RIP Prince Rogers Nelson

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Prince was my first boyfriend. It may not have been a mutual relationship, but this poster hung on the back of my bedroom door in 1984 and was the last thing I saw each night as I crawled into bed.

From exposing fantasy in “Darling Nikki” (I still know every word) and his movie Purple Rain, to helping me choose between two neighborhood boys—Rudy or Raphael (I chose Rudy)—with “The Beautiful Ones,” to dancing into the wee hours to “Gett Off” after one too many libations at a Phi Delt party, to playing “Nothing Compares to You” in yoga classes, Prince helped me come of age.

Although this sexy man wearing white ruffles in the poster was later replaced by Stryper during my Christian rock phase (“To Hell With the Devil” . . . seriously) and then Guns N’ Roses during my rebellious phase, Prince has always been integral to my journey.

Seeing him live in 2004 was nothing short of monumental. While we could only see specks of his flamboyant outfits and high heels from our stadium seats, it felt as if he was playing directly to us. That’s a true gift of an artist and that August night remains a highlight of adulthood.

I got yesterday’s shocking news via text. After clients and yoga, I headed home to sip wine and sing along to Prince’s The Hits past my bedtime. Raspberry Beret, Little Red Corvette, Kiss, I Would Die 4 U, Let’s Go Crazy, 1999, Pop Life, 7. Losing him feels like losing a part of my history.

What is it about losing artists such as Prince that touches us so deeply? Is it recognition of our own mortality? Is it the mourning of a spirit that accompanied our journey through life and somehow made it easier by simply existing?

I’m not sure. But as I fell asleep watching Prince videos with tears in my eyes, I realized it was a much stronger reaction than expected.

Although he didn’t know he was my “boyfriend,” it feels like I’ve lost a first love and I don’t seem to be the only one. Apparently he had many, many girlfriends all over the world who are also mourning a deep loss. Bisous. x