“…I’m a (wo)man whose tragedies have been replaced, with memories tattooed upon my soul…”

Because I'm deep in the depths of my other writing, my writing to, and about, Chester, and cancer, but my thoughts, and heart, betray me so often I can't focus, there is this. Other thoughts that aren't those. They are all here, HERE, in my soul and my fingertips, the words I want to finish,  which I've been writing for almost a week. Today though, I've been riding the waves of memories from ages ago, tinged by anger, and hurt, or something, of right now, but I have to say something. Something… Because the other writing is as much about me as it is about him, and suicide, and depression, and cancer. But this one is about me, as I relate to him, and just me. And Liz Gilbert. (Eat Pray Love) And I don't know why I'm writing it, just that I'm supposed to.

This is not a cry for help blog. This is not an "I'm in a scary depressed place" writing. Because by the grace of what the fuck ever it is, as much as I am some insane mix of angry and sad right now, and clearly dancing with expansion that has left me exhausted I'm OK. I mean, I'm often these last few days on autopilot, and I would LOVE for now to be the moment of melting into the arms of the one I trust implicitly, who trusts me implicitly, and to just let go. (There, I said it, I SAID IT. I'd shout it from rooftops. If I could. Because as much as I'm scared to say I want {translation: need} that hug, I'm not scared to feel it at all, anymore. Mostly not scared. OK, sometimes a little scared but also, not. Fuck. Note to self: finish clearing fear of saying I need that hug, and of actually needing hug, etc.)

There's some sort of irony in the timing when need might be said (more than once) but… reality makes it not really possible to say. C'est la vie. I trust there is a reason to the timing of it all. Maybe now is a time for me to lean in, more than to lean on. Except I do know I'm not alone. That it is inherently impossible for me to ever be alone.

These things that I am going to say next are being "spoken" into smoke to lift them, carry them away, as they are what has been but does not still need to be. I will phrase them in the present tense as in this moment while I am writing, they to some degree still exist as my truth.

I have abandonment issues. Big fat the size of the Milky Way (galaxy, not candy bar, in case you weren't sure) abandonment issues. These stem from boringly typical, and fuckeduply atypical, events throughout the course of my life.

I have trust issues. Whatever is bigger than the Milky Way, (galaxy) is the size of my trust issues. I believe in the best of people. That people are inherently good. My half a hippy wants to bounce across the earth giving hugs, and cupcakes (except cupcakes with their processed flour, and sugar really aren't good for you, so that's kind of not a nice thing to give. But how lame would it be to give, like, celery, or cheese, which are actually better for you? I mean, I LOVE cheese, but, cupcake trumps cheese most of the time.) I will absolutely trust everyone, right until they give me reason to not. Or right up until I start to look for a reason to not. To look for, and find, the teeth that fit the scars, and then say the teeth came before the scars. And it's not just a male/female relationship trust issue thing, BTWs. I can not trust you irrespective of your gender. To not hold my past against anyone continues to be my quest.

My mind, if too much time is spent by me, alone in it, is a bad neighborhood. (I've stolen that from Chester, yes I have!) I over think, I over analyze, I "should" on myself, and have been known to spend entirely too much time looking over my shoulder, or into a figurative crystal ball trying to catch a glimpse of tomorrows. I have been prone to a melancholy I did not understand. I doubt my appearance, my intelligence, my worth, and second guess myself, a lot.

I have a fear that if I don't say everything I need to say RIGHT NOW, I will not have the chance to say it. I believe this stems in large part from ~ went to visit for a weekend, dude I was dating, who lived in another state. When time came for me to go home I said to him, in tears, "I'm afraid I'll never see you again." (Random, melodramatic, and clingy much, 19 year old Michelle?) He said "of course we'll see each other again, we have too much fun when we're together, to not." The following weekend I had a brief phone conversation with him. He said he was going to go for a ride on his motorcycle. He wrecked his bike. His injuries were catastrophic. I never saw him again. Each of his friends thought the other had called me to tell me. It was 5 days after his passing when I called to speak to him, and was told what had happened. So not random, melodramatic, or clingy, at all. I could genuinely have anxiety on the daily out of fear of losing someone I love, and not getting to tell them I love them, in general, or one last time. This is compounded by fear of something happening, and no one calling me to tell me.  So I often say too much, and its never enough.

