There are not 10 commandments. There are 6.
1. Don’t Rape
2. Don’t be prejudiced
3. Don’t be sexist
4. Love your children
5. Love your neighbor
6. Love yourself”

Most people would never guess that these were the words of Kurt Cobain, King of Grunge. The angry man who would throw himself around the stage smashing guitars while sporting an attitude that implied he didn’t care about anything…actually cared about a lot of things.

It all really started in a college course called History of American Music. I loved music my whole life, singing from a young age and picking up guitar in high school. However, I rarely dug deeper than chords, melodies, and lyrics. In this course, we learned the life stories of great musicians from America. Once we got to the grunge era, I fell deeply in love. After that, there was no turning back.

We weren’t exposed to the complete story of Nirvana, but we did learn about one tidbit that struck me. While recording Something In The Way, Kurt was lying on his back on a couch in the studio, singing so quietly that he was practically whispering. Everyone in the studio had to be dead silent in order to pick up his vocals. I could close my eyes and see Kurt, lying on his back, eyes closed, brow furrowed, long messy hair matted atop a pillow. I wasn’t sure how with such simple lyrics and melodies, Kurt was able to convey emotions in the most intense way. I could feel his pain and loneliness pouring out of my speakers and into my soul, which lonely, too. It was incredible.

I was going through a period of depression, self-loathing, and a slew of health problems. I watched every documentary about Kurt Cobain that I could find, devoured Nirvana books, and even invaded Kurt’s privacy by reading his published journals. When it felt like no one else in my world understood how I was feeling, I was able to relate to Kurt. It became a thing. I would turn to Kurt’s spirit, as though he was a friend of mine who had passed away. I could feel his pain, and Nirvana’s music seemed to feel my pain.

Though Kurt’s story is a dark one, I found a friend in him, as well as inspiration. Since reading the books and watching the documentaries, I have not been able to listen to Nirvana the same way. Everything is even better than it originally was. If Kurt was able to endure so much pain emotionally and physically in his life, I could, too. I realized that I could use my music as a creative and therapeutic outlet. Instead of moping around all day watching Netflix, I began practicing guitar more and writing some lyrics. My internal struggles had become externalized and turned into an art. I had hope again.

Some nights, when I’m feeling sad, anxious, or lonely, I’ll bring my mini Martin guitar into bed with me. I know that music is the answer, and it will save me. I’ll lie down on my back, six-string on top of me, eyes closed, brow furrowed, long messy hair matted atop a pillow.


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(Hat & Sunnies were random finds on Amazon)


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