I’ve slept a lot in the last twenty-four hours. Made the climb up the stairs, glance out the window before climbing into bed, wrapping myself up in blankets and drifting into unconsciousness. I’d woken up a few hours later, come downstairs and made myself a sandwich, then repeated the process listed above. Then again, then again.
I’ve lost track of how long, broken up over a day, that I’ve slept. It feels like too much, it feels like not enough.
Sleeping is a coping mechanism for me, as it was for my father. When things got to be too overwhelming, when everything seemed it’s bleakest, my father would turn off the lights, turn on the fan, and crawl into bed. Now, I do the same. I’m a lot like him, in a lot of ways. Some of them make me proud, some of them make me wonder.
Father’s Day is today, as of this writing, and I just never know how to feel on this day anymore. Every time it comes around, I reach for the phone to call my dad and tell him I love him. Every time I do, it hits me all over again that he won’t be on the other end of that phone.
Anthony Bourdain passed away last week, another life claimed by suicide, and it has hit me considerably hard. I did not know Bourdain, had never met him or spoken with him in any capacity, but through reading his books and following his television shows (No Reservations/Parts Unknown), I felt like I did. Through reading various articles he’d written, various interviews with him, I felt like we all got a glimpse of his soul. A soul that was scarred and embattled.
Bourdain’s struggle with mental health was never a secret, was never kept hidden from viewers of his shows. No, in fact, Bourdain was always a champion of speaking out, be it in interviews or on Twitter, about depression and mental health issues. He always seemed like someone who had been deep in the fight for many years, always punching upward, but that made him one to admire and respect.
For someone who suffers from depression, for someone who has dealt with this pain his whole life, to see someone like Bourdain going out there and shining a light on so many problems in our society (the #MeToo movement and harassment/abuse in all industries, causes dealing with mental health, being critical of political regimes including our own what are bordering tyranny) and doing it with such wisdom and charisma… It made an impact. It gave me hope.
But to lose such a vital voice in this time of strife, to lose such an important warrior in the current culture war blowing up outside, is devastating. I had said on Twitter that losing Bourdain now is very much akin to losing Hunter S. Thompson during the G.W. Bush administration at the beginning of the (latest) Iraq war. A modern scholar who has a unique take on life and the world around them because they have had unique experiences, had survived unique trials and tribulations, and were made better for them.
My heart hurts, not just for the loss of a television travel host, but for the loss of one of the most vocal proponents of the fact that we are all the same people living on the same planet. We should respect one another, we should care for one another, we should put all this strife and pettiness behind us and focus on healing the world and making it a better place. Showing us the beauty of different cultures, their histories and art, to make it less scary that these cultures are “them”. In fact, that there is no “them”. Only “us”.
To know that Bourdain’s death was self inflicted, that his demons had finally overpowered him, that the darkness was too strong for him to fight it anymore, is what has hit me the hardest. To know that a man like Bourdain, who had been through so much, seen so much, been connected to the entire world in such a unique and powerful way, was still taken over by such sadness that he would hang himself… It scares me to my core.
It’s raining again.
I think blogging about things is helping. I think I’ll continue.