My Hero! (A series)

Lots of people have shaped the man I am today (see that? I said "man" instead of "guy" or "boy" or "person"). I think its time to send some recognition their way and show how thankful I am to be who I am. Sometimes, these posts will be serious and other times they'll be funny, but every time, it'll be genuine. A genuine thank you to those assholes who fucked me up over the course of the years and made me the amazing dude I know I am. Yeah, I said amazing.


Oh, Morrissey, you whiny, self-righteous little bitch. How many times (when I was seventeen) did my heart feel like an inflated balloon because you belted out an angsty, egocentric line about how unfortunate you were which I related to? You got me through some tough times.

It all started senior year of high school. I was researching the 80s to set my final film project in that time period, and my beloved film teacher handed me a VHS copy of the Smiths on Top of the Pops. I turned on the video cassette in my apartment and watched, transfixed by the lanky, effeminate young man dancing on stage, swinging his arms around and belting out sad lyrics in a voice that was much older than his body. Long-stemmed flowers stuck out from his back pocket as he peered languidly around at the audience from behind thick-framed glasses. He pressed a hearing aide into his ear and almost sang to it, closing his eyes for a couple of seconds. I was hooked.

For the next few months, I bought everything I could Smiths. I incorporated three of their songs into my film, and even added an M where my parents never put a middle name. After I had wrung the Smiths' discography for all it was worth, I moved onto Morrissey's solo career. Luckily enough for me, the year was 2004 and Morrissey released a new solo CD that year - his best-selling solo album up until that time. It became somewhat of an obsession - a Morrissey-themed birthday, Morrissey-inspired outfits ... I even had a birthday party for him that year. Every chance I could get, his DVD would be playing. I did a report on Piccadilly polari, a language which Morrissey introduced me to, and I even wrote a speech about him in college for a public speaking course I was taking. He was saturated into my life.

Of course, I grew older, and moved away from obsession to enjoy other things in life, but I had been changed fundamentally from then on. I learned that emotions were very valuable - even the ones that are temporary or seem trite. Feeling bad can feel pretty good sometimes, and crying is a good venue for those emotions.

I also learned that confidence is okay to have - and its okay to let it show every now and then. Being who you are can mean a lot of things, but what Morrissey taught me was that no one should dictate or persuade your personality. I really appreciate that about him. Morrissey stands for independence and self-realization, in a world where nothing is certain and nothing is truly original.

Finally, what I learned the most from Morrissey is how to be alone. All of his songs have a deep feeling of loneliness at the bottom of them that seems juvenile and self-depricating, but they're actually very beautiful. He taught me that we're all alone, no matter how surrounded we may be with people who care about us. There is something very communal about being alone, and that is what makes his music so great.

Love you, Moz. My hero!

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