Category Linkin Park
5 ways I ruined my life
5 ways I ruined my life
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Everyone makes mistakes. It’s in human nature. Everyone does things that they regret.
I just happen to do it a lot more often than normal.
So as I sit here and dwell on every little thing I’ve done wrong in my life, I’ve composed a list. A list of the top Five mistakes that ruined my life.
Five reasons. Five mistakes. Five ways I fucked up. Five reasons why I am the way that I am.
Mistake #5: Marrying at 20
I was young. I was stupid. I was naive. And I was convinced that I couldn’t live a day without Sam. And she felt the same about me. So marriage seemed like the most obvious choice. If we felt so strongly about each other, why not make it official?
Sure, our families thought it was the dumbest idea we’ve ever had. And now that I look back on it, I wished I had listened to them when they said we were ruining our lives. I should have known then.
But against our families wishes, we caught a plane to Vegas and got married at some cheap ass wedding chapel by an Elvis impersonator. It was crazy, it was stupid, it was the worst way to get married. How can I take the ceremony seriously with a guy dressed up as Elvis marrying us?
Sam seemed unfazed. She actually seemed thrilled. She was happy. And I would have been to, but there was this…feeling. At the time I thought it was just nerves. But later on, when the fighting and yelling and swearing began, I realized what it was.
You know when you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be, you get this feeling? This wave of doubt just washes over you. That’s what that feeling was. It was my body telling me that I was making the biggest mistake of my life.
It only took a month for everything to fall apart. We lived together, obviously. That’s what married couples had to do. So while I was working two jobs, Sam sat at home. She was convinced that that’s what wives do. Sit home and watch Oprah.
So I was working the night shift at CVS, and during the day I’d work at the local Burger King. Two dead end jobs. Two reasons why I knew my life was going no where.
During those long hours at CVS, I started writing poetry. Well, at the time I thought it was poetry. Ray, a guy that worked the night shift with me at CVS, asked if he could read some of my stuff one night. That notebook…that was my whole life. I brought it with me everywhere and I’ve never shown it to anyone. And letting Ray, this 20 something year old, who I only talked to a few times before, read it, was definitely something I wasn’t willing to do.
But something in Ray’s eyes, the way he looked at me curiously, the way his eyes sparked with interest, made me hand over my notebook, my precious notebook. It felt weird. As I watched Ray flip the pages carefully, I thought that maybe…this was a bad idea. After a few minutes though, Ray handed the notebook back over to me with a smile.
“You definitely have a lot of talent. And some inner demons, man. That shit is deep. I bet you’ll be famous someday.” He gave me a pat on the back before turning to help a customer.
At first, I didn’t know what he meant. Sure, poets are famous, I guess. Shakespeare was pretty famous with all that to be or not to be crap. But I’m no Shakespeare. I’m just an incredibly depressed guy, working two dead-end jobs, sleeping two hours a night at the most, and married to a woman who hates my fuckin’ guts.
It was at that moment, when Ray came back from helping the customer, that it hit me. “You mean…like Kurt Cobain famous or Shakespeare famous?” The question was stupid, and I’m pretty sure I confused the crap out of him.
“Shakespeare’s a poet, man.” Ray said, with slight confusion. “You’re a lyricist.”
“A lyricist?” It rolled off my tongue like it was the first time I heard the word. A lyricist?
“Yeah. I mean, these are lyrics, right?” He pointed to the notebook before continuing. “I mean, you’re in a band right? You have a fuckin’ awesome voice.”
“How would you know?” The question came out a little harsher than intended and I quickly flashed a smile to show him I wasn’t mad.
“You sing along to the radio all the time, Chester. I mean, you know how there’s no one ever here at like..3am and you’d flip on the radio and sing along to whatever’s on.” Ray raised an eyebrow.
After the talk with Ray, I started getting more serious about music. Sure, I was a fan of music before, but I never really thought of making a career out of it. But ever since that day, it was all I could ever think about.
