As far as how I was raised, it was very much like Michael's life only I was not made to sing, dance, and perform for a living, or driven to bars and clubs. In many ways, I see my own father very similar to Joseph. His demeanor, attitude and ways of discipline techniques are alike in a lot of ways. I remember singing songs at the age of 11 and 12. I would sing country music songs that were playing on the radio. Everything that I knew was from memorization. We didn't have toys and stuff to play with much as kids do now. In the early 80's I would also listen to Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Cindy Lauper, and one of my favorites was John Meloncamp. My youngest brother listened to everything....but I don't remember him listening to country music. He used to drive me crazy at times because he liked the hard rock music like AC DC and others. For years, Casey Casem would play the top 100 songs on the weekends and we would listen to every single one of them. We had to borrow our father's radio in order to listen to our music. Neither my brother(s) or I had our own radio. I think I was about 20 years old before I did. Most of our lives were spent sleeping on the bed together (me and my two brothers). My oldest brother moved out of the house around 1983/1984 and moved in with one of my aunts in Virginia.
Around September or October of 1982, my youngest brother introduced me to Michael through his music. And it was Michael who would eventually change my outlook on life. I remember vaguely one day, my youngest brother was in his room which was next to mine and he kept aggravating me to come in his room and listen to certain songs. He had Michael's cassette tape "Thriller". In an effort to get him to leave me alone and turn his music down (as it was rather loud) I went in the room and sat down beside him. After listening to "Billie Jean" and a few others, I was astounded. In fact, I borrowed his cassette tape until I bought my own soon after. We never had money very often so even one cassette tape was priceless. And we took great care in saving a few dollars and waiting for months to buy another.
On December 9, 1983 I bought my first magazine of Michael at a gas station while we were on a trip to visit family in Virginia. I never put the magazine down the entire time. The very day upon our return, I showed my father the magazine. He said, "Throw it away, a year from now you won't even know who Michael Jackson is." All I remember thinking was, "Oh yea, just wait and see" and I immediately hid it under my mattress as I was afraid that he would take it.
I used to stay in my room a lot. My parents would call it hypernating. For me, there was no point in leaving the house very much, as we were very rarely allowed to go anywhere. If we did, our father would say, "Don't be gone long" and then an hour or less he would have us come back into the house. I guess in ways he didn't want us to get into trouble but until I moved out about the age of 21 I had always felt as though we lived in a prison. We tended large gardens, raised cows and chickens and worked.
Throughout our childhood years, my brothers and I would always climb trees. We also would play hide and go seek in the cornfields.
I remember when Michael's "Thriller" video was to be showed for the very first time on television. My youngest brother said, "It's coming on tonight.
Do you want to watch it?" I said, "Yes! Just in case I fall asleep, wake me up." He did. Only he couldn't wake me up because he told me that I was saying, "Leave me alone or I am going to get you..." When I woke up the next morning I asked him why he didn't wake me up and he said, "I did but you were talking so loud that I did not want mom or dad to know that I was watching TV. (We were not allowed to watch TV after about 9 p.m.) We used to take blankets to cover the TV to block the light at night.
Sometime around 1985 my aunt whom lived in Florida wrote me a short letter which read:
"Dear Cole, I think of all of you so often. Wish you could come to see me.
I dreamed about you last night, it seemed so real and so nice. I had to write and tell you. I dreamed I went to see you and you had had a long story published in some good magazine. It was 5 series long. You gave me the 5 magazines to bring home with me. I can't get together all the story was about but it was good. Why don't you take up writing 'cause so many of our family write poems so well. You might be a real good book writer."
At the time this was written I had never mentioned anything about me writing a book (which I had just started). Shortly, after this I asked my aunt
if she could remember anything about these books but she unfortunately could not. I started writing poems in 1985. I would be in my room, I would write all of the time. This book is called "Cascading Love" and is found on the forum. In 1994, I completed this book then mailed a copy to Michael while he lived at Neverland.
