Friday, June 26, 2009

The Woman in the Mirror (Making it Personal)

For as long as I'd ever heard his music, which wasn't until my teenage years because of religious reasons, I'd been a fan of Michael Jackson. From that point on, any time one of his songs would come on the radio or on tv, it just made me happy. That was the mood of his music. And when he died yesterday, I genuinely felt sad. No, I did not know him. No, I was not raised listening to his stuff as a kid like most people in this country. No, I am not a celebrity worshipper. And I know that there continue to be terrible tragedies that are occurring on the planet at this very moment that have nothing to do with pop music. But when Michael Jackson died, it hit me very personally and internally. And of course, my subconscious noticed and played it out in my dreams last night like it always does.

From what I know about Michael Jackson, he always seemed to me a person who each day had to fight not to internalize negativity and expectations placed on him by others (parents, people who worked for him, fans globally, haters globally). I think he lost that fight most of the time, hence the weird behavior and all the plastic surgeries. I got the sense he was always trying to do something more, be something more, get that one last thing that was for whatever reason just out of reach. He never found peace with who he was. There was always something wrong with him in the present tense that needed to change or do something differently. And he died probably never having been satisfied with life and having peace. That's what made me sad.

I identified with it personally. On a way smaller scale, I know what it feels like to know the people around you don't think you're doing the right thing, when you feel like you're being true to yourself. I know what it feels like to have expectations put upon you that make your life seem like a lie if you bear them out. You lose yourself. You lose your voice. And Michael's death served as a reminder to me to simply live my best, most authentic life. This is me. I'm trying to put good out into the world, and that's all I can do. I don't have to be what people around me tell me to be; I don't have to be what society tells me I have to be; I just have to be the best Ashly with all my talents and flaws that I can be. I want to live in peace with myself. I don't want to find myself dead one day having never known who I was and becoming the ghost of a total stranger.


Lynn Brooks said...

Wow! That was beautiful! I totally agree.
My son has become a tattoo artist and as a parent who tries to always be supportive it has been a bit challenging. Mainly the monetary insecurity not to mention zero health benefits. But when I see how happy and fulfilled as an artist he is it makes me happy, not many people get to do what they love.
Just keep writing you really have a gift.

Ashly said...

You're a good momma, Lynn. :)

tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

I couldn't have said it better myself.
I found out through FB about his passing & was sooo sad. He really was always striving for more & never could he be w/ all those expectations? I think many of us live lives like that. It's quite exhausting!!!

I love you gorgeous girl! Your heart is so precious to me!