While many Kurt Cobain fans are marking the 19th anniversary of his death this week, I am reminded of what a haunted and painful life he led.  I’ll admit it, my fascination lies there; not in his music per se, but in his pain.  He found an extraordinary way of expressing, even purging, deep emotions through music and seemingly outlandish assertions. 

Pardon the language, but some of my favorite quotes are:

 “No one dies a virgin, life fucks us all.”

“They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same.”

“The worst crime is faking it.”

And my very favorite: 

“I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.”


He fought many of his demons publicly, at times not seeming to care what people thought of his often bizarre behavior and rants.  I’ve envied his ability to just ‘say it like it is’, and still be accepted –and acceptable.  Isn’t that what we’d all like, ultimately?  To be accepted just as we are?


Pain seemed to drive Cobain and his musical genius.  I’m not a grunge fan, but neither am I so naïve to miss the point that his pain, and the nearly fanatical willingness to express it, resonated with so many.  What is it, I wonder, that makes pain connect us so strongly?


Despite his fame, wealth, and perceived success, Kurt Cobain lived and died in physical and emotional pain.  It is a morbid fascination, I suppose, but I wonder how it could have been different?  Would he have wanted it to be different?  Could someone have helped him?  Or, did his life and music actually help countless people in ways we’ll never know?


Cobain was apparently admired by those close to him as being very intelligent.  It is no secret that he was also very angry and depressed.  His inner turmoil really jumps out at me when contrasting these two quotes:

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

If you die, you’re completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on.  I’m not afraid of dying.  Total peace after death, becoming someone else is the best hope I’ve got.”

Did he feel defeated, like he wasted who he was?  Why the discrepancy between these two quotes?

Many may idolize Kurt Cobain, and many may have dismissed him as yet another druggie rock-star.  I fall in neither category, but instead admire his chutzpah – and his willingness to be real. 



How about you?  What are your thoughts about being real?