16 August 2013

it takes courage

I started writing quotes out. They were supposed to be inspirational and I wanted to have them somewhere to help motivate me. I started off using some Michael Jackson lyrics and quotes as he’s been my biggest influence for the longest time.
Funnily enough, one of my twitter friends quoted a whole load of his lyrics the other day and pointed out how aggressive they were. I had never really noticed that particular trait before. But I guess that became the trigger for this need I had.
And also, today on twitter the @michaeljackson account used a quote about books of his that I’d never read before.
“I love to read. I wish I could advise more people to read. There’s a whole other world in books”
Now, this is apparently not the full quote (as I found out from doing a little research). But, you know, 140 characters isn’t much! The full quote finishes:
“If you can’t afford to travel, you travel mentally through reading. You can see anything and go any place you want to in reading.”
I found a whole load of other things he said that are sometimes rather vomit inducing, but sweet and na├»ve at the same time. Now, I’m not writing this post as a love letter to MJ (and I so could write one, even now). More as a jumping off point.
I started finding darker quotes and I found myself latching on to them instead of just the positives I was looking for. And I didn’t really notice at first, because it was still MJ lyrics. And I know them all, but I’m a bit rusty about some of them. The more I looked for them, the more I remembered.
And then a lyric that I had fixated on in my youth came up. It’s from the song “Who Is It?” which in itself is quite a dark song. About a guy wanting to know why his lover has left, whether it was something he did or was it someone else. It was a song that didn’t have a video when it was released as it was considered too dark to make one for.
Well, for MJ it’s dark, anyway… But if you bought the Dangerous short films collection (and you all know already that I did) then it was on there. And in the video the girl is depicted as a high class escort that MJ has fallen for. It’s quite odd and quite beautiful. In black and white. And the bass line of the song really drives it along.
But that lyric that jumps out at me, and clings and grows and twines comes at the start of the second verse. He sings:
“I am the damned. I am the dead. I am the agony inside a dying head.”
I remember, at 14, that I drew this in art class. I got an A* for it. Probably the only one I ever got in art.  I drew a skull with the top removed and two people standing on the brain using axes/hammers (don’t remember) on it. In the eye sockets I drew a flaming yin/yang sign in one and a broken heart in the other.
I was really proud of that drawing, unfortunately the school lost my drawing pad and I was devastated. Some of the best portraits I’d ever done were in there…
You can probably guess from how much that lyric got to me that I was quite an intense 14 year old! I guess it was partly where I see my depression starting. I think teenage depression is too easily missed as just an annoying phase or something that can be snapped out of. I’m not sure at any point in my life after the teenage years have I ever felt anything as deeply or obsessively. Nothing.
And the deep feelings were definitely unleashed with puberty. I was given a Walkman (a Walkman!) as my 14th birthday present and I bought the cassette of Dangerous with my birthday money. This was one of only about 3 or 4 tapes I owned. And from that day on I had the earphones plugged in almost constantly. I went from being quite open to being shut into my own head.
I closed my bedroom door, I’d never really been bothered before. And I left my life behind. I was lost in a fantasy world as soon as that door shut. I imagined all sorts of things for myself. But mostly I imagined myself with MJ. I was a singer and sang all his songs with him, I was his friend, his lover, his wife. I am sure that (not necessarily with MJ) loads of teenage girls and boys around the country live in this same world. When I was 14 all the other girls were in love with Take That…
And that life was everything to me. I didn’t care about mine that much. I had great friends and spent loads of time with them. But I always went straight back there as soon as I could. I, for some unfathomable reason, carried an A4 folder with me wherever I went that contained pictures and lyrics I’d written out.
I was the ultimate fangirl. And I wanted so badly for it to be real. But it never was. No matter how many nights I lay awake wishing I lived somewhere else. No matter how many pictures I drew or posters I collected. I often wonder whether I would have survived the teen years if the internet had been available to me. How would I have coped if he had passed away then…
But I have digressed. Quite a long way! I started off with quotes, so maybe I should try and end with them instead. I wanted to be inspired. I found these:
“Every day create your history. Every path you take you’re leaving your legacy” – MJ, History
“it is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation.” – MJ
And then the MJ ones started getting away from me…
“in my darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care, will you be there?” – MJ, Will You Be There?
“how does it feel when you’re alone and you’re cold inside?” – MJ, Stranger in Moscow.
So I thought I should stop that (there’s obviously the Who Is It? one, as well). And I just looked for quotes from anyone. And something I’d found the other day wandered into my head.
“not all those who wander are lost” – JRR Tolkien.
I like that. I feel like my life is something I’m wandering through. I’m not a straight down the line kind of a girl…
“it takes courage to grow up and be who you truly are” ee. cummings. (his name is always lower case when I see it written). This is the quote where I decided to stop. Because this is what I’m trying to do at the moment. Be me, grow up, whichever, both. And cummings also wrote my favourite poem, so I like that continuity.
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places and people. Why don’t you go and find something you can keep with you on your adventures.

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