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Life After Paralysis is a blog that represents a variety of paralysis community members. It is a place for open conversation about the issues and the interests of people living with paralysis, their family, friends, caregivers, and the professionals that serve them. Comments are welcome!
 
The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

I'm A Fan Girl


1f13c39e6f04feb938167e242f57d4c1-huge-bsWhen I heard Blackstar, the latest album by David Bowie, was going to be released very soon, I was poised, ready to spend my money. I arranged my time; as soon as I got his new music, I would listen, listen for his lovely voice, the difference, the angst and a truth about how things felt for him, he was sharing with me, us, his fans.
I have very few artists that I’m a fangirl for. That I’ll stop whatever I’m doing to give my full, undivided attention to whatever they produce. I find inspiration; education, hope and I rise from what they create. Blackstar did all this, but it has a twist.
 
So, I paid my dime and settling in for a listen, I relaxed. Now, I had seen his newly realeased Lazarus video and wondered about his health, he looked thin in skin and muscle. But I rationalized, "he’s forever been thin, he’s the thin white duke for gosh sake." Having just had his 69th birthday, I chocked it up to aging. So I listened once, twice, three times. The music has this sweet jazz riff threaded throughout the electronic vibe. I’ve felt pushed by his jazz, saxophone inducing movements many times over in his past music. I love it, I was glad for this space he’s in and then two days later, he died. It’s the last music from Bowie and he made it, knowing it would be his finale, so cool and complex, just like him.
 
Big deep inhale, long exhale breath here, I’m bummed, saddened by his death. I spent most of Monday, the day his death was announced, just glued to my computer, looking, reading, listen to anything I could find about David Bowie. I so, wanted more, I wanted to hear what I didn't know about him, I wanted to pull him back to us with my attention. I wanted to hear what people were saying because I knew they would be loving on him. This day we would offer out to the world our revelations, loneliness, our our condolences to each other and to his family. As a fan of David Bowie, I had felted connected, let in to his intimate secrets he was sharing, while still alive, with us and now I wanted that from his other fans. I felt connected on this day. But really even in death he kept sharing his secrets with his, lucky us, we only must listen.  
 
I was in the middle of high school when I first heard Space Oddity, then Hunky Dory; David Bowie’s music spoke for and to me. He was so different, in so many ways and ok with being different. At this samr time as I discovered him I felt kind of odd, like I didn’t fit in, sort of space cadet material, a bit shy, always on the edge of things and groups. Not horrible, just a little off, anxious and some fear and if you knew me back then you may not have guessed how uncomfortable I was.
 
But I got lucky, I had a friend that helped me feel all right, because we both felt this disconnected way. I tried to hide it, she didn’t and that made it ok for me to be a little liberated. When we heard The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released, Ka-wow, we were dazzled by it all, the costumes were intoxicating, his hair, the fun he had or looked like he was having and kabuki theater make-up such vividness. I wasn’t bright in clothing or make-up, but his example meant that I could be different, I could wear my cords and tees as well as get dressed to the nines if I wanted to, I didn’t have to be the same as everyone else to be liked. I had no idea how much his music would lift me up until after I began using my wheelchair and really felt like an outsider.
 
My first Bowie concert was the Ziggy Stardust tour in the 1970’s. Four of us planned to go together, dressing up in brilliant costumes. Katie and I searched for our dresses in vintage stores and we found these perfect glamorous long velvet dresses, mine midnight blue, hers black. We had hats in velvet, evening gloves, purses and cigarette holders. One of our guys was dressed in full make-up as Joel Grey from the movie Cabaret and the other was in white, head to toe, a thin white duke before Bowie personified it. That night was so much more then I could have imagined and it taught me to imagine bigger possibilities. After that night I went wild with my hair and clothing, I had these super cool platform tennis shoes I wore everywhere.
 
He was always changing, that was always the thing about David Bowie. He once said, he did a character for so long, then he got bored or was just done with it and he changed. Change and his art were lifeblood for him. After my spinal cord injury, I had to change and redefine who I could be just to live and I would play his song Changes, Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange” over and over, deepening the groove, to remind me of the possibility to change, David did it, I could do it. Here's a Buddhist and Bowie truth “All of life is changing, don’t get attached to what is because this too will change.” Attachment causes suffering, it just does. Say what we want, do what we want and then let go to create the next me, you, us. I got that from David Bowie.
 
afb2515ddb721ec9336f3aaf3a1af7f4-huge-chHe seemed to live life full out. He shared his feelings of isolation and misery with us in a way I felt he understood my same feelings and I felt connected to, carried by his messages. During the David Bowie is Now exhibit, a history and look inside his creative process and art, I spent all the time the curators would let me, pouring over his many transformations on display. It’s there I saw this short film on how he created some of his songs. It’s called the cut-up writing technique adding chance to creativity. David Bowie explained: “You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects, creating a kind of ‘story ingredients’ list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix ’em up and reconnect them.” David found it from the writer William S. Burroughs process. Such a guy ahead of his time, he even started his own internet service provider!

It was all this and more that kept me coming back to David Bowie over the years. I am grateful for him and the courage he had to expand his vision with taking risks and being vulnerable, having a laugh and a cry at our silly human-ness and sharing is heart on his multicolored sleeves. I felt so very safe and connected to the bigger hopes of life by watching his lead, I know this sounds strange to some, but it's true for me. David told us we could be hero’s, even if only for one day and I believe him. My heartfelt condolances to his family, his dear one's and his fans. Thank you Mr. Jones for what you gave us and Rest In Peace David Bowie, I’ll always be your fan girl and I’ll keep you alive in my heart and my changing brave actions. What a rebrith to come. 

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” Friedrich Nietzsche


I wish Everyone hope, peace and joy, Candace
 
© 2016 Candace Cable | Like Candace on Facebook | Follow Candace on Twitter
 
Posted by Candace on Jan 12, 2016 11:23 AM America/New_York

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