All of my life growing up even from a very young age, I had difficulty with eating food. All during my teenage years, I suffered with extreme depression and anxiety. Every night for years, I went to sleep by listening to Michael's "Thriller" album in an effort to get to sleep. Many times, it took as many as 2 times in order to succeed. I had real bad sleep issues. At times, I would jump up or kick waking myself up during the night. To me, my music was the only way that I could deal with it. For years, I spent every night crying before going to sleep. Over a period of time, I learned how to cry silently.
In 1988 my parents and I took a flight out to California to visit family for 2 weeks. Our flight was rerouted and we were taken to Los Angeles instead of San Francisco. (Due to an earthquake) A few hours later we arrived at our destination. By the 2nd day there, I became sick from a flu virus and had continuous nausea and was throwing up until just a day or two before we went back home. (Remember, this was a 2 week trip) This was just the beginning of a life threatening illness that I had.
In 1989, I had become sick again. I felt as though after taking a bite of food that my throat was closing up and I had anxiety attacks as well. At some point I was not getting better and was halucinating. (I was not on any medications) My mother took me to the hospital. While we were there waiting, I was put into a stretcher and taken to the Intensive Care Unit.
Over the next 3 years or more I was constantly in and out of the hospital for weeks up to a month at times. It was a viscious cycle. I would get sick with the flu and remain sick for several weeks straight not able to eat any food for as much as 7 to 10 days at a time. Other times, I would have to be hospitalized for dehydration and it would take yet another 2 weeks to recooperate. Once, I remember being so drugged up that I lost 2 days of time and barely knew where I was. I was unable to figure out if it was night or day. It could have been sunrise or sunset, I couldn't tell the difference. At times, I could barely open my eyes and see someone but I could not talk to anyone no matter how hard I tried. The doctors always whispered or talked low in the outside hallways. It used to bother me because I wanted to hear what they had to say. I didn't know that I had almost died during the night and was given only about a 10% chance of survival. I remember getting down to 98 pounds (5' 9" tall) and not being able to walk for a few weeks. In the fall of 1991, I stayed at a Rocky Mount Rehabilitation Center for approximately 3 months. It was there when I began to learn to eat regularly and control some of my anxieties. All of my previous life, I had only eaten a few bites at a times for meals so eating a regular plate of food like everyone else was definitely a different experience.
From 1990 until about 1994 I was on prescription medications for anxiety and depression. The last medications that I took were highly addictive.
The doctor who's care I was under at no time ever mentioned anything about becoming addicted to the medications that I was on and had been on for a few years. In my opinion, the doctor did not seem to be concerned about my issues. I was experiencing, nausea, mild to moderate insomnia, nightmares and suicidal concerns. (All were drug related) I was told to stop taking the medications and that I would be placed on new ones but I had to wait like a week. Within 2 or 3 days as a result, I ended up hospitalized for a whole month from withdrawl symptoms. If I had of died from this, the doctor would have gotten away with this. As a result, I will not take any medications of any kind without being informed of side affects. How many times has a doctor prescribed medication(s) to you and stated, "Here, try this."?
I never ate at a restaurant until I was about 25 years old as I would have panic anxiety attacks at the mere thought of going to a public place.
After Michael's death, I was in disbelief for several days. Once the reality set in it was the most difficult situation to deal with. I immediately noticed that my health was once again in jeopardy but in a different way. I couldn't sleep
very much through the night. I lost interest in everything. I stopped writing poems, watching television, crocheting, etc. No one realized the sense of loss that I was experiencing. I developed hypertension within a few weeks and had faintess and dizzy spells on a daily basis. I had forgotten the words to literally all of Michael's songs that I knew so well for years and could not remember the words for several months thereafter. It took me about a year before I was able to listen to "Gone Too Soon" again. After about 2 months I decided that I had to do something drastic in order to change this situation. Somehow, I decided to start learning dance moves as I had given up everything else. As a result, Michael Jackson has once again through his music and dance dramaticly improved my life. His love still shows and I will always love him.
It is only in the recent year that I have been exposing myself to the public.
It has always been very difficult for me to go places and shop around with crowds of people.
