Robin Willams – The Things We Could Have Said

Dear Mr. Williams,

In the days following your death, my newsfeed was inundated with thank-yous: Thank you for the laughs… Thank you for the inspiration… Thank you for the clowning… Thank you for the smiles… Thank you for making sure we all kept up our happy, even when you were dying. I want to thank you too. And I want to tell you that I am so very, very sorry.

I am sorry that we couldn’t be there for one another.

I am sorry that you couldn’t reveal your pain.

I am sorry that we couldn’t share the burdens of our days.

I am sorry that we are force-fed happy from the time we are born, and that we rarely get to see each other for who we truly are. And even as I sit here, I am watching parents censor their children’s emotions, modify behaviour, nullify authentic in favour of polite.

I am so sick of blind optimism. I am so sick of faking. I am so sick of slap-some-happy-on-it-and-everything-will-be-ok.

Everything is not ok.

You are proof. So am I. So are my friends and loved ones who are in so much pain I can taste it, but who are too busy keeping up appearances to get down to being real. So are their friends. And theirs. And theirs…

What are we so afraid of?

I know what I’m afraid of: I’m afraid of being ostracized. I’m afraid of loosing respect. I’m afraid of being treated like a pariah, because we do that to one another. We avoid anything that makes us uncomfortable. We avoid anything that asks us to face the truth of who we are. We exile and excommunicate and villainize, because we have no idea what to do with vulnerability. Because we just wont risk being recognized as vulnerable ourselves. And I know a little something about depression. I know a little something about putting on your game-face and gettin’er done. I know a little something about the strength it takes to fight that battle – hour after hour, day after day, year after year.

And here’s what I want to know: