Reflecting on Chester Bennington’s Impact

I didn’t think the death of someone I’ve never met before could have such a strong, painful impact on me, but the death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington has been difficult to accept.

I’ve been struggling since hearing the news to sit down and get out exactly what I want to say about Chester and what his music has meant to me over the years.

I don’t listen to Linkin Park as often now, but in high school, that band’s music was constantly on reply. I had numerous LP shirts, bracelets, posters, CDs.

I remember watching their music videos over and over again until my family would go outside and stay out because they were so sick of the songs. I remember begging my parents to let me go to their concert — I would eventually see them three times.  I remember making my dad drive me to the store as soon as they would release a new album so I could blast it on repeat in my friend’s basement. I remember spending hours with another friend, singing along to Hybrid Theory and Meteora while playing Resident Evil.

When I got my license, Linkin Park was always playing in the car. The glove box of my dad’s Focus was stuffed with their CDs. My iPod was filled with their music and I had whole playlists dedicated to them.

But beyond being a favorite band that I basically worshiped, there was a much deeper connection to their music.

In high school, especially early high school, Linkin Park’s music had a profound impact on me. There were many times I was struggling with myself, struggling to like myself, having difficulty fitting in, just generally not feeling well, that I worked through with Linkin Park songs blasting over and over.

Their music was playing when I was down, when I felt like I really didn’t belong anywhere. I would write to it. I would cry to it. It would help pull me out of some slumps that I often didn’t speak of. When I felt alone and had convinced myself that I had no one, that music was something I could cling to. I related to it. It made me realize I wasn’t so alone. There are so many specific memories I can think back to, days and times when I wasn’t happy or was beating myself up. Looking back, the problems were probably minuscule. At the time, however, the feelings were awful, and Linkin Park helped make it better.

At this moment, “Somewhere I Belong” is playing. It takes me right back to sitting on my bedroom floor, jotting down notes in an old notebook. It, like many Linkin Park songs, resonated heavy with the teenage version of myself. And they still do, with me today.

I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say Chester’s music saved me from myself.

It’s so hard to think that someone whose music was such an important part of my own personal growth is gone as a result of his own hands, and presumably his own mind. Chester’s lyrics shared struggles. They were personal and raw. And they were a reminder that other people were feeling the same way.

I used to read as much about the band as I could because I loved them so much, and I remember reading about Chester’s rise to stardom, how he came from difficulties, how he rose about a multitude of negative encounters in life, but was still able to overcome. As someone who at that point had not a single clue what they were going to do with their life and couldn’t see beyond right in front of them, his successes were an inspiration.

Chester was truly an amazing talent. From his strength beyond music to his vocals and lyrics, he has left a mark on his generation.

Whether you like Linkin Park or their evolution in sound that has been prominent in recent years, there’s no denying the influence the band has had on music. The world lost an icon this week.

I didn’t know it was possible for my heart to feel so shattered over the loss of a celebrity, but Chester Bennington’s death hits hard.

I know what it takes to move on
I know how it feels to lie
All I want to do
Is trade this life for something new.

If you or someone you know needs help, there are resources available. Visit clickondetroit.com/news/suicide-prevention-support-and-mental-health-resources-available-in-us for a list of hotlines and online resources.