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Joy in the Sorrow: What it means to Xscape Part 3

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Continuation from part 2 of this super long essay lol....


So during those two weeks of playing the album on repeat every second of the day (lol), I quit my job, without a problem. Again, the decision wasn't really related at all to MJ - there were a lot of issues going on and I needed to leave, but in hindsight I think its a funny coincidence that I decided to do so while I truly rediscovered MJ's music. And as recently as some weeks ago (I think it was after seeing the hologram thing on the billboard awards), while I was listening to the album - I cried. Like really cried, because I allowed myself to really FEEL the fact that I missed him. I missed the fantasy world. I missed his Neverland. I missed what he stood for.

The Xscape album led me to finding my MJ collection and playing that non-stop. I told myself "this just me getting back into digging his music." But then I got sucked into YouTube, getting super nostalgic about all of the videos I used to love and watch over and over back in the day. I cried watching them too - because some of those videos were really eerie. Like the end of Moonwalker - had me crying like a baby (an ending I always thought was the corniest thing ever). The end of Will You Be There performances - just all of that, from his speech at the end to the angel. Cried like a baby then. This is It - I watched it again since it first came out. Sobbing. And I realized that...I'm finally allowing myself to mourn. Because no - MJ wasn't just some fantasy. He wasn't just some celebrity to me. I cared about and for Michael deeply, even if I didn't know him personally. As silly as it may sound to anyone else, it was the truth.

So I came to terms with that small fact first. From there I started having fun with some of the happy and amazing videos out there of MJ, stuff that brought back a ton of memories - and for a bit there, I admit, I did get caught up in the whole death hoax thing just due to the fact that I finally brought myself to catch up on all of the stuff going on surrounding his death. For me, to this day, there's a lot of stuff that just doesn't add up. So I entertained the thought for a while until I got knocked back to my senses in realizing that it would be literally impossible lol. And even if he did do something that drastic, he wouldn't be coming back to the public - ever. But I think that was just my way of speed demoning through the grieving process after not having one for like 5 years.


Yesterday I think the grieving ended though when two things happened. Well, three things. The first? Watching Will You Be There at the MTV 10 thing ( again. Now, that performance was so powerful and so relevant, and says so many things to me now that it didn't before. Things I can't even put into words. The spirituality of it - spirituality that impacted me the first time I saw it, and it impacted me again now. And in once performance he just said so much - "God is here. He is with me and He is with you. He carried me through life and I am with him in death. Nothing I did or said in life was in vain. Listen to the music. Listen to how it touches your soul just like it did when I was alive. That is power. That is living. That is forever. That is what matters."

To say that change is impossible, to say that what MJ did in life was for nothing just because of what happened to him...I realized was a fantasy in and of itself. Because if I truly believe in God, if I truly believe that MJ is somewhere in a better place, then that should be enough. That should be proof enough that it IS worth it NOT to be normal. It IS worth it, to go forth and LIVE, truly live. And DREAM, truly dream - because even if the ending might be rough, its not really the end. If I truly believe that there "must be more to life than this," then i need to really believe it. I look at his kids now and see such hope and promise and living proof that what MJ did in his life was not in vain, not by a long shot. The world can go on in its destruction, can go on finding pleasure in bringing good people down, but in the end - I believe in the value of goodness. I believe that in my small lifetime that I'd rather try to do some good like MJ did, and add value - even if its just a little, than do nothing and contribute by default to our destructive society.

The second thing that happened was watching a performance of Heal The World. It didn't really have much of an impact until I realized the song got stuck in my head after I watched it. And I was singing it, and really listened to the lyrics again - the hope in it. "Stop existing and start living" and "We can be God's glow."

And the third thing was when Best of Joy came on shuffle. And once again I got that feeling I used to get when listening to MJ's music - getting transported into his world, as if he's singing right into my soul. Obviously the lyrics are really powerful given his passing (and I understand its definitely for his kids), but for some reason it was even more powerful - because I realized even though he's not with us on earth, love that we have as fans for him a "sacred thing." He really WAS the one who was "there" through his music, when my "walls came tumbling down."

