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Kelly's Book Log: TINA TURNER: My Love Story


"The real power behind whatever success I have now was something I found within myself--something that's in all of us, I think, a little piece of God just waiting to be discovered."

-Tina Turner 


I read a whack load of books while I was away this February in Mexico, attending the San Miguel de Allende’s Writers’ Conference, but the title that has stuck in my mind is Tina’s memoir. I was staying at my friend Michele’s guest room at her house in the country and she had wonderful books. She mostly likes adventure books and I do too, so I enjoyed perusing her shelf. But in the guest bedroom, amid the climbing and falling and Everest attempts, the cover that jumped out at me (partly due to the crazy ass font) was Tina’s book. I hesitated pulling it out, reasoning, I’d already read Tina’s story, so this would be a repeat. Why not read something new? But I tried reading something else and was bored. No, I wanted to read Tina’s story again even if I already knew the ending, because her story is so damn satisfying.

 

To be fair the first memoir of hers that I read was I, Tina. …and of course, I hoped this one would be as juicy, and contain some of the terror that was Ike, because who doesn’t want to read that over and over again, freaking themselves out and going into full blown fight, flight or freeze at 3 a.m., just to figure out how to get out of it. I realized then that that was why I wanted to read Tina again. Because it’s so transporting to read the story of someone trapped in hell who manages to crawl out. We are rooting for her all the way. And it was. The second reading, even though I already knew the facts, was just as riveting and ultimately satisfying as the first.

 

This memoir does focus on her finding love with her Swiss husband. But she touches on the whole arc. Cinderella wakes up and escapes her prison by the hearth and finds the prince, finds love. Self-love and then love for someone else. A gentle love to balance all the pain of the past. I loved it.

 

Now I have to say I could probably read all books Tina into eternity because I feel I have a personal connection, flimsy as it is. When she was doing her final 50th Anniversary Tour (we were disappointed to discover we weren’t the very last) my husband and I bought tickets. It was in Toronto and was predictably wow, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, three quarters of the way through the show, Tina got onto the crane. Woah, nelly, I had vertigo watching her, in those heels, tap dancing down that arm in the sky all the while belting out one of her hits and as the crane swung over our tiny pocket of the audience, my husband, an extremely white guy I might add, (picture: grey-haired and pink-skinned balding and blue-eyed), jumped up onto his seat and started waving. Did Tina ignore the crazy white guy? Did she fly on past? No, she reached out her arms and sang the next lyric to him. We all jumped up and shouted: We love you Tina!!! And we did.

 

I confess I was jealous. Tina loved Allan. But it explained to me also why Tina was such a hit. She responded to everyone there, she was singing to us, she was real and alive and willing to dance out on a crane for us. She was the poor unloved little girl from Nutbush, Tennessee, beaten and used, who found her voice, and her fans, and made her fans king—they were where she got her love at first. And her story of triumph renews our hearts every time we hear it.

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It? Apparently, she didn’t even like that song, although it’s one of the hits that put her back on the top of the charts. But her story was all about a lack of love. Which makes me think, maybe that’s why everything bad happens to us. Maybe the sages are right, when they say that we contract to go through suffering before entering this life, because, sadly, it provides us with motivation for change. If Tina’s mom had loved her, do you think she would don high heels and jump up and down on a crane, singing her little heart out? Or endure years of heartless beatings and betrayal from that madman Ike? No way. She was motivated. She was big and loud and desperate. And we got it. We feel that way too, all of us, just a little bit, some of the time.

 

I especially like the part in Tina’s story where she takes to meditating and repeating a mantra. She sits down everyday at her altar and says her prayers. She continues to do it even when she loses everything, leaves Ike and is penniless and starting over. I like this story because mantra helped me too. It’s a short cut tool to transform crazy mind into a moment of peace, and her dedication to this simple practice touched me. She didn’t give up. She didn’t become a zealot. She surrendered to the practice and had faith that it would take her where she needed to go and it did. And in the end, her surrender and her belief in her self and willingness to use the talents the divine gave her in this life, brought her everything she wished for: success, and acknowledgement of her talents, a beautiful house and home, great shoes, and finally a great love to heal her broken heart. I still think Tina is the icon of our times. I’m sad she’s no longer around to write more books because I would read them. In the end with Tina-love had absolutely everything to do with it.

 

 




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