I've made an art form of self-sabotage. Frequently because of attempting to fit into the boxes others think I should be in. As soon as I acquiesce and climb in, I start fucking things up, left, right and center, in a form of futile protest, as the only damage done is to myself. I can pinpoint every reason I have this tasty little habit, but, meh. Is it when I'm happy too, Chester? (Because he said of himself that he is {was. fuck.} never content, even when happy.)

As I re-read, I can say in all honesty, a lot of the above have decidedly been more my truths in my past than any time recently. But as they each have presented themselves to me tonight, they got included. Many of them find their origin in molestation when I was 7. I only mention it as it is one of the things Chester, and I, share as a commonality. Part of why I GET everything he said, in every interview I've seen, when he's spoken of his depression and where it has taken him.

*Cue smoke into which they will float away*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I listened to a brilliant Ted Talk given by Liz Gilbert titled "Your Elusive Creative Genius." Only 20 minutes long, but, a game changer if you choose to hear what it says. As it relates to me, to Chester, to Chris Cornell, and too all of the other ridiculously talented creative feelers I have ever known, what I HEARD above all was (screen captured 'cause I couldn't copy/paste)

liz

This proved to me once and for all that she is my hero, and possibly my spirit animal. Because I have spent YEARS thinking about WHY so many of my creative lovelies, are so fucked up. But more than that, seem to almost wear it like a badge of honor. "I'm starving for my art." Well, go you! You go right ahead and be that stereotype. Imma be over here, trying to create something, and also, eating. Since you'd rather starve, I'll eat your portion too. You've seen my ass, right?

In all seriousness though, in the years I was working with bands, and in my interactions with artists, always, I have had a very clear train of thought, that starving for one's art, literally and as a euphemism for a bunch of other dumb shit we do because we are "arteests" and sensitive, isn't really cool. Or fun. Or interesting. Also, its been done, to death. Literally. Irrespective of at a point being the girlfriend in the "what do you call a musician without a girlfriend? – homeless" joke, I always ALWAYS walked away from working with those bands who by choice were starving artists. Music was too important to me, people were too important to me, to do either the disservice of saying "Yeah, sure I'll watch you be your own worst enemy, in the name of creating art." My standard line, which was never just a line, but really IS the song of my soul, "keep pursuing your dream, while taking care of reality." Read: get a mother f'n J.O.B. if ya got to, so ya not living in your momma's basement, while you're trying to be the next (Chester Bennington.) Don't be a drug addict while thinking its cool to be a drug addict, because its not. If you accidentally become a drug addict, don't decide it's cool. No judgement. I've got that t-shirt. But heroin chic, is not.

I am not saying that Chester did anything he did, ever, much less at the end, because of the paradigm of the tortured artist. I do not assume to know what was in his head, and heart at any moment in time, less the time he told me exactly what was in his head and heart. (Which is part of another blog, and of a blog to come.) What I am however saying is, perhaps as a group, we should stop accepting that this is who we must be. How we must be. I understand, with a capital UNDERSTAND, how that may not be easy, because we do FEEL, so deeply, so everything, and because when I was in my darkest, most horrible place, I might have told someone attempting to shine a light in, to get fucked. But maybe if we shine a different light on it, each for ourselves, which will then affect the group of us, maybe it will help a little, until it helps a lot? Maybe if we nurture the tiny ridiculously talented creative feelers while they are still tiny, instead of discouraging their dreams, it'll be a preemptive strike but in a good way.

