Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Wouldn't know the first thing about addiction. Never been addicted to anything in my life and luckily, have grown up in a family and amongst friends who have very few, if any addictive, vices. There were a couple buddies growing up whose parents were chain smokers, but aside from horrible smelling houses, yellowed fingers, hacking spells and the lingering thought that the secondhand smoke was fucking us kids up, it didn't seem all that bad. There were no alcoholics or drug addicts anywhere near me and there still aren't - something of a shocking revelation, when you really get down to thinking about it.
As a younger woman, Renee Yohe - or the leader of Bearcat - wasn't quite so lucky. She had problems with it all, leading her to considering taking drastic measures to end it all and make it all go away. The lure was too strong. It felt too horrible. It pained her and those around her too much that she was thinking that some great darkness and its accompanying silence would make it all better. This was before some friends and her family helped the teenager get right again. As Jamie Tworkowski wrote in his piece, "To Write Love On Her Arms: The Story," "We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life."
Yohe's story was so grim, but redeemed itself so nicely, that it's going to be turned into a major motion picture, with "Broke Girls" actress Kat Dennings set to played the rail-thin and tattooed musician whose music as Bearcat, in a way, resembles what Amy Winehouse's would have had she actually gone to rehab. The words that she writes are ripe with powerful and poignant observations of a personality that went haywire. They are tough and honest words and they are coming from someone who would know hell if she were to see it. She sings, "I'm not sorry for just being me," and elsewhere comments about being blind. Some people have their awakenings right on cue, exactly as they were supposed to have them and others - like Yohe - have them when they're absolutely necessary. A line from the Bearcat song, "Saudade," sounds like it's the perfectly meeting place between her past life and the one she lives now, though there's a chance that the feeling's still harbored and very much alive. She sings, "I hate everyone who isn't true/And I hate everyone who tells the truth," and it's easy to see how such a simple, clear-cut belief could be both a blessing and a curse. For now, and hopefully forever more, Yohe she is blessed and loved.