This article was originally published on Medium.
A truth that’ll make whatever you’re currently going through easier.
New York Club Kids were, by definition, outrageous.
They would go out wearing outrageous outfits and outrageous makeup. They would say and do outrageous things under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and ecstasy and horse tranquilizers, which they often ingested altogether. New York Club Kids were narcissistic and rude and misunderstood. They were misfits.
RuPaul was a New York Club Kid. So was Moby.
But Michael Alig was the Club Kid.
He was at the epicenter of the fringe nightlife scene, a recognized founder of the movement that saw its Glory Daze in the late-80's and early-90's. And for a long time Michael was admired in his circle, beloved…
Then he did something horrible.
He killed someone, his friend, Angel, a fellow clubber and local drug dealer. Killed him with a blunt object in a high fit over cocaine. Then he dismembered Angel in a bathtub so he could fit his parts in a box and dump them in the Hudson River, which is what he did.
Michael Alig was eventually caught. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served 17 years. The New York Club Kid movement began to fade after that.
Now he’s out.
Before his release, however, he said he was consumed by guilt over what he’d done. But some people don’t think that’s true. They think the murder was him living out a twisted fantasy…
In an interview from prison, Alig said he was consumed by guilt over what he’d done.
I’m not one of those people. I believe Michael is remorseful, mostly because he doesn’t strike me as a violent killer. Instead, I see a maddened drug addict that made a delusional, unfathomable mistake. Despite the callousness and brutality of his crime, I do believe he’s anguished by it — and always will be.
“The dreams I have now are of us hanging out with Angel,” says Michael, after more than a decade behind bars, “…of times before we killed him and before the drugs and everything, the good times.”
“In the beginning, the dreams were repeating the crime over and over,” added Alig. “But I think the closer I get to forgiving myself, the better the dreams get.”
The closer I get to forgiving myself, the better the dreams get.
And therein lies an important coping lesson, a truth: The worst part of a mistake is its beginning.