Mourning the Loss of an Artist Unapologetically

Sunday night we lost a great artist. The ripples that went around the world as people found out about David Bowie’s death built into a current that pulled so many of us down. It’s always a little strange when a celebrity dies, someone who you probably don’t even know, but their death touches you as much as losing a friend. Sunday I lost an idol I never got to meet.

I saw so many people openly express their grief, myself included, while others seemed to apologize for their feelings. Embarrassed for being sad over the death of someone they didn’t even know. I get it, it’s kinda of like heading off the teasing before anyone can say something to you like, “You’re a little too upset over this.”

But you know what? No, we aren’t.

I wrote about my experience of hearing the news and while I took the time to write that post, I of course was listening to the Starman, and totally broke down and cried. When I heard the news it was a gut punch. It stopped me in my tracks. I was speechless for a minute, but I didn’t cry. I thought, maybe I wouldn’t. When we heard the news about Robin Williams, I was sad, but didn’t cry until I watched Dead Poets’ Society later on. But writing out my thoughts about losing David Bowie, as brief as they were, I cried.

I was introduced to David Bowie at three-years-old when he was The Goblin King, like many my age. It was insta-love. And to this day, The Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies. I watch it unironically and with affection. Jareth was my first villain-crush. Every villain that touches me, reminds me of Jareth. I have dreamed of writing my own Jareth, but fear I won’t do him justice. But that sort of good-bad-guy love was shaped by this artist. No one else could have done for that role what David Bowie did.

I would come to love his music as I got older and his dark record, Outside, would help me through a tough time in junior high school. A record none of my friends enjoyed, but I did.

David Bowie helped me and influenced me. I am sad he is gone and no one will make me feel embarrassed for it. When an artist dies, it is no more sad than any other death, but we may feel it differently. We know no more art will come from them. We’ll have to cherish what they left behind. We have to accept the idea that something else that might’ve changed our lives, our perception, our own art, will never be.

Listening to Blackstar is difficult, but I’m doing it. It’s his farewell letter to us. I don’t know how he managed to create this, knowing the end was coming, but it is something to be appreciated.

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel badly over your feelings. So what if David Bowie didn’t know you – you knew him even if you never met him. He shaped you, just like any other artist that makes you think and feel.

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ETA:

I wrote this post yesterday, 1/13/16, before the news of Alan Rickman broke this morning. Everything I said above applies to this great man as well. I am crying with you. Alan Rickman was another amazing artist who touched me and so many other people. Another artist who portrayed villains and anti-heroes in a way that made you question which side you were supposed to be rooting for. He was a favorite and I am so very upset right now. This has been a hard, hard week for us.

Alan Rickman. Always.

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