Then, I got the phone call. The phone call that would change my life.
It was Jeff Blue. A friend of a friend who owned a Record Label in L.A. He had come into CVS one night about two months ago. He was scouting for new artists, but at the time I just thought he was another customer at 3am. Of course, at that time, I had the radio blasting and Ray and I were singing on the top of our lungs to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and hadn’t even noticed the guy until he began to cough loudly to get our attention. I was embarrassed and mumbled an apology, but he dismissed it and went on to say I had a great voice.
He gave me his business card, which I destroyed in the washing machine the next day on accident, and insisted that I give him my number too, just in case. I was reluctant at first, but Ray told me it was okay, that this could be my big break. So, with just a moments hesitation, I wrote my number on the back of his receipt.
Two months later, I get the phone call.
He told me about some band who needed a lead singer. Xero was the name. I was reluctant, but he insisted I listen to some of their demos. I got the package the very next day, and I was blown away. These guys were fuckin’ awesome. Inspiration struck the minute I listened to the demos, and I just began to write. It was like a natural thing to me. It was as easy as taking a piss. I knew what to do, I knew what to say, I knew how to write it.
I wrote two songs in twelve hours. I recorded vocals in the other twelve, and sent the demo back to Jeff.
Two days later, I get a call saying the band wants me to audition. In L.A.
That’s when Sam stepped in. She absolutely hated the idea and thought that if I went, it would be the biggest mistake of my life. I just wanted to yell at her that she was the biggest mistake of my life, but decided against it.
She basically threatened me, saying that if I leave, than she won’t be there when I get back. But I knew she would be. Where else would she go? She has no money other than my income and now that I was leaving, she had to get a job.
I think that’s what pissed her off the most. For once in her life, she’ll have to work if she didn’t want to live on the streets. I was pretty sure her protest on me going to L.A wasn’t because she was going to miss me. I mean, she hates me. She even threw one of her shoes at me once. It hit me square in the head and the mark didn’t go away for at least a week.
But even with all her moaning and groaning, I left anyway. I couldn’t stay in Arizona and make my living at CVS for the rest of my life. I just…I couldn’t do it.
So off to L.A. I went.
Mistake # 4: Agreeing to join the band
It didn’t really come to a surprise when they told me they wanted me to be their lead singer. I mean, to be honest, I kicked ass.
But I agreed right on the spot, without even thinking it over. It didn’t dawn on me that by agreeing to join this band, I signed my soul away.
I went back to Phoenix to gather my things. I was moving to L.A. I had to. Bob, the band's manager, basically made me. He said he’d pay for a place for me to stay as long as I was in L.A.
I packed my things, with Sam at my side the whole time telling me I was making a mistake. She was just upset that she’d have to get off of her ass and make some kind of living for herself.
“The divorce papers will be in the mail as soon as I can get a hold of my attorney.” I muttered, swinging a backpack over my shoulder.
“What?” Her eyes bulged. “But…we just got married two years ago.”
“It never worked, Sam. We both know we don’t love each other anymore.” I sighed, brushing some hair out of her face. I do remember the times when I loved her, and when she loved me. But those days were over, and I needed to move on. “I hope you find happiness, Sam.”
She rolled her eyes. “Whatever, asshole.”
That would be the last time I would ever see her.
I thought that joining the band would be the best thing that ever happened to me. It turned out to be one of the worst.
Mistake #3: Letting it get the best of me
The it in that sentence could represent so much. Letting it get the best of me. The fans. The fame. The groupies. The drugs.
I was the true definition of a rock star. I didn’t care if I went on stage high or drunk. I didn’t care that I fucked every girl I could get my hands on. I didn’t care that I brushed off my fans. I thought I was better than them. I thought that they didn’t deserve my time.
Every night, you could find me getting high in the bus, or backstage. Every single fuckin’ night, you could guarantee that I’d have at least one whore in my bunk, fucking the shit out of her. Every night, I blew off my band mates, my fans. Every night, I was getting worse and worse.
