I wasn’t going to write anything about Justin’s death. It’s not my place, and one can say I don’t have the right. At least, I say I don’t have the right. But it just might be possible that you need to read what I have to say. It might also be possible that I really need to write this, because this is how I mourn.
Over the past few days, I have seen some posts that I have been baffled by. These are posts by people who have had as little interaction with Jew Wario (watching a few of his videos, mostly crossovers) as me, yet were moved to tears and breakdowns over his death. I just didn’t get it. Not the people who were friends with Justin, or had meaningful interaction with him, or where encouraged by him. Those I got. Matt Burkett wrote a beautiful tribute. But it’s the people like me, who are like neighbors who have never met, or people who are not part of the reviewing community, that had me confused.
This isn’t to say that I don’t think the loss of a human life – by suicide or by other cause – is a terrible thing. It’s taken me a long time to get there, but I do understand that part. But emotions, for me, are about things you can do. Anger makes sense to me, because it’s something that you can put to use. Sadness about something going on in your life makes sense to me, because it can motivate you to change things. But grief? When someone close to me dies, I feel sad about it, do a tribute. But I can’t help but see things like a Tralfamadorian. So it goes. That’s the way of life. There’s nothing that can be done about it.
I should point out that this isn’t some sort of bragging. I don’t think this makes me badass. There was a time when I would have been proud of it, but there was also a time when I would have been proud of hurting a friend to prove I was strong enough, so the idiocies of my teen years really don’t apply to anything after that. I don’t think I’m Boba Fett.
No, to quote the latest season of Sherlock, “[do I know anything about] nature? No. Human? No.” I have long since accepted that my brain processes information and emotions different than other people. Like anybody who has such a difference, during my most successful moments I tend to be grateful for these differences and treat them as great strengths, and during my least successful moments I tend to feel they are significant weaknesses. In situations like this, where I am trying to understand and interact with the emotional side of human nature, the latter counts.
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I understand how you feel, and it doesn’t matter if you understand how I feel. If this is how some people react any time anybody around them dies, that’s okay, although I feel like these people are at serious risk down the line with all of the well-publicized mass murders going on. If this is how some people react whenever anybody that they know is nice, or whose art they like, that’s fine too, although in some ways I feel that’s missing the point. And if I’m completely missing the point, that’s fine as well. Because whether you’re a complete stoic who doesn’t have a damned thing to say, or whether the most distant death causes you to break down for the rest of the afternoon, or whether you’re somewhere in between, you’re free to your own methods. I won’t say anything, and neither should somebody else.