This may make some people happy, and it may make some very angry, but I will say it anyway – I am a Michael Jackson fan, and I am very upset by his loss. Over the past few days, many people have shared my sentiments, but I have also been met with extreme hostility at the fact that I could feel this way about him. This is my story.
I am approximately the same age as Michael Jackson, and I literally grew up with his music. I was never a fanatical fan of the Jackson 5 like I was with the Beatles, but the little boy, Michael, had something unworldly about him, and I never tired of watching him perform.
Fast forward several decades. Within a 6 week period, my father and grandmother had just died, as well as the mother of my 2 friends who are like sisters to me. My own mother had a bleeding ulcer and was on the verge of hospitalization, and I was caring for her in my house. I also had a teenager who was going through a difficult period – he just lost the love of his life, his grandfather, and he needed me. My OCD had escalated out of control and it was all that I could do to function, and I wasn’t doing a good job of that. The grip of depression that took hold of me was so intense that breathing was difficult at times. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or concentrate on anything. I didn’t care if I was alive or not.
I remember it clearly, the night that I was sitting in a chair in the dark, in the quiet, crying and crying and hoping that the pain would stop. I remember the way my thoughts were just going around and around in my mind – they were unstoppable and driving me insane. I got up and put the radio on. I sat back down in the chair. It started playing “The Man In the Mirror.” The music, the emotional way he sang it -I felt it go right through my body and penetrate every fiber of my being. The words took hold of me and went right to my spirit:
Gonna make a change, For once in my life. Its gonna feel real good, Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right . . . As I turn up the collar of my Favorite winter coat, This wind is blowin’ my mind...
I'm starting with the man in the mirror, Im asking him to change his ways. And no message could have Been any clearer, If you wanna make the world A better place Take a look at yourself, and Then make a change...
Man, that man With that man in the mirror. No message could have Been any clearer. If you wanna make the world A better place Take a look at yourself and Then make a change. Gonna feel real good now!Yeah yeah! yeah yeah!
Just lift yourself, You knowYouve got to stop it. Yourself!(yeah!-make that change!) Ive got to make that change, Today!Hoo!(man in the mirror)You got to, You got to not let yourself . . Youve got to move! Come On! come on!You got to . . .Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!(yeah-make that change) Stand up and lift Yourself, now!(man in the mirror)Hoo! hoo! hoo! Aaow. . .(change . . .)Make that change.
I was so filled with emotion when that song ended that I knew that this was a message that was sent to me through that song from somewhere else, I’m sure of it. I did get up, right then and there. That song was what got me moving again, made me get a grip of my life and take the steps to conquer my depression. Every time i hear it, I get the chills.
I am forever grateful to Michael Jackson for the gift of music that he gave to me. That is why I am going to the Apollo Theater for his memorial today – to thank him.