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Ziggy Stardust . . .

. . . The Best Concert We Never Saw

Inspiration.

Contrast.

Examples.

Love.

Internal violence.

And what it takes to be the rockstar that you truly are.

. . . Or, in my case—our cases—metalheads with exceptions. Just a few gorgeous, shimmering, star-dusted exceptions.

This Yuletide was something I will never forget. We listened to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. We listened to it over and again—I with my dearest and only friend who, against all odds, crossed paths with me and lives by my side in this world.

This year has been ripped from a thousand layers of a thousand Hells.

The uncertainty . . . the loss . . . the pain that whispered its own purposes in between the razor-cuts . . . the gain that turned out to be nothing like what my expectations for them would have been, if I’d had them.

As I always say: “I didn’t have expectations for what it would be, but it definitely wasn’t that.”

Gods, was I in for a starblood-splattered riptide.

Life, meditation, and the off-time ticking of my brain have taught me that this moment is all there is. As a result, while “premonitions” might drive me mad (or madder), I live in the moment as best I can.

I had no expectations for how things would go this year. No expectations for exactly when things would happen or how they would feel.

But I didn’t think it would be this.

I didn’t think it would be so gutting or so exhilarating. So exhausting, or so supercharging.

I didn’t think it would be so much better, for having had to dodge the intermittent spikes that made me feel so much worse.

I didn’t think it would be so darkly beautiful.

But last night, on the darkest of nights, the night when I feel most at home in the blackness, I knew the waiting had to end—all of it.

This moment is all there is.

I made dinner. I panicked. I wept the tears of a young boy again. I felt the elixir of dread and anxiety, with its tiny and daring note of hope. I stumbled over my words, and I asked a question.

The answer ripped out tears of joy, this time. Of relief. Of exhausted, tender gratitude.

Just because something wasn’t before, doesn’t mean it cannot be at another point in spacetime.

We made our own concert.

Something I don’t often speak deeply about is the difficulty in simply living. And I don’t mean breathing and walking through all the motions that humanity has rigidly set in place as normalcy: I mean living as yourself.

Generally speaking, I neither hide nor advertise it, but: I’m a trans guy. I don’t hide it because it’s part of who I am, and I don’t really broadcast it because it’s not all I am—and . . . Well, you know how people get when “something different” is all they see.  

But Ziggy Stardust taught me that that’s all okay. You can be you. And I can be me—different, alien, strange, changed, and unhindered by categorizations and explanations.

I am a he, but I am simply me.

And I am incredibly fortunate to have been given the love and acceptance that I have.

Would I shove my middle fingers in the world’s face and bare my teeth if they gave me an ounce of un-acceptance? Yes. But is it nice to not have to? Also yes.

But beyond it all, beyond anything to do with me or the bizarre connection that I feel with an alien rockstar from the early 70s that I never even met . . . Ziggy continues to live on.

He’s there in the ability to be just who you are—whether it’s for a little while or forever. He’s there in the often-painful struggle to find someone who understands you, and turning up empty-handed again, and again, and again. He’s here on Earth, he’s out there in space, and he’s everywhere in between: dreamscapes, characters, ideals, abstract concepts, and art in your own mind that no one else will ever see.

And Ziggy is there as a reminder to never let go of who you are. He said it outright, in fact: “Better hang on to yourself.” Whether the right thing for you in the moment is to dodge questions and let people think you’re a faker . . . whether it’s time for you to take center stage and sing your song of darkness and dismay . . . or whether it’s time for something in between, do it. Hang on to yourself.

That is what I learned this year.

No matter who you are, no matter what that means, no matter what whiplash cracks from hell you’re snapped through, hang on to yourself.

I learned it this year, thanks to a beautiful creature who knows what it’s like to struggle for understanding: Someone who made this Yule the best one of my life. Someone who helped me to make our own concert that, before, never was.

Thank you, my dearest.

Thank you, my King of Oblivion.  

And thank you, Ziggy.

Thank you, Stardust.

And thank Chaos.

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