Hello fellow soldiers,
Before you read this, I just want to warn you that this might be very upsetting or triggering. I’m glad that there is a way to let all my feelings out since that nightmare.
First of all, I want you to know that I haven’t been a fan of Linkin Park for that long. And I haven’t been a member of this forum either, so forgive me if I broke any rules. Also, sorry for any grammar mistakes.
I’m just a year older when Hybrid Theory came out.
When I was about 4-5 years old (around 2003-2004), I remember hearing ‘Somewhere I Belong’ in like every devices that plays sounds (radio, tv, mobile phone, etc.).
But obviously, I didn’t know that the song was ‘Somewhere I Belong’ or the band that made that song was Linkin Park, because I’m still a bit young to think about those things.
But every time I hear ‘Somewhere I Belong’ at that point in time, I always get that great feeling. I was secretly banging my head every time I saw its music video on tv. It was just an amazing feeling. Without even realising it, ‘Somewhere I Belong’ was the first Linkin Park song I’ve heard. I didn’t know or heard about ‘In The End’ or Hybrid Theory back then, because as I said earlier, I was just a year older when it came out. And also, the popularity of Meteora overshadowed Hybrid Theory at that point in time.
In 2007, Linkin Park have released a new album (Minutes To Midnight), and obviously, I didn’t know about it as well.
But I remember seeing the music video of ‘What I’ve Done’ on tv. I liked it, but I thought it was a song by a different band because it sounds different compared to ‘Somewhere I Belong’.
Times have passed. Lots of things happened. But before I tell you about any stories from 2007 on, let me just tell you a bit of background about my childhood.
It was hell. Because I wasn’t bullied at school only, but also at home by my cousins, because I’m the youngest. I was living with my extended family because my parents broke up. A long time ago. I couldn’t even remember when. I used to think that my parents broke up since I was born, but everyone says they broke up since I was 3. Maybe it was true, because I have no idea what happened. I didn’t even know why I’m living with my extended family instead of my parents. I used to think that my parents were bad, because why would they just leave me like that? Almost every day was a hell. I was bullied at school, at home, I was missing my parents so bad that every time they visit me, I couldn’t help but feel like it was the end of the world when they leave (the distance between me and them was about 6 hours drive). And by the way, I was bullied in school for being skinny and quiet. The reason for being quiet was I being bullied at home by my cousins, not to mention that I miss my parents every day. My cousins were bullying me in any way possible. Those sufferings went on ‘till 2011.
2011 was the year I finished primary school. I was relieved because I’m finally getting out of ‘hell’, and will be living in my dad’s house (my dad was overseas, so he wasn’t there), and closer to mom (just 30-60 minutes drive to get to my mom’s house). But the past didn’t left me. Because of my sufferings in the past, I lost my confidence. With all these in my mind, I was anxious to go to a new school, in a new place. I thought they will be very friendly to me because I’m a newcomer, but I was dead wrong. I realised that ‘hell’ could be anywhere. They did the same thing to me. They bullied me for being skinny. For being quiet. My confidence level was constantly falling.
With more access to information (my dad’s house has internet), I found escape in music.
It was 2013 when I felt a bit better, because I discovered My Chemical Romance.
I found two people with same taste in music. There was one time they asked me to go out because I don’t really go out at all. We went to an arcade in a shopping centre.
We played guitar hero there. When we were choosing songs, I stumbled upon something that’s kind of tapped into my mind. ‘Linkin Park - No More Sorrow’. I’ve heard Chester (I didn’t know about him back then) screaming “NO! NO MORE SORROW!” so I told my friend “Hey, that’s sounds great! Let’s play that!” and he agreed.
It was amazing. Not just because of the song, but because I’ve beaten my friend while playing it on guitar hero arcade.
When I went home, I searched ‘No More Sorrow’ on YouTube. It was just amazed of Chester’s voice. There was other suggested music videos for me. But I didn’t play it because I wasn’t really into their music at that point in time.
The following year (2014) was an emotional roller coaster. Earlier that year, I became a bit happy because my mom bought me 3 My Chemical Romance albums. It was my escape when I’m depressed. I was having a lot of suicidal thoughts during that year. I’ve even looked at different options to do it. Because I was stressing out with the fact that I’m finishing high school next year (2015). And everyone was putting pressure on me to graduate, or at least that’s what I think. With low confidence and bullies that’s affecting my school grades, I didn’t know what to do.
