There are so many reasons why I went away. I simply could not manage day to day. Locked away inside my tainted haven. Coping with what was beyond comprehension. I have to protect myself as I struggle to survive in this world. Energies hitting me from all sides. Draining my spirit while my soul swims in white light. My mind works overtime just like the machines of this time. Filtering all the vibes takes more time while my body declines. It is all connected….the heart, body, soul, and mind. I go at my pace now after falling so far behind. Living in the moment as if it’s my last time. Loving has saved me and losing has taught me. I do not see what many others believe to be. I believe in what I feel, think, and see. The beauty all around me and the good in all you see. That is the best life for me, full of music and the sea. Mountains and plains as far as the eye can see. I am finding my home and getting lost on the way. Endless journeys through space and time, leaving miracles in it’s wake. ~Jennifer Steen
Ok so its high time for a feel good story and it is one that is very close to my heart! Anyone who know me well can tell you how much I love music and the stories they tell. There are a few bands who take the top spots in my book and I am going to share with you the amazing experience my family and I had with one of them, Breaking Benjamin!
In October 2015, my husband took me to my second Breaking Benjamin concert with VIP tickets. Our daughter at the time wanted to go so bad but was not able to do so. I promised her that one day I would take her to see them but until then she decided that she was going to record a message for Ben and begged me to show it to him. Alrighty then I said I would do my very best, if allowed. Lucky for me their band manager was kind enough to allow me to show it and Ben was great in answering her question. It was an amazing night and an emotional show. Ashes of Eden live for the first time, having not heard it before, was something I will never forget!
Five months later, I fulfilled my promise and took my daughter, Kaitlyn, to their show with VIP tickets. Wow what a night it turned out to be, one for the record books for sure. I finally learned the name of the man who allowed me to show her video all those months earlier, the bands tour manager, John Phillips. After our meet and greet with the band and a mini emotional meltdown, Kaitlyn was taken in by the crew and we were all treated to an experience of a lifetime!
Five months later, we got to go see them again in Houston, the day before our vacation began. Kaitlyn was so excited to see her bestie, John, and the band again!
John and Kaitlyn
Waiting for meet and greet
Then just a few short months later, we all meet up again in Tulsa for another amazing concert experience thanks to John! I was able to bring my nieces to their first ever rock concert and my mom came too! I would not have been able to give them that experience without his help and it is a memory I hold very dear to my heart!
So now in closing, I have two very important things to say…….
First to John, I can never thank you enough for what you have done for not only Kaitlyn, but for me!(I will explain that part shortly). For allowing us the opportunity to see these shows in a way not everyone gets to and for taking Kaitlyn under your wing and being her friend. She truly cares about you and the friendship you both have developed. It means a great deal to her and after the past year, she needs it more now than ever! You saw something that day in Amarillo, took action, and forever altered both our lives! We are both grateful for that!
And now I get to the hard part and share with you why it means so much to me. In 2009, two years after overcoming an addiction to meth, I began to experience chronic unexplained pain. Over the next seven years, I tried anything and everything to manage and I did well until August 2016. What was once just pain, turned into a health crisis I am still battling today. Here is a page from my journal……
I thought I knew what agony was, turns out I had only known pain. It was not until my pain became sickness that I truly got a taste of agony. Not until I read the burnt pages of my soul did I understand. The days I laid on the bathroom floor screaming into my hands and begging for relief. The nights I dreaded to sleep for fear I would not wake up. The people I lost because they could not handle my suffering for they did not understand. The hopelessness when you beg for help and no one listens or believes you. Living everyday as if it’s your last because you have been so close to death. Grateful for the people who decided you were worth sticking around for, and even more so for the stories that give hope.
I could go on for days explaining all the ways that Ben’s words and story helped me to keep going and still does to this day. How the songs gave me a voice when I was to tired to speak. I will admit, it is hard sometimes to listen too, the feelings are so raw and emotional. I ask myself often why I never said any of this face to face? Four chances and nothing. What do you say? How do you begin? I do not like to live with regret I can do something about but I have to believe that THIS is the way it was supposed to be. I was meant to write it down and share it in written words instead. It is significant because a few weeks after the first show in Lubbock 2015, I wrote down my feelings for the first time ever. My first poem was born from that inspiring night and my writings have grounded me as my life imploded around me. I am finally able to express my pain and thoughts and it was inspired by Ben, the band, a few other amazing people who encouraged me to break through fear and find the courage to share my story. So now I have no regrets when it comes to this amazing experience!
In closing I leave you with that poem and one last thank you before I sound like a broken record…..
Go ahead and stay
You won’t listen no matter what I say
Infects my soul
Drains my mind
Breaks my heart in all kinds of ways
Wash the day away
I just hope for a better day ~ Jennifer Steen
I have been trying for days to write exactly how I feel about the show and the emotions it brought out in me. So I am just going to say how I feel, what I experienced and keep it as short as possible.
Coming into the venue and in the days leading up to the concert, I really did not know what to expect. I knew my inner teenage self would be in Mellon Collie heaven and just happy to see them live. I was not prepared for the emotionally charged concert I was honored to witness. Not that I even thought they would be bad, no way that is possible! From the video montage giving the audience a visual of the albums spanning their career and then Billy standing on stage, just a man and his guitar, letting us into his private pain with Disarm. I was speechless, I sat with my heart in my throat but a smile on my face. It was just plain beautiful!
For three hours I was taken on a journey through 30 years of songs including 1979, Tonight, Tonight, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Today, and Cherub Rock. I entered a Stairway to Heaven into a musical masterpiece that was so obviously constructed with love, care, a touch of weird. Which is totally my normal! The visuals and stage production did not take away from the sound or the performance one bit, it flowed seamlessly and complimented the story being told. The first example that came to mind was Pink Floyd’s The Wall but uniquely all Smashing Pumpkins. I left there in a daze, just as most people I saw did. Like holy shit what did we just experience? Epicness that’s what!!
You can not deny the importance of what the Smashing Pumpkins did for a generation and the voice they gave us! So thank you for taking me back to what I now recognize as a simpler time in my life. The angsty childhood and teen years where I thought no one understood or listened to me. The Smashing Pumpkins did. Music in itself did and it still does as I grow older and witness the distress going on in the world, it is music that heals me! I know I am not alone in that truth.
23 years of waiting and it was worth every moment and the years it took to get there! I got to experience this with my amazing husband who also used to fall asleep listening to them as a teenager, just as I did!
So in closing I will say if you are a fan, you need to buy you a ticket and just GO if you can, you will not regret it!
P.S. Writer problem #2, I can never seem to keep things short unless it’s a poem, sorry not sorry!