Tuesday, 25 July 2017

An Open Letter to Chester Bennington

Hi Chester,

I never got to meet you, but you and your music were there for me when I needed someone, something to hang on to. Your music saw me through my tough teenage years before I even knew what Autism was, and that I was on the spectrum. I knew I was different, I  knew I was meant for something more, but the people in the town around me seemed determined to bring me down. Thanks to you and your band Linkin Park, I got through and I'm now in a pretty special place.

One particular song of yours got a LOT of play by me. That song was "Runaway". I LOVE that song. It was often the last song I heard before I fell asleep. I could never really articulate until now what drew me to the song, but now I know. It was the affirmative message embedded in the lyrics, a call to action that I can happily say I took to heart and acted upon.

I'm gonna runaway, and never say good-bye.

I didn't look back when I finally left Oakey for my true home, Brisbane. I ran far away from the negativity of that place. The addiction, the bigotry, the lack of self-satisfaction that permeated the air.

I'm gonna runaway, and never wonder why.

I didn't need to think twice about leaving a place that was determined to destroy me. I place that regularly branded me a freak, that often told me to keep my head out of the clouds, that being a writer (the biggest part of me) was an unattainable dream.

I'm gonna runaway and open up my mind.

My mind is still opening to this very moment, learning more about myself, others and my place in the world. More importantly, my mind is opening up to my responsibility as a writer, a responsibility to help open the minds of others to new ideas and attitudes.

So Chester, thank you. From myself and everyone whose lives you touched. We're going to miss you, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say thank God you're well at last.

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