Let me start out by saying that I love Robin Williams. Always have, always will. I was only a couple of years old when I first saw Hook and since then, he was a constant source of color in my life – from his funny films like Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji and Flubber, to the bittersweet and melancholic ones like Patch Adams, Jakob the Liar and World’s Greatest Dad.
The news of his untimely death hit me the same way it hit everyone else – like a huge avalanche swallowing me up. Then I found out that his death was the result of a suicide, and then it felt like the avalanche turned into this gigantic boulder that had just fallen on top of me.
And then someone I follow on Twitter retweeted this:
This tweet was retweeted over 320,000 times and was liked by over 220,000 users. What’s even more striking is that various websites and blogs have described the tweet as “beautiful” and “perfect”.
I debated with myself for a long time on whether or not I should share my own thoughts. I didn’t want to speak up at the wrong time and come out as tactless and insensitive. But ultimately, I realized that I’d rather come out as tactless and insensitive than choose to keep my mouth shut on this one.
So here it goes…
To me, that tweet is neither beautiful nor perfect. It wasn’t touching or sentimental, and it did not make me feel all warm inside. You know what it made me feel? Anger. You know why? Because to me, that tweet is dangerous. And careless. And stupid.
I’m not condemning Robin Williams for committing suicide. I’m not here to say he should have known better. I’m not here to say he shouldn’t have done what he did. Who am I to judge him when I know absolutely nothing about what he was going through?
No, I’m condemning the idea of suicide “freeing” you.
For those of you who’ve been following my blog for some time now, you’d know about my best friend who tried to commit suicide more than a year ago. When I read that tweet, I immediately imagined my best friend in the state she was in at that time reading the very same thing, and it terrifies me to my very core. And I swear I could just punch the person who posted that tweet for all the world to see.
It’s just… it makes me so mad, knowing that if that tweet existed 17 months ago and my best friend saw it, there’s a possibility that she might not be here anymore. Because that’s just what that careless tweet might have resulted in. It tempts us. It tickles a bone in our body that’s a sucker for the grand and beautiful downfall.
I admit I’ve never been depressed so I may be talking about something I don’t fully understand. But honestly, when it comes to people I love, I don’t feel the need to understand things first as much as I feel the need to say what needs to be said and, more importantly, what needs to be heard. I need them to know there is hope, that life is worth it no matter how shitty it gets, that giving up is the easiest thing to do but that we are made for so much more than just the easiest things.
One thing I’m damn well certain of is that the last thing people who are battling with depression need to hear is that suicide frees them, like they’re birds that have been given a chance to escape. That’s bullshit.
Life isn’t a cage we should be freed from. Life is the sky.
I just feel that the tweet was done more for the sake of artistry and its ‘special effects’ than as a means to honor Robin Williams. If you’re going to honor the passing of a beloved, celebrate their life. Don’t romanticize their death. Because this isn’t a Disney film anymore. This is real life.
Because if we’re being completely honest here, Genie isn’t free. Genie is dead. And there is no freedom in that kind of death, there is only an end to a life that could’ve had a thousand beginnings.