What David Bowie's death taught me


Before I begin, let me say prior to his death that I didn't consider myself THAT much of a David Bowie fan. He was one of those people I'd kind of taken for granted - ever-present, likely immortal, and pretty fancy in tights.

Labyrinth was one of my favourite childhood films (alongside Karate Kid II, don't judge). Under Pressure was one of my favourite songs as a teen (it still ranks high) and my first crush tried to turn me onto David Bowie's Tin Machine era - without much luck, I must say.

Pop music is something ever-present in my life, but is something I don't consider myself a fan of. I had liked and sung along to no end of Bowie songs, but I only heard the music. I didn't see the art. He passed under my radar.

Then he died of course, and I watched the video to Lazarus, and was touched. It was clearly a goodbye. Then I read this article. Please read, I'll wait. It's short, powerful and so worth it.

An excerpt:

There’s sage advice embedded here, a thinly veiled warning: Do not waste any more time not expressing yourself. Say what you need to say, boldly and without reservation. Nurture your creativity and don’t be shy about it. Stop constantly consuming and start creating before it’s too late, and that dark, mysterious wardrobe into nothingness consumes you.

Leave your mark. Start today.

And it made me think. Hard. A light bulb went off, or on. I'm not sure. But something happened. Like any reasonably comfortable Western person, I live imagining my days are endless, although I know they are not. There's always tomorrow, until there's not. And tied up within my chronic illness is a huge amount of feeling shitty, of not wanting to get out of bed, of not being able to face getting out of bed, because in my waking hours are struggle. Sleep is a short practice at a long death, and although I have no fondness at all for the death that will come for me one day, it's easy for me to roll back over into the nothingness and not have to face my reality until a little later on.

But every day is precious, every day a chance to create. David Bowie was 69 and had been creating for decades, and he still had so much more to say, to do.

With regards to blogging and any other creative effort, there will always be self doubts. There will be the urge to compare to others, especially when things aren't going well. There will be the urge to think 'Am I/is it good enough?' and that kills creativity stone dead. My advice would be write like no one is listening (but hope they are).

Get your truth out while you have the chance - without self-editing for the critique you may think is coming. No one can do you better than you, and we live in a time where it's entirely possible to be historians of our own lifetimes. What will remain of me after I'm gone, when everyone who had known me has also died? My blog, my social media presences, my zillion selfies, they're the history of my life.

This is what I learned from Bowie: He reminded me time is short and precious, and that being ourselves should never be something we put off doing/being, even if it is a little painful. Sometimes it's hard to get up. Sometimes it's hard to get going. Sometimes it's hard to be, let alone create or feel like what you put out into the world is important, needed, or useful. But that's the thing about art - not everyone will get it. Not everyone will like it. Sometimes you'll stand alone while you're making the art of you, but if you have it in you, let it out. Don't let your truth die inside you, whatever form that takes.

The final words go to this:

Source unknown - I saw it numerous times on Facebook

Thanks for reading.
Leah xoxo

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