The guitar intro that saved my life
When I was around 14 years ago, my family moved from the apartment we had lived in since we moved to the U.S., to our very first house. It was a joyous move for my parents but it was hell for me. I had just started to feel comfortable living in the U.S. I had friends who accepted me for who I was. I had routines (mostly involved going to the mall or Walmart. Hey, I lived in St. Louis after all), favorite neighborhood hangs (the McCutcheon Bridge). Then all of a sudden, I had to start that process all over again.
The new town was large and not friendly on foot. I felt trapped in our new house. When I do go to school, I was greeted everyday by the short bus. I had no neighborhood hangs, no friends. I was the new kid on the block. No one wanted anything to do with me, so it seemed. I was miserable, and I hated hiding it. I hated the world, I was angry, and I was desperately looking for a way out. Then I discovered the music by Linkin Park.
When Hybrid Theory came out, it sounded like hope to my ears. Finally, someone understood how I felt. I became obsessed with their hit song Papercut. I did a quick Google search to find out how to play it. That led me to picking up the guitar. I instantly fell in love. My best friend had an acoustic guitar, and I borrowed it to learn the intro to Papercut. Index finger, ninth fret on E string, then move finger to ninth fret on B string. Then ring finger…. This motion, this little motion I made with my hands, made me so happy.
This was the light that found me and dragged me out of my darkness. I found a reason to stick around. I began wearing fishnets and band shirts. I purposely smudged my eyeliner. For the first time in a long time, I feel OK with where I was at. Both geographically and in the big picture. I wanted to see what the future had in store for me. I made it on the Dean’s list in high school. I joined the creative writing club after school. I worked nonstop in all of my art classes to build a good portfolio. That led to my acceptance to USC Film School and now I’m living the life I couldn’t have dreamt of back in the day.
When I got the news alert on my phone that Chester Bennington died, it hit me like nothing else. His music pulled so many like me out of the darkness, yet, we weren’t able to do the same for him. RIP Chester.