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Call It a Comeback


One thing celebrities love to make clear when they return from taking time off from the spotlight for whatever reason is that they are NOT making a comeback. And they all seem to be fueled by the LL Cool J classic, “Mama Said Kock You Out,” which declares “Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years Rockin’ my peers, Puttin’ suckers in fear.”

For athletes to singers to commentators – yeah, I’m calling you out, Stephanie Robinson! – denounce comebacks. Some do it because they don’t want people to think that while they were gone, they’d missed a beat or that they were out of synch with what their public had grown to expect from them. And some just deny it’s a comeback because of all the pressure that goes along with trying to be as good or better than they were before.

I can understand their fear. The public is incredibly fickle. They can love you one day and hate you the next, even when you’re in their face. But when you leave for more than a year, you can return doing the exact same thing you were doing before you left and be met with a chilly response from critics and fans.

Ask Boyz II Men. In the ’90s, they were one of the hottest groups of all time. They were on top of the charts and selling out venues for four years straight. At one point, they were just tired and on the verge of a burnout. They took a break. And when they came back, their audience had left, and they’ve never returned. Maxwell, on the other hand was gone for eight years and returned as strong or stronger than he was when he left.

They’re no real rhyme or reason to it. And maybe that’s what makes it so scary.

The other day, most of us heard Whitney Houston tell Oprah that hers was not a comeback; it was a “come through.” Okay. Let’s not trip over words. The point is that at some time in our lives, most of us need a break from whatever it is we do most of the time.

I’ve been blessed enough to be able to take frequent vacations, and when I tell you I relax and enjoy my weekends, I’m not lying. But a lot of my staff members, the moms in particular, look like they are working non-stop. I barely ask them about their weekends because most of the time, they’re filled with running errands, going to kids’ sporting events, dance rehearsals and birthday parties, trying to catch up on the things they couldn’t do around the house because they were working all week … and getting ready for Monday.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you don’t find a way to take some time to take care of yourself, you will burn out. Even two hours set aside just for yourself on a regular basis will help feel better and perform better.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need help, you need time, and you need space. When you don’t, you put a strain on yourself, your co-workers, your mate, your children and your friends.

This morning, for the first time ever, I will interview Whitney Houston, and one of things I hope I get to ask her is what she will do this time around to add enough balance in her life so that she will never need to go to such extreme measures just to feel normal. She told us what she got wrong; I want to hear what she got right and how she will be able to incorporate that into her life.

Whether she’s had a comeback or a come through, the tough part is maintaining it and continuing to move forward, even if she stumbles a time or two, like we all do.

Sometimes a disappearing act allows us to do what it takes to pull our lives together. The key is to know when it’s time to disappear. I’m no psychologist or life coach, but I think it’s time for Kanye West to go away for a while. He needs some help, and at the very least, some rest.

Kanye needs to go some place where he can honestly assess his life, think about all he has and all he stands to lose if he doesn’t make some changes. And he’s not alone. Chris Brown, Bobby Brown, Rep. Joe Wilson and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford could benefit from going away for a while too.

If you’re burning out on a job, a marriage, a school or even a friendship, there’s no shame in going ghost long enough to get a little badly needed rejuvenation. You’ll come back better than you were. And maybe you’ll figure out how to keep your light glowing instead of burning out completely.