For me and many others, things are not OK. Sometimes they are, but we don’t fit in and rarely feel quite right (whatever that is).
I get bouts of death anxiety. I always have. It got almost unbearable the year my childhood died, circa 2016 and early 2017. Death had taken my cool aunt and cleared out a chunk of my (and my peers’) childhood icons. In life I’ve felt underprepared for most things; anxiety and social isolation are like comfortable slippers. The kind that slowly cut into your ankles and shut down your vital systems one by one. So I was pretty fucked off to hear another one of ours, the tortured soul Mr Flint (apparently – I had no knowledge of his depression until this point) had taken his life.
It’s important to get things out in the open. Society does so much damage. We don’t talk about death (in the West), we ostracize and outcast people. Often by saying nothing or labelling the depressing shit as depressing shit we don’t/shouldn’t talk about. We only speak about pointless shit instead. We put up those fucking “Just be OK”/”Everything is la-dee-da all of the time” throwaway Social media posts that might as well have been assembled by the cat unicorn thing from the Lego Movie. We are ultimately discouraged from giving a balanced view of our world. I’m not saying we should mope all the time -and I for one do much too much of that already- but let’s put our thinking caps on and act appropriately.
Fuck you, death. And fuck our inability to cope with it. And you, depression. And the not showing emotion thing we all know is shunned, especially if you’re a man. As a clever race, we’re still so backwards.
And another thing. I did not know Keith Flint personally, but he stirred me and a whole crowd up into rapturous togetherness in a way I have only felt a handful of times in my life. I felt a horrible knot in my stomach as my girlfriend had idolised him more than I*, and as she doesn’t subject herself to the news and was working from home, I knew I’d have to be the one to break the bad news. Plenty of people found The Prodigy and Keith vital before we had, but that didn’t stop his death being a nasty, gut-smacking blow. It’s OK to be sad about someone you’ve never met checking out, despite what society would sometimes have you believe. If you got something from that person – hope, inspiration, anything, then that counts. Here’s hoping that as decent human beings we can learn to admit. To cry and be lonely and fucking depressed without labels and stigmas. No, I mean it. Without labels and stigmas. That we can be accepted without being in such a shitty place we don’t want or know how to go on. That nobody will listen or care. That we may have the chance to turn things around when we’re standing on the precipice.
Anyway, here’s an awesome cruelty-free male grooming products company called Kings, whose founder mentors and champions men’s mental health and what I’ve been rabbiting on about. And here’s the man doing his thing. May you continue to shine brightly and inspire, wherever you may be:
“Normal” business will resume next blog.
*Keith singled her out in a gig, mouthed something she’s pretty sure was “I like you!”, kissed her on the lips and proceeded to lick her hand. Pretty rock n roll, really! She also spent most of sixth form drawing and painting him and plotting a stake-out outside his mansion.