This article is in no way a comment on Anthony Bourdain.
I love food and love cooking and love travel. I’d never seen (or even heard of) Anthony Bourdain until an alert came across my phone from the BBC that he was dead. And that apparently he had committed suicide.
I read some things about him and he seems interesting enough and I might go back and read and watch more. And I think it is incredibly sad when someone reaches a level of ‘success’ that he seems to have reached and still feels that life is worth living.
Like with the death of Robin Williams I wonder what the knock-on on effect will be – the whole “if he doesn’t see the point, what about someone like me”?
And that is why I am here to say that the life and death of Anthony Bourdain mean nothing to you. Bourdain had his own life, lived his own way. His level of outward success might inspire you to follow your own path to a level of success, but it should not make you feel that whatever gains you have made have been for nothing because he felt he could not go on, despite his successes. You do not walk in his shoes, suffer his demons, attain his successes. That was all him.
What you can do is more important because it is within your own life. No matter how many awards Bourdain received, you still had to get out of bed in the morning and do whatever you do. No matter how many times Bourdain faltered, it takes nothing away from the accomplishments you’ve had. The times that you’ve shone, be it in a small or a big way.
This is the dirty underbelly of celebrity – when someone raised so high by society is not ripped down but of their own volition ends their life we are left with this void. The whys. This is why you can’t let your self-worth or your happiness depend on the two-dimensional representation of another human being. We might – will – never really know what was going on inside Bourdain’s head. And there is no reason why we should.
You can make your own successes. You can conquer your own demons. You may use others as inspiration but never use them as a measuring stick to decide if your own life measured up.
I have nothing but sympathy for those around Bourdain, his friends, and family – including his girlfriend Asia Argento, whom I met briefly years ago. When someone in your life commits suicide it is a tragedy.
But please, just remember, Bourdain was not in your life.