The dreams won’t stop until I write this

For the last few weeks I’ve been stuck in a loop. I’ve been deeply affected by what happened to someone I’ve never met.

On Thursday 20th July, Chester Bennington reached the point of no return and hung himself in his home. Why this stopped me in my tracks is becoming less of a mystery.

I stopped listening to Linkin Park years ago, when I got over my angry phase. The last I knew of them was when Minutes To Midnight came out 10 years ago.

When I read about Chester, I was stunned. My usually unfeeling heart sank and I felt the urgent need to get some songs on my iPod to listen to in the car. That weekend I shed all the tears I had while listening to My December, one song of Linkin Park’s that has stuck with me all these years.

I started asking why, what it was that brought Chester to this place he couldn’t get out of. Those are questions that always appear in the aftermath of suicide, right?

Did he feel there was no other option? That it was inevitable? That the only way to end his pain was to leave this world?

A month later, I plucked up the courage to listen to the missing pieces of the story. I took in A Thousand Suns on repeat for days. It’s a haunting experience to hear this album for the first time when you know that voice will never sing again.

It’s also haunting to know that there was a hint of hope in there.

“Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope but failure’s all you’ve known. Remember all the sadness and frustration, and let it go…”

Was he writing to himself? Maybe he was writing to me.

When it comes to One More Light, I feel as though this was Chester’s goodbye. Each song conveys some element of closure, the title track saying the most, and it is one that I’ve taught myself to play on the guitar that sits alone gathering dust.

“Who cares if one more light goes out in a sky of a million stars? Who cares when someone’s time runs out when a moment is all we are? Who cares if one more light goes out? Well, I do…”

After listening to these two albums, I had to go back to Minutes To Midnight because I only had half of the tracks. And it seems that those missing pieces fit together perfectly with One More Light and A Thousand Suns. Almost as though I was meant to discover it at this exact time. One thing I realised is, Chester used his gift – the most phenomenal male voice in this world left his mark and will always be remembered for that.

“I dreamed I was missing, you were so scared…”

In between all the questions and being annoyed at myself for wasting what I have, I’ve been dreaming about Chester. I dreamed I was telling him how much his music has meant to me and that he didn’t need to do what he did. He just smiled at me, touched my arm, and disappeared. He seemed happy and carefree, but I knew that he could feel what I was feeling.

“When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done. Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed.”

Chester, you have done what you set out to do – left behind so many reasons to be missed.

Don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty, keep me in your memory and leave out all the rest.

Chester may have felt his life was over. He may have believed that nothing could take away his pain other than death. But there was something… I just don’t know if he ever knew…

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” – Psalm 147v3

I’ve had my dark times, those moments where I couldn’t cope, crying and screaming for the pain to end because I just couldn’t bear feeling everything anymore. It’s the creative types who suffer the most with anxiety and depression, as has become more evident in recent years.

“Come to me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” – Matthew 11v28

But there’s One who caught me when I fell, held me up when I couldn’t stand, loved me when I couldn’t love myself. His name is Jesus and He’s the reason I’m alive today.

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Hello darkness, my old friend

Any time I see or hear the word ‘darkness’, I start singing a song…

Hello darkness, my old friend… I’ve come to talk with you again…

It’s a song that has followed me since I was a teenager in the 90s, when my daddy the introduced me to the music of Simon & Garfunkle, and Sound of Silence became one of my favourites.

The older I get, the more the song resonates with me. I understand the darkness more, I understand the silence more… because I’ve lived it. And more importantly, I’ve survived it.

I’m gonna let you in to a little secret. I suffered from anxiety and depression on different levels since my teenage years. It got to an almost unbearable level about 7 years ago. That’s when I discovered what real darkness was.

But the silence was the worst part. The silence of my own Voice. I lost the ability to speak, yes, in a literal sense. I was so stressed out I couldn’t communicate in a manner that could be understood by others, so I became isolated. I’ve gone over this so many times in my head since, but I’ve learned to stop the spiral before it takes me over the edge – an enormous achievement on my part. *smug* ūüôĄ

So instead of getting caught in a spiral, I can get lost in a song, knowing I have overcome and just take the words as they are…

Hello darkness, my old friend…

Darkness – http://wp.me/p23sd-12Dc

Here lie the remains

For many years, I have been a musician. But I am the musician who won’t play. I won’t play due to fear; fear of what, I don’t know. I thought the fear only surfaced in recent years, but, as can be seen from the date on this poem, it’s been going on a lot longer than I’d dared to accept.

The Rose is Gone

I cannot sing
My lifeline gone
No Rose of Song
I fear the end

Written on 29th March 2005 at 20:53 GMT

One word prompt – sing

I’m so inactive, not very active…

Relating to¬†Inactive by Weird Al (Mandatory Fun, 2015)…

So today I decided to attempt the beginnings of a journey from Couch to 5k. This is something that people do these days isn’t it, Couch to 5k?¬†People who think they’re a tad unfit and want to better themselves?

Now, I’m not an overly large person. I’m short, a little squishy, but definitely not heading to the stage of greasing doorways. This C25K thing is aimed at people like me, those who are slightly inactive and looking to gently start running. Gently. I SAID GENTLY!

“I’m out of shape, I’m fattening up…” – Weird Al

After the first 8 minutes, I felt like something out of Weird Al’s¬†Fat. I walked briskly for 5 minutes, ran for one minute, walked for 90 seconds, and ran for 30 seconds instead of 60 because I was dying. I have to admit here that my ‘brisk’ walking is slow for a snail. And my ‘running’ is slamming each of my feet to the ground while¬†flailing like a demented seagull.

“I’m using my inhaler now…”¬†– Weird Al

The remainder of the 30 minutes was spent limping, trailing my right foot behind me as though it didn’t want to be my friend anymore. I was feeling very sorry for myself; not just because I’d been abandoned by an important appendage, but also at being unable to get through the first day of an easy, totally doable, fitness program. In fact, the only reason I got myself home without just setting up a shack¬†on the side of the road was that there was some nice chocolate-covered toffee waiting for me…

“Don’t tag my toe, I’m still alive!” – Weird Al

In case anyone wants to hear the song in question and feel as flumpy as I do right now!

Word prompt, Healthy