I was a fuckin’ prick. Everyone knew it. But one day, that all changed.
Mike was the ‘problem solver’ of the group. He’d always be in the middle of every fight, whether it involved him or not, and tried to be the peace maker. He was the fuckin’ Dr. Phil of the band. And I hated it.
Mike was so talented. Lyrically, musically, artistically. I was convinced that there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do.
So one night, I get into a fight with Joe. He kept on saying how much he hated me, how much of an asshole I was. So I pushed him. He tripped over his own feet and fell into the coffee table, breaking the damn thing. Joe was more embarrassed than hurt and tried to punch me. Mike got in the middle, trying to calm him down. I was just standing there, okay? I didn’t even do anything. And Joe pushes Mike into me, and I slam my head against the wall, knocking me out cold.
I remember waking up, after I don’t know how long, and staring up into that fuckin’ amazing brown eyes of Mike Shinoda. He was looking down at me, concerned. He was saying something, but I couldn’t quite make it out. I was to busy staring into his beautiful brown eyes. It’s funny how I never noticed them before.
Eventually, Mike stood up from the ground, where I was still laying, and began to pace the small dressing room. I noticed Brad standing in the corner of the room, picking at his black nail polished fingernails. He looked up at me every so often, before returning his attention back to his fingers.
“Joe had every right to be upset with you, Chester.” Mike said, shaking his head. “You’ve taken this ‘rock star’ thing way to far. I don’t know how much more I can stand of you.”
That, for some reason, hurt. Mike can’t stand me? But…since when did I care what Mike thought?
“I don’t want to offend you, Chaz, but your behavior is way out of line. We were all going to sit you down and talk about it, but this seems like the best time to address the situation.” Mike stopped in front of me, and stuck out his hand, helping me off the ground. “You need to straighten up your act, Chazzy.”
Chaz, Chazzy, where the hell were all of these nicknames coming from?
Not that I minded, of course.
“What if I don’t want to?” There I go again, running my fuckin’ mouth. I honestly didn’t want to start anything with Mike. He was a good guy. I liked him.
“Well, don’t think you can’t be replaced, Chester. Honestly, you symbolize everything we didn’t want this band to be about. When we met you, you gave off this vibe. It was like you really genuinely loved music. I haven’t seen that from you since.” Mike sighed, glancing over at Brad, who merely shrugged and turned away.
“If you hate me so bad, just fuckin’ kick me out already.” God, I hate myself sometimes.
“Why do you have to do this, Chester? Why do you have to make things hard? I know you’re not really like this. Whatever set it off, you can get over it. I’ll help. If you need to talk-”
“I don’t.” I replied shortly. “I’ll stop bringing groupies on the bus, but I can’t promise you anything else.” And with that, I stormed out of the room.
I hated how much of an asshole I was. Mike didn’t deserve any of that. None of them do. They’re all good guys. It makes me jealous sometimes.
I needed help. I was just too damn proud to admit it.
After the little confrontation between Mike and I, he had tried his best to ignore me. I didn’t blame him, since I was still acting like a complete asshole. But for some reason, it bothered me. And for a second, I wished that I could be a better person. For him.
And…uh…for the band, of course.
I started secretly going to AA meetings after Brad had muttered something about me drinking too much. It didn’t dawn on me just how much I was drinking until someone else pointed it out. I’d wake up, have a few beers, go to sound check, have a few beers, hang out backstage, have a few beers. Alcohol was the one of the main reasons why I was such an asshole.
The AA meetings helped me a lot more than I thought they would, and slowly, I started getting a little better. I couldn’t just stop drinking cold turkey, but I cut down. I also did away with all the groupies and completely shunned away from drugs.
I was becoming a better person all because of what Mike said. I just didn’t want to disappoint him anymore.
Which leads me to the second biggest mistake of my entire life.
