Roots Before Branches: A Personal Reaction to Cory Monteith’s Passing

Originally Published: July 15th, 2013; Updated: June 24th, 2014

Do I have a place in the world?

What is my purpose?

Where do I belong?

Saturday night, July 13th, 2013, Glee star Cory Monteith, who plays Finn Hudson, passed away. There’s no official cause of death, but I’m willing to bet it was drug-related [Editor’s Note: Autopsy revealed Monteith died from a heroin overdose]


I didn’t know Cory Monteith personally. I only knew and loved Glee, the fictional TV show. But for some reason, his death has shaken me to my core. It’s not because I idolized him as an actor, or because I thought I knew him because of the character he played for four years, or because I’m jumping on some post-passing memorial bandwagon. It’s because it makes me question everything: How can someone so successful, so publicly loved, risk his own life by falling victim to drugs. How can someone so beloved be so lost?

On the red carpet and on the screen, he seemed happy. Seemed because I didn’t actually know him; I’m a nobody and he was an actor. But it reminds me of how someone can seem one way outwardly, but inside is a wreck and nobody would even know that. Everyone focuses on the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood lifestyle, and nobody remembers that they’re real people with genuine problems, just like the rest of the us.

I get the mean reactions. I get that some people simply don’t care about the plights of celebrities. But Cory Monteith’s death is more than just the run-of-the mill tragic Hollywood ending. It’s more basic than all of that. It’s about basic human needs and understanding that everyone is complex, everyone has issues, whether or not we know the depth of their wounds. It’s about taking drug abuse seriously; it’s about taking any substance abuse seriously. It’s a reminder that we need to offer understanding and kindness, even if we don’t think people deserve it for whatever selfish reason.

There is so much about me that people don’t understand. My wounds run deeper than most rivers. My insecurities are like damaged nerves, dull over time but electrified if struck. I’m not a substance abuser. But I know a few. Maybe I’m guilty of lessening somebody’s struggles. Maybe I’m guilty of not understanding, too.

Who isn’t?

Because really, we don’t know what everyone is thinking or feeling or experiencing at any given time.

You may see me as someone who has his life figured out. But right now, I’m a bundle of nervous energy who is questioning everything about his life’s purpose. Right now, I’m not sure what I’m doing. I’m not sure of my direction. I’m not sure anybody understands me. All I’m sure of is that I’m trying desperately to root myself. I’m trying to carve out my niche, to make a mark on the world, to experience life and all it has to offer, and trying so hard to keep my head above water. I don’t want to drown.

Am I supposed to write?

Why am I wasting my time writing?

If I never get published, what will my life amount to?

Am I worth anything if I’m not a writer? But if I write and I never get published, then who will know what I could have contributed to the world?

Where do I belong?

RIP Cory Monteith.


7 thoughts on “Roots Before Branches: A Personal Reaction to Cory Monteith’s Passing

  1. You are belong here, and the world will see your success, read and enjoy your books.. My boy enjoy the journey of life, bitter or sweet, and the destination won’t be the focus. There is a saying of an Arab poet I’ll try to translate it to the best of my a ability ( don”t you think my dancing is out of joy, the bird dances when he is wounded from pain) Your blog reminded me of that.

    Another great blog Stevens .. Keep on writing. One day we will celebrate the publishing of your first book, and the second… ….

    Sent from my iPhone

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