I didn’t know Kurt Cobain personally, obviously, but I just read a biography called Heavier than Heaven and now I have lots of thoughts which I would like to write down and publish. On the internet. Because I have an opinion AND internet access. The information age has been good to me. That being said, these are just things I think, if you don’t like the way I think you don’t have to read it.
I think Kurt Cobain was a deeply unhappy person who really didn’t like himself. Even without the events of his childhood, he would have been a sensitive, high-strung individual – “artist temperament” and all that – and with the events of his childhood, (the divorce, his mother and father’s war against each other, both of them asking him to leave at point and choosing their new respective spouses over him, in his opinion) served to reinforce the concept of abandonment, he wasn’t worth loving, and as a result he couldn’t love himself. A very telling statement he wrote on his bedroom wall when he was ten – “I hate mom, I hate dad. Dad hates Mom, Mom hates Dad. It makes you want to be so sad.”
Not saying that it was his parents’ fault, but it definitely contributed to him feeling constantly insecure in his relationships, like there was never enough love, never enough comfort, never enough security, because it could all disappear at any given moment. I also suspect very strongly that he was bipolar later in life. As a result of childhood events, I couldn’t say, but he is a textbook example.
Also, because his home was filled with so much shouting all the time, that is how he learned to deal with conflict – or rather, to NOT deal with conflict. Basically, he needed to take a course in conflict resolution. His idea of resolving conflict was to ignore it completely or react completely inappropriately, like a child throwing a fit. No one would stand up to him except for Courtney. They were scared of making him upset because he was the brains behind the band, he wrote all the music, etc. They didn’t want to bite the hand that feeds them.
When Courtney addresses the crowd at his funeral, she says that “tough love is fucking bullshit, it doesn’t fucking work.” Well, I don’t think that’s true. I think in her sorrow she wanted to blame someone, anyone, even herself, (“We should have just let him have his drugs”, etc) but the one person that should have took the blame for what happened was dead and she couldn’t bear to look at the situation realistically. Kurt had these intense stomach problems, and he said that was why he took heroin so much. But that is also bullshit. Because he could have changed his diet and improved his stomach problems dramatically, but he was too self-destructive and too lazy to do that. He ate kraft dinner incessantly, said it was the only thing that didn’t hurt his stomach. Well, speaking from experience, kraft dinner once put ME in the hospital, it is one of the WORST things you can eat, digestively speaking. He didn’t want to put in the effort to change his diet because he liked eating like crap, and then he blamed his stomach for why he started doing drugs so much, and I just think, like, dude – you ain’t got no one to blame but yourself. Your’e just lying. That being said, it also seems like he didn’t possess the kind of decision-making ability that he needed. I don’t want to blame his parents for everything, but I feel like he was ill-equipped for life in general.
Kurt lied a lot. He embellished stories so much and for so long that even he believed them. Even as a child, he had these delusions of grandeur, and that only got worse as his mental and physical health decreased. I think he started to do drugs to escape emotional pain, which he also could have improved through counseling, but he refused to go. So, again, that’s a choice that HE made. Drugs made his emotional pain worse. The prolonged and extensive abuse only served to exascerbate his emotional problems. But he couldn’t see that either – textbook addict stuff.
I deal with addicts every other day, they come into my home, they interrupt my naps, they steal stuff, they bring me presents, they brighten my day, they make my day worse, they’re a joy and a frustration. I have a slight idea of how addiction works by now, and I just wish someone would have told Cobain, I realize you’re famous, but that doesn’t make you special. You suffer from addiction just like millions of other people. Addiction doesn’t differentiate between the rich and the poor.
I also think being of that highly sensitive, grandeur-deluded, paranoid nature that being in the spotlight that much was harmful to him. It was nice at first, but damaging later. Really damaging, to a personality type like his. But the thing is, this guy never learned how to take care of himself. A semi-normal person would be like, hey, I’ve noticed that this is stressing me out, maybe I should quit or at the very least cut back. The people who should have taught him that didn’t, because of their own personal battles or whatever, who knows where the fault really lies, but the bottom line is they failed him in that area, and a lot of other areas. I also think a lot of his hate for his mom and his dad sprung from how he internalized the divorce, made it about him – even from day one, stuff had to be about him. When I look at him and think about the stuff that I read, I see a confused, broken, egotistical, selfish, sweet, and very very lonely little boy. It is sad.
The odds were against him, yes. That is true. But what happened was still his choice. He chose it. Not anybody else. And the fact that Courtney would take that on herself makes me sad and frustrated. I can think of several people in my own life with way worse back stories than Kurt’s, but they aren’t drug addicts, and they’re not bent on self-destructing, and they don’t want to go out in a blaze of glory. Because they made a choice.
Also, I think that if someone wants to go THAT bad, if they want to leave THAT badly, if they’re determined to commit suicide…maybe we should just let them. Maybe it’s cruel to keep them here when every second is just torture. Maybe the best thing we can do for them is to let them go.
On the other hand, if you have a hard row to hoe, I empathize and I feel bad for you and I’ll help you, but you either need to shit or get off the pot. Can you tell I’m a tough love person? I also think that while there were some people who really wanted Kurt to change and get sober, there were a lot of people who enabled him and maybe there was even a fear that if he got healthy, the art that he made wouldn’t be as good. There’s kind of this understanding in rock music that the more fucked-up a person is, the better music they’ll make. It is true in some cases. But it doesn’t have to be universally true. You don’t have to be fucked-up to write a good song. That’s just not a true thing. But it’s a philosophy I feel like a lot of people unknowingly buy into, myself included. Personally I enjoy music more about dark shit than I do about uplifting shit. Why is that? I think it’s because i crave authenticity and music about depressing stuff feels more real to me, sometimes, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Joy can be just as real. Anyway, those are most of my thoughts. Feel free to weigh in, POLITELY.
This is my favourite picture of them.