Robin's Mask

It was the anniversary of Robin Williams’ untimely death the other day which made me remember the sadness I felt when I found out that his brilliant madness will no longer disrupt the bleak misery of the world.

I always saw Robin Williams as an exciting character; I had first become aware of him when I watched Disney's Aladdin as a young boy and became entranced by the Genie. I also remember watching Mrs Doubtfire and being dumbfounded that he/she was the same person as the big blue magical man from the lamp. I would go round to my Grandma's house regularly and sit on the floor playing with a Mork action figure which, thinking of it now, was a weird thing for her to own. At this point in my life I was oblivious to the fact that the action figure was of Robin Williams as I had never even heard of Mork and Mindy, I just liked the toy.

He was always a pursuer of comedy, looking for anything that could be funny and then grabbing it with both hands. I grew to become a lover of comedy and Robin was always at the pinnacle of great American comedy for me. I understood too of his struggle with addiction and mental illness. He had so much energy inside of him that just wanted to burst out and so performing was his way of doing that. Maybe this energy and excitement was a mask for what was really going on inside him. Hidden behind his kindness and glistening eyes was a kind of awkwardness, like he was something else.

I've heard him speak frankly about mental illness and addiction and his articulate acknowledgement of these issues are something to behold. However, Robin Williams could not come to terms with being Robin Williams. I thought that being the age of 63 would grant some kind of maturity that would naturally prevent suicide, but I was wrong.
 I read recently that suicide among the middle-aged has been dramatically increasing annually since the year of 1999. Is this the condition of our era?

I'm sympathetic towards Robin Williams, a man who brings people happiness whilst possessing a lack of happiness in his own life. It's hard to imagine him having that lonely moment of morbid certainty where it no longer mattered how funny he was or who loved him. The man's talent was not sculpted or schooled but was natural, raw and vulgar.

Does this then highlight that all around us there must be people suffering behind masks who are less interesting than the one that Robin Williams wore? We should all, therefore, 
be mindful of how fragile we all are, how delicate we are, even when we seem to be bursting with energy and excitement. It seems that we all have an expiry date.

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