I discovered David Bowie late, some time around my freshman year in college. I was brought to David Bowie by Hannah. She had just gotten Ziggy Stardust, and we learned and loved it together. The empathetic voice of Starman settled and unsettled me. Learning more about Bowie, his strange, intentionally off-centered life felt to normalize my own.
There are many dark corners to Bowie's career. His body of work is a house with many rooms, and each has its dark corners. Since there are so many dark corners, it's not too often that I stumble into one, like his performance of Boys Keep Swinging on SNL in 1979, or the legend of Bowie and Brian Eno breaking Iggy Pop out of a Berlin insane asylum. When I find myself in one of these locations in time and space, I am often reminded of myself as an 8-year-old boy staring at my pale complexion in a mirror at my grandmother's house, noticing a slight blueish hue under my skin, and wondering if I had been dropped off on the wrong planet. I suppose this isn't an uncommon thought for a child, but it's one that we learn to minimize. When I find a Bowie song I've yet to fall in love with, I want to find 8-year-old me and tell him, "oh, no love, you're not alone".
Because of Bowie, we know that our alien tendency is our power, our isolation is our holiness, our inability to be any one thing is our adaptability. It Ain't Easy to go on with out him.