Tuesday 12 August 2014

Robin Williams: A Tribute


With the suspected suicide of Robin Williams recently announced, I thought I'd write a little something. It might not be an eloquent little something, and it certainly won't be as profound as some of the other tributes that have been released over the last 24 hours, but it will be my little tribute. A tribute from a 25 year old woman who is incredibly sad to see such a funny, bright light go out way too soon. 

I was first introduced to Robin Williams around the age of 8. Give or take. I'm pretty sure the first film of his that I saw was "Mrs. Doubtfire", but it could've quite easily been "Jumanji". I loved both films for completely different reasons but it was the films "Hook" and "Good Morning Vietnam" that really got me.

"Good Morning Vietnam" is one of my all-time favourite films from my childhood. A strange choice you might say but it opened my eyes to world events that I'd just never thought about before. It made me think about my mortality at a young age, heavy stuff for a 10 year old I know, but it's true. Robin Williams played the part of the radio DJ perfectly; he bought just the right amount of comedy to the film and I couldn't help but love his character. His other, more comedic films were just perfect too; he was such a huge ball of energy and one you couldn't help but watch. Sometimes I thought he might brim over on screen with all that natural energy he seemed to exude in every role. But Robin Williams, like so many others before him, had his own personal demons. He was known as someone who battled with addiction to alcohol and drugs. He was candid when discussing these issues in public; he often referred to his darker times during interviews with a somewhat comedic air. Perhaps it was his way of normalising his addictions? It's hard to say. But it was plain to see that things hadn't always been easy for him. He was also known as someone who struggled with depression, a somewhat silent illness that can be as debilitating as any other. I know it's not something we all want to dwell on. I mean, who wants to focus on the bad stuff right? But there are some people out there for whom life is hard. And maybe it's not immediately obvious why. 

 I think one of the hardest things to understand when coming to terms with Robin Williams' death is the fact it's happened to someone who appeared, from the outside, to have everything you think one needs to be happy. He had a family and was loved by millions across the world, not only for his ability to make people laugh (and I mean belly laugh... You know? That inner, genuine, lovely, hysterical laughter that you think won't ever end?) but also his dramatic skill; think Goodwill Hunting and One Hour Photo. In a weird way I wish it was possible to turn back time with hindsight. Just so we could all find him and tell him just how great he really was. Tell him how much the world loved him and how much we'd all miss him if he were to go.

There have been times in my life where I've been so proud of us humans. When bad things happen, we really come together and we help one another. I actually think that's one of the things I love about us as a race; our inability to stop ourselves from helping. But it's easier to help and understand something when we can see it, isn't it? When you can see that someone is suffering the natural reaction is to help. But with something like mental illness, it's not necessarily there to see. I've found myself asking the question, "if things in the world were a bit different, would we still be losing such talented people to suicide?" As Mr. Brand has so eloquently put it ".... There must be something wrong with the world, if the world can't accommodate Robin Williams"

I think the one thing we can all take from the loss of such a talented man is that life itself is short. I know it's phrase that we band around a lot, but it's just so true! When life gets you down, please talk to someone about it and don't feel like you're alone. And if you see someone who looks like things are getting on top of them, just ask if they are OK. You never know what's going on inside.

Thank you for the wonderful childhood memories Mr. Williams, and a whole lot of laughs. I think I speak for a whole generation when I say you'll be truly missed.  

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