Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coming out of the closet..., not THAT closet. The "I heart Michael Jackson" closet.

I wanted to marry Michael Jackson when I was a little girl. In fact, my best friend Michelle and I would fight over him--and the loser got to marry Rick Springfield.

When I received a text from my older daughter that said, "Michael Jackson died. Cardiac arrest." I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

I was the first of my crowd to get the news--and from my daughter, no less. Later, when I asked her how she heard, she said that her best friend called her and told her that she should let her mom know.

"Why?" Savannah asked her friend.

"Because it seems like something your mom would want to know."

Amanda didn't know I had a deep-rooted fondness for the King of Pop, but she did know that I'm a pop-culture whore.

That night I found myself glued to 8 different channels, holding my own personal vigil for the gloved one, until 3am. I didn't want to be watching 8 channels into the wee hours of the morning, but I couldn't stop myself.

For someone who grew up in the MTV generation, there isn't much that's as fascinating as watching the video to Billie Jean, Beat It, or Thriller. In fact, I saw the full-length version of Thriller that night for the first time in over a decade--and I still found it scary.

When I called my mom to tell her that Michael Jackson had died she said it reminded her of how she felt when she'd learned that Elivis died, or John Lennon. We talked about the funeral of Princess Diana. The most profound thing for me is how these people, who very few ever know personally, make such a huge impact--on a global level--an impact that allows people to feel their loss personally.

The other thing that I realized as I watched video after video was that the Michael Jackson that I had been so fanatical about had been gone for a very long time. And this finally gave me permission to mourn the loss of that bright star.

There is no question that Michael was bizarre and did many good--and many highly suspect--things. He was a sad and strange man, who lived and died under the eyes of the world, for better or for worse.

Just as he was not only his artistic genius, he was not only his freakish appearance or suspected pedophelia.

My brother reminded me of the time our mother called us from work (she was a waitress at Marie Callendar's in Idaho Falls) and told us that Michael Jackson was at the restaurant. We didn't believe her. She said she was coming home to get us. I screamed all the way to the restaurant. When we got there we saw a Michael Jackson impersonator. My mom thought it was hilarious. I wanted to cry.

The man that I watched in tabloids and news coverage over the past fifteen years or so was not the man I screamed at the thought of meeting. I don't know if it was a result of my own innocence, his amazing talent, or the simple desire to want to be part of something that looks, and feels, and seems...great.

For whatever reason, the passing of this icon has impacted me. And that, in itself, I don't really understand. But when I watch him do the moonwalk, or perform any number of other dance moves that only he can do justice to, all I feel is that same excitement and awe that my younger self felt as I tried to memorize and duplicate just a little bit of the magic that Michael Jackson shared with all of us.


Sanders Crew said...

I feel the same way! Ever since he died, I have been going crazy! Watching the news, reading about it online, listening to his music, and watching his videos. I think that he was so screwed up by his Father, and the fact that he was never really able to be a kid. Not to mention being in the spotlight your WHOLE life seems to drive anyone crazy! I think mentally he was a kid, (which has been said by doctors he saw), so he had a strong fondness for other kids. I think that maybe be never really hurt kids, or molested them, he just got too close. Acted like a parent would to their kids, and he was not their parent so it was inappropriate. He was a very sad, lonely, and screwed up man who never really got the help he needed. I loved him, and hope that he is all better now where he is! He truly was a musical genius!

The Michiganders said...

So funny. I thought instantly about our Rick Springfield--Michael Jackson infatuation as well. Miss you.