Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wacky Wednesday: The Original Voldemort?

This year, I've really been loving working my blog posts to the tune of different weekly themes, and I've been sortof adapting and growing a list of themes I thought would be fun to keep around - themes that touch on my life and the things I want to talk about, the things I think you guys might like to read about, and the sorts of "fluff" things I think would be good for breaking up streams of more serious personal content.

Y'all know I have PTSD, and that I'm adjusting to living life as a single mom while building a brand. Many of you know about the history with how I grew up, my mother's ill health, and my grandmother's decline. You know I have ... (dare I say it?) ... baggage.

But no one wants to read that all the time, and frankly, I don't want to talk about it all the time, so I needed days on my blogging schedule that would give me time to take a break.

Time to chill out, wind down, joke around.

Time to get wacky.


So, I actually still love Michael Jackson's music. I always did. I remember when I was in middle school and I got SO excited because my Aunt had the HIStory CD collection and she gave it to me. I listened to it for hours on end.


Later, as I grew older, I learned more and more about him through the news and the media, the whispered stories about his possibly unsavory preferences, the quiet speculation about why a grown man would build a magical wonderland and lure children there to play with him.

It got worse when the accusations started in earnest, and he was driven from Neverland - whether out of guilt or embarrassment, no one will likely ever know.

There were problems with his marriage, with his children. Eventually, my love of his music started coming with a disclaimer. "Yeah, he's a mess ... but great music though. Such a sad story."

And it turned out, he really did have a sad story.

Michael Jackson was a victim of child abuse himself, a young boy forced into stardom, raised in the eye of the public, and yet carrying so many dark secrets. In his adult life, he became more open about the violent beatings he suffered under the hands of his perfectionist father - but being open about the past doesn't always stop it from hurting you.

My therapist has spoken to me several times now about the concept of the inner child - a concept with which I am slowly becoming more comfortable. Other research on the idea of the inner child in conjunction with psychological healing presents the idea that a damaged child (a child victimized by abuse, molestation, or other trauma), can actually become stuck in a child-like state in the mind, which retards the psychological growth of the person even though the body continues to grow, as does the intellect.

If ever there was an example of a person stuck in a child-like state, it would be a man who grew up to live on a ranch called Neverland - which he attempted to fill with children. Lost Boys? I don't know.


Sadly, even the childhood abuse wasn't all Michael had to deal with. He was diagnosed with Vitiligo in his 20's at the height of his career. He was still a heartthrob in those days, the King of Pop and one of the most well-known and well-respected musical artists to ever live. His name was a household name; his face was everywhere. He was a commodity in high demand.

And as if it wasn't enough that he was an insecure perfectionist himself, still haunted by the cruelty of his father's physical and emotional abuse, with Vitiligo, he was also a black man losing his color.

He was shamed brutally in the public, ostracized by the black community for "bleaching" himself in an effort to "look white," and scorned by the white community for being stupid enough to try changing his skin color when he was perfectly fine as he was. In truth, he was losing his pigmentation so rapidly that he began using strong treatments that did bleach his skin - not to become or appear white, but simply in an effort to retain some semblance of a normalcy in his appearance. Vitiligo is gaining awareness and acceptance now, but in the 80s? That was a different time, and I imagine he felt it would be better to bleach himself white than to walk around in the public eye spotted, speckled, and striped with obvious disease.

It's unclear what came first, the Vitiligo or the string of facial surgeries that so drastically altered his appearance throughout the 80s; speculation seems to waver between a belief that the surgeries were to make his facial structure "match" his new skin color and a belief that the surgeries were an effort to remove his physical resemblance to a father he had tried - and failed - to forgive.

Either way, he was constantly shamed in the public, possibly taken advantage of by those claiming to have been victimized by him (and I'm not saying he didn't do it - only acknowledging that he wasn't proven guilty), and even in death, the rich legacy of his musical talent is haunted by his troubled life.



