It was a weird week. I started off Monday feeling like I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing with my life and tried to get some clarity in the form of a hike in one of the most beautiful places in the Bay Area- Lands End Trail.
I didn’t get much clarity.
I did, however, post a photo on instagram along with a little explanation about how I felt kind of weird and unsure about life and felt not very good at it in general lately. I posted the photo as more of a check in; a hi how are ya, I’ve been not great about posting here and this is why. I didn’t expect to get many responses but got a bunch, all so supportive and lovely. This community really does rock.
And then news about Kate Spade, someone who clearly suffered so much, despite fame and fortune, and who had the resources to get help. A reminder that sometimes none of that is enough.
It was also a week of lots of reminders I’d rather not get- the rampant bigotry that is plaguing this country feels even stronger than usual, and I’m completely disgusted by it. It’s hard to post links to recipes when so much terrible shit is happening all around us. Feels so shallow.
And then I woke up Friday to the news about Anthony Bourdain.
I’m still a little bit in shock about it. His voice is so distinct, both the literal sound of it and his unique take on the world. I can hear it. His emotions were so apparent, always. He didn’t hold back. I don’t know if his goal with his books and his shows was to make the world a better place, but I really believe he did just that.
He was truly one of my heroes and I’m so devastated that he’s gone; that he won’t be bringing us on adventures around the world anymore. That he’s not here to speak out against injustice and inequality, which he did with as much passion as seeking out the best bowl of noodles.
He was one of the good ones. And from an outside perspective he seemed to have had it all; wealth, family, loved ones, the best job in the world – if anyone is a crystal clear example of how mental illness doesn’t discriminate, it’s Bourdain.
People are always being reminded that if they’re depressed, to reach out to friends, family, a suicide prevention hotline – and that’s great. Who knows how many people have heard those reminders at just the right time and done just that. But please remember that many people who are suffering from depression don’t know to reach out, don’t know how, or just can’t. Check on your people. Don’t forget the strong ones, the happy ones, the ones who seem to have the most perfect life…. If we’ve learned anything this week it’s that you just never know.
So what now? As sad as I am that Anthony Bourdain is no longer in this world, I’m trying to see it another way; that he lived so much more fully in his 61 years than most people would if they were given 10 lifetimes. I’m sad that he suffered as much as he did. But I have to believe that he also saw so much joy, and brought so much joy to so many people. That he opened so many eyes. Made people less afraid of people who were different than them. How many food or travel shows have done that?
I’m not sure exactly what’s next, for me. But I know I’m going to try my very best to live life, really live it. To stop comparing myself to other people; why have I been doing that my entire life? And I’m going to use my voice to speak out about what I think needs to be said. I got some pushback recently when I did that, and it made me want to speak even louder.
This site and my social media accounts will always be mostly about food, but I can’t keep quiet about the things that are feeling like a punch in the gut. I can’t eat when I feel that way, and I certainly can’t create casseroles and shit.
And in case you’re tempted to comment Stick with food, I don’t come here for politics; let me share with you a quote from Anthony Bourdain himself, who has most definitely been exposed to more cultures and demographics than you or I have.
There’s nothing more political than food. Who eats? Who doesn’t? Why do people cook what they cook? It is always the end or a part of a long story, often a painful one. Look, I travel around the world asking people, ‘What makes you happy, what do you eat and what would you like your kids to eat ten years from now?’ and I get some really interesting and complicated answers in places like Beirut, Iran, Vietnam, and even Detroit.
– Anthony Bourdain
So in honor of Bourdain, and because it’s silly I haven’t been doing this already; I’m going to speak my truth, I’m going to respect and admire my peers without comparing myself to them, I’m going to move more, and I’m going to use my voice to speak out for people who need help being heard.
And of course I’m still going to create lots of recipes and encourage you all to cook more and gather around the table with your loved ones as often as possible. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other.
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