With three months of living like Prince under my chain belt with hearts and peace signs dangling from it, I shake my head at the out-of-character stuff this project has pushed me to do. I’ve fasted; I’ve dressed up every single day during the snowiest February in Minnesota history; I’ve explored how Prince saw color when he heard sound and took up watercolor painting.
And now, I’ve dropped my name in favor of an unpronounceable symbol. The reality hit me hard in art class yesterday — my second day as the symbol ☀️? — when I was confronted with a routine part of class. On a normal day, nothing could be less remarkable than being given a blank nametag and being asked to write my name on it in marker. But yesterday, it gave me pause. I couldn’t write my former name because that was against the rules. I had to draw my new symbol. And then I felt a rush of disorientation. I wondered, what did it mean for Prince to give up his name? How did it feel to adopt a symbol? Prince was a rebel, and I’m a people pleaser. It was uncomfortable to have new people in class staring at my nametag. Minnesotans don’t say much at times, but you know they’re thinking all kinds of things. I could practically see the thought bubbles: “Who does this woman think she is?” It made me squeamish to realize I was making other people uncomfortable. But then, I forced myself to shake it off. Feeling uncomfortable is on them. As for myself, I had an immense feeling of freedom. A bunch of my classmates and I had a good laugh about it. And Prince found nothing sexier than freedom.
In every way, I couldn’t be more different from Prince. I’m a suburban mom. Prince was a notorious bachelor, married twice and divorced twice, and sadly, his only child with first wife Mayte Garcia died only a week after being born. I’m an early bird. Prince notoriously worked all night long, going to bed around the time I usually wake up. I make plans and write lists and stick to a schedule. Prince took the term “spontaneous” to new heights, filming music videos on a moment’s notice and making changes to his shows up until the moment his band went on stage.
What’s more, I’M ALLERGIC TO DOVES (to be precise, I’m allergic to feathers, but that’s a key component of doves). Prince not only sang “When Doves Cry,” but kept two doves at Paisley Park named Majesty and Divinity.
Living like Prince for the first three months of 2019 has been equal parts exhilarating, intimidating and — if I can be really honest — scary. I’m not used to being an “out front” person. If I was in the band I would for sure be hanging in the back playing the keyboards. This project is pushing me to step up, share about myself and let people get to know me. I feel something inside me shifting, and it’s exhilarating. I think it’s a taste of fun and adventure that life can wring out of you as you get older and take on the burden of a million responsibilities. I am not the person I was on Jan. 1, 2019. For that matter, I’m not even the person I was yesterday! I can hardly wait to see where the rest of The Year of Living Like a Prince takes me.