5 Things David Bowie Taught Us

Like everyone, I'm reeling from the loss of David Bowie. Just two days ago, I purchased his latest album, Blackstar - and less than 24 hours later I found out he had died. It's a one two punch - to be given a gift so rich and then have something profoundly taken away. I suspect many of his fans are feeling similarly.

In a fashion characteristic of any great artist, Mr. Bowie said goodbye with grace and in his own unique way - which only adds to the mystique, the legend, and the pain. I find myself feeling very introspective today - thinking very deeply on the impermanence of life and of art. I think Mr. Bowie would be pleased. 

So I decided to write down the 5 things that I think we can all observe from a life artfully lived. 

1) Live your Truth
So many of the accolades I've been seeing all over the internets today are about how Bowie, in being so himself, was a beacon to those who were feeling suppressed, out of the mainstream, and disenfranchised. When you live your truth in such a profound way, you are noticed. It doesn't always mean you're liked and accepted, which leads me to...

2) Living Takes Courage
Living your truth takes an insane amount of courage. People who succeed at this are compassionate yet always battling - the status quo, those who don't understand, those who would attack or punish. It takes courage to be so vulnerable, and what is life if not a constant string of vulnerabilities?

3) Identity Is Fluid - And Queer
No matter who you think you are, and what you think defines you, there is more to you than you are expressing and letting everyone see. Every single person has within them multiplicity, complexity, and that which is queer. That's where your beauty is. It's also a source of strength, courage and truth. Everyone's queer, so have fun with it.

4) You Have A Voice
If you're not good at music, paint. If you're not good at paint, dance. If you're not good at dancing, write. There are a million ways to express yourself, and you don't have to be trained, approved or granted permission to express. Just do what makes you feel good, and like your most authentic self. That's really all it takes.

5) The Art of The Quiet Exit
Rather than tell the world he was dying, he chose to keep it personal, and use the last time and energy he had to create. When faced with the most profound inevitability, it can be giving - not taking - that creates wonder. Instead of asking everyone to heal him, to feel sorry for him, to acknowledge him - he instead asked for our attention one more time. He gave to us. That's a mic drop. That's real art.

WIlliam PacholskiComment