Saturday, 17 September 2011

Thinking about Where I Hope You Are

Some more thoughts about the new George Michael song Where I Hope You Are. It's not the full review I want to write about this wonderful song, I'll hold off on that until the CD single comes out. These are just some thoughts about how this song affected me.
George's music is deeply personal, but can still lead all of us on our own emotional journey, that's the beauty of the way he writes. This is where Where I Hope You Are led me.

I'm a survivor. I survived being born amidst the horrors of a brutal  civil war in Nigeria. I survived the death of my mother of starvation when she was still nursing me. I almost died from hunger too after her death when there was no food left to give to me, but I survived even then.
I'm a survivor; it's what I do. Now if I only could forgive myself for surviving I'd be all set.

These last few weeks have been so much fun! Going to four (!) George Michael concerts in as many weeks in three different countries was incredible. Meeting up with old friends from the George Michael fan community and making new GM friends at the concerts and online (twitter, yay!) was great.
And in spite of all that, or maybe because of all that, today I'm sad beyond words. I miss my mum. I think she misses me too. And that thought makes me feel so sad. And so guilty.

It's not my fault she's dead, enemies of the Igbo tribe murdered her by starving her and hundreds of thousands of Igbo people to death. I'm sure that nursing me depleted what little resources she had left after fleeing, while heavily pregnant with me, across the country back to Igbo territory together with her husband and 3 small children. Still not my fault, I didn't kill her.

I know all that but I still want to beg her forgiveness and say: "I'm so sorry that I'm still alive and you're dead. I'm sorry that today I'm enjoying the sun on my face in the Netherlands while all that remains of you are dusty bones in the earth of a village in Nigeria. I'm just so sorry, mum".

Looking back on it, I guess that's why Where I Hope You Are hit me so hard when I first heard it in Herning. The way George Michael kept singing "I'm so sorry" broke my heart. With every "sorry" his head dropped a little lower and his voice got a little more emotional. He truly was sorry, even the most cynical person on earth could see that. That particular performance of Where I Hope You Are almost felt like a public penance to me, and it affected me deeply. I cried my eyes out.

And guilt? Well, I'll bet George Michael feels quite guilty too about the way things turned out. It's very hard to realise that the person you love the most is the person you've hurt the most. I've been there, I guess everyone in a long-time relationship has been there at one time or another.

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