“I put a lot of mannequins in my room in the past.  I still have mannequins in my room, because I used to be very lonely.  Painfully lonely. So lonely.  You have no idea.  I used to walk the streets looking for people to talk to.  I’m talking about the height of one’s career.  “Off the Wall,” “Bad”, “Thriller,” and people…I would walk up to them, strangers, and say ‘Will you be my friend?’  They’d go ‘Oh my God, it’s Michael Jackson!’  That’s not what I wanted.  I wanted somebody to love (me) or be my friend for me and not for the external me.”

Michael Jackson
From the Martin Bashir documentary outtakes

By Deborah L. Kunesh

Something I’ve given a lot of thought to lately…Michael’s desire to be loved and befriended because of who he was inside, because of “Mike” and not “Michael Jackson”….to be seen as a human being and to so desperately want a friend that he would go out walking the streets at night hoping to find someone who truly wanted to be his friend simply for who he was as a human being…

I think we all have an innate desire to be loved, accepted, cared about, for who we are. To have others care about us as human beings, to want to know what’s going on in our lives, to truly care.  For Michael I am sure this was much more intense. He NEVER knew if someone truly loved him for himself, if they just loved the public personna or if they were just there for the ride (either for their own fame or for money).

I know sometimes, to some who hear the story, it might sound strange that he would feel desperate enough to go out into the streets just looking for a true friend…someone he could talk to. But, I understand it and I think some of you do as well.  It’s a familiar loneliness…pain of not being understood or feeling as if others don’t really care about who you are as a person, but rather see you either as a caricature or someone to be dismissed, attacked or ignored. Someone devoid of feelings.  Someone that so many, in Michael’s case, felt wasn’t real, but rather some kind of figure of the imagination.

I think we’ve all been in situations where we didn’t feel truly accepted or cared about, even at times by people that we felt SHOULD care…the ones we felt were closest to us.

Personally, I’ve gone to many a function only to leave questioning if the people who were there, people I had shown so much care and love to over the years, really truly cared about who I was as a person, or cared about anything that went on in my own life. It always amazes me how little love and true caring some can show. There are, unfortunately, many who turn to selfishness or let jealousy take over and act from that, rather than from a place of love, and truth.

Sometimes, if we allow it, and sometimes we do because we don’t know how else to deal with it, we can be made to feel invisible. Jealousy, indifference, someone’s own personal struggles, all affect the way they perceive us and the way that they treat us.  It’s my feeling that at times, Michael felt “invisible”. He was a global presence, nearly everyone knew who Michael Jackson was…or, did they, really?

Nearly everyone knew the public presence, but the private person became shrouded in mystery due to a desire for some much-needed privacy amidst so much fame.  Who could blame him?  He had been on the stage since a tender young age, exposed to so much, so early, could not leave his home without being mobbed and people, even well-meaning, wanting something from him (his time, to speak with him, to see him, an autograph, a hug).

Add to that a desire to feel connection with others (which we all have and we all suffer when we don’t have that…and yet for Michael, how could he have that on the human level that was so needed when, due to fame and celebrity that had reached heights before nearly unheard of, it was hard to truly connect and be able to fully trust that the connection was for pure reasons)?

On top of all of this, add the media’s slanderous lies, and you have a very dangerous brew.  Someone trapped by their fame…imprisoned in a way.  The false accusations were absolutely devastating in addition to all else he faced. Taking the one thing he was most passionate about, helping children and loving them in a pure sense, and ripping that to shreds, turning it into something vile and evil that NEVER happened.

The struggle of wanting to be himself and give of himself and his talent and to be “simply Mike” was always being superseded by so much chaos…the chaos of fame, the lies from the media to bring in a quick buck, the struggle for personal space.  He was such a sensitive soul wanting to be loved for who he was and to be able to give what was in his heart, which came out so clearly and can be seen with pristine clarity if we would just look….but each time in doing so, he was at the risk of being exploited, misunderstood or taken advantage of. Jealousy was a major component of this.

The problem with jealousy, especially, is that it ASSUMES how something is with the object of the jealousy. Most times, if people would put themselves in the shoes of the person they are jealous of and who they act out of anger and hate towards, they would run screaming for the hills after just one day of being in that person’s shoes.

People assume that fame, celebrity or being in the pubic eye is glamorous. It’s not. I’ve interviewed enough celebrities to know that it’s not an easy life. Think about how many turn to drugs, alcohol, and other things to fill the void. It’s unnatural to be put in a position on a pedestal. Man was never meant for that.

So many treated Michael either as a god-like figure, an icon, a celebrity, or, on the flipside of that, they treated him as if he was the devil himself having committed heinous acts in their own minds.

Michael himself said:

“I believe in the Bible and I try to follow the Bible. I know I’m an imperfect person… I’m not making myself an angel because I’m not an angel and I’m not a devil either. I try to be the best I can and I try to do what I think is right. It’s that simple…I don’t just pray at night. I pray at different times during the day. Whenever I see something beautiful, I say, “Oh, God, that’s beautiful.” I say little prayers like that all through the day.” ~ 1979 JET Magazine

When you become “public”, you are open for misinterpretation. Michael knew this at the utmost highest level. But so do people like Diane Dimond, Nancy Grace, and others. Don’t let them fool you. They have undoubtedly experienced it themselves. They know it…but they choose to turn a blind eye towards it because for them, hate sells.  They have lost the sensitivity from their souls and the love in their hearts that makes us human.  It’s all they have going for them. If they didn’t hate on Michael, would they even have a career? Doubtful.

Michael simply wanted to be loved for himself…to find people who would care about the precious soul deep inside and not just the “entertainer”. He wanted people to see past the caricature the media had cast upon him. He just simply wanted to be loved for who he truly was, for his true, most basic, most intimate self…and isn’t that what we all want?