Dalida was an Egyptian artist who sang in like ten languages, including French (I think her big break came in France). I was introduced to her by my AP French teacher. She told us, “Mais elle est morte, c’est tragique.

Over the summer I listened to Paroles, paroles, but it wasn’t until coming to Berkeley that I started to listen to her other songs, and I really started to appreciate her amazing voice. And, remembering the words of my French teacher, I went on Wikipedia to research her life.

She killed herself. And it was her second attempt.

Horrified, I went on to watch a French documentary on her life and the events that led to her death. Basically, she deeply loved three men in her life, and all three men took their lives. The first one killed himself after losing a singing competition; Dalida found him in his hotel room and she started (naturally) screaming so loudly the hotel staff were freaked out and pulled her from him. Their marriage had been announced a only few days earlier.

Her suicide note read, “La vie m’est insupportable…Pardonnez-moi.” (Life has been unbearable for me…Forgive me.)

I can’t speak for everyone, but given her life, I can’t blame her.

And it got me thinking about how simultaneously strong and weak the human heart is–how deep love takes great strength and trust but also how it makes us so vulnerable. How deeply must she have loved each of them, and how deeply she must have felt each of their deaths. I cannot imagine the magnitude of pain she felt, but I feel it is something from which very few people can recover.

I make this point in the self-help positivity that saturates our world today (and especially Silicon Valley). There’s a stigma attached to not being okay, and the simple solution is think it through, realize you were approaching it all wrong, and to come out a positive thinker. But how do you manage to think positive when you’ve gone through as much as Dalida had?

Perhaps self-help did work for you, and I’m happy for that. But people are unique and it is arrogant to force onto other people what one thinks is the best method, as it is so prevalent in self-help culture.

Ok now I’m rambling; forgive me for semi-coherent thoughts.


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