“The trouble is, you think you have time”—Jack Kornfield
I never watched Glee. I remember a lot of people my age at the time were kinda obsessed with it. I was never into musicals on TV. Correction: on American TV. I had watched enough Bollywood movies to know that I came to Hollywood for the romance, action, drama, and some morbidity. So, this past week I’ve really been trying to figure out WHY Naya Rivera’s disappearance (updated: death) is messing with me so hard right now.
For those who aren’t aware, Naya Rivera is an actress who is most known for her role in Glee. She disappeared last week while boating with her 4-year-old son at Lake Piru. Her body was found five days after at the lake.
I know her because she was the inspiration behind Big Sean’s hit, “I Don’t F**k With You.” Have to admit, that song was/still is a banger, but I really thought Naya was legit some “crazy chick.” I mean, all women go a little “crazy” when they get cheated on, no? Not just women—men too. Cheating has that effect. It brings out parts of you that you didn’t know existed. But, I digress.
When I found out about Naya’s disappearance, I was approaching my month long Twitter detox, so you know the first place I went to was Twitter. Of course it was trending and I read every goddamn tweet and every article that could have been written about her disappearance. I was just in shock. How could a woman someone just disappear in the middle of a lake? Of course she didn’t just disappear—she most likely drowned. It wouldn’t be so morbid if it wasn’t for the fact that her son was found alone on the boat and SAVED. And also because it took them almost 6 days to find her.
So why is it that when I talk to someone about her, I don’t tell them about the part where I stay up until 2am every night looking for updates, going through her IG, reading tweets and articles about her career, her family, in an attempt to figure out what kind of person she was. What she was doing in July 2020. What was she doing during quarantine, during COVID-19? To say I’m obsessed is an understatement.
But, this isn’t the first time a celebrity’s disappearance or death has messed me up FOR DAYS. I mean, everyone was F**KED UP after Kobe. But I was F**KED UP after Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Paul Walker, Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, Anthony Bourdain, Sushant Singh Rajput… and so, so many more. That’s the type of person I am. I’m THAT girl. Who gets emotionally attached to people who didn’t even know she existed.
But here’s the thing—the people I just listed, I was their fan. Like, I watched their movies/shows or listened to their music. And another reason I can excuse myself was that almost all the people mentioned died by suicide. That adds another layer of hardcore sadness and pure curiosity. It’s much easier to get over a death by disease, car/plane accident than it is to get over a death by suicide, or mystery. An unsolved mystery, even worse.
I may not have been a diehard fan of her, but Naya’s death hits extra hard right now is because it reminds us of our mortality in so many different ways. It doesn’t help that 2020 has already shown us that in multiple ways (I mean, did we really need more reminders, Universe?) She wasn’t sick. She wasn’t in the hospital for days surviving on a ventilator. It was a casual day when she left her home with her son to spend time at the lake she had frequented before. She most likely had plans for that evening, the rest of the week, the weekend, and so much more. The nonchalancy of the day is what gets to me. That feeling of being caught off guard. She was only 33.
Why and how is it that sometimes the people who have the BIGGEST plans, who go to sleep waiting for the next day to arrive, have their lives cut short? The morbidity of the situation is that the woman wrote a message about how “tomorrow isn’t promised” just a few days before her death.
We write these things, we believe in it, but are we really prepared? Is anyone ever prepared for that day when you have to say goodbye to the people and what you’ve built here and move on to the next chapter? Sure, if you’re 90 and everyone you really gave a shit about is already six feet under, then you’re probably patiently waiting for that day. But the rest of us, the ones who are not young enough to be children but still too young to die…well we’re the ones who are sitting here posting quotes about “living in the moment,” but never, ever being ready for that moment to come.
It makes you wonder, does one get a feeling of some sorts on the day their death is written for them? Of course, we’ll never know because well, no one has lived to tell.
Rest in Peace+Power+Love,