I Didn’t Know Him

I didn’t know him, not personally. I met him a handful of times. I experienced enough to know it was impossible to not enjoy being around him. The genuine, natural smile that transferred from his face to any person within a 20 yard radius…call it a smile bomb.

I didn’t know him, but I’ve heard his voice in my ears more than anyone else in my life. When I was lying in bed and couldn’t sleep. On long, inescapable road trips across the entire Midwest. Back when doing homework was the easiest problem to solve that week. When my mind was a tornado of thoughts and starting the day seemed like an impossible task.

I didn’t know him, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without his music. His songs and his voice are so tightly woven into the fabric of my life that I use them to mark important milestones along the way. Remember that trip we took to Vegas? And the only album we played the entire time we were there was Reanimation? I do. I always will.

I didn’t know him, but he knew me. He knew that I needed to scream, even if it wasn’t appropriate. He knew that everything and everyone felt so far away. He knew that fear is how I fall and what can stop me from being myself. He knew that the pressure of meeting someone else’s expectations of who I should be…could make me numb. He knew that when I tried to trust someone it was another form of trusting myself…and that’s why it hurts so deeply when that trust is broken.

I didn’t know him, but he knew me. He knew all of us. That’s why losing Chester has been so difficult. I have an empty space in my heart now. If we choose to fill that space with love for each other and love for OURSELVES, I think Chester would be happy about that. 

“Love keeps us kind.”


12.8.14 – Invisible

He fears that they don’t see him

No acknowledgement there

He feels that the invisibility 
Will crush him
The gravitational pull from him
Is intoxicatingly strong
She gave up resisting long ago
He is the center of her world
There are days when he
Is the only one she sees
He is bright 
He is bold
He is everything 
He’s not invisible to her
But she may be to him
He sees right through her
And it crushes her


You asked me why
And made me use my words to tell you out loud
Forced me to rip my words off this paper written with invisible ink
And I shouted them in our quiet space after hours.

You asked me why
And you held your breath while you waited for me to answer…

Light at the End

It’s funny…the various stages of dreaming that we go through as people. I think what shapes us is how long we manage to hold onto our dreams or how we mold them along the way.

When I was 13, I knew then that I wanted to help people and have an impact on the world. To me at the time, that meant occupations like a doctor (before I knew I had an aversion to blood) or a lawyer (before I knew how time consuming and financially depressing it was to go through law school, successfully). My mother told me I could be whatever I wanted – as long as I worked hard.

Either way, I knew that meant I would have to excel in middle school…high school… in order to get a scholarship. So I did. And somehow in high school -probably around the second semester of my Freshman year – my dreams started to dim a bit when financial reality set in. So I started my first job. Then my second in Junior year.

During those years, while I started to piece together the ideas of a “budget” and how much it actually cost to live in the “real” world… I didn’t exactly grasp the concept of a savings account yet – so I spent my money on band t-shirts, CDs, a stereo, DVDs, eating out with friends, going to the movies…you get the idea. I became independent in a way; I didn’t have to feel guilty asking my (single parent) mother for money so I could hang out with my friends – this is something I could do for myself.

So I excelled in high school while working two jobs. These were stepping stones on the path to achieving my dreams that were becoming more out of focus at this time. The good news is: I test extremely well. I was awarded a few scholarships to cover tuition for college – which was always on the future path for me.

Higher education has evolved in a way where it’s become more difficult to attain year after year. It used to be enough to work hard in school and get good grades; now you need to play a sport, volunteer, participate in a club, work part time, overcome diversity, AND get good grades. By the end of high school, I had decided to become a different kind of doctor – Forensic Psychologist.

So I double majored in Psychology and Criminal Justice in college after I moved out. I worked 40-50 hours a week depending on how many jobs I had, even had a bit of a social life while getting good grades. Transitioned to part time school for a semester when I had back surgery and still graduated in 4.5 years.

After receiving my degree, I moved to Arizona to take a break (aka just work full time). There were several pros to moving here – high up on the list was warmer weather and more access to one of my greatest loves: live music.

The first six months were a rough transition to say the least: sick, moved twice, car broke down, missing home… but you learn a lot on your own. I had become accustomed to my financial reality by this time and going to get my doctorate seemed less and less possible.

I was burnt out. And I started to think about what was important to me; the answer was clear – happiness. I wanted to be in love with my life. That began with music – I went to every show I could within a 150 mile radius my first year in Arizona. Yes, I spent money I didn’t have and probably took off more time at work than I should have.

The first two years I moved here have been the best of my life. I’ve been so many places and seen so many bands; met people through music I’ve known for years. These people – my friends – are an integral part of my life and help build a strong foundation for wherever I want to go next.

It’s hard to imagine in a snap shot – how our dreams go from “doctor” to debt-free.


Dreams evolve at a different degree for different people.

I’m not where I thought I would be.
I’m not sure where I want to go half the time.

But I want to look back and say with confidence that I did what was best for me at the time. And that I learned a lot. And that I enjoyed all the mistakes I made along the way.

Because I think that light at the end of the tunnel that’s getting brighter every day…is my dream. I’m just not sure what shape it’ll take by the time I get there.


What she needed more than anything
Was to not need him
She was starting to fall again
This time it might be better
To let her hit the floor

So terrified to make a move
Her feet are burned into the ground
And she’s going nowhere fast

Anxiety with one prescription
Destructive doses provided
And she is hooked
Needle cemented into her vein
No safe way to detach, relapse
An unforgettable high
An unforgiving high

The screaming could penetrate his armor
Hundreds of miles away
He’ll crumble in need around her
Falling faster than before
Just let him hit the floor
There’s nowhere left for them to go

But up

I Would

I would choose you
In fact, I think I already did
You asked me why
And made me use my words to respond out loud
Forced me to rip my words off this paper written with invisible ink
And I shouted them in our quiet space after hours

You asked me why
And you held your breath while you waited for me to answer…

And then you listened
And didn’t forget

You didn’t know you were changing me
And I didn’t know it (then) either
But here I am, years later
Confining my words to paper
With a different kind of ink

You taught me better than this

In the shadow of my love for you, I hide
Secretly hoping you’ll find me here
Because you still wonder why
And you still want the answers
And you’re willing to listen