BY Advocate.com Editors

January 22 2010 8:33 PM ET

MELISSA ETHERIDGE X390 (FAIR USE) | ADVOCATE.COM

 However, at the same time the album became a hit, I came out publicly. The gay community lifted me up and supported me. That bridge in the song was taken to an anthem level. It bypassed any meaning I ever put in the song and became part of a mass consciousness. It is still a huge moment when I perform it live.

I realized that I was willing to compromise my wants, wishes for someone else.  The need was deeper than skin, it was in my blood.  I needed to make a connection.



I need you in my blood

I am forsaking all the rest
Just to reach you


Much therapy later, I realized that the hole I felt was for me to fill, but much of our lives we try to have others do that for us. Originally, I was referring to the pain love brings when I used the metaphor ‘the blackness in my chest.’  That’s where I feel my pain, where the heart chakra is.  However, ten years later, in 2004, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my current partner asked when I last listened to my records. I couldn’t remember, so while I was undergoing chemotherapy, friends came over and we all listened to every album in the order in which they were released. We listened all the way through and it took about three days because we talked about the songs and each of our memories.

It hit me:

Nothing fills the blackness
That has seeped into my chest


I was sitting there with a huge scar on my chest where they literally removed the blackness from the cancer. I realized how powerful words are.  As I craft songs, I have a responsibility. Words and music go beyond lyrics or thoughts – they go straight to the soul.

The cancer changed my life. It showed me the power of intention. We’re all spiritual beings and there has to be a balance of the soul and the body. That is the journey I’m on now.



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