I know, that in this day and age, guilt takes over when we let the Kardashians take over our Sunday afternoon instead of spending time donating to breast cancer research or volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. I know that scrolling Perez Hilton instead of reading about Gaza is enough to make me feel like I don't even deserve another day on this earth. It's come to the point that anything celebrity related is deemed "pointless" and "trivial" compared to the rest of the world's problems.
I'm not here to argue that point.
I'm here to say that Robin Williams doesn't fit into that category.
Robin Williams made art that changed my generation. His humor, his storytelling, and his thousand and one different impressions is what I watched growing up.
He was no celebrity. He was an artist.
He was no Kardashian/JWoww/Honeybooboo nonsense. The man taught the world lessons.
In Aladdin, we learned to believe in things that seem impossible.
In Jumanji, we learned to finish what we started with dignity, even when it sucks, even if we get dirty, even if it's been haunting us since childhood.
In Mrs. Doubtfire, we learned that a father's love is fierce, and humility is of the essence when trying to keep a family together.
The list goes on with Hook, and Patch Adams, and The Birdcage - all movies where we learn that humor heals. All proof that laughter really is the best medicine.
See, Robin Williams was not just a "celebrity". He was a representation of dozens of different characters in humanity, and more. Besides being a creepy photo developer, and a doctor, and the bicentennial man, he was there to be the lost boy, and the genie, and the scientist that made green Flubber.
FLUBBER, YOU GUYS. DID YOU FORGET ABOUT FLUBBER TIL I JUST SAID IT?
See, exactly. Childhood memories, eh? A little chuckle over the flubbski? I bet.
Not just any celebrity can bring about epic feelings of childhood. Robin Williams is one of the few artists in our time that has that gift.
Robin Williams is to be celebrated, as his wife has asked, as his talents demand.
But it's also okay to mourn our loss.
We, as a people, have lost something really huge. We lost the man who wasn't afraid of letting us in. We lost the man who brought us along on his journey even though we couldn't possibly believe someone would be crazy enough to take it in the first place.
And most devastating, we lost another battle with depression.
Robin Williams signifies the real struggles that are taking our friends, our family, our artists away from us. We can no longer ignore the mental health issues that torture even the happiest "seeming" of souls.
So this loss is a wakeup call and perhaps, one final lesson that we can take away from Robin Williams' brilliant and colorful life.
No matter how inspired or creative one may be, we never know the dark forces that haunt an individual behind closed doors. And it's not for us to judge - or detect - or prescribe.
There's only one thing we can learn from this.
We have to love one another.
Oh my goodness, love. If you haven't seen The Fisher King please watch it right now and let Mr. Williams capture your heart and teach you all about love and compassion.
Compassion is key in the survival of the human race, quite literally. Your difficult boss, your horrible sister, your emotionally unavailable boyfriend - you might not know what's happening inside their troubled minds. Even on the most horrific day, compassion is key. Compassion is key.
You never know what someone else is going through. So compassion is key.
If we learned anything from the movie Jack, where Robin Williams was treated as an outcast for his aging condition that made him look like an adult even at age 10, we learned that compassion is key. He showed so much love for his fellow classmates that eventually, someone saw past what he looked like, and saw that he was a beautiful, loving soul despite his outward appearance.
Compassion is key. Art is essential. Laughter is medicine.
That's what I learned in my 27 years on this planet with Robin Williams' movies. As an actress, I admire his ability to think on his feet, and to step into any character, and to blow my mind with creativity. But as a human - from age five and up - he taught me that compassion is key. Art is essential. And laughter is medicine.
Robin Williams made me laugh so hard that I know he was put on this planet for a reason. He entertained us and moved us and made us feel things we needed to feel. He inspired me, and I'm sure countless others, to want to perform and share myself with the world as he did - authentically and unapologetically.
And so it's okay to mourn someone who could do all of those things. It's okay - necessary even - to grieve for the loss of a talented artist who represented so many things you and I might never get to experience. It's okay. It's okay to be sad.
And then, as hard as we grieve, we must equally celebrate what Mr. Williams did leave behind. Start the films rolling. Celebrate what we do have on film - those thousand and one impressions he did so fearlessly and consistently.
After all, we can never take films for granted. There is always something new to see. I'm sure we have plenty of new lessons to learn that we've forgotten about since Aladdin first graced our living rooms as kids. I think Robin Williams had a lot to say, and I'm willing to bet, that we can spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out all the things he had to share and still not discover everything he had to offer.
And I don't even know if that's what he would have wanted, but I do know that artists take great pleasure in having their art outlive them. To have their art influence future generations. To make this world a more beautiful, more compassionate, more alive place. That's why most of us get caught up in the arts to begin with - because we've seen it outlast centuries and we know that it's timeless.
And you and I both know, that Robin Williams' art is more than timeless - it's the gift that keeps on giving.
So I loudly declare, that there's no need to feel guilty for realizing and mourning our loss.
Because as Mr. Williams said in his unforgettable portrayal of Hunter "Patch" Adams:
"You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win, no matter what the outcome."
I think that Mr. Williams treated us - as a whole, as a people - and we are all better off because of it.
And I ask you, how can anyone feel guilty for mourning the loss of someone that could do that?
May this world continue to be blessed with fearless artists who are inspired by Robin Williams' comedy, courage, and creativity. May we pour out compassion. May we be aware of mental health and the sickness that comes with it. May we cherish each day and the moments that make life worth living. And may we always be thankful for the one thing the genie, voiced by the late, great, Robin Williams, cherished most.
Freedom. From freedom comes art. And I'd like to think that Robin Williams is now free from whatever demons have been haunting him these past couple years.
"But oh, to be free... Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world."
Rest In Peace Mr. Robin Williams, and thank you for giving the world the gift of YOU.
*This post originally appeared on Amanda Trusty Says in honor of Robin Williams' passing.
Level up. Read THIS and be the most interesting person at your dinner party. Learn more