Wasn't it him that gave me hope? Wasn't it him that inspired me? Wasn't it him that 'you are free' - free to be myself despite what society said? I didn't need to KNOW him to KNOW him. He didn't need to be in the same room with me to speak to me on a personal level. And in that way, MJ really is FOREVER. And not just in the way that we always say it when we talk about his legacy. But he is really FOREVER. As long as I live, he will be in my heart and in my spirit - and he is somewhere in the heavens, singing and laughing and dancing the dream. Now I'm back into the fold, back being myself, back in the 'fantasy' world that MJ showed me can really exist.

There is a quote from one of my fav shows called "Angel" (don't laugh) that I used to always hold close, and now I'm embodying it again: "We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be." Thats what Michael did. That is what God tells us to do. And although MJ didn't get to have a particularly 'happy' ending (depending on what you believed happened), the rest of his life and what he stood for was an example of that quote carried out in a life time. MJ said once that as long as you enter the world knowing you're loved and leave the world knowing the same, everything in between can be dealt with. I believe that was true for him, and so now I believe that he did have a happy ending in a way. That makes coping much easier.

So no more tears - I'm back in the game, MJ mania has not ended for me and will never end. And if you happened to have read this entire thing I hope that MJ fans still mourning and still sad about his passing find some kind of comfort in the same things i did. He is forever.

And if you did read all of this - WOW, thank you! lol

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Updated 08-07-2014 at 08:45 PM by J5master

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  1. Tygger's Avatar
    "And if you did read all of this - WOW, thank you! lol"

    No, thank you. One of the nicest posts I read regarding Michael in a very long time.

  2. reibish's Avatar
    Oh, I wish I had the energy for an appropriate response to this. There are so many things I'm going through when reading this - "Oh! YES! Me too! You too?!" "That's not crazy at all!" ::cue insanely long discussion::

    I just want to say thank you for sharing your story, and I'm so glad to see you back, even though I didn't know you before, and I'm still new here too! I bet Michael would be/is happy to see the same.

    I'm not at a point with the MJJC that I'm ready to share my story - I just got really close with another group before and I guess I've done so much good work with my grief and heartache that it feels like starting over - but I hope it will come forth in time and I'm glad there are others like you and I seeking to reconnect. Where there is loooooove...

    Hope this is a start of something new and good for you!
  3. StephluvsMJ's Avatar
    Your essay brought tears to my eyes! Your words really hit home for me.

    When I was younger, I used to think I could be like MJ and use whatever talents I had to change the world like he did. I used to sit down for hours at a time practicing piano, used to go to the library, get all the books about singing and tried to teach myself how to sing. Used to do this for HOURS, FOR YEARS. Dreams were real, and they do come true and I knew that if I worked hard I was going to make it.

    Well now I'm an adult, and a little thing called reality swept in and tore everything up! Music career? changing the world? helping the poor? sponsoring a child? Forget it. I'm earning a little teeny bit of money as a receptionist where I'm underpaid. I'm making no impact on the world whatsoever, passion is gone, all talents going to waste and I'm having to deal with rich men and women living in their giant mansions taking whatever they can get from me. The landlord, the boss, the family, everyone! You're livelihood is in their hands, and if you dare slack off just once, or can't afford something, you run the risk of loosing everything. This is the world that we've created. I can't even imagine how it is for people who are living in real poverty. The way the world is must seem so unfair to them. But then I think, if they can have hope, why can't I?

    I'm so thankful that I got to live in fantasy as a child, and Michael is definitely a part of that. He was a superhero to me and I'll never forget the joy and magic he brought to my life. When I watch his concerts now, or listen to his music, I still feel little bits of the magic that I used to feel when I was younger and passionate about life and the future. I hope that, like you, I can embrace fantasy once again. Even just a little bit. We need it to survive in reality!
  4. J5master's Avatar
    Thank you for the kind words!

