Thank You, Prince

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I was 11 years old when a cassette tape changed my life. Nine songs spanning nearly 40 minutes of soul, pop, R&B, rock and roll and more, exploding my ears and imploding my soul. My best friend and I shut ourselves in her bedroom for hours on end, imbibing every syllable like an elixir - accompanied by the now forgotten sound of tape rewinding and stopping repeatedly until we memorized each lyric and note. From there we moved on to choreography. Our very literal interpretation of "When Doves Cry" was indeed something to behold. And something I still remember to this day, much to the future chagrin of my children.

Purple Rain awakened something deep within the girl who was taller than anyone else in class, clumsy, skinny with huge glasses, teeth and a terrible haircut. Who had just survived her parents' divorce and subsequent move, evaporating the life she'd known into mist. Who belonged nowhere and couldn't fathom belonging anywhere, especially in her own skin. But when Prince sang, she was beautiful, free, fluid and fancy, if only as long as the track lasted. Within those rhymes of respite, self-worth and love took seed, relinquishing the pain of isolation, angst and longing, enabling this tween Texan to start claiming herself, body and spirit.

Now he is gone. And I weep. For the world, that will miss him. And for the young boys and girls who would never be the adults we are today without his influence.

And yet, my life has been filled with more dancing and joy since his passing than recent history remembers, as his music once again fills my home and heart. I've danced with my babies, serenaded them with amended "Darling Nikki" lyrics, and felt his presence so profoundly it might as well be 1984 again. I am once more grateful and renewed. Somehow, I think he'd like that.