It’s her plight, not her privileges, that makes Michael Jackson’s daughter endearing – Victoria Coren
Paris Jackson is beautiful, young, famous and extremely wealthy. According to cultural norms, these are general prerequisites to be happy. While a few argue that happiness comes from deeper self discovery, knowledge, kindness and praise-worthy adoption of a rescue dog; most teenagers would argue that happiness comes from the contentment of owning the latest iPad, getting a hair style that evokes envy, shopping at Burberry Regent Store, getting front row tickets to a One Direction Concert (the mention of One Direction screams out the absolute and total euphoria of the prospect of getting married to Harry Styles), trending on Twitter, being followed by 1D members on Twitter (there really isn’t anything the young want these days that does not include the boys of One Direction one way or another – you see what I did there!), being famous and if you are more ambitious – winning The X Factor. Bottom line….happiness lies in the possession of money, fame and beauty; so our culture tells us.
Paris Jackson is 15, and when I was 15 all I wanted was to be pretty like her, well….in those days I would have said more like Marzena Godecki from Ocean Girl. Basically, anyone with a dewy skin, glossy hair and a trimmed figure. I thought beauty was the key, a small nose and no spots could make you happy for life. Even with distraught thoughts of occasional self harm and suicide, I wanted to look good at the height of my emotional ordeals. I used to think trauma would seem a lot less unpleasant if I was beautiful. I was more or less right about that; our credulous society finds something alluring in the tragedies of beautiful and successful people.
When I heard the news that Paris Jackson appeared to have attempted suicide, I was trying to make sense of the reasons why. She has everything she needs, to be perfectly content, right? Then I almost kicked my inner 15 year old self who still believes beautiful people have it easy. That is the myth of beauty. “Happiness” of good looks, worldwide fame, designer clothing, expensive handbags and verified Twitter accounts is an illusion that has given rise to a mass hysteria.
No matter who you are, rich or poor, famous or invisible, pretty or average looking – pain is pain. And no amount of glamour can prevent it from being felt. While Michael Jackson raised his three children inside a fortress of his success, he himself was hiding his inner suffering. Paris didn’t choose to be famous, she was born to her performer father of immortal stardom, under curious circumstances. She never got that normal childhood like other children and was kept hidden from the world, and before MJ could prepare her to face the world on her own, he left her life; leaving her to shape her own identity. It seems likely that her crisis is a repercussion of her father’s sorrows, fears and fragility.
We look at famous people who medicate themselves with drugs and desperately search love in innumerable strangers, and say, “why would they do that?, they have everything they need.” How often we are wrong? Depression takes many shapes and sizes and is indifferent to who becomes its victim. When most of us are unknowingly doing illogical things to fill the voids in life, how can that be different in the case of celebrities? It’s just that when they do it, it doesn’t look that pathetic plus everyone hears about it.
With the news of her attempted suicide, the world was on a flurry, loving Paris Jackson more than ever. Hopefully, she will feel better on her own accord rather than from the gush of love from strangers all over the world who can only speculate about her unhappiness. One way to stay content is to do less reacting to the world and being more proactive with oneself. The world constantly tilts to whichever the side it fancies, and we can’t depend on it’s favourable regard, as individuals, famous or not.