A candid tale of 20-something humanness and extended note to self.

Monday, 18 August 2014

'Make your life spectacular, I know I did'




There are human beings like me, who can spend 2 hours creating what essentially is a shitty joke about a farm animal that nobody will ever laugh at, and then there are human beings like Robin Williams, whose innate charm and wit and irresistible, inherent madness bursts out of their souls like sunbeams; people who possess a degree of effortless, magical, manic ingenuity, an inexplicable energy that cannot be taught nor manufactured. Unfortunately, being Robin Williams and being all of these things did not make Robin Williams immune to the explicit reality of the human experience, and it is this cultural acceptance, coupled with the tragic circumstances that engineered his untimely death, that have shone a light upon the fragility of our own psyche.

In those final moments, it did not matter that Robin Williams had the love and admiration of his family and an adoring fan-base worldwide. It did not matter that he had carved himself an incredible career: that he was the master of the one-liner, of mimicry, of hilarity, that he was wealthy, that he had exercised his talent and achieved all of these fantastic things that many modern creatives aspire to; that he had magnificently entertained people across the world. It did not matter that he had been generous or kind or that he had thousands of people who would have thrown their arms around him and begged him not to do it. The only thing, I imagine, that mattered in those moments, was his escape from his own manic facade: the crippling pain, the all-encompassing sadness that was suddenly entirely unbearable. It seems a terrible injustice that one man can be enough for the entire world when the entire world cannot be enough for that one man. Robin Williams taught us all that laughter is the best medicine, but unfortunately, it did little to appease his pain at the end.

Robin's tragic death serves as a heavy, solemn reminder that there is an ineradicable, chronic delicacy rooted within us. The human condition is incredibly delicate: love,  fame, accolade, wit, vibrancy of character; none of it immortalises people nor protects people from dismal narratives. In the aftermath of tragedies such as this, it's so important that we extract that knowledge and strap it to us and use it to live our own lives better: to be considerate and lovely, to be vigilant, to be mindful of the inevitable struggle of others, to realise that actually, yes, we're all a little fucked up and maybe always a little bit on the verge of self-destruction and we're all fundamentally alone, but ultimately it is this commonality that binds us together.

Although his demons proved too much for him in the end, Robin Williams is still an example of human resilience in the face of grave adversity. Mental health issues are not a side effect of naivety nor adolescence nor a pessimistic nature; mental health issues are a side effect of being alive, their ferocity variant from person to person. These were issues that Robin fought for many years of his life, and yet still, he achieved everything that he did. He experienced love and family and children and he lit the world up even when his own was dark and through that, he has left an incredible legacy. There is a great deal of hope to be taken from that.

The damning reality is that we are never going to be able to stop people from killing themselves, but perhaps through striving to accept that nothing in life is permanent, we can more-so appreciate the sacrality of our own preservation. We need to realise that happiness, in its purest and loveliest form: happiness that entirely dismantles any negative thought, happiness that feels insane and infinite, only ever comes to us temporarily. Where life itself is fleeting, those moments are even more evanescent. Wrap yourselves up in those moments of euphoria and hold onto them for as long as you can. Embrace the finest pleasures of being human; enjoy the awesome people around you, fall in love, make a difference, fuel your little spark of madness. Do all of those things with the consciousness that the world owes you none of it and enjoy the sense of great privilege that this bestows. Equally, for as long as we're alive, the prospect of change breeds hope. In Robin's own poignant words, 'suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.' 'No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.' Use them to do good.

'In the end, none of us have very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you're ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish and think of me.'






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1 comment

  1. A beautiful piece Kathy, it sums up everything perfectly and reiterates what a horrible loss his death has been. It sure has made me appreciate everything and not take people at face value, you never know what is going on behind the scenes x

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