michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 102)


the ‘visitor’ has returned, slightly…  i don’t know WHY she has returned, exactly, or what triggered her to return.  i’m not particularly depressed about any specific thing…  no, she’s not close enough for me to DO anything, but she’s there.

i don’t know what it is i saw, but it had me looking at my arms…  knowing that hardly anyone knows really, what i’ve done, or where i did it.  i’m a really fast healer (i can attest to the accident i got in a number of years ago, where my neck was cut.  you can’t even see the scars).  i’m the only one who can see what i’ve done, and where i went over the last time.  even tracing my finger on my wrist brings a return to the comforting sensations.

so i must admit something to you- i had to stop in the middle of writing this, and do it.  i am not gonna deny how good it felt to do it.  anyone who does not ‘self-harm’ will never understand the sensations, the endorphins released.  it, in SO MANY WAYS, to me, feels so much better than sex. when you do it, these pleasure centers are magnified.




i remember that moment EXACTLY when i saw you get burned…  it DID NOT feel good to me.  i think i may have even had nightmares.  i know that around that time, i had nightmares when it came to you anyways, because of the ‘thriller’ film and such.  but the ‘pepsi burn’ incident was so vivid.  and years later, seeing the footage of the burn cleaning your hair right off, giving you this huge bald spot…  i felt your pain.

however!  even though i was shaped by that incident forever regarding my feelings about fire…  i remember the first time I ever got burned. it would be a number of years before the pepsi incident; i was about 3 years old.  my mother’s friend she worked with had a cigarette in her hand.  i walked past her, and her cigarette burned me- it was VERY close to my eye.  the pain was unforgettable.  i still have the mark to remember the event by.  my ‘addiction’ to burning though, was not until i was in high school.  my best friend at the time had a cigarette, and she burnt me- i think i may have asked her to burn me for some reason, but i can’t remember the exact context in which she burned me.  i remember it feeling quite satisfying though.  i didn’t smoke, but i wanted to continue to find ways of ‘getting burnt’.  i used candles, perhaps lighters…  i remember asking my mother (who smoked) to burn me, and she actually did…  she used to tell me i was was crazy (and on drugs); nevertheless, she did it.

around this time i also was cutting my wrists (which no one knew).  i was trying to commit suicide, but i guess that didn’t work, eh?  needless to say, i cut the wrong way.  over the years, if i was feeling excessively depressed, i’d do things like walk or ride my bicycle in front of oncoming traffic.  for the most part in this depressive period, i’d do a combination of cutting and burning.  on a ‘normal’ cycle, if i get the urge i just do burning.  i notice that (interestingly) fire actually doesn’t do the job i want it to do, so i take extremely hot items (mostly candles or matches) and do it.


why am i even talking about this?  well, i’ve done a lot of acknowledgement and analysis of my lack of boundaries over the years relating to people (and my working to heal from that); but i haven’t necessarily spoken about or analyzed my issues with ‘self-harm’, until recently.  i guess i also wasn’t aware of how common it is, until researching it within the past few days.  i became sort of obsessed with seeing if i, as a black woman (in my age group particularly) were alone in this.

apparently not.

“Despite the increased risk of self-harm in young Black females, we found that fewer receive psychiatric care. One explanation is that they are seen as being at ‘low risk’ clinically of self-harming again – because they are less likely to live alone, less likely to have used alcohol during the self-harm attempt, and less likely to have a previous history of self-harm. They may also not communicate their distress to clinical staff as much, and be less likely to admit to depression. It has also been suggested that Black and minority ethnic groups may find themselves disillusioned with the services they receive, and so be reluctant to return to hospital if they self-harm again.”


and…  i have also begun to really come to terms with the fact that i also deal with an ‘eating dis-order’.  no, i’ve never had anorexia or bulimia (even though there have been days throughout my life where i chose not to eat).  i did go through a brief period where i felt i had to ‘exercise, exercise, exercise’…  i have been much better about that; however, i also made the decision to exercise regularly, not only to counter depression, but to also do work to prevent what i guess is called ‘binge eating disorder’:


everything in this article is speaking to me…  i would just eat and eat to hide, then cover it up.  recently giving up wheat due to my sensitivity to it has really helped me deal with the binge eating.  being vegan has also helped me, because if i wasn’t, i’d be in trouble.  i’d feel my health get progressively worse every time i would binge; but the eating was comforting, and i couldn’t stop.

not too long ago i was cleaning my room and looked around.  so much of what i collected were packages of food- cookies, chips…  it made me very sad.  i’d eat dinner then go to my room and eat some more.  all i would think about was going to my room and eating.

i have been having severe body image issues lately, and looking at it, i think that is what’s triggered the self-harm thing again.  i’m trying not to ‘hide’ anymore, but i keep reverting to it.  and i don’t want this to happen.


i also keep thinking about you…  about childhood trauma.  and i constantly wonder if you’ve ever self-harmed as well.  as you grew up in an age of privacy in media- straight up to an era where people announce their private lives (such as divorce and abuse) on social media and networking sites to complete strangers; i am quite sure there were some things you took with you to the grave.  you spoke about the abuse you endured…  but recognizing the hesitation (and defense of your abusers) in the interviews you gave, i could tell you were holding back.

a part of me wants to say that speaking in depth about your abuse could have helped many others suffering from the same or similar types of abuse.  at the same time, there are things i (NOT a celebrity) have not revealed to the world.  so i definitely empathize with you.

but because you only said so much about what happened to you, there’s been a lot of speculation as to how you coped:

“He’d bang his head against the wall, hit his fists and arms against furniture, anything to cause a cut or bruise. He wanted to convince his doctors that he’d had an accident and was in a lot of pain – a legitimate reason to ask for painkillers…  “He made a huge deal about his injuries after rehearsals. He complained of back pain, pain in his joints, aching legs.

