In January, 5 months ago exactly, when I made my “Happy birthday, David Bowie” tweet, I said someday I’d have to find time to post about how David Bowie was “a massive part of how I didn’t lose–and learned to love–my authentic, Autistic self in the face of normal societal pressures and some of the wiring that is typical if one is AFAB and Autistic.”
And today it’s someday.
It’s an incomplete list and all bullet points, but that’s because I’m attempting to keep it short, because I know I can go on when it’s a topic I care a lot about. Trying to pretend I can play it as cool as he did…
- He saved me from forming silly typical rules in my brain about gender things.
- He gave me a different view on sexuality so, even when I only knew one could be gay or not-gay, I didn’t think I was imagining that I fancied all sorts of people.
- He helped me see that there was something glorious in not being like everyone else—not mirroring the h*ck out of mainstream aesthetics.
- He made me believe I didn’t need to be like everyone else to be successful and beloved.
- He made music I could love enough that it led me to connect more to music in general and connected me to all the music that has saved me.
- His personas and knowing he used personas for public things helped me engage more in the acting that helped me do performative neurotypical-ness. I’m not ashamed of being Autistic and wouldn’t change how I am, but the world sure would. And performing emotions and socialising the typical way has been sadly necessary in this world.
- And his personas and how he used them also helped me sort out how to do my creative stuff more healthily and somehow also with a little more authenticity. (Like Oscar Wilde said: Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.)
I’m lucky to have grown up in a home where I was introduced to him when I was still a toddler. Even if my parents were nowhere near as outside the norm as he was, my brain cleverly latched onto his appearance and his vibe…And I was able to believe I was who I felt like I was, and not who the world told me I was supposed to be. Forever and ever, I’m a Blackstar.
ps Keep your eyes open. I have it on good authority that bits about my next creative release will start trickling out later this month.