As I see it, Chester did not "go gently into that goodnight." No matter how that goodnight came about. I believe that Chester with every ounce of his energy worked to shift what needed shifting, inside himself. For himself. For EVERYONE. He put his life into his lyrics, in the most raw, and vulnerable of ways. He furthered his transparency by speaking candidly, and frequently about his hurts, and fucked-upnesses. I know many people are watching his interviews and posting them as his alleged cry for help. I think that's absolute shit. I think he was just being his honest self because he knew on some level that to be so would help him, and others. So maybe we can shift that too. Speaking about what hurts, or sucks, doesn't mean you're crying for help, or crying at all. Maybe its just that you know it is the right thing to do, for yourself, for others. Perspective baby. Get some. See where yours takes you. Might not be the same place I go, and that's cool.

Why I put myself so fully onto these "pages"is a combination of my NEED to create a something, joined with my NEED to work through my shit, and my HOPE that maybe my words will give a someone the tiniest something when they need it most. Even if its just because they read what I write about myself and think "this bitch is CRAZY, and I am absolutely NOT" right when they need to think they aren't crazy. Maybe in me they will find a kindred, and feel not so alone, even if they never speak to me. Or maybe they will reach out to me, as some have, and say, "You have been where I am right now, you are giving me hope that I will able to be happy again, someday." And I'll have a new friend, and so will they. THAT is what it is all about, really. Touching lives. Experiences. Making a difference. Helping others. And not being afraid to show our crazy, while also being happy, and creating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

To Liz Gilbert, thank you for being so wise, and bad ass, and inspirational. Please don't ever stop writing. I mean, unless you want to. Also, tons of love to you, and your Rayya.

Thank you to those who today helped me to walk through the mini fire that popped up. I am so very grateful.

http://wp.me/p6f5rK-1FEChester, your thank you is in another writing. But also in my heart, which I know you know.

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Title is an excerpt from "Into You" by Dead By Sunrise

Your Elusive Creative Genius – Liz Gilbert

 

 

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“…Remember You’re Loved, and You Always Will Be, this Melody Will Bring You Right Back Home…”

There are words. So many words. But exhaustion, emotional and physical, keep me from finishing what I’m trying to say to work through this fucked moment in time. Not that it will fix anything or even help anything to make sense.  

Meanwhile, I need to say, you matter. You are important. You are needed. You are loved. Whoever you are. Even if I don’t know you, I care. If you need someone, I’m here. I’m nobody special, except I absolutely am someone special, because you are too! And I will pour every ounce of my love into you if it is what you need to help you get thru. No matter who you are. I will be your sun today, as best I can.

Rest In Peace Chester. I’ll see you on the other side. 

And fuck you cancer. Just fuck you. 

Thank you to my not heros for once again helping me to remain standing in the moments my knees begin to buckle, which are many too many this last couple of weeks. I love you. 

“Who cares if one more light goes out? In a sky of a million stars… I Do”

Whatever this will end up as, it has been playing in the back of my mind starting Thursday a week ago, since hearing of the passing of Chris Cornell. More specifically, since hearing, seeing, FEELING the reactions of hearts I love, aching for this particular loss. And the aching of my own heart too. “He was one of us.” Words spoken to me, that resonate so deeply. One of us, has been too many of “us” for me on a personal level, and I understand completely (not at all) why.

I’m not entirely sure about what I’m writing. I’m not writing about suicide, death, depression, or loss. Except, that’s a lie, because I am a little bit somewhat writing about all of those things.

The words in my heart are about how fucking short life can be, and how I don’t want to let any more moments, or love, pass me by, and how I won’t just take opportunities, but will make them, because pause buttons were pushed, one that led to me losing myself, and forgetting almost everything I knew, and I stopped being alive for years. And one which ended up being pushed because it was the “right” thing to do, (never fully pushed?) the path as it was meant to happen, the unfolding to lead to a (something) deeper understanding, and learning, and now pause is over (?), (my) arms are thrown open, are there to catch, to be caught by… (re-interpretation/appropriation)

And they (words in my heart) are also about how love is, I think, the most important thing. But how it isn’t in and of itself, enough to save the life of one who chooses to not live. Which doesn’t inherently mean chooses physical death. Also, this isn’t, and is, about how it (love), and life as a whole, don’t look at all like I thought they would.

