Shine

August 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I haven’t been writing much lately. It’s not that I don’t feel compelled to, it’s just that I choose to spend my time on other things. I find writing cathartic, but sometimes I would rather just lie on my bed and listen to music, or start another book, or try to grab a beer with a friend. 

I have the month of August off, though, so perhaps my output will increase.

I wrote earlier today about Robin Williams, but really the person I’ve been thinking about more is my brother. I haven’t been particularly vocal about it, but my brother was recently diagnosed with a mental illness. I’m also currently reading a book from a friend called “This Much I Know Is True.” It’s about a man with a schizophrenic brother, and it has been hitting rather close to home.

It would be nice if I had something eloquent to say about my brother, if I could come up with something to say that would make me feel better about it all. Some people want to blame it on God, or drugs, or something else, but I think that all it is is sometimes the chemicals in your brain stop functioning normally. Sometimes I’m angry. Angry at Austin, at life, at the stupid randomness that this happened to him and not someone else. Angry that I wasn’t closer to him the last few years, angry that I didn’t see him deteriorate, angry that I thought he was just becoming annoying instead of seeing that he was getting more sick. I sometimes am afraid it will happen to me too, that there is a genetic time bomb in my head just waiting to turn me into someone else, too. 

We don’t really talk about mental illness. We hide it away. We don’t let people see, because they will judge (or at the least, we fear their judgement). There’s no cure, no hope of getting better – it’s a terminal sentence that might be controlled with medication, but it won’t ever go away. It’s an odd feeling for me, because it is simultaneously all I want to talk about and at the same time part of me hopes that I can ignore it and it will go away. I feel awkward talking to people about it, I mean, what can you say? 

I don’t have a good way to end this, because life and being sick are messy things. It just sucks. I think we just have to focus on the positives and keep on going as best we can. 

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Friend Like Me

August 12, 2014 at 10:12 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

I think for me, there are a couple big takeaways from Robin William’s unfortunate passing.

1. Live in such a way that your love for the world shines brightly and clearly for everyone to see.

2. In your darkest moments, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

It seems to me that if we all lived a little more like Robin Williams lived, those of us that are feeling alone or depressed might be able to find the understanding in themselves that there are people out there who care about them.

Hearing and reading all these stories about the ways in which Mr. Williams touched people’s lives, I am struck by his brilliance and the way at which he seemed to put everyone at ease – strangers, friends, fans, other stars – and how he presented himself to the world. We can either be people who enter a room and say “look at me!” or those who enter a room and say “look at you!”

By all accounts Robin Williams, though he certainly was worthy of the former, was amazing in no small part because of his commitment to the latter. He was one of a kind, but there is a way to celebrate his legacy in how we treat one another. I think that I am so afraid at times of how I will be perceived that I don’t just love everyone without restraint, even though I definitely believe that is the way that I should be.

Today, then, I’d like to make a resolution: that I will give people the respect and joy that they deserve, that I will make them feel special, that I will take the light inside and shine it for the world to see – even when it’s scary. I will give more hugs. I will reconnect with old friends, and make new ones.  I will endeavor to see the magic in every moment. I will laugh, giggle, and chortle more often. Occasionally I will guffaw. I will love without reservation, I will own my errors, and I will do my best to improve every day. 

 

I don’t know that I believe in an afterlife, but if there is, I hope you’ve found some peace. We’re all made out of stardust, but you managed to be made out of an extra shiny bit. 

Goodnight, Robin.

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