A commonality of interests we share: She's known my husband just as long as I have, however, she's known him longer, and yet she is only twenty-four years old. We've both lost a loved one to suicide. We too, are both very much involved in the artist's world. And if we were to be deserted on an island, where we had to choose only one kind of food to survive off of for the rest of our lives, it'd be mashed potatoes. She's not only my goddaughter, but a close personal friend: a part of my chosen family. Her sun sign of the lioness, Océane (Ocean) has a zest for life and a warm spirit, despite enduring hardships most 20-something year olds never have to face.
Born and raised in Paris, Océane grew up rather quickly and in a creative environment. Her mother, a journalist, and her father, an actor; the path to her own discovery of who she wanted to be was an easy one. Very early on in life, she had her heart set on becoming an actress. Her father, who, after she was born, owned a bar in Le Marais - a district in Paris where many famous French humorists of stand up started out, was friends with many of them and were in her childhood home often. Seeing her father act had a great influence on her. At five years old, she was the primary acting coach to her teddy bears and Barbie's while playing with them in her bedroom. She'd help direct them, giving stern but detailed corrections. But even then, she strongly believed in herself. When she performed at her first theater show at eight years old, the feeling beforehand was something she cannot explain. She was not queasy, but the butterflies in her stomach were palpable. The anticipation of performing was more of an exciting, adrenaline-pumping sensation, not a worrisome one. Nothing else in life has given her such hair-raising goosebumps.
And so with her dream, her parents strongly encouraged her to pursue them, adamant in working hard toward your goals. Océane is following her passion. Now a student, for nearly a year, at the Susan Batson Studio in New York City, she is currently working on a number of projects, including a web series, but one piece of her is missing. One of her biggest dreams was to always be able to clown around with her father, forever thick as thieves, and furthermore, maybe even performing in a play or movie together in the future. This hope was shattered when he took his own life over three years ago. Her world suddenly stopped, grieved to the core of her heart. At first, Océane was naturally angry (one of the many stages of grief), with feelings of abandonment and unfairness; a harsh lesson in the cruelties of life at such a tender age. She took time to take it all in, wanting to understand the why's and how's of it, trying to sort through complexities one should never have to sort through. But she refuses to let this stop her from living her life, something I myself find very commendable. Courageous. A freedom message.
Bright beyond her years, she's taken this painful experience and is subsequently making the world more interesting; a better one. I recently had the privilege of watching her perform at the Susan Batson Studio on her current subject: Jean Seberg. And Océane's deep understanding for life and death is clear. A little inside scoop: Jean was a very talented American actress who also happened to commit suicide. The correlations between her different worlds was remarkable. Disturbing at times, where even I was uncomfortable, I was also completely taken aback by her raw talent - pulling emotions out of me I haven't even tried to unravel. And she was capable of doing that from her 5-minute act.
My cousin took his life in 2013. She shared her experience & beliefs with me on such a difficult subject. Ever hear of an old saying as such, "You can drag the horse to the pond, but you can't make him drink the water."? If one is in denial of a problem, no one can help them, not even themselves. No matter what you try. Regardless of what the problem may be, the first step is to admit to the problem and be willing to seek help. Océane did have a friend who confided in her earlier this year with suicidal thoughts. It is with a keen pair of ears and an open heart that will aid in being acknowledged and understood. Spend every chance you can with that person. If you can't be with them, make sure other friends or family members are there. Find a solution. See what they need to get better. If they want to see a doctor, offer your hand and go with them. Be a nurturer, but not an enabler. I admire Océane's strength and openness, especially after everything. The easy way is through denial and self-loathing, falling into the abyss one so easily can fall into, but the hardest is to never give up. To be aware and never stop believing in hope, to live and carry on, no matter what life throws your way. This is passion. This is living. This is love.
If you are in crisis or considering suicide, please go to hopeline.com to chat online now or call 1-800-SUICIDE to talk with someone. Open 24/7. #IMAlive
Biggest fear: Being like my Dad.
Biggest pet peeve: People who are judgmental.
Greatest regret: Je ne regrette rien.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?: My kindness because sometimes people take advantage of this.
Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction.
Favorite actor(s): John Travolta & Jean Seberg
Favorite place in NYC: The Highline
Favorite place in Paris: Le Marais