Kurt Cobain is one of the most iconic figures in contemporary history, but most of his story comes from an idolizing attitude we've taken towards him.
We love to add some sort of mythical element to those figures that left a mark in the world, without stopping to think what’s their story and, more importantly, that they were human beings like you and me. It’s understandable. At the end of the day, they’re our heroes we look up to. In the same way, it’s become popular to encourage the image of the tragic artist as an archetype to qualify our favorite legends. That’s the case of the character we’re talking about today, whose terrible death has made him an epitome of the depressed genius whose life was so tormented that suicide became his way to end with his life. Naturally, he was such an important figure that there are many other theories claiming he was, in fact, the victim of a horrible crime. Still, no matter the story, Kurt Cobain’s story is filled with extremely fictionalized facts that have made him a mystified tragic hero. Here are some facts about him that, more than encouraging that image, endow this important icon of music with a more humane side.
His imaginary friend, Boddah, accompanied him all his life
Many people talk about how Kurt Cobain’s depressive life was the price he had to pay for being famous and for his heroin addiction. The fact that his suicide note became public only increased the idea of the tormented musician. However, the interesting thing about it is that it’s addressed to Boddah, his lifelong imaginary friend he created when he was just a child. It’s said that Boddah was such an important figure in his life that whenever he did something wrong he would just say that it was this friend the one who had done it or who'd made him do it. The fact that he addressed his last letter to this figure talks about how, no matter how many things he experienced in life, he was still eager to have an anchor to his childhood, the time when he was just a regular boy.
Two of his uncles had committed suicide
Suicide is something so complex that’s very difficult to fully grasp. As you’ll see, Kurt Cobain's life was filled with not so pretty moments, including his childhood. When he died, people next to Cobain started revealing details about his mental health. It was his cousin Beverly the one who mentioned that there was a long history of mental illness among his family, including two uncles who shot themselves. It’s been said that these cases in the Cobain family are rooted in bipolar disorder rather than depression. Although Kurt was always kind of open regarding his mood swings and mental concerns, many still believe it wasn’t a disorder but the stress he endured next to his drug addiction.
He had a weird collection of fetus models
Well, this one’s actually kind of creepy. According to his biographers, he had a huge fascination with human anatomy. He loved reading medical books and developed a strange obsession with fetuses and vaginas, which appear in some of his songs. One day he found a huge medical supply store that sold all sorts of models and books, which he loved, so he ended buying a lot of fetus models. If you look at Nirvana’s In Utero album, you can see a photo of himself with these figures.
He had a terrible childhood
We’ve talked a little bit about this, and how he didn’t actually grow up in a happy environment. When he was just nine years old, his parents got divorced, which triggered very dark thoughts and feelings in him. He longed for a regular classic family scheme that his parents weren’t giving to him, and for that reason he grew to hate them so much. He moved from living with his mother to stay with his father for a while, but his feelings towards them didn’t change in a long time.
He was bullied in his childhood
Together with the emotions that his parent’s divorce triggered, he once stated that he suffered a lot at school because his classmates used to bully him for being overweight. This concern about his body and how he looked was something he carried for the rest of his life. Even when he was in good shape, he was very careful not to gain weight because he didn’t want to experience the same again. If you look at pictures of him, he’s often wearing either loose clothes or many layers to conceal the body he was never comfortable with.
He tried to kill himself before
This isn’t a surprising fact. There are many cases of people living with a mental condition who attempt suicide until they get help or achieve it. After his death, his widow Courtney Love revealed that he had attempted suicide on multiple occasions and how tiresome and unsettling it was for her to bring him back.
He deliberately chose to become a heroin addict
I don’t think it’s a matter of choice or if it’s actually possible to deliberately become an addict, but he once said he chose to become one. After suffering from terrible stomach pains, he once stated that, if he already felt like a junkie with all the meds he had to take, it was better to actually become one and enjoy the effects of these drugs. His addiction affected his life so much, and he was pretty open about it. One day he claimed he spent about 100 USD per day on heroin, so that’s a lot of it.
Perhaps there’s no way to actually see these figures as regular people, and their lives will always be idolized. But sometimes looking at their most humane aspects of life can make us understand them better and see why they made certain life decisions.
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