“If David Bowie can make being David Bowie cool, you can make being you cool.”
I rarely use the term “lucky.” I’m a firm believer of circumstances and coincidences but never luck. But after the passing of David Bowie on January 10, I instantly realized how lucky we all were that he was around.
Growing up, Bowie wasn’t at the top of my major influences. My dad chose to subject me to the likes of The Beatles, Eric Clapton, The Eagles, The Bee Gees, and New Order. He would slip in some Bowie every now and then but he often referred to him as the “weird one,” not as a negative thing but more as a fact. I never made the connection that that David Bowie was the same one in Labyrinth, a film that absolutely terrified me as a child. My parents would use The Goblin King as the ultimate discipline tool. If I didn’t cut it out and start behaving, they would send me to The Goblin King. In retrospect, it wasn’t really much of a threat. That would’ve been fucking amazing.
As I got older, Bowie’s music started infiltrating all aspects of my life. Hearing “Fashion” in the beginning of Clueless as Cher picked out her outfit for school. Watching Heath Ledger dance to “Golden Years” in A Knight’s Tale. Ewan McGregor singing “Heroes” in Moulin Rouge. Jakob Dylan covering “Heroes.” Of course the pop culture references were endless but it wasn’t until around high school I began to realize how important Bowie was.
A girl that I grew up with started dating a girl. But wait, she had boyfriends before? I was never homophobic, I had gay friends but I didn’t understand the concept of bisexuality — until David Bowie. Once I moved past the music and physically saw him is when everything changed. People keep saying Bowie gave us permission to be different, to be weird. It’s the truth and it’s worth repeating multiple times. There’s something particularly special about a person when he could redefine masculinity, and femininity all while pushing the boundaries of creativity both visually and musically. This was a person with infinite abilities to accomplish possibilities. While he had this otherworldly aura about himself, he was never God-like. We never viewed him as a higher being and he never wanted us to. He had complexities, layers, and flaws and put them on full display. He had the courage to be himself and he inspired us to follow suit. He let himself be weird and the beauty of it is that we also let him be weird. I hope we get to point that we allow everyone else this luxury.
David Bowie was a magical creature surrounded by stardust. Something that we can all achieve.
Photo Credit: RCA