An undertaking of when I encountered, as a child, the moment that opened my mind broadly enough to accept that there are truths not readily shared.
Do you remember the moment you were given permission to do that thing, be that person, embrace that belief system that made you feel as though you were home?
As a caveat, when I use “you”, I’m speaking of myself. I don’t know how it is for anyone else. I can’t. I won’t. I can say I empathize, sympathize, whatever. While there are facets of truth in that, ultimately I’m lying. I have no idea what it is to be you. Nope, not a bit.
All I can do is spout the gibberish that inhabits my brain in an attempt to make sense of the world as I see it.
Welcome to my crazy.
There are many moments in my life when I recall the feeling of eureka as it applied to something new for me. The day I discovered that I didn’t have to like every single person who existed. That I can go to the movies alone. That I didn’t have to wear shoes.
That it was okay to weird.
To be fair, there probably wasn’t one exact moment when that happened. There were outside influences. My dad showed me that hilarious dark, sardonic wit and unapologetically skewed was an acceptable perspective via varied British comedy. Roald Dahl introduced me to the worlds within reach within realities I found familiar, and the delightful dark places that children are much better versed in than many adults suspect. Jim Henson gave me magic made tangible within the medium of muppets. Not just studebaker driving bears in porkpie hats and dogs who play fetch and the piano, but crystals dark and castles beyond the goblin city. Where I, like so many others in 1986, encountered David Bowie for the first time.
The alluring antagonist whose every action was a result of his desire to make the protagonist his queen. I seriously never understood how not marrying 1986 David Bowie was considered the more favourable ending.
“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.”
He was a juxtaposition of cruel and kind, a dichotomy of stern and generous. The scene in the ballroom, before she so rudely started smashing mirrors and wrecking the place, his eyes always sought her out. His attention never wavered.
“How you turn my world, you precious thing.”
He was a human like entity in a world that was fantastic and strange, extraordinary and incredible, beautiful and weird. It gave 10 year old me hope that I would find myself outside of a mundane world grown weary with it’s lack of magic. (spoiler alert..I did)
And that’s where it began, in my mind. I felt like I had been given permission to take delight in the unusual. And while David Bowie became as much of a mainstay in my existence as the muppets did (and still do) his presence was altogether something more. Muppets, as anyone who has ever encountered them know, are muppets. They can be odd and strange and wonderful and musical but at the end of the day, they are manipulated by unseen forces.
Not so, David Bowie.
And before I ever discovered who he was, he had already reinvented himself a number of different ways. He made me consider that personality, like imagination, is limitless. And none of that personality needs to fit a certain template. Hell, it doesn’t even need to be based on earth!
Expression and exploration are not things to be feared. A musician isn’t restricted by genre, an artist need not limit themselves to one medium, a person doesn’t have to do the same thing all the time.
And loving ever minute of it. For as long as it lasts.
“It’s only forever, not long at all.”