Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Through Laughter & Tears: Remembering Robin Williams

It's taken me almost a day to be able to think properly enough to formulate what I ached to say about all of this. So here's hoping I don't ramble too much.

Yesterday I was having a bad day. After being away from my writing for far too long, I came back to my desk and was quick to sense 'The Fear', as it ticked away in the back of my brain like a bug I can't squash.

The Fear, in my own personal case, has always been strongest when I fail to live up to my own expectations. My mind begins to twist every good thing that I have going for myself into things I should be embarrassed by. I begin doubting my choices, my worth, and my value.

My usual word count of at least 2,000 words a day was cut down to a mere 200. Instead of outlining future projects that I had been excited about beginning, I sat back and debated whether any of them were any good at all; consistently focusing on the negative for no reason other than to perpetuate my own frustration.

I eventually submitted to the Fear, and stopped thinking about writing. I turned to the internet for numbing entertainment, anything that my stuck-on-pessimistic mindframe would be able to absorb/ignore.

And it was then that I heard the news of Robin Williams' passing.

It's sad that it took the death of someone so precious to the world to bring me out of my funk, but it really was like being kicked in the groin.

I found myself crying. Full on 'get out the buckets' crying.

Like most of the world, I never personally knew or met Robin Williams. So why is it that his death has impacted me so?

I could go on forever about how the man's career and personality directly influenced me. As a kid I dreamed of being able to do what he did. Not acting or doing stand up. I'm talking about making people smile, making them laugh. What is a greater gift than laughter? This concept alone is what I've always striven towards, whether it be through art, music, film or writing.

I could talk about how as a child I would watch Hook multiple times in a row, and how as an adult I've done the same (To live would be a great adventure).

I could talk about how every time I see Robin Williams cry in a film I start to cry as well.

I could go on about how much this man meant to me personally, as a complete stranger from a different country, but it wasn't for any of my own personal reasons that I was so upset by his passing.

What impacted me the most was the idea that this man, this embodiment of energy and happiness and love, a person who was adored the whole world over by a multitude of generations, still was a man who carried his demons.

It frightened, and humbled me to think that even Robin Williams could let his worries and fears get to him that drastically; that he still suffered in his daily life despite how many people loved and cared about him.

It dawned upon me that depression/anxiety/whatever you want to call it, is not something that just goes away when life decides to tip the scales in your favor. You can become a household name, make money doing the thing that you love, earn the respect of your peers and colleagues, and yet it will be never enough to satisfy 'The Fear'.

I push myself to the point of insanity every day-- every ounce of it self induced. I rarely ever feel that I'm living up to my fullest potential because of this pressure I put on myself. And as much I know that's something won't go away, I know also that I can't give up the fight. 'The Fear' will always try to bring me down, but its up to me to push back against it.

It saddens me to think that Robin Williams had fought the battle so dearly for so long. It is well understood in the world of comedy that most humor comes from a dark place, and obviously with Williams it was no exception. It was from that pain that such electricity and love was able to come out of his performances. He took that negativity and turned into something positive that made the world around smile. He made us laugh.

Someone on Twitter elegantly posted, "You never know another man's burden until he puts it down and you feel the ground shake."

In Robin Williams' case, I would say the world has indeed felt it.

Yesterday we lost one of the world's greatest comedic minds and a truly genuine person.

Know that he didn't lose his battle to depression, and that there are no losers in this war.

Know that whatever problems you face in your life, whatever they may be, are temporary, and need no permanent solutions.

Know that love is always there just around the corner, and that laughter is the best medicine.

Know that you're not alone in this, and there will always be people ready and willing to help and support you through the hard times.

Crisis Call Center: 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863 

Rest in peace, you sweet, sweet man. Your laughter touched thousands, your smile brought out those in others. Thank you for everything you gave us, I know you gave it all.


  1. Oh, Xavier. You wrote my heart. Thank you. *crying* I feel exactly the same way about this man, and was truly blind-sided by my reaction to his suicide. I also feel the same way about my art, and struggle with the same "Fear". It's a demon that pisses me off most days, but drags me down others.

    1. Thank you, Melissa. We'll figure out a way to take down 'The Fear.' Even if it involves a cage, on top of a cage, on top of yet another cage, and in the middle of those three cages is another TWO cages! That's right, it's HELL IN A CELL, and it's Nicholas Cage against Nicholas Cage on this week's Monday Night Nitro LIVE from Never, Never, Neverland.

  2. This is a wonderful posting, Xavier. I think you summed up how a lot of us feel. For me, I cried last night when I heard the news and I'm pretty sure I'll cry again. We lost a wonderful actor and comedian, but we also lost someone who most of us viewed as a good friend.

    1. Thanks Buddy. It's a heavy loss for everyone who's ever even had a dash of Robin Williams in their lives.