Growing Up with David Bowie



David Bowie meant a lot to me as a teenage boy growing up in South Texas. He was cool, but not by any means the stereotype model of a male I was offered in Victoria. I was an introverted bookish boy who liked to write. Sports and, the measure of a man in my high school, football, held no interest at all for me.  I was accused of being gay, because I liked Bowie, wore Bowie t-shirts, had Ziggy written across the back of my school class shirt. Plastered on my bedroom wall was a full size poster for the Man Who Fell to Earth a friend had given me one year. Bowie’s androgyny was what I wanted, not the testosterone driven cowboys of my hometown. Bowie made it all right to be different. To not follow the norm. I listened to Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust repeatedly when my sister brought them home from college one summer when I was still in middle school. The first album I ever bought with the first check I ever wrote from my first bank account with the money from my first job flipping burgers at Wendy’s was David Live. It took two and a half hours of work then to pay for the double live album. I soon had all of the rest of his recordings. I was lucky enough to see him perform three times: on my 18thbirthday in Houston during the Heroes/Low tour, in Dallas for Serious Moonlight, and finally in Austin for Glass Spiders. I have only been affected by the death of a celebrity the way I am today once, and that was when John Lennon died. Patti Smith will be the same, may she live forever. However, Bowie and his music helped me early on to define my identity, and with his passing I realize that those early efforts of mine to become me would not have occurred as easily if it were not for David Bowie.  On the long commute to work this morning I listened to the entire Diamond Dogs album. In Rock and Roll With Me, Bowie wrote: “I found a door which lets me out.” I found a door to myself through David Bowie.

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