I’ve said it before, but I think I need to say it again…so at the very least I can sort out what is going through my head.
As I write this I am watching the end of Michael Jackson: Finding Neverland. Which is ironic because I swore I wasn’t going to watch this movie.
I remember growing up with Michael Jackson’s music, it was a staple in our house. My step-father worshiped Michael until of course, Michael decided he didn’t want to be the King of Pop anymore.
I remember when Michael was first accused of sexual assault – at first my step-father, of course, believed Michael. No way would the King of Pop hurt a child.
As Mr. Jackson withdrew further and further from the public of course, as his behavior became more erratic step-father started to wonder. From “There’s no way he did it” we went to “Of course he did. What a pervert.”
I remember being angry at Michael Jackson – angry that he could hurt a child. Angry that he could let me down, one of his legion of fans, his devoted worshippers.
How could he pretend to be one thing and then turn his back on what “I” expected, wanted or needed him to be?!
As I watch this film, however, I am reminded of the journey that I am on. I am trying to defy the expectations of those around me. I am trying to make it as a writer – one of the most difficult industries in the world. I am about to launch myself into my first bout with debt in order to launch a self-published book I cannot pay for…even though I know those around me would suggest I should probably put my efforts into a more reliable future.
All I want is to be a Pulitzer award winning author…all Michael Jackson wanted to be was a child, and later in life a father.
His entire life he fought to be free of the press, of the world that put limitations and demands on him that he was neither interested nor prepared to give them. All he wanted was to be happy, and instead of enjoying the legacy he created he hid from it at every opportunity.
We put so much emphasis on what we think people should be, or how we feel they should behave, and then we stress about people doing the very same thing to us. What a fucking clusterfuck of a cycle of self-imposed abuse!
How awful it must be to build something, to create a legacy and then to be forced to hide from it because people still do not think it’s enough.
It’s like raiding a grocery store and then burning it to the fucking ground when we realize we’ve taken the last apple and we’re pissed off that they won’t open the hidden storage to give us more.
I can’t help but think about the similarities between myself and the King of Pop. I come to this blog as a refuge from the thoughts inside my mind, trying to escape the loud voices that tell me I can’t, that call me a fat ugly failing loser. This is my place of escape, yet Michael Jackson, one of the world’s richest people in terms of talent and of course money, had no escape.
No matter where he went, his family followed him for money, his fans demanded his attention, and then there were those who said horrible awful things about him, threw garbage at him and called him names because a man they had never met, had been accused of a crime no one has ever proved.
And it is my fault.
And it is your fault.
We the fans who loved his music, who loved his celebrity status and the identity that we forced upon him never stopped to ask ourselves if we were contributing to the misery that he lived in.
By buying his records we supported him, but by buying into every salacious detail and rumor about his life, every time we pick up a magazine and read the gossip or click on a gossip website we are contributing to the fake identity created for these idols that we put on a pedestal.
Holding them to higher standards than we hold ourselves, not because we believe they should better than us because “We made them” but no, because by focusing on their bad behaviors, on their mistakes and again I say, on the fraudulent identity that force upon these people…we can escape our own troubles.
Maybe that’s why the bible says we should not worship false idols. Maybe there’s wisdom in that – maybe instead of focusing so much on what other people are doing and how they are behaving, Maybe if we put as much energy into ourselves, into our own spiritual growth, not only can we find our own true Neverland, but maybe more than that, we can find our own inner peace.
And eventually, we can make this world a better place.
Something to chew on.
Devon J Hall