Dear Mr. Williams,
These past days, my newsfeed has been inundated with thank-yous: Thank you for the laughs… Thank you for the inspiration… Thank you for the clowning… Thank you for the smiles… Thank you for making sure we all kept up our happy, even when you were dying. I want to thank you too. And I want to tell you that I am so very, very sorry.
I am sorry that we couldn’t be there for one another. I am sorry that you couldn’t reveal your pain. I am sorry that we couldn’t share the burdens of our days. I am sorry that we are force-fed happy from the time we are born, and that we rarely get to see each other for who we truly are. And even as I sit here, I am watching parents censor their children’s emotions, modify behaviour, nullify authentic in favour of polite.
I am so sick of blind optimism. I am so sick of faking. I am so sick of slap-some-happy-on-it-and-everything-will-be-ok.
Everything is not ok.
You are proof. So am I. So are my friends and loved ones who are in so much pain I can taste it, but who are too busy keeping up appearances to get down to being real. So are their friends. And theirs. And theirs…
What are we so afraid of?
I know what I’m afraid of: I’m afraid of being ridiculed. I’m afraid of loosing respect. I’m afraid of being treated like a pariah, because we do that to one another. We avoid anything that makes us uncomfortable. We avoid anything that asks us to face the truth of who we are. We exile and ostracize and villainize, because we have no idea what to do with vulnerability. Because we just wont risk being recognized as vulnerable ourselves. And I know a little something about depression. I know a little something about putting on your game-face and gettin’er done. I know a little something about the strength it takes to fight that battle – hour after hour, day after day, year after year. And here’s what I want to know: How many more of us are there? How many fighting and aching alone? What would happen to our facetime if we all took an oath to be brutally, authentically honest? How many of us would wake up screaming then? How many of us would wave our fists, and pour out tears, and thump the ground, and smear our skins with blood and dirt and real?
And it’s not that there is no beauty. It’s not that there is no good. It’s not that there aren’t a thousand days we wake up smiling and revel in the sun. It’s just that there are times when some great god has strung up scissors from floor to ceiling, and we have to try to walk that corridor without even breaking a sweat. And if we admit that we’re hurting, we’re weak. And if we admit that we’re scared, we’re pathetic. And if we admit that we simply went fetal and waited for the storm to pass, we’ve failed – ourselves, our loved ones, our society, our creator…
And I want to live in a world that sees me. I want to live in a world I can see. I want friendships that go deeper than bravado, and babes, and beer. I want conversations that challenge every single thing I think I know. I want revelations so raw it takes months to grow the skin back. I want to flay away layers of hiding, and shine so bright it blinds. I want to know you. I want to love you. I want you to know and love me.
And I understand the value of positivity and affirmations and hope. I understand the value of processing, and reprogramming, and practice. But if I hear one more time that depression is all in our heads… If I hear one more time that this meditation, or that affirmation, or this medication will fix things… If I hear one more time that we’re less capable, or intelligent, or enlightened than the next guy because our hearts are so big and our shoulders so broad that we carry the weight of the world upon them – I think I’m gonna’ blow. I mean look around you, people. Look at what we’ve done. How can you walk through this shit-storm, pasting posters of kittens on war-wounds, pretending everything’s ok?
What we need is an epidemic of courage. What we need is a revolution of spirit. What we need is to realize that the problem is not our heads. What we need is to realize that the problem is our hearts. Our hearts are becoming shriveled, mangled things under the weight of the cages we keep them in. And there is no more room for ignorance. There is no more room for excuses. There is no more room for platitudes and gratitudes and pleasantries when so many of us are dying.
It’s time to get real. It’s time to look at the ugly, and stinking and vile. It’s time to admit that we are struggling so hard, not because there is something wrong with us, but because there is something very, very wrong with the way we are living in the world.
And Mr. Williams, sir… I want you to know that I saw you. I want you to know that your eyes told the story of someone who saw me too. I want you to know that I understand the white hot force of will it takes to stay here sometimes. I want you to know that I am listening. I want you to know that I am here. I want you to know that I continue to fight in your honour, and that I will always, always, always stand with anyone brave enough to see the view from here. I will always stand, good sir – even if I do it on my knees.
You have all my respect, oh Captain.
You have my blessings, and love.
PS. If you’re reading this & you want to comment – please, give us something real. Let’s get this party started. Let’s carry the weight together. Let’s not waste another minute of our time.
#Robin Williams #Suicide #Hope