Some people say the media focus on Michael Jackson’s death is a sad reflection of our shallow society. Others rage about celebrating the life of a child molester.
This morning I watched the Dancing Inmate’s tribute to Michael Jackson, and I’m not ashamed to say I got goose bumps more than once.
The outpouring of grief, remembrance, sorrow, and celebration – all of it – is validation. Validation of my life.
Look back into my crystal ball for second:
There I am, it’s 1984.
My parents are divorcing, my mom and I move into a duplex. Outside of the three friends I have at school I feel like everyone else in the world hates me… or at least ridicules me. In my teenage existence there is no justice in high school, my pet hamsters keep me up all night, and if I could only grow some breasts (even little ones would be fine!), then all would be right with the world.
There in the duplex, I covered the basement walls with TigerBeat pictures of Michael Jackson. Claimed that room as my own, moved the furniture around, set up camp. Michael Jackson and me, against the world.
Back then, he was nothing more than a superstar to me. There were no hints and allegations of the stories yet to unfold around him. I was 14, and like most anguished youth I clung to his image as if he were a friend, an indestructible place of solace and comfort. Nothing and no one was going to take that from me.
Yes, things sure have changed. I’m a lot older. I’ve seen and read the stories that unfolded around Michael Jackson.
And last week he died. As I watch and listen and read to the reactions around me, I realize: what he meant to me in 1984 was real, and it mattered. Taping up those pictures was the beginning of my quest for independence, and it was an important part of my life.
So piss and moan all you want about what you think this means. To me, it’s a quiet validation, a bittersweet memory, a personal victory. I survived, I overcame.
Michael Jackson represents a pretty specific time in my life, and I am truly sad he’s gone. That’s just Human Nature.