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First January

Grief caused me to fall down and much to my surprise hundreds of Prince fans were there to pick me up. No matter the circumstances being surrounded by likeminded folk is healing to the soul. The words, “you are not alone,” are quite powerful and uplifting.

I am thankful for this group of Prince devotees  who reminded that Prince was always about the future, and I need to be as well. One particular Prince aficionado suggested that I re-listen to “Last December” from Prince’s Rainbow Children album.

For the first time since April 21st, I forced myself to listen and listen again until I stopped crying and could hear the words. In this beautiful song, which is unknown by the masses, Prince asks us:

If your Last December came what would you do?
Would anybody remember to remember you?
Did you stand tall?rainbowprince
Or did you fall?
Did you give your all

He later questions:

In your life did you just give a little
Or did you give all that you had?
Were you just somewhere in the middle
Not too good, not too bad?

Pretty sure that Prince just told me stop being a depressed mediocre slouch. Time to find the motivation to keep living  and start creating again. There is work to be done.

I am not ready for my Last December, but I am ready for my First January.

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Prince

 

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This Thing Called My Life Changed Forever in 2016

princeandthoseeyesOn April 21, 2016, Prince Rogers Nelson died and my life changed forever. This statement might seem odd because on the outside my life appears the same. Same husband. Same kids. Same job. Same book club. Same friends. Same clothes. Same hair style and on and on. But on the inside, everything has changed. Loneliness and hopelessness dominate my days. Yes, I am aware these words appear melodramatic. But when grief over the loss of a powerful influence turns into depression, hopelessness  and loneliness is all that is left.

Around day 90 following Prince’s death when it appeared I wasn’t getting any better and just further behind in my life (didn’t do a timecard because I was too depressed to fill it out; water turned off because I was too depressed to pay the bill; disappointed children because I was too depressed to go to their school events; schedules not done at work because I was too depressed to do them), a friend told me to get some perspective. She pointed out all the things in my life that I endured. If I survived my child having brain surgery and becoming permanently disabled then certainly I could survive the death of a pop star, she didn’t know that while my child was under going a twelve-hour brain surgery, I was listening to Prince’s Emancipation and perusing Prince’s interview in the July 2010 issue of Ebony as a calming mechanism to keep panic away. The real work started after the surgery, and I needed to be armed with Prince’s message of positivity. prince2

The list continued. If I survived a toxic and abusive work environment that made me physically sick, I could certainly endure the death of a pop star. That was the year that listening to Art Official Age on my 30 minute commute to and from work was the only time in my work day that I didn’t live in fear. I even wrote at the end of 2014, “In 2015, I wish that everyone can find something that brings them as much happiness, comfort and inspiration as Prince’s Art Official Age brought me in 2014. I am seriously contemplating sending a thank you note to Paisley Park.”

And one more to really drive the point home. If I endured a loss of a business and a home then certainly I could endure the death of a pop star. She didn’t know it was then that I discovered Prince.org and surrounded myself with support and friendship of people like meprince10. With so much loss in my life, keeping up with Prince’s latest projects kept me inspired and focused on the future. The Prince Universe never stopped moving, so I could never stop moving. He constantly strived for the best in himself and that inspired me to strive for the best. He defined and redefined himself, so I defined and redefined myself. Prince was not my middle-school crush that went through middle age; he was a role-model and an inspiration that influenced me from childhood through motherhood.

From the age of nine through the age of 42, the Purple One’s influence never left me. I was there from the first moment I heard “Delirious” at a bakery as a third grader until the moment that I was listening to Hit-N-Run Phase Two on my way to work the morning of April 21st. He was always in my life, and I never left for a second. I was there through the glory days of Purple Rain through the assless pants, the name change to a Symbol, Slave written on his cheek, the break-up with Warner Bros., the numerous websites to distribute his works directly, the two marriages, the loss of his child, the one-off record deals, the returning to his birth name, the distribution of CDs with concert tickets and in non-American newspapers, the many beautiful twenty-something girlfriends, the wacky interviews, the award show appearances, the episode of New Girl, the battle with YouTube, the suing of his fans,  the deal with Tidal, and the announcement of his mprince4emoir. I didn’t miss a minute.

And likewise, he was with me through bad skin, bad hair, boyfriend break-ups, fights with friends, feeling like I didn’t have any friends, college awkwardness, falling in love with my husband, when my now husband proposed to me with “The Most Beautiful Girl” in the background, most likely the conception of all my four children, and many late nights of doing homework for my two Master degrees. And of course, my car wrecks in 1993 (singing along to the self-title Prince album and drove into a ditch), 1998 (The Gold Experience in the background and I didn’t see that bright turquoise SUV in parking lot of K-Mart) and in 2014 (jamming to Art Official Age when a hipster in a Jeep drove into my moving minivan). Prince was the very literal soundtrack to my life. No matter the day or event, there was a Prince song somewhere in the background.prince-hammock

The tremendous legacy of his music will remain long past my demise, and there is always comfort to be found in the music. But the Prince antics are gone forever. No more announcements saying there will be an announcement. No more wearing a guitar to an awards ceremony and not playing that said guitar. No more calling into morning television shows just because he was friends with the co-host and could. There was never a dull moment in the Purple Universe, and we were all the better for it.

