It’s been precisely a month since Bowie died, and in that month my life has puttered in a comparably smooth state, but I have also been in greater mourning than I’ve yet experienced for a blood relative. This could be surprising to some. Or not.
His absence still hurts. I cried several times after hearing about it, and weeks later I started to sing “Heroes” alone at home and I broke down in the middle, and I can’t think about him being gone without wet eyes. The best I can manage is to listen to as much of his music as possible and pretend that he will never stop writing it. Even though he will. Since I was nine years old, he was one of the most important people I knew of. He explained gender to me, without ever talking about it. He explained my sexuality to me, without ever talking about it. He helped me understand what’s beautiful. Some of his music I never loved, but much of it I did, and I find that in being an adult I love more of it. When I say “being an adult” I mean that until he died I did not really see myself as an adult. I saw myself as a consciousness that had experienced childhood, adolescence, and then some strange chaos of adventure, abuse, and constant financial struggle; I saw myself as a consciousness that had been several genders and several individuals and was starting to come full circle back to something I should have predicted when I was sixteen or seventeen. I didn’t understand “adulthood.” Now I do, a decade after legally holding that identity. I am an adult because one of the few gods I had is dead.
Only the other day could I bring myself to watch the “Blackstar” video; watching “Lazarus” the very day after he died was arguably a mistake. I still have not listened to the entire new album. Soon I will.
I suppose this is an in memoriam post, something to recognize the influence of whom I call the Man Who Fell to Earth (and Returned to the Stars). It is important for me to clarify that I do not regard him as flawless. To me he feels like a family member, and that can mean negative as well as positive. I simply wish for this to serve as a meditation— a digital space to lay a few thoughts and links in response to his mere existence. From what I know about his views on the Internet, this seems especially appropriate.
1. Jes Skolnik, on Bowie as an icon who, yes, had sex with somebody underage: Human/Alien/Human (trigger warning)
2. My favorite song of his:
3. I must, at some point, compile my thoughts on his complete discography once I’ve finished reviewing it. Not this day, however. I need more distance and time.
4. This, presented without further commentary: