Friday, April 22, 2016

Partying like it's 1999 - not 2016

There's this thing called impostor syndrome. Basically, you downplay your accomplishments as being just luck, or not real, anything other than what they actually are, the result of hard work and perseverance. Unless you are an impostor; then it's the result of you understanding that you cheated your way to the top. One hopes that at some point Donald Trump will come to terms with his own imposter syndrome and drop out of the presidential race, but that's besides the point.

And the point certainly isn't that Prince was in way an impostor. No, he was the real deal. A true artist in every sense of the word and our world will be a little less funky without him in it anymore.

No, I am the one feeling like an impostor. I have felt like an impostor in many ways at various times during my life. I know I have written about how I often don't feel like a 'runner' because I'm not the type of runner that one thinks of when they think of a runner. This is something that several of my other 'runner' friends and I have discussed. We don't run fast, or at least not as fast as the people who run faster than us. I think if you run faster than me, then that makes you a 'real' runner. Of course, I don't feel like the people who run slower than me aren't runners. And so one would think I could figure out that if slower than me runners are real runners, then I must be just as much of a real runner as they. But no, I apparently hold myself to a different standard. In reality, I have run three marathons and a whole bunch of other races and I can call myself a runner if I want to and if there is someone out there that thinks I'm not a runner because I'm not fast enough then they probably aren't a runner because runners aren't like that.

I could go on the same way about writing. If I'm not writing enough, producing enough words, well then I shouldn't be able to call myself a writer. There are things that I feel you must achieve a certain amount of success at before one can be that thing. I'm not sure how true it is. It's not like I'm trying to pass myself off as the answer to this nation's problems and get elected to the highest office in the country or anything. If I were doing that, without having any real reason for people to believe that I would be able to handle, say, an international crisis or a natural disaster because my background is primarily being rich and going bankrupt a few times and saying things that people seem to want to hear because I'm 'telling it like it is', well then maybe I was just being honest with myself when I felt like an impostor - but you know, that's not me.

But I am questioning if it is OK for me to be sad that Prince has died; that another light has gone out. It's not like I was the biggest Prince fan in the world. I have listened to, and loved, and sang and danced to much of his music. Though I'll admit that after Diamonds and Pearls and (Love Symbol Album) I haven't really listened to much of his newer music. And a quick search through my iTunes reveals not one Prince song in my library. However, I do know that down in the basement are at least two Prince CDs (I know I have Purple Rain and Batman down there somewhere). And I do know that I had at least one, Purple Rain, maybe 1999, album when I was a kid. I remember Purple Rain coming out at the movie theater and making a pact with my friend Becky that we would go to see it together. She went and saw it without me and that is why to this day I no longer speak to Becky (that and we went to different schools after 6th grade and never saw each other again). But is that enough? Is it enough that Prince was one of those artists that shaped my childhood? That his death is a reminder of my own mortality. The artists that I grew up listening to are suddenly not only old, but sometimes even dying. Maybe I just haven't shown enough devotion to him to actually be sad.

For the record, not one person is questioning my veracity in being sad that Prince died. No one is saying - Hey Melanie, you weren't really a Prince fan, take down that silly Facebook post. I mean, maybe someone is, but they haven't said it to my face, or to my FB page. But there is part of me that thinks maybe I don't have the right to be upset. To the point that I've found it necessary to sit down and write about it on the internet. How self indulgent can I be?

Of course, if there was anyone who appreciated self indulgence, it had to be Prince. And while I'm sure he had his human foibles just like the rest of us, I like to imagine him waking up each day and saying - fuck it - I'm going to do me and everyone else can just deal. And if that meant that people thought he didn't have the right to do this or that, then he just didn't care, because he believed in himself (please don't ask me to bring this back to how DT clearly doesn't care if people believe he has the right to do what he wants to do and how that is somehow different - I can't right now, but just believe me it is - let's just say: Prince = good, DT = not good).

So I'm going to keep on doing me. And that means when Lin Bhremer plays Let's Go Crazy and tells us all to turn up the volume and sing and dance, then I'm going to, and S and I are going to listen and dance and sing to a great musician and be happy he was able to make music while he was here on this earth.


Freewheelin' Dave said...

I think (as this post proves) that you're an awesome writer.

...and runner.

...and right on about DT!

Pete B said...

Nicely written. Keep on dancin'...

Anonymous said...

There's always somebody faster, sadder, smarter... Superlatives are not characteristics of real people, and your feelings, thoughts and actions are no less authentic because they don't correspond to an ideal that's always on a floating scale anyway.

-The Imposterest

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