Donate to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
I am giving away digital versions of this print this week. Send it to someone who might need to know someone is thinking of them.
Or go to my Saatchi Art Site. While Saatchi doesn't allow me to give anything away for free, I will refund my profits from your sale of this piece for this week, or donate it to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I will send you a receipt, which will be tax deductible or write offable- whichever.
Most Depressing Week In Celebrity Death History
I never knew how poignant and time appropriate this piece would be when I was working on it these last two weeks.
Depression affects more people than we realize. For quite a while, I was one that thought people should just power through it, use a little will power and get their stuff together. It is more of an epidemic in this country to pretend everything is fine when it's all going to hell than all those little diseases that travel up from South America turning us into Tony Shaloub in Men In Black. Could you imagine if the choppers covered the sky following ambulances to hospitals every time someone committed suicide like they did when that one Ebola guy came back from Haiti or wherever. We were all glued to the TV, thinking that this one person could somehow affect the entire country. What if the news cared about suicide like they do these diseases that, at most will affect 1 in every 1 million people? We'd rather pretend it doesn't exist, that people around us aren't dying right and left from this epidemic. That, for some reason, that sickness isn't only un-newsworthy, but that it's more repulsive to us Americans than someone literally crapping themselves to death. We have a sickness; those of us that aren't suicidal, bi-polar or depressed that we vomit on to those that deal with thoughts that they feel they can't share. They go through life thinking that we will toss them aside if they are shown to be mentally unfit- cast out like a leper.
Kate Spade, according to her sister, was reluctant to get help because she thought it would negatively affect her brand. She suffered all that time, being loved by everyone in the fashion world and outside of it. She just seemed like one of us that happened to make it big. Everyone I know thought of her and Andy as the best, most likable couple in fashion. I wonder if she knew how fondly everyone thought of her; how the majority would never think bad of her for having issues that most of face in our own lives. My heart broke when I heard of her suicide. I had just listened to her interview with Guy Raz a few weeks before, and it reassured me of the normality of her and Andy. I feel for her family she left behind, and I mourn the years that she felt so alone and life was a constant battle.
Then Anthony Bourdain, another favorite celebrity of mine, for his ratty old Ramones t-shirts, his willingness to get dirty, step out of his comfort to find common humanity in alien cultures, and speak his mind, seemingly unedited. I think we all felt like he did at times, and his humor caught us all off guard a lot. One of the most remarkable moments (I believe it was on a "No Reservations") was when he took the life of a pig because it was an honor to do so in this particular culture he was visiting. The camera was continuously on him. He leaves the tent immediately after stabbing the pig, smokes a cigarette and cries. Through his abandon, he allowed us to see his humanity... while simultaneously hiding what made him feel so ashamed. It was the sickness of the culture in which he was raised; the onerous burden placed on him by his time in history that killed him. Had the world not forced its celebrities, its CEOs, its housewives and husbands to be perfect as they are "perfect" Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade may still be contributing to our society, making us laugh and opening our minds, hearts and fashion sense.
CBS Sunday Morning showed an increase of 30% since 1999 in overall suicides. In women that increase was 80% in the same time. What has happened in that time to affect those numbers so drastically? Like so many things, I believe the internet is partly if not the majority cause of so much in our pain as a society. People with unfounded hate find others to agree with them, create online cults, and shoot up schools or run over protestors. Those that feel under-appreciated, can easily fill their desire to degrade themselves further; that is if someone else isn't already doing that for them through bullying online.
Facebook, Instagram, etc. keeps the pressure on to make everyone you've never met think that you're life is this amazing non-stop adventure. Celebrities aren't immune to this either, obviously. There are people that honestly have more money than we can imagine having in our lifetime, travel the world year round, have housekeepers and nannies to make sure they can do what they want, when they want, and yet they still fall victim to this idea that they are missing something...enough to end their lives.
Then what chance do we have? We need to cleanse our addictions to seeing the world through the lens of a phone and snapshots that are meticulously edited. Those of you that use these sites, stop constantly editing your life, and allow others to see your kids sitting at a table, maybe even acting like little jerks. Show your dog whining and peeing on your favorite rug. Lets use the internet to laugh at ourselves instead of exalting our lives to some magical level that even we can't live up to.
Instructions for the week:
1) Look up from your phone into someone's eyes (this is a lost skill that may need practice.)
2) Have a conversation with your mouth like people did for centuries before us. Somehow it worked for them.
3) That can be your #tbt this week.