June 9, 2018

Remembering Bourdain

If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, call Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566 or text them at 45645. For international resources, please check out this page.

I’m no stranger to depression. I’ve lived with a piggyback guy for the majority of my life, on and off medication. I’ve attempted suicide, and I’ve been close to attempting more times than I can remember. It is an insidious, debilitating disease—even though I am high functioning,” it affects me, it cripples me, daily.

The deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain this week were troubling, sad, surprising, but ultimately, not entirely shocking. It is always those who are strongest, those who bear the darkness of the world so that the lives of others can be bright, that struggle the most with that darkness.

Bourdain and Spade brought joy and light and brilliance; we didn’t see the darkness that sat behind that luminescence. We need to be better at acknowledging that darkness, that struggle; we need to validate it, care for it, and understand that it affects so many of us, every single day.

Bourdain’s suicide was particularly hard to grapple with last week, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. Maybe it was because he was so universally beloved; maybe it was because he always showed us that life was worth living.

Over the past few decades, people have often asked me how I’m able to connect with people so easily, to develop such close relationships with people around me, even strangers. I respond quickly: I am infinitely curious.

Maybe that’s why Bourdain’s suicide was so hard to process: if anything, Anthony Bourdain also exemplified this infinite curiosity. Maybe I am still finding it hard to grapple with his death because I see so much of him in me.

Maybe that’s why so many of us are taking it so hard: we see so much of him in ourselves. For some, like me, it’s in the unending curiosity for others. For others, it’s in his love of travel, of food; his way of speaking the truth while still being universal, or his desire to have fun through exploration. We see ourselves in him, and him in our own characters. We mourn for his loss, and we wonder what that means about ourselves, too.

I didn’t know Anthony Bourdain personally; my interaction has been with his work, his character. The best remembrances are from those that knew the man. Some of my favorite remembrances are below:

From President Barack Obama:

From Shivana Sookdeo:

https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005069391938060288 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005069712152244224 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005070257147572225 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005070853057449984 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005071313277419521 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005071636851298305 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005072493210726401 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005073276467638272 https://twitter.com/toastasaurus/status/1005074041311580161

From Helen Holmes:


From Yashar Ali:

https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113826235146247 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113827187310593 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113828168749056 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113829326376960 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113830047866881 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113831494860800 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113832547598337 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113833436864512 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113834204364800 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113834934190080 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113835777245184 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113836909748224 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113837878558722 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113838985887744 https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1005113839803756544

From Allison F.:


From Imraan Siddiqi:


From Khushbu Shah:


From Eve Ewing:

https://twitter.com/eveewing/status/1005072194370752514 https://twitter.com/eveewing/status/1005072644482445312 https://twitter.com/eveewing/status/1005073201582440449

From Tyler Johnson:


From Rachael Berkey:


From Andray Domise:

https://twitter.com/andraydomise/status/1005058785419784194 https://twitter.com/andraydomise/status/1005059413218955264 https://twitter.com/andraydomise/status/1005060340885831680 https://twitter.com/andraydomise/status/1005060528979435526

From Maura Johnston: