You’ve got your reasons. Everyone does. What part of “Prince has died” gut-checked you today? Even if you weren’t a fan of his music, you understood the massive influence he had in so many other musicians’ lives. He made it ok for an album to have rock, pop, R&B, and dance all strung together between 12 songs. He convinced you doves can cry. He was a short, effeminate (let’s be honest), black man who women absolutely THREW themselves at, and who he loved right back with intensity and fervor and oh those eyes! But none of that is why my bones ached after I saw that he had passed away…
It’s commonplace for artists to set themselves apart. They must continue to do that in more and more ridiculous ways in order to maintain an “image” or to be “original”. Anymore a woman can show up to a premiere naked and disparaging her own country and it’ll be on the 6 o’clock news as being groundbreaking or empowering. What I loved so well about Prince was that he simply had absolutely, unequivocally, zero fucks to give about what people thought…
I don’t think this zero-fuckedness came with a sense of superiority or an air of resentment towards anything in his life. It wasn’t rooted in an intention of being better or bigger or more. It was a man deciding that, with this one life, he was going to do exactly what he wanted to do. If it meant assless chaps, if it meant doing a cameo in a Dave Chappelle skit, if it meant ordering spaghetti and orange juice (which he often did), he just…well…did it.
He offended people. He bothered people. He was rude sometimes, occasionally so strung out on ecstasy that he couldn’t maintain a sense of reality for stretches of time (though it was the 70s). He would challenge you to a game of pickup basketball and he would probably beat you. He had houses full of unreleased music…a lot of unfinished ideas…
He was also a human being.
There was no hiding mistakes, no glorifying successes. There was just a whole big life lived entirely outside of the comfort zone we all know and love so well. He stayed there, outside the squishy circle, and maybe even trusted that it was all going to go down as it should so he may as well have a fun time while it’s happening…
I didn’t think about what it feels like to step outside my comfort zone, like REALLY step out of it, until yesterday. Even having Abe and getting divorced weren’t really “stepping outside my comfort zone”. Those were things that happened to me (and with me); not exactly things I chose to do altogether on my own.
It occurred to me earlier this week that my constant craving or concern for financial stability is an issue I have laid at Bear’s feet. I hitched my wagon to his star and then said, “Great. Thank you. Now pay the bills.” But, in honesty, I have a degree. Two of them, actually. I have experience and skills and talents and gifts…Why don’t I go out and find a job that will help this family relax a little bit? So I decided to start sending out cover letters and resumes. But not without intense trepidation.
Because what will people think?
I spent all day yesterday pouring over a cover letter, ensuring it was just right, just enough, full of information but stripped of too much detail that no one cared about. I literally agonized over sending this letter, pacing in front of my computer, reading it over and over and over again…
I finally pressed send and then had a damn near panic attack wondering if they were going to think I was an insane cray person for even suggesting I was worthy of a job?! I haven’t worked outside my home in 5 years! I don’t own work shoes! Why would they even consider me?!?!
Oh, and then wait. Other people.
Will they think Bear can’t provide for me? Will they wonder why I want to get out of the house?! Will they think I mismanage our money or that Bear is a closet gambling addict?!
Most of the day I thought about all the things that could externally affect the direction my life will go next.
Today, though…I understand a little piece of life in a different way. I can worry. I can wonder. I can analyze. I can OVER-analyze. I can even panic. But as we are all-too-often reminded, we don’t know when it’s going to be over and then what will the point of proofreading the cover letter 20 times have been? Today, I would rather send my music out into the world, slap on a pair of assless chaps, and know that this is all going to go down the way that it should anyway.
Thank you, Prince, for the magic, the way my chest fills with what feels like glitter when I hear one of your songs, and for the hundreds of times my mom and I sang, “Little Red Corvette” together growing up. Thank you for truly sharing your gifts, your love, your talent with us all in an effort to make us better in your own special way. Thank you for following your own path so fervently. I am honored to have shared the planet with you.