How Prince Helped Me to Know Myself


“Thinking about how we mourn artists we’ve never met. We don’t cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.” – @ElusiveJ

Bowie and Prince were difficult ones for me. Like Freddie Mercury. I think back to how every weekend in high school at the dance club downtown, the last song of the night as they closed down was always “The Beautiful Ones,” my favorite of all Prince songs.

I would gaze at the dangerous, beautiful boys with their mohawks and black eyeliner as the night came to a close.

Last month, I saw Prince, and I nearly keeled over when he sang that song, “The Beautiful Ones.” To hear that live, and see him kick over his piano bench as he got into it—the only way I can describe it—felt like a gift to me. I cried, and it was just a “moment” for me. I hadn’t cried in a show like that since hearing Elton John sing “Your Song,” which I used to sing while I did my own fake living room concerts at the piano at the age of eight. Music just touches my soul and brings back everything I’ve ever experienced.

Prince was totally unpredictable, and the coolest cat you’d ever see. He wrote songs most people probably didn’t know he wrote.

The Oakland shows last month were announced last minute. If you were lucky enough to get a ticket and make it there, you were treated to his genius. He did encores after the lights were up and people left. When it finally was time to leave, his newest CD was handed out free, at the doors.

The next morning I popped it in my clock radio CD player and just laid there listening to …. opera??? I thought OMG, this is so Prince … and wow, it’s really good opera! What a tricky dude. After I listened for about 30 minutes, some announcer said something, and I realized I had turned on the radio button instead of his CD. Somehow, I think that’s just the way it was supposed to happen that morning.

Prince … one of the voices of my generation, and one of the losses that make me realize my own mortality. I will not mourn for long though, for the musicians of the world are lucky and leave a legacy that allows them to live on forever. That makes US the lucky ones.

Dance on …

Laurie Hiatt

Laurie Hiatt is an adventure traveler, avid reader, music lover, mother, and chocolate connoisseur who gets to make her living by making a difference in her community. A community organizer and health educator for 28 years, she loves to get down in the trenches with all types of people to make positive changes in their neighborhoods. It’s taken her a while, but she’s finally figuring out how to find a healthy balance of the magic that chaos brings to life and the centering of herself. She is currently throwing a dart at a map to decide where to travel next.

One thought on “How Prince Helped Me to Know Myself

  1. Holly

    Yay! Laurie! Excited to read from you. Love! For our generation, Prince’s music was our childhood and every song connects to a memory. Even for my daughter, who is stuck listening to 80’s music in the car with us, “Little Red Corvette will always be Grandpa’s song.”

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