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Be Yourself

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain is an unlikely mentor for me, a gal who missed out on the popular culture of the eighties and early nineties.  The eighties found me nursing babies and baking bread and stenciling the walls of a three bedroom ranch, and, later in the decade, it was all I could do to juggle my back-to-college schedule with the activities of our two busy boys. When I wanted to find a bit of Nirvana in a hectic life, I hummed to the tune of Raffi’s Baby Beluga and the Deep Blue Sea and Mr. Roger’s wonderful neighborhood.  I had barely heard of Kurt Cobain.

But it was Kurt who popped into my head a few weeks ago on the morning of my most recent one-woman show at Joy Center.  Kurt Cobain!  I woke up remembering a performance I had watched five or six years ago.  I was surfing from channel to channel one evening, and I think it was MTV where I landed, in the middle of a song.  An amazingly good-looking young guy was sitting there with his guitar and his voice and a song, honest and raw and unplugged.  I was mesmerized.  For the next hour or so, I was drawn into something deep and real.  Something like Nirvana.  And before any credits rolled across the screen, I, who had missed out on fifteen years of popular culture, knew with every fiber of my being, that I had just met Kurt Cobain.

So I remembered this a few weeks ago, the day of my performance.  As I woke up, Kurt Cobain was talking to me.  Not the strung-out plugged-into-heroin anguished Kurt Cobain, but a Kurt Cobain, who, on the evening of this particular performance (a performance that has lived on years after Kurt’s death) dug deep and plugged into something real in his own soul.  And this lovely sensitive young man, the one who had made such an impression on me years earlier, said to me, “just be yourself, Helen, up there on stage, unplugged and real.”  And I did.

And isn’t that Nirvana?

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