So I saw the news last night about her death and watched a video of Vanity 6 singing “Nasty girl…dance, dance, dance…” on Youtube before I fell asleep. This morning, I read this beautiful homage Prince made to his dear friend, to one of his first loves, to Vanity… to Denise.
I remember hearing about Vanity being born again. Of a scary health incident. I don’t remember what she had but I knew it was related to her years of partying hard. I knew that the toll was taken on her body and at some point, when it was dying I thought I read that she saw herself floating above it. Her soul was leaving but Jesus appeared to her. And she was given a choice. And she chose life.
For all my partying years I didn’t “do” drugs. I tried them (someday I’ll write about those experiences. They’re kinda funny if I tell them from the perspective to support that point of view. Notsomuch if I’m being honest) but for sure I was always so afraid I would like them and I knew there would be no turning back for me. Even in my boozy haze I knew that much.
But I remember giving Vanity, Denise’s, rebirth a lot of thought. I wondered how she could turn her back on what had to have been a really amazing life, right? She was a Prince chick. One that he loved. And she was dancing and singing and everybody wanted her, right? Doesn’t that make for a fabulous life?
And then I wondered about what it really meant to see Jesus. What does He say? Is it scary? I used to have a tenuous relationship with God. And therefore with his Son so I was curious about what happened to Vanity back then.
And then I wondered if I was going to have a “come to Jesus”. I wondered if I was worthy of one or if I needed to hit my rock bottom and o my, was I scared of what that bottom would look like. There would be wreckage. Irreversible, I was afraid.
I was lucky, though, that my “come to Jesus, it’s time to change your ways” moment came wrapped up as a child. And Lanee Bird changed my life.
And now, years later, when we say Rest In Peace to another singer, another celebrity, …people I don’t know in real life but I grew up with, I’m thinking of how they laid the soundscape of my trying years, of my angsty years, how they soothed me or moved me during the time I told the lies to claim I knew myself so I didn’t have to admit I didn’t have a clue.
Prince. Vanity. So much funk.