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Michael Jackson – HIStragedy

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Michael Jackson died today. A moment in history for the world – a tragic day for his children and his family.michael_jackson

Many of us forget that Michael is a person, not just a performer. A fragile heart covered by electric dance moves. In an interview with Barbara Walters, he specifically mentioned that the ‘Wacko Jacko’ lines hurt. He had a heart like anyone else. He felt the pain. He asked for it to stop. He wasn’t Wacko Jacko. He was “Jackson”. His only defence was his music and dance, even feeling the need to name his greatest hits compilation HIStory as a reminder that there are two sides to any story.

In Martin Bashir’s “Living with Michael Jackson” documentary, Jackson complained that he couldn’t go anywhere, including shopping, without a crowd gathering. Yet, I suspect his shopping trips where so many fans awaited were an orchestrated means of him gaining doses of love and affection. He may have been famous, with many people around him, yet he did lead a ‘lonely’ life. Jackson shuddered when remembering his lonely childhood. His father, Joe Jackson, used to beat him (and his brothers) for mistakes during rehearsals. His father, the one person Michael wanted to treat him like a young man, instead called Michael ‘Big Nose’.

Michael entered his teen years with a most unusual famous-but-lonely childhood behind him. At aged 14, the early part of what psychologist Dr Morris Massey terms the ‘socialisation period’, Michael had bad acne. Michael vividly remembered one woman approaching him for an autograph. When she got close to him her words were, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t realise your acne was that bad’. Michael was shattered.

One of the things that drives all of us is the need for love and acceptance. Vivid memories often reflect the very best and worst of our past experiences. For Michael, memories that insulted his looks and challenged ‘acceptance’ took their toll. Coupled with a broken nose and burns suffered during performances, we have seen how his appearance began changing during his twenties. Yet the change to his appearance was his means of looking for love and acceptance. It was as if to say, ‘If my looks are bad, I’ll change them. Will you love and accept me then?’ Paradoxically it led, in part, to the ‘Wacko’ stories and drove ‘acceptance’ away.

After I saw the “Living with Michael Jackson” documentary, I wrote to Michael Jackson. I’d seen his pain. Here was another guy suffering depression who didn’t even realise it. I invited him to my home for a barbecue and to walk to the local shops. I assured him, that contrary to his typical crowd gathering trips, a walk to the shops could be done….and, it is possible to Discover Peace Of Mind. I did not receive a reply.

Michael Jackson was a father, son, brother. Michael Jackson lived a life of feelings, just like you and I. Michael Jackson was a depressed man. A man who in his own way searched to Discover Peace Of Mind, but didn’t. And that is HIStory’s greatest tragedy.

Rodney Lovell