And exactly zero percent of that stopped me from laughing until I cried when I realized these similarities the other day:
  • both Michael Jackson and Voldemort were young men from troubled homes
  • both were thrust into a world unlike anything they had ever known
  • both were obsessed with little boys
  • and neither one of 'em had a nose
I know, I know. I'm a jerk. But if you even cracked the smallest, slightest ghost of a smile in response to this, so are you.

Happy hump day, fellow jerks.

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Questions for the Comments Section:
  • What did you think of Michael Jackson - his music, his life, his story?
  • Did you feel that he was more likely guilty - or innocent?
  • And lastly ... did you laugh? Or at least smile? Come on, didja?
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42 comments:

  1. I loved his music and I didn't know he had a diesease that was turning his skin a different color. Makes me think a lot differently of him. Being a child of abuse myself I can understand what he was going through. I also thought there was more to his story than the public knew. I laughed thank you :)

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    1. Yeah, there was a lot of speculation about it while he was alive, and by the time he came out about it, people didn't believe him and thought he was just making up excuses. But after his death, medication commonly used to treat vitiligo was found in his house (as well as on his skin).

      I always felt a certain closeness with him, too. Like you, I grew up in abusive environments, and so I guess I felt a certain companionship with him.

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  2. In my opinion, no one who can beat Michael Jackson! I still love his music and his dance moves. This was a fascinating and fun read! And YES! I did laugh and smile!

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  3. This is really clever. I can't ever say that I was much of a fan, sure, I knew some of the popular songs and still enjoy busting out Thriller every Halloween, but it never went much beyond that. I'm not going to speculate on his private life either, only to say that in reality, how could anyone possibly 'grow up' to be normal when the only private life they ever had was under the spotlight of millions of people. It's easy to say that he chose the lifestyle of fame, particularly as he got older, but when you train a monkey to dance he will dance for life. (Not to compare him to a monkey, but you get where I'm going with this) I don't believe he was ever afforded any opportunity to do anything other than chug forward in the dysfunctional pattern of the childhood exploitation he endured. There is no possible way to be normal in that environment. What I will say definitively is that I feel sorry for him and now I feel sorry for his children. He really was and always will be the victim of his own success.

    Raine xoxo

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    1. I'm still not sure he really chose it - perhaps not in the active way that we CHOOSE to eat a salad instead of pie for dinner. Growing up abused leaves echoes that follow you always - and those echoes tend to have some impact on the choices you make, or the choices you feel are available to you.

      Honestly though, he was a victim long before his success really became something he couldn't leave behind. I mean, he was famous by the time he was like five years old - but his father had already been his father for five years by then, and by his own admission he as a violent and domineering parent.

      But I'm still reeling over the idea that you aren't a fan. I can't imagine the music industry without the echoes he left behind.

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  4. I have always been a fan of Michael Jackson. I remember watching the whole trial of his and I never thought he was guilty. I think he WAS just a child trapped in a man's body and I always felt bad for him.

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    1. Actually, I tend to agree with you - he WAS a child trapped in a man's body. The idea of the inner child (psychologically speaking) is that when a child is damaged by abuse or extreme trauma, it literally disrupts and freezes the psychological development of the child. So the calendar keeps going and the body keeps growing ... but the child is still in there, stuck.

      I never thought he was guilty either - but I'm not sure that means he wasn't. My affection for him because of my love for his music could be blinding, and that's WITHOUT my knowing about the child porn they found in his house. That alone changes everything about the case against him.

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  5. Is it terrible that I laughed at the end... So bad!!! I loved Michael Jackson. The poor man never stood a chance with all the nastiness that was thrown at him in this world.

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    1. Yeah I felt a little terrible too, and almost didn't publish this post because of it. But you have to have a little humor in your life, you know?

      I agree though - his life story was a tragedy right from the beginning.

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  6. I do love Michael Jackson. I'm sorry he had a rough childhood. I do enjoy his music.

    (And yes, I laughed..)

