ROBIN: THROWBACK FRIDAY EDITION

Hey there… me again.

This is a slight­ly dif­fer­ent kind of Throw­back post. This one wasn’t lost, or acci­den­tal­ly delet­ed. It was written—perhaps with a bit more haste and emo­tion than many of my posts tend to be, admittedly—and left to sit, despite the rel­a­tive time­li­ness of the sub­ject.

I had a num­ber of rea­sons for not putting it out there when I fin­ished, one of the key ones being my desire not to con­tribute to the noise that was already boom­ing through the air­waves. It didn’t mat­ter where you were or what you were lis­ten­ing to, there were so many con­ver­sa­tions: con­flict­ing opin­ions on why he did what he did, argu­ments on whether what he did was right or wrong, debates around the efforts soci­ety is putting in to help or acknowl­edge those that suf­fer from the var­i­ous forms and depths of depres­sion… and so on. 

I fig­ured I would tuck it away for the time being, and post it when it was ready to hop off the shelf and onto the screen you’re look­ing at this very minute. And I guess this is that time.

Lat­er, Face­less.

-Your Writer

 

ROBIN – August, 2014.

 

This, Face­less. I’m not real­ly sure I even want to, but let’s talk about This.

Yes, I know lots of peo­ple have been talk­ing about This. And by now, thou­sands of blog­gers have penned mini-novel­las on what a loss and tragedy this most-assured­ly is; mil­lions of oth­ers have expressed their sad­ness through Twit­ter, Face­book and count­less oth­er social net­works; and some unfor­tu­nate anchor on CNN has been talk­ing non­stop for the last 24 hours to any close or dis­tant rela­tion to the man, tak­ing the occa­sion­al break to talk about some form of fresh Hell brew­ing in the Mid­dle East. And every­one that has read, watched or lis­tened to any of this has pon­dered why: why would some­one with such life, suc­cess and vibran­cy, some­one with some much to live for and with so much life to give do some­thing so absolute—so final—to extin­guish his unique, won­der­ful flame?

It all seems unfath­omable, doesn’t it? So baf­fling, incom­pre­hen­si­ble? Well it is, until you wipe the tear from your eye and take a deep breath, look­ing past all of the hyper­bole and fan­fare, the sound bites and con­do­lence tweets or the folk­tales of some atten­tion-seek­ing, washed up celebri­ty that clear­ly hasn’t spo­ken to the man in decades (there was a 10 minute ram­ble on CNN last night by one such “celebri­ty” that almost made me vom­it).

Robin Williams was a man that snuck into the hearts and liv­ing rooms of mil­lions by mim­ic­k­ing the looks, sounds and expres­sions of oth­ers. We always saw the bril­liant­ly-craft­ed image of what he want­ed us to see; and in turn, we only saw what we want­ed to see, not what we sus­pect­ed may have been lurk­ing beneath the beam­ing smiles, the wild eyes and the laugh­ter. We nev­er looked for the demon he strug­gled with beneath the sur­face, because that would break the illu­sion; and even when we did get a glimpse of it, when he pulled the cur­tain open wide and let you see the wound­ed man under­neath, he was still wear­ing that lov­able, charm­ing cos­tume he always wore, putting us at ease and giv­ing us the free­dom to say “Ya, he’ll be alright”, even if we silent­ly feared he wouldn’t be.

If we’re being hon­est (which as a gen­er­al rule of thumb, we aren’t; it’s just the way we’re built), we would admit that many of those around us—even some of us, read­ing this post right this sec­ond—strug­gle with those very same demons every day, the ones hid­ing just below the stage of what­ev­er play they’re putting on for the world. We’ve talked about it for decades; sto­ries and arti­cles and stud­ies galore have delved into the con­cept of depres­sion, what it is and why we expe­ri­ence it, even mak­ing argu­ments for the unex­pect­ed ben­e­fits it can bestow on those so afflict­ed. But we still as a soci­ety don’t under­stand it, we don’t take it as seri­ous­ly as we should — and we dis­miss it as being moody or dra­mat­ic, in need of a good pre­scrip­tion or just “off”, because many seem to be func­tion­al and gen­er­al­ly on top of things. But all the while, they’re just try­ing to keep the dark out: they’re try­ing to steer clear of the under­cur­rent cours­ing beneath any and every­thing they do that threat­ens to pull them down into the muck, deep­er and deep­er still until there’s no air, no light… down to a place where every­thing and noth­ing simul­ta­ne­ous­ly mat­ters.

