her with a vague notion that she was about to depart from the highway of business success. Little did she know that her life was to radically change.
Claudia now dedicates her time, wisdom and knowledge to support people who want to live a heart-centred life. In her work, she draws on a lifelong interest in how our energy field is influenced by our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions and how this in turn influences our lives.
Claudia runs a global community which holds space for conversations exploring a future based on a new and deeper understanding of self. Working with individuals as a Quantum Energy Coach, she also facilitates retreats and offers personal change programmes. Her guided journal Your 28 Days to Self Love and I Am Every Woman are available on Amazon and other major book retail platforms.
All original material copyright © 2021 Claudia Roth