1/13/16

GUTTED. BUT GRATEFUL.

David Bowie is gone. How could this happen? Since I was thirteen, he’s been this immortal, immovable force in my life. From the minute I “discovered” him, he’s been there with me—for me. Those few times I stopped paying attention, he would whisper in my ear and soon have my full attention again. He was one of those icons that you thought would be around forever.

But he wasn't immortal. Like all of us, he had a finite amount of time on earth to make his mark. But unlike most of us, his mark happened to change the world. Here's a man that single handedly helped end the 60’s hippy dippy culture by ushering in a post-modern era of music, art and fashion that lives on to this day in many ways.

So sure, that’s partially why I am so sad. David Bowie, the titan of influence is gone. But as a thirteen year old, I never thought of him in those terms. I still don’t. Frankly, I don’t believe he ever set out to influence the world in the way he did. By being his own unique self, by being true to his own sensibilities, it just happened. And in doing so, he changed the world. I'm certainly cutting corners here by not listing more of his achievements and the barriers he broke.


Of course, all that is true. But that's not why I've been so gutted by this news. It's because, while I never knew him, he seemed to know me. And I will miss the way he spoke to me personally. Showing me it was okay to be one of the weird ones. To dress your own way. To think your own way. And to pursue your art with reckless abandon, not worrying about the consequences or commercial appeal (except for his own admitted brief late-80's missteps). He taught me that doing your own thing for yourself was more important than anything. Just being creative for yourself. Even when people stopped listening. Because they did. We're a fickle public. Bowie didn't seem to care. He kept doing what he did, staying true to himself. That taught me more than anything. Still does.

So did I dye my hair and wear dresses to school? Well no. Other than a little eyeliner here and there, I probably didn’t change outwardly much at all. For me, it was how he touched me on the inside. How he made me think. He made it okay to feel isolated, alienated and alone. But then he also showed the way out of those depths through creativity. If you draw nothing else from this man, you have to recognize his endless creativity.  

I know I'm one of millions and millions mourning his loss, but I've never felt so deeply saddened as I am in losing someone I never knew. It feels very personal. As I'm sure it does for so many. I am left with a strange mix of mourning and a feeling of mortality, like I've lost the last thing that connected me to my youth. But more than anything, I'm left forever indebted to him—for igniting my love of music and helping me see the world through an altogether different set of glasses. 

The man was cool until the end. The fucking coolest. Even as he knew he was about to move on to the next world, he put all his energy into turning those feelings and emotions into art that stands with some of his best work. He'd even started writing a new batch of songs in case he had time to bring them to life. He simply never gave up, or gave in to the the fashions of the day. Not many artists can say that. As the world rises in tribute, and it's been amazing to see how many he touched, I still mourn for the man as if I've lost one of my nearest and dearest friend. But I know I'm not alone. And I know that his music, influence and inspiration will live with me and so many others, forever. In that way, David Bowie will never be gone. And for that I am grateful.


3 comments:

George Carney said...

What he said.

Richard Slinn said...

Even though not a post by the real Simon Pegg, still worth a re-post:

If you're sad today, just remember that the world is over 4 billion years old and yet you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.

Kevin Seidel said...

I do love that quote...and thought.