I get shaken every time I get reminded of the mental issues that are plaguing our world. Whether it’s you, someone you know, or not, the issues of depression, suicide, and mental illness are difficult things to hear and talk about. There are people out there, hurting, feeling alone, and hopeless. There are an average of 123 suicides per day in the US, according to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. And in just a matter of days, 2 individuals have reminded us that even wealth, affluence, adventure, and inspiration can’t hide from the dark shadows. My heart is overcome with sadness.
You know how there are people that you just want to have the pleasure of meeting in your lifetime? Someone you look up to, admire, inspires you. Someone that you know is the real deal, is just so unapologetically themselves. I have a long list of people that I hope to meet one day. Some have passed away and some are still living — Anthony Bourdain was one of those people on my list.
I respect the man; for his brutal honestly, his contribution to the food industry, his “don’t give a shit imma do me” attitude, his approach on other cultures, and the way he inspired us to approach other cultures with an open mind instead of a judgemental one. He appreciated food in a way that a lot of people don’t. He loved finer foods as well as simple home style cooking.He understood that food was much more to all of us.
I don’t know him. Heck, I don’t even know someone that knows him. But one of my life goals was to meet Anthony Bourdain one day and have him taste one of our dishes. He was a hero for us food underdogs. He gave us hope that there are people out there that were outside of our own culture that could appreciate what we had to offer. Even us, a small little family restaurant. It’s almost like he made the “mom and pop shops” cool. The idea of him walking into our little business like you see on his show. Sitting down and eating at one of our tables. I knew it probably would never happen, but there was a glimmer of hope that it could. That little glimmer was enough to make it possible. Until last Friday when the news hit.
I was saddened by the news that day, but even to this day I’m still effected by it in a way that I didn’t think it would. I thought it would pass. I know I’ve never met him, I guess I just admired him so much and saw in him things I wish I had the courage to be. I wish I could’ve sat down with him over a plate of sisig and a beer and just talk about life.
He was himself. He wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is. We thought that he was living a life that so many of us wanted. The ability to travel the world, experience new things and cultures, and eat great food while getting paid for it! But there were obviously things that us fans didn’t see. Maybe he felt alone during his travels. Maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe there were demons that were hard for him to battle. Maybe there’s more to it than the media wants us to know. I don’t know. None of us will ever truly know how he felt, what he saw, and what really happened.
What I do know is how he inspired me. He inspired me then, and he inspires me now. He inspires me to embrace the road that I’m traveling – the good and the bad. He inspires me to be honest with myself – brutally honest. He inspires me to tell my story and not be afraid of being judged. He inspires me to be myself and never be tempted to hide who I am. Most of all, he inspires me to embrace other cultures, show them respect and love because you never know the battle that they might be fighting.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Bourdain. Us fans are shaken as we thought there was so much more that we could learn from you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for our industry, world, and culture.