Mistake #2: Falling in love with Mike Shinoda
I never really figured out when it happened. Or why. Or how. When I looked at him…when I saw his brown eyes light up with a smile or a laugh…I got this feeling. This tingly, weird feeling. I brushed it off as just gas for a while, but it got stronger and more noticeable when Mike and I had started becoming friends.
I learned a lot during those first few months of being in this band. I realized how much of an asshole I was, and I managed to change that about myself. I turned my whole life around for one person.
I hadn’t had these feelings since I first met Sam. And it scared me. I’m gay? Since when? I knew watching all of those decorating shows were bad for your health!
But, in all honesty, I was scared out of my wits. I never had any feelings towards guys before, I mean, I was married to a girl at one point. I thought gay people were gay their entire lives?
I needed to talk to someone. And bad.
And in walked Rob. Rob Bourdon, drummer of Linkin Park, quiet, and an all around good guy. Rob and I were pretty good friends, maybe not that close, but he seemed like the perfect guy to talk to about this. He didn’t seem the type to be judgmental, and he just gave off this friendly, nice guy vibe.
So there I was, sitting in the corner of our dressing room. Rob was lacing up his shoes a few feet away, glancing at his wristwatch every so often. He was always the one to keep us on track. He was like the band mother, always keeping us in line.
He caught me staring at him and raised an eyebrow. “Something wrong, Chester?”
I looked around the room quickly, as if expecting someone else to be there. I couldn’t let what I was about to tell Rob leave this room. “Yeah. Actually, a lot.”
Rob looked at me concerned. “Is it the drugs? Drinking? Having urges?”
I shook my head quickly. “It’s not that. I’m completely sober. Don’t worry. It’s just…I’ve been having these…strange feelings lately. I was hoping I could talk to you about it.”
I guess Rob was a little surprised, because his eyes widened slightly, with a raised eyebrow. Like I mentioned before, in the few months I was in the band, Rob and I weren’t all that close. In fact, the guys were still trying to warm up to me. I couldn’t blame any of them seeing as how I didn’t exactly give them the greatest first impression.
“Sure, Chester. What’s up?”
I stood up and walked briskly across the room, shutting the dressing room door. I glanced at Rob who was looking at me expectedly, and sighed. “This isn’t really easy to say, Rob. I’m just…so fuckin’ confused. I need someone to talk to.”
“I’m here.” Rob assured. “Just…sit down and tell me what’s on your mind.” That was a lot easier said that done.
I walked over to where he sat and plopped down onto the chair next to him. I sighed and ran a hand through my dyed blonde hair. After a few minutes of silence Rob spoke up again. “Look, Chester, it can’t be that bad.”
“Honestly, it is.” I sighed, looking into Rob’s eyes. He looked back at me and the sincerity and kindness in his eyes was all I needed to blurt out what I wanted to say. “Rob, I think I’m gay.”
Rob raised an eyebrow. “You think you’re gay?”
I nodded. “I’m not…sure. I know it sounds strange but…God, Rob. I’m so fuckin’ confused. I have no idea what I’m thinking anymore. I just…there’s…this guy. Oh my god, Rob. He’s amazing. He just…gives me this feeling, you know? I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m in love with him, but…he makes me happy.”
Rob nodded slowly. “So, you have feelings for this guy, and you’re scared because you’ve never had feelings for guys before.”
I nodded. “I’ve never been interested. I’ve never even thought about it. But, when I met Mi- I mean, when I met this guy, everything changed. He’s the reason I went to those AA meetings, he’s the reason I quit drugs and sleeping around. He made me want to be a better person.”
Rob smiled. “He must be something special.”
“He is.” I agreed. I wasn’t sure how far I’d take it, and how much I’d actually tell him. He knew Mike longer than I did, and I wasn’t sure how exactly he’d take the news.
“Are you guys…together? I mean, are you guys dating?” Rob stumbled over his words a little, as if he was scared to ask.
“No. I’m pretty sure he’s straight.” I replied sadly.
