The Greatest Love of All

Begging your pardon for this somewhat rambly post–I’ve been contemplating and y’all must suffer.

Several women were featured in the news this week–sometimes positively and prominently, sometimes not–but each of their stories touched me profoundly.

The music world was abuzz with Adele’s huge comeback performance at the Grammy’s on Sunday night. After having major surgery on her vocal cords last year, Adele proved she’s still got it…and then some. In case you missed the performance, I’ll include a link (via NationalPost) here with hopes that the Grammy people don’t have it removed:

As if that performance wasn’t enough in its own right, Adele won six–count ’em, SIX–Grammys that night!

And that’s all great, but what impresses me most about her is her self-confidence and her comfort with her body’s shape and size. Especially after Karl Lagerfeld, renowned in fashion circles as the big kahuna designer for Chanel, deemed her “too fat”. Talented and beautiful, but too fat. He apologized later:

“I know how it feels when the press is mean to you in regards to your appearance. Adele is a beautiful girl. She is the best. And I can’t wait for her next CD.”

(Really, Karl? If you knew something was hurtful and you still said it, that makes it even worse, in my opinion. But minor props for attempting to smooth things over. I guess.)

As for Adele, she said in a recent People Magazine article:

“I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines,” she says. “I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”

Actually, I think many of us are well behind Adele, in that we don’t love our bodies just as they are. Not that I’m not trying! But I get her point. Most of us aren’t model-perfect and never will be, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t beautiful, smart, funny, talented, etc.


Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston’s death on the eve of the Grammy Awards she once dominated has been the subject of headlines the world over. People were stunned, but really, how many of us were surprised? Her problems with drugs and alcohol were well-documented in both the tabloid and mainstream press.
None of us knows the real reasons for Whitney’s Houston’s problems, but what breaks my heart most of all (besides the thought of the family she left behind) is that the woman who sang these lyrics with such beauty and poignancy must not have loved herself very much at all:

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all.

From “The Greatest Love of All”, written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed


Jill Kinmont-Boothe
Jill Kinmont-Boothe died last week at the age of 75. Many of you, particularly those of you who are younger, may not have heard of her. As a national championship skier and Olympic contender, Ms. Kinmont-Boothe was paralyzed from the neck down in a skiing accident in 1955 at the age of 18. I first became aware of her story after watching the movie, The Other Side of the Mountain.

As movies go, The Other Side of the Mountain was sappy, highly idealized Hollywood fare. To my then-teenaged heart, though, it was a beautiful love story. I now know that there are several love stories in this movie, with the most overwhelming message being that Jill Kinmont-Boothe loved herself enough and valued herself enough to see beyond the body that no longer functioned normally. Her value was in her compassionate heart, keen mind, and unflagging determination. She chose to become a teacher to disabled and disadvantaged elementary school students.

Three women, three very different stories. To me, they all speak to the importance of self-love and self-respect. It’s great to seek better health and personal improvement, but loving ourselves as we are now is where we start, not our ultimate destination. Our value to the universe isn’t about our bodies at all.

And if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

closing lyric, “The Greatest Love of All”

More than pounds lost or losses maintained, minutes exercised, or cupcakes defeated, my greatest wish for each of us is that we find that strength.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

16 thoughts on “The Greatest Love of All

  1. We put so much pressure on ourselves to look perfect and that is so impossible. I wish we could all just accept what we have as being enough and more than good enough. (guilty here…)

  2. I’ll say I’m not a fan of either singer. I don’t deny either have/had tremendous talent. I’m glad Adele’s popularity is so big right now to hopefully show women of all ages you don’t need to be a twig to be awesome. Where Whitney’s concerned, I don’t think I was surprised but shocked? Yes, I was. I hadn’t heard much about her so you kind of figure no news is good news. She wasn’t even 50 yet, so much more to accomplish and lead by example if she turned things around but the demons got the best of her. How many big talents like Whitney, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse do we have to lose before it sinks into people’s heads what poison drugs are? *shaking head*

  3. OMG, the common bonds we continue to find. But this one may be the best of all. I thought I was the only person in the world who knew and kept up with Jill Kinmont. I was 11 when A Long Way Up was released and probably (can’t remember) checked it out of my library. But I was hooked. I read that book, convinced my mom to buy it for me for Christmas, and still own it to this day although not sure I could find it. She became my hero and I literally had that book memorized. Needless to say, I have no idea how many times I’ve seen the movie. I can’t believe someone else knew she had died and mentioned it in BlogLand. Oh how i would love to see that movie again!

