David Bowie was a man.
That seems like a strange sentence to write, but I’ve seen a number of things over the last day stating through the strength of his artistry and the reach of his inspiration was some sort of greater other: he didn’t really die, that he just went home. The deification does a disservice to his memory.
David Bowie was a man who inspired countless people across multiple generations. He spoke profoundly to those of us who felt ourselves outsiders — the character of his artistry, the brashness of his music said: Yeah, you’re weird. So what? Be yourself, because you are wonderful too. For those of us who grew up before the internet especially, he reminded us that we were not alone in our weirdness.
I feel it’s important to remind myself he was one of us for two reasons that parallel things thinking about lately: We all have that same power to create and inspire within, and we are all mortal and will too leave this world someday. To treat this one man as some sort of greater other due to his reach and success does a dishonor to both his accomplishments and to his work. We all have that light within us — but he made his shine in ways few of us knew possible, and he showed us we could make our lights shine more brightly, too.