Rob cleared his throat before continuing. “Do I know this guy?”
“Well…” I paused slightly and I could already tell he knew the answer. “Yeah. Yeah, you do.”
“Is it someone in the band?” Rob asked calmly. He was taking this a lot better than I expected.
“Um…if I said yes, would you promise not to freak out?” I breathed out slowly, expecting him to get all weirded out and accuse me of wanting him or something. But he didn’t. He didn’t do anything, he didn’t say anything, he just sat there, looking at me. His expression was unreadable but I knew right then that he knew. My secret was out.
“Mind telling me who it is?” I could just tell he already knew, but he asked anyway, as if needing me to confirm it.
“Listen, Rob, I’m trusting you with this information. None of this will leave this room, ok?” I waited for him to nod slowly before sighing. “Mike. It’s Mike. I have a crush on Mike.”
There it is. It’s all out in the open now. God, it felt good telling someone.
Rob merely nodded slowly, as if saying he already knew. “So, what are you going to do about it?”
I looked at him for a minute, not really comprehending what he was asking me. “Um…nothing?”
Rob nodded again. God, he was driving me crazy. I felt like I was talking to a therapist. “You can’t just keep these feelings inside.”
“Yeah. I definitely can.”
“Well, I think you should tell him.” Rob stated, picking a piece of lint off of his shirt casually.
“And I think you’re crazy.” I muttered, loud enough for Rob to hear.
“Look, you came to me for guidance, alright? So I’m guiding you.”
“Yeah, in the wrong direction.” I shook my head. “I can’t risk my career and the future of this band for a little ‘crush’. It’s just a phase, okay? I’m straight.”
“You’re straight?” Rob chuckled softly at this. “Oh, right. Straight guys have crushes on other guys all the time.”
“I don’t appreciate the sarcasm, Bourdon. I’m in an emotional state right now. Pity me.” I whined bitterly. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. I half expected Rob to assure me that I wasn’t gay, that I was just going through a confusing time in my life, that this little ‘crush’ was a mistake. But Rob was playing Dr. Phil in this. He was giving me advice that I didn’t want to hear.
“Look, Chester. I think it’s cool you’re like, crushing on Mike and all. But I think you should tell him. It’s my personal opinion, so if you don’t want to do it, no one’s forcing you. But I can guarantee that the more time you spend with Mike, the harder you’ll fall.”
I sighed. “I don’t want to ruin our friendship. I mean, we just started getting close. I cleaned up my act, I’m not an asshole anymore. I don’t want to scare him off again.”
“So you’re mainly scared of losing him as a friend, and you’re not the least bit scared of rejection?” Rob raised an eyebrow and I cursed him for knowing me so well. It’s hard to believe someone that I had just met a few months ago was able to read me like that. Maybe I don’t hide things as well as I would like.
“Why? Do you think that’s a possibility?” Maybe Rob knows more than he’s letting on…
He merely shrugged. “I don’t know. I haven’t really asked Mike if he’s gay. It really hasn’t ever been a main topic of conversation.”
“But…he could be, right?” I doubted it, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
“Maybe. He hasn’t talked about any girlfriends lately. But…he hasn’t talked about any boyfriends either.” Rob shrugged and stood up. “We have sound check soon.”
I nodded and stood up as well. “Thanks for the talk, Rob. I needed it.”
Rob smiled and gave me a hug. “Anytime, Chaz. Anytime.”
Mistake #1: Listening to Rob
So, Rob seemed to know what he was talking about. And after our little conversation, I felt a strange wave of confidence wash over me. Maybe Rob was right. I should tell him. Sure, there was a slight chance he’d reject me and like, kill me or something. But that wasn’t something I was worried about.
In fact, because of Rob’s little talk, I was fully confident that Mike would feel the same way. Isn’t that what always happens? There’s always happy endings in love stories. And I was convinced that real life was no different.
So the same night I talked to Rob, I confronted Mike after our show. He was all sweaty and out of breath, which kind of distracted me for a bit. He started waving his hands in front of my face which snapped me out of my daze.
