Thursday, June 25, 2009

Unsure What To Feel

I will preface this brief post by saying that I had many years ago conceded that Michael Jackson had become something rather…well, rather disgusting. The molestation allegations, the bizarre weddings, addiction, megalomania…all just horrible, he had become…and for all I know, always had been a certifiable nut job. I understand why people hate him, I never did, more than anything watching what happened just made me so sad.

I didn’t really grow up in an R&B house, my Mom was a hippie, so it was more Doobie Brothers and Kenny Loggins, so when I was really little music was of little interest to me, until I heard Sir Duke from Stevie Wonder’s, Songs In The Key Of Life album. I was five when that album came out, my Mom bought it, but it was me that wore that record out. I would put it on and dance in our incense smelling apartment for hours, a year later I was a full on Motown junkie with a strong love for The Jackson Five and Michael Jackson in particular…when Off The Wall came out in 1979, I was 8 and quite the music lover….music with rhythm, music that made you dance and there was, or is no one that did music and dance better than Michael Jackson.

I think I was about 12 years old when I became completely obsessed with Michael Jackson, I had all the buttons, posters and my room was covered…every inch with pictures of him, to say I worshiped him is a gross understatement. The thing was, while I did in fact find him beautiful, (and please keep in mind I am talking like 1983-1986 here) there was something much deeper to my adoration, even back then it took more than “pretty” to win me over.

See the thing was, I didn’t quite “fit” not that anyone really does as an early teen, but moreover…I didn’t really try. I was, (and still am) overweight, not really into sports…traditionally where us chunky chicks find a place, I was attracted to black dudes but could not look more white…blonde, green eyes…I sucked at bullshit and small talk, I hated picking on others and those that loved it, we were wicked broke so my clothes sucked and I could not afford an instrument, so band was out, and I hated school and sucked at it…too smart to be stupid and too lazy to be smart….but I had one thing, I could dance.

The only place, in those early days-o-me, that I felt peaceful and powerful was when I was dancing, it was the one thing that I had….and I would ache all day long, squeezing myself into those tiny seats, looking at my test results with the big D- on it, shuffling from class to horrible class, I longed to be home, with my headphones on.

To feel the music coursing through my body and my body doing things I didn’t even know, why it could do, a base line, a pair of headphones and me alone in my room, my light at the end of the daily tunnel. To watch Michael, watch him move…so fluid, so natural, so unlike anything I had ever seen before, it went a long way in making me feel like less of a freak. Dancing wasn’t really that cool before him, sure it was great if you could but…it wasn’t mainstream, and if you bring up disco or John Travolta I will sock you in your head.

Michael Jackson was a huge part of my personal development, I wasn’t some screaming ninny that peed herself at the sight of him….I was in awe of is raw, natural talent, I wanted to be able to do the things he did, watching him spoke to my soul and gave me a “voice” and a place. Before long I was one of those street corner dancers, (sounds so retarded now) and was surrounded by this new, passionate bunch of people that were able to speak, with their feet and a spine that seemed to be made of liquid….that and I was smack dab in the middle of a culture that was able to embrace me because, even though I didn’t look like them…I spoke their language. For opening that door, I will always love Michael Jackson and he will always be special to me, that being said.

I am so sad tonight, sure I am sad that he died but even more sad that I cannot find it in myself to shed a tear…so tragic. How can someone or something that was so instrumental in me becoming the me that I am now, not warrant even one tear? I’m sure we all know why so no need to dig it all back up, but when I heard the news this afternoon it felt like the zipping of a body bag of an already dead soul.

I will miss him, just as I have missed him for nearly 20 years, but I will never forget my afternoons, my headphones, alone in my room, looking to fit and fitting with him…..thank you Mr. Jackson and rest in peace.


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Gorgeous Sam,

It always feels sad to lose an icon of ones adolescence, and not shedding any tears is symptomatic of the rough adolescence you seem to have endured. Michael Jackson lived his life in reverse--pretending to be grown and sophisticated when he was just a child, then trying to recapture a lost childhood when he was a man. It makes him not just an original talent, but an interesting symbol.

And stop beating yourself up about your weight, for God's sake. You're simply delicious.

Your HoseMaster

Wow, way too much cheap psychology for a comedy writer! Somebody shoot me.

vickibarkley said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. The MJ who shone, who glowed for the first 25-30 years of his life, has been gone a long time. It was like zipping a body bag for me, too. I'm reminded of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Only, this one was much darker.

Samantha Dugan said...

Quick update, on the way to work one of my XM stations was playing nothing but Michael Jackson songs, "Oh baby I was blind to let you go"...Jackson 5, tears. The whole thing is really just so sad and while my life was no cake walk, (much worse in the 13-18 years) I am still quite a softy...which is why I was so baffled by the lack of waterworks last night.

I'm not so much beating myself up, more painting a picture for those that don't know me, truth be told, I rather like the whole busty, curvy, sassy thang I get to work...drives those silly boys crazy and I get an evil thrill outta that. But thank you for being so sweet, and how would you I'm delicious, you have not even tasted me yet.

I will not shoot but I will send you a face full of virtual kisses!

Ron Washam, HMW said...


One can only hope the key word in your penultimate sentence is "yet."

My face has never been happier.

Have a lovely day, Darling Sam. I have virtually kissed the tears from that glorious face.

Your HoseMaster

Samantha Dugan said...

The thing that totally wigged me out was when I went to my CD's....I didnt have one, no Michael Jackson Cd's?! I did have them at some point but through the years, they either got scratched, lent out or whatever but I never replaced them, says a lot about how I felt. I will do what the other masses are, run out and replenish...hell, I'll probably even buy Thriller on DVD. Really tragic end of what should/could have been a remarkable (and was at one point) life.

Nancy Deprez said...

Great tribute. It is so interesting when another person touches us and contributes so much to our lives, usually without them knowing this. It really speaks to how we are all interconnected, without knowing so.

It is also interesting that people so great can have another side to them, and it shows how complex human beings are. The same person can be brilliant, inspirational, truly wonderful, and have a dark side we cannot comprehend.

Great piece and thank you for sharing your personal connection.