Thursday, November 11, 2010

The World We Live In

Written for the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait, 11/10/2010.

If I were to be asked to describe my life over the last sixteen or so months, I would have to say it’s been like stepping into another world. Here in this world there is a central core of light filled with magic, wonderment, discovery and love, but it is also surrounded by shadows. They hover around the edges enticing the stray wanderer to step into the darkness. Some willingly enter and set up permanent residence. A few have taken a peek out of curiosity and lingered awhile, while others  having once seen what lie in wait for them, run away as quickly as they can. Negativity, greed, envy, spite, self-serving egos and malicious untruths are a major part of this world, and there can be no escape from that part of human nature that lives and flourishes within the shadows. This was Michael’s world for most of his life; it has now become ours.

It has been said that taking a walk through the numerous fan communities, pre-existing and newly formed since Michael’s death, is akin to navigating a minefield. One wrong move and you could find yourself shattered into a million pieces. Having ventured into this realm I would have to agree, in part. I have been witness to the angry outbursts between fans, read the disparaging and often hateful comments left by others, had snide comments made to me by someone who believed I should be taking a more active role in seeking justice for Michael, by abusing my position with the MJTP, and used as a platform to launch a personal agenda through lies and subterfuge. This experience in particular left me wondering how Michael maintained the way he did for so long; how he still had the capacity to love when surrounded by so many lies, both from the media and people he trusted, and surrounded by those who used him as a means to an end.

I am sure I am not the only fan who has experienced these things. It appears that some believe their groups, forums, discussions and opinions are the only ones that count. That if you aren’t an activist you aren’t a real fan; that if you aren’t donating to a certain cause, writing hysterical and incoherent letters to the media, posting vitriolic comments to members of Michael’s family or to those that oppose you, then you can’t possibly be a true fan. I have to ask why these people think they are any truer when clearly acting in direct contrast to everything Michael was and believed in?

It saddens me that parts of our community are divided, when in reality if we want to vindicate Michael’s name and continue his legacy, we should be united. It saddens me that there are some who have infiltrated the fan community to use it as a means to their own end. That their only purpose in being here is to use Michael’s name to launch themselves into the spotlight, and to give the impression they are doing some good while collecting followers like trophies. They trick people into believing they care about the cause, but if you look closely at their dealings and connections, you will see that they are building monuments for themselves upon lies and deceit. This was Michael’s world for most of his life; it has now become ours.

As Michael sought refuge away from the eyes of the world, more and more fans are seeking their own respite from the savage attacks, bullying, and infighting. They are closing down Facebook pages and Twitter accounts; dissolving groups and cancelling membership to various websites. Disgusted and disheartened, verbally beaten and bruised, they are going to ground to lick their wounds. Some may never return, while others may never be able to trust again, but it is so important for us to reach out to them in the hope that they might. Through us we can bring them back by showing that there is positive good working within the fan communities. We can show them; we can build their trust again and open their eyes to all the beautiful rays of light everywhere, who are working so diligently to vindicate Michael’s name and continue his legacy.

Groups, causes, petitions, projects and individuals have achieved so much, and have done so with love and respect, without anger or hate, without greed or misrepresentation. Look at A Million Trees for Michael, Michael’s Angels, the Sunflower Project, the Martin Bashir Petition, the Michael Jackson Legacy Defamation Law Petition, Uncover Michael Jackson’s Name (The Gardner St. School Issue Campaign), just a few of the countless works that have been successful or are still in progress, and this doesn’t include the thousands of fans who are donating to charities, helping in their communities and reaching out their hands to others, all in Michael’s name.

I believe we are all connected through our love for Michael. I believe that each of us has a role and a purpose. I believe Michael has handed us each a piece to a giant puzzle. We are the pieces and we have to find where in the puzzle we fit so we can complete the whole picture. Some may find their role is to actively seek justice for Michael or to vindicate his name, others may find their roles more passive or creative, but all are equally important to completing the puzzle. No one is better than another, no one is more important than another. We are all equal here.

I think it’s also important to realize that everything we say and do as fans has an impact on Michael’s legacy. We already have a reputation with the media and the world at large, for being hysterical and crazy. If we want anyone to take us seriously and what we are trying to achieve, then we have to approach people in a calm, rational, respectful and intelligent manner. Calling people names, hurling accusations and making libelous statements, not only puts us on the same level as the media, but further diminishes Michael in their eyes.

I think this is why I love the MJTP so much because here people are embraced not attacked, here people are accepted not rejected, here a haven has been created not a war zone, and here people are united through love and share a common purpose without ulterior motives. If only this had been the world Michael had lived in. What a difference that would have made.

© Valmai Owens, 2010. All Rights Reserved.
No reproduction without permission from author.



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