    And StephluvsMJ, your comments mad me feel like should admit something. Although I've embraced the fantasy once again, it's still very much a work in progress. My dreams and aspirations are still clouded by doubt. I've still very much given up on a lot of things I was so sure I was going to do when I was kid (I know what you mean about the HOURS AND HOURS of learning a craft, I stopped writing in my journal when MJ died. And I spent tons of hours just writing and writing I have like 50 journals of memories and that I wanted to preserve ever since I was 9, all the way up until I was 21. That all stopped. As embarrassing as my writing was before 2009...when I read back on it, I have to admit it was more daring. More dynamic. More adventurous - because I was young and my imagination was limitless - now, I feel stifled in my writing).

    So yeah, I'm not sure if I'll ever get that 'free' feeling I once had back - that passion, that drive. But I know I have to try. I know that if I don't try then I'm just going to be miserable for the rest of my life as a creative being - its just in my blood, I know that about myself. And I also believe in a lot of things that MJ said, to keep that child-like quality - at least some of it, is life saving. And I also realized, MJ wasn't just about being in a complete fantasy world either (though his lifestyle allowed him to create one a lot easier). I remember in one of his speeches, i think it was for his birthday in 2003 - he said that he was taking the perspective of an ADULT...

    ...hold on lemme go look and find the exact

    Ah. There we go. He said he wanted to celebrate "the youthful imagination that will always be a part of me, its who I am - and the ADULT perspective of a father, and artist and a member of my community." And this spoke volumes to me in so many ways. Just practically, as an individual - an adult just trying to make ends meet,,I think one thing we can learn from MJ is simply finding your joy. Do what we need to do to handle our responsibilities to ourselves, our family, our community as an adult (which is what being an adult really means I would think)....but do so with a youthful imagination.

    So maybe the next job I get is another monotonous trap of corporate mind numbing crap lol But this time - I think I'll approach it differently. I'll put on "Best of Joy" or "Keep the Faith" or whatever else...and go into it bringing a bit of MJ's spirit in that environment. L.O.V.E. And by learning from Mike (his successes AND his failures), I will keep a leveled and adult perspective as I go along. But never, ever, ever let go of dreaming/creating goals for myself - even small ones. Maybe it IS sponsoring a child. Maybe it IS finding some time during the weekend to volunteer. Maybe it IS picking up my journals again. Or the one I decided to go for ever since I had this 'epiphany' - save up to move to the UK and work for a year by next fall and get out there to see the world. Whatever crap situation I'm in, I'm going to make room for that child in me to peak through, the child that used to strive for things, no matter how small it may be.

    And even from a MJ fan perspective, that quote I think has meaning. MJ was saying then that it was with that perspective that he wanted his fans to join him in the initiatives he had planned - one of which was the organization he had entitled "Go For Your Dreams." As he said, if young people don't go for their dreams then there will be no change in the world. And I think as fans, one thing we can do for MJ is just live out his message as best as we can. We may not change the world, but maybe we can change a life. And I think the impact MJ's life has had - just on an INDIVIDUAL basis - is doable. I'm not talking about being the greatest entertainer that ever lived with so much talent he can touch the souls of millions. I'm talking about him being a person who opened his heart wide enough to let a child with AIDS enjoy some finer things during his last days, including being loved and appreciated by someone like Michael Jackson. He changed our lives as individuals too, him just changing ONE life - honestly? Thats worth more than anything, and we know this because we are all changed by him. So if I can just change ONE life, inspire ONE person - doesn't have to be the world - isn't it worth it?

    Everyone can do what Michael did in or own way, even in our very adult lives in the harsh reality of the world. And I think thats a way we can carry on his legacy. Show the world what it can be. It may not get there in our lifetimes, and it didn't get there in Michael's. But that doesn't mean it can't get there. And I know I will feel more fulfilled trying than not trying.

    So I don't know if any of what I said helps, but right now - I'd love for EVERY MJ fan to rediscover what MJ has been trying to tell us. MJ's spirit and his message and his TRUTH is still living and that is never, ever going to die, especially if we as a fan base won't let it.
    Updated 13-07-2014 at 04:33 AM by J5master