My birthday in 2014 changed my life forever. When I went to my mom’s house, my step father was sorting out the CD’s which are just sitting around. They don’t know what gift to give to me so they thought I might like the CD’s they’ve got. My eyes was hooked to this gray and brown coloured CD case. It was Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and Meteora. I grabbed both CD cases and looked at each as if I’ll never gonna see those again. But my step father said “If you want those, it’s all yours. We’re not using it anyway.” So I was on top of the world at that moment. Although the disc 1 of Hybrid Theory was broken, it didn’t change my feeling that time. I played Meteora on the CD player because ‘Somewhere I Belong’ is there (I already knew about it a few years ago but have no idea which album it was in). I was amazed til the music stopped playing. And I was hooked on the last song (Numb) because I can relate to it to the highest level at that point in time (parent’s pressure and expectations). Numb became my all time favourite Linkin Park song. And that was the time I considered myself as a Linkin Park fan.
I was still having suicidal thoughts throughout the year because of school stress. But Linkin Park helped me a lot to cope with everything that’s bringing me down. I listed to their songs a lot and watched a lot of their YouTube videos. Eager to know more, I searched each of the band member’s Wikipedia page. Chester’s life hit me the most, because we have almost the same experiences during our childhood. I felt so sorry for him but it made me feel better because I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who was being bullied for being skinny. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who had a broken family. Chester and Linkin Park became my inspiration to go on with life. They even inspired me to write songs and play guitar (although not too often as I’m focusing on school). Linkin Park made me hold on. And thankfully, I graduated high school. Now I’m living with my dad overseas.
This year, when I heard that Linkin Park was releasing a new album, I was so excited. So excited that I stayed up til 12am just to watch their live performance of ‘Heavy’, even though I have to go to school the next day. And it was worth it. I was so hyped because the lyrics are perfect. It also became my all time favourite Linkin Park song, tying with ‘Numb’. ‘Heavy’ was stuck in my head that it’s the only song I’m listening to until other singles were released. I don’t really mind whatever genre I’m listening to, as long as the lyrics have meaning and/or you can relate to it. I was also excited when they announced the release date of One More Light. Even knowing that I have a test the day after its release date didn’t stop me from waiting for the album. I was on top of the world when I got the CD on my birthday (June).
On July 21st, I was so happy because my parents was so happy as well. I’m not gonna go deeper as to why we were happy that day. For the past few days, I haven’t watched any news or logged into any of my social media accounts, so I decided to log into my facebook. But the mood and atmosphere suddenly changed. There was a shock. I didn’t know if I’m going to believe it or not. But the top story on Facebook was about Chester. Tears were already forcing their way out of my eyes as I saw a couple of post about it. But I didn’t want to believe it as I don’t trust the news I just saw on social media. So I immediately go to google and was about to type ‘Chester Bennington’, but even I just typed ‘Chester’, google is showing results. I was shaking uncontrollably. All I saw was about him passing. I wish it was just a nightmare, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t help but wept. The person who inspired me, the person who helped me get through tough situations with their music, suddenly passed away. I was just distraught. The week after that was my worst week yet. I had 3 tests to study for, homeworks and projects to finish. Obviously, I didn’t do anything school-related, because I can’t. I’ve kept all those feelings inside, because I’m good at it. Until now, nobody around me knows that I’m broken. I can’t believe that my fake smile is working. Although my dad knew about Chester’s passing, it was just nothing for him. He knew that I’m a fan, but he just said “get over it”. HOW??? How can I get over it??? I didn’t tell them how broken I am, because they just wouldn’t understand. Fortunately there was a Chester Bennington Memorial near me, and my dad let me go. I’m so glad that it made me feel better. But I’m still broken. Linkin Park and Chester helped me a lot during my darkest times, and I feel bad that I couldn’t help him. I have never thought that I would be so connected to a person that I’ve never even saw or met. I guess we are connected by our shared experiences. He was like a brother to me, because I’m the only child, and even though our age gap is enormous. When I became a Linkin Park fan, my dream was to meet or even just see him live. To tell him how amazing he is. To tell him how much I look up to him. To thank him and Linkin Park for helping me get through darkest of times with their music. It’s heartbreaking that I would never be able to do that. It’s hard. I don’t know how much time I need to heal the pain, but rest assured, Chester would never be forgotten. He will always be in my heart. Forever.
I’m thankful that I’ve discovered their music. I’m thankful because their music kept me alive. I will treasure it forever and pass on his legacy to the future generation.
Chester, I do.
With all my love,