Those were dark times, being one of the “hidden homeless” in a council-funded guest house. My house had been conned out of me by a “loving” partner who persuaded me to sign it over to him so that “You won’t have the stress of worrying about rent any more”. That was the same “loving” partner who cheated on me when I was working evenings, and threw me into the street in the early hours of a snowy, below-freezing January morning when I found out.
Suddenly, I was having to try and pack the majority of my adult life into a tiny little room not much bigger than the bedroom I’d had as a teenager. Suddenly “home” was a tiny little box room with minimal furniture, and a place that I could never truly feel safe in.
Homeless, single women are amongst the UK’s most vulnerable adults
What I did manage to salvage from the failed relationship was my mini hi-fi. It wasn’t a very good one, but it did the job. I could shut my eyes for a while, with music drifting from the speakers; I could pretend that this hell was not my life. I had to lose myself in my own imagination, because sometimes the roof over your head isn’t safe. Sometimes the roof over your head is an interminable living hell, from which escape seems unlikely, or even impossible. I still had my job, but the wage of a care assistant certainly can’t generate a deposit on a private rental, much less pay the extortionate rent. I was well and truly stuck.
It was when a friend invited me to visit them in Wales that I discovered Linkin Park. When I returned “home”, I bought both Hybrid Theory and Meteora. I was suicidal a lot of the time and so – in spite of the nature of the lyrics – it helped to listen to this kind of music. I wasn’t alone in my depression any more.
I stopped wanting to slit my wrists, and started to want to keep swimming against the tide. Or perhaps I wanted to start swimming. I don’t know. Either way, I made it, and I eventually found somewhere I belong.
I hope that the singer, Chester Bennington, has found the somewhere he belongs too. Such sad news of his passing, but I hope he knows that his music saved my life, and the lives of many others. I’m just sorry that his own inner pain became too much to bear.
Goodnight Chester, and thank you. You will not be forgotten.