They are strong swim­mers; despite the inces­sant pull, they can keep up the breast­stroke and hold their heads above water. But even the strongest swim­mer gets tired and needs to ease up, leav­ing them vul­ner­a­ble to the cur­rent and to slip­ping under…and maybe that’s what hap­pened to poor Robin. After a bru­tal­ly long swim, maybe he was sim­ply too tired to main­tain that stroke as he had all these years…and maybe it’s a bea­con to the oth­er weary swim­mers out there to speak loud­ly when the fatigue hits, to find some­thing to hang onto and catch your breath before it’s too late…even if you don’t want to.

[wysija_form id=“1”]

3 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Very touch­ing insight, I have watched a fam­i­ly mem­ber suf­fer for years and the swim­ming anal­o­gy real­ly speaks to the strug­gle.

  2. That was an incred­i­bly emo­tion­al and well penned arti­cle. I applaud your deci­sion for post­ing this after all the hoopla, sim­ply so it remind­ed us yet again, that, this was an amaz­ing man who should nev­er be for­got­ten.

    Thank you for rec­og­niz­ing not only the pain he clear­ly suf­fered in his heart, his mind and his soul, but to under­stand that there ARE oth­ers out there.…fighting their own bat­tles with ‘that dark place’ and try­ing to explain to the world that.…its OK. Its OK to hurt, its OK to be moody because wear­ing that MASK takes work. Its hard work to get up every­day and put that MASK on, so peo­ple don’t see the true sad­ness, empti­ness, sor­row and despair in your eyes.

    One thing, my one wish for Robin was that he could have been strong enough to reach out and seek the love and sup­port of his fam­i­ly and friends. Its a very dif­fi­cult thing to admit, to admit that you need help. The fear of being judged or worse, being treat­ed like sud­den­ly you­ve been diag­nosed with a ter­ri­bly infec­tious dis­ease, that every­one treats you ‘dif­fer­ent’ when some­times, all you real­ly need is a lis­ten­ing ear, an open mind and a shoul­der to cry those tears of despair on. Alas, his deci­sion may seem wrong to us, but who are we to judge? Clear­ly, all he want­ed was for the pain to end. The pain that he felt for so long to just end.…and in turn, that only left end­ing his life. Despite the pain it caused the mil­lions of loved ones, friends and fans around the world, I for one can say that I under­stand his deci­sion. I may not like it, but that was HIS deci­sion.

    RIP Robin. You are at peace now. Shine down your ray of sun so per­haps it can bright­en the hearts, minds and souls of those who may not have the strength to ask for help, who may one day, fol­low in your foot­steps sim­ply to silence the pain.

    Thank you writer,

    May you always be hap­py, may you always remem­ber you have fam­i­ly and friends who are always will­ing to lis­ten, who won’t judge, who love you no mat­ter what.

    • Such an awe­some com­ment; I’m glad it res­onat­ed with you and hope­ful­ly any­one else that lent me a lit­tle of their time to read it (which I am so incred­i­bly grate­ful for)!

      That fear of judge­ment and ridicule is a pow­er­ful one… you’re weak, you’re dif­fer­ent are far too quick of respons­es, sad­ly. So you shy away, you don’t talk about it, you keep swim­ming; maybe you even start ques­tion­ing your­self, won­der­ing if you are just weak… maybe you should just suck it up. Our atti­tudes seem to be chang­ing — let’s hope those changes con­tin­ue.

      And again, thanks so much for read­ing!

Whatcha thinking, Faceless? Share those feelings.

%d bloggers like this: