This morning I found out a dear friend lost her young niece by suicide: the permanent solution to a temporary problem.
If you are at all sensitive, perceptive, or empathetic, this world seems very cruel because you are keenly aware of suffering and inequality. Most of us do not have the power to easily alleviate suffering or correct inequality. It leads to a state of impotent frustration.
My first apartment downtown in the 80’s was near a repertory cinema, and I could decide at the last minute to attend a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Full audience participation was de rigueur, and sometimes I would look around before leaving and find rice or toast or a newspaper to bring for props. The story is ridiculous and utterly absurd, and has become beloved like an often told, but X-rated, fairy tale. It doesn’t take much exposure to chant along with the audience responses, and repeated theatre viewings only enhance the experience.
Even successful people can be suffering privately. Those Born to be Artists tend to explore the world through an empathic lens. Bruce Springsteen’s characters and montages are only possible, because as a writer he was able to slip on the coat, or walk in the shoes of other (usually struggling) people.
Bruce’s autobiography reveals his mental health struggles.
When I wrote about David Bowie I noted that the only male celebrities I ever impersonated for Hallowe’en were Bowie and Prince. The two things that stick with me about Prince are in contradiction (like life).
I found his songs joyously sex-positive. The women got off in his songs. They did not exist as simply a plaything for a man. (I wasn’t familiar with his earliest stuff, and the film Purple Rain didn’t appeal to me. I am reading that I might find those misogynist.) The Prince I listened to loved women. They were also respected as full musicians in his band, not simple novelties.