In my Aspie life I often find myself listening to music that resonates with me. What songs resonate with you? Well, one song that I enjoy every time I hear it is the poetic Michael Jackson ballad “Human Nature”.
Back in 2003, I bought the 20th Anniversary Edition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. It was the first time that I listened to the album in its entirety. I had heard several of his more famous hits on radio and TV, but this was the first time I felt like I could hear all the music that was meant to be heard by truly appreciative fans and collectors.
When I played the CD through and through I heard a song that contained smooth, well-crafted lyrics and a resonant organ. I could not help but make a mental note of it; it was track number seven: Human Nature. The first time it ever passed my ears, I thought it was somewhat of an artistic departure from Michael’s earlier ballads. In the past, there was always somewhat of a strolling back beat that would make me sway in a well-timed flow to the rhythm. Naturally, someone like me who has been singing since the age of five would also sing along once I learned the lyrics and was confident enough to feel the song.
Well, I heard “Human Nature” and it seemed to glide into the vision of a man using the lyrics to artfully craft a song around his innermost desires. I couldn’t put my thoughts into those exact words, but the spirit and intention lingered in the back of my mind. The more I listened to the song, the more I developed a different perspective because I was listening with my head and heart. I began to feel like I was the one confessing that “four walls won’t hold me tonight.” I pictured Michael being trapped in the “box” of convention and conformity and connected that with my own crazy ride of a life with autism.
“Electric eyes” began to symbolize the stares of people who are so tied to the “machine” of cultural and societal preconceived notions that they can’t help but think what they think and say what they say because they don’t know any better. I used to feel like “electric” eyes were staring at me because I was so insecure about having autism and I felt like I was misunderstood.
Can you imagine what it feels like to hide something from the world, living with the fear that everyone can see it no matter what you do? It took me a long time, but I feel like was able to turn off the stares by finding the confidence to embrace who I am: a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome and a voice for others in the same boat.
Responding with “tell ‘em that is human nature” is a way of saying that these feelings of reaching out and loving somebody that you care for are natural and should be embraced. Sometimes people get stuck in their old ways and don’t know how to move away from them. In my opinion, you need to deal with them; I say this from personal experience.
I feel like because I’m different in a lot of ways, I’m trying to say that I have normal human desires fueled by an artistic personality. If some people don’t understand, then I tell that it’s “Human Nature.” I’m living life from my heart and I feel great about doing so. Even after the sudden, tragic death of Michael Jackson, this song continues to resonate with me. I guess we all have to find our own musical poetry to express inner desires. At least that’s what I think.
I feel like this song was written about me. These lyrics were my inner feelings put to words, words that I didn’t have before. To finally have a way to describe my feelings was so invigorating I could finally feel like I would be understood. “Human Nature” has become a lyrical expression of my artistic soul and autistic mind. I listen to it and sing it with a renewed passion and confidence that I never thought I would have. I feel as though I’ve embraced my humanity and I’m grateful to the magic of Michael Jackson’s music for helping me do so.