A new concert tour, a new album, new clothes, new girlfriends, new causeslookingup…the new was everything to him. He didn’t dwell in the past. He always lived in the present with one eye and a few limbs leaning into the future. I have been having trouble contemplating a future where I will never see him in concert again; a future where all new Prince albums will be old Prince music from his famed vault; a future without seeing him in clothes that I want to borrow; a future without his latest, greatest model for distribution. A future without Prince is a future that is hard to imagine.

But, there is no time for imagining. There is work to be done. His philanthropy efforts must continue and my depression must be defeated. His legacy must live on and I must live on.  (I might need this reminder from time to time.)

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Prince

 

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Devastating grief in a one-sided relationship: Why this Prince fan is wrecked

Prince-THE-BREAKDOWN-iTunes

Relationships are messy; personal affairs are complex, intricate and fraught with differing opinions and diverse perspectives. In everyday relationships where both people are cognizant; there are two-sides to every story. So when a death happens, each person had their own separate identity and their own account of their interactions. Grief runs the brutal course of regrets as well as the remembrance of the good times. Acceptance comes easier for some more. But ultimately, life goes on even if peace of mind sometimes bubbles into anger, frustration and sadness. Complexity oddly moves the process forward.

But, the one-sided relationship that fans had with Prince wasn’t complex, wasn’t messy (while except for when he sued us but that was just another dimension of our relationship). It was a pure relationship. The give and take was simple. We took his music, his art, his passion and were better for it. And in return, we gave our money, time and unconditional love to him. He was better for it. This relationship worked; this relationship made sense.

On April 21, the symbiotic relationship that worked so well for so four decades blew up and grief appeared ubiquitously. The levels of grief varied greatly as did the period of grief. For the casual or the once hardcore fan who stopped listening sometime in the late 80s, early 90s, your grief was real but brief. Prince made you remember your youth. He played a little piece in who you are so you paid homage, was sad for a few hours or maybe a day then moved to the next thing in your life or in popular culture. That is how life goes….

But for those of us who never left, the process of brief mourning does not apply and instead has evolved into a phenomenon that confuses, annoys, and frustrates the loved of ones of dedicated Prince fans. It might be easy to make the argument, “You didn’t know him. You still have his music. Time to move on.” But to make that argument overlooks the reality that Prince’s work was the lifeblood for a small group of furiously and fiercely devoted fans who made Prince part of their daily lives and don’t know life without his energy, love, and passion for his art. He liked to say he was music…now there is silence, painful silence.

Sure, the music will live on but that is the past. Prince hated thinking about or living in the past. He was all about the new, about the future, He didn’t like to look backwards and was constantly reinventing himself and challenging himself. It was the new (the new online releases, the new albums, the new tours)  that kept his fans motivated, energetic and unequivocally attached. (I used to say addicted and like a lot of fans called him my drug…but I will never use that analogy again). Prince was my water, my nourishment, the place where my brain wandered; where I went to be refreshed; where I went to be better; where I went to create; where I went to be me; where I went to figure out who I am. Biggest influence in my life. Without Prince, the me of today does not exist.prince eyes closed

If you would have asked me on April 20, how are things? I would have said that I never been so happy. Happy family and happy career. Been able to achieve a remarkable work-life balance with some non-traditional elements. Probably the most committed I have ever been Prince’s work; completely enamored by Hit-n-Run Phase 2.  Always listened to the newest until the next one came out…and that’s where I am stuck. Posthumous releases are not the same as new.

New is going to have to take on a different manifestation in the Prince community now; the fans will set the terms and will have to figure out. I used to love the new when it came to Prince, now it terrifies me.

Life will go on and Prince’s legacy will go on. But, it is the getting there that is the hard part. I will get there, but the tears, the sadness, the disorientedness is just a part of it. Sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, but it is my truth.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2016 in Prince

 

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Thank You

Dear Prince:

Thank you. Thank you for all the beautiful music that made me smile, laugh, dance, cry, and most certainly assisted in the conception of my amazing four children. Thank you for the soundtrack to my awkward tween years, the miserable incidents of unrequited love in my teen years, and the angst of the “need to find myself” college years. Thank you for the music that was my sole solace when my child was enduring the seizes that ultimately resulted in a life-altering brain surgery. Thanks for your tunes that comforted me on a thirty-minute commute to the worst professional experience of my life. Thank you for helping me grow into the woman who I have become. I am a mother of four and a librarian. I like who I am and I like what I do.

My life is better because you were and will continue to be a part of it. I will love you forever.

Sincerely,

Garbageman’s Daughter

prince influnce

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Prince

 

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