Hope, Fear, Depression, Pleasure: Thoughts on Anthony Bourdain and Suicide

On Depression and Pleasure

or

Fuck This Shit

I, like everyone else, woke up this Friday morning to the news that Anthony Bourdain has committed suicide.

And course, there was Kate Spade just a couple of days ago who did the same.

I’m not sure if anyone else is feeling not only heartbreak but fear. Fear that no matter what you do, what you have, what you’ve gained, what you’ve lost. No matter how good it seems for a moment–the demons will always come back. The demons will always win.

All of these beautiful creatures who walk the earth broken, fragile, scraping by every day just trying to connect to something other than pain. Other than the heavy blanket of suffocating grayness that covers so many of us and keeps us alive, but barely. Every once in awhile lifting up, lungs filling with love and light–and then abruptly reappearing right when we think we’ve made it through, right when we forget that we ever had felt that way before. The cruelest joke in the world. Played over and over on so many souls.

This is so hard I think because we saw someone we could truly relate to in Bourdain. Flawed. Yet, able to rise above those flaws and do something.

Something.

Which is often the hardest thing to do at all when you’re being smothered by the thoughts that none of it matters. That it’s all a waste.

Is it?

I’ve often thought so.

Yet, there has always been that slight glimmer; often very very far away, yet, because I’m lucky or tortured I’ve held onto that hope. Hope that the demons will leave me the fuck alone for a day. Hope that at some point I can be strong enough that if they do come back I can drop kick their asses and they will go away only to never return.

There’s that hope.

But there’s also that fear. The knowing that they will return no matter what. And that maybe one day there will be no fight left.

The thing that I relate to so strongly with Bourdain– is that when all else fails, the road to pleasures opens.

Here’s what I mean.

When I gave up entirely. When I wanted to die and felt like I had nothing left. I let it all go.

During a three-day sativa-ridden mania I came to this basic conclusion:

“Fuck this shit. If I already want to die. If I feel like death. If none of it matters, then I’m going to go out in the world and squeeze every last drop of pleasure that I can possibly get. I’m going to be raw and open and so honest it hurts. Because there’s nothing left for me. Except for those things. And if I connect with people along the way, good. If doing this changes me and the demons no long come around, great. But I’m going to ride it until the last drop of wine, the bite of steak, the last loud and long and ecstatic-driven orgasm.”

This is how I relate to Bourdain because when I see him, flawed, yet out there traveling the world, enjoying the simple pleasures, it seems like he had finally figured it out. That he had figured out how to say, “fuck this shit,” and win.

That’s why there is both hope and fear.

The hope that I can carry on a bit longer without the gray suffocating me again and the fear of knowing that one day it will be too heavy to get out from under, no matter what.

This is why I tell people to, “Go Eat A Carrot.”

It’s basically a triple entendre (which is one of my favorite things to write in the world):

1. Go literally eat an orange phallic-shaped vegetable (aka take care of yourself).
2. You suck as a person, go eat a dick (aka STFU).
3. You suck real good, keep on sucking that dick and eating that pussy (aka we all deserve more pleasure from this devastatingly beautiful and hard as fuck world).

And with that, because I never know when the cruelest joke in the world will make its return into my own life, I just want to thank everyone who has ever supported me, loved me, hated me, cheered me on, wished for my failures, eaten my pink taco (and vice versa), let me lick their carrot, brought me flowers, brought be sandwiches, talked to me, talked me out of it, talked me into something that I didn’t want to do but it made all the difference; really each and every one of you out there who makes this place so fucking amazing and awful at the same time. I seriously thank you, because yeah I know, it’s super cheesy and pseudo -sciencey but we’re all here right now, we’re all connected whether we want to be or not; we each do our best and I’m grateful to be a part of that, even if sometimes my best is just breathing through the day.

P.S.
If you’re feeling like shit, if you’re feeling like you’re trapped on the top floor of a burning building and the only way out is to jump, please fucking reach out to someone first. And if they don’t help, reach out to someone else. It sucks and it’s hard but keep reaching because I swear to the fucking goddesses in all of the universe that someone somewhere will take your fucking hand and lift you up (or like bring a long-ass ladder over so you can climb out the building). It’s okay. Nothing really matters. Everything is beautiful. Enjoy the pleasures.

P.P.S.
Burning building/ hi-rise thing was written by David Foster Wallace another beautiful soul gone too soon. Here’s some of that quote just because it’s stuck with me since I read Infinite Jest and it might be the most poignant moment in that long fucking confusing powerful gorgeous horrible lovely book:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

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