“Perhaps more than Linkin Park’s influential sound, Bennington’s real artistic legacy will be the message he put across – the reassurance he offered from the dark.” – Mikael Wood, LA Times.
Chester Bennington was a man with a strong will and a kind heart. Throughout his tragically short life, he suffered extensively but still managed to give others a spark in their lives. As well as making significant changes to the art of rock music, he also made himself heard and gave reassurance to those in dark places. Chester was well known for helping out or just talking to fans who reached out to him struggling. His kindness was in spite of, or perhaps because of, the hardships he suffered as a child. He was abused and abused substances, and was unable to find refuge even in school, where he was bullied for his physical appearance. These challenges took a toll on Bennington, eventually leading to depression and substance abuse for a long period. However, he eventually overcame his addictions on his own, and got rid of his alcohol ties with help from his bandmates.
His will to push through suffering, to break free of chains that easily hold so many, are traits that I think I myself reflect and hope to exemplify. His ability to craft his darkest feelings into songs that could easily turn from screams to whispers earned him quite a name and the adoration of many. Even though he is gone, his music continues to give people a light in the dark and guide many people through their own hard times, and will continue to for years to come. Music lasts a long time, and in decades, centuries, his achievements will be preserved and heard.
I share few similarities with Bennington. The things he experienced, the way he felt and made others around him feel, are vastly different from my own. This is part of why I want to research him; to know more about someone so distanced from myself in many ways. Bennington represents less the person I am now and more the person I aim to be. As I progress through the TALONS program, I hope to exemplify the traits that made Bennington who he was and gave him such fame; perseverance, determination, kindness, and care for others in need.
I think it is worth studying Chester because of what he had to go through to get to where he was, and continued onwards despite his challenges. He cared a great deal for all people, helping many who reached out to him through dark times. He would not pursue his father who had abused him because he found that he was a victim himself. The value of this man comes not necessarily from his greatest accomplishments, but who he was and the hardships he made it through. I have not been through the same challenges. I have absolutely had to stare down adversity, but not to the extent that Bennington and millions of others helped by him have. In my research, I hope to better understand and educate others on how these challenges affect people and find ways to overcome and leave them behind, and find out more about an individual who did. I think it is valuable to struggling individuals to know that someone else dealt with the same challenges they did, that there is hope.
Chester Bennington is, to me, a reminder of the challenges of abuse and mental disease, where fame, money, adoration, friends, a passion, everything a person could ever want, couldn’t save one man from himself. However, he is also a reminder that despite the greatest struggles, excellence is within reach, and that perhaps the darkest pasts bring about the brightest sparks, no matter how brief they may be.