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    1. Glad you laughed with me - I feel a little less guilty knowing I had company. I'm sorry he had such a rough childhood too. I look at my own kids and simply cannot imagine them surviving whole under the pressure he had to live with.

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  7. Yes, I have to say I laughed, especially at the line that neither of them had a nose! Michael Jackson definitely had a very rough childhood and growing up in the spotlight as he did had to have affected his development. Going through everything he did must have been extremely difficult.

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    1. I think so for sure. Right now I'm working with my daughter at my feet; she's seven, and she's coloring a picture that's due back for school Monday. What kind of life would it be for her, always on the go, traveling to the next city and the next and the next, no routine, no regularity, practicing for hours on end, and being beaten if she refused or couldn't perform to the standard of fame? She's only seven.

      He had a cruel upbringing.

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  8. OK, you got me at the no nose part haha!! If you can't find the humor in life, what's the point eh??

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    1. That was my thought, too. I felt a little bad, but hey - what's funny is funny.

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  9. wow you almost feel sorry for them. I didnt realize the two had so much in common. Makes we wonder about other famous people

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    1. They definitely had similarities. And actually, it's a little disheartening to look that closely at other famous people - so many of them are broken, and forced to live in the public eye on top of it all.

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  10. Brandi that's so funny. We love his music too. He has so many great songs that get you singing and dancing.

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    1. He definitely was an amazing artist. When I was little, one of my grandmothers took me to an impersonator concert, and there was a Michael Jackson there. There was an Elvis too, and a Cher, among others - but the Michael Jackson performer was AMAZING. I can only imagine how beautifully charismatic the real MJ would have been in concert.

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  11. I still love Michael Jackson music. Bring back so great memories when they play it on the radio. It sadness me that he was forced to be perfect growing up and even lose his childhood.

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    1. It really is. I love his music too - it gives me comfort to hope that his music gave HIM comfort.

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  12. I wouldn't exactly consider Michael as Voldemort but there are definitely similarities. I don't believe any of the rumors about the kids though, I really think he was just trying to get another shot at being a child himself. It's sad how the world perceived him.

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    1. I still can't decide what I really think about all of it. I mean, he didn't have child porn in his house for nothing, you know? But ... I just can't imagine him being THAT person.

      Then again? Hurt people hurt people. And he was a heartbreakingly tortured man, passionate and strong-feeling. I suppose no one will ever know the truth.

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  13. I love Michael and it's so heartbreaking that he had to live such a sad life from his childhood to his adult years. I think he was just trying his best to cope with everything that's happened and that's happening.

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    1. I think so too. No person should have to live under that kind of pressure.

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  14. His music is definitely incredible and will live on BUT yes, I did giggle at the end there!

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  15. I only really liked Thriller. It is the only song of his that always got stuck in my head. I am not sure if that is because I enjoyed listening to it, or if it was because a lot of films used it in their sound tracks.

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  16. Very interesting parallels. Really like the narrative here - you pulled m e into the story!

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  17. Michael Jackson story was truly tragic. He really was never allowed to just be a normal kid
    xo
    jen
    effortlesseverydaystyle.com

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    1. That's the worst part of all of it. He never even had a chance.

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  18. What an unusual comparison. What drew your mind to this?!

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    1. I'm not sure really, or don't remember. My mind is a weird place - and it gets even more so when I'm on the phone with my cousin. When this hit me, I was on the phone with her and laughed until my head ached.

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  19. I never really knew that about Michael Jackson. I was just always told he changed his skin color because he was ashamed to be black. Then they put anything in the media.

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  20. Lol! Can't deny Mike was a magical genius! Interesting comparisons nonetheless.

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  21. I agree. Michael Jackson is not a perfect human, but he did great things in life and the music we enjoy now. So bottomline he is still the best, and even he's gone - his music continuous to live.

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    1. That's the only plus side, I think - the fact that for all he suffered through and everything he dealt with, at least he was able to build a lasting legacy.

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