I said a few words in a previous post when I'd heard about the celebrity deaths last week. A post on Facebook by my art friend and teacher Gina Gabriell of Dublin, CA stopped me in my tracks. I asked her for permission to print it here.
When I first met Gina in August of 2008, I couldn't believe she was my age. In fact, I probably should have gotten her driver's license. She's young and hip and talented and down to earth and smart and nice, all really significant adjectives in my book. I took a very fun class at the ZNE convention, almost by accident, in Gina's brand new shop, Tangerine. She also has a studio, Eleven Morning. Her memories of Farrah and Michael mirror mine. It's that age thing.
But, she probed a bit deeper. The Stevie she refers to below is her daughter, who died in early 2007 with a brain tumor at age 19.
Her post (I edited a bit for length):
"I remember my cousin Ron (and every other teenage boy) had the Farah in the red bathing suit- nipples at attention poster hanging in his room. I remember thinking how beautiful she was and how I wanted more than anything in the world to have two things: 1. Boobs and 2. Big Hair.
Lucky for me curling irons and a home perm weren't too expensive but the boobs would be harder to come by and a long wait. The boob fairy finally did visit me after the birth of my first child. Because this fairy was late she decided to make up for it by giving my great-grandmothers heavy breasts. It is feast or famine with me always.
Charlie’s Angels...sigh. You had to love that cheesy show, the original crew made me want a jump suit, made me want to learn karate, made me want to wear lipstick. Alas I was trapped in a skinny boy's body but I loved those Angels.
Although I am not a People magazine reader and I don't follow what goes on in the magic world of all things shiny, I did respect Farrah making the documentary of her cancer journey. I have not seen it, but I think it can only raise awareness when someone who was the standard of beauty in her prime allows the public to see what cancer takes away. It isn't like the movies; it is painful, scary, and ugly.
Michael. It was a shock to hear that he had passed, I knew it would happen some day; I just could never imagine Michael Jackson at 70. It was hard to believe he was 50. My instincts tell me his demise was drug related but it doesn't really matter how he left, it was just his time. His heart breaking seems like a tragic and fitting ending.
The monkey, the out-there clothing, Lisa Presley, Neverland, seriously how could that shock anyone. Hollywood is the land of make-believe and he gave people something to talk about, to wonder about and keep them interested, pure marketing genius.
When I was a kid I went to see The Jackson Five at the Circle Star theater in Oakland. We were way up front and it was spectacular. These boys sang their hearts out. Micheal had a ‘fro back then and all the brothers wore bell bottoms. I thought that was boss. I was a runny nosed little tom-boy, but I danced my little chicken legs off.
While I was driving home I spoke to Stevie. I told her, "Hey Michael Jackson is in heaven now; how cool is that?" She had a little collection of DVDs that she used to watch. To her it was all ‘Old School’ and she loved the music and videos.
Stevie didn't judge people. She liked them or didn't like them. There was never an explanation or an apology, she never wavered or changed her mind. She could just feel to the heart of a person. She didn't have time to waste.
I wonder if that is how we should all live. I could have saved hundreds of hours of my life if I didn't try to help people who didn't really want help, change people who were happy in their misery, trying to build friendships with people I didn't really like because I thought it was the right thing to do. My instincts were always right but always a hindsight observation.
I am not saying people should be hateful or avoid helping another person; it isn't about the worth of a person. What I am saying is that we all have a moral compass/ good instincts, and if we listen to that without judgment we could live a little more effectively.I get lost in this. I always tell myself that that gut feeling isn't a tool for me to move in another direction but a challenge, a hurdle that will help me build a better me if I do the right thing, maybe I am wrong.
The universe gives us a road map for our lives, Point A to Point B. It offers us guidance and direction. We have the freedom to take our own route, and we can make it as long or as difficult as we like. Only two things are for sure: there is a point B and there are no shortcuts.
I think I am going to stick to my map now, listen to that inner guidance, love when my heart tells me to, run when my heart tells me to. My girl had this all figured out by the time she was five; I am a slow learner.
For some reason humans need idols. Icons serve a purpose but they too die and fade away, making room for other icons.We can chose who we love. I think we should learn to see lovable greatness in ourselves and not hang all our hopes and dreams on someone else who seems bigger and better.This is the only life we have and know right now; we have to be kings and queens of our own beauty and promise."