Robin Williams: Giftedness and Gifting

Robin Williams:

good man, gifted,

gifting us through prolific imagination,

unleashed humor, amazing spontaneity …

Robin Williams / abc7news.com

 

So much written about R.W.  Thus, Solomon’s piece, at the core of my writing: “It’s all been said before.”

Robin Williams / http://www.calebwilde.com

Here are a few of the pieces of my processing of a disc-jockey in “Good Morning, Vietnam”, a professor in “Dead Poets Society”, Mrs.Doubtfire, Teddy Roosevelt in “Night at the Museum”, Ramon the penguin in “Happy Feet”, Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace in “August Rush” … Those are a few parts of Robin Williams.

Robin Williams / http://www.aintitcool.com
Robin Williams / http://www.westlord.com

I was the class comedian, high school, with a joke for anyone and everyone.  The rush of making people laugh was amazing,  and I studied the great comedians: Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, George Carlin, JerrySeinfield, Steve Martin.  Robin Williams was … at times … present where I was, what I was doing.  I read a magazine interview with Robin Williams, and among the many cool things I read I remember something that wasn’t so cool.  I paraphrase: Williams said that at times he is not doing well, and he has to go somewhere by himself.  After that point, I laughed at his prolific spontaneity linked up with his priceless humor … and I also couldn’t shake the idea that there was a dichotomy happening: humor / laughter … and melancholy / depression.  The mixture of these two forces haunted me a bit … and it was because I wanted my depression that I have struggled with since I was a child to be separate from everyone.    I wanted to go to Robin Williams for robust laughter, and I did not want to know that the man struggled with depression like I did.  Incidentally, I didn’t know, when I was a child, that it was depression.  I didn’t learn that it was depression until I was in graduate school (my late thirties) … Sounds crazy.  Robin Williams, to a large degree helped me to release some of my “crazy”, and to be able to sit with all of this, and to laugh through this.

So, having said that … I have to get this pink elephant out of my “thinker”, and on to the white of the page.  Here it is:

Suicide, yes I agree, is wrong.
So is condemnation.
So is judgment.
Our hearts SHOULD go out to the family folks of Robin Williams … Their pain is immeasurable: “No If’s, And’s, or But’s”.
Suicide does not have excuses.
Suicide does, however, have factors.
My opinion: there is a “dynamic” for some people where they are driven to run passionately away from their pain, from their mental illness, from their failures, their shame … toward something that relieves their suffering.  And we all know, (I think we all know?) that the relief is ALWAYS temporary.  The “Black Dog” / Depression is often times NOT temporary.  When the performance is over, the depression remains.

Robin Williams messed up when he took his own life.  But we should be able to tell our close friends  that they messed up when they messed up.  And our closest friends should be able to tell us we messed up, when we messed up.  We can do that without condemnation.  Do I condemn Robin Williams for taking his life? NO.  Am I angry with Williams?  YES.  So, maybe the takeaway is this.  We all need to “do” self-care.  We need to take care of ourselves, well, so that we can bless our families.  If we are wounded, and we are not doing our own work, then how can we be our best with those we love?

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4 Comments

  1. this is very honest and thoughtful, and i think, as humans, we tend to run to whatever helps us find our balance once again, it is natural, the instinct to survive, to not feel pain. it is in how people do this that is different for everyone and he did what he felt he needed to do, as he journeyed through life, and even at its end. i feel the loss of his presence in this world, and i feel for the pain of those who were closest to him.

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    1. This is good. Your description of a core part of the human soul … in this case, pertaining to R.W. I appreciate this sobering piece: “the instinct to survive, to not feel pain … different for everyone ..” Yes, a little paradox as well – – – one’s desire to survive & not feel pain, and that leads one to consider death, to survive because living doesn’t seem sufficient … Not that I agree with that reasoning. Hey, I need to respond to a more recent, encouraging, response, but I’m out of space, here. That will be coming down the pike shortly. Peace.

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  2. very nice T – and of all the tributes to RB – I have not read where anybody talked about how selfish or wrong suicide can be – and so when you wrote this -“Robin Williams messed up when he took his own life.” – I felt your seasoning and years of work unfolding in such a statement.

    and well said about doing the self- care if not for us – but for those who lives we touch – well said amigo
    cos we all do nee to “do” self-care

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    1. That feedback is immensely appreciated, that there is something valid about acknowledging that there is selfishness involved, and there is something wrong with taking a life that … really … doesn’t belong to us. WHOAAAA! What a wild concept that is, eh? Yeah, I do believe R.W. messed up; and I know that I have messed up; and I have actually met some other bro’s who have “messed up”, because there is a number of ways that we can mess up. If anyone is offended by that, and you aren’t one of them, my thought is “Let’s not take it personal, it’s simple. Human beings make mistakes … and yet I will not bring any condemnation to the table. Later. T

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