Friday, June 2, 2017

Music is my Religion

Whatsoever I’ve feared has come to life
Whatsoever I’ve fought off became my life
Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded and now I’m doing time
Now I’m doing time
‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

Chris Cornell

June 2, 2017

On May 18th, I woke up to a text from a friend, letting me know that Chris Cornell was gone. Her and I had just seen him with Temple of the Dog a few months’ ago. I only realized, after cranking his music all day, that it was the same day my mom left us too soon. Her body finally shut down after a lifetime of heroin abuse.  

I really hope those quick to demean Chris will take a moment--and be kind--try a little empathy. Maybe have a listen to some of his lyrics and put yourself in the shoes of someone who may not have been in their right mind at the time. There’s a lot of variables involved--and the only one who knows the particulars, is no longer here.

Chris’s lyrics and melodies got me through the 90’s. There were times where all I could do was crank the volume to 11 and put one foot in front of the other…or follow my mother’s footsteps and feed my demons.

I have no knowledge that Chris was an addict, but if he indeed struggled with addiction, I can’t imagine he was thrilled about it. I’m sure my mom didn’t choose heroin over 3 kids for shits ‘n’ giggles. Addiction does not discriminate and can get you when you least expect it. My mom had 8 years’ sobriety at one point and all it took was one more time and she was back in full swing.

Thank you mom, for turning me on to good music. Your album collection was incomparable and I love that you had no problem dragging my brother and I to pop festivals. If someone asked me what my earliest memory is, I’d say sitting on a blanket with flowers in my hair, surrounded by 100,000 hippies--and being mesmerized by a man on stage in a cool outfit, making cool sounds come out of something strapped over his shoulder on a hot summer day in ’69. Mom owned every Hendrix album.

My ego doesn’t want to admit that I struggle with depression and anxiety--that it can take hold of me like a strait jacket with little hope of finding light at the end of the tunnel. My demons have got the best of me a few times over the past 10 years…and they tend to tighten their grip when life throws the curveballs.  

I don’t leave home without an Ativan in my purse. Sometimes I go months without needing one, but in learning about the side effects, I’m going to think twice before ingesting another one. Hopefully we can all help to raise awareness about these tiny little pills that can create big problems.

The thought of suicide makes me incredibly sad. Imagine the pain one must be in to make a choice to leave their loved ones behind? Depression doesn’t rationalize--it’s like war; you either live or die fighting. Each life is precious. May we all show some love and compassion to those in need. And if you feel like you’re alone, you’re not. Reach out.

A few years ago, I came to a red light at Sunset and Doheny. Chris was waiting at the crosswalk right next to me. “Thank you for your music,” I said. “Right on,” he replied with a smile. For me, Cornell was my Hendrix. He did it his way with no apologies and that resonated with me. The significance of his body of work has yet to be recognized. Give it time.

I can’t imagine the void left in the hearts of his family and fellow bandmates--that it was clear he loved and cherished. Sending them love and light. I’m so sorry that you suffered in the end Chris. What a gift that you left so much music that will no doubt, get me and many others through black days.

Say hello to heaven…and Hendrix…and my mom if you should see her.