I’ve seen a few people question why people would honor Prince. He was, after all, controversial, edgy and so on. I’ve asked myself why I was saddened last week too. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. It boils down to this – Prince is a part of my story. I’ve learned that until you fully embrace your story, you can’t move forward writing new pages. The story will include good and bad. There will be wonderful memories and times you wish you could erase. Removing them removes pages from your story. It minimizes what made you who you are.
Prince was big in the 80’s and at a time when an awkward and clumsy teenager like me was trying to figure things out. It was a time of first loves and friends and homecoming, learning to drive and prom kings and queens. It was the age of excess with big hair, fluorescent clothes and the music. Oh the music…
It was my first concert (New Edition) with Eddie B and Lori N. It was riding in the car with my best friend Chad signing Van Halen songs until we wore the tape out. It was Friday nights in Mayfield driving around to songs by The Outfield with Ern and Stephen. If there was a piano somewhere around, you just had to learn the intro to Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue. You had to know how to move and moonwalk like Michael Jackson. I once cut school to buy INXS tickets for Vickie when I wasn’t even allowed to go to the concert (she did get me a shirt so I could act like I went). We slow danced to Bon Jovi and learned to rap to Run DMC, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys and explored our goth side with The Cure and Violent Femmes.
I could go on and on and tag so many more friends from those years. They are treasured. Sure, there were broken hearts and scars. There was puppy love and having no clue how to treat our first dates. But we were writing our story. We were learning the mistakes to teach our children to avoid at all costs. The habits, the trials and the things our parents said we should avoid.
I’ll leave you with one last thought… I begged my parents to buy us a VCR. Everyone had one. We finally got ours for Christmas one year. The first video we ever watched (from Bedford video) was one I also begged my parents to let me see. The movie? “Purple Rain” by Prince. Not exactly the way to bring confidence to the purchase your parents made. It was edgy. It was a little raunchy. It wasn’t a highlight for me choosing family movies. Neither was “Dirty Dancing” when each of my family members walked out of the theater one by one in the first 30 minutes….
What can I say. It’s a part of my story. I embrace it. I lived it, loved it, recovered from it and at times, miss the simplicity of it. That’s why I mourned Prince last week. I mourned another reminder that my story, my songs and history had slipped away.
*Originally posted April 26, 2016