My body was a lit match
in the wind when you
last called me dangerous.
I was a caged river, longing
for a flood, reckless
within acceptable boundaries.
What I wanted was an invitation,
the word yes waiting
on your tongue
for me to find it, hands
reborn electric, each finger
a lightning strike
of don’t stop
and just let go.
But I dare you
to imagine me now,
free and brazenly unfinished,
lungs ready to shout
toward heaven, my holy
heart a single shade of scarlet,
my hips a reminder
of how good it feels
to want, then give,
Every possible spark
is ours, if you whisper
my name on your knees,
say please, say like this,
say right there, say
what you want,
and I will show you
the full fire
and try me,
I’m right here—
it’s time for you to come.
We live in a world that is constantly trying to keep us small. We’re supposed to be and do this. We’re supposed to like this, not that. We’re supposed to stay inside the lines, not rock the boat. Don’t be too weird. Don’t stick out too much.
We’re often told that to be a certain thing (woman, man, writer, father, husband, wife, etc.) that we must do x, y, and z. Otherwise, it’s wrong. Otherwise, you won’t fit in (whatever that means).
But I never wanted any of that. I never wanted to fit in. Good or bad, weird or not, I always just wanted to be me. I’m not saying that is always an easy thing. It’s not. I remember, in middle school, being criticized for the clothes I wore. I liked a shirt, so I wore it. A girl in class said to me, “Why do you dress like that? You should get some overalls, like [redacted].”
Yes, darlings, there was a point in time in which overalls were all the rage. And they were just…not my thing. I remember looking this girl in the eye and saying, “But I don’t like them. I like what I have on.” From that moment on, that girl hated me. Actively and with gusto. Why? Who knows. Kids are weird and often cruel.
But maybe it was because I wouldn’t conform. Maybe it was because I didn’t bend to her expectations. Maybe she was insecure. It doesn’t matter. All throughout life, people will insist with a crazed, righteous fervor that you need to be a predetermined way. That you need to present yourself within these lines and walk in these parameters.
Those people are wrong. Don’t let them in your head. And if they sneak in, kick them out. Because there’s only one you, and you’ve only got one life. Don’t spend it trying to please the world. Don’t spend it trying to be someone else. Or someone version of yourself. Dress up if you feel like it, but never to hide who you are.
Today, Prince died. A mad musical talent. A force a nature. A brilliant everything. Prince, a man who was once a symbol, never uttered a false note in his life—musically and personally. Whenever he went, there he was. Effortlessly cool, infinitely sexy, and remarkably wonderful. His talent is too far-reaching and brilliant to comprehend, sometimes. He pushed boundaries and made stunning art.
Like Bowie, he was one of those rare people who made it cool to be weird. There was a magic in his authenticity, in his quiet coolness. He was sexy, and he wrote about sex in a way that was appealing—and dirty as hell—but it was never offensive, never alarming. Each song was a seduction, and we were all very much here for it.
It takes courage to be who you are. Today, we lost a musician whose equal we may never see. But with his death, we also lost that symbol of fearlessness. Prince was the epitome of not giving a fuck. He was exactly who he was, and it was beneath him to even consider apologizing for it. He made art his way. He brought spectacle and dancing. He brought glitter. He lived his life on his terms, and the world bent around him in awe. There was no expecting him to tone it down or change.
He was simply Prince. Period. End of story. Full stop. And man, there’s something infinitely appealing, magical, and sexy about that. About a person whose Give a Damn is not broken, but absent.
It’s important, in this fast food society, to have remembers that it’s okay to be exactly who we are. Not just okay, but wonderful. And when someone like Prince (and Bowie) die, there’s an obvious loss. He won’t have a new song. We won’t get to see him in concert. Hell, we won’t get to make out with him. Or borrow his shoes.
And we lose the person we sometimes look to, who reminds us, “Just be yourself. Screw the world. Don’t pay any mind to what other people think.” It’s a hard loss, because of the way society strives to keep us small and reasonable.
But today, for me, a curious thing happened when I heard about Prince. Yes, I was shocked. I was sad. (I mean, he and Bowie always seemed so Other in the best way, immortal and untouchable.) But what I also felt was a curious sense of defiance. That rebel streak that crops up just often enough to remind me to be myself, even when people don’t always get it. Even when there’s side eye and whispers.
This surge of defiance caught me by surprise, because it was exceptionally fierce.
I am always myself, but sometimes quietly so. And you know what? No more of that. Quiet is for church and funerals, and since I’m not holy and I’m not dead, enough of that. I’ve always lived my life by my own compass, but what if that goes a step further? Live it out loud just a little more?
I don’t belong in a box. And I refuse to live in one. I’m a geek who curses. A lady who loves tequila and rum. A writer who thinks like a poet first, always. A woman who loves without question or concern. A friend who does not waver. A person so full of hope that it’s almost absurd.
But you’ll never catch me apologizing for who I am. So, do me a favor? Don’t you apologize for who you are, either. Don’t apologize for what you want in life. Don’t apologize for what you enjoy. (There is no guilty pleasure. Pleasure is pleasure. Enjoy it. This goes for all things.) Don’t apologize for who you love. Don’t apologize for loving, period. Don’t apologize for the way you dress, how loud you laugh, or talking about the things that you are passionate about.
Light up, darlings. No one else can stand where you’ve been, where you are, and where you will be. And you owe it to yourself to show yourself to the world, to be freely you.
Tomorrow, I will be wearing purple. It’s my favorite color. As a child, I claimed to be from the Planet Purple. While I can neither confirm nor deny that possibility, I choose to honor Prince. I choose to honor a man who could seduce the world without a word, in just a look. A man who played every instrument flawlessly, as if it was like breathing. A man who commanded every room he walked into just by being in it.
To quote my dear friend Heather: stay weird, be kind. ❤