I was first introduced to Bowie by my father at a very young age, I must have been about 5 or 6. I'll never forget that night, it is one of my most vivid and fond memories of my father. I had those plastic glow in the dark stars all over the ceiling of my bedroom, and we left the lights on all day to charge them. Once the sun went down, we shut off all the lights, made sure the house was quiet and laid on the floor of my room side by side. Fully prepared with no distractions, no lights other than the plastic galaxy above us and no sounds other than the music to be heard; he played for me Space Oddity. We listened to it over and over for what seemed like an eternity, but I was hooked at the very first notes. Even so young, I knew this was something very special, and something I would remember for the rest of my life. This would become a pivotal point in my father and I bonding, and listening to this music together was something we did as often as we were able. As I got older, my mother would help my father stoke my love of Bowie and music in general. I started finding and researching all of his visual imagery as well as the rest of his music. Over the years, I've tied Bowie's music to the most intense moments of my life, both good and bad. Throughout my formative years, I was kind of the black sheep. Everywhere. David Bowie's visionary way of making nearly everything a breathtaking spectacle, and even his quiet dignity all served their purpose along the way. This beautiful creature made it not only ok to be a little strange, but made it sublime. My father passed when I was twelve, and I went into my room; shut off the lights and listened to Space Oddity. Over and over, for what seemed like hours. Every heartbreaking note somehow still easing my pain. I remember when I achieved one of my life's dreams of becoming a Body Modification Artist, I celebrated by listening to David Bowie and of course, wearing some extra glitter. I pushed and strived for that dream because of the strength imbued in me by everything Bowie was. I listened to Bowie when my children were born, and each of them has a specific song I correlate directly to them (My daughter's is Rebel Rebel, though Ziggy Stardust is her personal favorite - she's 6, my son's being Starman -he's 2.)In August of 2015, I had to make the hard decision to put down my 17 year old dog Jersey; one of the last pieces of the life I had before my father passed. My family gathered around in our livingroom for the event, and of course we played David Bowie. It was very emotional for all of us; but I took great comfort in knowing that I could provide for my dear friend, his final experience this world - his family surrounding him with love and gratitude and the voice he heard on the stereo with me all those years. He went under to Space Oddity, and thus drifted off to a song that has always been the cornerstone of my most cherished memories. These are just a few examples of how closely entwined with my own story those David Bowie wrote for us are. I remember hearing about a new album - Blackstar. I talked excitedly with friends, postulating that perhaps once more, he would tour. I vowed that no matter what it would take or where I had to go, I would finally see my idol, my hero in the flesh. I waited and waited, and finally the album was released. I hadn't even gotten a chance to listen to the whole thing yet when my husband woke me up on the morning the news came that he had passed. I was shocked. I literally went completely numb, and almost immediately began to cry. I felt this incredible emptiness, like so much had just been taken away. When I finally turned on my phone, I was inundated with messages and voicemails from friends and family, checking on me. I had to break the news to my mother and children. My mother recalled how Bowie had impacted her life - particularly the song Changes as it had been an anthem for her removing herself from a toxic, abusive marriage. My daughter sat in my lap and cried. Even now, nearly two months later as I sit here and write this, I can't help but wonder for the thousandth time how so many people are just going along like nothing happened. As though the world has not changed in some fundamental way. As though the universe didn't just become irreparably damaged in such a way as to make every star dislodge from place and come crashing down like flaming rain. In the moments when I am most overcome with grief and dismay at the loss our civilization suffered, I turn to the songs that have guided me through so many situations. I listen to the voice that was always a thing of comfort in harder times, and a source of gratification and joy in celebration.
Thank you so much, David. For everything. For pouring yourself out to all of us, for sharing your incredible time in this world so unabashedly. For giving us things to question and to adore. For the inspiration and the madness. Thank you for leaving us so much to remember you by, and for so many moments to hold onto. Most of all, thank you for teaching me that being ordinary isn't the best way for everyone - for teaching me who I am.
I'm including a picture of just a handful of the paintings I'm working on in your honor. I do believe that there's a Starman waiting in the sky. He did come to meet us, and he did blow our minds. I will not wish that you rest in peace; because I sincerely feel in my heart that you are off on another adventure - and if it's even possible, that grand journey will be even more resplendent and divine than this one.