George Michael’s music was the music of my teenage years and college days. When a scared young boy grows up living his worst nightmare, it helps if a friendly voice tells you, “You gotta have faith”. It also helped that there was a certain fearlessness to him. His videshi thumkas (gotta love that booty) stole my heart and made me a fanboy for life.
In fact, I think there was a George Micheal song for everything happening in my life. When my male friend outed me as a survivor of child sexual abuse in my college, I’d listen to Careless Whisper and sob quietly. I know the song was written in a different context, but it worked for me for completely different reasons. The lyrics:
“I’m never gonna dance again,
Guilty feelings got no rhythm,
So it’s easy to pretend,
But, I know you’re not a fool”
Later when I realised that I was gay and didn’t link it to my abuse, the following song applied to my female friend for not giving me the right to share my secret on my own terms. But she did because she thought I will be freer after this secret is not a secret.
“Should’ve know better than to cheat a friend,
The wasted chance that I’ve been given
So I’m never gonna dance again,
The way I danced with you…”
I went on to forgive my friend who I know now, was doing what she thought was in my best interest and today, we have no secrets between us. In fact, I feel grateful that she set me free.
Oddly enough, Careless Whisper went on to become my favourite make-out song. No seriously. Play this song to set the mood and before you know it you’ll find yourself sharing sweet kisses with your lover!
In 1999, when George Michael came out as gay himself, I threw myself an imaginary party in my head… complete with puppies, kittens, little birds, rainbows and unicorns, dancing happily to the tune of Freedom. Judge me all you want but that’s my idea of a real party. It was my end of the millennium party. Once again, George Michael was magically speaking the words that were just begging to form in my mind:
“I think there’s something you should know,
I think it’s time I told you so
There’s something deep inside of me,
There’s someone else I’ve got to be…”
You can listen to the hugely liberating song here:
After that I would actively look for articles on George Michael and his interviews. There was something empowering in his words. I remember reading about how he had first come out to his Wham! Bandmates as bisexual, and even had a few relationships with women. Reading about his struggles with understanding and accepting his sexuality and especially eventually realising that he was indeed gay and not bisexual, inspired me.
Music like that is immortal. So, I’m not going to bid George Michael goodbye or miss him. He will always be a part of me, my struggles and my reality. Thank you, George Michael. Thou shalt never die.