I have spent a week vacillating about how to approach this subject and do so in a manner that shows sufficient respect and in turn offer a perspective that may not be as acceptable and popular in a world that defines itself by followers, likes and retweets by literally virtual strangers whom you would not know if you passed them on the street and in turn would lend a hand if you tripped on the curb. But we have a nearly insatiable need to be liked. The recently departed Diplomat of Panama said upon his resignation that Trump demanded total fealty and if not you were immediately dismissed and considered useless. The current Republican party demonstrates much of this with their bizarre love/hate relationship with said Commander in Chief and they do so at their own detriment but more importantly that of our Country.
Social Media is an absurd name for something that is so clearly anti-social. It opens up doors and windows into what is ostensibly your private thoughts, your life, your family and friendships or lack thereof to those whom again have an agenda that has nothing to do with improving the quality of life, yours any of those in the bigger picture. What it does it enables others to monetize your privacy, enable law enforcement to monitor you and in turn allows other to feel free to mock, demean and "out" you in whatever way the mass do to bring harm or money and quasi fame for some. As this was attributed to the late Andy Warhol: In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” (for the record it is debatable if that was the exact quote and if he originated it)
I have always been oddly private which my public persona would contradict but as Libra I am a natural contrarian and this is how I find balance. My blog is not my name, I don't have Facebook, Instagram, etc and do not tweet under my name. I had a hard time deciding to write under my name or a pseudonym as I think few will care and while I suspect that the first collection of essays will not be loved by all and I am fine with it.
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. [The New Statesman, February 25, 1933]”
― Cyril Connolly
So fame is an elusive drug and a toxic powerful one. I decided to write because I actually felt I had a voice and a perspective that needed to be heard if only by one ear. Writing is therapy and I find it healing. But this is not about me oddly I joke that everything is, this is about aging, depression, rage, confusion and an examination of a life that may for some means in which to end it on one's own terms. Control freaks, mentally ill people, desperate people, normal people, sad people, happy people all come to terms with a crisis in their own ways and some times they come out of it and sometimes they do not.
Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote a op-ed piece in the New York Times on What is Sadness/What is Depression following the deaths of designer Kate Spade and Chef/Writer/TV personality Anthony Bourdain. The Spade/Bourdain deaths reminded me of another boomer of another time, Michael Hutchence of INXS, twenty years earlier. In that time they called it an accident - death by auto erotic asphyxiation. This was the chosen method by Robin Williams only a few years ago as well. Did that influence the two? Who knows. Whatever, you need to call it it is still death by strangulation. That is what death they chose, to choke themselves to death and slowly and not without some pain or discomfort prior to death. This is not hanging where in many cases the neck breaks, no this is choking to death. Let's call it what it is. Google it as I have no intention of explaining the time frame for actual death to occur but yes there is pain and a some time before one falls unconscious.
Last Saturday following my glorious day at Churchill Downs I came back to the hotel and CNN was airing a marathon of Parts Unknown. I rarely watched that new version of what was No Reservations, as well as I say, been there done that and frankly how many trips can one watch of Bourdain going to the same country time after time, shoving food down his face and talking politics? I for one choke on that idea that a white wealthy famous man stays in a four star hotel, flies private and sits with locals for a few hours and eats meat products on a stick to show how he connects to the common man. Pretentious and absurd. No Reservations was by far more less calculated and the fame that Bourdain craved and in turn needed was still in its infant stage but by the end he was well enamored of his celebrity. I recall his trip to San Francisco twice with one time him so violently drunk and out of control that he fell, hit his head and had to be taken to the hospital. I was living in the City then and knew many who just thought he was a bad drunk and wanted nothing to do with him. Cut a couple of years later and he is on a new network and was in Seattle twice. Both times were about music and little interest in the food scene other than a trip to Canlis (a well established old school white tablecloth place). The big attraction was in fact Marijuana as it is legal and the predominant trips were to the pot shops for drugs and edibles of another kind. He nearly had a fight in a dump bar and the return visit was again largely the same. Another year later I am in Nashville and guess who is here as well? Well go figure. Again he dined at the more established place but his visits to the local Meat & 3 Cafeteria as well the hot chicken joints were second tier and not the most famous or well established. His visit centered on drinking and the music scene that was not about Country in the least and that was his primary interest but again food was not the point if it ever was. Few recall his visit here and never mention in that fan fuck way many do about Bourdain.
