Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gone Missing

Something has been lost. Some things have gone missing. These things are gravely important. They're lived. Lives lived by human beings all around.

    I haven't been writing as much recently. The creativity, that need to produce...it's flowing ever so slowly, if at all. It's not necessarily been totally and utterly missing without a trace. But, let's just say that it's been quite difficult to locate, dodging me just when I think I know where to find it.

    I've been experiencing some sort of warm weather blues, and it has nothing to do with sunsets on the roof. It's summer, and that offers so many wonderful opportunities. Come on, pool parties, picnics in the park, beach getaways, roadtrips upstate. The possibilities are endless, and I've been taking advantage of the season, no doubt. But, I've been under a cloud of loss, creatively, for many around me that live no longer-- from artists to actors and now, the fashion industry, as a whole, has been hit several pretty ugly blows:
Kick to the gut- Jay Scott's disappearance...and as of last month, his found body in the East River.

Jay Ott disappearance, Jay Ott found, Williamsburg bridge death, depression and anxiety disorder, fashion designer death

    Seeing missing posters on every post, every corner, every store window in my neighborhood, scattered through every subway station of my daily commutes--well, that flyer never leaves me. It follows me. It can be ignored. It can't be escaped. That was the idea, of course, behind the campaign of his loved ones: to find Jay, or at least, to receive any word or tidbit of information regarding his whereabouts, and/or how it all led to this. Cold trail.

From March to May 8, I'd been constantly scanning strangers on the sidewalk, side alleys, etc. for any sign. Any sign that will point us to what and to who we're looking for. We're looking for life.

Jay Ott death, fashion designer missing, Brooklyn fashion designer, depression suicide, Brooklyn Williamsburg suicide

    Jay Ott lived in Bushwick, just a neighborhood east from mine. He was last spotted walking past a bodega 2 blocks from my apartment at 4:45 A.M. I've been there and at nearly that hour as well (oops!). Who doesn't want an egg and cheese with avocado at that time?!  Jay then continued to walk to the Williamsburg Bridge , where I myself have also been countless times. After that? Nothing. The sightings, the story, the man, son, the friend, and fashion designer cuts there. There was an ellipses in his biography. Not a period. There was no grand finale. No continuance and no ending. Of course, he exists in the hearts and minds of loved ones, but this wasn't how it was meant to unfold, right?

Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn bridge, Williamsburg Brooklyn
That, readers, is not an easy idea to fully fathom, much less, to be satisfied with.
It isn't acceptable.

    None of these are, per se. They're all unacceptable. But, what can we do to prevent these endings by our own hands? How can these instances be prevented? Can they? There must be something, some way, right? I refuse to believe that we're helpless when it comes to matters of the mind: depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, and other mental disorders. Something must be done. Something, someONE must be reclaimed. 

    Now, Mr. Ott's conclusion has been discovered...his final sentences written. His body washed up in Sunset Park on May 8. Cause of death hasn't been officially disclosed, but they have ruled out foul play. We can all speculate, but nothing is certain after reports of his long struggle with anxiety and depression surfaced.

walking the Williamsburg bridge, Jay Ott disapparance, fashion designer suicide

    This brings up much of what I touched on in my piece, spotlighting the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Being Uncool." It grabs at something inside of me. The focus here, though, is the overwhelming power of the mind. These mental illnesses, or chemical imbalances, if you will, have the ability to crush every other ambition, fond memory, natural talent and life goal. It needs to be addressed rather hidden, as if some dark and repulsive flaw that should be stowed away in a storage unit. We can't pretend that it isn't staring us in the face as we walk down the street, pay the deli guy for our soda, and grab a seat at the bar. We must as a society demand open eyes, ears, and mouths. These issues continue to surface over and over again with devastating endings, from suicide to violence against others.

According to the World Health Organization,  "more than 350 

million people of all ages suffer from depression. Depression is 

the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major 

contributor to the global burden of disease. "

Without a doubt, mental disorders affect those all around us. It could be you yourself who is reading. Friend, family member, co-worker. Don't pretend you've never felt the ripple. There is nothing shameful about this: it's a plagueMost recently and publicly, mental health was once again brought to the public's attention in the wake of the atrocious USC tragedy. There's an infinite amount of conversations that we could have about this vast subject, but we'd be here all day. I'll save my ramblings for a later date. But, how much longer are we going to wait? How much longer must we remain hush, hush about these very real, very painful, and potentially very dangerous thoughts, feelings, and issues? There are many facets, and therefore, millions of faces that represent the mental health battle. There's no standard--and this is far more complex than one-dimensional . This discussion must not only continue but escalate. Get angry, dammit. We cannot ignore the beast that is robbing us of friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members. Whether we lose them physically, or just emotionally/mentally...we're losing. I'm sick and tired of being stolen from. You should be too.

   Oddly enough, I had no real desire to write a few minutes ago when I began this. I've stumbled upon something that I was terrified would also go missing...my voice. It was here all along. I was looking for a scream, when I really just needed to whisper for awhile. And, you know what? That's ok. Take your time. We're just sad that you don't have any more of it, L'Wren, Michele, Jay, and countless others. 
Rest easy now.

 On a more upbeat note:

    While we're on this subject of creativity and the need for sporadic reflection, a few weeks ago, a friend who works for John Doe PR invited me to a cocktail hour and short film event that she assured me was "right up my alley." I'd had a long weekend, and truth be told, people are generally encouraging me to attend this or that. Don't mistake my attitude for pretentiousness. I'm grateful for the opportunities, but it's easy to constantly feel pulled in every direction, leaving little time for myself. But, my friend was right, thankfully. Set at the stunning Crosby Street Hotel and hosted by illy, a deliciously divine Italian coffee company that represents "much more than coffee."  Literally, they provided coffee liquor cocktails beforehand. A beautiful marriage, if I say so. The global company's CEO, Andrea Illy explained, "It's an experience. It's not just about getting your caffeine. For true coffee drinkers, it's the whole process." This thinking was translated into the illy-sponsored short film entitled "Inspiring Creativity," directed by the arts and culture organization Liberatum. illy and Liberatum's collaboration resulted in a beautiful montage of interviews that explore the concept of "creativity," what drives it,  how its effects manifest in the world around us, and once again perpetuate the inspirational process.

    Running only about twelve minutes long, this film packs a punch with commentary from various artistic, musical, and talented leaders from painters and composers to actors and directors. Give it twelve minutes of your day. I think you'll feel the way the audience did about it: a film that beautifully demonstrates its namesake. Oh, boy! You should have heard the panel discussion that followed the film. Five contributors from "Inspiring Creativity" took the stage  to debate, lecture, and even argue with one another about this highly-charged term, creativity. Let's just leave it at, to each, their own. Entertainingly enough, they can agree to disagree, but their diverse opinions and methods of expression proved that our differences provide the basis for some of the most interesting work we can imagine. The process begins again, giving birth to the new.

Create and cultivate-- even if it's simply understanding or kindness toward others...

and even more so, toward yourself. 

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