Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Prince. Oh, Prince. It's not just that he could play the hell out of any instrument he picked up, that he was a prolific and creative songwriter, that he was an outrageous performer and funky as hell and a monster in the studio. Of course he was. It's not just that his music was the soundtrack of so many seminal moments of my life.
But here's the thing. He had a rough childhood, was bounced around a lot, had some early trauma, was a skinny short kid who was bullied at school. Did he shrink? No way. He got big, really big. He opened for the Rolling Stones early in his career, wearing thigh high stockings, heels, panties, and a trench coat. People had no idea what to with him, they threw garbage on the stage. But you know what he wore the next night? The same damn thing.
Later on, he wasn't afraid of pissing off the record companies when he felt that they were preventing him from sharing the message he felt he had to share. He changed his name to a frickin' symbol. The man was fearless and lived his life to please no one. Or maybe he was afraid, but he did it anyway, which makes me love him even more. When I saw him in concert in Denver in 2004-ish, I was obviously blown away by his talent, but even more by his authenticity, presence, and the way he just exuded love and spirituality. He had to. He had to be himself, and I'm sure it wasn't always easy, but he was brave enough to do it and keep doing it.
I dreamt of Prince all night last night. I wish I believed in a more conventional concept of heaven, because I love the idea of Prince making the choir of heavenly angels a whole lot funkier. Who knows where Prince is or isn't right now, but when I woke up this morning, my first thought was that we have to be heroes to each other. We have to live our lives according to our passion and our calling, even when we are afraid to do so, even when we get stuck and believe we are not enough or we don't have anything to offer, and inspire others to do the same. Because people, life is short, and for some it's even shorter. Now is the time. And if the elevator tries to bring you down, go crazy. Prince, RIP baby, I love you.