Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Man in My Mirror

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Blog posting by Erick Pettersen of People Connect

For years, Michael Jackson mesmerized millions, the media praised and punished him, and prisoners in Thailand posted videos of choreographed dances to his songs. Just as Elvis Presley affected music in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, Jackson affected music in the 80’s, 90’s, and beginning of the 20th century.

On the evening of Michael Jackson’s death, on a news special, a friend of his talked about his various plastic surgeries. He said he did not know why Jackson underwent them; though, he theorized that perhaps Jackson began to see his father’s face when he looked at himself in the mirror. In his song, “Man in the Mirror,” Jackson determined to make a change in the world, starting with “The Man in the Mirror.”

To many, Jackson appeared as a monster who slept in oxygen chambers, adopted a pet chimpanzee, enjoyed the company of children, and acted in multiple other ways the media, courts, and countless individuals scrutinized. In the midst of the mounting world of criticism and cynicism, Jackson brought his music to the world and remained true to his mission: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.”

Today, I am going to begin to change the world, and I am going to start with the man in the mirror. So many times, when I leave my house, I make sure I look the part. When I encounter colleagues and acquaintances, or when I am introduced to people, I smile and shake their hands. I appear confident, and I am confident. While I try to always remain true to myself, my principles, and my goals, sometimes, when I look at the man in the mirror, the face that looks back at me reveals tired and weary scars of appearing beautiful to society. Most of the time, I am proud of the man in the mirror, but not always.

I would like to imagine that in Jackson’s last days, he stood in front of his mirror—a person no different than you or I—and took pride that he had remained beautiful to himself, even if it meant appearing monstrous to the world.

If ever you are hungry, and I do not feed you—if ever you are homeless, and I do not shelter you—if ever you are lonely, and I do not comfort you—please stand up, approach me, and say “Perhaps you should look more closely at the man in the mirror, before you look away from me.”

I encourage you to listen to Man in the Mirror.

Stay Beautiful,




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