By now, you’ve heard the news: Linkin Park frontman and singer Chester Bennington has died. The death is being investigated as a possible suicide. When the news broke yesterday, one of my coworkers said glumly, “There goes my childhood.” He, being in his twenties, grew up on Linkin Park. I did not.
The band came to my attention back in 2007, when their single “What I’ve Done” became the main theme of the live action Transformers movie. Up until that point, I had only heard a few of their songs and what little I had heard, I enjoyed. Hearing them on the soundtrack of Transformers was a bit of a gateway; through this exposure, I was able to enjoy their past albums.
Then came 2010 and the upheaval that changed everything. It was during that time that the music of Linkin Park took on a different meaning.
On my worst days, on some of my lowest moments, angry and rage filled, asking empty questions of myself and wondering why my mother couldn’t tell me the truth, I would listen to Numb. While the entirety of the song resonated with me, it was the second verse that hit me with impact.
Can’t you see that you’re smothering me?
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control
Those words could have been pulled out of a diary I had written or a journal I kept when I was younger. It summed up perfectly the relationship I’d had with my mother.
On my worst days, I found myself half-screaming those lyrics, shouting at the demons that weren’t in the room, shrieking at someone who wasn’t there, couldn’t hear and wouldn’t have admitted quilt in the first place. I was acting like an angsty teenager–something I wasn’t allowed to do fifteen plus years before–and the lyrics to that song was one of the few ways I could describe how I felt in those moments. There I was, screaming at the walls of my den, shouting about how I had been so sheltered because of the trauma my mother had suffered. It was a catharsis of sorts and one of the few ways I was able to keep my head about me during that period of my life.
It sounds cliché but that song saved my life, to a degree. It helped me cope. It gave me a way of finding my voice when I wasn’t sure what the hell I really had to say. It said all the things I couldn’t.
I can’t thank Linkin Park enough. Their music got me through some of the darkest times in my life. I wish that in some small way, I could have possibly helped Chester Bennington through his. All I can say now is that he will be deeply missed.