The first video I showed my son then. The title seems appropos to how I'm feeling.
(A cleaned-up version of a comment I made here)
As a feminist, as a rape survivor, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, as someone who once adored the "King of Pop," how do I process Michael Jackson's death?
I grew up in a little southern, rural town where racism was alive and well. Seeing a black person as glamorous and famous as Michael Jackson meant the world to me. Seeing that his popularity crossed color lines--I mean, I remember distinctly thinking, "White girls scream and pass out over him?" They'd have been ostracized in my town.
It's not that I idolized him as some sort of post-racial icon--I don't believe in that shit, not for this country, in our lifetimes--but that here was a symbol that, my God, it wasn't so bad for us everywhere.
Then there were the other, simpler things. I loved his music. I had a crush on him. I thought he was cool without being "hard."
When the allegations came, I was angry at him, because I believed them. I knew what it was like not to be believed as a survivor, and I didn't want to do that to those children.
And I was angry at me, because I believed them.
Thanks to exposes and the nonstop media fascination, I had given Michael my own, hardly professional diagnosis. I thought he was profoundly hurt and always searching for his childhood, trying to live it vicariously through children. I thought he didn't know how to set appropriate boundaries--he really thought of himself as children's "friend." I thought somewhere along the way, he may have crossed the line in a hurtful, heinous way.
So, yes, I was mad at him.
And felt sorry for him.
And cared about him.
And identified with those children and worried about them.
In short, I was confused, felt guilty for caring for him.
I still am confused. But I know news of his death shook me, saddened me unbelievably. I don't know how to deal with it. I can't pretend that I didn't care, that part of me didn't still care a whole lot about an imperfect, sad man who may have done some unforgivable things.
Sometimes, I realize that I'm human, that how I feel won't always be logical or rational or even, to some, defensible.
But I'm not getting on the defense on this one.
I sincerely hope Michael is happy and at peace now.