A hero just for one day: David Bowie’s final soliloquy

When I received the CNN notification on my phone this morning that David Bowie passed away after secretly battling cancer, I didn’t believe it at first. Still half asleep and groggy, still in denial and partially thinking it was just a dream or perhaps that CNN somehow had gotten their facts mixed up, I put my phone down and went back to sleep.

But a few moments later, when I was finally awake and getting ready for work, I logged onto my Facebook. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I realized that it indeed wasn’t a dream nor misinformation. I read as fans expressed the similar grief and shock that I was feeling. Just two days ago marked his 69th birthday and the release of his latest album “Blackstar” along with a music video for his single “Lazarus”.

However, while his death was unexpected to the public, it seems as though the more closely you listen to the lyrics of the songs in “Blackstar” and watch the music  videos, the clearer it becomes that Bowie may have quite possibly been foreshadowing his own death, offering this album as a parting gift for his fans knowing well that he would succumb to his cancer and showing the world how even until his last breath, he wanted to produce the one thing has was most passionate about– his music.

Even if you aren’t a die hard Bowie fan, chances are you know the name and probably have heard at least some of his songs; songs that have been covered in numerous television shows and films such as American Horror Story and Moulin Rouge! and have been used in the backdrop of pivotal movie scenes; from Heath Ledger and Shannyn Sossamon dancing to “Golden Years” in A Knight’s Tale to “Cat People [Putting out the Fire]” playing before the climactic conclusion in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and most recently to “Starman” playing during a montage in The Martian, the list is endless.

He wasn’t just a musician who changed the face of rock and roll, he was a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer, visual artist, actor, and an innovator in fashion. He received praise for his performances in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth and Labyrinth. He pushed the boundaries when it came to the world of threads and clothing, becoming a prominent symbol for androgynous style in the ’70s and ’80s especially after the birth of his iconic alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, during what was referred to as the “glam rock” era. Many designers still adopt the look and many personas he created from that period onto the runways today. If you look at pictures from live concerts and photo shoots, he wasn’t afraid to wear what he wanted. He was fearless, instantly making him a role model for entertainers and artists of all mediums. Bowie was a chameleon and that’s a rarity for many celebrities to pull off.

DBowie

There’s no doubt that his legacy has transcended over a long period of time. Many stars today in various genres, from Kanye West to Kesha and even artists from his time that he’s worked closely with, like Iggy Pop and Brian Eno, have stated how Bowie has been a huge influence in their lives and in their own music.

Even though I wasn’t born during the start or height of his career, I have my own memories associated with the music he left behind further proving how he’s impacted several generations to follow. I still remember the first time I heard his distinct vocals singing with other music legend Freddie Mercury in “Under Pressure”on the radio one day one the way home from school. I remember how drawn I was by his portrayal of Jareth in Labyrinth when I watched the film during class in middle school, how my college roommate and I would burst out in song to verses from Moulin Rouge! in our Stillwater apartment, and as cheesy as it sounds– how a boy I once loved serenaded me to the words of “Heroes” while we listened to it on vinyl in New Jersey. As a girl who at times used to feel like an outcast in high school, I can’t tell you the countless times I blared “Life on Mars?” in my room. It’s funny how an individual who’s been around for several decades can make music that reminds you of memories from your life. I think that’s why it comes as such a surprise to me that he passed away. The idea of him ever dying has never crossed my mind– to me, his mortality seemed almost unbreakable.

This morning before my commute, I pulled my Bowie shirt out of my closet and hung it on the wall and just looked at it for a few moments, and thought about how lucky am I to have lived in a time when David Bowie existed.

Now Ziggy Stardust, you are floating in the most peculiar way, sitting in a tin can far above the world. The stars really do look very different today.

 

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A New Year, More Change

2015 was the biggest year for me yet and that’s an understatement.

I got a job, finally moved out of Oklahoma, and made my way to the east coast. I got a big girl job in New York City. It was and is a dream come true for me. However, it was still a bumpy journey with a lot of ups and downs. Transitioning to a new place and lifestyle isn’t easy. I had moments where I cried so hard from feeling homesick and wondered if I had made the right decision taking such a big leap. I missed friends. I missed my parents. I fell deeply in love for the first time and got my heart broken. While it was hard, I eventually bounced back and learned that a broken heart indeed doesn’t kill you… even though at times it felt like it could. I learned that surrounding yourself with family, new friends, and finding time for yourself and exploring new things makes everything a lot better.

It was an eventful year for the world around us— the good, the bad and the ugly. We witnessed numerous tragedies from the attacks in Beirut and Paris, to the attacks in our own country, racial tensions seemed to publicly arise, and a presidential candidate with bad hair and a moral level worst than Voldemort’s is constantly making the headlines. But even with all the bad and the ugly, and despite the fact that a lot of work still needs to be done, there were still instances of greatness that 2015 brought us— The Supreme court finally declared marriage equality for all prompting that no matter what your sexual orientation is, everyone deserves the choice of marrying who they love, water was discovered on Mars, and women in various fields from the entertainment industry to the political facet excelled.

The last couple of months, I’ve heard nothing but people complain about how horrible our world has gotten, and it is true that a lot It could be easy to say the world went to shit, but I have always been an optimist. I’ve always chose to look at the glass half full than half empty. If we didn’t have the the bad stuff in our lives, we wouldn’t recognize the hidden strength we have as human beings. A while ago, I came across a quote, once said by one of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut, and it read, “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” and I strongly believe in that.

Enough with the “New Year, New Me” mantra. Remember all the good times from 2015 and let 2016 be a year for continued personal growth. Let it be a year where you change the world around you… for the better. Use your voice. Be heard. Vote. If you see an act of injustice, say something. If something in your life is making you unhappy, do something about it. Keep moving forward. Nothing will change if you don’t believe it will.

I’ve never been the kind of person to make New Year’s resolutions. Don’t hold yourself up to an unrealistic pedestal. By all means, make lists and make goals for yourself but don’t use the New Year as an excuse for a deadline. If you fuck up, that’s fine. You’re only human. You have 365 days out of the year to do better. As for me, I’ve made a goal to be better at keeping up with my blog.

Happy New Year, guys and babes. Make it a good one.