I didn't think a lot about it over the last seven weeks, but I'm just starting to have that disheartening feeling how I not only lost someone I looked up to and admired, but I now realize I took for granted the opportunity to really connect with the fan community when it mattered the most and when the band was really at their creative peak. For the longest time, I've not only lacked the courage to interact with others in real life, but I've never even felt comfortable talking to people on social media. My learning disability has impaired my social skills both in the real world and online. The Linkin Park fan community is no exception. There were so many opportunities over the years to form friendships with fellow Linkin Park soldiers that I let slip away over my frustrations with everything in my personal life. I allowed my negative social experiences in school and in my family to stop me from trying to interact with anyone or find friends, and during the A Thousand Suns and Living Things era, I believe the band was at their peak creatively and morale-wise, Chester seemed to be at his peak in his life, and the fan community seemed to be the most lively and fun, despite the elitist mentality of some of the users. There were so many exciting social opportunities (not just going to concerts) I missed out on and I had the mindset of 'I can't do it now, I'll just wait for another time', but it wasn't until this year and during Chester's downward spiral into suicide that I finally started to interact with the community more. Why didn't I start connecting with people more when it really meant something and there was so much in the band's future to look forward to? I'm not even that upset anymore about the fact that I'll never get to see Chester perform live or meet him in person, but the fact that I threw away the chance to be a part of the fan community when the band was full together is really eating at me. I beat myself up enough over the social opportunities I missed in grade school and college, but now I've got something else to hate myself over. Not sure if all this rambling is making any sense to any of you, but I said something similar to this about a month ago: just for once I wish I could be a part of the ride on an artist's musical journey while it's still going on and not when someone dies or the band is in the final stage of their career. I know Linkin Park will go on without Chester just like Alice In Chains went on without Layne, but it won't have the exciting and inspiring feeling that it used to. Had I been a part of the Linkin Park community's journey, I wouldn't feel as empty over Chester's death and I could look back on his life with great memories and feeling thankful that I got to be a part of something wonderful. Instead, all I feel is regret, emptiness, and heartbreak.