    What a cool moment it was for me when I saw her name in your post today. And yes, your entire post was moving and true.

  4. What a great post. One thing that is always bothersome is that someone like Whitney Houston would be getting so much press (even in death) while someone whose life was so worthy, like Jill Kinmont, would be overlooked for the most part. I am glad you wrote about her and Adele. I don’t know her either, but I’m off to listen to the video!

  5. If only . . .! It seems my whole life has been wrapped around my weight “problem,” the number on the scale and how flat my stomach was. I’m waiting for that magic day when I can accept myself as I am, as those who love me have. And as I mentioned on another blog, it’s only a matter of time before one of the big weight loss programs gets a hold of Adele and offers her a big contract to become a size 0, and another role model for self-acceptance will bite the dust!

  6. Good post, Cammy. I had somehow missed that Jill Kinmont died (maybe it was when I was in the hospital with Jay, but it was certainly not mentioned in any newscast I watched). Like Sharon, I remember reading (and re-reading) the book and being so moved by her story. Then the movie came out (I think I had 2 children when it was released–you’re a young thing). Her life really meant something because she found that “greatest love.” May we all find that and be moved to use that strength to better this world.

  7. Thank you so much for this post…

    There was a great blog post on Jezebel about Whitney and about mental illness/addiction. I will share a bit here but if you want to read the entire thing, here’s the link

    “I’m sad that the world still looks at addiction and other mental illnesses as stigmas. I’m sad every time I read or hear someone state “fuck them” when they see a person falling hard. I then get angry, because everyone who says “fuck them” is creating a barrier between those in need of help and the resources they desperately need. “Fuck them” prevents people from admitting they can’t fix their life on their own. “Fuck them” is what causes governments to cut funding to mental health facilities and programs. “Fuck them” is what causes families to be afraid to seek help in the community, or to give up after the first few backs have been turned. ”

    There is someone in my family who is mentally ill and addicted and over the years I have gone from thinking this person is just a screw-up to understanding just how wrong I was…and it kills me because many in the family still think this person is a screw-up and I get it. It’s frustrating! But it’s even more frustrating that we don’t have a way, in our society, to better deal. And it’s not like we’re talking about people who don’t make a difference…people who are so mentally gone that they can’t function. We’re talking about brilliantly talented and intellectual people who can make a difference.

    okay…off my soap box.

  8. This post was so beautifully written, and I thank you for it. I had never heard of the last woman you mentioned, but I looked her up. We can all learn something from these three women.. In fact, Adele is my younger sister’s favourite artist. She is 11 and it pleases me beyond words. She thinks Adele is talented and beautiful, and “real”. It makes me happy because I feel Adele is a great role model for young kids!

  9. Adele is a total inspiration! I aspire to that level of unconditional body acceptance. She looked stunning at the Grammys, just as she is!

  10. I had not hear about Jill Kinmont-Botth – I, too was very touched by the movie and then read the book about her. And I agree that it is soi sad that her story is lost to the waste that was what became of Whitney’s life. I hope her daughter is able to learn from her mother’s mistakes and get the help she needs.

    Great post – I love the way you strung these stories together.

  11. WONDERFUL post Cammy!!!! I hadn’t heard about Jill Kinmont-Botth, but I remember seeing the movie about her. I love Adele, and Whitney? That’s just sad. Have a good Thursday.

  12. Excellent post! Adele really has a great personality.. I really admire her so much! And her point is right.. We should love what we have.. :)
    I am surprise to for the death of Whitney.. But she left us with a wonderful song and that it something..

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