I've loved Michael Jackson since I was a little girl, sitting in Abulelita Turista's den, listening to my aunt's Motown 45s. I've grown up with him - sang with him, danced with him, screamed for him, cried for him, and through it all, I've marveled at his talent, his passion, and his power.
I remember skating to Off the Wall tracks and later watching MTV all night just so I could pick up a few more steps from the Thriller video. I wore out a Jacksons Live double cassette (yes, children, cassette) when I first started driving, and I paid $20 for a ticket STUB from the Victory Tour:
Yeah, so the face value was $28, but I was at camp and so sad to miss the show, so it was worth it in 1984 dollars. A few years later, though, I finally got the chance to see him live, and it was better than even I, the one crying in the cheap seats, could have ever imagined:
Songs that I had heard at least a million times sounded fresh and new, and the whole place was captivated by the spectacle. "Human Nature" still really stands out in my mind - mostly because it was never one of my favorites, but it became one that night. And as much as that other MJ, Mick, works the stage from start to finish every night, Michael worked it AND transported you. It was truly awesome.
I'm still not sure what to think - or how to feel - about all of this, but I've made a point to watch exactly ZERO coverage of anything remotely related to it. T-Bone was the first to alert me of the news, and besides reading a couple of initial reports on CNN.com, I've tuned out the rest of the bloodsuckers. Which is odd for me, because up to this point, I've probably seen every interview, report, and special that's ever aired. But now? I've got my own memories and my own favorites, and I don't need to be reminded of the equal-parts circus and tragedy that his life had become.
In my most fervent fan days, when my best friend P and I wanted to marry MJ, I wore one or both of these pins nearly every day:
So talented, so handsome, so seemingly normal. I've been missing him for a while now, which makes this new development that much more upsetting. And confusing.