Today, my entire facebook and instagram timelines mourn and weep as we have lost one of the greatest minds of our time. It is an understatement to say Anthony Bourdain only inspired us to explore worlds unknown to us. He inspired us to seek and open our hearts to the parts of life we often tend to look away from. As a Mexican, I can say that he touched us to our very core when he ventured into places we often have considered dangerous, vulgar, or belittling.
As a mezcal producer and as a wannabe foodie, I was, as many have said before me, a fan girl. Watching his shows, I would daydream of one day visiting every corner of the world he stepped foot in. Talking about my mezcals and sharing my passion with those willing to listen and be captivated by agave, I always knew one day I would be able to do the same with him on the other side of the table. Today, that possibility no longer exists for me. But the possibility of reaching others who can make the decision to keep existing does.
I write this today because I am angry, sad, sickened, and desperate. We live in a world where we are ready and willing to engage in festivity, joy, and excess, but turn a blind eye to the pain, loneliness, and heartache that exists all around us. Two years ago I found myself crying incessantly at the same time that I was celebrating and rallying night after night, drink in one hand and a deep sense of emptiness in the other. I couldn’t say that I wasn’t surrounded by love. I was, and still every feeling inside me felt like I was undeserving of it.
My entire life I have battled an excess of sensitivity and emotions that just take over me. I cry all the time. Alone or in public. I still remember crying when I was 10, the first time I went back to Mexico City after being in California for some time, as I saw a young girl my age on the street with her mother begging for coins. As I’m writing this now my eyes are filled with tears.
For years, I can remember my family shaming me for being too sensitive. To this day, my mother shames me for not being “strong enough”. But luckily, one day I decided this was just the way I was. And I no longer care if you see me crying. This is the way I am. I feel too much, and that can be a blessing or it can be a curse. But it’s just the way I am. And those who love me can deal with this part of me.
Emotions are nothing to be ashamed of. Hurting is nothing to be ashamed of. Feeling too much is nothing to be ashamed of. We live in a world where we glorify strength and masculinity. But enough is enough. Men feel, just the same way women feel. And mental illnesses are a real thing. Resources abound in this digital age, you only need to ask. Meditation apps, counseling, groups, friends, and family are all around us.
I thought my life would be over if I failed at the business I had been so passionate about creating. I pictured scenarios in my head where I would no longer be able to face anything if I lost the brand I was associated with. I googled entrepreneurs who had taken their own life, and then I googled resources to cope with the stresses of being a business woman. And after taking ownership for my life and my path, I decided I would not be defined by what I did. I was more than just La Niña del Mezcal, and my role as an entrepreneur would be a means to an end. We are more than what we do. Our jobs in this industry do not define the wholeness of who we are. We matter much more than what our job title says we do. The people in our lives matter much more than the after party or the next cocktail conference.
Take the space and the break you need. If you feel alone, reach out to a friend and tell them how you feel. If you feel sad and can’t understand why, call your best friend and tell him/her how you feel. Many times, when we feel devastated our own minds cannot comprehend why. We belittle the reasons we feel hurt, betrayed, or just plain misunderstood. But remember you are not alone. We all go through these moments, and no matter how helpless, alone, or miserable you feel, help is just a google, a mindfulness app, a book, a sermon, or a friend or family member away. Nobody will judge you for asking for help. We are all vulnerable whether we like to admit it or not. And if you see someone afraid of asking for help, don’t be afraid to reach out. You’ll be surprised at what the power of love can do.