I’m still mourning a suicide from 2015. If you feel even slightly guilty cause you long-concluded I’m a cold-hearted bastard, it’s all right. Whether it looks like I give a damn or not about my actions, I’ve always been dying inside.
But I can still physiologically type so
May 2019—days away from the first ODC shoot, I’m on a routine of waking up and asking what I could prepare during the desperately valued minutes of consciousness. This one night there was the question of how to ready confetti for No Stalgia to melt into. I couldn’t find amounts equivalent to Ian Sheldon volume at the dollar store and there was also the question of how I wanted it to look. So of course I decided to spend the waking hours of midnight onwards cutting confetti with scissors and table wrap. To keep myself entertained I needed something that could sympathize with the absurdity of my then life choices.
I needed Linkin Park.
I hadn’t listened to them in close to a decade and my last impressions were that I had graduated from a band that only speaks to the “post-teen angst” phase of life. So why did I suddenly need to non-sarcastically revisit Linkin Park while cutting confetti until the stars explode? Something told me that I needed to reconsider my perspective of their work on the way to making the climax of my creative life—similar to how I hope the movieshow we’re making can encourage people to reconsider how they perceive pain—personal and universal. And by doing so, even words like “angst” can overcome my initial stigma of “teen pain” and be all the more. This communicates through a character such as Keikei—we can learn that the pain can matter.
When Linkin Park’s vocalist Chester Bennington committed suicide a few years back I didn’t connect to it. I wasn’t listening to the band and I had my own life to deal with, though some distant part of me got flipped. Time jump to the confetti night and through the entire spring and summer shooting ODC, Linkin Park became my singular jam that helped keep me going on this absurdly all-emcompassing creative burden. And as I felt progressively deeper the searing solitude of my lone path even amongst a team that had too many rational reasons to not come yet did anyway, I understood why Linkin Park’s music and the impossible-to-separate void of Bennington continued to affect me more.
Hadrian Soproni committed suicide and the anger wouldn’t go. It was anger that there was no undoing it and making it ok, and it was anger at everyone around who got so emotional. Because I don’t think anyone knew Hadrian. As much as I wanna say I did in my moments with him and my honest affection and connecting with him, it clearly wasn’t enough. Because when it comes down to it, I wasn’t there. No matter how I spin it I couldn’t be a reason for him that it was ok. No one around him was. So it wasn’t enough.
Chester’s lyrics in Linkin Park’s music do not boil down to adolescent tristesse. The best of his words speak to universal pain and the courage it takes to be thoughtful and compassionate to it. He made the lives of countless people better and they were present to let him know and they gave back. None of that was enough for Chester. Compared to what he had gone through and what he was still going through, everything he had that Hadrian didn’t still wasn’t enough.
And it exposed to me during the shoot that while I now connected to Chester’s suicide years later, the very fact that I didn’t connect to him at the time can only hint at how he felt the world felt. As much as I spit about thinking differently—like how I understood the apathy that all the cowards didn’t when Hadrian left—I’m guilty all the same. Like the Linkin Park song’s titled.
So it sunk in the subjective universal understanding. If it’s not enough, it just won’t be enough. And look I’m not going for objective nihilism. I’m trying to communicate something subjective and deeper. Because who am I to argue that it can always be enough when it just wasn’t enough for the Hadrians and the Chesters? This goes for all those who just live and die getting shot, blown up, diseased, starving, and staying alone. And even if I get through what I go through, how can I feel ok saying that it can be enough when Hadrian will always be in my head? I want to honor what he went through even though I can’t possibly know what exactly he went through when he made his decision. And to me I can’t honor him by saying that it can be ok. Because he’ll never get his chance to change his mind and say that too.
This comes back to what Open Doom needs to communicate, or anything long-fermenting that I try to give. That there’s something deeper in the pain—personal and universal—that people aren’t coming to terms with. The parts of the pain that can’t get better; the parts where no matter what you argue can counteract it, it just isn’t ok and it isn’t enough.
Close to the end of Operation Heatstroke [last summer’s shoot] it was clear that all this was overwhelming me and I know that Matias and Jessie were genuinely concerned and trying to help. In response I communicated what I just did in this writing. That I know that with what’s in my head and heart, nothing I know that might work to counteract it will be enough. To me it’s not enough. And by living that perspective I at least give myself the right to honor Hadrian.
You’re not gonna see any close-up footage of Keikei anytime soon, cause uh… she’s… doing… things. But she shoulders the pain of only relating to the ghosts of those who’ve been let down and who can no longer be lifted back up—including the ghosts she’s accountable for. And rather than trying to get over and solve the pain, maybe she can embrace it and make it matter.
This is all going somewhere… Man I hope it reaches you, whoever you are.
Hadrian’s physiologically dead. It’s like his ghost hangs around the hallway I cross to go take a piss in the middle of the night.
I can still walk the hallway. But today I am as good as soulfully dead.
No one notices. Those who do, like you care enough. The world rightfully moves on.
So why the Hell does a ghost—physiological or soulful—need to move on with a world that doesn’t need them?
I’m not leaving my ghost behind. I am not that much of a douche.