How does someone that sells out 50 upcoming concerts in an matter of minutes, who is still very much on the pulse of what’s current in fashion ( rocking THE Balmain jacket just a few weeks ago) and who is prepping for a massive comeback suddenly die? When someone on the level of Michael Jackson dies, it feels like a cruel joke. To many, Michael Jackson appeared larger than life and completely untouchable. To me, he seemed vulnerable and sensitive, someone I could see myself befriending. He had eternal Peter Pan syndrome and never seemed 50 years old, let alone 40 or 30.
Michael had a gift of injecting optimism into even the most mundane situations. During my early college years, I worked at a shoe store at the mall. Late at night, my manager and I would blast Thriller. We were next door to Zumiez and they would do the same. And then, I’d walk down to the ice skating rink and the deejay would also be playing Michael Jackson. It put a smile on everyone’s faces and best of all, made them want to dance.
I took a tai chi class for gym credits in college. I couldn’t remember the moves so I would pretend to do the moonwalk instead and the teacher would shoot me dirty looks. I secretly imagined that if Michael was there, he’d be cracking up at the absurdity of it all. He had that childlike sense of humor that’s best represented in this home video.
Channeling Michael Jackson, 2003
As weird as this sounds, I sort of felt like the female version of Michael Jackson. Looks-wise, I identified with him in his later years, being a Virgo with black hair and pale skin. Certain outfits I wore would evoke a near-immediate response of “you look like Michael Jackson.” It always made me smile when people would say that; his style was my absolute favorite. I loved the sequins, military embellishments, the skinny black pants. Though I wasn’t into everything he did stylistically including the surgical masks and frequent outings in pajamas, I didn’t judge him for it. Nobody has walked in his shoes. They haven’t lived his life. It’s not fair to judge someone unless you’ve lived through the same exact experiences that they have.
When Michael Jackson was accused of child molestation, I remember Elizabeth Taylor telling all the naysayers to “go eat crow.” She always stuck up for him. I remember seeing Liz in a tabloid years ago with a huge smile on her face. She was wearing a gold monkey necklace encrusted with diamonds that Michael had just bought her for an estimated $100,000.00. It definitely wasn’t her normal style but she was beaming with pride.
My middle name is Marie and I used to always joke with Lee that I would one day be plastered across the tabloids as “The new Lisa Marie.” And, he’d give me a look, knowing that nothing got between me and my love for Michael.
To be honest, I haven’t been that upset because it doesn’t seem real that he’s gone. I’ve been walking through dark casinos for days, avoiding the news reports flashing across the big screen TVs. I always believed in him, even when things got bad and had such high hopes for his comeback. Though life has to go on, the world won’t be the same without him.
My friends have been texting and emailing me constantly, sending their condolences. It’s been really awesome to realize that people know how much I adored him. My favorite text thus far has been “I know you are probably holding a candlelight vigil with your Michael Jackson jacket on. I’m so sorry for your loss.” It’s not just my loss though…it is everyones’ loss, whether they realize it or not. It’s not every day that an original, off-the-charts talented, ground breaking, eccentric visionary comes along. And now that the man Gala and I dubbed our favorite Virgo is gone, it truly is the end of an era. Thanks for listening.