Pearl Jam fan and cancer survivor Kris Haq shares her story about why she chose lyrics from the song In My Tree for her Fan Portrait at the Brooklyn Pearl Jam show 3 years ago.
This photo of me was taken three years ago by Tanya Kang, founder of Pearl Jam Fan Portraits.
I scribbled down my absolute favorite lyrics (from In My Tree, naturally) and headed out to the street for her to snap my picture. At the last second, I decided to take a bite out of the paper.
“Had my eyes peeled both wide open, and I got a glimpse of my innocence/got back my inner sense”
Tanya asked me at the time why I chose to bite it, but there was a line of people also waiting and I didn’t want to get into it then. And it’s taken me three years to get back to her, and she probably doesn’t even remember asking me [I do remember!]. But I feel like sharing it now.
The morning of this show, in the shower, my hair started to shed from the chemo.
You know how when you shower you always lose some hair? A few strands? It’s that, but times twenty. And it’s tingly. Your whole scalp tingles and is sore, like after you have a French braid in all day and take it out.
It was kind of at that point when I was like “oh man…here we go. This is really happening to me.”
Had my eyes peeled both wide open.
And I got a glimpse of my innocence.
And I situated myself. Told my husband Neel that it had started. I already had an appointment to shave off my mane two days later.
In typical pre-PJ show fashion, I was an excited spastic mess beforehand and he was calm. We picked up my friends and drove to Barclays laughing about my pre-show spazziness. (Who stops for water? And why do we need air in the tires NOW?!?!) Met up with friends at the pre-party, everyone checking on me and giving me hugs and asking if they could get me anything. We were cracking jokes. I was surrounded by love and friends and music. I forgot about what happened that morning.
Got back my inner sense.
Decided to take a Pearl Jam Fan Portrait – one of my last pictures with my hair, I knew. Blinked back tears. This was really happening to me.
When Tanya was taking the picture, I heard the next two lines in my head: “Baby got it. Still got it.” and thought to myself, I do. I still got it. And I just bit the paper with these lyrics, these lines of words that have resonated with me for two decades, because I knew that no matter what happened, I would still have my inner sense. I’d still be me, and my friends and family would still treat me the same and I would get through this. My new self was holding on to my old self by the skin of my teeth.
So, that’s why.
I still can’t listen to Lightning Bolt without feeling physically sick though. I hope that changes in time, but if it doesn’t, well…that’s a testament to how deeply music affects me. Plus it gives me some bathroom break songs to pick from at shows. ;)
Baby got it, still got it.
-Kris Haq, Pearl Jam Fan