No one had forced me to be his disciple, his minion, a member of an exclusive cult to which no one else desired entry. I did that. I abdicated responsibility for my own life. It sounds awful now, but at the time it must have seemed easier than figuring things out for myself. It was our son who'd had no choice. He was conscripted at birth. And that, more than anything, was the reason I left.
I’d moved in with Mom, back into the bedroom where I’d lived my last two years of college. My son had the spare room.
He-Man was his Superhero, Masters of the Universe his fantasy kingdom. David Bowie was mine. With the music, alone in the car, or in my room while my son slept, I wasn’t a single mom, almost thirty with a failed marriage, no boyfriend and a crap job. I was writer, dancer, actress and model. I travelled exotic places. I was admired and desired.
The world knew my name.
Those first few years on my own were a second adolescence. For a brief while it seemed the shackles were off and anything was possible.
That was over thirty years ago. Bowie had already done so much, reinvented himself many times over, an ongoing evolution as artist and performer that never stopped, up to the end.
I’m now past sixty. My mother once said she remained sixteen on the inside no matter the face in the mirror, and I know what she meant. My dreams are still my dreams. More tempered, more grounded in the remotely possible perhaps. I no longer imagine I might be a model or a dancer one day. And I do work at things I want rather than just dream about them to a favorite song.
I write. The words make it out of my head and onto the page or the computer screen. They fill the hole they were always meant to fill, though the hole remains. I imagine it always will.
Ashes to Ashes still has the power to take me places. Only the destination is less a wide-open expanse, not the far reaches of outer space or my infinite imagination but rather inner space, the realm of memory, of images, especially faces, and moments captured like movies, the high and low points of sixty plus years, frozen in time, as they were (or at least as I chose to remember them), locked inside my brain, a reflection, I suppose, of having lived more than half a life.
"I’m happy. Hope you’re happy too."
Dorothy, author of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.