Do you ever look back on your career and wonder how it all happened? "But when it's all said and done, I'll be 40 before I know it. With a 40 on the porch telling stories with a bottle of Jack, two grandkids in my lap, babysiting for Hailie ... while Hailie's out getting smashed."
- Drug Ballad
Hailie's not out getting smashed and neither are you. Well done on your recovery, man. I didn't buy Relapse when it came out because you kind of lost it there for a while. But you came back, bigger than ever, with a powerful force behind you. People usually don't come back from where you've been. The statistics aren't great.
"Whats it take, to get it through your thick skulls? As if this aint some bullshit. People don't usually come back this way, from a place that was dark as I was in .. just to get to this place." - Lighters
That thing you do with words is outstanding. Only twenty-six letters in the alphabet and you arrange them just so. Your words are a cascading calvacade of calvary. You cut things up and fuck it all off. Thanks for helping me get through my life, especially lately. My stepdad was dying in hospital recently and the only song I had on my phone was No Love. (Seriously, how the hell did you do that?) It helped me harness the rage and futility. I blasted it so loud my ears almost bled and I didn't care. You make me not care, and sometimes I need to not care because I care so much about this stupid shitty world and all of the stupid beautiful people in it. I have other heroes and people I admire but you make me feel ok about punching holes in the sky and being brave enough to stand up and tell it like it is, not how I wish it was.
"And I am, whatever you say I am. If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?" - The Way I Am
There's been many days in the past few months where I thought I wasn't going to make it through. Our demons are related. You are currently slaying yours like a champ, slicing them with your words and wit and heart that grows stronger with every beat of every rap. Mine almost killed me. I got ten years shiny years up and then it all turned to shit last year. It's been a hard slog to get back. A few weeks ago on 9/11 I had a solid twelve months up but I didn't care, didn't dare announce it because I was in negotiations with my own heart about whether to even continue in this world.
I'm continuing. I'm getting stronger. When I'm in my power I am STRONG, like you. Guess we just have to keep moving forward. I like the terminology and care you take when you describe your recovery ... it's easy to see that you got it. You got it so much and I hope you always do. I hope you feel a huge sense of achievement at even making it to forty, and I can't wait to see what you do next. You're my writing mentor and you don't even know it. So many times I've sat down and played Cold Wind Blows again and again until I strip all the care back until all that's left is the tainted, ugly, beautiful truth. I can't thank you enough.
My husband and I took our ten year old son to see you in concert last year in Sydney, you blew our hoodies off. I'm cool with my sons listening to your lyrics. Your music will hopefully give them an outlet to express their rage and anger that I hope they feel at the world. Anger is a misunderstood emotion ... you harness it well. My dad never wanted to know me, either. It's the source of my biggest pain but I still continue to call him an arsehole long after he is dead. I probably should forgive him but fuck that.
Tomorrow I am meeting my mum and two sisters to help her move house, because we live in a Jimless world now and it's hard. Life changes on the turn of a dime.
Today I'm blasting your music and the notes come through my speakers and help me form my armor. I'm living a life where I need a lot of armor, and I just want to say thank you for helping me do that. I'm a chameleon and mainly broken inside so it takes a lot to reach me. Thanks for punching all the people who live inside my head out of the way, especially the ones who want to tear me down.
Thanks for helping me stand up.
People email me a lot about their recovery and addictions. I'm honoured. It's a common thing, yet so incredibly shameful and embarrassing to own up to. You taught me the immense power that comes when you own something. When you tell the truth about something in life, it helps other people tell the truth too. Thank fuck for that, and thank fuck for you.
I have Not Afraid as my ringtone at the moment, so everytime I get a phone call you tell me that you're not afraid. Which makes me think that maybe I don't have to be so afraid either.
Happy birthday, Em. I hope you have many more, you motherfucking cocksucker of hope.