Monday, June 29, 2009

michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 3)

Jackson in the Seventies my face is melting off, and my insides have been ripped out... that is what i am feeling like right now... i have been on the phone this week-end more than i have been in months, and my head is swirling, due to the microwaves close to my head (and i don't use the phone enough to invest $40 to get one of those ear things)... i am feeling entirely hollow right now. ironically i am not as concerned with the toxicity right now, as much as i am the connection. i am feeling so isolated, living here in portland, where there does not seem to be a concrete community to process all of this.

i literally just got off the phone with a friend who commented on the short-term memory syndrome of people, in relation to emotional connection. all day, i have been encountering people who in my estimation think my dressing up like him seems like a trivial remembrance, or statement of irony. i've run into people wanting me to give them high fives; or there would be people laughing, yelling his name... i feel so lonely, having no people around to grieve with...

my appetite is still minimal... people want me to eat, so i do. i hung out with my friend on his radio show, where he played a remix of one of his songs, and i began to cry. i have been crying in front of people who i've never expected to cry in front of. whenever i talk about him, i pause, because it's still hard for me to say his name.

i want to go to california. i need closure. i need to know he is okay. i need to know he is truly safe, and at peace...

i did read an article today, which mentioned that his oldest child was in his presence when he transcended... i can only imagine what that is like. it was said that he thought his father was just being 'dad', playing around... quite similar to the scene in 'the godfather', when vito corleone collapses in the garden with his grandchild... poor children... they now have no father... he was in so much pain, and he loved his children with all of his heart.

in this time, children have been a part of bright moments in my life as well... when i went back to work for a bit to purchase things, i was told that a young child of a customer asked about me... her father said that when she heard the news of his transcendence, she asked something to the effect of, "isn't he the friend of the lady who works at the store? is she okay?" i was not even aware that this child acknowledged me, or knew of my love for him.

also, i saw my 6-year old friend as i was riding my bicycle... we hugged, then she placed her hand on me in sympathy. i also spoke with my niece (who is 7), and she asked how i was doing. i told her i was sad. she said, "yeah, everyone is sad. but he IS the king of pop!" those were the moments that greatly touched me... out of these cloudy days appear rays of sunshine. i know he would be very proud. i have essentially refused to see news about him, but i have seen some things, with links that people have given and shown me and such... one of the pieces i saw actually DID confirm what i have felt in my heart (and what i wrote yesterday)- that he called on the ancestors to take him... he no longer wanted to be in pain... mental OR physical... he was tired of living under scrutiny, contracts and cameras... one of the issues that came up was his children... why would someone who loves his children so much want to 'not live'? sometimes, when you are suffering from major depression (which may or may not be diagnosed), it's difficult to see through that fog. because this is the place where i initially saw him when i began to truly love and respect him, this is what i have truly felt in terms of this situation. i have been in this same type of situation (with this fog where nothing in life mattered), so i connected with what i saw to be his depression.

i also saw in one of these pieces that he was diagnosed as a schizophrenic as a child... technically this would make sense, considering his various personalities in terms of songwriting and performance- from his childlike persona to his violent imagery (ala 'smooth criminal'). he has also claimed over the years that people were out to get him. this sentiment is all over his music (in particular the HIStory album). it's also evident in the letter he wrote on the 'bad' tour, where he writes, "i've been bleeding for a long time" (one of his major signs of asking for help, but PEOPLE DIDN'T LISTEN!!!). however, having grown up in an abusive household (as he climed) the way he writes would make perfect sense as well. whether or not this statement of his diagnosis is actually true, it is uncalled for. why would this statement be made NOW, in light of all that is going on? none of that should matter.

i saw something (which may have come from the sun, so there you go) mentioning the initial autopsy, which claimed he really did have skin cancer, and that he was healing from that... he was found to have 'peach fuzz' on his head, and was emaciated. one could claim, if this was true, that his cancer was in remission, and he was dealing with chemotherapy, which could be why he was taking painkillers (aside from all the injuries he's endured over the years from physical exertion). i cannot confirm this, until an actual legal autopsy report comes out.

a question would be, if all of this is INDEED true, why would he pass a 5-hour intensive health inspection with flying colours? if he did indeed have issues with his lungs, if he had skin cancer... he was also diagnosed with discoid lupus years ago... if he was truly this sick, why would the insurance companies and the concert promotions people allow this tour to occur?

the truth is, though, i don't want to know what the report says... no matter what the reports say, i know in my heart he had a broken heart. in terms of food, i wanted to do a 'jackson diet' (sans KFC) this week-end... but i realized that i don't really like beans... he really liked enchiladas... and none of this would matter anyway, because i haven't had much of an appetite. i haven't felt much like doing anything; this is the only thing weighing heavy on my mind right now. i just have headaches from crying so much.

i am trying to figure out some other ways to connect, but i have difficulty finding them... in terms of my relationship with him these past two years, i realize i really have no gague of relating to him in a 'popular culture' sense; my connection with him began by looking into his eyes and noticing how troubled he was. how sad. i related his songs with this. i never really looked at his songs as completely fun- i haven't looked at his songs that way since i was six years old. for me, his songs were depressing. his songs described how lonely and isolated he was from the outside world. at the same time his songs discussed his perceptions of how the world worked; he engaged lyrically, and through interviews, all of our connections throughout society. this is why so many people around the world could relate to him. his art was extremely clear in showing us how flawed of a person he was- just like the rest of us are flawed. when people place him above anyone else i do not understand. he had hopes and fears just like the rest of us. how is he any different from us?

he was a victim of abuse just like i was, and he perpetuated the cycle of abuse, just like i have. be it self-abuse or whatever... there are varying degrees of that, and a lot more subtle than we care to discuss... my love, respect and admiration for him came in that realization that did not come with looking at his art in terms of popular culture; it came in terms of me looking at his art as a survivor. he's survived, but he hasn't healed. his art is extremely autobiographical, and full of pain. this is how i have viewed what he's done over the course of his career. how i have viewed him came from a place of pain.

so when people laud the global effects of 'thriller' or discuss the first time they saw him on 'motown 25' or soul train or whatever, i can't relate. i have related to him in terms of how i relate to myself as a being in this society, and this world.

this is why it is difficult for me to dance, or think of 'happy things' when it comes to him.

i do what i do because i want to honor him. and i do not do what i do lightly.

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