“Why do we scream at each other… This is what it sounds like….When doves cry.” Prince
“Honey I know times are changing…It’s time we all reach out for something new….That means you too….You say you want a leader…But you can’t seem to make up your mind…. I think you better close it….And let me guide you to the purple rain.” Prince.
I had the day off from work and was running around from errand to errand last week when I found out that Prince died. I got the news through a text from a friend. “WHAT???” I responded. When I checked my Facebook feed later that day, so many of the status updates were about Prince… his picture… his lyrics…. because I was a teen of the 80’s, and therefore so are the majority of my friends.
When Whitney Houston died, the single lyric “The ride with you was worth the fall” was the one that stood out, and I started my post Breaking Up Is Hard To Do with that opening quote. She died just a couple of months before I started running, and later I downloaded Didn’t We Almost Have It All and I Will Always Love You on my playlist and ran with the lyrics.
With the death of Prince, the same…. I downloaded some of my favorite songs of his onto my running playlist… and started running with them… thinking of the lyrics…. and hearing them so differently as a 42-year-old woman than the tween girl who first heard When Doves Cry in 1984.
The day of his death, I picked up my son from Lacrosse practice, and as we sat in the car, the song 1999 came on. I asked him if he had heard that Prince had died….”Yeah, but I don’t really know who he is.” I turned up the radio and said, “This is his song.”
“Oh, yeah… I know this song… although what’s the big deal about 1999?” he asked.
We talked about Y2K… about how when the song 1999 was released in 1982, the year 1999 seemed ages away. And then when I was on my run with it, I remembered December 1999 when the song was being replayed all month long. I was a resident in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), and we were all worried despite many reassurances that something would go wrong on call New Year’s Eve night with all these teeny tiny babies on ventilators. Nothing went wrong. Now another 16 years has passed from that…time slipping away…those babies can now drive. I remembered that NICU rotation and how brutal it was for me to get up at 4:30 am to get to the hospital and be checking babies at 5:30 am….how we counted down each day of that rotation until it was over. Sixteen years later, I get up voluntarily not too much later than that for my morning run.
As I run with Prince’s lyrics, I also think about the other musical influences from the 80’s in my life. I wrote about Duran Duran in my post Delayed Gratification…. In the 80’s, locking myself in my bedroom and listening to music was so much of what I had…. music and fantasy helped me get through some not so fun years….. Maybe instead of waiting for drugs and alcohol to take away another of my musical influences to put songs from my past on my playlist, I should do it now.
And when I think about Prince on my run, I also think about him generally being described as androgynous…. going from being Prince to “The artist formerly known as Prince” back to Prince….and what does that say about the struggles going on inside of him. .. how happy I am that it seems like we have made so much progress in accepting people for whom they are…. and how much I fear that there are people in this country that want us to regress….or are afraid of progress…. Then I think of Jake, who often says, “Every time there is fear, there is a chance to be brave, there is a chance to explore.” If the people who are afraid would just be open to exploration, how different our world could be. If we listened rather than scream over each other…
This is my life on the run….. everyone has their own way of processing things… some go to church, some mediate, some write. Some people don’t have a way….they turn to alcohol or food, become depressed or lash out. For me, for years, I didn’t have a good way to process life…. now when things happen, I run with them.