“Staff had their suspicions that he sometimes invented pain or hurt himself to get attention. Michael self-harmed mainly as an attention-seeking mechanism or to gain sympathy. He enjoyed being cared for. It was a huge cry for help.”



“Michael was bulimic. It hit me when Magic Johnson was talking about Michael sitting on the floor with him eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. Everyone thought that was a great thing at the memorial service, and it was. Only thing, what Magic – and everyone else – didn’t realise was that Michael then would have gone and thrown up all of that.

“He would down unbelievable amounts of things like KFC extra-crispy chicken – like a whole family-size bucket by himself – or a couple of large Domino’s pizzas or two or three whole Marie Callender’s pies – and then go throw them up.”





despite there being no clear evidence of these speculations (as far as i can see); looking at and listening to things you’ve said- also given the role media played in and hounded your life- the speculations are not in the least bit surprising.

i mean, you speaking about plastic surgery or the nose jobs in relation to the relationship with your father i’m sure was a major step for you…  but!  because you most likely were never diagnosed with body dismorphic disorder…  those who administered plastic surgery or the nose jobs most likely were not moved to ask if you’ve gotten help regarding any abuse you’ve encountered, and if the relationship to your nose had to do with that.



and food, i do wonder about that.  it’s no secret that you used to regurgitate food whenever you’d see your father.  the question i have though, is, did that fear end up as a habit to you?  did throwing up food end up as a means where you felt you had control? around the time you left this earth, how much were you actually consuming, in terms of food?

“joseph used to beat us all the time and…  he would, he would just…  and i bought into that.  he was like, ‘oh, you put on a few pounds.’  the only thing i could control in my life, with motown…  you know, they dictate to you, everything.  what you wear, what you sing.  the only control i had over my life was eating.  i had no control.  we had no control….  i wasn’t like my brothers.  people… they’re angry, and they take it out on others.  i was angry, but it took it out on myself…  if i danced wrong, if i sang the wrong note, i’d get the hell beat out of me, i’d get thrown in the basement.  so instead of taking that out on other people, i withdrew and i took it out on myself.  there was nothing i could control in my life but my eating.  and joseph told me, ‘oh, you’re so black, or you have such a big nose…  you look so black, you don’t look like my child.  your nose is so big….  they used to call me ‘big nose’ and stuff.  and instead of retaliating on them, i just did it with myself.

i’m not sure how i’m supposed to take that…  i don’t care how many times i hear this or see it written down, it still hurts.  your voice drags on- interestingly, not unlike listening to you painfully speaking about the ‘children’s hospital’ before you left this earth.  not only because this has been my OWN life’s experience (almost VERBATIM), but because you didn’t feel as if were able to publicly come out with the extent to which you were actually abused.  if that had to do with race/culture and gender for you, i don’t know.  it still hurts to see a reflection of myself in the comments you made about yourself.  i can only imagine how many others were triggered by what you’ve said.

food or eating controlling your life?  what is that supposed to mean?  are the speculations accurate?  when you took all of this anger out on yourself, were you referring to just food, or to other aspects of self-harm as well?  did you slice your wrists?  did you put your head in a stove?  these are things i have done (and at least one of them i continue to do)…  but did you do them?  the bruising and cuts seen by the people doing the autopsy report, was all that a result of self-harm?

it troubles me that you suffered through all this depression, and it was VERY clear you did not get help.  it UPSETS me.  it upsets me that i have, for years tried to get help and have seen people; and i haven’t found someone that could truly help me, but YOU had all of these resources and did not seek help.  you can’t sit on trauma like that.  you can’t expect that it’s going to just disappear on it’s own.  i know you didn’t expect that.



people will NEVER know what it’s like to want to disappear, if they haven’t experienced it…  to disassociate- to want to be someone else.  to want to LOOK like someone, or something else.  anything- so the past would be unrecognizable.  if you live in an un-supportive family environment, you would do anything to disappear from that environment.  that could mean anything from relocation, to eating dis-orders to yes, suicide.

and of course as i am writing this i am getting heavily triggered, and the burns i gave myself earlier have worn off, and the marks slightly evident.   i am getting tired, but i really felt i needed to say this to you.  i want to go to bed before i do anything else, but the urge is strong to do it.

how can you explain this to someone who doesn’t know what it’s like?  how could you explain anything that’s happened to you, in a world which constantly had you under a microscope?  how could you speak about pain or depression without being discredited or ridiculed?

it’s hard for me… i can only imagine how hard it was for you.

but still…  for all of the children who were experiencing what you did, i wish there was a way you found something within you to seek some help, in order to inspire them to get help.  it’s not just the children who have fatal dis-eases who need help; but the children who suffer from abuse in ALL forms…  you acknowledged that.


and in the cycle of all of these things, i saw THIS:


“Murray has been in the medical ward at Los Angeles County Jail for the majority of his incarceration so far but has no physical ailments… it was reported he had been placed on suicide watch and deemed a “keep away inmate”, meaning jail officials will take special precautions to keep him safe, including giving him a single cell for his own protection.”

again, i cannot validate the level of truth in this; however, it i found it curious to encounter this as i was writing about depression, self-harm and suicide to you…  and if indeed this reporting IS true, i wonder if murray has had a history of depression; or are the verdict, plus his main mode of employment being taken away fueling the depression?

was this a way you connected with murray?

i am curious about what you would say to someone, now that you are no longer on this earth, who has gone through childhood trauma…  i wonder how different your perspective would be.

love, jamilah


About jamilah

i think about a lot of things, and sometimes i write about them.
This entry was posted in childhood, children, dreams, economy, life, michael jackson, parenting, transcendence, trauma. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s