This outpouring of social grief over the suicides of two celebrities last week, has left me thinking… Is this social outcry, the same white noise that contributed to Kate Spade (Fashion Designer, 55) and Anthony Bourdain (Traveller/Writer/Chef, 61) taking their own lives?
The millions of people turning to social media to express sadness, and feelings of pain and loss, for people that they did not have meaningful two-way relationships with is interesting. How is it that thru media alone, can one person (celebrity) can have an impact which causes emotional, and even physical pain, to strangers? Is this genuine?
What if, in life, that celebrity felt the enormous internal pain inflicted by of a whole world of people who thought they knew him? Millions of “people” aka social accounts that wanted his attention, or a piece of his fame? What if the noise of social celebrity was absolutely deafening? What if you couldn’t get that noise out of your head? What if you felt like every hour of every day people wanted a piece of you? How would you even survive?
Is this what musician and celebrity suicides have in common?
Rather that a state of depressiveness, is suicide the ultimate “flight” choice? Meaning that when your most basic instincts are “fight” or “flight” is this what it comes down to? To fight would be to regain your privacy and find your one true inner voice. But what if that seems impossible? What if though you try, you can NEVER quiet the madness? Is this when select musicians and celebrities choose “flight?”
I can only speak to my own experience, but I have definitely been overwhelmed with demands. (I think most of us can relate.) Have you ever wanted to run away or quit work because it felt too chaotic or absolutely overwhelming? I definitely have. So that’s when I would travel. On the hard days, I would desperately cling to the anticipation of my next vacation. Escaping or getting away from my regular life was always the reprieve I wanted and needed. The chance to go exploring and mix among strangers was wonderful. I love the freeing feeling of anonymity.
Travel was my escape from reality when I owned a busy restaurant. At work I would typically be in the kitchen filling orders on a busy busy night (multitasking to finish multiple dishes simultaneously) and at the same time staff were asking questions and guests were wanting to visit/socialize have my ear. It was always chaos. At times I wanted to race out the backdoor and hide from all people and responsibilities. I would fight through it and divide my attention every way possible, but it was an awful feeling, like you’re never enough. There’s never enough time of “you” to go around. That’s just me, and on such a small scale, but I absolutely believe teachers and nurses and politicians and business owners also feel similar internal strife. And if this is our every-day lives with 30 people nagging at us for attention, imagine it on a celebrity scale. No thanks. I wouldn’t last.
So what if, the same social madness that reaches out in grief, is the same social madness that caused the tragedy? Is the only way to rest in peace, to stop the noise?