As I grew less inclined to Bourdain as I loathed his politics (he was a well declared Libertarian) I decided to watch the marathon to see if it would change my view and my perspective and the first episode was his trip (100th?) to Vietnam. Not surprisingly it bored me but then the two episodes that followed had my hair standing on end. One was to opioid areas of New Hampshire and other areas he had lived as a youth. His own drug use was mentioned during an NA meeting and there he spoke how no one gave him an intervention nor helped him get off drugs. He chose to as he had a seven year old daughter (she is now 11) and he needed to change to see her grow up. He was clearly in a very introspective mood but it was a dark place throughout te episode with him almost debating with many of the recovering addicts why they wanted to remain alive or help others do so. This was how I saw it and was tweeting this as I watched. This was then followed by a trip to France, Marseilles specifically, with Eric Ripert the Chef who was with him on this last trip and found him in his hotel room. Again the prescience of thought seemed almost deliberate when you watch this episode and his endless teasing, almost taunting Ripert to get angry, to have him hate and to challenge Bourdain's views on enemies and on Ripert's Buddhism. I cannot believe that as Bourdain planned to perhaps act upon thoughts that had plagued him for decades the idea of getting the last word/laugh/irony was not lost as he descended to unconsciousness.
True I have a dark view of Bourdain but if you watched, read and knew people who knew him you may understand why I am less inclined to believe he impulsively did it after a night of eating and drinking. Why one would do it let alone in a country that you do not speak the language, with a camera crew in tow and a friend who has known you for decades but is a spirit of light in contrast to one who is dark cannot be lost that this act of finality was done with two intents, both motivated by anger and rage.
Again I tweeted this and some fucknut on Twitter whom I don't know but recall past threads of mental health issues promptly schooled me on depression and suicide and when I told her to fuck herself I am entitled to my opinion she informed me that I should not talk about this issue on social media. Hey moron was I talking about myself? No. I was talking about what I was watching with regards to Anthony Bourdain. But in the need to be heard and the need to be in the know we don't even read the tweets we rage about let alone care about the one on the other end who caused us to rise up off our stupor and respond. As they say about abortion - don't like them, don't have one. Same with Twitter. Someone says something you do like, stop following or reading them. Why do you care about someone you don't know and their opinion. Agree to disagree and move on.
Which brings me to Kate Spade. She had not been a part of that "world" for a decade that I knew. Her bags were not part of my world in the 80s and only with the growth of the shops that shared her name (much like dead Lily Pulitzer) did I wander in a buy an accessory or two. I had not thought about her or what her life was as many businesses have the name on the license which doesn't mean anything anymore. But her death at age 55, like Bourdain at 61, did garner my attention as it is my generation whose numbers of suicide, particularly women are growing. And again, like Bourdain, she chose to kill herself in her own home when her estranged husband was in the home but unlike Bourdain she was found by the housekeeper so her last laugh/irony/fuck you was not what I suspect she envisioned.
I would use this opportunity to talk about myself in this moment, 58, childless, friendless, without family, living in a city I loathe, working at a job I hate and aging badly - dental issues and with that all that accompanies it from facial collapse to weight gain. But I have not really ever thought this is where I need to die and that alone keeps me alive. I felt the same in Seattle so clearly I find whatever reason to stay alive and do not act upon the depression that nearly killed me six years ago, following a traumatic brain injury sustained from the accident where my date tried to kill me. I will never see it any differently and I make it my business to remind myself that it was attempted murder and I lived through that so keep coming death as I was not ready then and when I am you will know after I do.
Suicide is the ultimate last final act of control and of will. It is planned and it is thought out. It is impulsive and full of pain or of rage or of fear or of whatever it is that led you there. There is no one explanation and just like snowflakes we are different when it comes to resolving those issues that have hurt you. And those sometimes are final ones. But it is act of pain just don't kid yourself otherwise. Suicide is not painless.