When I was eight years old, I got my first-ever album. It was by The Jackson Five. Inside, there was a paper sleeve protecting the record. And on this sleeve were printed many fan items for purchase. The heart-shaped stickers with young Michael Jackson’s photo in the center I pined for, day in and day out.
I would spend hours (each week) looking at the album and the fan items for purchase. It was too complex a process for my eight-year-old self to buy a sticker. And my parents wouldn’t have understood my desire, or thought it charming. This was another era: the beginning of the Gen X childhood era. (Millennials, you’ll never understand these times in any meaningful way … and that’s ok. Just like Xers can’t understand the Boomers-before-them’s childhood.)
My young girl’s heart would envision scenario upon scenario of how Michael and I would meet. How he would fall in love with me. And how he would choose me as his true love among all the other girls who loved him. I knew it was our destiny, and I spent much time seeing in my mind’s eye how it would happen.
I’ve grown up with his music. Watched him struggle. Do strange things. Always caring for him, even in his oddities. Even feeling sadness for his possible/probable pedophilia and how he wasn’t born that way, but made that way by … by who knows what combination of events, people and happenings, and traumas, vulnerabilities and predations.
Then today, when hearing of his heart failure, my heart hurt for a moment. Deep. While I don’t know the circumstances or (possibly gory) details to emerge around his death, it felt right to me that his heart would give out. Has he known love? To give? To receive? To allow? To forgive? It seems logical and right that his heart would be weak in spirit and in soul.
The radio and twitter were my first feeds of the news, with twitter bringing links of the confirmed death. This evening, I turned on the TV to celebrate his life. Channel after channel covered the same story. Lurid. Loving. Tragedy. Gossip. Up. Down. He was great. He was odd.
I already know all that.
I just wanted to listen to his music. Watch his videos. Marvel. Remember. And love him now, as I have always. As someone whose expression of self touched me inside and opened me up. These two videos are from his earlier days. I enjoyed watching them again tonight and share them that you might, too.