I wasn’t going to do this. I wasn’t going to talk about Chester’s suicide, but everywhere I look – every social media outlet – it’s there staring at me. Whether it’s a beautiful cover of one of Linkin Park’s songs (I’m looking at you Amber Liu and Gen Neo), a post or tweet about how Chester and Linkin Park touched their lives, or a tribute to him… it’s there. I’m probably going to say the exact same crap as everyone else, but the words have been brewing beneath my skin, waiting for me to write them down and get them out of my system.
So here it goes: I like to say that Linkin Park saved my life on many occasions.
In my opinion, I was not a cute kid. Being Italian, I had (still have but ya know) thick eyebrows and hairy arms. I remember being teased about it as early as the fourth grade, and the words still hurt to this day. High school wasn’t any easier for me. My priorities compared to those of my peers were vastly different. That separation left me feeling lost and confused. It was like there was a chasm between me and them. Friends I was close to suddenly felt superficial. The desperation I felt only grew through the years. College was marred with depression and trying to change myself. Sports – the only solace I had in this world – became a burden. I met people I could see my own struggles in and I hated it. The self-hatred grew and grew. No one loved me, no cared about me. I thought I was a failure and I was drowning.
In those darkest times, I was at my weakest. My own thoughts scared me. Would anyone even notice if I just disappeared? But Chester and Linkin Park were there. I found solace in their music. It was like they were speaking directly to the young girl/woman who hid the pain she felt every day, and they still do. Listening to their music was a reminder that it was okay to feel the way you do, and others felt exactly the same. It was the validation I craved for. The validation I wasn’t getting from those in my everyday life that I so desperately needed. On those dark days, songs like ‘Crawling,’ ‘Faint,’ and ‘Easier To Run’ (to name a few) were there to distract me from my self-deprecating thoughts that tore me down whenever they got the chance. So I cranked up the music, drowning out my thoughts for the words of another and waited for the pain to die down just a bit.
So, Thank You.
Thank you, Chester, for letting me know I wasn’t alone. Thank you for putting a voice and words to everything I was feeling. Thank you for giving me another outlet for the pain. Thank you for being there when I needed it most and had no one to turn to. Thank you for joining me in the darkness of my mind. Thank you for everything, and I hope you are at peace now. Rest easy and know you have touched thousands of lives. You will be missed.