This post sort of goes against something I believe in.
I don’t super believe in elevating people on their birthdays or anniversaries, but instead spreading that love out all year. Arbitrary days don’t make anyone more or less special than they were on a day that wasn’t that day.
(I am still a human in America who likes to be loved, though, so I do celebrate that kind of stuff… I don’t know precisely how much I do or don’t believe in all the jazz…)
Anniversaries are more worthy of celebration than birthdays (in my opinion). They’re not as arbitrary. Michael Jackson did some amazing, phenomenal work. It deserves to be celebrated.
(But hopefully his work is appreciated on more than just today, and I’m sorry that I’m bringing it up today instead of a day when the whole world isn’t singing his praises.)
But the reason I am bringing it up is that for it just hit me kind of hard today.
I’ll go ahead and admit I have a somewhat unhealthy love of Michael Jackson (as I’m sure you’ve seen on this blog).
I think that adoring him, and trying to learn from him, and using him as a role model is healthy. Crying over his death (even years later) harder than some people cry for people they actually know? That’s the possibly unhealthy part. But it’s probably okay.
Here’s the great thing about Michael Jackson. He was so much more than just a man.
He was hope where there was no hope. He was a fighter. He fought for people who couldn’t fight for themselves. He encouraged us to raise our voices and fight for what we believed in.
He had so many amazing lessons that he couched in catchy pop music so we could all easily take them in.
My gosh, listen to any of the lyrics in “Why You Wanna Trip on Me?”
When I listen to Earth Song, I go full on nuts as I sing those “What about us?!” lines.
If ever I am down, if ever I am overwhelmed, if ever I question fighting for something because the uphill battle seems so hard – I can turn to Michael Jackson’s music. He may be gone, but his encouraging messages last on forever.
Even though I never met him – and unfortunately, I never will – I want to live a life that I’d be proud to tell him about if I were to meet him. He inspires me to be better. (And I have a long way to go!)
As far as Thriller specifically, I think Bad was better than Thriller. I think Dangerous was better than Bad. Those aren’t necessarily popular opinions, but they’re mine.
You can always be better, even when you’re at the top of your game and no one else is even close – you can always be better. And you should be. Even if you’re the only one pushing you. That’s the lesson I like to take away from him topping himself twice when no one thought he could top Thriller.
I said earlier this year that I was finally able to listen to Michael Jackson without having a breakdown.
I just wanted to let you know, lest you think I’m a stable human being (or a callous one), or one who’s forgotten the genius of Michael Jackson – I’m not. I haven’t. And I never could.
Something about today, something about everyone talking about him, something about re-seeing the magazine covers that came out after he died, I was transported back to that mindset. I sobbed as I listen to him sing “Smile.” ‘Cause he’s Michael Jackson. And we’ll never get him back.
But we’ll always have his influence, his lessons, his music to keep us going, to keep us inspired, and to keep us pushing to better.
I will always be so very grateful to him. And I’ll never be able to thank him. At this point, the best way I know how, is to listen to what he said. Start with the man in the mirror. Try to make the world a better place.
I’m no Michael Jackson. But I’m a better me because of him.