Yet another person with whom I had a strong affinity appears to have taken his own life. RIP Anthony Bourdain. There are a lot of reasons I appreciated his work, particularly on his travel series. I found a kindred spirit there in someone who had had something of a rough past but had grown into an enthusiasm for the world through the mechanism of food to bring people together.
As he grew into what one could argue was his second career, as a travel journalist, I found myself increasingly aware of my own desires to relish joining others in very different places than I was accustomed to in order to hear stories about their lives and cultures. At the same time, I felt drawn to Bourdain because, much like he did, I found myself growing into this new world where our old patterns of behavior in a thoroughly patriarchal society came under a harsh new examination by ourselves and others.
This latter point is part of what drew me so strongly to my former partner. They challenged me in a number of ways that I am grateful for. When I couldn’t or didn’t look at the damaging ways in which I, myself, acted from ingrained, societal training, they were there to help me take a harsher look at it. There are certainly friends who helped in that, too, but when I became involved with them it become all-caps IMPORTANT to me. In my heart, I felt like I went from “ally” to something, I hope, is a little more proactive.
To this day, even though we are apart, I talk to people and take actions to, hopefully, try to be less stupid and make some headway towards something resembling equality across the board.
At any rate, my heart breaks once again knowing that someone I truly admired and yet was able to view as kind of a “big brother in spirit” has passed. Regardless of how it happened, it did, and now my world is a little darker for it. The one light I try to raise in it is to learn from his legacy and make progress on a similar path to the one he trod.
I remember late last year reading this essay by Bourdain. This part, especially in light of where things were at in my life truly stood out:
“In these current circumstances, one must pick a side. I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women. Not out of virtue, or integrity, or high moral outrage — as much as I’d like to say so — but because late in life, I met one extraordinary woman with a particularly awful story to tell…”
In my case, I had met and knew one extraordinary person in that scenario… and they changed me.
RIP Tony. Resilience is a pain in the ass, but I guess some of us have to do it.