Anthony Bourdain: A Friend in my Mind

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Friday morning was a mad dash. I was off to two different offsite meetings before heading back to work. At almost mid-day was when I looked up my twitter feed. In that moment, I felt like my heart skipped a beat. It read “Anthony Bourdain was found dead by suicide”. I didn’t really understand what it meant; I had just watched the last episode  of Parts Unknown on sunday so he was still pretty fresh in my mind. This week was awful for the entertainment industry, first Kate Spade and now Anthony. I was puzzled, sad, wondering, afraid, questioning all at the same time. Lets take a walk back to how he became a friend – in my mind.

An Authentic Human Being

Anthony Bourdain was a real and authentic human being. He had money, success, fame but he knew those things did not exempt him from life – the daily struggles of anyone alive on this planet. He was who he was and he wasn’t ashamed of it. His love of travel and of food took him all over the globe. He was curious about cultures different from his, intrigued about how people lived, their values and the things that set them apart from other groups. There had to be more to a person or groups of people and Bourdain understood that.

There was a humility about him; he was willing to travel to remote parts of the world to sit with total strangers, share a meal and just listen. He gave others a chance to paint their own pictures, an opportunity to tell their own story – not the scripts written by people outside their experience. He ate any where from the best restaurants in world to eating on street corners and in back alleys; on many occasions trying things from menu’s that some of us wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. This part of him I could so relate to because I have gotten sick so many times from tasting and trying different cuisines in the past that I made up my mind to live vicariously by watching Parts Unknown and the Travel Channel.

He had things that he struggled with, that was no secret. It was said that he ran from his demons but not fast enough. Could it be that if he had taken time to acknowledge the things he was struggling with instead of painting a different picture to the world, he might still be here. I remember his last visit to a remote village in Asia where he made an eerie comment saying ‘it would be the last time he would be back there’, – I cannot help but wonder if he already knew what he was going to do. So sad, sad indeed.

We can’t keep losing people like this.  Something as simple as talking to someone else can go a long way to being free. Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle coupled with rest help re-center and refresh the body. Being in close contact with family, friends and loved ones keep us emotionally balanced. Mental illness is no respecter of persons. An icon was lost and we pray for peace for his family at this time.

 

Periwinkle Starr

 

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