Love, which I used to think would come wrapped neatly in glittery purple ribbons,  and be punctuated by things forevery, and accompanied by grand gestures, but turns out to be without regard for the construct of time, and sloppy, messy, complex, (in its simplicity,  familiarity, comfort, and warmth), while wrapped in glittery purple ribbons, and accompanied by (beautiful, thoughtful, loving) simple gestures (that mean everything in the moments they are needed, especially when given without being asked for). And is able to navigate that which at first glance appears to be unnavigable, if that is the choice made.

Life, that I have always been told must follow a linear path, but instead is laced with switchbacks, and hairpin turns, stops, and starts, and is washed out by tide’s coming in, and then revealed in a new form, by tide’s receding.

(I sit, and stare, and think, and dream, and sing, and float to there, wherever that may be… , as I seek the words I want to write. And were you sitting next to me, you would see the beginnings, and middles, of so many writings… to be gotten back to, when they are ready. If they are ever ready. Maybe it is less {in this moment} that I want to write, and more that I want to speak, or sit in {silent} conversation.)

“One of us” as I interpret it globally,  is one of the artsy fartsy type. Us sedately hyper, hyper-communicative, introverts, who lay it all on the line, and play it close to the vest. Who pour ourselves in brilliant neon, onto the canvas best suited to our chosen medium, except sometimes we’re muted pastel. Or black. Or white. Or invisible ink. One of us, the (un) lucky ones, who create, or burn inside out, for the lack of it. One of us who feel, and feel, and FEEL. Even when we say we don’t. If we create, we FEEL! Us; those who seemingly have a choice to go inside, get down and dirty with the everything we feel, or to not. So then we drink, a lot. Or do drugs, a lot. Or find a “zipless fuck”  and a hundred more after it. To numb. To escape. To hide.

Sometimes too, we go inside, while creating, and drinking, and doing drugs, and finding a zipless fuck, and thinking we’ve got answers, have a handle on things, Or we go inside while creating, without drinking, drugs, or zipless fucks, and do have answers, and a handle on things, and then… what we thought we knew as certainty, isn’t, and we remember that even concrete crumbles, and steel melts. In some instances, that’s a terrible thing, and in others, its exactly the way its supposed to be, perhaps even intentional, and beautiful.

But Chris Cornell though… his departure is one (of many) that sends me deep into a variation of my life long deep think of “why.” Not why did he commit suicide. This why isn’t that why. This why is about why we “rise”, or “fall.” Which is not a statement of judgement, or about better than, worse than, higher or lower on any scale. It is just words to depict going one way, or another.

As I have spent hours thinking about this writing, about Chris Cornell, about the ones who create, and depression, and suicide, or pseudo-cide (addiction) (which is not to be confused with pseudocide, a death, faked) I think of my own journey into the very deep dark place from which I at times didn’t see an escape, and at other times didn’t give a fuck about escaping from, alive. (I did not try to commit suicide, just to be clear!!) I think about the fact that from the outside, Chris Cornell had so much more to fight his way out of the dark for, than I.

This is not melodrama, and this is not victim mentality, this is; write that shit down on a piece of paper in 2 columns, and see what it looks like, from the outside. He had a wife who loves him, kids who love him, THE career he always wanted, friends who love him, fans who adore him, fame and fortune, IMMENSE talent, access to every imaginable resource because, money,  and blah blah blah stuff. I have my daughters, and friends who love me. And family who do too, of course. I have had so much more than so many on this planet, and I KNOW it, but on paper, reviewing the 2 columns, I would have picked Chris Cornell as the one to come out ahead. Alive.

Never, ever will I be able to understand, explain why or how I got to such a deep, dark depth, nor will I be able to understand, or explain, why or how, I am not there anymore, and why Chris Cornell hung himself to stop the hurting. And I could speak of karma, or of God, or luck, or being blessed, faith, lack thereof, dogma, or timing. I could speak of inner strength, tenacity, nature, nurture, biology, chemistry, or a million other things, that would all be supposition. Why did I choose what I chose, and why did he choose, what he chose. And this isn’t really about Chris Cornell, and this isn’t really about me. This is about anyone who has been where he was, and where I was.

