Friday, May 27, 2016

Me Before Ableist B.S.

As a person with a severe disability no one has ever told me to my face that my life is worthless but I'll be damned if Hollywood doesn't constantly push the notion that it's better to be dead than disabled.

I wasn't going to write this post. I haven't read “Me Before You” and I don't intend to see the film adaption.  I've only read tons of spoilers and articles about the book. So what right do I have to my opinion? Well, being a person who is for all intents and purposes, paralyzed, I think I have the right to this opinion.

In case you've been living under a rock let me catch you up. that was my not so nice way of saying there are spoilers. “Me Before You” is about a young man, Will, who is suddenly paralyzed in an accident. Long story short, even after him and his caregiver fall in love, and his caregiver shows him what he's still capable of despite his disability (no sex though because people with disabilities don't have that <== sarcasm) Will, still decides to go through with assisted suicide to lessen the burden on his family and caregiver.

I won't pretend to know what it's like to be 100% able-bodied one day and in a wheelchair, dependent on everyone for care the next. I was born this way, more or less, God gave me lemons and like Beyonce I made some damn good lemonade. I think this book/movie is highly offensive to the majority of people who become paralyzed and choose to live. The author, Jojo Moyes, admitted to never even consulting one paralyzed person before writing this novel. Everyone knows a good writer does a lot of research.

And don't even get me started on the whole assisted suicide and the complete lack of actors with disabilities in Hollywood things. I just don't have the time.

Since this story relies on the whole plot device that people with disabilities are burdens to the world I thought I'd open your eyes to the truth. I'd be lying if I said I never ever felt like I was a burden to someone but I'd also be lying if I said I had nothing that was a burden to me. But then I have to wonder why I have ever felt like a burden to anyone?

Want to know what my biggest burden is? Ableism, which is "discrimination in favor of able-bodied people". This movie will be a hit because of ableism alone. Because we live in a society that ostracizes anyone different than whatever the hell normal is. And then praises “normal” people for dating “different” people while all the while wondering why they are together.

Ableism is having children and adults stare and point at you in public.

 Ableism is getting to a venue and realizing there's no wheelchair accessible access and just having someone shrug and say, “Sorry.”

Ableism is reading comments on the internet in response to criticism of “Me Before You” and having able-bodied people try to justify this whole thing. They will say things like “I'd kill myself too if I was in his position.” Not even realizing that they have been brainwashed by society to disregard anyone that doesn't have a perfectly working body or mind. Not realizing that if they were one day disabled they probably wouldn't be so quick to choose the poison apple of death.

If humans have lived through the Holocaust, civil wars, slavery, and many other atrocities they can also live with a disability in one of  the richest countries  in the world if they receive the proper physical and mental health services.

Lastly, I am not ignoring the fact that my life is sometimes harder than average nor am I saying that people with disabilities don't have the right to decide when enough is enough but I am DONE with Hollywood and authors romanticizing and perpetuating all the negative stereotypes of my life.

At the end of the day I am simply a human that requires a lot of physical help. Just because I need someone to wipe my ass does not negate the fact that my life is worth living and is fulfilling.

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