It may sound strange to many people whom may take for granted simple things as this but it is an every day struggle for me. Maybe it is a result of my upbringing as we were not really allowed to have friends over to our house, if we did it was very limited and it very rarely happened. We were not allowed to talk on the phone to our friends. We did not grow up around having neighbors until I was almost a teenager. We only had a couple of neighbors across the street in whom we could hang out with from time to time. My two brothers were my play companions. We used to climb trees all of the time when we were kids up until our teenage years. My father used to almost on a daily basis fight with me about Michael Jackson. I've had to deal with racism and all kinds of situations all through my life. Racial slurs of every kind. To this day, I do not raise my kids to believe or say such things, neither will I allow anyone living with me to do so. Racial slurs are totally forbidden around me. Neither do I discipline with brutal or physical force.
In February of 2010, I began purchasing Michael Jackson clothing from Celebrity Costumes.com. It was around this period of time when I decided that I would be buying more clothing for the following year and eventually get rid of almost all of my street clothes. I wanted to get rid of the "old me" and become someone else instead. Of course, after buying yet more clothing I was finally able to feel as though I had succeeded at fulfilling a lifetime dream. Yes, of course I still want to get more clothes but there comes a time when you have to decide how far are you really willing to go? I'm sure that it can only go so far and money is somewhat limited as well.
Currently, I am choreographing hundreds of dance moves on what I call set-ups/layouts. By the time that a video gets posted, it has been viewed, researched and studied and many hours go into it, especially the full stage set-ups. In most cases, it does not take too long to film and only on a few occasions some of the dance moves are rehearsed.
In the beginning when I started filming, I had no intentions of actually posting tutorials for the public. It was only intended for my learning purposes only. By the time that I began filming Smooth Criminal things began to change.
Before filming tutorials, I very rarely ever dreamed about Michael Jackson.
Shortly, after is when my dreams changed and I began dreaming of being on stage with Michael.
In one dream, I was on a very large stage and I was chanting at the crowds, "MICHAEL..MICHAEL...MICHAEL..." I looked to the right side and Michael was walking out. He asked me what I was doing and told me to stop goofing off because the show was going to start in 10 minutes. Immediately, I felt unprepared and was thinking of how I had not rehearsed at all!! (I had just finished the majority of Dangerous or Smooth Criminal for my layouts...I can't remember which one.)
I am able from time to time to see images of "filmstrips" of dance moves in my mind. Sometimes, this may be how I am able to figure out some of the routines that I do. As I listen to songs, I often am already planning set-ups and counts without a lot of effort. (I can see the actual performance of dance moves...these are not necessarily anything at all like the videos, concerts, or any other stage shows that you may have already seen.)
In the most realistic dream that I've ever had I would say was when I was on some bleachers near a football field or something. Michael was greeting a small crowd of people. I yelled out...maybe getting his attention. He stopped, turned around and came up to me. Everyone seemed to suddenly disappear around me. He stood directly in front of me and reached out his right hand. I reached with my left hand and held his hand in mine. I remember how soft his hand was and how warm to the touch it was. He looked straight into my eyes with nothing but love. I immediately felt all of the thoughts that I had always wanted to express but never had the chance. There were so many things that I wanted to say but I somehow could not speak and began to cry. It seemed as though even without speaking, he understood my feelings. Upon waking up, even opening up my eyes....I still for a few moments felt the warmth and touch of his hand. It is moments like this that motivate me and keep me going. I don't give 100% I give 1000%. If I ever slow down and time time off, I'm always making it up by working harder later on. The hardest thing I feel right now, is sometimes working on material, research, filming even when you don't feel like it. This is my project, my life and my lifestyle. I love the energy from the fans, I get to meet people once in a while and I actually feel great from the workouts. Even though I sacrifice a lot it's worth every minute.
My only intentions as far as Dance4MichaelJackson are concerned as of now is to be able to set up full stage shows and perform for people. I would like to create the illusion of a concert...as I was never able to attend any of Michael's concerts. It would be nice to bring some of the energy back into the world and give back the feelings of hope and love to everyone. Creating an environment where everyone can for a little while forget about the world and their troubles and just have fun!