Robin Williams …What a Concept

Robin Williams, what a concept. Billy Crystal ended his tribute to the genius comedian with these words. As he shared stories of their friendship and highlighted William’s career, I reflected on my own research of issues that are so stigmatized in our culture that they haunt and threaten our individual and collective psyche – in many cases, they cost individuals their lives. When I was writing My Diary Unlocked, I collected thousands of diary entries on topics that affect our self-esteem and strip the pillars of our soul. I learned it was not only depression – or mental illness in general that diminishes our sense of self-worth. Anyone outside of the “normal” bell curve is subjected to how the elephant in the room, our society, deals with our very human characteristics and anomalies. Treating the disease of addiction with restrained resources in comparison to other diseases, withholding rights from our LGBT brothers and sisters, teaching our girls that their value comes from the shape of their bodies, ignoring the complexity of teen pregnancy with sweeping laws and no empathy for the teenage girl or consideration for what will become of her families’ future, giving lip service to bully prevention while cable news channel reporters run rampant and have access to millions of homes as they act like elementary school children and belittle their “enemies” … These are just a few things about which we need to take inventory as a culture if we are going to begin to break down the barriers for people like Robin and millions of others to become vulnerable enough to call for help. Today, right now, begin thinking what you can do to open up to a little more tolerance for others. A little more tolerance leads to a little more acceptance, which leads to more action. As we make our voices heard one by one, we influence the people who we elect to speak for us, and who decide whether we are insured for the help we need, and advertisers who sell our daughters short. Maybe, just maybe we will open their hearts and create a revolution of compassion and empathy for those that round out the entire curve of the bell, not just those at the top of it. How’s that for a concept?