Over, and over, and over, as I write this, I see 3 faces, and hear 3 voices, and think of these 3 souls I have been privileged to (some more than others) know. Each of these souls are ridiculously talented, intelligent, crazy, grounded, creative feelers, who have attained levels of success in their chosen mediums that most of us creative feelers can only (maybe) imagine. And each of them has been through some hell. Eerily similar hell, to each other, and me. Although 2 of them have been public about their hell, and by public I mean PUBLIC about their hell, I will speak of them anonymously because who they are, and their hell, isn’t important.

My thoughts about each of these ridiculously talented, creative feelers (henceforth to be known as RTCF), isn’t about their success. I know enough about how the world of artistic endeavors works to know that whatever the fuck luck is, (or is it blessings? – omnipotent omniscient Oprah deity “you get rich and famous, and you get rich and famous”) there is some element of that involved. The mystery for me is the why of each of them choosing to rise, instead of to fall. Which is not to say that they (2 of them much moreso than the 3rd) followed always, only a straight, and narrow path.

I can say I was a somewhat more than casual observer to the period of “don’t think I’ll make it to age 30 so, fuck it” of one of them. (Disclaimer: I didn’t know this was the thinking, until many years later.) But always in the midst of the crazy fun, there was a level of restraint involved. If “method to the madness” has ever been applied, it was then, and there, with that person. If “spiraling in control” can be a thing, I know the master of it. Bravest soul I’ve ever known, this one, thankfully no longer spiraling.

Another of them started to fall at a very young age, chose to reverse the fall, then got knocked the fuck down. Memories of conversation of almost 20 years ago;  a head-down, shoulders slumped, hands in pockets, heart-achingly difficult conversation, about the knock down, an ending of a something, and the why of the ending, like it was yesterday. And that conversation could have been followed by a not just a fall, but a plunge. Rise doesn’t begin to describe this story’s (not yet finished) end.

The third (beloved) soul, that I know of, has never even begun to fall. Not in the sense that I mean here. On the face of it though, would have been “taking candy from a baby” easy for this to be another spiral in control, if not fall. Rise, once again, does not begin to describe… Poised now to reach even higher heights.

Sadly, exponentially more are the faces of those who fell, than those who rose. I see them flashing through my mind, and I am grieved by the knowing that I am forgetting some (probably many) of them no longer here, taken either by suicide, or pseudo-cide become fatal. There are those too who simply slipped away, so lost in their pseudo-cide, they couldn’t be with those of us not following that road.

And I’m left with, WHY? And thank you to whatever it is that requires thanking, which sees me sitting here writing this, with my artsy fartsy, creative FEELINGNESS hanging the fuck out. All. The. Time. Instead of being still in the darkness. Or on the other side of it where the only pain is for those left behind.

1700+ words, and I still don’t know for sure what this is about. I know that since I started thinking about this, children were killed in Manchester, England, while they were at a pop concert. And wars are being waged in other countries by those shouting with bombs that their beliefs are what matter most. And a couple more artsy fartsy legends have passed way. 2 men were killed, and another severely injured, defending teenage girls from a “man” bullying them for their religious beliefs. Today an artsy fartsy guy, younger than me, died. Something about alcoholism, but, I think that wasn’t the exact cause of death.

Life is short. Love is love is love. Is messy.  Is complex in its simplicity. And I have no answers. But I’m here. I remember who I am, and this, who I am now, is who I always was. This was always my path. And choices made from places of fear, are never the right choice. And, irrespective of my beliefs about the hereafter, I care if another light goes out. More though than that, I care about the light that is still here, in so much pain, that it thinks it should be, not.

If you’ve read the above, and think you see yourself in it, this is not about you, except the you this is, in part, about. This is mostly about me, but not about just me, and not about me at all. And/Or Chris Cornell.


Linkin Park – “One More Light”

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

The reminders, pull the floor from your feet
In the kitchen, one more chair than you need, oh
And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair
Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it, isn’t there

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
Well I do