I have always said if I could be one person in this world it would have been Anthony Bourdain. I also used to joke that if Martha Stewart & Anthony Bourdain had a baby it'd be me...I'm not so sure how the two of them would feel about that idea but that's the easiest way to sum up my interests. I imagine Anthony would have shuddered at the thought (no offense Martha). He got to travel, write, change the world through award winning television & really, truly connect with people through conversation by listening & honoring them & their culture. There were parts of his life I wouldn't want however I have always admired his ability to face the messy middle of life, willingness to talk to the world about it & chase after his dreams. The way he launched his career on the global stage with the book Kitchen Confidential is inspiring. As an entrepreneur I love his story. As a Chef he understood why mise en place, the French term chefs use for "putting everything in its place," was important. That concept rings true in my work as an organizer & is especially important in the kitchens of the families I work with. The way he wrote about it made total sense to me.
I believe that we have got to talk about the messy part of life with one another, doing so honestly & with no ulterior motive just like he did as he traveled the world. Depression is real & something that all people struggle with at some point in their lives. It is a part of being human. The level or spectrum varies of course. Sometimes circumstantial, sometimes caused by other things, I see it all the time in those around me. I work through it myself due to circumstances that have been tough to deal with, always pushing through it with the belief that things will get better. I also see depression very often in my clients. The same area of the brain that's linked to decision making (which is what organization is rooted in) is also linked to negative thought, depression, ADD, ADHD & anxiety. It makes sense that if you're struggling with clutter there's a good chance you're struggling with one or all of those things too. Who hasn't at some point in their life? It is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide but because of the stigma it has & the way people treat each other people often do hide it. There's a balance there and we do have to be careful who we share it with. I believe if someone shares that with us we should not judge them harshly for it. It's a vulnerable space to let someone into so let's be thoughtful on how we respond. Gossiping about someone, oversharing what they're struggling with or staying silent when you know someone is truly struggling really isn't okay. Oppression isn't okay. Bullying & abuse isn't okay. These things cause depression & depression causes these things. It's a cycle & one we have to work to break. Watching my client's depression lift as we work through their organizing project is a big part of why I love what I do. Seeing their light return is rewarding. The dark times may come back but knowing the light can return helps & gives hope.
As we mourn the loss of a man that embraced the messy middle of life I hope we can remember to be the one to connect. The one to listen. The one to be brave for someone when their bravery is being dulled by another, by circumstances or their own thoughts. And just because someone appears to be strong, courageous & an adventurer doesn't mean they don't suffer. We have to help ourselves, one another and do good. We can't always save people from themselves but we can fight through the dark times for as long as necessary to make it to the light if we choose to. Do it for you first and that way you can then help others. Know you're not alone even when your support system may be small or non-existent. I know from experience what it's like to work through it alone. It is difficult but I believe it is worth the work. You are worth it.
“Behind that swagger, there was always that tortured shy guy.” ~ Ruth Reichl
Look through the swagger of others & see the tortured shy person, reach in & help when you can if they will let you. Honestly and for the greater good.
Thank you for your work Anthony Bourdain, you are still an inspiration.