Explaining Why Bowie is a Personal Hero.
January 10, 2013 Leave a comment
My last post was very rage-full. I almost apologize. But that shit…that shit…
Okay, moving on to lighter topics whilst I continue to procrastinate on those dissertation revisions.
January 8th was David Bowie’s birthday and he made a big announcement: A new album! First one in like 10 years! YAYYYYY!
People that don’t actually know me may not know this, but I am a HUGE Bowie fan. I LOVE him. I really, honestly name him as one of my heroes and a big inspiration. I have a Bowie tattoo; he is my dog’s namesake. He’s amazing and fantastic and perfect! I know this sounds weird. I know that. I don’t really care how much people judge me for this. It’s their fault for not understanding.
I will, however, take this time to explain his amazing perfection.
Everyone knows, or should know, that Bowie is a truly amazing artist, in every sense of the word. As a musician, an actor (you will understand if you see anything other than Labyrinth, I suggest the Man Who Fell to Earth or Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence), and an all around entertainer. His music is impossible to separate from his personas, his appearance, and his entire presence. He has always come as a package; there is no detail about his performances that was not thought out.
But outside of his amazing artistic presentation, what I have found to be the most intriguing and inspirational about Bowie has been his ability to change. He represents, to me, fluidity of identity. The idea that our past refines us, rather than defining us. I’m certain that, looking back, Bowie thinks some of the shit he did was ridiculous. I’m sure he has to be embarrassed by it, the clothing, the make up, the music (Yes, I’m talking about that awful duet with Mick Jagger), the drugs, etc. But without all of those things, the ability to take those opportunities and chances and risks in the moment, he may not have gone on to create what he did later. The ability to move on from the past, to change who you are, I think is very inspiring. Bowie did this very literally. He went from Ziggy Stardust to Halloween Jack, and again and again with different characters throughout his career. He altered himself, his appearance, his style, even just slightly, with every album. Sometimes it’s subtle, other times it’s a complete makeover, physically and musically. Being a nerd and lover of Bowie, I have multiple versions of some of the same songs done at different times in his career and they can sound so different. I think I have 3 versions of “The Supermen” and they are all unique. I think the ability to revisit something done so long ago and derive a different meaning from it is powerful and rare in our current culture. We try to leave things in the past and “move on” and “mature” rather than recognizing the necessity of reflection in the growth process.
I suppose that means a lot to me, personally and professionally. I’ve use the same principles working with people in mental health, showing them the possibility for growth, the ability to change and refine oneself. In my head Bowie is there, by I know the looks I will get when I mention him, so I keep him out of it. But personally, I think it is an important thing to learn. Each person has their past, which may include a personality, an identity that they may no longer feel proud of. The ability to recognize, “yes, that was me” but also say “this is how that person influence the current me” is the important part. It’s liberating. It admits to and accepts the past, including shame and embarrassment, but leaves room for pride in one’s self, one’s growth, and their accomplishments.