Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Really Quite Out of Sight...
The days don't have enough hours in them to allow me to get everything done now, but I'm productive nonetheless. Seems like I only have half my work done and my workout, and I'm looking at a day going down in a blaze, like this sunset the other night.
The next day I saw all these posts on Facebook, RIP David Bowie, etc.
I am not big on popular entertainment culture though I do pay some attention. I haven't been listening to music much because my iPod died last spring and I haven't been running long enough runs to warrant replacing it. But one of my favorite artists has always been David Bowie, and the rise & fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars has a designated spot on every music playing device I own. It's perfect middle of the night ultra music.
But David Bowie has a special meaning in my life beyond his dramatic and creative performances. When I was fourteen years old and still living in Philadelphia, my very first concert was David Bowie.
And it was spellbinding and spectacular in a way that only a 14 year old can perceive it, but I can remember it vividly nearly 40 years later. I remember going with my friend, we took the train to downtown Philadelphia and went to the concert, feeling so independent and grown up. I remember the stage, the lights, the smoke and haze, and the outrageous costumes he wore, so energetic, jumping around, and the way his voice projected. His gender-bending persona was ahead of its time in many ways, and I was grateful for it.
As a teenager I had a difficult time with my own self-concept and figuring out what was an acceptable way to dress and appear in public. Where I went to junior high, it was an affluent community of many spoiled upper-middle class brats, and Mean Girls was hatched in a similar environment. I was not a girly-girl and I didn't "get" fashion, and I didn't dress to look feminine or to impress. Jeans and t-shirts, no makeup, no hairstyle, just long, stringy thick hair, were my thing.
I hung out with a group of similarly outcast girls, and we were not boy-crazy. So we didn't fit in. And David Bowie showed me that it was okay to be offbeat and not tied to gender expectations. At 14, that was a powerful revelation, at least it was for me. And living through childhood with a mom who was all too happy to enforce her gender requirements on my style of dress and activity, it was pure validation.