That Time When Prince & The Queen Nearly Stopped My Heart / by Dana Bergstrom

Can I just say how much I adored Prince? I loved loved loved that talented, androgynous man, even though he almost offed me when I was 15 years old. More about that in a sec!

First, let me introduce you to the Queen -- The Queen of Shoulds. She lives in my head and loves to boss me around all day long. The Queen is just another glamorous name for my inner bully/ego. Maybe you have your own names for that butthead side of yourself too.

Alrighty, back to Prince threatening my current life on planet Earth! Yeow! [Prince scream]

It was the autumn of 1984 and I had come down with a freak illness. I like to call it a Super Freak Illness because that's just funkier. Uh! Uh! Get down!

I couldn't walk and all of my joints were completely swollen and sore, so I crawled around our house with a giant pillow that I could rest on between every few crawls.

Nobody could figure out what it was at first.

After several days in the hospital the doctors discovered that it was a rare case of rheumatic fever. My joints and the sacks of fluid around my heart and lungs were completely inflamed, putting intense stress on the entire system.

Once out of the hospital and the drugs had begun to keep my symptoms under control, I was prescribed three months of bed rest so my heart, in particular, could heal.

This meant getting a tutor to keep up with my sophomore year in high school classes. But besides that, I'd be doing basically nothing.

UMMM, WHAT?! SIT STILL FOR THREE MONTHS?!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

THAT'S THE WORST THING EVER FOR A HYPER, FERAL TEENAGER!

But being that physically weak, I really didn't have a choice.

So, I turned to sweets, soap operas (General Hospital) and the Chicago Bears. What a great time to watch football and gain a bunch of weight just like William Perry, The Fridge! Superbowl shuffle! Yeah yeah yeah!

One day, after several weeks of lying around, I was home alone. Both parents were at work and I had access to an excellent drug.

The drug was called "Purple Rain", the new Prince & The Revolution album. And it was playing on the radio.

The high energy, pulsing beat of "Baby I'm A Star" came on and I swear to God,

I

THOUGHT

I

WAS

GONNA

JUMP

OUTTA

MY

SKIN!

I GOT SOOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY!

Without thinking, I leapt out of bed and instinctively began dancing.

Now, I'd barely moved AT ALL for several weeks, but suddenly I was jumping around like a lunatic!

And that's when my heart began racing.

Almost immediately, I lost all of my breath and collapsed into a giant puddle on the floor.

The funky music instantly disappeared and all I could sense was heavy breathing and my heart pounding so hard that it seemed it was working it's way right out of my chest.

I thought to my teenage self, "This is it."

But lying face down on the carpet in my room, I was surprised that I didn't leave my body. And since it appeared I was gonna stick around, I simply relaxed and tuned into the rhythm of my heartbeat.

With a focus I don't ever recall having before that moment, I listened to the heavy sound of blood intensely pumping its way through my whole being. It was completely meditative. And over a couple of songs, I witnessed it settle back into its regular pace and I was able to crawl back into bed.

When I learned of Prince's transition via text on Thursday, my heart had a similar reaction.

The thumping in my chest began so quickly that I felt nothing but that for a minute; however I wasn't somewhere where I felt safe to fully express what I was experiencing.

I was with a few other people who my "Queen of Shoulds" decided would NOT like hearing how shocked and sad I was. And she told me "Whatever you do, do not react! You'll only bring down the vibe and then you won't be able to finish the job you came to do."

Well.

I am so stinkin' accustomed to listening to her that I just did what she said because, "Really, Dana," I've heard her say so many times, "you should never make others uncomfortable."

I went about my business and held my heart between carrying loads of lumber to our trailer. When we got home, I began to let some of the grief energy flow through me, although not all of it because I still had important shit to do!

What's interesting to me, is that I had a series of really unpleasant experiences soon after this and now, with hindsight, I understand exactly why.

After getting the news about Prince, my authentic self would've loved to kindly excuse myself from the situation and then let the sadness flow through my body the way it wanted to.

But I just kept holding it in so that I could "be normal" and meet, what I thought would be, other people's expectations.

I think that's how I ended up with rheumatic fever, as well.

The Queen AKA inner bully had convinced me that it wasn't safe to express how I really felt about some painful experiences I'd had.

Emotions are simply blocked energy and if they aren't allowed to move, they'll get stuck in the body and cause a ruckus. They've gotta go somewhere and do something. So why not let them do their thing and release them? It doesn't even take that long. It's over quickly and then you move on to the next thing.

That's exactly what I did when my constant companion and beloved dog, Oslo, died. And I moved through that grief process with more ease than I ever would've thought possible!

But I didn't remember that on Thursday when Prince left his body.

Remember - forget - remember - forget.

You know, it really doesn't matter what other people think about how I move my energy.

It's none of their business, but it certainly is mine, especially if I value my health. My body responds to it almost immediately, so it's best just to do what I feel like doing.

Prince offered a great example of doing what he wanted to do, exactly how he wanted to do it.

And why not? You can't do it wrong and you'll never get it done.

That's the name of this heart stopping game called "Life".

Being in a temporary human body is a beautiful thing!

And I can enjoy it even more if I remember to ignore the Queen and live more like Prince. WooooOoooooo! [Another scream, a dance floor spin and some crazy splits to end this Prince love post!]