When the student is ready, the teacher will appear

I am a huge music fan and came of age during the grunge period.  Live for live music. Always liked PJ, but never was a "fan". Always heard them on the radio throughout the 90's and 00's but never bought an album after Ten.  Mostly followed Black Crowes and Foo Fighters.  Fast forward to 2013, Soundgarden at Monmouth U., NJ (3rd time in a year)...my first inkling that something was wrong.  I just didn't feel right during and after the show. Something seemed off.  Work (middle school teacher in NYC) was dragging me down and home life was difficult as my depression started to surface.  In October of '13, after arriving at work, we were alerted that a man had hanged himself on the backstop of the baseball field facing the school not more than 30 feet from classroom windows. No help at all seeing that.  3 years of shitty students, lack of motivation and depression were leading me down a dark path.  As I started receiving treatment, I was sitting home one day and I caught PJ20. Wow! What did I miss these last 20 years. Then, not long after, I heard this song on the radio that was blowing my fucking mind. It was "Do the Evolution." That's PJ?  What the fuck have I been missing. I always loved the song "Black" but never really listened to it:

"I'm surrounded by
Some kids at play
I can feel their laughter
So why do I sear
Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin
Round my head
I'm spinning
Oh, I'm spinning
How quick the sun can, drop away"

Man, I had been living it! As I continued treatment PJ became a bigger and bigger part of my recovery as I dove into their catalog.  Inspired by "DtE" I read Ishmael.  Again, wow...spiritual eye opener. A new & refreshing "approach and a way to live," at least a start.  Again, continued to delve deeper into PJ.  Bought a new car with SiriusXM. Looked forward to hearing Howard Stern again and discovered the PJ station. Exposure to their live sets and the quality of the artists kept me going each day.  I was inspired to pick up my guitar again. (I'm not a "real" guitar player, but man, was I inspired to learn. Built up those callouses pretty quickly.) Things were really becoming much more positive.
I have been working at the same school now for nearly 15 years, following the same route everyday.  It was only around the time I was well into my recovery that I first realized that the last street I pass every single day before turning towards my school was "Vedder Av"! (I often park at he other end of it.) Again, WOW! The teacher became the student and realized that his new teacher was at the door.  Finally got a chance to see PJ in 2016 with my best friend and music spirit brother. It was also his 1st PJ. On the floor at MSG, same place I stood for my 1st concert ever (Iron Maiden "Somewhere on Tour"). 
FFwd to May 17th, 2017, Nassau Coliseum, Metallica...the band I have seen live more than any other, back at the first place I saw them in 1988 (my 4th show ever!) This time, for the 1st time, I was in the Pit. Religious experience of a lifetime.  Drove back to NJ on a complete high, greatest live experience I had ever had.  On very little sleep, I'm driving to work the next morning only hear the news about Chris Cornell. I broke down, bawling, not quite understanding why.  I never meet the man but seeing him live, loving his music, and understanding his struggle (to an extent) clearly left an impression I hadn't expected.  Three days later we have to put our 8 year old Beagle down.  A month later, my brother, after a 30 year struggle with drugs and alcohol, died at the age of 44.  Man, could I have gotten lost. I feel that the strength that I had gained through PJ kept me going.  
Going back to Ten, I always felt that "Alive" has perhaps the greatest guitar solo ever, and I have felt that way since the early 90's, even as a "non fan."  And, even not being a hardcore fan, "Yellow Ledbetter" has been one of my all time favorite songs. Along with Hendrix's "Rainy Day Wish" and Zeppelin's "Rain Song," it can still give me chills.  I now wake to it every morning as my alarm. Oh how much easier it is to get up every morning!  Now, I know that compared to many, many more people than myself, my life has not been that bad, but we all have to live inside our heads, so as I continue down this long road I try to be thankful that I am able to wake up each morning and live through my day.  Recently I discovered the "Alive" Stickman.  I had been pondering a second tattoo for years, and as soon as I knew who and what the Stickman was, it was pretty much a no brainer.  Then the 2018 10C shirt comes out. C'mon, man! Well, here we are today.  Brand new tattoo.  He's on my forearm, facing me so that I can see him everyday and remember that I am still Alive and that there is plenty to keep me going.  Hoping to show it off in Boston this Labor Day Weekend!  Eddie, Mike, Stone, Jeff, Matt...thanks for suggesting that I step out on my porch to see the whole world before me and giving me the strength and courage to do so each day. IMHO, music is as close as anything can be to true religion and if there were a pantheon of gods among us, PJ would right there. Peace!
'16 MSG 2
'16 Fenway 1

Comments

  • regina osrregina osr Posts: 51
    So inspiring to read this!  It is so amazing how no matter when or how someone truly discovers Pearl Jam, the impact is so profound and personal and life changing.  I have never seen it with any other band or music, although I am sure there are plenty out there I do not know about.   It is so awesome that you had that experience at the time when you in a way needed it the most - from people's posts throughout the years, friends' and acquaintances' conversations as well as my own experience this seems to be how it actually goes for people who weren't there from the beginning.  Like you said, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear..(:  
    osr
  • PapPap Serres, GreecePosts: 18,985
    Great read! You know what they say: Better late than never.
    Ooh, yeah! All right!
    Were [Pearl] jammin
    I wanna [Pearl] jam it wid you.
    Were [Pearl] jammin, [Pearl] jammin
    And I hope you like [Pearl] jammin too.


    Sep 30, 2006 - OAKA Sports Hall - Athens, Greece
    Jul 11, 2014 - Milton Keynes Bowl - Milton Keynes, UK
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