A Reminiscence; RIP Robin Williams

It was the autumn of 1999. My freshman year of high school; I, an awkward loner plagued by disfiguring acne and too smart for my own (or anyone else’s) good. A relative of mine was having major surgery, potentially life-threatening were something to go wrong. The group of friends with whom I’d laughed and loved throughout middle school had splintered into three rival factions. I, ever the peacekeeper, found myself stranded amid the three, amicably welcomed by each, accepted into none.

My eating disorder of choice has historically been bulimia, but at that time it became anorexia. I dropped to 115 lbs. Lying in bed at night listening to my heart palpitate became a sort of joy; a form not quite of self-flagellation, but emanating from a similar frame of mind. My sister and I were not yet close; I wandered the high school halls a gaunt ghost, excelling at my academic work, an absence in all other aspects of life. And then my relative’s looming surgery.

I stumbled upon the film What Dreams May Come, and something in the adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel resonated in that particular moment. I ascribe it mostly to my very religious and apocalyptically-minded upbringing; regardless, facing the potential of losing this dear relative, facing (not unhappily or without a sense of relief) my own mortality — imminent to me at that point, this film and novel struck a chord. It joined Good Will Hunting as a performance of Robin Williams’s that altered the manner in which I viewed the world around me and myself. It made me appreciate life in a manner in which I previously hadn’t.

I’ve already commented on Twitter and Facebook how Williams’s own struggles with depression and substance abuse helped me through my own vale of darkness, and why his taking his own life hits particularly hard. He will be missed and missed dearly.

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~ by Benji on 11 August 2014.

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