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How the blues healed me from the trauma of childhood abuse

In a graphic and gut wrenching tell-all, Krystal tells her story in her own words. From growing up in an abusive home, through putting herself through music school by working in one of the world's most dangerous industries, through surviving suicide attempts, addiction, arrests, self-hatred, and an inability to sustain finally being healthy, wealthy, happy, and truly well through the redemptive power of the blues community. This is a story about the power of music: how it can save lives, heal people, and perpetuate a world full of love and forgiveness. 

Read exerpts here


     "Are you Krystal?" A police officer with a shiny bald head and blue eyes stood looking down at me lying on my bed, his radio crackling.

     "Yes," I said in angry monotone. This was not the outcome I had tried to elicit when I told my boyfriend Greg a few minutes earlier that I wanted to talk to my sister because I felt like killing myself. All I had wanted was to talk to her, but in his panic he didn't hand me the phone. I was unaware of their conversation. Now there were two officers in the house barraging me with questions, and I wished I had never opened my mouth. I made a note for my future self to never ask for help again. It was something I did only a handful of times in my life. And now, the impending doom I felt knowing the officers were going to arrest me only validated my long term self-imposed rule on never relying on or trusting people.

     I just wanted to keep sleeping. I had stayed in bed for almost a week, only getting up to go to the bathroom and eat. I didn't take showers. I didn't brush my teeth. I didn't put on makeup or change my clothes. I just wanted to keep sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping. Greg hadn't spoken to me about it at all. All he did was come home, grab a six pack of beer, and head for the studio. Sometimes he would mutter "Hey," while walking to the bathroom.

     Drinking water was a burden and I often wondered how bad it would be to let myself starve to death. I had heard on a documentary that when you starve, you eventually just get really tired and never wake up. Sleeping was like death in micro. In death, all of your problems vanish instantly. No more bills you can't pay, no more impossible expectations you can't meet, no more deadlines you can't make, no more battles you can't win, no more Gregs you can't make love you. 

     Earlier that day I had driven my blue, late-model Tahoe to Target with a plan to buy the biggest bottle of Tylenol I could find and take them all that night at the house. Or at least prominently display the bottle by the side of the bed in hopes that Greg would notice it. He didn't.

     I poured all the pills out on the nightstand and started playing with them, piling them into a small white mountain, flattening it, then piling them back up again. I contemplated how long it would take me to swallow them all. I realized that I might throw them up, then I would be left with brain damage and still not dead. I hadn't even written a DNR. All I kept thinking was "If I had a gun I would use it." 

     "Sorry," the bald police officer said as he placed my hands behind my back and I heard the click of the cold handcuffs around my wrists. He walked me to the living room and sat me on the couch with my back to the windows. It was around seven in the evening, and I knew this was going to be a very long night. 

"Circling the block with my "old lady" visibility vest, smelling the crisp ocean air and saying "hi" to the other walkers, it hit me for the first time: I'm a somebody. And even more of a shock: I felt totally ok. I thought, "I'm the okayest person I know, and I have my little footnote in blues history." I'd been calling my heroes in blues and rock and everyone had welcomed me with open arms because of Shorty.


I had my little career and my little name that was steadily growing, and no one could ever take that from me no matter how hard they tried. I had everything else in my life stolen from me at one point or another. My childhood, my virginity, my dignity, my sanity, my self-worth, my self-respect, my sense of normalcy and safety. My brain could no longer produce enough serotonin, and its wave patterns would be altered forever. My life itself was nearly taken at the hands of trauma on multiple occasions. I spent 36 years hating myself for no rational reason. But this one thing I could keep forever no matter what. This one thing could last even after I die. I could be broke on the street and homeless, but guess what?

I'm kinda a blues legend. And so are all of my friends."

From Chapter 1...

     I was born at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in California just a few days after Queen, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Run DMC, and others made history playing the Live Aid concerts for famine relief in Africa. It was the peak of the 80’s, and I sometimes imagine my mom driving her silver, four cylinder chevy sedan while Madonnas “Like a Virgin” is blasting from the speakers. It was the time of big hair raised to the ceiling with the magic of Aquanet hairspray, and when surfer slang words like "rad", "bitchin'", "tubular," and "like" permeated the Californian vernacular like a kitschy disease. It’s almost as if the Live Aid concerts were an omen to who I would become professionally, with its eclectic lineup of superstars from rock, blues, pop, and hip hop all coming together to support a common goal. I can never stick to one genre as a musician and producer, as if my brain absorbed the musical climate of that time and accepted it as truth. It was also the year Marty McFly went Back to the Future with the help of Doc Brown and one sweet ass DeLorean.

Good Girl Gone Haiku

100 Haikus by Krystal Khali

Available in print or eBook

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About life as I see it

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