People Who Shaped Me: Lisa Lopes

I grew up in the 90’s, so today is a sad, nostalgic day for me.

TLC was a Damn Big Deal when I was in the middle of growing a personality, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being thankful for that fact. They all–T-Boz, Chilli, and Left Eye–seemed so painfully cool. The kind of thing we might call #Goals today.

But one of these women stood out to me. In my eight year old mind, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes seemed like an outer space Princess. A forest nymph. Royalty from Neptune. Her big, dark, liquid eyes seemed like they were capable of staring into your soul and seeing through all your bullshit into the depths of who you really are.

She didn’t seem like she was of this world.

As someone who grew up worshiping Morticia Addams, this of course drew me to her like a moth to a flame.

My memory has never been the best, so I cannot offer you a linear, time-stamped account of my thoughts and recollections of her. But I do remember the minivan ride to middle school where I heard her death on the radio.

I remember after I got the news, there was an empty space inside me that felt uncomfortably vast. If the reaction of other fans out there is anything to go by, I wasn’t alone.

She died in Honduras on a spiritual retreat. That was the news that kept getting repeated by various outlets. I was only eleven at the time. I didn’t know where the hell Honduras was and I had no clue was a spiritual retreat was. These words had no real meaning to me, but they kept repeating in my mind. “Honduras on a spiritual retreat”.

I grew up. I got older. I found out where the hell Honduras was. I figured out what “spiritual retreat” meant in vague terms. But I wondered what that meant to her.

I had to wait until about 2008 when I finally caught the documentary on VH1. Today is the 14th anniversary of her death. In case you haven’t seen the documentary yet (or just want to rewatch it and remember her), I’ve included it here. Lisa Lopes, in her own words.

I’m spending the day remembering this incredible woman. This woman of light and shadow. Of unlimited talent. Of intuition and insight. This beautiful woman of complexity. Rest in peace, Left Eye. I hope you’ve found your answers.

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