Yesterday, it felt like the universe decided it had a personal vendetta against me and decided to just punch me as hard as it could and then kick me while I was down.
After staying up way too late following the response to the death of wrestling icon Chyna, I was told by one of my coworkers in the middle of a shift that Prince, one of my favorite artists of all time, had passed away as well.
Naturally, the news just broke me and I tried my best to keep it together at work. My love affair with Prince started back in 2008 when I started college and acquired my own turntable to listen to vinyl records that I had rescued from my dad’s old collection. Purple Rain was one of those records and I was hooked. While I haven’t heard every single song of his giant discography, I did start collecting Prince albums both in vinyl and CD whenever money allowed. I even went to see Morris Day and the Time on New Years Eve 2009 because of all of that. My life since that first listen of Purple Rain in college has had a steady undercurrent of Prince. He was even at the top of my bucket list with seeing him live. His last concert was in Atlanta, but I didn’t get to go because it had been initially scheduled for when I was going up to the Carolinas for NXT shows.
That was the punch. Here comes the kick.
Later that night, while I was still stewing in my feelings about His Royal Badness, I checked the NXT Lowell hashtag expecting an appearance of The Bullet Club and instead got news that Finn Bálor had lost the NXT Championship to Samoa Joe, ending his historic reign at 292 days. I know if it was any other day, I would have been mad, but the emotional toll that had weighed on me after everything just made it absolutely devastating. Finn and Bayley were MY champs. Hell, they STILL are to me. The beginning of their reigns coincide with a big revelation I had last year and to see them end within a couple of weeks of each other has been kind of a lot to process.But as Prince said, parties weren’t meant to last.
Really, that’s how I’ve tried to start coming to a place of okayness in the past twenty four hours, heartbroken as I still am about the two.
So much about Prince was about having fun with life. Because things here are hard, so why not make art, dance a little and have some adventures while we’re alive?
I didn’t get to go to that final concert and I’ll be sad about it forever now. However, I don’t regret going to see NXT in the slightest. I got to see Shinsuke Nakamura live two nights in a row as well as Asuka and American Alpha as the new champs. I got to see No Way Jose before he got on TV and fall in love with him and see the future of the brand in Manny Andrade. I saw a new fire in Carmella away from Enzo and Cass. I got to see Finn Bálor’s last ride as the champ, helping shine spotlights on Nakamura, Tye Dillinger and Austin Aries and even sing a little goodbye song to Baron Corbin before he shipped all the way off to the main roster. I got to see him do the world’s most ridiculous Ric Flair impression in North Carolina. I even got to Too Sweet him as he looked at me with recognition and told me I looked great in my demon dress. It was worth every mile, every penny, and every minute.I don’t know what the future holds. For Finn, for me, for anyone I love dearly both personally and artistically. I just know that this party wasn’t meant to last and that you have to make the best of it while you can. Prince certainly did with his entire career, Finn did with his title run and his NXT tenure, and lord knows I’m trying every day.
Things get rough. Things get sad, especially when things important to you end, but it doesn’t stop making them important to who you are. Carry that with you.
I’m sad now, but I’m grateful. Grateful that I got to be on the same planet as Prince for 25 years. Grateful that I got to partake in his music and that it became so important to my life. Grateful that the reason I didn’t get to see him was because I was doing something else fun that I wanted to do. Grateful that a champion like Finn with all his graciousness and his heart and soul right there on his sleeves got to be one for so long and that his future looks especially bright if a bit uncertain right now.
Tonight, I listen to some of my Prince records while working on reviews that I’m behind on. Maybe I’ll watch some wrestling later too. Partake those things I love. Because maybe this party wasn’t meant to last, but dammit, I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here.