Friday, June 25, 2010
My First Love
I know it's a little early for my weekly post, but I wanted to pay a special tribute to my first love, Michael Jackson. Today is the anniversary of his death, so I want to use this forum to express my feelings on both his life and his death. Please feel free to do the same. All opinions are welcome and will be respected so long as we avoid downright vulgarity. Thank you in advance.
I think I'm saddened more by Michael's life than his death. Sure, he was the King of Pop, he was worth billions of dollars (don't quote me), and he had billions of fans all over the world. But what did it all get him? Even with the fame and fortune, even with the loving friends and adoring fans, he was still an unhappy man. He was unhappy because he never thought he was good enough.
I'm sure he knew he was talented, gifted even. I'm sure he knew that others revered him. But I always got the impression that somewhere along the way, someone made him believe he was ugly. And stupid. And useless. And unworthy. Whether or not they spoke those actual words is irrelevant. That's how someone made him feel and he obviously took it to heart.
I recognized those feelings in him because they used to be my own. His story used to be my story. Well, not the fame and fortune part; the I-hate-myself part. When you're abused as a child, be it physically, sexually, or mentally, you believe the feelings that the constant abuse forces you to believe.
"It's all my fault. I deserved it. I'm so stupid! I'm such a bad girl. Why am I so ugly? It's not happening to other children; so since God is allowing it to happen to me, I must have really pissed God off. God must hate me."
This is the story I told myself everyday. It was like dark poetry floating around in my head; a morbid death march ordering my steps. I imagine this was the song in MJ's head. However, Michael Jackson, over-achiever that he was, took his self-hatred to a level that I could have only imagined. The numerous cosmetic surgeries, the spending addiction, the drugs; these are all examples of what happens when you run from the pain instead of dealing with it.
Look, I know it hurts. That's why it's called pain. I would never presume to make light of anyone's troubles. But it won't always hurt. That is, unless you never deal with it. If you had a bad cut, would you rip the scab off every time it tries to heal itself, pour salt inside to make it hurt more and prolong the healing process; then when it's open, raw and totally exposed, ignore it and let it fester until infection sets in?
You're probably thinking that's ridiculous. Who would do that? I know I did and I'm willing to bet that a lot of you do it all time with your emotional scars. Any wound can be healed...if you treat it. It will have to be dealt with eventually. Whether that's now or then is up to you. We're all so afraid of feeling pain that we do anything we can to numb it. We drink, we abuse drugs, we spend all our money, we sleep with people we don't even like much less love. All so we won't have to feel the pain. We forget, though, that you can't numb one emotion without numbing them all.
I'm so glad that one day, at some time when I wasn't looking, somebody helped me understand that feeling pain wouldn't send my world crashing down. That admitting that I'm hurting doesn't make me weak. I'm a strong, capable woman who's in pain and it's okay because I won't always be. I'll feel it and I'll deal with it and I'll come out on the other side even stronger and still whole. And one day I'll be able to help someone else who faces the same demon I conquered.
If there is one thing I'm sure Michael would want us to learn from his life and subsequent death, I think it would be this: DON'T RUN FROM THE PAIN. Running makes it worse. Dealing makes it heal.
I'm going now to listen to my 25th Anniversary of Thriller CD sent to me by my best friend from childhood last year at this time. Even she knew that my love for Michael would never die. Rest in peace, sweet man. May you find more peace in death than you did in life.
Until next time...feed on love, subsist on peace.