“Um, can we talk?”
Mike looked at me curiously for a second, then nodded slowly. “Sure. Here or on the bus?”
“On the bus. I think Bob said he wanted to leave as soon as possible.” Mike nodded again and turned down the hallway, with me following close behind. He stopped every so often to chat with a crew member, or some random fan and I watched. He’d laugh, or smile, or listen intently to whoever was talking with a concentrated look on his face, and my heart would flutter. I couldn’t remember the last time I had these feelings for someone.
Mike looked back at me, making sure I was still following him, before stepping out into the cool March night. He walked toward the bus and paused outside the door, waiting for me to catch up. We both stepped onto the bus together. No one was there yet, and Mike commented that they must have taken a shower in the dressing rooms or stayed behind to sign autographs.
“So, what did you want to talk to me about?” He asked, plopping down onto the couch in the front lounge.
“Well…it’s actually kind of personal. And I really didn’t want to tell you but Rob kind of convinced me so I figured, what the hell? You know? And so-”
“Chaz, get to the point.” He smiled softly, taking a sip out of his water bottle.
“Well…um…I just…I’m afraid of how you’d react.” God, I was so nervous.
“Come on, it can’t be that bad? It’s not like you’re going to tell me you’re in love with me or something.” Mike laughed loudly, catching me completely off guard. My first thought was that Rob had told him. But then, I realized, that it was a complete coincidence. And he was laughing because the idea of me being in love with him was incredibly ridiculous and…funny.
I didn’t say anything for a long, long time. And soon, Mike’s laughter died down completely. “Chester…”
“Mike, I didn’t want to tell you.” I replied quietly, staring at my hands.
“Chester, I was kidding!”
“Yeah, well, I’m not.”
“But, how can you be in love with me? You’re a guy, and…and I’m a guy. And…we’re both guys. We’re…I…fuck…Chester…”
At least he wasn’t beating me up or anything. Complete shock and utter horror was kind of what I should have expected. So much for that whole fairy tale love story theory.
“Mike, I’m sorry.” I honestly didn’t know what to say. This was probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been in my entire life.
“I’m not gay, Chester.” He whispered, as if he felt the need to tell me. Like I couldn’t already tell by his reaction.
“I figured.” I replied softly.
“I…need a shower.” He said, getting up quickly.
“Do I disgust you that badly?” I asked, my words stopping him in his tracks.
He turned to me and kind of frowned. “It’s a lot to digest, Chester.”
I cringed every time he said my name. He hadn’t called me Chester since before I attended the AA meetings. It was always Chaz or Chazzy. I doubted he’d ever call me that again.
“Yeah, but you don’t have to leave. We can talk about this.” I didn’t want him to go. I wanted to hear him say it. I wanted him to say something to break my heart. I wanted to have a reason for the tears in my eyes.
“We can’t. You’re in love with me, okay? One of my best friends. God, I trusted you.”
“So, because I’m gay and have feelings towards you, you regret ever trusting me?” This was turning out to be a complete nightmare.
“I don’t know. I’m just confused, okay? Give me time.” He walked out of the room and into the bathroom before I could get another word out.
That was one of the last conversations we’d ever have. Now, almost a year later, Mike doesn’t talk to me anymore than he has to. When we write lyrics, we go into separate rooms, write down some of our own stuff, then exchange each other’s work, adding and taking things out. That’s how we write lyrics now. No more of those late night conversations, no more secrets, no more friendship. We were merely two acquaintances that lived and worked together.
And it was all my fault. I just had to fall in love with one of my band mates. I just had to figure out I was gay during one of the most amazing times of my life. I just had to talk to and take Rob’s advice that day. I just had to tell him.
Now looking back on it, there were so many other mistakes, reasons, ways that brought me to where I am today. So many things that weren’t included. Five reasons didn’t seem long enough.
I think I need to make a bigger list.
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